Hawaii officials are urging the community to work collectively to prevent the spread of dengue fever, as the case count rose to 15 on the Big Island as of Wednesday afternoon.State vector control experts are on ground on the Big Island to conduct mosquito abatement, but stopping the virus will take community involvement, Hawaii State Epidemiologist and Chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division Sarah Park told PBN.
Researchers recently discovered the mechanisms that enable Dengue virus to adapt and spread throughout the world, optimizing the virus and increasing the likelihood of outbreaks.
Dengue virus most commonly spreads in the world’s warm areas. The viral strains’ diversity has caused the strains to develop to an extent that raises concerns for potential epidemics. There have been multiple dengue outbreaks because of the new strains overcoming the native strains that local residents have immunity against.
The scientists evaluated various dengue virus-2 clades that spread through Puerto Rico in 1994. This strain mutated between 1986 and 1995 into a new, more contagious strain. The researchers determined that the new virus’s proteins and RNA interact with the host in such a way that the virus can evade the body’s immune response and easily invade.
“This study highlights the critical and oft forgotten role played by non-coding RNAs in the battle between viruses and their human hosts,” Mariano Garcia-Blanco, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, said. “It emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary research: a fabulous marriage of basic RNA biology and clinically informed epidemiology uncovered an unexpected route of virus evolution that explained (and perhaps could predict) epidemic potential.”
Further details are available in Science online.
Powel Kazanjian, a professor of history and infectious diseases at the University of Michigan.
In a new paper, Kazanjian suggests that an Ebola virus may have been the culprit in the Plague of Athens, a five-year epidemic that began in 430 B.C., whose cause has long been a matter of conjecture. Not only was the famed historian Thucydides, who chronicled the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a witness to the Athenian disease, he also contracted it himself and survived.
CONCURRENT OUTBREAKS OF DENGUE, CHIKUNGUNYA AND ZIKA VIRUS INFECTIONS – AN UNPRECEDENTED EPIDEMIC WAVE OF MOSQUITO-BORNE VIRUSES IN THE PACIFIC 2012–2014
A Roth ()1, A Mercier1, C Lepers1, D Hoy1, S Duituturaga1, E Benyon1, L Guillaumot2, Y Souarès1
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, New Caledonia
Institut Pasteur de Nouvelle-Caledonie, Noumea, New Caledonia
Citation style for this article: Roth A, Mercier A, Lepers C, Hoy D, Duituturaga S, Benyon E, Guillaumot L, Souarès Y. Concurrent outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus infections – an unprecedented epidemic wave of mosquito-borne viruses in the Pacific 2012–2014. Euro Surveill. 2014;19(41):pii=20929. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20929
Date of submission: 26 September 2014
Since January 2012, the Pacific Region has experienced 28 new documented outbreaks and circulation of dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus. These mosquito-borne disease epidemics seem to become more frequent and diverse, and it is likely that this is only the early stages of a wave that will continue for several years. Improved surveillance and response measures are needed to mitigate the already heavy burden on island health systems and limit further spread to other parts of the world.
In this remote part of Peru’s 700,000 sq km of Amazon rainforest, there is not much beyond subsistence fishing and farming as a way to earn a living. Other options are mostly illegal: logging Amazonian hardwoods, growing coca, hunting and selling bushmeat. These activities are all prohibited, but in a region larger than Germany, the state is virtually absent. Levels of poverty and illiteracy are far above the national average. Organised crime and evangelical sects fill the vacuum. As in the Rudyard Kipling poem, here the “law of the jungle” is “as old and as true as the sky”.
The murder of forest campaigner Edwin Chota with three fellow Ashaninka leaders – Jorge Rios, Leonicio Quintisima and Francisco Piñedo – at the beginning of last month briefly drew the world’s attention to Peru’s rainforest. The remains of just three men, shot dead in the forest, have been found. DNA profiling using relatives’ hair samples are being used to identify the bodies. The authorities arrested the alleged killers, illegal loggers Adeuzo and Eurico Mapes, a father-and-son pair who are reported to have threatened Chota when he informed officials of their activities. These complaints fell on deaf ears, say members of his community, Alto-Tamaya Saweto.
Humans have evolved different defences against malaria depending on where they live, scientists have found.
About half the world’s population is exposed to the disease, which kills more than 500,000 people each year.
A study, conducted over 10 years across 11 countries, looked for specific mutations known as markers in genes that result in resistance against malaria in almost 12,000 people.
Laboratory head at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Dr Ivo Mueller, said the study found there is a close evolutionary interplay between malaria and human populations.
“It is a complex interaction between the parasite and the human genome,” he said.
“Part of this study was done in Papua New Guinea, but most of these mutations that we found are actually not found in Papua New Guinea because people there never acquired these mutations.
Since the start of the year countries in the PAHO region have reported almost 850,000 dengue infections, including 470 deaths, PAHO said in a press release. As of Sep 5, the area has reported more than 650,000 chikungunya cases, 37 of them fatal.
Both diseases are spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, present in most countries in the Americas.
The group said dengue prevention strategies can be applied to chikungunya, and it recommends beefing up efforts in six ways: patient care, social communication, surveillance, lab capacity, mosquito control, and environmental control.
The second and final clinical trial of the drug was conducted on 20,875 children aged 9-16 in five Latin American countries, including Mexico. It provided high protection against dengue hemorrhagic fever and cut by 80% the risk of hospitalization, said the drug firm on Wednesday.
These tests and earlier ones in Asia showed the vaccine acts best as an immune booster for people with previous exposure, so it is seen as being the most useful in tropical regions where the disease is common, rather than a vaccination for tourists.