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Originally posted by Regenmacher
I suspect there will be a renewed interest in isolating Africa as a whole.
East Africa Wheat Fungus may Pose Global Threat - Report
NAIROBI - A resilient new strain of wheat fungus from east Africa is threatening to spread to the Middle East, Asia and the Americas and bring catastrophic crop damage, scientists said on Thursday.
Researchers said the new Ug99 form of stem rust could be spread by the wind and attacked many varieties of spring and winter wheat that were resistant to other strains of the fungus.
Fish-Stocking May Spread Amphibian Disease
Science Daily — New research shows that hatchery-reared fish can spread a fungus implicated in the mass deaths of amphibian embryos in the Pacific Northwest. This is the first evidence that fish- stocking can spread amphibian diseases.
Rise of a Deadly TB Reveals a Global System in Crisis
The outbreak is not limited to Africa. Dr. Paul Nunn, a tuberculosis expert at the World Health Organization, told the meeting here that one or more cases of XDR-TB had been found in at least 28 countries. Extrapolating from data about the multidrug-resistant form of tuberculosis, Dr. Nunn estimated that two-thirds of the XDR-TB cases were from China, India and Russia.
The recipe for spreading the disease is the same throughout the world: inappropriate use of antibiotics. ...
...XDR-TB may be just as infectious as regular tuberculosis and may be highly transmissible. And that is worrisome, Dr. Weyer said, because “most public health facilities in the developing world lack airborne infection control procedures.”
....earlier this month, as if to illustrate the logistical hazards of caring for XDR-TB patients, 100 people walked out of a hospital in East London, South Africa, after paramedics wearing head-to-toe protection brought in eight patients with the disease.
In medical journals and at scientific meetings, some doctors in South Africa and elsewhere have advocated enforced confinement of XDR-TB patients. But civil liberties aside, many experts say, these advocates have not thought through the practical aspects of such isolations. Enforced isolation “is much more difficult to implement than one would think,” Dr. Weyer said.
Because XDR-TB is believed to be incurable, such patients could be detained for life or until they die. All the while, infected patients may spread the disease to others.
Moreover, the disease is an occupational hazard for the health workers caring for patients; 4 were included among the 53 in the Tugela Ferry outbreak. Two additional cases in health workers were identified later.
So Dr. Weyer raised these questions, among others: What facilities would be used? Who would volunteer to take care of XDR-TB patients? How would these workers be protected? And without getting permission, how would health officials legally detect the many health workers who are infected with H.I.V.?
Drug-resistant TB may cause pandemic
A virulent strain of tuberculosis that is resistant to most available drugs is surfacing around the globe, raising fears of a pandemic that could devastate efforts to contain TB and kill people with immune-deficiency diseases such as HIV/AIDS. ...The strain is known formally as extensively drug-resistant TB. It has been detected in 37 countries.
A retrospective analysis by the CDC found 49 cases of the new strain in the U.S. since 1993.
A report by Yale University researchers said the superbug raged through a rural hospital in South Africa in 2005 and early 2006, killing 52 of 53 who contracted it.
Global Challenges: Examining the Global Spread of XDR-TB
The Washington Post on Thursday examined how extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis -- TB that is resistant to the two most potent first-line treatments and some of the available second-line drugs -- is "raising fears" of a pandemic that could "devastate" efforts to control TB and "prove deadly" to people with HIV/AIDS and other diseases. According to the Post, XDR-TB has been detected in 37 countries. Some health experts say that at least half the people who contract XDR-TB will die of the disease.
According to Mario Raviglione, head of the World Health Organization's Stop TB Department, XDR-TB likely will mutate into a completely drug-resistant form of TB if it is not contained. "We will be left with surgery and prayers," he said, adding, "It's a desperate situation." Doctors and medical ethicists also are attempting to address the situation of people with XDR-TB who are not cooperative with treatment. Some have said that countries will have to consider forcing these people into isolation. "We have to face the possibility that restrictive measures may be necessary to control what could become a global pandemic," Ross Upshur, director of the University of Toronto's Joint Center for Bioethics, said. He added that although he is not advocating detention as a first response, "if voluntary measures fail, people do not have the right to infect others." Other experts have said forced isolation is impractical in poor countries and might drive the disease underground.