February 26, 2014 |
The seasonal flu has met its enemy, and it's calculus. A theoretical physicist and computational biologist analyzed the genetic code of thousands of strains of Influenza A that occurred over a 44-year period to create a model that accurately predicts which strain will prevail in the pitched evolutionary battle between human antibodies and the rapidly mutating virus. Their method proved more accurate for selecting an appropriate vaccine than the current method used by public health officials, according to a report published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2014 |
A small number of children in California have come down with polio-like illnesses since 2012 -- suffering paralysis in one or more limbs and other symptoms -- and physicians and public health officials do not yet know why. A virus may play a role, said Dr. Carol Glaser, leader of a California Department of Public Health team investigating the illnesses, which are occurring sporadically throughout the state. The afflicted kids suffer severe weakness or paralysis, which strikes rapidly -- sometimes after a mild respiratory illness. Scans of the patients' spinal cords show patterns of damage similar to that found in polio sufferers , Glaser said. Two of the affected children tested positive for enterovirus-68, a virus that is usually associated with respiratory illness but which has been linked to polio-like illnesses as well.
February 19, 2014 |
Infectious diseases linked to the colony collapse of honeybees appear to be spreading among wild bumblebees that pollinate crops worldwide, dealing a potential double blow to agriculture, according to a new study. Studies at 26 sites in England found that 1 in 5 bees suffered from deformed wing virus, which can ground and eventually kill the insects, according to a report published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. More than a third of the honeybees were infected, and about 11% of the bumblebees carried the virus - figures that researchers called highly conservative.
February 3, 2014 |
CAIRO - Sixteen people in Egypt have died from the H1N1 virus - commonly known as swine flu - since the start of the winter, the country's Ministry of Health said Monday. The ministry's spokesman, Ahmed Kamel, was quoted by the daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm as saying that in all, 172 people have been diagnosed with the virus, including those who died. Recent weeks have seen criticism from doctors and patients, who accused the ministry of underplaying the threat of the virus. An official of the Doctors' Syndicate, a major medical organization, told Egyt's CBC television that the ministry had been warned weeks ago about the danger of the virus.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2014 |
Starting today, you will have to wear a surgical mask if you want to visit patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as the hospital puts in place new measures to guard against the spread of influenza. Other local hospitals are also taking precautions because they fear the illness is growing worse in Los Angeles County, even as cases have begun to decline elsewhere in the state. Here are some other things you need to know about this season's flu: How bad is it? Pretty bad. So far, California has recorded 95 flu-related deaths in people under age 65. Health officials say it's likely another 51 deaths were also due to flu, but they're still checking out those cases.
January 21, 2014 |
A rapidly mutating virus has leaped from plants to honeybees, where it is reproducing and contributing to the collapse of colonies vital to the multibillion-dollar agricultural industry, according to a new study. Tobacco ringspot virus, a pollen-borne pathogen that causes blight in soy crops, was found during routine screening of commercial honeybees at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, where further study revealed the RNA virus was replicating inside its Apis mellifera hosts and spreading to mites that travel from bee to bee, according to the study published online Tuesday in the journal mBio.