Avian flu pops up in German zoo

first_imgAug 4, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A swan tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza at a German zoo yesterday, signaling the virus’s re-emergence in the country after a 3-month lull.A black Australian swan at the Dresden Zoo in eastern Germany was found dead on Aug 1, but zoo officials weren’t too concerned at first because deaths in the breed are common, zoo biologist Ron Brockmann told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). But after the bird tested positive for H5N1 yesterday, he said, the zoo quarantined other animals and sought government permission to vaccinate the rest of the zoo’s collection of 720 birds of 112 species.The swan was the first zoo animal infected in Germany, according to the story.  Brockmann said the virus might have entered the zoo last winter when wild birds visited the zoo’s ponds. The staff is worried that other animals in the zoo may become infected with the H5N1 virus if they eat dead birds, he said.Germany’s last outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu were in February among wild birds and in April in farm poultry, Agence France-Presse reported today.In other developments, a man in Vietnam who was hospitalized with possible avian flu tested negative yesterday, according to news services. The patient is from the southern province of Kien Giang, on the Cambodian border in the Mekong Delta. Vietnam hasn’t had a confirmed human H5N1 case since November 2005.Three people in Thailand have also been cleared of H5N1 infection, according to the Bangkok Post. One is a 9-year-old girl from Lop Buri province in central Thailand who died 2 days ago. The other two patients—a 17-year-old boy and a 42-year-old woman—are from Chachoengsao province, east of Bangkok. The tests indicated that all three patients had a type A flu virus, but not H5N1, the newspaper said.As of yesterday, the Thai Health Ministry reported that 97 patients from 24 provinces were under surveillance for possible avian flu. Those numbers were down from 164 patients in 21 provinces the previous day.Thailand’s only confirmed human H5N1 case this year was in a 17-year-old boy from Phichit province who died of the disease Jul 24. A report in the Aug 3 Eurosurveillance Weekly suggests that the boy’s death indicates that poultry deaths in Thailand are being underreported. The authors observe that poultry deaths in the country were not reported until Jul 24, the day the boy died.The boy’s case may be an example of a “sentinel human,” meaning a human H5N1 case that triggers reporting of the disease in poultry, the report says.See also:Eurosurveillance Weekly report on avian influenza in Thailandhttp://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=3012last_img read more

COVID reinfections are possible. Should we worry?

first_imgThe patient walked into the Washoe County community testing station in the US state of Nevada on April 18 with a sore throat, dry cough and a headache, but no reason to worry.He was only 25, had no prior medical conditions, and although the PCR nasal-swab test for COVID-19 he took came back positive, he was soon feeling well again.Thirty five days later, he was rushed to the emergency room, short of breath and with a raging fever, and placed on oxygen support. Other viruses While it is hard to say for certain how widespread or frequent COVID-19 reinfections will end up being, scientists can look to similar viruses for clues.Lia van der Hoek, an expert on coronaviruses at Amsterdam UMC, has studied the pathogens for decades.She was the lead author on a paper published last month in Nature Medicine investigating the four other coronaviruses that humans can catch. The study charted 10 healthy individuals over the course of more than 30 years, and found that patients were infected multiple times with the virus. One patient was infected on 17 separate occasions over the study period. “COVID-19 will probably behave the same,” she told AFP. Shaman also studied the circulation of other coronaviruses, following 12 healthy individuals and proving they could be reinfected a second time. He said that evidence from other respiratory viruses suggested widespread reinfections of COVID-19 was by no means impossible. COVID-19 ‘never going away’ While many governments are basing their hopes of a full economic recovery on a vaccine, Van der Hoek said there may never be a single, entirely effective COVID-19 failsafe.”The problem with coronavirus antibodies is that they wane so quickly and you can get reinfected with the same strain,” she said. “So it could be that you need repeated [COVID-19] vaccinations all the time.”This one will never go away. There is no way we can get rid of it. It will stay with us for the rest of humanity.” Too soon to tell? Frederic Altare, director of Immunology at the Inserm Research Centre of Oncology and Immunology Nantes-Angers, said there was currently little evidence that COVID-19 reinfection was going to be a “major issue” given the low case figures.”With the number of people who have been infected there are only a dozen or so proven reinfections — that’s not much,” he told AFP.But others said it was difficult to accurately gauge reinfection numbers given the relative lack of testing during the first wave this spring. In other words, many people could have in theory been infected in March or April and remained asymptomatic, only to test positive later in the year when they were reinfected, but this time with symptoms. According to Jeffrey Shaman, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the main obstacle to ascertaining reinfection numbers is that SARS-CoV-2 — unlike other coronaviruses that circulate among humans — is brand new, epidemiologically speaking. “The world has only been dealing with this for a number of months,” he told AFP. “We don’t know if [reinfection] is going to be common or as likely to be equally severe as the initial infection.”It’s really important to understand what this virus is ultimately going to do and how challenging it’s going to be to make a universal vaccine,” Shaman said. He had become the first confirmed US case of COVID-19 reinfection. Up to now, there have been only a handful of similar cases worldwide, and experts say it is too early to draw sweeping conclusions from such a small head count.But the prospect of getting reinfected with COVID-19 — and getting even sicker the second time around — could have a significant impact on how governments chart the path out of the pandemic.In particular, reinfections may render the idea of herd immunity — that is, a sufficiently high percentage of people eventually becoming immune to COVID-19 — unrealistic.center_img “Reinfection cases mean that in some people, the immune response is not enough to protect them from infection or disease,” Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, told AFP.”Reinfections from SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] mean that immunity acquired through natural infection is not perfect.”Researchers who documented the Nevada patient’s case offered a number of possible explanations as to how he could have gotten sick twice.He may have been exposed to a very high dose of the virus the second time around, triggering a more acute reaction.Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus. The study, published this week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, listed other confirmed reinfections in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. Topics : Herd immunity ‘dangerous’ On Monday researchers in the Netherlands released the case study of a 89-year-woman who died after contracting COVID-19 twice.She had been treated for cancer, and her immune system was damaged as a result, making her more susceptible to severe infection.As the world searches for a vaccine, Iwasaki said that any eventually safe and universal inoculation would need to generate higher levels and longer lasting immunity in people than through natural infection.”Fortunately, some vaccine candidates appear to do exactly that.”But reinfections likely meant that any hope of naturally occurring herd immunity “would not be possible”, Iwasaki said.”Based on what we know about COVID-19, it would be too dangerous to try to achieve herd immunity through natural exposure to this virus, as it can be lethal or detrimental in people of all ages.”There is also the grim prospect of so-called antibody dependent enhancement — when antibodies actually make subsequent infections worse, such as with dengue fever.While there is currently no proof that occurs with COVID-19, Shaman said he knows of no-one who can rule that out.last_img read more

4 benefits of a relationship break.

first_img 69 Views   no discussions Share Share Sharing is caring! LifestyleRelationships 4 benefits of a relationship break. by: – August 24, 2011center_img Share Tweet Dating Couple. Credit: Public Domain, Wikimedia CommonsRelationships end for a variety of reasons including fighting, mixed emotions, career choices and a loss of attraction for the other person. A relationship break occurs when the relationship has reached its climax, or when both parties feel the need for some alone time. Relationship breaks are not a true breakup, but a great way to find out what you are looking for in the relationship within a given amount of time.Find yourselfWhen we think of a relationship break, we often associate it with dating other people. However, unless you have had almost no previous dating experience, this method leads to jealousy and feelings of regret if you decide to get back with your partner. Taking a break to have “me” time gives you the space you need to rediscover your goals and ambitions that may have been lost in the relationship. If you decide to get back into the relationship after the break, you will have a clear set of goals for yourself and the relationship as a whole.Do you really want to be with your partner?Have you been with the same person for years and discover that you may not want to be with them? Taking a break from the relationship offers two benefits in terms of whom you want to be with. You may decide that you miss your partner and you want them back, or you may find out that dating someone new is a healthier relationship option for you. Either way, you benefit by knowing what you want in your current relationship or with a new partner.What are your career goals?In hard economic times, it may be hard to find your dream job. However, often times we settle when we are in a relationship in order to stay with our partner, whether that is taking a job you don’t want in order to stay in the same area as your partner, or sacrificing going back to school to land a higher paying job because of the stress it would cause to the relationship. When you take a break from your relationship, it gives you time to understand what you want for your career if you were not with your partner.Is your partner the “one”?Another reason that we take breaks from our relationship is to determine if the partner we are with is the one we want to spend the rest of our lives with. I’ve met many people who took time off from the relationship to date other people, only to come back to their partner and get married. However, this approach only works if both people want to try this. Otherwise, it can cause mixed emotions, including jealousy knowing that the person we have feelings for is dating someone else. However, it can strengthen a relationship if you and your partner realize that the relationship is what you are both really looking for.By Josh Tulianolast_img read more