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Coronavirus may be the 'disease X' health agency warned about – MENAFN.COM

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(MENAFN – Gulf Times) The World Health Organisation cautioned years ago that a mysterious ”disease X could spark an international contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender.
From recent reports about the stealthy ways the so-called Covid-19 virus spreads and maims, a picture is emerging of an enigmatic pathogen whose effects are mainly mild, but which occasionally and unpredictably turns deadly in the second week. In less than three months, it”s infected about 77,000 people, mostly in China, and killed more than 2,200.
”Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category, Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and a member of the WHO”s emergency committee, wrote on Wednesday in the journal Cell.
The disease has now spread to more than two dozen countries and territories. Some of those infected caught the virus in their local community and have no known link to China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
”We are not seeing community spread here in the US yet, but it”s very possible – even likely – that it may eventually happen, Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC”s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters on Friday.
Unlike Sars, its viral cousin, the COVID-19 virus replicates at high concentrations in the nose and throat akin to the common cold, and appears capable of spreading from those who show no, or mild, symptoms. That makes it impossible to control using the fever-checking measures that helped stop Sars 17 years ago.

Spreading surreptitiously
A cluster of cases within a family living in the Chinese city of Anyang is presumed to have begun when a 20-year-old woman carried the virus from Wuhan, the outbreak”s epicentre, on January 10 and spread it while experiencing no illness, researchers said on Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Five relatives subsequently developed fever and respiratory symptoms. Covid-19 is less deadly than Sars, which had a case fatality rate of 9.5%, but appears more contagious. Both viruses attack the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, via which they can potentially spread.
While more than 80% of patients are reported to have a mild version of the disease and will recover, about one in seven develops pneumonia, difficulty breathing and other severe symptoms. About 5% of patients have critical illness, including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure.
”Unlike Sars, COVID-19 infection has a broader spectrum of severity ranging from asymptomatic to mildly symptomatic to severe illness that requires mechanical ventilation, doctors in Singapore said in a paper in the same medical journal on Thursday. ”Clinical progression of the illness appears similar to Sars: patients developed pneumonia around the end of the first week to the beginning of the second week of illness.

Unpredictable illness
Older adults, especially those with chronic conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes, have been found to have a higher risk of severe illness. Still, ”the experience to date in Singapore is that patients without significant co-morbid conditions can also develop severe illness, they said.
Li Wenliang, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist who was one of the first to warn about the coronavirus in Wuhan, died earlier this month after receiving antibodies, antivirals, antibiotics, oxygen and having his blood pumped through an artificial lung.
The doctor, who was in good health prior to his infection, appeared to have a relatively mild case until his lungs became inflamed, leading to the man”s death two days later, said Linfa Wang, who heads the emerging infectious disease programme at Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School.
A similar pattern of inflammation noted among Covid-19 patients was observed in those who succumbed to the 1918 ”Spanish flu pandemic, said Gregory A Poland, the Mary Lowell Leary emeritus professor of medicine, infectious diseases, and molecular pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
”Whenever, you have an infection, you have a battle going on, Poland said in a phone interview on Thursday. ”And that battle is a battle between the damage that the virus is doing, and the damage the body can do when it tries to fight it off.

Mild symptoms
Doctors studying a 50-year-old man who died in China last month found Covid-19 gave him mild chills and dry cough at the start, enabling him to continue working. But on his ninth day of illness, he was hospitalised with fatigue and shortness of breath, and treated with a barrage of germ-fighting and immune system-modulating treatments.
He died five days later with lung damage reminiscent of SARS and MERS, another coronavirus-related outbreak, doctors at the Fifth Medical Center of PLA General Hospital in Beijing said in a February 16 study in the Lancet medical journal. Blood tests showed an over-activation of a type of infection-fighting cell that accounted for part of the ”severe immune injury he sustained, the authors said.
Controversially, he had been given 80 milligrams twice daily of methylprednisolone, an immune-suppressing corticosteroid drug that”s in common use in China for severe cases, though has been linked to ”prolonged viral shedding in earlier studies of MERS, Sars and influenza, according to the WHO.
The patient”s doctors recommended corticosteroids be considered alongside ventilator support for severely ill patients to prevent a deadly complication known as acute respiratory distress syndrome.
He was given at least double what would typically be recommended for patients with the syndrome and other respiratory indications, said Reed Siemieniuk, a general internist and a health research methodologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Based on what was observed with Mers, the drug may delay viral clearance in Covid-19 patients, he said.
”Corticosteroids could cause more harm than good because of that risk, Siemieniuk said in an interview. ”I wouldn”t want to let a patient die without trying steroids, but I would wait until patients were extremely ill.

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COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA – For the first time, the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Canadian wildlife.

Environment Canada says the virus was detected late last month in three wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.

The department says the deer all appeared healthy and showed no clinical signs of COVID-19.

The discovery follows recent reports of the virus spreading among white-tailed deer in the United States.

There has so far been no known transmission of COVID-19 from deer to humans and Environment Canada says it remains “largely a disease of human concern and typically spreads from human to human.”

Still, until more is known, it says anyone exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer should wear a well-fitting mask and avoid splashing of fluids as much as possible.

COVID-19 has infected multiple species of animals, including dogs, cats, farmed mink and zoo animals. But this is the first time in Canada that it has spilled over into wildlife.

Deer in the Estrie region of Quebec were sampled Nov. 6 to 8. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the virus in three of them on Monday. The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on Wednesday.

“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” Environment Canada said in a news release Wednesday.

“This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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