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Is H5N1 flu transitioning to human-to-human transmission?

Is H5N1 flu transitioning to a human-to-human illness? Recent reports of familial clusters suggest that it may be, though there are certainly other possible explanations, such as families living in environments contaminated by virus-laden bird feces. On the other hand, it would seem that epidemiologists are growing increasingly interested in the possibility that these clusters are indicative of human-to-human transmissions. Further, the virus may be inching towards being asymptomatic, which isn't as good as it sounds: if people can carry the virus and transmit it to others without showing symptoms, it will be very difficult to impossible to tell who is a vector and highly difficult to control any emerging epidemic.
posted by chakalakasp on Dec 2, 2005 - 23 comments

Unconfirmed mini-outbreak of H5N1 in China

China isn't known for being open about most things, including the spread of deadly diseases. (Many will remember China's original attempt to cover up SARS. As the International Society for Infectious Diseases reports, a prominent WHO virologist has made a claim that China has now experienced at least 300 human avian flu deaths and is actively attempting to cover this information up. "We are systematically deceived," he is reported to have said. "At least 5 medical co-workers who should be reporting on the situation in the provinces were arrested, and [other] publication-willing researchers were threatened with punishments."
posted by chakalakasp on Nov 23, 2005 - 27 comments

How rare!

Glaucoma [w/Flash audio. NB: mouse-over bottom-left for Elvis. Obviously]
posted by Pretty_Generic on Oct 21, 2005 - 16 comments

Gay Germ Theory

What if being gay were a disease?
posted by missbossy on Oct 3, 2005 - 102 comments

How many Katrina victims still forgotten?

Yet to draw national sympathy--and shock? Some hurricane survivors are being allowed to return to check their homes and authorities are working to deal with the dead. But how many people may remain in mortal peril? The NOLAView weblog reports some ongoing, hair-raising situations: "Kathy Frank is stranded and trapped at 1737 Valence Street. She is text messageing. . . . Right now it is Monday at 12 pm." "[A]rson fires have been set in the Bywater and criminals are still in control of the streets at night." And this is within New Orleans. What about rural areas--struggling and receiving little or no federal assistance? And the spread of infectious disease and other post-hurricane threats?
posted by flug on Sep 5, 2005 - 47 comments

Mind if I fart?

Physicians and scientists around the world even go as far as to state that smoking leads to premature death. Don’t we all know someone who smokes constantly, even heavily, yet is still living — or has lived — to the mature age of eighty, ninety, and older? Furthermore, the MDs and PhDs state that smoking causes cancer and emphysema. If this diagnosis were definitive, wouldn’t these afflictions affect all smokers equally, rather than the small percentage that it actually does affect?
posted by Eekacat on Mar 23, 2005 - 78 comments

EpidemicFilter

If Smallpox Strikes Portland ...
posted by Gyan on Feb 21, 2005 - 16 comments

Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004

The Top 10 Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2004 as compiled by Doctors Without Borders - wars, disease, famine, and repression that has gone largely unnoticed in mainstream media [via PBS' NewsHour - real audio streaming link].
posted by tpl1212 on Feb 5, 2005 - 12 comments

TLE

TLE, possibly one of the most common diseases, believed to affect 600,000 to a million Americans, remains obscure. It is what afflicted Julius Ceasar, Alexander the Great, and Dostoyevsky. Known through the work of Bear and Geshwind, it is virtually impossible to diagnose except in a severe cases where a seizure can be witnessed by an MRI or EEG, also because of the controversial theories on personality. While a neurological disorder, it is treated by psychiatrists, and when medicated, artists have often felt that the muse has left them.
posted by scazza on Jan 20, 2005 - 38 comments

Circumcision

Is circumcision an AIDS weapon? To cut or not to cut? Does circumcision prevent the transmission of HIV? It was deemed "An acceptable strategy for HIV prevention" in Bostwana and a study looking at the magnitude of females who get infected with HIV/AIDS/STDs through circumcision
posted by halekon on Jan 9, 2005 - 20 comments

Christians make AIDS fight a high priority

The Church Awakens "The AIDS pandemic is the greatest humanitarian crisis," Casey said. "It just begs a reaction from the church." The church is now in full reaction mode. More than 2,000 Christian medical professionals, church leaders, and students gathered for the ninth annual Global Missions Health Conference, November 11-13, at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. They spoke not only of statistics that confirmed the extent of the pandemic (43 million people living with HIV/AIDS; 8,000 deaths each day; 14 million orphans), but of working together.
posted by halekon on Dec 21, 2004 - 62 comments

Trade ‘em! It’s infectious!

I’ll trade you my Ebola for your Hantavirus! This Christmas give the little scientist in the family infectious diseases trading cards!
posted by arse_hat on Dec 1, 2004 - 11 comments

Why worry? It's GOOD for you!

GOP looking to repeal food labeling law. Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
posted by FormlessOne on Nov 19, 2004 - 27 comments

flu

Another year, another flu vaccine shortage. Perhaps it just the first salvo of 2004's media Flu Frenzy! I think this winter I will retire the the TV, forget about my pharma portfolio and instead light a fire, swig some hot lemon and honey tea, and spice up my life.
posted by thedailygrowl on Oct 5, 2004 - 6 comments

International ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

May 12th is International ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. If you aren't aware of these afflictions, then it's time to become so. "Fibromyalgia (FM) is an increasingly recognized chronic pain illness which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances." The WebMD description. For those who live with chronic fatigue, systemic immunity problems, and long term pain, I think the rest of us, at least, owe our awareness of what these people cope with every day. Again, via the always excellent Watermark, who writes movingly of her relationship with Fibromyalgia.
posted by Wulfgar! on May 12, 2004 - 19 comments

Social outcasts aren't who you think

Coping with Asperger's Syndrome. The New York Times sheds light on this disorder that potentially affects millions of Americans. Many of them are bullied in school. Others simply have strange obsessions. Some find their niches in college, while others have to wait until mid-life to understand what is happening. However, it was only added to the DSM ten years ago. Since then, support groups and online resources have popped up.
posted by calwatch on Apr 29, 2004 - 89 comments

Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy

The Kaceesque story of a woman in prison for faking her daughter's leukemia to gain thousands of dollars in donations, now says she concocted the scheme to keep her husband from leaving. Teresa Milbrandt said she regrets what she did, which included shaving her daughter Hannah's head and giving her sleeping pills to make it look like she was undergoing chemotherapy. The husband went to Prison As Well.
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is a parenting disorder where parents, usually the mother, fabricate symptoms in their children, thus subjecting the child to unnecessary medical tests and/or surgical procedures, though It is a highly controversial condition, which some doubt even exists.
posted by Blake on Mar 29, 2004 - 4 comments

Batten down the mosquito netting

Batten down the mosquito netting In Iraq: "Now a new wave of unexpected horror, leishmaniasis, is arriving at WRAMC – which has the only accredited leishmaniasis lab in the United States – and its dedicated docs are burning the midnight oil to find a treatment. A model predicts that 1 percent to 4 percent of our soldiers in Iraq can expect to be hit by this potentially deadly parasite, delivered by the bite of infected sand flies as common in the Middle East as fleas on a wild dog. "
posted by Postroad on Mar 18, 2004 - 9 comments

Fuck Cancer

Fuck Cancer. Win Prizes. [possibly nsfw. photo has the word fuck in it.]
posted by dobbs on Mar 9, 2004 - 6 comments

CLAP on! CLAP off!

Half of young Americans to get STDs - so say several collected studies by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and others. Can the Bush administration's plan to double abstinence-only spending solve this problem? Or can the argument be made that keeping condoms out of the classrooms causes more STDs than prevents?
posted by wfrgms on Feb 24, 2004 - 45 comments

Mad Cow USA

After reading that beef has been recalled from my local grocery store, I spent some time reading Mad Cow USA a book written back in 1997 but not widely published because of fears of repercussions under the Texas food disparagement act. AlterNet has an article written by one of the book's authors summarizing some of the key points of the book. Some claim that only ground beef is infected, while others claim that's bull. mad-cow.org has a lot of good information on the topic, and it seems the powers that be are going to blame Canada.
posted by woil on Dec 30, 2003 - 14 comments

The dram of evil doth all the noble substance often doubt

Frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear the accuser and accused freely speak. In the west, before it was HIV/AIDS, it was GRID, for Gay-Related Immunodeficiency Disease, or Kaposi Sarcoma-Opportunistic Infection, or simply "gay cancer." But there are other names for it now, where it hits hardest, but no less euphemistic or obscuring. More inside...
posted by Mo Nickels on Dec 1, 2003 - 4 comments

Do your part

Fight AIDS @home is a valuable resource for your "wasted" computer cycles. Instead of search the universe for extraterrestrial life, shouldn't we be searching our world for cures to our own diseases?
posted by swerdloff on Dec 1, 2003 - 20 comments

Mutating Strands of HIV

First Documented Case of HIV hybridization in a human being was presented at the International AIDS Society conference in Paris. In this case, genetic tests on a superinfected woman showed that the two strains she was infected with swapped genetic material, creating a new hybrid strain of HIV. The actual effects are not yet clear, but this could pose a serious problem for researchers trying to create a vaccine.
posted by Irontom on Jul 16, 2003 - 8 comments

monkeypox

"We have an outbreak" (James Hughes, director of the CDC). At least 19 people in three Midwestern states have contracted a disease related to smallpox marking the first outbreak of the life-threatening illness in the United States. The disease is known as monkeypox.
posted by stbalbach on Jun 8, 2003 - 15 comments

tick, tick, tick ...

They're ugly. I mean small and really ugly! And they don't do us any favors at all. We can hold each other's hands, and share support. Our fight against them may lead to knowledge in other battles, but I think its time to go on the offensive. Its time to defang the beastie. (Maybe I should have posted this at Warfilter instead?)
posted by Wulfgar! on May 20, 2003 - 20 comments

WHO lifts Toronto travel ban

WHO lifts Toronto travel ban. And Health Canada Recommendations: Health Canada continues to strongly endorse travel into and throughout the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] as safe and encourages travellers to maintain their business and/or personal travel plans to the GTA.
That's just great. What, a week after banning all travel to Toronto because of SARS, it's on again?

That's bloody irresponsible, considering the damage it has done and will continue to do so to travel to Canada no less Toronto. [s'more inside]
posted by alicesshoe on Apr 29, 2003 - 15 comments

SARS much more deadly than first estimated.

SARS much more deadly than first estimated. Analysis of the latest statistics on the global SARS epidemic reveals that at least 10 per cent of people who contract the new virus will die of the disease. The low death rates of about four per cent cited until now by the World Health Organizatio n and others are the result of a statistical difficulty, well known to epidemiologists, that hampers the early analysis of new disease outbreaks. [...] A better current estimate of the deadliness of SARS may be the number of deaths as a proportion of resolved cases. Those numbers for Hong Kong, Canada and Singapore are 15.8, 18.3 and 13.7 per cent.
posted by Bletch on Apr 25, 2003 - 68 comments

I hear diseased urine is delivered directly into the Great Lakes!

With an increase in the number of cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, Canada now poses more of a direct threat to the American way of life than all of the weapons in Iraq combined. As the relationship between these two North American real estate holders continues to deteriorate, are we Canadians to expect border closings and escalated hostility due to this?
posted by jon_kill on Mar 31, 2003 - 17 comments

Laura Rothenberg

Last August, Metafilter readers learned of the story of Laura Rothenberg, a student at Brown University who chronicled her battle with cystic fibrosis on NPR's Radio Diaries. Sadly, Laura died last week at age 22. NPR remembers her here and a moving tribute aired earlier this week on All Things Considered.
posted by PrinceValium on Mar 27, 2003 - 13 comments

Medical Alert

CDC posts medical alert for atypical pneumonia. There is travel alert for those traveling from Asian countries around and in China. It seems that this type of pnenumonia has been found in North America. Symptoms include fever and hard-of-breathing. More articles about the disease here.
posted by azileretsis on Mar 15, 2003 - 29 comments

Disease Cube

Disease Cube A rather extraordinary applet. Find out about the reportable communicable diseases in the US. Many hidden features.
posted by kablam on Mar 5, 2003 - 12 comments

That means no Planet of the Apes II, I guess

Going bananas. The only fruit to ever appear on a Velvet Underground album cover (not to mention the title of a J. D. Salinger short story) may be on its way to extinction. Facts: I) total disappearance could occur within a decade; II) bananas are the staple diet for half a billion people and III) current genetic tampering mean that, even if the fruit doesn't quite disappear, it will taste and look different (Guardian article here). Feeling nostalgic already? Visit the stylish Banana Museum or give someone you love the Enchanted Banana of Happiness (not what you're thinking). first link via Fark
posted by 111 on Jan 15, 2003 - 53 comments

Inventing a new disease?

Inventing a new disease? Some experts are saying that the drug industry is trying lump women’s sexual problems under the term “female sexual dysfunction” to create a market for lucrative new Viagra-like drugs. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association [abstract] found sexual dysfunction is more prevalent for women (43%) than men (31%), but the jury is still out.
posted by gottabefunky on Jan 3, 2003 - 54 comments

AIDS deaths in 2002

Some numbers. 3.1 million in 2002 comes out to some 8,500 a day, 354 an hour, and almost 6 a minute. Each minute. Each hour. Each day. Deaths. Of AIDS.
posted by mattpfeff on Dec 1, 2002 - 0 comments

Health care and intellectual property

Intellectual property laws and the fight against disease Lots of news, data and commentary at the "Health Care and Intellectual Property" page from the Consumer Project on Technology. Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research is also worth a look.
posted by mediareport on Dec 1, 2002 - 1 comment

The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign

The Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is an initiative by Medecins Sans Frontieres that seeks to "lower the prices of existing medicines in developing countries, to bring abandoned drugs back into production, to stimulate research and development for neglected diseases that primarily affect the poor, and to overcome other barriers to access." HIV is one target disease. The Campaign's press releases, press clips and reports on HIV give a good picture of recent developments. In light of this evidence, does anyone care to step up and defend "big pharma" and the governments of the wealthy North? Have we/they "done enough"? What would "doing enough" look like, given the scope of the crisis?
posted by stonerose on Dec 1, 2002 - 5 comments

AIDS in China

"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this: Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
posted by homunculus on Dec 1, 2002 - 1 comment

DOJ covers the butts of business

This isn't irony. The Department of Justice wants to deny justice to the families who have to deal with kids with autism I guess if you're a vaccine manufacturer, you don't want people to know that what you're putting in kids is gonna screw their lives up forever, right? That would cost you alot of money

If the Vaccine makers are scared about huge rewards for families harmed by their products, they should have made sure their vaccines didn't cause children to develop autism
posted by RobbieFal on Nov 27, 2002 - 43 comments

Companies in South Africa providing treatment for HIV

South African mining giant begins providing triple coctail for HIV treatment. Something optimistic for a Friday post: AngloGold along with DeBeers is offering its employees HIV Triple cocktail treatment for free. With almost 30% of some of these companies' workforce affected with the HIV virus, is this an example of merging corporate and social interests or is this a sign of honest corporate citizenship?
posted by phyrewerx on Nov 15, 2002 - 18 comments

Ecstasy

Ecstasy is being hailed as the key to better treatments for the Parkinson's disease, marking a complete turnaround from a few weeks ago when ecstasy was condemned for causing the disease.
posted by semmi on Nov 7, 2002 - 26 comments

Bubonic plague strikes again...

Bubonic plague strikes again... It seems that bubonic plague has never actually gone away with reports of occurences in Madagascar, Bolivia and now it seems, from New Mexico. Given that the disease has been diagnosed and treated outside of the host cities in the cases of the Bolivian woman and the couple in New York, I think this highlights how diseases we tend to classify as third world health problems, are merely a plane ride away from causing an outbreak here.
posted by gloege on Nov 7, 2002 - 26 comments

"That's not funny, that's sick!" goes the old National Lampoon comic caption. Well, maybe this link's both... Again, not for the faint of heart.
posted by BentPenguin on Oct 24, 2002 - 32 comments

Strike at Government Lab Enters Third Month.

Strike at Government Lab Enters Third Month. This is happening at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, which studies highly contagious viruses. Maintenance workers are on strike and the replacement workers have been involved with missing equipment and an accident. The official site boldly declares that "Not once in our more than 40 years of operation has an animal pathogen escaped from Plum Island." Somehow I am not filled with confidence. And, while they say they only deal with animal pathogens, there is a lot of crossover with Foot and Mouth and West Nile. Should we be worried about this?
posted by sciatica on Oct 14, 2002 - 3 comments

For years, it's been observed that some people infected with HIV never develop full-blown AIDS. Now American and Chinese scientists think they know why. But remember kids, barebacking is still dangerous, and a cocktail is not a cure. Maybe this research will change all that.
posted by WolfDaddy on Sep 26, 2002 - 21 comments

Is this the big one?

Is this the big one? With some 18,000 sick and over 700 people having died of the flu in a country the size of France over the past couple of months, I find it odd that the media seems obsesessed with the US / Iraq thing and missing children. The 1918 flu epidemic killed some 675,00 Americans alone, with a global tally in excess of 20 MILLION killed. Some of the photos taken back then are pretty grim. It seems the power of influenza is that it (ahhem) mutates and thats why it could once again be a big killer. Cynical as it might sound, as a race maybe we need something like this to teach us that we've got a lot more in common with each other than skin colour and religion might otherwise lead us to believe. ObDisclaimer: I'm unemployed right now, have maybe six months of canned goods in the flat; if this hits London, I ain't opening my door to nobody.
posted by Mutant on Aug 30, 2002 - 22 comments

How Safe is the Blood Supply?

How Safe is the Blood Supply? A tainted donor infects two with HIV in Florida. The people in charge of the blood claim it's safe. But recent books and documentaries raise serious questions.
posted by ahughey on Jul 19, 2002 - 12 comments

No More Malaria?

No More Malaria? The first step has been taken to making mosquitoes incapable of passing on malaria. But, should we?
posted by Irontom on May 23, 2002 - 22 comments

Mystery Illness

Mystery Illness such a mystery? Help needed! (old news, new information?) OK, I'm going to try and do this without naming names... The British troops in Afghanistan have been struck down by a mystery illness recently, with an investigation finding that the illness was just a "winter vomiting" bug.
I've heard different. The source may have been an Al Qaeda terrorist who had been captured. The 'mystery illness' may have been caught when the British or US government used biological warfare to make it easier to find and capture members of Al Qaeda. Can anyone help verify this? I should stress I only have word of mouth from a friend of a friend. All very speculative, but I've not been able to find anything else on this... yet...
posted by snowgoon on May 21, 2002 - 13 comments

Diane Petty, suffering from motor neurone disease, refused right to euthanasia by European Court.

Diane Petty, suffering from motor neurone disease, refused right to euthanasia by European Court. "Mrs Pretty, from Luton, who is paralysed from the neck down, had claimed the refusal breached the Human Rights Convention, which outlaws "inhuman or degrading treatment"."
posted by stuporJIX on Apr 29, 2002 - 4 comments

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