Growing drug resistance
According to the report, approximately 20% of TB cases globally are estimated to be resistant to at least one of the first- or second-line anti-TB drugs, and 5% are resistant to both isoniazid and rifampicin, the most powerful and commonly used antibiotics in first-line treatment. Of the estimated 480,000 cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB, approximately 10% are either extensively drug-resistant (XDR)—with additional resistance to second-line drugs—or totally drug resistant.While TB is curable when patients adhere to the treatment regimen, MDR- and XDR-TB are more problematic. Treatment options are limited, expensive, and often toxic, and drug therapy can last up to 2 years. The report estimates mortality rates of around 40% for MDR-TB and 60% for XDR-TB. And while China, India, Russia, and South Africa have the highest burden of MDR- and XDR-TB, widespread international travel and migration means drug-resistant TB has no borders.Although shorter treatment regimens and new drugs are providing hope for some MDR- and XDR-TB patients, the authors of the report say the fight against drug-resistant TB has to be fought on several fronts. “Addressing drug-resistant tuberculosis requires an urgent and concerted effort to manage the disease and prevent onward transmission with sustained research to develop and assess new tools,” the authors write.
Source: Report warns of rise in drug-resistant tuberculosis | CIDRAP
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) released a risk assessment on yellow fever yesterday, noting a new case of travel-associated disease in a person from the Netherlands. This is the fourth case reported in Europeans who had recently traveled to South America in the past 8 months.The traveler had recently returned from Suriname, a former Dutch colony on the northwestern coast of South America. The patient had traveled to Suriname in February and March, and the case was reported to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in the Netherlands on Mar 9.The three other recent yellow fever cases in Europeans with a history of travel to South America include two French nationals who visited several endemic areas of Peru and a Danish citizen got sick in Bolivia after visiting yellow fever endemic areas in the Amazon basin.
Source: ECDC reports spike in yellow fever from South America travel | CIDRAP
CDC adds 4 nations to Zika travel guidanceThe CDC announcement adds Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, and Solomon Island to a long list of countries on its travel advisory. For all four, public health officials are reporting that mosquitoes infected with Zika virus are spreading the disease to people.The CDC’s Angola and Maldives advisories includes maps showing parts of the country that are above 6,500 feet elevation, thought to be a lower risk, because mosquitos that spread Zika don’t usually live at higher elevations.
Source: CDC expands Zika travel advisory as WHO updates risk levels | CIDRAP
A new oral Ebola vaccine seems to works in apes – but that doesn’t mean Africa’s great apes are now safe from the virus, which poses a grave threat to endangered gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees.
Source: Ebola vaccine promising in chimps but may never be used | New Scientist
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt said that there needs to be more debate about whether carbon dioxide is a primary driver of global warming and that “I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”
Source: E.P.A. Head Scott Pruitt Falsely Asserts That Carbon Dioxide Is Not A Primary Cause Of Climate Change: Gothamist
Six people have been sickened—two fatally—in a four-state listeriosis outbreak that began last September and has been traced to soft raw milk cheese made by Vulto Creamery of Walton, N.Y., which has issued a recall, federal officials said today.The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes is known to cause serious, life-threatening disease.Deaths in Connecticut, VermontListeria specimens were taken from two of the patients in September, one in October, and the other three in January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its first statement on the outbreak today.Half of the patients are from New York, while Connecticut, Florida, and Vermont have each reported one case. All case-patients required hospitalization. The patients in Connecticut and Vermont died.
Source: Six ill, 2 dead in Listeria outbreak tied to Vulto soft cheese | CIDRAP
As of 3 March 2017, yellow fever virus transmission continues to expand towards the Atlantic coast of Brazil in areas not deemed to be at risk for yellow fever transmission prior to the revised risk assessment, supported by the scientific and technical advisory group on geographical yellow fever risk mapping (GRYF), and published by WHO in the Disease Outbreak News of 27 January 2017, and on the WHO International Travel and Health website on 31 January 2017 and 14 February 2017.
Source: WHO | Yellow fever – Brazil
Since the 1920s, excessive pumping of groundwater at thousands of wells has caused land to subside, or sink, by as much as 8.5 meters (28 feet) in sections of California’s San Joaquin Valley. This subsidence is exacerbated during droughts, when farmers rely heavily on groundwater to sustain one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States.Subsidence is a serious and challenging concern for California’s water managers, putting state and federal aqueducts, levees, bridges and roads at risk of damage. Already, long-term land subsidence has damaged thousands of public and private groundwater wells throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Furthermore, the subsidence can permanently reduce the storage capacity of underground aquifers, threatening future water supplies. It’s also expensive. While there is no comprehensive estimate of damage costs associated with subsidence, state and federal water agencies have spent an estimated $100 million on related repairs since the 1960s.
Source: San Joaquin Valley is Still Sinking : Image of the Day
Two days after it was lofted into the air over the Sahara Desert on February 20, dust blew north into Spain and Europe. As dust particles settled down en masse on the snow-covered peaks of Spain’s Sierra Nevadas, they left the mountains a very different color.From above, satellites captured images of the mountains before and after the dust settled. The European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2-A satellite captured an image of the snow on February 18, 2017, before the dust arrived. NASA’s Landsat 8 shows the same area on February 27. The ski trails in Pradollano, Spain (left side of the top image) stand out as white streaks amidst the tan dust. A wider view of the two images appears below.Ground-based photographers captured images of the dust discoloring the snow atop the Sierra Nevadas, near Granada, Spain. Climbers encountered the dust as they trekked over the mountains, and skiers faced dusty conditions.It is not uncommon for African dust to reach Spain, said Colin Seftor, an atmospheric scientist working for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Sometimes you see the dust in Italy or all the way into Greece,” he said of analyzing satellite imagery. “You’ll see this weather pattern that looks like a storm, with that classic comma shape of clouds. The dust gets entrained and moves right along with the pressure system.”
Source: Spanish Peaks Turn Tan : Image of the Day
In the latest H7N9 avian influenza developments, analysis of virus samples from China and Taiwan hint at mutations including resistance to the antiviral class of drugs known as neuraminidase inhibitors, and the World Health Organization (WHO) said today that the burgeoning number of cases this season now account for a third of all cases reported since the outbreak began in 2013.
Source: H7N9 analyses hint at genetic mutations, drug resistance | CIDRAP