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Question

Health experts puzzled by mysterious Angola outbreak

International health officials are investigating the emergence of a mysterious disease in Angola that has killed at least four people and sickened more than 200.

The illness, which leads to weakness, muscular spasms, mental confusion and speech impairment, surfaced in Cacuaco, near Luanda, in early October, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a press release sent to Reuters late on Tuesday.

It has since spread to seven neighbourhoods in the municipality, about 20 km (12.5 miles) north of the Angolan capital and home to some 200,000 people.

"As of 1st of November, more than 200 cases including four deaths have been reported," the WHO said in its statement.

Attention

Israeli stores recall toy found with elements of date-rape drug

Stores in Israel on Thursday recalled a China-made toy after scientists in Australia found that similar toys contained a chemical that converts into a powerful date rape drug when ingested.

The toys, seized in Hong Kong, were being tested Thursday. At least five children in the United States and Australia have been hospitalized after swallowing the toy beads, which are used in arts and crafts projects. They can be arranged into designs and fused when sprayed with water.

Syringe

Failed AIDS vaccine may have increased infection risk

A once-promising vaccine for AIDS may have inadvertently increased the infection risk of people participating in clinical trials, researchers said Wednesday.

Attention

Officials say vaccine caused Nigeria polio

A polio outbreak in Nigeria was caused by the vaccine designed to stop it, international health officials say, leaving at least 69 children paralyzed.

It is a frightening paradox in a part of the world that already distrusts western vaccines, making it even tougher to stamp out age-old diseases.

The outbreak was caused by the live polio virus that is used in vaccines given orally - the preferred method in developing countries because it is cheaper and doesn't require medical training to dispense.


Comment: Making it even tougher to stamp out should rather be translated as making it even tougher to re-introduce age-old diseases.


Comment: See the SOTT Flu supplement to see that the governments and Big Pharma don't actually have humanity's best interests at heart.


People

Goodbye Selfish-Gene: A New Upheaval in the Science of Human Behavior

For nearly half a century, the evolution of human behavior has been presented to the public framed by the ideas of Edward O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and a cohort of sociobiologists, evolutionary psychologists, and media gene-mongers. The scientific basis for the frame is the idea that the focus of Darwinian natural selection is the selfish gene, selection always acting within groups and never between groups -- individual selection rather than group selection, the unit of selection the gene. From this has followed the selfish-gene evolutionary analysis of various human behaviors, especially the analysis of altruism.

Syringe

Children need chickenpox jab, say doctors

All children should be vaccinated against chickenpox after new research showed the disease caused the deaths of six youngsters in one year, doctors have urged.

©Getty
Parents are already worried about the number of jabs administered to children

Comment: In a follow on article in the Daily Telegraph we read this:-

Chickenpox vaccine 'will overload children'

By Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Last Updated: 2:26am GMT 08/11/2007

The prospect of another vaccine for children has been criticised by campaigners who say the Government would be ''irresponsible" to add a chickenpox jab to an already congested programme of immunisation.

If it was to be added it would take the total number of diseases children are protected against from 12 to 13.

They are given in 17 different injections by the age of 18, including the new jab for the human papilloma virus vaccine - a cause of cervical cancer - which is to be introduced next year.

Campaigners say there are already too many jabs in the childhood programme and children's immune systems are being overloaded.

The concerns come after research into the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine linked it to autism and bowel conditions.
As a result thousands of worried parents decided not to vaccinate their children.

Dr Andrew Wakefield's study was later withdrawn from The Lancet and widely discredited.

He is facing an inquiry by the General Medical Council over the way the research was conducted.

Jackie Fletcher, from the campaign group Jabs, said: "We have to make sure the vaccine is safer than the disease. We need to investigate adverse events.

"There are thousands of families reporting damage to us after the MMR vaccine and some of them have received a Government payment which is a Government acknowledgement that the child's condition or death has been caused by the MMR vaccine.

"For them (the Government) to consider introducing another live vaccine into the MMR is irresponsible.

"If we have to have a vaccine against chickenpox it should be a single vaccine and offered as an option."

Campaigners said data from America suggested 79 deaths had followed vaccination with a four-in-one vaccine containing chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella and more than 32,000 ''adverse events" had been reported.

It is not known whether these deaths and side effects were caused by the vaccine - they were simply recorded as having occurred at some point afterwards.

In the 10 years the vaccine has been used in America more than 10 million doses have been administered.

Dr David Elliman, a consultant in community child health at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said it was impossible to overload a child's immune system with vaccines and said there is no evidence to support that theory.

He said if the immune system was damaged by vaccines children would catch more infections after having jabs, but they do not.

He also said vaccination did not increase the risk of developing auto-immune diseases like asthma, diabetes, or arthritis, as some have claimed, and that studies have shown vaccinated children are not more likely to develop these conditions.

Dr Elliman added that although children are given more injections now than 20 years ago, the vaccines in total contained fewer proteins and so are less of a challenge for the immune system to deal with.

He said that because parental confidence was still returning after the MMR scare it would be best to wait a little longer before introducing chicken pox to the jab.


Bulb

Hide your old pills in poop, government says

Got some leftover drugs -- the kind that someone else might want to use, such as painkillers or stimulants? Wrap them up in used kitty litter or other pet droppings, the government advises.

©REUTERS/Files

People

Safety agency issues new batch of toy recalls

More recalls of lead-tainted toys made in China were announced on Wednesday by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, including 380,000 toy cars sold at Dollar General stores.

Other warnings included smaller recalls of Dizzy Ducks music boxes, Winnie-the-Pooh spinning tops, "Big Red" wagons, Dragster and Funny Car toys, and Duck Family collectible wind-up toys, all because of paint with unsafe levels of lead.

Smiley

Sunbathing 'slows ageing process'

Sunbathing can slow the ageing process by up to five years, according to new research.

Scientists have found that people who avoid the sun, or have inadequate vitamin D in their diet, are subject to genetic damage associated with ageing and age-related illnesses.

Red Flag

Study Connects Pill to Artery Buildups

ORLANDO, Fla. - A troubling study from Belgium hints that long-term use of oral contraceptives _ at least the high-estrogen ones sold decades ago _ might increase the chances of having artery buildups that can raise the risk of heart disease.