CDC: Swine flu outbreak caused unique increase in flu incidence for season
ATLANTA The circulation of the novel H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, is responsible for a unique uptick in flu incidence for the 2008/2009 season.
According to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the United States now totals 3,009 cases with three deaths in 45 states.
But for the seasonal picture, influenza activity increased across the United States for the week ended May 2, in part because of the H1N1 virus. For the week, seven states reported widespread activity; 12 states reported regional activity; the District of Columbia and 14 states reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico and 17 states reported sporadic influenza activity.
On a regional level, the percentage of visits for influenza-like illnesses ranged from 0.5% to 4.1%. Four-of-the-10 surveillance regions reported an ILI percentage above their region specific baselines.
During week 17, seasonal influenza A (H1) A (H3), and B viruses co-circulated with novel influenza A (H1N1), the CDC reported.
Mosquito gut bacteria may inhibit malaria parasite, researchers say
BALTIMORE, Md. Bacteria in the gut of a mosquito may inhibit infection of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Scientists with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute found that removing these bacteria, or microbial flora, with antibiotics made the mosquitoes more susceptible to Plasmodium infection because of a lack of immune stimulation. Their study is published in the May 8, edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.
“Our study suggests that the microbial flora of mosquitoes is stimulating immune activity that protects the mosquito from Plasmodium infection,” stated George Dimopoulos, senior author of the study and associate professor with Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “The same immune factors that are needed to control the mosquito’s infection from the microbes are also defending against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. … The interplay between bacteria and the mosquito’s immune system may have significant implications for the transmission of malaria in the field where mosquitoes may be exposed to different types of bacteria in different regions. Theoretically, these bacteria could be introduced to the mosquitoes to boost their immunity to the malaria parasite and make them resistant and incapable of spreading the disease. Our current research aims at identifying those bacteria that trigger the strongest mosquito immune defense against the malaria parasite.”
Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year; the majority of deaths are among children living in Africa.
Herb works as anti-ulcer therapy, study shows
BEIJING A research team led by Syed Rafatullah from Saudi Arabia validated the gastric anti-ulcer properties of the herb Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER) on experimentally-induced gastric secretion and ulceration in albino rats. The study was published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
In recent years, Rocket “Eruca sativa L.” (EER), a member of the Brassicacae family, has gained greater importance as a salad vegetable and spice, especially among Middle Eastern populations and Europeans. It is believed that plants belonging to the Brassicacae family possess diversified medicinal and therapeutic properties including inhibition of tumorigenesis, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective activities.
Although the introduction of proton-pump inhibitors to the classic anti-ulcer therapy has revolutionized treatment of peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal disorders, there is still no complete cure for this disease, researchers noted. It has been shown that long term use of these drugs leads to various adverse and side effects. Relapses of the malady, ineffectiveness of different drug regimens and even resistance to drugs are emerging. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to identify more effective and safe anti-ulcer agents.
Researchers found that the ethanolic extract of EER significantly and dose-dependently reduced basal gastric acid secretion, titratable acidity and ruminal ulceration in lab rats. The authors concluded that EER extract possesses anti-ulcer activities against experimentally-induced gastric lesions.