Chikungunya and dengue in the Americas: Preliminary end of year numbers

Dengue fever and chikungunya are transmitted by the same mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) and both vectors are found in the Western hemisphere, or the Americas. However, until Dec. 2013, only dengue fever flourished in this part of the world. Aedes aegypti/CDC In December 2013, all that changed when the first autochthonous, or locally acquired chikungunya cases were reported on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. Local transmission means…


‘Stop blaming spiders for bacterial infections’ says UCR researcher

Richard S. Vetter is a retired entomologist formerly part of the staff at the University of California, Riverside and he says that spiders are “scapegoated” as the cause of bacterial infections in humans. Public domain image/MCV55 According to a study, which is addressed in a Letter to the Editor in the journal Toxicon, says the evidence for spider-vectored infection is scanty. “Although spider bite may be an attractive and tenable causative agent of…


Hamilton Township, NJ: Two Hepatitis A Cases Confirmed

The Hamilton Township Division of Health has been informed of two (2) additional Hepatitis A cases which were confirmed over the New Year’s holiday. Hepatitis A Image/CDC In the first additional case (second case in community), the Hamilton Township Division of Health was informed by Robert Wood Johnson Hospital – Hamilton and the New Jersey Department of Health late on December 31, 2014, that a case of Hepatitis A was…


Measles linked to RMIT University graduation prompts health warning

The Victoria Department of Health in Australia has been notified of two confirmed cases of measles in individuals not vaccinated for measles who became ill after attendance at an RMIT graduation ceremony at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium on 17 December 2014. Measles rashImage/CDC Health authorities advise the public to consider the possibility of measles in any person who is susceptible to measles and develops a compatible illness and who attended the RMIT graduation…


Egypt MOH reports 3 H5N1 influenza cases in 2015 so far

The Egyptian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported the 2nd and 3rd human H5N1 avian influenza cases of the year from Minya governorate. This follows the 29 cases reported in 2014, where the majority of the cases occurred in November and December. H5N1 avian influenzaImage/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz According to an MOH statement (computer translated), the first case is a 30-year-old man of Bani Mazar Department. He was suffering from a fever, sore…


Malaysian PM Najib stricken with E. coli infection

The Prime Minister of Malaysia has contracted an E. coli infection, which is a bacterial infection that can cause sometimes severe gastrointestinal disease. It is believed that PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak contracted the infection while touring the flood-hit areas of his country. Malaysian health officials say that the PM’s infection is no indicator of an E.coli outbreak in any of the states affected by the recent floods. According to The Prime Minister’s…


Brazil reports 1st human West Nile virus case in Piauí State

While the United States has reported in excess of 2,000 human West Nile virus (WNV) cases this year as of the beginning of December and over 40,000 cases since the mosquito borne virus was first seen in the country in 1999, the South American country of Brazil has never seen a human WNV case…until now. Image/CIA The World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that on 9 December 2014, the Ministry…


5 Vaccine preventable diseases in the US: Then and now

There is likely no bigger accomplishment in medicine and public health that has saved so many lives and prevented so much misery over the decades as the introduction of vaccines. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines vaccine as follows: a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the…