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Infectious Disease News

(Reuters) People infected in the West African Ebola outbreak can be offered untested drugs, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday, but the scarcity of supplies has raised questions about who gets priority access to treatment.
(Reuters) Liberia said on Tuesday it would treat two infected doctors with the scarce experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, the first Africans to receive the treatment… The death toll from the worst ever outbreak of the highly contagious disease has climbed to 1,013 since it was discovered in remote southeastern Guinea in March, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
(Bloomberg) The Ebola drug given to two Americans and a Spanish priest has been sent to treat infected doctors in two West African countries, and the supply of the medicine is now gone, its manufacturer said…Mapp and its partners, Defyrus Inc. and a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., are working with the U.S. government to quickly increase production, the company said. “Additional resources are being brought to bear on scaling up,” the company said. “The emergency use of an experimental medicine is a highly unusual situation.”
(Businessweek) Canada’s government will donate doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization amid a global race to combat the virus that has killed more than a 1,000 people in West Africa. The experimental vaccine called VSV-EBOV was developed by the National Microbiology Laboratory, the government said in a statement today. It will offer between 800 to 1,000 doses to the WHO while keeping a small supply in case it’s needed in Canada.
(Bloomberg) An experimental drug given to two U.S. health workers infected with Ebola may help raise the profile of an immune strategy that’s already shown promise against other diseases, including HIV.
(Reuters) Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, the first European infected by a strain of Ebola that has killed more than 1,000 people in West Africa, has died in hospital in Madrid, a spokeswoman for the city's health authorities said on Tuesday.
More . . .
Japan aid agency pulls staff from Ebola-hit nations
(AFP) Japan's foreign aid agency said Tuesday it was evacuating two dozen staff from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as the death toll from the Ebola virus continued to mount… "We expect they will complete the evacuation from the region within a few days," said Yuho Hayakawa, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). None had been placed in quarantine, he added. "No one is showing symptoms. They were not in any high-risk situations, where they would come into close contact with patients," he added.
(Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) [W]e need 21st-century TB tools to fight TB. After decades of neglect, we're finally seeing progress on this front. The first in a new class of drugs to treat MDR TB was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 (representing the first new class of TB drugs in over 40 years), and additional research on faster TB tests, more effective drug regimens, and potential vaccines is under way. But given the scale of the problem, more attention, more creative ideas, and more resources are needed.
(Science Daily) Native bacteria living inside mosquitoes prevent the insects from passing Wolbachia bacteria -- which can make the mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite -- to their offspring, according to a team of researchers. The team found that Asaia, a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in Anopheles mosquitoes, blocks invasion of Wolbachia into the mosquitoes' germlines -- the cells that are passed on through successive generations of an organism -- thus stopping the insects from transmitting Wolbachia to their offspring.
(Reuters) Idaho health officials on Tuesday urged vaccination to combat what they said was an alarming rise this year in the number of cases of whooping cough, which has killed an infant and afflicted 240 other state residents since January.

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