Disease

Yemen – Cholera death toll tops 1000

Since 27 April 2017, more than 151,400 suspected cholera cases and 1,054 associated deaths have been reported in 20 of the 23 governorates in Yemen, according to the World Health Organization country office in Yemen today.

New York City – Legionnaires Disease

The New York City (NYC) Health Department is investigating a cluster of seven cases of Legionnaires’ disease among persons who reside in the Lenox Hill area of Manhattan in the last 11 days. All persons were hospitalized, and there has been one death.

Ukraine – Botulism

The number of botulism cases reported in Ukraine during the past three months has risen to 62, according to the Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine on European integration Oksana Sivak. Of this total, nine have died. Dried fish, both home prepared and commercially prepared has been linked to most of the botulism cases.

Italy – Measles

Through June 11, Italy has reported 2,988 confirmed measles cases in 2017. Of that number, 89 percent of those infected were unvaccinated.

About a month after the Italian government made childhood vaccines compulsory for the country’s schools, some regions in the country’s north are challenging the decree. The regional government in Veneto said on Tuesday that its lawyers were preparing to challenge the decree in Italy’s Constitutional Court, and that the legal challenge would be ready in around two weeks.

Wildlife

65-Year-Old Bird Hatches Her 30th Baby

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The world’s oldest known wild bird has become a mother yet again at the age of 65, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Laysan albatross, known as Wisdom, was first tagged in 1956 and has been monitored as she has reared more than 30 chicks and flown over 3 million miles during her lifetime.

Wisdom is currently raising her chick Kukini, which means “messenger” in Hawaiian, on Midway atoll in the central Pacific.

Her mate, Akeakamai, or “lover of wisdom,” was sitting on the nest when the chick hatched on February 1.

New Zealand – Botulism Among Wetland Birds

Hundreds of birds in a South Auckland wetland have been killed in a botulism outbreak.

The Department of Conservation and Fish and Game are working with the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre to contain the outbreak.

The wetland is home to tens of thousands of rare native and non-native waterfowl and shore birds and it’s estimated around 200 have died so far. The disease is mostly affecting waterfowl including ducks and gulls.

Disease

Botulism in Ohio, USA

Five people were in critical condition, 15 others were ill and one has died after an outbreak of botulism, a potentially life-threatening disease caused by a neurotoxin produced by bacteria, Ohio health officials announced Tuesday. Everyone sickened by the disease had attended a church potluck on Sunday at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Columbus, according to local media reports.

Foodborne botulism is caused by ingesting food contaminated with the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, or C. botulinum. The toxin produced by the bacteria is one of the most potent toxins known to man and results in severe food poisoning. Food that hasn’t been properly processed or was canned at home are the most common vehicles of C. botulinum.

Disease

Scientists find new botulinum toxin

Scientists have discovered the first new type of botulinum toxin in 40 years, and in a highly unusual move, they are keeping the toxin’s genetic sequence data secret for now so that no one can make it in a lab before an effective antitoxin can be developed.

Until now, Clostridium botulinum was known to produce seven types of toxins, all of which cause paralysis by blocking neurotransmitters in humans and animals. The last one was discovered in 1970.

The researchers discovered the new toxin, called botulinum neurotoxin type H, or BoNT/H, as a result of a case of infant botulism. They reported the discovery in two articles published this week in the Journal of Infectious Diseases (JID). Antitoxins are available for the seven other botulinum toxin types, but not for the new one.

Bubonic Plague in Madagascar

A rash of bubonic plague infections is sweeping through Madagascar, raising fears of a black plague epidemic that could cost countless lives. Already, 256 cases were reported last year, causing at least 60 deaths.

The disease is currently spreading through Madagascar’s dilapidated and crowded prison system. Since rats and fleas can easily move in and out of prisons, experts fear that it is only a matter of time before the disease spreads to nearby towns and villages. If and when this happens, the death toll could rise dramatically.

The International Red Cross and other health organisations are now working to bring the outbreak under control. Limited resources and the difficulty of stopping the spread of a disease among dense prison populations, however, is complicating efforts. Health experts now fear that the situation could worsen unless proper steps are taken to eradicate the disease.

Madagascar Plague