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AP PHOTOS: Rare disease afflicts Brazilian village

By ERALDO PERES Associated Press  2014-05-06 12:22 PM


Tucked into the sunbaked rolling hills of Brazil's midwest, Araras is home to what is thought to be the largest single group of people suffering from a rare inherited skin disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum -- or "XP."

Those with the disease are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet rays from sunlight and highly susceptible to skin cancers -- it robs victims of the ability to repair the damage caused by the sun.

That's a particularly vexing burden in Araras, a tropical farming community where outdoor work is vital for survival.

"I was always exposed to the sun -- working, planting and harvesting rice and caring for the cows," said Djalma Antonio Jardim, 38. "As the years passed my condition got worse."

Agriculture is no longer a real option for Jardim. He survives on a small government pension and meager earnings from an ice cream parlor he runs.

XP shows early signs that it has taken hold of its victims.

Jardim says he was just 9 when a large number of freckles and small lumps started appearing on his face -- the tell-tale signs that experts say signal XP is present in children and call for serious precautions to be taken to protect them against the sun.

Such precaution wasn't taken for Jardim, who now wears a large straw hat in an effort to protect his face. But it's helped little. He has undergone more than 50 surgeries to remove skin tumors.

In an effort to camouflage how the disease has eaten away the skin on his lips, nose, cheeks and eyes, Jardim wears a rudimentary orange-tinted mask, its stenciled-in right eyebrow not matching his bushy real one that remains.

Beyond skin damage and cancers that XP patients get, about one in five may also suffer from deafness, spastic muscles, poor coordination or developmental delays, according to the U.S.-based National Cancer Institute.

More than 20 people in this community of about 800 have XP. That's an incidence rate of about one in 40 people -- far higher than the one in 1 million people in the United States who have it.

For years, nobody could tell Jardim or the others what was afflicting them.

"The doctors I went to said I had a blood disorder. Others said I had a skin problem. But none said I had a genetic disease," Jardim said. "It was only in 2010 that my disease was properly diagnosed."

Experts say Araras has such a high incidence rate because the village was founded by only a few families and several were carriers of the disease, meaning it was passed to future generations as villagers intermarried.

For instance, both of Jardim's parents were carriers of the defective gene that causes the disease, largely ensuring he would have it.

Gleice Francisca Machado, a village teacher whose 11-year-old son, Alison, has XP, has studied its history in the area and says she found cases of people having the disease going back 100 years. She has started an association that educates locals about XP and tries to get parents to take extra care for their children, even if they may not have outward signs of the illness themselves.

"The sun is our biggest enemy and those affected must change day for night in order live longer," Machado said. "Unfortunately, that is not possible."

Associated Press writer Stan Lehman in Sao Paulo contributed to this report.


Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from MERS virus

Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from MERS virus, 14 new cases registered
Associated Press  2014-05-05 03:01 PM


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia's health ministry says one more patient who contracted the potentially fatal Middle East virus related to SARS has died and that 14 new cases have been detected.

The ministry said on its website Sunday that a Saudi man in his 70s died in Riyadh. It says this brings to 112 the number of deaths from the virus in the kingdom since September 2012.

The new 14 cases raise the number of those infected in Saudi Arabia to 411. Five of the new cases were detected in Riyadh, five in Jiddah and four in Mecca -- three women and a 14-year-old boy.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.


As Taiwan CDC announces this year’s tenth imported measles case, children below one year old and those unvaccinated against MMR

By grace.huang Taiwan News 2014-05-05 05:58 PM

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced the tenth imported case of measles confirmed this year. The case is a one-year-and-two-month-old girl who failed to complete her MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination as scheduled this February. On March 18, she visited relatives in Vietnam with her mother. On April 18, they returned to Taiwan. Consequently, she developed fever and rash. Measles infection was confirmed in the case after she sought medical attention and was reported to the health authority. Currently, she is hospitalized for treatment. Among the 12 family members residing in the same household, her 5-month-old cousin has developed suspected symptoms after having close contact with the case. As of now, the cousin has sought medical attention and has been reported to the health authority. To prevent further spread of the disease, the health authority has compiled a list of 125contacts to monitor their health and administer follow up activities such as post-exposure prophylaxis until May 22. As of now, besides the cousin who developed suspected symptoms, none of the other contacts has developed symptoms.

As measles outbreaks continue to occur in China and Southeast Asia, children below one year old and those unvaccinated against MMR are advised against travel to areas affected by measles to prevent infection.

Taiwan CDC advises travelers planning to visit areas affected by measles to visit the outpatient travel clinic at 23 contracted hospitals in the nation to determine the need for measles vaccination prior to their trip, and throughout the trip, pay attention to personal hygiene, wash hands frequently, avoid touching mouth and nose, and wearing a mask when visiting crowded places. If symptoms pertaining to measles infection such as fever, rhinitis and rash develop, please seek immediate medical attention and inform the physician of relevant travel and exposure history. For any questions or further information, please visit the Taiwan CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov.tw or call the toll-free Communicable Disease Reporting and Care Hotline, 1922 (or 0800-001922).


Newly arrived virus spreads in Dominican Republic

Newly arrived mosquito-borne virus spreads in Dominican Republic
Associated Press  2014-04-30 03:01 AM


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Health officials in the Dominican Republic say a mosquito-borne virus has spread widely since making its first appearance in the country.

The Health Ministry says it has documented about 3,500 suspected cases of chikungunya virus since it was first detected in March. Most cases have been near the capital. But Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo said Tuesday there have been some isolated cases in northern provinces.

Hidalgo spoke at the start of a two-day conference attended by representatives from Central American countries.

The virus is most commonly found in Asia and Africa. It was first detected in the Caribbean in December in French St. Martin and has spread to nearby islands.

Chikungunya is rarely fatal but it can cause high fever and intense joint and muscle pain. There is no vaccine.


The virus-H7N9 can infect human through the air.

The route of transmission for H7N9, treatment programs indicate that spread through the respiratory tract, or close contact with infected secretions or excretions of infected poultry, or through contact with "virus-contaminated environments," spread to humans.

 It is called "the environment of viral contamination" because of the data that there are cases of H7N9 virus in poultry since touched equipped with portable cages or containers, and even soil, air and other large environment is infected, so route of infection doesn't limit to the secretions or excretions.

China health authorities pointed out that the so-called "do not rule out a limited, non-sustained human-to-human transmission." From the point of view of cases currently available, H7N9 doesn't massive spread in interpersonal communication, both cases have been reported cases of sporadic and relatively independent, there is no evidence of ongoing infection.

Beijing CDC official said, After nearly a year of China's health sector pooled analysis for cases, H7N9 virus is not highly contagious, only limit to human transmission, so from the "contagion" downgraded "infectious diseases."

In addition, H7N9 virus incubation period, defined by the week shortened to 3-4 days. Everywhere of China will follow the new program will be shortened H7N9 bird flu quarantine close contacts of the observation period to four days.

In the year, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Beijing and other places a series of reported cases of human infection with H7N9 virus in dozens of cases, China National Health and Fertility Program Committee releases 2014 "people infected with H7N9 avian flu" in the 26th.


H5N8 virus appear in South Korea


South Korea confirmed the outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain of H5N8 in Gochang. It is stepping up quarantine measures to stop the spread of bird flu and culled some 21,000 birds at the farm.


New highs, adds 24 indigenous cases of dengue in Taiwan

 (2013/11/12-Central Radio)

Dengue epidemic continues to spread. Taiwan Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare on 2014/11/12 pointed out that, again last week 24 new cases from the local community, once again rewrite the popular one-week high season record, in addition, also add one from DHF cases.

  The Agency epidemic disease, Dr. Wu said that This dengue hemorrhagic fever patients, who lives in Pingtung City is a 65-year-old female, and had a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting and other symptoms. Three times before a doctor confirmed, the main reason is that the symptoms are not typical. Disease Control Department appeal to doctors to vigilant about the patient is not there appeared symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Epidemic center of Disease Control Department, Deputy Director Liu pointed out that the epidemic get new highs last week, and cases mostly occurred in the village which is no cases happened in the past. Currently in Kaohsiung, Tainan has continued to have cases heard. Urged people to be sure to clear the active breeding sources, as soon as the outbreak of the epidemic season blocking.


Baby boy who infect rotavirus vaccine, oral vaccine effective in preventing
(China Times Newsletter – 2013/10/30/ 5:30am)

Due to the recent large temperature changes, a three-month-old baby vomiting and diarrhea. Doctor discovered rotavirus, and bacterial infection caused by intestinal obstruction, in a timely manner before surgery from danger.

Doctor said, autumn and winter is the peak of rotavirus infection because symptoms of infection easily be confused with the general gastroenteritis, often leading to delays in medical treatment, causing severe dehydration due to diarrhea fear, shock, coma and even death. Remind parents to be aware that your baby early oral rotavirus vaccine inoculation.

Changhua Christian Hospital - Department of Neonatology - Xiaozhu Ren said that rotavirus is the most common virus type gastroenteritis. Due to a virus like low temperatures, prevalent in the fall and winter. The smaller children under 5 years of age more serious, accounting for the proportion of infants hospitalized illness up to about 50%.

In recent year, Common types of rotavirus has up to 7 kinds. It have strong infection and only 10 virus to the disease. It can survive in something up to 3 months. Babys who always touch something and bring it to their mouth, even if wash the hands, the risk of infection is still great.

Oral rotavirus vaccine is the most effective way to deal with rotavirus. Because antibodies need 1-2 weeks to take effect after vaccinating. Predilection of the upcoming fall and winter, it is recommended that parents should rotavirus vaccination for children early vaccine to prevent the risk of infection.


The resistance of old people and children is weak, vaccinate to prevent influenza
(2013/10/28, 10:38am)

 Recently, large temperature changes and it be sure to remind people to pay more attention to keep warm. Years of experience, when the weather turns cold, the flu epidemic will heat up. Health Department said that influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by "flu virus" and different to the common cold;many people will mistaken for flu to the common cold on the first time and ignore it.

Flu symptoms include fever, headache, and pain, weakness, chills, etc., It belongs to systemic symptoms. Longer course of disease sometimes cause pneumonia and other complications. Even cause death if severe, so people can not be ignored please. In addition to the prevention of influenza vaccination and antiviral agents, cough etiquette should strengthen and develop good habits of washing hands. If you are sick, please see a doctor immediately and rest at home. Access to public places, be sure to wear a mask to prevent the spread of viruses.


Flu symptom (1) burning, (2) pain, (3) fatigue

(2012/12/18 6:05pm)

 Weather getting cold, the flu is about to enter the peak period. CDC reminded the public if there is "a fever for several days," "significant headache and muscle aches," or "tired" and other "burning", "pain", "tired" symptoms may be infected with the flu should alert virus. And if dyspnea, hemoptysis sputum, high fever, unconsciousness and other danger signs appear, they should consult a doctor for treatment.

When the flu, in accordance with the diagnosis of the physician is required to take medicine and rest, usually about 1-2 weeks will heal, but if there 'dyspnea, hemoptysis sputum, fever three days, drowsiness coma "flu danger signs, we must go to the hospital.

 All ages are likely infected with the flu, but the elderly, infants and patients with chronic diseases more easily after infection with severe complications. Urge everyone to do the "five essential":<1> To fight the flu vaccine as soon as possible,< 2> Should alert flu symptoms, <3>. Danger signs to hospital as soon as possible, <4>. Illness to take medication and rest, <5> to keep soap to wash their hands, coughing wearing masks, sick at home and other good habits of life, in order to avoid infection and spread of the flu.



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