13 October, 2010

WHO’s Dengue warning to Asia, Malaria returns to Spain, and Plague near Denver

Spotlight News of the Week

WHO concerned about dengue’s spread in Asia
Earlier this week, the WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific warned that the number of dengue cases in Asia has increased steadily over the past 10 years and over 2.5 billion people are now at risk for the sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease. WHO attributes some of the increased risk to higher temperatures due to climate change, rising populations and greater international travel. This year’s case number are dramatically higher than last years.
  • India is facing a 20 year high. Some athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games among the 4300 infected in Mumbai alone.
  • Malaysia has reported a 53-percent rise in dengue-related deaths this year and even considered releasing genetically modified mosquitoes with engineered shorter lifespans to reduce to mosquito population. Malaysia has criticised the WHO for not doing more to help.
  • Taiwan set a single week record for Dengue cases (111 cases reported) last week. The Taiwanese Department of Health Minister said “dengue fever as ‘the biggest threat’ to Taiwanese among all infectious diseases”
  • Hong Kong has already had 65 cases this year with 4 of them acquired locally. Last year, all 43 cases were imported.
  • In September, China’s Guangdong province saw 11 cases of dengue in Dongguan, host to the Asian Games alter this year..
  • The Philippines have had 98,934 cases nationwide compared to only 42,075 last year.

Additional News Highlights

Super Bacteria KPC in Brasilia
Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, has 187 cases of infections from the “super bacteria”, KPC. 163 of these are confirmed while the other 24 are under investigation. In the last week, 18 deaths from this deadly bacteria have been confirmed. Officials are continuing to investigate these cases and the bacteria in order to prevent further infections and deaths.

First Case of Malaria in Spain in 50 years

The first case of Malaria since 1961 was confirmed in Aragón, Spain. The patient was infected with this disease from a Anopheles atroparvus mosquito who was carrying the parasite. The patient is responding to the treatment and recovering well.

Plague in prairie dogs near Denver
Hundreds of prairie dogs are suspected to have died from plague in Broomfield, Colorado. Prairie dogs are extremely sensitive to plague and die-offs are not uncommon. Despite the scary nature of some of the headlines, the organism that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, is found throughout the western US. Earlier this year, a California park was closed after a plague-infected squirrel was discovered.

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