Friday, November 16, 2007
Rolling up the cells ...
Well, crap! This is not good:
ATLANTA — A mutated version of a common cold virus has caused 10 deaths in the last 18 months, U.S. health officials said this week.Ok, not to heckor any of you folks out there ... but be careful if you have a compromised immune system. You KNOW who I am talking to, right?
Adenoviruses usually cause respiratory infections that aren't considered lethal. But a new variant has caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington and Texas, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC officials don't consider the mutation to be a cause for alarm for most people, and they're not recommending any new precautions for the general public.
"It's an uncommon infection," said Dr. Larry Anderson, a CDC epidemiologist.
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Some adenoviruses have also been blamed for gastroenteritis and cystitis.
"Normally, it can cause a common cold, intestinal infection and conjunctivitis and then it goes away," said Rahimian. "But this (strain) causes severe respiratory syndrome and 5 percent of people die from this infection. So this is much more agressive. This is something we need to be concerned about and monitor very closely."
There are no good antiviral medications for adenoviruses. Patients usually are treated with aspirin, liquids and bed rest.
Some people who get infected by the new bug probably would not suffer symptoms, and some may just feel a common cold. Sick people should see a doctor if they suffer a high fever or have trouble breathing, Anderson said.
In the CDC report, the earliest case of the mutated virus was found in an infant girl in New York City, who died last year. The child seemed healthy right after birth, but then became dehydrated and lost appetite. She died 12 days after she was born.
Tests found that she been infected with a form of adenovirus, called Ad14, but with some little differences, Su said.
It's not clear how the changes made it more lethal, said Linda Gooding, an Emory University researcher who specializes in adenoviruses.
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Rahimian said people can protect themselves from the virus in the following ways:
— Regular hand-washing
— Disinfecting. and using antibacterial gels
— Stay away from people who are sick
In other 'not so alarming' news, I'm taking the night off. The Mrs is going to take the kids to Karate/Dodge Ball tonight and I'm going out to a local bar to try and kill off whatever I've contracted with scotch and vodka. Seeing some former coworkers from centuries gone by. And then, the next morning, with a full-blown hang-over, I'll be driving the Khan Clan (Kubla, Attila, Ghengis and the Mrs) to the FOB where we will spend the week feasting on grandma's tasty vittles. I will try to post, but there are NO guarantees.
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