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Death, Despair, and Dismay.
Author: TriSec    Date: 05/13/2017 12:26:43

Good Morning.

I've got three stories today to cheer you up. President Trump recently had the idea to slash the budget for the "drug czar" to the tune of 95%, as was reported in this space a week ago. This will, of course, touch off a snowball effect throughout the United States. There is an example of this starting already, even without Mr. Trump's help.

(CNN)New hepatitis C virus infections in the United States nearly tripled between the years 2010 and 2015.

The number of new nationally reported infections with the virus swelled from 850 in 2010 to 2,436 cases in 2015, with the highest rates among young people, mainly 20- to 29-year-olds, who inject drugs, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the CDC estimates the true number is much higher-- about 34,000 new infections nationally for 2015 -- since hepatitis C has few symptoms and most newly infected people do not get diagnosed.

An estimated 3.5 million people, mainly baby boomers, in the United States currently have an infection with hepatitis C, which damages the liver. Symptoms can include fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain and jaundice. Last year, the agency reported a record number of fatalities from the virus occurred in 2014.

"Recent CDC research has identified increasing injection drug use -- tied to the US opioid epidemic -- in rural and suburban areas across the country," said Dr. John Ward, an author of the new report and director of the division of viral hepatitis at the CDC.

He said hardest hit areas in terms of new infections are parts of Appalachia and rural areas of the Midwest and New England. Rural areas in other states are also experiencing a similar, though smaller rise in new hepatitis C cases.

Seven states -- Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Tennessee and West Virginia -- have rates at least twice the national average, CDC researchers found. In addition, 10 states have rates above the national average: Alabama, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

"These new infections are most frequently among young people who transition from taking prescription pills to injecting heroin, which has become cheaper and more easily available in some cases," said Ward. "In turn many -- most, in some communities -- people who inject drugs become infected with hepatitis C."

We'll immediately head overseas - apparently, it's Ebola season, and there is already an outbreak. The United States contributed heavily to the relief effort the last time this happened, but I bet the ol' Congo can't be relying on that kind of help this time around.

The World Health Organization has confirmed an Ebola outbreak in a remote forested part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the first in that country since 2014. At least nine people are suspected of being infected, and three have died.

The outbreak has raised alarms about the possibility of a new epidemic.

“An investigation team led by the Ministry of Health and supported by WHO and partners has deployed and is expected to reach the affected area in the coming days”, said Peter Salama, WHO's executive director for emergencies, in a statement.

The WHO said it was informed on Tuesday of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths, including hemorrhagic symptoms, in the northeastern part of the country, bordering the Central African Republic. On Thursday, the DRC's health ministry informed WHO that of five laboratory samples tested, one tested positive for Ebola virus at a laboratory in Kinshasa. That confirmed case was one of the three people who died.

The Ebola infection was confirmed from tests on a group of people exhibiting symptoms since April 22 in the province of Bas-Uélé in northeast DRC.

The ministry said it is beginning to trace the contacts of those who may have been infected and that it is issuing protective kits for the health workers involved.

“Our country must confront an outbreak of the Ebola virus that constitutes a public health crisis of international significance,” the ministry said.

I'd be tempted to just give up and go Japanese-style and check out some sushi for breakfast today...except that it would probably kill me now. [Editor's note - a couple of the photos in the story may not be for the squeamish.]

Sushi has a healthy reputation – it can be low fat and high in protein – but a new report serves as a stark reminder that sushi made with raw fish can carry a dangerous parasite. Doctors warn that it's becoming a greater problem in Western countries as more people eat sushi, and they documented one recent case that serves as a cautionary tale.

The case of a previously healthy 32-year-old man from Lisbon, Portugal, is featured in the medical journal BMJ Case Reports this week. The man was suffering from a bout of stomach pain for more than a week, and experienced vomiting and a fever.

When doctors questioned him about his symptoms and history, he revealed that he had recently eaten sushi.

Doctors performed an endoscopy – a scope test that uses a tiny camera on the end of a long, flexible tube to view the upper digestive system – and discovered he had parasite larvae attached to the lining of his stomach wall.

The culprit: Anisakiasis, a disease caused by parasitic worms.

"It is caused by the consumption of contaminated raw or undercooked fish or seafood," the authors wrote in their case study.

Photos published with their account of the case show a worm "firmly attached" inside the man's stomach.

Surgeons used a special device, called a Roth net, to remove the parasite, and the man's symptoms resolved.

What number plague are we up to now?


1 comments (Latest Comment: 05/13/2017 15:25:02 by Will in Chicago)
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