Measles – Samoa

Samoa health officials are reporting in a measles update that the there has been 4,460 measles cases since the outbreak started, including more than 100 in the past day. To date, 65 measles related deaths have been recorded, with 2 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Syphilis – Canada

Officials with Alberta Health Services have reported a dramatic increase in syphilis cases in recent years with Edmonton accounting for the majority. In 2019 health officials put that number at 1753 cases in just the first 11 months. This is the highest number of cases in the province since the 1940s.

Diphtheria – Greece

The Greece National Public Health Agency reported this week on a rare diphtheria fatality. The case is an eight-year-old child who died on Nov. 26 at the General Children’s Hospital of Athens.

Scarlet Fever – UK

Hundreds of cases of scarlet fever have been reported across England and Wales in recent weeks, with almost double the amount of new infections in one week than the numbers recorded six weeks ago as the ‘old world’ disease continues to make a frightening comeback across the UK. The condition that caused misery for Victorian-era children is making a comeback after it was all but eradicated in Britain thanks to a century of medical advances and improved hygiene.


Scarlet Fever – England

The age-old killer scarlet fever is on the rise in England and East Asia, according to research published Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, and investigators don’t know why.

Since 2009, cases have been steadily increasing in several East Asian countries, including Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.

An outbreak then hit England, where cases tripled in one year, from 4,700 in 2013 to 15,637 in 2014. Infections continued to rise to nearly 20,000 in 2016, a 50-year high for the United Kingdom, according to the analysis.

Typhoid – Zimbabwe

Since the beginning of Oct. 2017, Zimbabwe has seen more than 1,000 typhoid fever cases in and around the capital city of Harare. Reports indicate however, that the incidence of new cases is declining.

Lassa Fever – Liberia

Since the beginning of the year, the Liberia Ministry of Health has reported a total of 70 suspected Lassa fever cases including 21 deaths (case fatality rate 30%) from nine counties in Liberia. Out of this, 28 cases have been confirmed as Lassa virus infection, including 10 deaths from six counties.

Rabies – Florida, USA

Last month, a human rabies case and fatality was reported in Highlands County, the first human case of rabies acquired in Florida since 1948.

Today, the Florida Department of Health reported that from Jan. 1 to Sep. 30, 60 animal rabies cases were reported across the state. Twenty-six cases were reported in raccoons, followed by bats (16), cats (9), foxes (6), skunks (2) and one dog.


More Scarlet Fever Cases in UK

There have been a record number of new cases since September 2015, with 600 being reported each week.

In total, there have been 6157 new cases of scarlet fever affecting all of the country.

Foot and Mouth Disease in South Korea

An additional outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed in South Korea, rekindling concerns that the livestock disease may further spread widely, the government said Friday.

Pigs at a swine farm in Nonsan in the central region of South Chungcheong Province tested positive for the highly contagious disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The quarantine authorities have culled some 400 affected animals, and placed a travel ban on animals and vehicles, the ministry added.

The latest outbreak came just three days after an infection was confirmed at a nearby farm in Nonsan on Tuesday.

The animal disease has been spreading in South Chungcheong Province as two outbreaks of FMD were also confirmed in the neighboring towns of Gongju and Cheonan last month.


Dengue Fever in Hawaii

Four more people were diagnosed with dengue fever on Hawaii’s Big Island today (Nov. 5), raising the number of locally transmitted cases to 19 people, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Health officials say these “locally transmitted” cases are concerning because, although dengue has popped up sporadically in Hawaii before, in most previous cases, the disease was imported, meaning travellers brought it to the islands from elsewhere. In the new cases, people are contracting dengue from the bites of local mosquitoes.

Scarlet Fever Re-Emerges In Asia and Europe

Despite having been largely eliminated from countries for almost a century, outbreaks of the childhood disease known as scarlet fever (scarlatina) have been tracked in Europe and Asia in the past five years and is showing an increased resistance to antibiotic treatment.

Over the past five years there have been more than 5000 cases in Hong Kong (a 10-fold increase) and more than 100,000 cases in China. An outbreak in the UK has resulted in 12,000 cases since last year.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scarlet fever can affect individuals from different age groups, but the disease is mostly seen in children between 5 years old and 12 years old.


Deadly diseases are making a comeback

For those of us who live in the sanitized safety of our shiny, seemingly germ-free world of hand sanitizers, wet wipes, and anti-bacterial everything, it’s sometimes hard to imagine diseases that have been all but eradicated in the last few decades ever making a comeback.

At the beginning of the 20th century, life expectancy in the United States was 47 years, and today’s newborns are expected to live 79 years.

However, in recent years, some of the deadly diseases that we thought were the stuff of history books are back with a vengeance in many parts of the world — and not just in developing countries. Why are preventable diseases making a comeback?

In the U.S., a recent outbreak of measles has been linked to a rise in unvaccinated children. Up to 40 percent of American parents are either delaying or skipping vaccinations, according to a study published by the medical journal Pediatrics in May last year. Parents subscribing to the anti-vaccination movement ignore the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s calls for vaccination, thanks in part to a now-debunked study linking vaccines to autism.

Elsewhere, the resurgence of certain diseases isn’t just about the choices of parents — in some cases, outbreaks are yet another deadly cost of war.

War-ravaged Syria saw its first case of polio in 14 years in October 2013 as vaccination rates in the country sank to 52 percent. Aid agencies came together to fight the outbreak, vaccinating one million children, but approximately 80,000 Syrian children still haven’t been vaccinated for polio, according to UNICEF.

So far, only one human disease has been completely eradicated: small pox. Now, we find ourselves battling outbreaks of diseases we thought we had defeated years ago. Here are some of them:


Around the world, this contagious and deadly disease is the leading cause of death among young people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The group reported 145,700 deaths in 2013 — which comes to 400 deaths every day or 16 deaths every hour.

A vaccine against the disease was introduced in 1963, slashing measles cases by 99 percent. Now, in 17 U.S. states, vaccination rates for preschoolers sit below 90 percent, and 91 percent nationally. That has meant the disease’s reemergence, despite easy access to the vaccine. The U.S. saw an average in 63 measles cases per year between 2000 and 2007. By 2013, the incidence of measles tripled.

Whooping cough

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is yet another disease that’s made a comeback in recent years, and the anti-vaccination movement isn’t the only reason why.

The highly infectious disease, which causes violent fits of coughing that result in passing out, vomiting, and even broken ribs, was eradicated almost entirely in 1976. There were only 1,010 cases of the disease back then. Around 28,660 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDC in 2014 — an 18 percent increase from 2013. It’s just as contagious as measles, and way more contagious than Ebola. California last year faced its worst outbreak of the disease in 70 years.

Scarlet fever

If you’ve read Little Women, or you’ve at least watched the episode of Friends when Joey attempts to read it, you know that the novel’s saddest moment is probably the death of kind and sweet Beth, the youngest of the March sisters. Beth contracts scarlet fever, and even though she survives at first, the disease leaves her weak and she eventually dies.

It’s a disease that starts out much like strep throat, but eventually develops into a fever, a large red rash on the body, and a tongue the shade of strawberries. It’s easily treated with antibiotics. If it’s left untreated, it can cause some serious health issues.

It’s a disease that starts out much like strep throat, but eventually develops into a fever, a large red rash on the body, and a tongue the shade of strawberries. It’s easily treated with antibiotics. If it’s left untreated, it can cause some serious health issues.

The UK is currently seeing its worst outbreak of the disease in half a century, with 1,265 cases registered since the start of 2015.


It was once one of the most feared diseases in the U.S., killing an average of more than 35,000 people each year between the late 1940s and early 1950s, according to the CDC. Even President Franklin D Roosevelt bore the scars of this crippling disease, which paralyzed him in the early 1920s and nearly cost him his political career.

Its characteristic symptoms — stunted legs and paralysis — were first recorded in an ancient Egyptian illustration of a victim. It’s a disease that humans have been dealing with for a pretty long time.

Since 1988, polio cases have decreased by over 99 percent. However, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria still struggle to control the spread of the deadly disease both domestically and internationally. In 2013, WHO declared the dangerously rampant spread of polio an international public health emergency after nearly 60 percent of polio infections during 2013 were spread through adult travelers.

It can only be prevented through vaccination, and so far, there’s no cure.

Bubonic plague

It was known as the “Black Death” during the 14th century, and back then the devastating pandemic wiped out a third of Europe’s population.

It’s a bacterial disease that reaches humans via the bites of infected rodents or fleas. People infected develop swolen lymph nodes and eventually pneumonia, which means that it can be passed along by coughing or sneezing.

It’s been virtually eradicated in the developed world, but according to the WHO, there were 783 reported cases and 126 deaths caused by the plague worldwide in 2013.

In Madagascar, the bubonic plague has killed 71 people and infected 263 since September. Last summer, parts of Yumen, a city in northwestern China, were sealed off and 30,000 confined to their neighborhoods after the disease killed a local man.


Local Protests against Ebola Health Workers

Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumours that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

Red Cross teams in Guinea have been attacked on average 10 times a month over the past year, the organisation said this week, warning that the violence was hampering efforts to contain the disease.

During the incident on Friday in the town of Faranah, around 400km east of the capital Conakry, angry residents attacked an Ebola transit centre and set ablaze a vehicle belonging to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

A Red Cross burial team was also targeted and forced to flee, said Fodé Tass Sylla, spokesman for the government campaign against the disease.

The number of new cases in Guinea nearly doubled last week to 64, according to World Health Organisation data, jeopardising a government plan to get to zero new cases by early March.

Scarlet Fever in Britain

Bristol could be facing an outbreak of scarlet fever – with reports today saying that the disease is spreading faster in Britain than at any time in half a century.

More than 300 new cases of the bacterial infection were reported in England last week, with 1,265 cases registered since the beginning of the year, the Independent reports.

Scarlet fever was often deadly in the Victorian era, but during the 20th century it became milder and more rare.

But now the disease – which causes a sore throat and fever accompanied by a distinctive rash on the chest or stomach – is on the rise again.