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Ebola death toll reaches 660 in West Africa

© AFP Photo/Celou Binani
Members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) put on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Guinea's capital Conakry on July 23, 2014
The death toll in West Africa's Ebola outbreak has risen to 660, with the number of cases surpassing 1,000, the World Health Organization said Friday.

WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said that the extent of what is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola on record was still emerging.

"This is a trend, an overall picture. It's hard to get an exact picture on the scale of the situation at the moment," he told reporters.

The UN health agency said 28 news deaths were recorded between July 18 and July 20. Thirteen were in Sierra Leone, 11 in Liberia and four in Guinea, which had previously borne the brunt.

Forty-five new cases were recorded over the same period, in West Africa's first-ever Ebola outbreak.

That lifted the total number of laboratory-confirmed, probable or suspected cases of Ebola in the region to 1,093.

Comment: There have been 34 outbreaks over the course of the past month. Check out the SOTT Worldview for these stories:


For more information on where this ebola virus may have come from and where it could go, please see:

Beaker

Two Americans contract Ebola in West Africa

© Reuters
A health worker with disinfectant spray walks down a street outside the government hospital in Kenema
Two US citizens helping to treat Ebola in West Africa - a doctor and an aid worker - are in intensive care, having tested positive for the deadly virus. Governments and airports across the region are struggling to curb the spread of the disease.

Nancy Writebol, a missionary with a Christian charity, who had been working as a hygienist in a medical compound in Liberia, was tested positive for Ebola, the relief organization Samaritan's Purse announced on Sunday. Writebol was responsible for detoxifying protective suits worn by visitors to an Ebola isolation center.

A day earlier, the same charity announced that an American doctor, Kent Brantly, 33, working in the same medical institution, had contracted the disease.

"They're both receiving intensive early treatment, but certainly it's a dangerous situation and a frightening situation," spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse, Melissa Strickland, told AFP.
Beaker

Genetic fragments of MERS virus detected in air in camel barn

© Globalbiodefense.com
Genetic fragments of the deadly MERS virus were detected in the air of a barn where an infected camel was kept, a new study says.

The findings show the need for further studies to determine if Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) can be transmitted through the air, the researchers said.

Researchers collected air samples over three consecutive days from a camel barn owned by a 43-year-old male MERS patient who lived south of the town of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The man later died. One of the camels in the barn was later confirmed to have MERS.

The air samples contained genetic fragments of MERS that were identical to those detected in the infected camel and its owner, according to the study in the July 22 issue of the journal mBio.

The findings show the need for "further investigations and measures to prevent possible airborne transmission of this deadly virus," lead author Esam Azhar, said in a news release from the American Society for Microbiology. Azhar is the head of the Special Infectious Agents Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Center and associate professor of medical virology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, according to the news release.
Ambulance

Deadly Vibrio infections at 10 year high in US coastal areas

Vibrio infection
© Bibas Reddy, DO, MPH, Hugh Durham, MD, and Sandra A. Kemmerly, MD.
This erythematous, violaceous lesion with a central abrasion and serous drainage developed after a man scratched his right forearm while he was removing crabs from a trap. Culture revealed Vibrio vulnificus. The infection completely resolved following appropriate antibiotic therapy
For years the Maryland Department of Environment has issued warnings about the deadly pathogen vibrio vulnificus, but infections are now at a 10-year high.

The bacteria "are found naturally in coastal areas" especially from May to October and "are not a result of pollution." Vibrio can infect the skin through an open wound. Two strains of the disease, vulnificus and parahaemolyticus, can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked seafood.

"I've grown up on the bay my whole life, and I'm 66," Rodney Donald told the Washington Post from his hospital bed at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Donald nearly lost his leg to vibrio.

"I'd never even heard about it," he said.

Vibrio infections in Maryland are up to 57 in 2013, compared to 25 in 2002, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Six cases were reported this year. The Calvert County Health Department reported five infections around the Chesapeake Bay this summer.
Health

First Ebola case reported in Lagos, world's fourth most populous city

Death marks new and alarming cross-border development in world's biggest epidemic spreading across three countries.
Ebola workers
© Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images
Lagos authorities said they had requested the flight's manifest to contact the other passengers, and began distributing protective clothing to health workers.
A man has died of ebola in Lagos, the first confirmed case of the highly contagious and deadly virus in Africa's most populous metropolis.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian civil servant, collapsed on arrival in Nigeria's main airport on Sunday, health officials said. His condition rapidly deteriorated before he died, said Abdulsalami Nasidi, project director at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who attributed his death to ebola.

Officials at the World Health Organisation confirmed a sample from Nigeria was being tested for ebola, but did not confirm the results.
Attention

Two-thirds of UK chickens contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria - major supermarkets launch inquiries

chicken
© Reuters / Srdjan Zivulovic
Two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK could be contaminated with potentially lethal bacteria.
A Guardian investigation has revealed alleged widespread hygiene failings in Britain's poultry industry, prompting three major UK supermarkets to launch emergency inquiries into their chicken suppliers.

Undercover film footage, photographic evidence, and allegations from whistleblowers indicate the UK's strict hygiene standards to avoid the contamination of chicken by a potentially lethal "campylobacter" bug can be easily flouted on British factory floors and farms.

In the last month, an array of hygiene breaches were uncovered that could contribute to the spread of this dangerous bug - including a factory floor littered with chicken guts and instances of chicken carcasses being ferried to factory production lines by workers' footwear. Other worrying practices concerning the processing of retail chicken and increased risks of contamination were also revealed by the investigation.

Comment: Whether it's the FSA or the FDA, they're both so far into the pockets of big business you couldn't pry them out with a greased crowbar. Buy local whenever possible.

Health

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher suffering symptoms of Chikungunya virus

© J. Meric/Getty Images
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta is suffering from symptoms that resemble those of the Chikungunya virus and expects the team to put him on the disabled list.

Peralta went home to the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break and explained that he began feeling sick on Friday.

"I've had a fever and pain in my joints," Peralta said by telephone on Monday to MLB.com. "Feels like all my joints are sore. That's how I feel."

The Chikungunya virus has become more common in Caribbean countries and is spread through mosquitoes. The veteran reliever shared that he remembers coming into contact with some while he was in the Dominican Republic.

"I think so," Peralta told MLB.com. "I kind of remember getting bit by a mosquito. One or two times."

He explained that the only treatment has been Advil and Tylenol for his fever.
USA

The ten plagues that are hitting America right now

Plagues
© The End of American Dream
Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden? Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don't know how to kill.

And as you will see, we even have a plague of flies down in Mississippi. So what in the world is going on? Is this just a case of bad luck, or is something else happening?

At the conclusion of this article, please feel free to tell me what you think. The following are ten plagues that are hitting America right now...
Nuke

China seals off city and sets up quarantines after inhabitant dies of bubonic plague

© MichaelTaylor/Shutterstock
30,000 residents of Yumen are not being allowed to leave and 151 people have been placed in quarantine after man's death

A Chinese city has been sealed off and 151 people have been placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said.

The 30,000 residents of Yumen, in the north-western province of Gansu, are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on the perimeter of the city are telling motorists to find alternative routes, China Central Television (CCTV) said.

A 38-year-old man died last Wednesday, the report said, after he had been in contact with a dead marmot, a small furry animal related to the squirrel. No further plague cases have been reported.
Health

Ebola spreads to health workers as Liberian nurses contract the virus

Ebola nurses
© AFP/WHO
Nurses take care of a patient with Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
Four Liberian health workers have been admitted after contracting the Ebola virus while treating patients.

The health workers, all nurses, were working at Phebe Hospital in Suakoko, Bong County when they contracted the virus.

This comes three weeks after a Ugandan senior surgeon succumbed to the Ebola in Liberia where he had been working for three years as a specialist.

Dr. Samuel Muhumuza Mutoro died at the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre, Liberia's biggest hospital in Monrovia where he was being treated.

The West Africa countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are currently battling an outbreak of Ebola which is highly contagious with a high fatality rate.

Comment: See also:

Battling Ebola in West Africa
Ebola outbreak killed at least 337 people in Africa this year
Fear of the ebola virus: outbreak or epidemic?

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