MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: Archives of infectious disease blog


Go Back to the main infectious disease blog

Subscribe To Health Blog RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

Archives Of Infectious Disease Blog From Medicineworld.Org


May 12, 2006, 6:52 AM CT

Epstein-Barr Virus And Multiple Sclerosis

Epstein-Barr Virus And Multiple Sclerosis
Scientists have found that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) carry a population of immune cells that overreact to Epstein-Barr virus. The virus, which causes mononucleosis and may contribute to some cancers, has long been suspected to play a role in MS. However, the mechanism linking the virus to the disease was poorly understood.

Researchers believe that MS-which can cause vision problems, muscle weakness, and difficulty with coordination and balance-is a result of the immune system attacking the body's own nervous system. Not everyone who is infected with Epstein-Barr develops MS, but the results of the new study, reported in the June 2006, issue of the journal Brain, suggest that some individuals' uncommonly strong reaction to the virus may trigger the disease. The findings could lead to new therapeutic strategies for better control of the damage caused in this autoimmune disorder.

The culprit, the scientists say, may be a population of T cells that helps boost other components of the immune system in response to the virus. "What we discovered in the peripheral blood of the MS patients were T cells that appeared to be primed for action against EBV," said Nancy Edwards, an HHMI-NIH research scholar at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and co-author of the paper, which was published in advance online.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


May 12, 2006, 6:48 AM CT

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing

Many Pregnant Women Lack HIV Testing
Despite state laws requiring that every pregnant woman be offered HIV testing multiple times during pregnancy, about 20 percent of women reach their third trimester without it, as per a review of Florida women from 2003-04, scientists say.

Rapid HIV testing performed on 1,867 women who lacked proof of testing when they reached the delivery room identified one HIV-positive mother and doctors were able to preventively reduce the baby's infection risk, says Dr. Andrew W. Helfgott, chief of the Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

"Rapid testing is an easy, relatively inexpensive means of identifying women who are infected, treating them and their babies and preventing perinatal infection," says Dr. Helfgott.

Rapid testing of the 1,379 women cost $27,000, far less than the lifetime cost of treating even one infected child, he says.

Availability of the 20-minute, highly accurate tests that can be used even in the last minutes of pregnancy should preclude HIV infection in every newborn, he says. Still, an estimated 280 to 370 HIV-infected children are born each year in this country.

Dr. Helfgott was directing a high-risk pregnancy program in Pensacola, Fla., in 2002 when Florida led the nation with 37 perinatal transmissions, three of which occurred in the relatively small town where he worked. He started working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida Department of Health Bureau of HIV officials to focus attention on the importance of testing.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


May 4, 2006, 4:39 PM CT

New Strategy To Fight West Nile Virus

New Strategy To Fight West Nile Virus
The spread of West Nile Virus appears to be triggered by a complex interaction of mosquitoes, nesting birds and specific weather patterns, researchers say, which leads to "amplification" of the virus within mosquito populations.

Scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Florida have identified how those factors mesh to create heightened risk of the West Nile Virus in southern Florida, and they hope to expand their studies to the rest of the nation.

Results of the research have been published by the Centers for Disease Control.

A number of early hydrologic models predicting the transmission of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases may have been a bit too simplistic, relying on factors such as total rainfall to estimate disease risk, said Jeffrey Shaman, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University. The situation, he adds, is much more complex.

"In some cases, rain can actually help control mosquitoes by flushing away larval habitats," Shaman said. "And simply having more mosquitoes doesn't necessarily mean that we'll experience a greater incidence of West Nile Virus. The mosquitoes themselves must first be infected with the virus. Scientists call the process through which more mosquitoes become infected 'amplification,' and there are many factors that lead to that stage.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 29, 2006, 9:00 AM CT

Diagnostic Tests for Highly Infectious Agents

Diagnostic Tests for Highly Infectious Agents The monkeypox virus, shown here, can be deadly to humans. Diagnostic technologies and therapies developed for monkeypox might also apply to smallpox and related viruses. (John Kaprielian, courtesy of CDC/Photo Researchers, Inc.)
Researchers at the Oregon NPRC developed a novel series of tests that show evidence of being more sensitive and accurate in diagnosing human monkeypox infections than current tests approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The studies may lead to improved diagnoses, therapies, and preventive measures for monkeypox and other sometimes-deadly agents that might proliferate in a natural outbreak or a bioterror attack.

NPRC scientists Mark Slifka and Matt Lewis traveled to Wisconsin to examine more than 40 individuals who had been exposed to the monkeypox virus, a close relative of the smallpox virus. In 2003, dozens of people in the Midwest had been exposed to pet prairie dogs infected with monkeypox, and 72 cases of human infections were later reported to the CDC.

The Oregon scientists used a unique series of diagnostic tests to confirm previously unverified human infections. The diagnostic series also identified an additional three individuals whose infections had been undiagnosed because they lacked obvious symptoms. These three people, having been vaccinated against smallpox more than a decade before, were fully protected against monkeypox disease.

Slifka notes that the biocontainment level-3 laboratory associated with the Oregon NPRC is one of the few in the country with the appropriate safeguards, expertise, and authorization to conduct experiments with monkeypox. "Our studies would not have been possible without access to the NPRC or the resources of the General Clinical Research Center, where some blood analyses were performed," Slifka says. "While this research primarily focused on monkeypox, this same technology could also be used to better detect a smallpox outbreak." Eventhough smallpox no longer exists in nature, having been eradicated through effective worldwide vaccine programs, the virus is still considered a significant bioterror threat.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 24, 2006, 7:23 PM CT

Anthrax Inhibitor Counteracts Toxin

Anthrax Inhibitor Counteracts Toxin A model of the anthrax toxin molecular structure displays the enzyme-binding surface in red. (University of Toronto/Jeremy Mogridge)
Scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Toronto have designed a nanoscale assembly of molecules that successfully counteracts and inhibits anthrax toxin in animal and laboratory experiments. The novel approach used to neutralize anthrax toxin could be applied in designing potent therapeutics for a variety of pathogens and toxins, as per the researchers.

Anthrax toxin, secreted by the anthrax bacterium, is made of proteins and toxic enzymes that bind together to inflict damage on a host organism. The inhibitor, which is described by the Rensselaer-Toronto team in the April 23 online edition of the journal Nature Biotechnology, works by preventing the assembly of toxic enzyme components, thereby blocking the formation of fully assembled anthrax toxin and neutralizing its activity.

The inhibitor protected rats from anthrax toxin in the study.

"Our eventual goal is to use the inhibitor as a human therapeutic for anthrax exposure, one that can stop the toxin from functioning inside the body," says Ravi Kane, the Merck Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer and a principal investigator of the project. "Combining the inhibitor with antibiotic treatment may increase the likelihood of survival for an infected person".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 22, 2006, 6:08 PM CT

Protein That Kills Anthrax Bacteria

Protein That Kills Anthrax Bacteria A bacterium's final gasp. A bacillus bacterium, a close relative of anthrax, begins to explode after being treated with PlyPH. The PlyPH protein, discovered by Rockefeller scientists, offers several advantages over existing anthrax treatments.
Not all biological weapons are created equal. They are separated into categories A through C, category A biological agents being the scariest: They are easy to spread, kill effectively and call for special actions by the pubic health system. One of these worrisome organisms is anthrax, which has already received its fair share of media attention. But work in Vince Fischetti's laboratory at Rockefeller University suggests that a newly discovered protein could be used to fight anthrax infections and even decontaminate areas in which anthrax spores have been released.

"Anthrax is the most efficient biowarfare agent. Its spores are stable and easy to produce, and once someone inhales them, there is only a 48-hour window when antibiotics can be used," says Fischetti. "We've found a new protein that could both potentially expand that therapy window and be used as a large-scale decontaminant of anthrax spores." Because anthrax spores are resistant to most of the chemicals that emergency workers rely on to sterilize contaminated areas, a solution based on the protein would be a powerful tool for cleaning up after an anthrax attack.

All bacteria, anthrax included, have natural predators called bacteriophage. Just as viruses infect people, bacteriophage infect bacteria, reproduce, and then kill their host cell by bursting out to find their next target. The bacteriophage use special proteins, called lysins, to bore holes in the bacteria, causing them to literally explode. Fischetti and his colleagues identified one of these lysins, called PlyG, in 2004, and showed that it could be used to help treat animals and humans infected by anthrax. Now, they have identified a second lysin, which they have named PlyPH, with special properties that make it not only a good therapeutic agent, but also useful for large-scale decontamination of areas like buildings and military equipment.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 19, 2006, 10:04 PM CT

Hantavirus Found in African Wood Mouse

Hantavirus Found in African Wood Mouse Image credit: CDC
Scientists have discovered the first African hantavirus, a type of rodent-borne virus that can cause life-threatening infections in humans when it is inhaled through aerosolized rodent urine or droppings.

A team led by Jan ter Meulen while he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) international research scholar at the University of Conakry in the Republic of Guinea, identified the new virus in an African wood mouse (Hylomiscus simus) in Sangassou, Guinea. Their findings appear in the May 2006 issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published early online on April 18, 2006.

"This discovery represents the first genetic evidence for the presence of hantaviruses in Africa," said ter Meulen, who also holds a position at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "This novel hantavirus is correlation to viruses that cause severe disease in humans in Central and Eastern Europe."

European and Asian hantaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), a group of similar illnesses with symptoms including, fever, kidney failure, and bleeding. The viruses are carried by many rodents, including the brown rat, the striped field mouse, and the yellow-necked mouse. If left untreated, mortality can be as high as 15 percent.

Hantavirus was not seen in the Americas until 1993, when it killed approximately 20 people in the western United States. The American virus causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome: fever, chills, and severe muscle pain, followed by respiratory distress. Nearly four in 10 cases are fatal. Initially called "Four Corners Disease," the malady was later traced to a previously unknown hantavirus carried by the deer mouse.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 18, 2006, 11:56 PM CT

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections

Speeding Up Cure For Ear Infections
Fast tracking the healing process for common ear infections will be the focus of ground-breaking research by WA's Lions Ear and Hearing Institute (LEHI).

The research will aim to understand why some eardrums heal by themselves (and why some do not heal at all) by identifying which genes are responsible for the wound-healing process of an infected human ear drum.

As per the World Health Organisation, almost half of the world's population suffers from 'chronic otitis media' - more usually known as an ear infection - which causes hearing loss and can lead to more serious disorders such as meningitis.

Ear infections can occur when ear drums burst as a result of a loud explosion, trauma or most usually by infection spread by a common cold or sore throat.

LEHI's Senior Research Scientist Dr Reza Ghassemifar, said he was looking forward to starting the three-year research project after securing a $238,600 grant from the Garnett Passe and Rodney William Memorial Foundation.

"With this funding we can start our studies to understand how wounds in ear drums heal themselves by examining the cells and molecules in the replacement tissue," Dr Ghassemifar said.

"Through DNA or gene profiling of animal models we hope to learn which molecules are active as the ear drum heals and we will then target those to speed up the healing process."........

Posted by: Sue      Permalink         Source


April 17, 2006, 9:48 PM CT

Less Antibiotic Use In Food Animals Leads To Less Drug Resistance In People

Less Antibiotic Use In Food Animals Leads To Less Drug Resistance In People
Australia's policy of restricting antibiotic use in food-producing animals may be linked with lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria found in its citizens, as per an article in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Campylobacter jejuni is a leading bacterial cause of foodborne illness in industrialized countries. Drug resistance can make Campylobacter infections difficult for physicians to treat, and can result in longer bouts of diarrhea and a higher risk of serious or even fatal illness. Bacterial resistance to drugs is generally attributed to inappropriate prescribing or overuse of antibiotics.

An Australian solution to the drug resistance problem has been to prohibit the use of certain antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, in food animals such as poultry. Such a policy puts Australia in a relatively unique position, since its animal and food production levels are comparable to those of other industrialized nations, but it has avoided using the antibiotics that have been standard in the other countries' food animal production.

To evaluate whether the country's restrictive antibiotic policy has affected bacterial drug resistance, Australian scientists examined C. jejuni isolates collected from 585 patients in five Australian states. None of the patients had received fluoroquinolone therapy within the month previous to becoming ill. The scientists discovered that only 2 percent of the locally acquired Campylobacter isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, a type of fluoroquinolone. Countries that allow fluoroquinolone use in animals may have a drug resistance prevalence of up to 29 percent. Ciprofloxacin can be used to treat severe Campylobacter disease, so a low level of bacterial drug resistance should lead to better therapy efficacy.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


April 11, 2006, 10:52 PM CT

Linking Epstein-barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis

Linking Epstein-barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis
Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health, Kaiser Permanente, and a team of collaborators have found further evidence implicating the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as a possible contributory cause to multiple sclerosis (MS). The study appears in the advance online edition of the June 2006 issue of Archives of Neurology.

MS is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Women are more likely than men to get the disease and it is the most common neurologically disabling disease in young adults. Eventhough genetic predisposition plays an important role in determining susceptibility, past studies have shown that environmental factors are equally important.

EBV is a herpes virus and one of the most common human viruses worldwide. Infection in early childhood is common and commonly asymptomatic. Late age at infection, however, often causes infectious mononucleosis. In the U.S., upwards of 95% of adults are infected with the virus, but free of symptoms. EBV has been associated with some types of cancer and can cause serious complications when the immune system is suppressed, for example, in transplant recipients. There is no effective therapy for EBV.

The study population was made up of more than 100,000 members of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) health plan, who provided blood specimens as part of medical examinations between 1965 and 1974. The KPNC maintained the medical records of all its members, including those who provided specimens, in electronic databases. Between 1995 and 1999, those databases were searched for evidence that would indicate a possible diagnosis of MS.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source



Older Blog Entries   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  

Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Medicineworld.org: Archives of infectious disease blog

SARS Main| SARS Abroad| SARS and Goverment| SARS Information in different languages| Media about SARS| Physicians resources for SARS| Reference information for SARS| Updates on SARS|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.