Everything You Need to Know About the Yellow Fever Vaccine

Article source: http://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/yoga-wellness/yellow-fever-vaccine

The Yellow Fever Virus

Yellow fever, a viral hemorrhagic disease caused by the yellow fever virus, affects roughly 200,000 people a year. Though the disease got its start in Africa, outbreaks have occurred as far away as the Yucatan Peninsula and even Philadelphia, where 5,000 people were wiped out during a single epidemic in the 18th century.

Related: What You Need to Know About Vaccines

Typically, yellow fever causes, chills, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and — of course — a fever. It’s certainly not a pleasant way to spend any part of your trip. While most people recover after 3 or 4 days, some experience a second wave of afflictions, which can bring jaundice (hence the name), abdominal pain and vomiting, and bleeding from the mouth, nose, and eyes. In cases where yellow fever has developed past this point, the risk of death is about 50 percent.

Back in the day, yellow fever was no joke. A single outbreak had the power to annihilate huge groups of people in small areas, though the cause of the illness eluded doctors. It wasn’t until the 1900s that they determined yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes.

The Yellow Fever Vaccine

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no cure for yellow fever. Instead, patients are treated based on their symptoms (described above), and on their recent travel history.

While a vaccine is recommended for any travel to Africa or South America, other important prevention methods include mosquito nets, wearing clothes that cover the entire body, and using a strong insect repellent with DEET.

The yellow fever vaccine was developed by Max Theiler in the United States, and he won the Nobel Prize for this life-saving contribution. Unlike other vaccines, the yellow fever vaccine is a one-time deal: a single dose provides lifetime immunity. (Travelers who frequently visit at-risk areas should get a booster shot ever 10 years.)

The vaccine can be given to infants as young as 9 months, and is recommended for anyone traveling to certain areas in Africa and South America.

As with most vaccines, an amount of time is needed for the vaccine to work its way through your body, and it’s recommended that you schedule the vaccine appointment 10 days prior to traveling.

The yellow fever vaccine is only offered at designated vaccination centers, and can cost between $150 and $350, depending on availability. Certain countries, including Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, even require a proof of vaccination from all travelers when they arrive — and that certificate is obtained from your doctor after being given the shot.

Why ‘tropical disease’ is a global problem

Article Source:  https://blog.oup.com/2017/07/tropical-disease-global-problem/

In 2015, the United Nations agreed upon Sustainable Development Goals which set seventeen ambitious targets for the next two decades focusing on tackling poverty, reducing disease, protecting the environment, and driving forward an international community based on sustained commitments to – and improvements in – education, health, human rights, and equity. At first glance, infectious diseases in the tropics do not make headlines among the seventeen goals. On closer scrutiny, however, tropical medicine epitomizes issues that are woven into the heart of this sustained global initiative, and that are relevant to all of us with an interest in 21st century health, wherever we live and work.

Among the seventeen goals, ‘good health and well being’ (goal 3) is the most obviously relevant to tropical medicine, with a bold statement that sets out an agenda to be achieved by 2030, to ‘end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases’. Within this goal are additional targets, including provision of sexual health services and access to essential vaccinations.

‘Clean water and sanitation’ (goal 6) is crucial for health and wellbeing in ways that are obviously fundamental and is pertinent to curbing the spread of waterborne diseases including hepatitis A, cholera, and typhoid. Less well recognized diseases are also tackled within this aspiration, including schistosomiasis (blood flukes) and dracunculiasis (‘guinea worm’).

Tropical and subtropical regions are particularly vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases – the perfect storm arising from the intersection of poor sanitation, lack of education, inadequate resources and infrastructure for healthcare, and specific climates and environments. At the root of this all is poverty. ‘No poverty’ (goal 1) includes an aspiration that individuals, families, and society have sufficient reserves and resource to cope with a crisis – to access drugs and healthcare, and to continue to provide for their children throughout periods of instability arising from illness. Implicit in the aim for economic growth (goal 8) is the need to have a population of adults who are well enough to be economically active in contributing to productivity, development, and prosperity.

‘Quality education’ (goal 4) highlights a particular need to focus on girls and women, whose education is often neglected but whose literacy is known to impact significantly on the health of their children. Education is empowering per se, but also provides a specific foundation for women to become active participants in vaccinating their families, taking measures to prevent mother-to-child transmission of infection, compliance with therapy, promoting and developing better sanitation, and improving sexual health. Tackling inequality is such a key issue that it is also independently represented within goals 5 and 10.

“Malaria still kills over 290,000 children a year – that is a child every two minutes”
So how, and why, are these challenges aimed mostly at low and middle-income settings relevant to affluent, developed countries?

One answer is that we are part of a delicate global community, in which the health and wellbeing of all human populations is interdependent. In other cases, numbers provide a powerful answer to the question: in Africa, malaria still kills over 290,000 children every year – that is a child every two minutes. None of us should absolve ourselves of responsibility for continued investment in tackling this humanitarian tragedy.

But there are other answers: we are all vulnerable to threats which wreak their worst effects in the tropics – organisms like Streptococcus pneumoniae (a cause of pneumonia) and E. coli (a cause of diarrhoea and urinary tract infections) are common the world over.

The Ebola virus, arising out of a tropical situation, was in no way confined by the bounds of Cancer and Capricorn; it had the potential to take hold in situations of poverty and limited infrastructure and then to spread fast, facilitated by its huge infectivity, and fuelled by human behaviour and environments including crowding, migration, and international travel. Other organisms, like cholera, measles, meningitis, and polio rear their heads in disaster situations; in a world so uncertain, none of us knows when this is around the next corner.

Food by PublicDomainPictures. CC0 public domain via Pixabay.
Changes in climate and the environment allow creatures that are the reservoirs and vectors of infection to spread to new locations; the concern for the Zika epidemic in South America has been its rapid dissemination by a mosquito that has the potential to become ubiquitous. The spread of organisms that are resistant to multiple drugs is another major threat to global health. One example is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB, where multi-drug resistant (MDR) and extensively-drug resistant (XDR) strains are now well-established. Associated with a high burden of disease, high death rates, and difficult, expensive treatment, these organisms are by no means confined to the tropics.

And what about financial security? We value crops like tea, coffee, chocolate, and bananas which are the exclusive preserve of tropical and subtropical farmers; our supplies depend on their health and productivity. Rich natural resources – from coal to gold – are mined from these regions of the world, and the manufacturing, clothing, and electronics industries are built on tropical and subtropical manpower.

Infections that flourish in the tropics continue to cause a catastrophic burden at the level of individual patients, their families, and wider society at national and international level. They impose an enormous economic cost upon healthcare systems and society, related both to providing care and to the lost output of young adults who are unable to contribute to society through work or raising their families. Labelling them as ‘tropical’ identifies a strong association with some of the world’s most vulnerable settings – but perhaps we need to move on from the term ‘tropical medicine’ to considering ‘global health’

Despite being open to criticism for being too broad, too ambitious, too expensive, the Sustainable Development Goals do put emphasis on tackling the cause of problems rather than just trying to fix the end result. In order for our planet and its populations to thrive and flourish, the aims represented are crucial. The health, well-being, and future of our children and grandchildren are tightly bound to these bold aspirations, and the strides we make against ‘tropical diseases’ represent steps forward for us all.

Quest for new antibiotics gets first major funding from global partnership

A major global partnership aimed at fighting superbugs announced Thursday that it is investing up to $48 million in research projects, including potentially the first new classes of antibiotics in decades, to target the deadliest drug-resistant bacteria.

____________________________________________________

The investments announced by CARB-X include $24 million in immediate funding for 11 companies. The firms can receive up to $24 million in additional payments over three years if they meet specific milestones.

The projects represent a broad range of approaches. Three companies are working on new classes of antibiotics, a significant development because the last class that made it to market was in 1984. Four companies are developing nontraditional therapeutics to boost the human immune response and disable pathogens’ ability to grow. Yet another company is pursuing a diagnostic imaging tool to identify the type of bacteria causing a lung infection within 60 seconds.

All the projects are in early stages of research, when risk of failure is high, officials said. CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, was launched in July to stimulate such critical early-stage work. Its goal is to jump-start drug development with money and access to expertise, supporting companies with promising antibiotic candidates so they can attract enough private or public investment to advance development and eventually win regulatory approval.

 

Funding comes from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wellcome Trust, a London-based global biomedical research charity. CARB-X aims to invest $450 million over five years with the goal of speeding up preclinical discovery and development of at least 20 antibacterial products and moving at least two of them into human trials. The partnership, which also includes academic, industry and other nongovernmental organizations, was created as part of the U.S. and British governments’ calls for global efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance.

The projects announced Thursday were selected out of 168 applications that flooded in within the first four days that proposals were accepted.  “These projects hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X and a law professor at Boston University, where the partnership is headquartered.

Everything about developing new antibiotics is difficult, he said. On the science side, that means finding a drug that only kills the bad bacteria, leaving good bacteria and the rest of human cells untouched. The economics for antibiotics also turn market incentives “upside down” because, unlike most new products that companies rush to sell, the best antibiotics need to kept on the shelf — to be used for  “last-ditch cases,” he said.

And because resistance will always develop, antibiotics are “the only drug class where we have to start all over every time we succeed,” Outterson said.

But interest has been strong. Additional funds are likely to be awarded later this year, and another 200 applications have already been received for the next cycle.

All the potential medicines under development in this first phase target Gram-negative bacteria, among the most dangerous types of superbugs because they are increasingly resistant to most available antibiotics. They include CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which U.S. health officials have dubbed “nightmare bacteria.”

These pathogens, which cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and wound or surgical site infections, have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization as the greatest threat to human health. They have built-in defenses that include a double membrane barrier and a mechanism that expels drugs, such as antibiotics, from the cell.

 

Drug-resistant infections kill an estimated 700,000 people a year globally. The more antibiotics are used, the less effective they become as bacteria develop resistance to them. Scientists, doctors and other public health officials have increasingly warned that if antibiotic resistance continued at its current rate, routine infections eventually would be life-threatening ones. Common modern surgeries, such as knee replacements, could again become precarious.

Last month, the World Health Organization announced its first list of drug-resistant “priority pathogens” to guide and promote research and development of new drugs. Of the 40 antibiotics in clinical development in the United States, fewer than half have the potential to treat the pathogens identified by the WHO, said Allan Coukell, senior director of health programs at the Pew Charitable Trust’s antibiotic-resistance project.

Experts said they are excited by the research CARB-X is funding.

“It’s hitting the right targets for potential drug development,” said Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic-resistance project. “It’s covering a diverse portfolio of products. It addresses the need for novelty.”

Eight companies are based in the United States and three in the United Kingdom. The projects also will receive business and drug development support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and other partners.

Companies that are developing potentially new classes of antibiotics include San Diego-based Forge Therapeutics, which was awarded $4 million over 15 months to spur development of a small molecule product to target an enzyme found only in Gram-negative bacteria and essential for its growth.

Visterra Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., was awarded $3 million over 12 months to develop an antibody with a potent antimicrobial compound engineered to kill all strains of the deadly Pseudomonas bacteria, including multidrug-resistant strains, the company said.

And Proteus IRC, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is receiving $640,000 over 21 months to develop its technology to rapidly visualize bacteria in the deepest part of the human lungs.

Read article here.

Fresh optimism has been injected in HIV/AIDS research

Kudos to Gilead Sciences, Inc.!!

A Durban based scientist has been awarded over two and a half million dollars to fund HIV/AIDS research.

Zika: The Untold Story

Every pathogen has a history. Here is an excellent piece from NOVA on Zika’s origin and evolution.

_________________________________________________________

photo

Ross River Virus? Never heard of it.

Ross River virus infection – including symptoms, treatment and prevention

________________________________

From SA Health

Ross River virus infection is an illness caused by infection with the Ross River virus, which is related to Barmah Forest virus. It may also be known as Ross River fever.

Image by Virusworld

How Ross River virus is spread

The infection is spread by mosquitoes from infected animals to humans.

Native animals such as wallabies and kangaroos are thought to be the main animals involved in the cycle of infection.

When a female mosquito feeds on the blood of an infected animal, the mosquito may become infected with the virus. The virus may then be passed on to humans or other animals when the mosquito feeds again.

In large outbreaks mosquitoes may also spread the virus from infected people to other people.

Signs and symptoms

Many people infected with Ross River virus, particularly children, have no symptoms. The severity of symptoms increases with age.

Symptoms vary from person-to-person and may include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • rash
  • fatigue
  • aching tendons
  • swollen lymph nodes.
  • headache, especially behind the eyes
  • joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

The most distinctive and distressing feature of Ross River virus infection is usually joint pain. Any joint in the body may be affected, but the most common sites are the wrists, knees, ankles, fingers, elbows, shoulders and jaw. The pain may be more severe in different joints at different times.

In most cases, symptoms disappear within 6 weeks, though some people may still have symptoms after a year or two and the symptoms may come and go. About 10% of people have ongoing depression and fatigue.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by a blood test. Other illnesses with similar symptoms may need to be excluded.

Incubation period

(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)

3 days to 3 weeks, usually 1 to 2 weeks.

Infectious period

(time during which an infected person can infect others)

Direct person-to-person spread does not occur.

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment for Ross River virus and no vaccine to prevent infection. Paracetamol may be used to treat pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children under 12 years of age unless specifically recommended by a doctor.

The Arthritis SA (opens in a new window) provides a very helpful fact sheet on dealing with the symptoms.

Prevention

Read article here.

If you have been diagnosed with Ross River, you might be eligible to donate plasma or a blood specimen and earn $600 or more. Visit www.plasmamedpatients.com for more info or call/text 561-962-5065.

Inappropriate Antibiotic Use for Pneumonia Common

Change is needed.

_______________________________________________________

By Bridget M. Kuehn

Inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat children with pneumonia remains common, despite guidelines recommending more targeted treatment, two studies published online March 7 in Pediatrics have found. But some evidence suggests that stewardship efforts are starting to improve adherence to evidence-based prescribing practices.

Numerous efforts are underway to promote better antibiotic stewardship. For example, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America released guidelines in 2011 promoting amoxicillin or penicillin as first-line choice for treatment of community-acquired pneumonia in children. Still, prescribing of broad-spectrum antibiotics for childhood pneumonia remains common in inpatient and outpatient settings.

“Antibiotic choice for [community-acquired pneumonia] varied widely across practices,” Lori Handy, MD, professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues write in the first study. “Factors unlikely related to the microbiologic etiology of [community-acquired pneumonia] were significant drivers of antibiotic choice.”

Read article here.