MERS: Impact of comorbidity on mortality

Mens et Manus

UPDATED: 4.27.14, 2215 EST

In my last series of posts, it became quickly apparent that MERS cases who have pre-existing conditions (or “comorbidities”, such as diabetes, heart disease, etc.) are more likely to die than those who are otherwise healthy. I wanted to take a closer look at this finding by conducting some risk analyses on the data I have available to me currently. I looked at three different time frames: from March 2012 (when MERS was first documented) to present; before 3/20/2014 (the onset of the current outbreak in the Middle East); and after 3/20/2014. This is what I found:
RR_alltimeOverall, cases with comorbidities are +80% (p = .0001) more likely to die than those who are otherwise healthy.
RR_preoutbreakPrior to the current outbreak, cases with comorbidities were +70% (p = .0016) more likely to die than otherwise healthy cases – about the same as what we saw above…

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Chikungunya virus confirmed in Antigua

Can’t like this – there goes the neighborhood, as they say. Hope he did not get bitten by other native skeeters and pass on the disease to Antigua skeeters

Repeating Islands

Aedes albopictus : vecteur du chikungunya.

Antigua has reported its first case of Chikungunya, an Aedes aegypti mosquito-borne disease that causes a dengue-like sickness. On Friday Antigua and Barbuda health officials revealed that the first patient is a man in his mid 60’s, Marion V. Ali writes for The Reporter.

Dr. Orita Zachariah, the Antiguan Medical Officer of Health, said that the case was detected on April 22 and the patient works in the capital, St. John’s.

The health authorities say they are also awaiting test results from the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) of four other suspected cases.

The report came less than 24 hours after Saint Vincent and the Grenadines confirmed that they have an outbreak of the virus.

Chikungunya includes symptoms such as a sudden high fever, headache, nausea, rashes, and severe pain in the wrists, ankles or knuckles and muscles . The symptoms appear between four to seven days after…

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The Rescue

Poetry for Palestine



Deep… deep inside…

In the land of sorrow… where I reside

Where only pain reigns

Passion becomes resistance

Love grows rebellious

And hope stands tall


Grief runs deep

Cutting through hills and mountains

In the caves and underground

Far beyond my reach


It was raining agony… that day

Restless… agitated… weighed down

Haunted by my nightmare

You’re never coming home


Looking up… into sky

Yelling for help

My soul whispers

Here I am God… exhausted… give me your hand… come to my aid

Here I am God… full of sorrow… and anguish…ease my pain

Here I am God… hurt and tired… help me…hold me… heal me

Here I am God… lonely… be my friend and companion

Here I am God… lost… guide me… show me the way


And like a dazzling morning at the crack of dawn, dispelling all darkness

Like gentle rain drops drizzling over a parched piece of land


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“All it takes is one good guy with a gun…..” – ‘Georgia man flaunts gun at local Little League field intimidating parents and children’

The Last Of The Millenniums

gun  nut

Yeah!!! That’s showing ’em.

Protecting his 2nd Amendment Rights!!

‘A Georgia man panicked parents and children at a local park and baseball field by randomly walking around and displaying his gun to anyone he encountered in the parking lot’.

‘According to witnesses who spoke with WSB-TV, the man wandered around the Forsythe County park last Tuesday night showing his gun to strangers, telling them “there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“Anyone who was just walking by – you had parents and children coming in for the game – and he’s just standing here, walking around [saying] ‘You want to see my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.

He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” said parent Karen Rabb’.
From :

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MAYDAY: Art Workers’ Pride Visual Archive



This Thursday is May Day, international workers’ day. 

Across the globe workers will celebrate May Day in various ways, organizing street demonstrations and protest marches in their communities, demanding justice and freedom for all oppressed people. 

With this occasion, ArtLeaks will inaugurate a visual archive dedicated to art workers’ pride, which will continue to gather material throughout the year. 

We invite you to submit visual documentation of protests/performances/comics/banners/short texts related to art and cultural struggles. Please send the material to or @Art_Leaks, including the credit information and a title or very short description. Both signed and anonymous entries welcome. 

Our aim is to create a visual archive of different actors and movements around the globe focused on art labour. We think this is will grow into a great resource and encourage all persons working in art and culture to submit their materials to this public archive.

Happy May Day International…

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Holocaust survivors feel abandoned by Netanyahu – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Everything that Netanyahu did in those years implied that he was acting out of a conscious need to become the one to prevent a second Holocaust. Yet, those same years were also the period in which the economic, medical and emotional state of Holocaust survivors living in Israel kept declining because of their advanced age alongside their physical and emotional scars from the war. Their medical costs have increased, and their ability to pay for treatments, medication, food and heating in winter has been reduced significantly. Social Security payments they receive are absorbed by the steep cost of living and cuts to pensions, implemented by none other than Netanyahu, as part of the economic decrees he devised as finance minister in 2003.

via Holocaust survivors feel abandoned by Netanyahu – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

Eugene Robinson: The racists among us – The Washington Post

The Republican Party, Fox News and a majority of the Supreme Court would like to believe such naked prejudice is history. Yet some big-city school systems are as segregated as they were in the 1960s. Leading public universities are admitting fewer black students than a decade ago. The black-white wealth gap has grown in recent years. Blacks are no more likely than whites to use illegal drugs, yet four times more likely to be arrested and jailed for it.

No, racism isn’t back. It never went away.

via Eugene Robinson: The racists among us – The Washington Post.

Palestinian reconciliation deal a Hamas surrender – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East

Abbas’ strategy finally paid off, in an agreement that at least on paper suggests a total Hamas capitulation and a clear political victory for Abbas and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The Islamic movement suddenly began speaking of Abbas as president and even applauded one of his speeches that reiterated his commitment to the peace talks. Hamas has agreed to yield its government to a unity cabinet made up of technocrats, none of whom will be known Hamas members. The Islamic movement has also crucially agreed to presidential and parliamentary elections to be conducted no later than six months after the formation of the unity government. The most important political concession, however, is that Hamas agreed to join the PLO and all its institutions.

There had been arguments concerning whether Hamas is obliged to separately accept the three conditions set out by the nearly defunct Quartet: recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and accepting all previous agreements signed by the PLO. The position presented by the PLO was that all of these conditions have already been met by the PLO, and therefore Hamas, by joining the organization — as long as the PLO does not retract its earlier positions — would be in adherence with the three conditions.

via Palestinian reconciliation deal a Hamas surrender – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

Saudi prince slaughters 2,100 nearly extinct birds – for thrills? | Green Prophet

Saudi royals seem to be more hazardous to the world bird-life than wind turbines and skyscrapers! A Saudi prince poached thousands of protected birds during a 21-day hunting safari in Pakistan, so claims a new report.

Why would Pakistan allow exemptions from global conservation regulations? The bird meat is considered an aphrodisiac, which may explain why the men hunt.

Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud reportedly killed 1,977 of the nearly-extinct houbara bustards last January, violating his hunting permit by killing so many of the birds. The rest of his party killed an additional 123 of the creatures, raising the final death toll to a staggering 2,100.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources estimates the houbara bustards’ global population to be at 110,000, declining by around 20% annually.

The incident, described in a report dated February 2014, says that during the safari the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and then “took rest” for two days.

The report was prepared by local divisional forest and wildlife department officer Jaffar Baloch, according to Dawn News.

via Saudi prince slaughters 2,100 nearly extinct birds – for thrills? | Green Prophet.

Saudi Arabia MERS death toll rises above 100 | News | DW.DE | 28.04.2014

The Health Ministry in Riyadh on Sunday confirmed it had identified 16 more cases of the disease within a 24-hour period.

In a statement on its website late in the evening, the ministry reported there had been eight deaths – taking the number of people who have died from the disease, which first emerged two years ago, to 102.

Of those, a full 39 deaths have been this month. Among the latest deaths was a nine-month-old infant, the ministry said.

via Saudi Arabia MERS death toll rises above 100 | News | DW.DE | 28.04.2014.