Monkeypox surfaces in three cases the U.K. What you need to know about the rare virus

first_imgHealthMonkeypox surfaces in three cases the U.K. What you need to know about the rare virus Privacy Policy Now there are three.Officials in the U.K. announced Wednesday that a health worker in Blackpool, in northwestern England, had contracted monkeypox, the third patient in the country to be infected with the rare virus in the past month. The health care worker was infected by a patient who was recently cared for at the hospital.Britain’s first-ever case of monkeypox was reported on Sept. 8, in a man from Nigeria who had been at a naval base in Cornwall. Only three days later a second imported case was spotted, in a man who had also recently returned from travel in Nigeria.advertisement @HelenBranswell The virus made its way to the U.S. in exotic animals imported from Ghana. The shipment contained roughly 800 small mammals with rope squirrels, tree squirrels, African giant pouched rates, brush tailed porcupines, dormice, and striped mice among them. Testing done by the CDC found a number of infected animals.The exotic animals were housed close to prairie dogs in the facility of an animal vendor located in Illinois. The prairie dogs also became infected.How do you stop person-to-person spread?Once health care facilities realize they’re dealing with monkeypox, they isolate infected patients, and health workers treating them wear the appropriate protective equipment. This infection at Blackpool Victoria Hospital occurred before the hospital diagnosed monkeypox in its initial patient.In the U.S. outbreak, people working with cases or investigating the animals were offered smallpox vaccine. Public Health England is also using smallpox vaccine to protect people who have had contact with cases. By Helen Branswell Sept. 26, 2018 Reprints Where is monkeypox generally found?Central and Western Africa. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was then Zaire. Since then cases have been diagnosed in the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gabon, and South Sudan.There have been a puzzling number of monkeypox cases recorded in Nigeria over the past year. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control recently reported that between September 2017 and the end of August, 262 suspected cases had been reported from 26 states. Of these, 113 were laboratory confirmed and seven of those people died.The first monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa happened in the United States.Say what?Yup. There was a big monkeypox outbreak in the United States in the spring and summer of 2003, just as the global SARS outbreak was ending.There were 47 cases — the biggest outbreak on record to that point. Of those, 37 were lab-confirmed and 10 were probable cases. Cases were found in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio Missouri, and Wisconsin. That second individual, who was not immediately recognized as a monkeypox patient, was initially cared for at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. During that time before diagnosis, a health worker became infected.Monkeypox is rare, especially outside of Africa. Here’s what you need to know about the virus, how it is spread, and how that spread can be stopped.advertisement Exclusive analysis of biopharma, health policy, and the life sciences. Related: Leave this field empty if you’re human: What is monkeypox?It is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, a cousin of the now-eradicated virus that caused smallpox. Although smallpox is no more — it’s the only human disease ever eradicated to date — there are a number of related pox viruses: buffalopox, camelpox, cowpox.It is from a different virus family than chickenpox. However, like chickenpox and smallpox, monkeypox causes a rash that forms into rounded poxes that scab over and can scar.Why is it called monkeypox? Does it infect monkeys?Monkeypox was first seen in laboratory monkeys in 1958, hence the name. And monkeys are among a number of species — including humans, prairie dogs, rats, mice, and squirrels — that can be infected with this virus. But they aren’t thought to be the reservoir, the natural source of the virus.Scientists are still trying to identify the reservoir of monkeypox and why a disease that was rarely seen for decades seems to be becoming more common. Last year, the Washington Post accompanied some scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on an expedition to find the source. You can read about it here. How bad is monkeypox?There are two groups, or clades, of monkeypox viruses, one from West Africa and one from Central Africa. The former causes milder disease. Public Health England said preliminary analysis of the viruses from the first two newly identified cases — one of whom infected the third case — suggests these are West African viruses.The illness itself comes in two phases, the invasion phase and the skin eruption period. During the former, people feel lousy: They have fever, intense headache, swollen glands, back and muscle aches, and lethargy. It can last up to five days.In the second phase, a rash starts to appear, generally first on the face and then elsewhere on the body. The face, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet are most likely to be affected. The rash forms into pustules that scab. The illness can last up to three weeks in total.There is no cure, but most people recover. That said, some cases are fatal. In monkeypox outbreaks, a case fatality rate of between 1 percent and 10 percent has been observed.How does it spread?People get monkeypox by handling infected animals, through contact with their blood, bodily fluids, or the lesions the virus causes. Eating undercooked meat from infected animals may also be a route of transmission, the World Health Organization says.Once a person gets infected, he or she can pass it on to other people, either through contact with skin lesions or objects contaminated with pus from lesions or body fluids. People can also spread the virus to other people through respiratory droplets — tiny drops of saliva — the way colds and flu are transmitted. A monkeypox virus particle CDC STAT+: Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Please enter a valid email address. Helen Branswell Related: About the Author Reprints Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. How a wildlife biologist became a plague-chaser in the American Southwest Tags infectious disease Think your job is hard? Try squirting a vaccine up a camel’s nostrils last_img read more

EBRD heralds new ‘tigers’

first_imgIt will be interesting to see how quickly it will dawn on the Eastern Europeans that the EU needs them almost as much as they need the EU. “The absorption capacity of the Central and Eastern European countries, in particular, seems to be gathering pace.”In other words, the economic health of western Europe depends on nurturing the growth of demand – especially for machinery – in the east.When they first kicked over their Communist legacy in 1989, the CEECs were the flavour of the month.They were spoken of asthe new ‘tiger’ economies, where low wages combined with a skilled workforce could achieve double-digit growth rates and suck in all the capital goods that western Europe could possibly manufacture.The EBRD was created to ride this wave.It was born as an intellectual folly, straight out of the pages of a work of political philosophy by a trusted aide to former French President François Mitterrand – the now notorious Jacques Attali.Opening for business in April 1991 and allocated 10 billion ecu of capital by its shareholders – including the CEECs, the CIS, the US and the EU – the bank soon ran into serious problems. To be fair to Attali, much of this turnaround reflects changes on the ground rather than the vastly superior quality of the new regime.In 1995, growth in the CEECs strengthened while the pace of decline slowed in the CIS.The enormous strides in market-oriented reform and the attraction of big-ticket inward investment – especially by the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – played a major part in this process.The pursuit of predictable monetary and exchange rate policies, leading to convertibility in the most advanced states, has all but killed off investors’ fears.Major investments are announced every week. In December, Ameritech and Deutsche Telekom paid 670 million ecu to increase their stake in Hungarian telecoms operator Matav Rt to 67%, while 20 of the world’s biggest investment banks are vying to manage the sale of Polish copper giant, KGHM Polska Miedz SA.This sea-change is not lost on EU finance ministers. Those who, in previous years, often sent their officials to EBRD annual meetings instead of attending themselves are, this time, heading straight to Sofia from their meeting in Verona. Ever since the Berlin Wall came down seven years ago, member states have – in public at least – gone along with Germany’s view that nothing is more important than tying these countries to the bosom of a stable and workable Union.The moral debt owed to the Eastern Europeans is due to culminate in full EU membership for at least a handful of them within the next decade.But, in reality, the priorities have been very different. While unemployment, along with the single currency plan, have long been at the front of EU decision-makers’ minds, words about their desire to help the Eastern Europeans have not been matched by deeds.When Eastern European finance ministers are invited to meetings of their EU counterparts, they are, as often as not, left to discuss micro-economic reform with officials while ministers board their planes home.But times are changing.EU finance ministers heading for Sofia on 15-16 April to attend the annual meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) may find that a boot is starting to take shape on the collective foot of their Central and Eastern European (CEEC) counterparts.On the same day in February when he revealed EU growth would slow to less than 2% this year, Economics Commissioner Yves-Thibault de Silguy made a highly-revealing comment.“In exports, the Community has been able, until now, to maintain its position on the world market,” he said. A former managing director of the International Monetary Fund and long-time governor of the Banque de France, de Larosière brought some much-needed banking know-how to the operation.Administrative spending has been brought under tight control, with only marginal increases over the past two years despite a huge increase in the volume of operations. In 1995, the bank boasted a net profit of 7.5 million ecu after provisions, up from 1 million ecu in 1994.By the end of 1995, it had approved more than 370 projects for a total of 7.8 billion ecu, with more than 300 for 5.9 billion ecu committed.The EBRD has also started to achieve one of its fundamental aims – withdrawing from investments with a profit and handing over the management of projects to a willing and eager private sector.In December, it sold its 26-million-ecu holding in Czech confectioner Cokoladovny to its partners Danone and Nestlé, once the company restructuring was complete.The strong growth in operations means, however, that the bank will exhaust its resources within two years. This has prompted de Larosière to ask shareholders for another 10 billion ecu for his capital base – a request they will accept in Sofia. For Attali, it was always meant to be more than just a bank. He saw it as a sort of community of European values, the central focus of the European economic and political space.But the truth is that it was meant to be a new bank, albeit of a new type: a development bank intended to act as a catalyst for private-sector investment. For example, a favourite EBRD target would be a credit facility for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), agribusiness or an equity participation in a firm’s capital spending programme.Its ambitious president wanted the best staff and salaries to match, he wanted a figure-head headquarters in London and had to pay dearly for that, and he loved to travel to spread the word, which was not cheap.While the bank was spending lavishly on travel budgets, staff salaries and – most famously – on replacing the foyer of its headquarters with marble, at a cost of 60 million ecu, progress on the job it was created to do was very slow.Because it was mandated to take a hard-headed business approach to its lending activities, the EBRD found it difficult to identify high-quality investment opportunities.Eventually, the credibility gap became too wide. In 1993, Attali was forced to resign and was replaced by Jacques de Larosière for a four-year term which runs until the middle of next year.last_img read more