Vol. III, No. 1~ EINet News Briefs ~ January 3, 2000
The EINet listserv was created to foster discussion, networking, and collaboration in the area of emerging infectious diseases (EID's) among academicians, scientists, and policy makers in the AsiaPacific region. We strongly encourage you to share their perspectives and experiences, as your participation directly contributes to the richness of the "electronic discussions" that occur. To respond to the listserv, use the reply function.
In this edition:
Below is a biweekly summary of AsiaPacific EID issues based on postings to the ProMED Electronic Network and other sources. ProMED is the prototype for a communications system that monitors emerging infectious diseases globally, an initiative of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), and cosponsored by WHO.
PROMISING NEWS ABOUT AIDS VACCINE A Korean research team from Pohang University of Science and Technology has developed the world's first DNA vaccine for AIDS. In its first trial, the vaccine markedly enhanced antibodies to the virus and activated immune responses to kill HIVinfected cells in monkeys.
Made from a compound of 4 FDAapproved HIV genes, the vaccine aims to activate the production of antibodies in other cells by increasing the amount of the Pol Gene in the body, an HIV gene that works to activate virusfighting cells. Clinical tests on humans can take place at any time.
A human vaccine could become available within 3 to 5 years, during which
time the market could potentially reach $30 billion worldwide.
The Ministry of Health estimates that over 400,000 persons are infected with HIV, 15,000 of which, are confirmed carriers. Cases include intravenous drug users (70%), sexually active persons (<7%), and those infected through blood transfusions and mothertoinfant transmission.
Prevention and control strategies will focus on stricter policies to
fight prostitution, narcotics use, illegal trafficking, and blood sale.
The Ministry also intends to establish AIDS and STD supervising stations
in areas where infections are more likely to spread.
HONG KONG FLU
The kinetics of the antibody responses of 16 cases of avian H5N1 and their contacts appeared similar to a primary response to a human influenza A virus. However, notable deviations from the kinetics curve were also reported. [REUTERS 12/21/99]
INDONESIAMALARIA FROM EL NINO
The drought fostered malaria infection in a number of ways: an insufficient food supply compromised nutritional status, thereby increasing the susceptibility to infection; fastmoving streams, dried up, creating stagnant pools for mosquitoes to proliferate; and food and water shortages stimulated the descent of the population to lower elevations where endemic malaria was more prevalent. During a 10week period, the death rate soared from a baseline of 6/wk to over 200/wk, most of which were associated with malaria.
The outbreak remitted after the drought eliminated the pockets of mosquito
infestation and the mass distribution of antimalarial drugs to the highland
ENCOURAGING RESULTS FROM A MALARIA VACCINE STUDY
Vaccine or placebo was administered to four groups of
children at 0 and 4 weeks, and antimalarial therapy or placebo prior
to vaccination. Blood smears were examined biweekly for 18 weeks to
determine parasite density. Although antibody titers to the proteins
increased in both vaccine groups, parasite density was 62% less in children
who didn't receive antimalarial pretreatment than in placebo recipients.
ANTIBIOTIC LINKED TO SEVERE ILLNESS IN NEWBORNS
Erythromycin was prescribed to 200 babies following exposure to a health care worker who tested positive for whooping cough. Seven newborns (<3 weeks) became ill with pyloric stenosis; all recovered shortly thereafter.
Despite a connection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) still recommends erythromycin as the treatment of choice for newborns
with known exposure to whooping cough.
POLIO VACCINE SWITCH
The vaccine was replaced with the Sabin vaccine (oral form) almost 40 years ago because it only provides immunity to the vaccinated person; as a result, unvaccinated contacts can still be infected. Whereas the oral vaccine, which contains a weakened live virus, enables the vaccinated person to confer some immunity to an unvaccinated person.
Although the risk of the oral vaccine to cause polio is small, health
officials strongly support the switch back to the intramuscular form since
it holds no such risk.
POLIO VACCINE APPEAL
Although worldwide polio eradication is targeted for the end of 2000, careful surveillance will be required during subsequent years. As a result, certification of polio eradication will probably not occur until 2005.
Approximately 5,000 cases of polio were reported this year, a 90% decrease
MAD COW AND BRAIN DISEASE
In the study, mice were inoculated with prions extracted from diseased cows. Within 250 days, all test mice developed neurological disease. During the 1990's, more than 175,000 cattle in Britain died of BSE, or madcow disease.
At least 48 fatalities in Britain have been attributed to the new form
of CJD. The European Union recently lifted a 3year ban imposed on imported
SMALLPOX RESEARCH ADVISORY
The virus stocks, currently held in highsecurity laboratories at the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Russian State
Center for Research on Virology and Biotechnology (Novosibirsk, Russia),
are scheduled for destruction in 2002, at the latest.
The Texas Health Agency has confirmed 51 cases to date.
Avoparcin, manufactured by Roche Vitamins, was banned in all European
Union member states in 1997. Its use has never been approved in North
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
The program will include plenary sessions and symposia with invited speakers, and presentations on emerging infections. Topics will include current work on surveillance, epidemiology research, communication and training, bioterrorism, and prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases in the U.S., and internationally.
The conference is organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, American Society for Microbiology, Association of Public Health Laboratories, World Health Organization (WHO), and National Foundation for CDC. Approximately 25,000 are expected to attend.
Research papers must have a direct or indirect bearing on prevention
and control strategies of dengue fever (DF)/dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
The bulletin disseminates information about the current status of DF/DHF
infection in the SouthEast Asia and Western Pacific regions. It also
provides updates about circulating DEN strains, changing epidemiological
patterns, new control strategies, and clinical management. For more information,
please contact: email@example.com
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