Tests indicate an arenavirus in South African deaths

first_img Charles H. Calisher, a former viral disease moderator on ProMED-mail, wrote in a ProMED post yesterday that scientists are eager to learn if the arenavirus that caused the recent infections represents a new type or a variant of a previously recognized arenavirus. Calisher is a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University in Ft Collins. Oct 13, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that preliminary tests indicate that an arenavirus—possibly a previously unknown one—is responsible for the mysterious febrile disease that killed three people in South Africa and has now sickened a fourth. Further testing to better characterize the arenavirus is underway at the NICD and the CDC, the WHO statement said. Lucille Blumberg, head of the NICD’s epidemiology and outbreak response unit, said it remains to be learned whether the virus is a previously unrecognized member of the arenaviruses, according to the Mercury report. Arenaviruses are typically spread to humans through contact with urine or feces of infected host animals, such as eating contaminated food or contact with abraded skin. Lassa and Machupo arenaviruses have been associated with secondary person-to-person or nosocomial infections, typically through direct contact with blood or other secretions, according to the CDC. Members of the arenavirus family are associated with rodent-transmitted diseases in humans, and a number of them can cause hemorrhagic fevers, according to information from the CDC’s Special Pathogens Branch. An earlier WHO statement said the patients who died had some symptoms that suggested a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF), but bleeding was not a marked clinical feature. See also: CDC fact sheet on arenaviruses The tests were conducted at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the WHO announced in a statement today. The nurse has a febrile illness and thrombocytopenia, according to Blumberg, who commented on the case today in a post on ProMED-mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. She said the patient is being treated with ribavirin, a drug that is effective against Lassa fever but has unknown efficacy for the current arenavirus. Blumberg, in her ProMED post today, commented that arenaviruses have been found in South African rodents in the past, but they have not been known to cause disease in humans. Members of the arenavirus family are divided into two groups—Old World and New World—depending on the mouse reservoir species. Five arenaviruses have been known to cause disease in humans. Four of them are primarily limited to South America, and one, Lassa virus, is found in much of West Africa, according to the CDC. Oct 13 WHO statement Janusz T. Paweska, who heads the NICD’s special pathogens unit, said the tests were done on skin, liver, and muscle tissue from two healthcare workers who died after they had contact with the index patient, according to a report yesterday from The Mercury, a newspaper based in Durban, South Africa. He said tests on blood samples from the index patient, a woman from Zambia who got sick while on a safari and died in a Johannesburg hospital on Sep 14, also detected the virus. (A previous report from the NICD said no samples from the patient had been available.) The latest confirmed  case in the cluster is in a nurse who became ill after close contact with one of the earlier victims. The WHO said the nurse’s infection was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in South Africa. The patient has been hospitalized, and authorities have identified and are monitoring her contacts. CIDRAP overview on viral hemorrhagic feverslast_img read more

El Dorado maybe in sight at last

first_img Tweet 46 Views   no discussions Share Share The construction industry is booming across the country in housing, factories and office buildings.In turn, construction is spinning-off other growth areas in the supply of materials, transportation, and also in the spending by the work force on consumption – food, rent, clothing and so on.Guyana’s debt to GDP ratio is now around 60 per cent, considerably lower than many Caricom countries whose ratios are more than 100 per cent, and its foreign reserves represent five months of its import requirements.This is remarkable not only because many Caricom countries are seeing their foreign reserves dwindling, but also because of the years of cutting back on imports that Guyana suffered because of insufficient foreign earnings.Helping the communitiesA striking development in social terms is the steady increase in government expenditure directed at old age pensioners and other vulnerable communities.US$20 million is now dedicated to these communities, again with a mutiplyer effect in the economy since these funds are spent on consumption.In the current budget, the government has also allocated US$300 million to building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals; a sum twice as large as it was five years ago and which provides much needed pubic goods as well as employment, consumer spending and workers’ savings in banks.Information Technology boostA significant development in Guyana has been the use of Information Technology.More than 2,000 computer literate Guyanese young people, mostly women, are employed in call centres providing services to companies located in countries as distant as Australia.Experts suggest that the sector could employ as many as 6,000 people by 2013 given the fact that Guyana is English-speaking and its telecommunications infrastructure is improving to provide faster broadband service. The salvation of Guyana has been in its natural resources, and the diversification of its productive base to exploit these resources more effectively.Twenty years ago, Guyana depended almost entirely on export earnings from sugar, rice and bauxite. Today, while these three commodities remain important, the agricultural sector has been diversified and Guyana is now a net exporter of agricultural products.Natural resourcesBut, it is its other resources, especially gold, that has made a difference in recent years, and will catapult the country’s economic growth in the future.For instance, last year the country earned US$346.4 million from gold, almost three times the sum it earned from bauxite (US$114.6 m), sugar (US$104 m) and rice (US$154.6 m).Singh is confident that –as early as this year – the country’s gold sector is set for “catalytic investment” on an unprecedented scale that will earn the country even greater revenues while introducing new technology that conforms to the high environmental standards that Guyana has set as part of its policy to employ a low carbon development strategy.And then there is oil. Studies done by the United States indicate that the basin off-shore Guyana contains rich reserves of oil.This possibility is now being explored by several oil companies, large and small, and there is even on shore exploration. It is almost a creed amongst Guyanese that it is only a matter of time before oil starts to flow.Measured by its rich natural resources, its recent economic performance, and the investments set to be made in gold and oil, Guyana’s economic prospects and the contribution it can make to Caricom look healthy and heartening.Election year2011 is an election year in Guyana. So far, there is no sign of anything but a peaceful process. The political parties are each engaged in trying to identify a candidate for the nation’s Presidency.There are five known candidates in the ruling Peoples Progressive Party and a similar number in the main opposition Peoples National Congress.By mid-March both parties would have chosen their candidate in processes which have been internally rancorous but have shown no sign of erupting into national strife.There are smaller political parties including the Alliance for Change which has a settled candidate.Elections have to be held by November, and the campaigning season will start in earnest by April.Whichever party wins the Presidency and forms the government, it will inherit an economy that is stronger than it has ever been with every indicator for greater growth.For Guyana – the fabled land of “El Dorado” may be in sight at last if this election is conducted by mature democratic standards and the new government uses the country’s resources for the benefit of all, especially its disadvantaged. Share NewsRegional El Dorado maybe in sight at last by: – February 22, 2011 Since the late 1970’s and until recently, the economy of Guyana has been the sick man of the Caribbean falling second only to Haiti as the poorest country in the region. Much of that has changed, and the economy looks set to change for the better even more.The improvement in Guyana’s economic circumstances will have several beneficial effects.Among them will be a reversal of the migration of people from Guyana to others parts of the Caribbean and, indeed, the world.This trend has already begun to happen, particularly from Caribbean countries.More than 80 per cent of Guyana’s tertiary educated people live outside of Guyana; a return of a fraction of them would help to accelerate economic activity and the rate of growth.Apart from the remigration of Guyanese to Guyana, if the economy continues on its upward trajectory, the country could also become a magnet for nationals of other Caribbean countries, fulfilling its promise as the land of the future for the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom).Good for CaricomA richer Guyana would be good for Caricom as a whole in other ways.Already, the share of Guyana’s imports from Caricom countries has increased and, as the economy expands and advances creating a better-off population, that share will increase still further helping to sustain employment and revenues throughout the regional grouping.Between 2006 and 2010, Guyana enjoyed average economic growth of 4 per cent – an enviable achievement among Caricom countries, the majority of whose economies have contracted especially since the global financial crisis that started in late 2008.Economic growthThe Guyana Finance Minister, Ashni Singh, attributes the growth in the economy to several factors, among them being the diversification of the productive sector; studied government policy decisions to generate activities that have a mutliplyer effect in the economy; and the creation of a stable environment for doing business.In terms of the business environment, Singh emphasizes that Guyana enjoys exchange rate stability, low and declining interest rates, and a low rate of inflation.These factors give existing and new investors a platform of predictability for planning their businesses.In his January budget, Singh also lowered corporate taxes by 5 per cent to 40 per cent for commercial companies and 30 per cent for manufacturing firms.There is certainly clear evidence of investment in the economy. Efforts have been made towards saving the natural resources The construction industry is booming across Guyana BBC Caribbean Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Kathy Morton – of Milan

first_imgKathy A. Morton (nee Shamblin), of Milan, was born on August 9, 1954 in Milan, a daughter to Robert and Betty Jean (Lacey) Shamblin, Sr. She married Omer Morton on December 21, 1982 and he survives. Kathy worked as a supervisor at the local rest area and enjoyed wood-working, especially building birdhouses. She loved spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and listening to country music. On Friday, March 13, 2020 at the age of 65, she passed away at Manderley Healthcare Center in Osgood surrounded by loving family.Those surviving who will cherish Kathy’s memory include her husband, Omer Morton; children, Joyce Morton of Milan, Regina Morton of Columbus, Nathan Morton of Columbus, and Lori Guinn of Alabama; 10 grandchildren; one sister, Denise (George) Rivas of Portage, and several nieces and nephews. Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by a son, John Wright; two sisters, Beverly Louden and Linda Childers, and a brother, Robert Shamblin, Jr.Friends may visit with the family on Sunday, March 22, 2020 from 11a.m. until time of service at 1p.m. at Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home, 107 Vine Street, Sunman. Cremation will follow.To sign the online guestbook or to leave personal condolences, please visit www.cookrosenberger.com. The staff of Cook Rosenberger Funeral Home is honored to care for the family of Kathy Morton.last_img read more

‘Brilliant’ ECB share critical bio-security info with CA

first_imgENGLAND have put aside their historic on-field rivalry with Australia to share vital information with how they have handled the restart of international cricket amid the coronavirus pandemic.England and the West Indies ended international cricket’s 117-day hiatus last week when the first Test was played in a ‘bubble’ at Southampton’s Rose Bowl, where players and support staff stayed in the on-site hotel and followed strict bio-security measures. The second Test starts tonight (AEST) at Old Trafford.Those necessary steps ensured a successful and safe return of Test cricket and provided a blueprint for how future tours can be staged around the world.How the first Test played out was of particular interest to Cricket Australia (CA), whose men’s limited-overs tour of England is set for September following a reschedule due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Australia today named a preliminary group of 26 players for the proposed six-match tour, consisting of three one-day internationals and three T20s, which is set to be reduced should the tour be given the green light.CA Executive General Manager of National Teams Ben Oliver says he has been in constant dialogue with his counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) about how they have managed the complex and evolving challenges of staging international cricket in the time of the coronavirus.“The ECB have been brilliant at engaging with us about their plans and what they’re experiencing currently in running the Test series with the West Indies, and they’re also scheduled to have Pakistan and Ireland before us,” Oliver said today. “There’s no doubt learnings will be taken from that and we’re in regular discussion with them and how that’s evolving.“They should be commended on getting international cricket up and running and I’ve got a degree of confidence in what they’re able to produce there.“They’re focused in on international cricket and a couple of venues in particular which is an interesting learning.“We’re hopeful, we’re optimistic but there are some complexities in (Australia’s potential) tour that we still need to work through and we’re doing that as quickly as we can to try and give everyone some certainty.”One of the major challenges with touring abroad is the quarantine process upon arrival and when returning home.As of July 3, travellers from Australia do not need to self-isolate for 14 days in England, which would allow the Australian cricketers to train and prepare as soon as they touch down albeit in compliance with strict bio-security measures.Pakistan were made to quarantine upon arrival in England for a fortnight before they could begin their preparation for their three-Test tour, to be played in Southampton and Manchester, the same venues as the West Indies series.While Australia’s players and support staff won’t need to quarantine in England they will have to self-isolate when they return to Australia, from either the UK or perhaps the Indian Premier League should it be rescheduled, which could have an impact on their preparations for the start of the home summer.“We obviously take the quarantine requirements very seriously and it’s important we understand that fully before a decision on the tour is made,” Oliver said.“For elite athletes generally the ability to train and stay fit and keep ticking over is an important factor but the health and safety of the players and staff  and the public health component is most critical.“Quarantine arrangements are not in place, they’re not confirmed but they do exist in terms of general international travel so that’s something that we’re working through but it is a consideration.”Oliver says the 26 players announced yesterday will continue to prepare with their respective state programs, including those based in Victoria, which has been hit by a second wave of the coronavirus.CA is monitoring the situation in Victoria, and the other states and territories, to make sure all players can adequately prepare for the England tour if selected.“As it currently stands they (state players) are able to continue to operate in a really strict environment and that’s enabling them to prepare,” Oliver said.“It’s a bit of a watch and see at the moment just to see how all that unfolds. “And obviously there’s a critical path there that we need to monitor to make sure that if the tour can proceed we give players across all states and territories the best chance to be part of that tour.”(Cricket.com.au)last_img read more