Health workers carry out the body of a patient with unconfirmed Ebola virus on August 22, 2018 in Mangina, near Beni, in the North Kivu province. - Sixty-one people have died in the latest outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the authorities said, adding that four novel drugs had been added to the roster of treatments. The outbreak began on August 1 in Mangina, the epicentre of the outbreak in the North Kivu province, and cases have been reported in neighbouring Ituri province. It is the 10th outbreak to strike the DRC since 1976, when Ebola was first identified and named after a river in the north of the country. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)

The Ebolavirus conjures up gruesome images of infected individuals with hemorrhages erupting all over the body. When the virus was first discovered during an outbreak in 1976 in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), the extreme lethality of the virus assisted physicians in containing the spread of the disease. The symptoms would present early enough that emergency responders could easily separate and quarantine the infected from the healthy.

More recent Ebolavirus outbreaks, however, such as the Western African outbreak between 2014 and 2016, have been more difficult to contain because the disease did not present indications of infection as early in exposed individuals, where the predicted incubation time could be doubled from 1-21 days to 1-42 days post-exposure. And new findings indicated the persistence of the Ebolavirus in the sexual fluids of survivors, which suggested Ebolavirus could be further expanded into a sexually transmitted disease. Thus, infected persons could travel greater distances away from the initial point of contact with the virus and potentially spread the virus over a wider area.

Keep reading...
A chimpanzee eats a nut in its enclosure at the zoo in Hanover, northern Germany, on December 19, 2017. (PHILIPP VON DITFURTH/AFP/Getty Images)

A chimpanzee’s life is far from simple: these highly social and intelligent creatures face any number of human and natural threats to their existence. From habitat loss and poaching to predation and Ebola, which has wiped out an estimated third of all chimpanzees, a host of perils lie in wait for these great apes, currently classified as endangered.

Their fragile status makes the findings of a recent CDC study all the more compelling and crushing: published in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal in December, the study indicated the human cold virus was responsible for a deadly 2013 respiratory disease outbreak that killed five chimps in Uganda’s Kibale National Park.

Keep reading...

You may think of scarlet fever as one of those Victorian illnesses, now thankfully eradicated with modern medicine, which afflicted the consumption-weakened people of the era. In fact, scarlet fever is the result of a common bacterial infection gone untreated. The culprit is Group A streptococcus, which typically resides on our faces and in our throats, and is responsible for scarlet fever, strep throat, and impetigo.

While the infection has been controlled through better hygiene practices and antibiotics, reducing its incidences, it’s been making a dramatic comeback in the past couple years, leaving scientists scrambling to understand why.

Keep reading...

Co-sleeping, sleep training, breast versus bottle, free-range versus helicopter parenting – these are all hot-button parenting issues. But no parenting issue invokes more division and derision than vaccination.

The difference, pro-vaccinators argue, between the first examples and vaccination is that the decision not to vaccinate impacts more than just one’s immediate family. Unvaccinated children can present a health risk to those too young to be immunized or who are unable to receive vaccines because of allergies or other health issues.

Keep reading...
via Flickr user Yuri Samoilov

[DIGEST: Phys.org, News Bureau Illinois, Nature, LA Times, Vice]

Global warming will not only result in rising ocean levels, strange weather patterns and droughts. It could also expose us to dangerous prehistoric viral pathogens.

Keep reading...