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A Unstoppable Universal Plague

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During the 15th Century, the world was exposed to what seemed like an unstoppable plague. Victims a new and terrifying plague was upon Europeans, and then spread throughout Europe, to Africa, Asia, and beyond. where it came from no one really knows.

Victims experience pustules erupting on their noses, lips, eyes, swelling into ulcers as the sores crept into their mouths and down their throats. Their muscles and bones became painful, especially at night. Most physicians thought they were seeing either leprosy or elephantiasis, or something worst.

 

These medical professionals were experiencing mass Syphilis for the first time. In a two hundred year period over a hundred million people were affected with many millions dying. This plague was an equal opportunity infliction. Rich and poor, Kings and their Queens, Lords and their ladies, members of the growing middle class were all inflicted. This STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) became most difficult to not only treat but also identify. As mentioned above, the inflicted showed various symptoms, this disease began as painless and easily missed sorely at an infection site, which over a short period of time disappeared, followed by a copper penny rash on the hands and feet. When the rash cleared up, the disease became latent, infecting the brain, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, and bones. These symptoms did not follow the same pattern, making it difficult to recognize what the inflicted was suffering.

Syphilis spreads through skin-to-skin contact mutating into a much deadlier sexually transmitted disease. Known as the great pretender, syphilis affected young men who succumbed to the wiles of prostitutes. These young men went home to their wives, girlfriends, and family members inflicting these innocents with this disease. Syphilis can be transmitted by either gender. In the middle ages, women were often blamed for the spread of this disease. The Catholic Church prohibited sex outside of marriage, in an attempt to stop the spread. Previously prostitutes had been considered a needed service to the community, with brothels and prostitutes a common community element. Brothels and prostitution became illegal in many lands, and sex workers could face prison time.

Condoms, a linen sheath infused with chemicals was introduced to European cultural life. The use of mercury was also introduced, and in time many realized they were poisoning themselves using this method of medical treatment.
Society’s response to this deadly disease was to persecute women of the lower classes, those who may be forced to become active in the sex trade so they could feed their families. Unfortunately, the religious organizations of the world and their powerful allies assaulted Womanhood in many ways, attempting to control the disease (not the men who spread it) buy controlling women. The Spanish Inquisition, British Witch Persecutions, divestment of women within the Church all were efforts to assert man’s predominance within society and protect manhood everywhere. To admit and recognize that men were the super spreaders of this disease could not become common knowledge, or at least acted upon openly.
In 1908 a German Scientist named Paul Ehrlich discovered Salvarsan, a magic bullet that could kill the microbes without harming the inflicted. This antibiotic-like material worked well to bring Syphilis under control.

Unfortunately, this pandemic continues to spread throughout the world today. Like Covid-19 there are many syphilis mutagens, different strains with similar, yet slightly different symptoms. In 2019 over 27 million people worldwide were recognized to be inflicted with syphilis, many in parts of the world where needed medicine cannot be readily found. Syphilis also facilities both HIV transmission and acquisition. The Great Pretender of STDs will find a way to spread and kill. Better watch out, and better not cry, just know what harmful things are out there folks. Be very much aware, alert, and alive.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

Health

B.C. launches Canada’s first lung cancer screening program for high-risk residents

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VANCOUVER — British Columbia has launched the country’s first provincewide lung cancer screening program for residents who are at high risk of getting the disease.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the innovative program will both save lives and improve their quality.

Screening will be available at 36 centres across all health authorities using existing CT scans for those who are between 55 and 74, currently smoking or have previously smoked, and have a smoking history of 20 years or more.

People who meet that criteria are encouraged to call the program for a consultation and risk assessment to determine eligibility.

Dr. Stephen Lam, medical director of the screening program, says lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada and worldwide.

He says 70 per cent of all cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage and the program aims to change that trend by detecting lung cancers earlier when treatment is more effective.

Dr. David Byers, CEO of the Provincial Health Services Authority, credits BC Cancer for making the launch possible, adding a centralized system will reduce the burden of cancer, “including among Indigenous people, who are disproportionately impacted by lung cancer.”

BC Cancer says that after an appointment, a radiologist would look for spots, or nodules, on a scan, and both the patient and their primary care provider would get results within three weeks.

It says screening works best when scans are done regularly to monitor for any changes.

The Health Ministry says in a release that an estimated 10,000 patients are expected to be screened in the first year of the program, and that number is expected to jump by about 15 per cent per year.

“It is estimated the program will diagnose approximately 150 lung cancer cases annually, with more than 75 per cent of these diagnosed at an earlier stage than without screening.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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What vaccines, treatments do we have to combat monkeypox? – Financial Post

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LONDON — With cases of monkeypox inexplicably on the rise outside of Africa – where the viral disease is endemic – public health officials are using contact tracing, isolation and targeted vaccination to curb its spread.

Global health officials have tracked more than 200 suspected and confirmed cases of the usually mild viral infection in 19 countries since early May. The monkeypox variant implicated in the current outbreak has a case fatality rate of around 1%, though no deaths have been reported so far.

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Here’s what we know about the existing range of vaccines and treatments:

VACCINES

The smallpox and monkeypox viruses are closely related, and the first generation of smallpox vaccines appear up to 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, the World Health Organization has said.

There are currently two smallpox vaccines available.

One made by Danish company Bavarian Nordic goes by the brand name Jynneos, Imvamune or Imvanex – depending on geography.

It contains a weakened form of the vaccinia virus that is closely related to, but less harmful than, than the viruses that cause smallpox and monkeypox. This modified version of vaccinia does not cause disease in humans and cannot reproduce in human cells.

It has U.S. approval for the prevention of both smallpox and monkeypox. European Union approval is for smallpox, although doctors can prescribe it off-label for monkeypox. Bavarian Nordic said it would probably apply for a label extension with the EU’s drug watchdog to include monkeypox.

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The reported side-effects include pain and swelling at the injection site as well as headache and fatigue.

The other, older vaccine, currently made by Emergent Biosolutions, is called ACAM2000.

It also contains the vaccinia virus, but it is infectious and can replicate in humans. As a result, it can be transmitted from the vaccine recipient to unvaccinated people who have close contact with the inoculation site.

Apart from side-effects associated with many vaccines, such as a sore arm and fatigue, it also carries a serious warning for a potential range of severe complications, including heart inflammation, blindness and death.

It is also not designed to be used in certain groups of people, such as those with compromised immune systems.

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ACAM2000 has U.S. approval for people at high risk for smallpox infection. It does not have EU authorisation.

ANTIVIRALS

Symptoms of monkeypox – which can include fever, headaches, distinctive rashes and pus-filled skin lesions – can last for two to four weeks and often resolve on their own.

Patients may receive extra fluids and treatment for secondary bacterial infections. An antiviral agent called tecovirimat – branded as TPOXX and made by SIGA Technologies – has U.S. and EU approval for smallpox, while its European approval also includes monkeypox and cowpox.

Another drug, branded as Tembexa and developed by Chimerix , has U.S. approval to treat smallpox. It is not clear whether it could help people infected with monkeypox.

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Both TPOXX and Tembexa were approved based on studies in animals showing they are likely to be effective, because they were developed after smallpox in human beings had been eradicated through mass vaccination.

STOCKPILES

The WHO classified smallpox as an eradicated disease in 1980, but there have been longstanding concerns that the virus could be used as a bioweapon, leading countries to stockpile vaccines.

The WHO holds 2.4 million doses at its Swiss headquarters dating from the final years of the eradication program. The agency also has pledges from donor countries for more than 31 million additional doses.

U.S. officials say there are more than 1,000 doses of the Bavarian Nordic vaccine in the national stockpile and expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks. The country also has 100 million doses of ACAM2000.

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Germany has said it had ordered 40,000 doses of Bavarian Nordic’s vaccine, to be ready to vaccinate contacts of cases if needed.

Other countries, including Britain and France, are also offering or recommending vaccines to people with close contact to infected people and healthcare workers.

Bavarian Nordic, which has an annual production capacity of 30 million doses, told Reuters multiple countries have approached it interested in buying its vaccine, without providing details. A spokesperson said it does not need to expand production.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in London; Twitter @NatalieGrover; Additional reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard in Copenhagen and Michael Erman in New Jersey; editing by Michele Gershberg, Josephine Mason and Jane Merriman)

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Scientists concerned over rising case of monkeypox: How does the virus spread? – India Today

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The Monkeypox virus has now been reported from 20 countries of the world, where the viral infection is not endemic. This is one of the biggest outbreaks of the virus outside of West Africa, where it has been endemic for years. The virus has been reported in over 100 people as countries look to get ready for a counterattack with vaccines.

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The cases have now been reported in the US, the UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy among others. So far, no cases have been reported in India.

While the US has said that it has a smallpox vaccine stockpile in case of an outbreak, Germany has ordered 40,000 doses of a Bavarian Nordic vaccine to be ready to vaccinate contacts of those infected with monkeypox if an outbreak in Germany becomes more severe. The fast pace of transmission has baffled scientists, who have raised alarm bells over the developments.

The monkeypox cases so far have been mild. (Photo: Reuters)

HOW DOES MONKEYPOX SPREAD?

Monkeypox is a virus that originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and occasionally jumps to people. It belongs to the same virus family as smallpox.

The virus transmits when a person comes in contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. According to the US Based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). Meanwhile, Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding.

Scientists are also looking into human-to-human contact behind the rise in cases of the monkeypox virus. A World Health Organisation (WHO) has also speculated sexual activity at two recent raves in Europe to be the reason of the spread.

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A child affected by monkeypox, sits on his father’s legs while receiving treatment at the centre of the International medical NGO Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans frontieres – MSF), in Zomea Kaka, in the Lobaya region, in the Central African Republic. (Photo: AFP)

Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, told The Associated Press that the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves held in Spain and Belgium.

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The CDC does state that while human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets, other methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.

The monkeypox cases so far have been mild, with no deaths reported. Typically, the virus causes fever, chills, rash and lesions on the face or genitals. Most people recover within several weeks without requiring hospitalization.

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