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Biological Hazard – Chikungunya Outbreak: Florida

Biological Health Hazard  –  Chikungunya Virus

North-America -  USA | State of Florida, Statewide
Bio-hazard Level: 2/4 Medium
Location: N 37° 39.224, W 97° 31.483
Deaths: unknown
Infected: 11

Mosquito Virus That Walloped Caribbean Spreads in U.S.  Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 at 19:47:15 UTC


(Bloomberg) 11 cases have been confirmed as originating in Florida, spurring concern this may be the beginning of the type of explosive growth seen elsewhere from a disease that has no vaccine or cure. Medical and environmental experts are debating how best to quell the outbreak before it takes off.

Patients who contract Chikungunya have joint swelling and pain, fever, headache and rash for about a week, though some symptoms last months or years in some patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the disease generally isn’t fatal, more than 100 people have died in the Western Hemisphere since December, according to the Pan American Health Organization. Treatment includes hydration, rest and medicine that reduces fever or pain such ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Now that Chikungunya is in Florida, it could infect 10,000 people in that state alone, according to Walter Tabachnick, the director of the Florida Medical Entymology Laboratory, who said his estimate is based on the exponential growth of other outbreaks. More than 700,000 people, for instance, are suspected of being infected with the virus in South America, Central America and the Caribbean since it appeared there, according to the Pan American Health Organization.

An outbreak of several thousand people in Florida could swamp existing medical facilities, putting at risk the state’s large elderly population, according to Tabachnick.

The two types of mosquitoes that carry the virus tend live to among humans, inside people’s houses. That’s unlike West Nile virus, which is spread by a mosquito that lives outside. In Florida similar efforts to stop Chikungunya early on have faltered. Mosquito control efforts have been “particularly unsuccessful,”

The Florida Department of Health and the CDC have issued warnings on the illness and urged people to avoid mosquito bites if they become infected with Chikungunya, since that can infect the mosquitoes, and in turn spread the disease to more people.

Dengue fever, the Chikungunya virus and the Zika virus are spread by the bite of an… Read More

Full article as reported by Kelly Gilblom at

Unchecked Biological Health Hazards – International Travel and Health Risks. Using common sense or not

The potential hazards of chosen destinations for travelers and immigrants, both legal and illegal, and the counties receiving them, need to have an understanding of how best to protect health and minimize the risk of its population from acquiring disease and infection. However, in some if not many cases this important aspect is often overlooked and/or put aside for political reasons, sometime to the detriment of its population and the country or region at large.

Key factors in determining the risks to which a traveler or those in contact with them ,may be exposed are:

  1. mode of transport
  2. destination(s)
  3. duration and season of travel
  4. purpose of travel
  5. standards of accommodation, food hygiene and sanitation
  6. behavior of the traveler
  7. underlying health of the traveler.

Disease information for type and description of specific infectious diseases posing potential health risks for travelers is provided here, as well as below. It does not include vaccine-preventable diseases.

Infectious diseases of potential risk:

Depending on the travel destination, travelers and those at their domestic destinations may be exposed to a number of infectious diseases; exposure depends on the presence of infectious agents in the area of origin. The for the non-emigrant traveler, the risk of becoming infected will also vary according to the purpose of the trip and the itinerary within the area, the standards of accommodation, hygiene and sanitation, as well as the behavior of the traveler. In some instances, disease can be prevented by vaccination, but there are some infectious diseases, including some of the most important and most dangerous, for which no vaccines exist.

General precautions can greatly reduce the risk of exposure to infectious agents and should always be taken for visits to any destination where there is a significant risk of exposure, regardless of whether any vaccinations or medication have been administered.

Modes of transmission and general precautions

The modes of transmission for different infectious diseases and the corresponding general precautions are outlined in the following paragraphs.

  1. Foodborne and waterborne diseases
  2. Vector-borne diseases
  3. Zoonoses (diseases transmitted by animals)
  4. Sexually transmitted diseases
  5. Bloodborne diseases
  6. Airborne diseases
  7. Diseases transmitted via soil

Specific infectious diseases involving potential health risks for travelers

The main infectious diseases to which travelers may be exposed, and precautions for each, are detailed on the following pages. Information on malaria, one of the most important infectious disease threats for travelers, is provided in topical publications provided by WHO and other sources. The infectious diseases described in these documents have been selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. diseases that have a sufficiently high global or regional prevalence to constitute a significant risk for travelers;
  2. diseases that are severe and life-threatening, even though the risk of exposure may be low for most travelers;
  3. diseases for which the perceived risk may be much greater than the real risk, and which may therefore cause anxiety to travelers;
  4. diseases that involve a public health risk due to transmission of infection to others by the infected traveler.

Information about available vaccines and indications for their use by travelers is also available. Advice concerning the diseases for which vaccination is routinely administered in childhood, i.e. diphtheria, measles, mumps and rubella, pertussis, poliomyelitis and tetanus, and the use of the corresponding vaccines later in life and for travel, is also given.

The most common infectious illness to affect travelers, namely travelers’ diarrhea. Because travelers’ diarrhea can be caused by many different foodborne and waterborne infectious agents, for which treatment and precautions are essentially the same, the illness is not included with the specific infectious diseases.

Some of the diseases such as brucellosis, HIV/AIDS, leishmaniasis and TB, have prolonged and variable incubation periods. Clinical manifestations of these diseases may appear long after the return from travel, so that the link with the travel destination where the infection was acquired may not be readily apparent.

The list below does not include vaccine-preventable diseases).

  1. Amoebiasis
  2. Angiostrongyliasis
  3. Anthrax
  4. Brucellosis
  5. Chikungunya
  6. Coccidioidomycosis
  7. Dengue
  8. Giardiasis
  9. Haemorrhagic fevers
  10. Hantavirus diseases
  11. Hepatitis C
  12. Hepatitis E
  13. Histoplasmosis
  14. HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections
  15. Legionellosis
  16. Leishmaniasis (cutaneous, mucosal and visceral forms)
  17. Leptospirosis (including Weil disease)
  18. Listeriosis
  19. Lyme Borreliosis (Lyme disease)
  20. Lymphatic filariasis
  21. Malaria
  22. Onchocerciasis
  23. Plague
  24. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
  25. Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis)
  26. Trypanosomiasis
  27. Typhus fever (Epidemic louse-borne typhus)
  28. Zoonotic influenza

Other immigration and travel health risks

  1. Environmental risks
  2. Exposure to blood and other body fluids
  3. Infectious diseases and potential risks
  4. Injury and violence
  5. Psychological health

Information Sources The World Health Organization

Biological/Epidemic Hazard – H5N1 (highly pathogenic avian influenza virus): Egypt

Biological Hazard – H5N1 (highly pathogenic avian influenza)

Africa  – Egypt | Governorate of Giza
Bio-hazard Level: 4/4 Hazardous 
Affected unknown
Location: N 30° 0.783, E 31° 12.531
Deaths: Unknown
Infected: 1

Biological Hazard in Egypt on Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 at 17:12 (05:12 PM) UTC.

The Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, Dr. Adel Adawi announced a human case of H5N1 avian influenza (AI) in a 3 month girl from the Giza governorate (computer translated). The case, according to the Minister, the date of onset of the illness was Monday, 9/22/ 2014, where she was presenting symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough and vomiting. The girl’s parents took her to the Hospital of the Abbasid and she was released three days later. They said the child had exposure to dead birds. A throat sample was taken and analyzed and confirmed positive for avian influenza virus (A / H5N1). The child was treated with Tamiflu and is reportably in stable condition. According to the Health Ministry, this is the fourth human H5N1 AI case of 2014. However, the people at FluTrackers point out that this is the fifth case of the bird flu, writing on their site.

Previous Report:

Biological Hazard in Egypt on Tuesday, 15 July, 2014 at 03:11 (03:11 AM) UTC.

Health officials in Egypt recently reported a deadly new case of avian influenza A (H5N1) in the Menia governorate, bringing the total number of cases confirmed in Egypt to 176. A 34-year-old male construction worker was admitted to the hospital late last month after developing symptoms of the virus, including fever, sore throat, cough and difficulty breathing. He died approximately two weeks later after being listed in critical condition. An initial investigation found the man had close contact with infected poultry at a market near his home, according to the World Health Organization. The WHO said local authorities have since implemented measures to prevent further infection from the poultry market. Three of the four avian influenza A cases reported in 2013 resulted in death. This year, just three cases of the virus were reported, with the most recent patient as the only fatality.


Biological/Epidemic Health Risk – MERS-COv Disease Outbreak : Austria

Biological Health Hazard – MERS-COv Disease Outbreak

Epidemic Hazard  – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-COv)
Europe – Austria | Capital,  Wien
Bio-hazard Level: 4/4 Hazardous
Location:   N 48° 12.490, E 16° 22.429
Deaths:  unknown
Infected: 1

Biological Hazard in Austria on Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 at 17:09 (05:09 PM) UTC.

Austrian health authorities confirmed the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and said Tuesday that the female patient from Saudi Arabia was in critical condition.
“The patient is responding to therapy and is on the path to stable condition,” a hospital spokeswoman said. The woman had arrived in Austria a few days earlier and was admitted to an isolation ward in a Vienna hospital, the Health Ministry said Monday. A dozen cases of MERS have been recorded in the European Union sofar, the ministry said. The strain of the coronav irus that causes MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).In July, WHO confirmed 291 deaths globally and 837laboratory-confirmed cases of infection. MERS has similarities to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)that broke out in Asia in 2003. It is deadlier but has a lower rate of transmission, with symptoms including fever, pneumonia and kidney failure.


Biological Health Hazard – Typhus Fever Outbreak: India

Epidemic Hazard  – Typhus Fever (Epidemic louse-borne typhus)

Asia – India | State of Rajasthan, Kota division
Bio-hazard Level: 3/4 High
Location: N 25° 10.950, E 75° 50.333
Deaths: 0
Infected: 220

Biological Hazard in India on Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 at 14:12 (02:12 PM) UTC.

Total number of scrub typhus cases has shot up to 220 in Kota division with 27 new cases being reported, a senior health official said here today. Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Kota, R N Yadav said 27 new scrub typhus patients surfaced yesterday, with 14 confirmed positive through Elisa test and the remaining 13 through card test. At least 10 people infected with the disease have died in city hospitals so far with six from Kota division, two from Madhya Pradesh and two from the adjoining districts of Bhilwara and Chittogarh respectively, Dr Yadav said. 54 patients of the disease have been detected in Kota district, 35 in Bundi, 33 in Baran and 51 in Jhalawar districts in the region, Yadav said. 40 patients from Madhya Pradesh and seven from other districts of Rajasthan are receiving medical treatment for the fever at different hospitals in the city, Yadav said. Medical officers are on alert and have been asked to carry out survey in areas where the patients with fever have been found, Yadav said. Through the tests carried out, four other patients have also been detected positive for malaria, he added.


Disease information:

Cause: Rickettsia prowazekii.

Transmission: The disease is transmitted by the human body louse, which becomes infected by feeding on the blood of patients with acute typhus fever. Infected lice excrete rickettsia onto the skin while feeding on a second host, who becomes infected by rubbing louse faecal matter or crushed lice into the bite wound. There is no animal reservoir.

Nature of the disease: The onset is variable but often sudden, with headache, chills, high fever, prostration, coughing and severe muscular pain. After 5–6 days, a macular skin eruption (dark spots) develops first on the upper trunk and spreads to the rest of the body but usually not to the face, palms of the hands or soles of the feet. The case–fatality rate is up to 40% in the absence of specific treatment. Louse-borne typhus fever is the only rickettsial disease that can cause explosive epidemics.

Geographical distribution: Typhus fever occurs in colder (i.e. mountainous) regions of central and eastern Africa, central and South America, and Asia. In recent years, most outbreaks have taken place in Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Typhus fever occurs in conditions of overcrowding and poor hygiene, such as in prisons and refugee camps.

Risk for travelers: Very low for most travelers. Humanitarian relief workers may be exposed in refugee camps and other settings characterized by crowding and poor hygiene.

Prophylaxis: None.

Precautions:Cleanliness is important in preventing infestation by body lice. Insecticidal powders are available for body-louse control and treatment of clothing for those at high risk of exposure.

Source: World Health Organization, International travel and health

Even during the Famine of a Cultural Revolution there is “Food for Thought”

The kind of poverty and subsistence living that my father and millions of other Chinese people grew up with was a direct result of the poor policies driven by the government’s overzealous push for economic equality through command and control. Yet the only thing Chinese people equally shared was misery. (pg. 21, “Food for Thought”)

This is an excerpt from Helen Raleigh’s book Confucius Never SaidMarjorie Haun in an article at American Thinker provides an excellent and insightful overview, her article follows in its entirety.

Confucius Shrugged

Helen Raleigh’s cleverly titled book Confucius Never Said is an instructional primer in Randian Capitalism contrasted against a bleak mural of Communist ingress. Raleigh, a first-generation American whose great-grandfather was persecuted by the communists in the 1940s, and whose father, in the 1950s, escaped the oppression of his home village, has given us a powerful moral argument for Capitalism in a simple recounting of the human tragedies made possible by its absence.

The power of Confucius Never Said comes from Raleigh’s binding of generations of family memory; the wisdom gained through experiencing the conditions of life prior to and during China’s Communist Era contrasted with with her own experiences as a free woman in America. Ayn Rand would be pleased with Raleigh’s approach to capitalist thought; a cautionary tale documenting the creeping tolerance of collectivism by an easily manipulated population.

A straightforward personal history, Raleigh’s book, her first, begins with the story of her great-grandfather who at the turn of the last century was born in Shandong Province, the ancestral home of the venerated Chinese philosopher, Confucius. The author sets the philosophical stage for 20th century radical socialism by detailing the principles taught by Confucius. Confucianism sets forth strict rules of order and social conduct, which historically provided a point of reference for Chinese culture. Absent the “all men created equal” and “government by the people” ideals of the United States, Confucius nevertheless encouraged respect for citizens by rulers, respect for the rulers by citizens, and respect for the individual duties given to each man to regulate his own actions, thus promoting peace and order for all. One might refer to Confucianism as a sort of benevolent collectivism that, tragically, may have made the Communist victory in China easier than it would have been in a western Democracy.

“An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.” ~Confucius

The Communist takeover of China began with a reordering of class structure; what modern Progressives would refer to as “leveling the playing field.” But in Raleigh’s account of her family’s personal experiences, we see how “collective progress” incrementally strips away class, wealth, property, freedom, and eventually life in its inexorable march to totalitarian government.

Chapter 1 describes how, in the late 1940s, Communists used “Land Reform” efforts to set the land-owner and peasant classes in conflict with one another. Following the Soviet model, villages were controlled by Communist Party members, and land was confiscated from landlords and redistributed among the poor. This subversion of agrarian traditions required a campaign of propaganda that exploited the grievances of the “working class,” thus making hatred, aggression and theft directed at landowners more palatable; what modern Progressives would call “social justice.” It’s believed that during this campaign between 1949 and 1953, at least one million landowners were rounded up and executed.

Raleigh’s great-grandfather, a landowner whose modest holdings were acquired through years of toil, was denounced by the Communists and dispossessed of his private property, but his life, unlike many others, was spared. In the following chapters, the story of Helen Raleigh’s father, the “Landlord’s Grandson,” is traced from his early life before communist rule, through his teenage years during the devastating Chinese famine of the 1950s, which debilitated national morale and left millions dead.

Through a number of fortunate turns, Raleigh’s father was able to escape the hopelessness of his village, and become educated as an engineer in Beijing. The author uses these memories to illustrate how the Chinese Communists supplanted family traditions with state identity. Oral and written genealogy was discouraged. The family structure was weakened through classism and displacement, and the traditional Chinese veneration of ancestors was replaced with fear and obedience to village leaders and the state they represented. Using Marxist devices, familial bonds to past and present generations were obliterated, making the state the ultimate and only authority. Though Raleigh’s father “chose to do whatever it took to change his fate,” she sums up the net effect of China’s experiment in Socialism:

The kind of poverty and subsistence living that my father and millions of other Chinese people grew up with was a direct result of the poor policies driven by the government’s overzealous push for economic equality through command and control. Yet the only thing Chinese people equally shared was misery. (pg. 21, “Food for Thought”)

Each chapter of Confucius Never Said ends with a short postlude that Raleigh calls “Food for Thought.” As the chronologically-ordered chapters relate the author’s family saga, her “Food for Thought” summaries connect the dots between historical events and Marxist principles, as expressed in Chinese social policy, Communist Party machinations, and the punishing government force of the time. Raleigh also draws unpleasant parallels with 21st Century American Progressivism, and the alarming inroads made by Marxists following the election of Barack Obama, whose path to power was paved by the work and philosophies of avowed Communists, from Frank Marshall Davis to Van Jones.

Raleigh confronts the illusory, yet seductive, idea of “fairness,” used universally by Socialists to justify state theft of private property from those who earn to be redistributed to those who do not:

Many people who grow up in this environment don’t realize that government assistance comes with two notable costs: the unfair cost to those whose wealth is confiscated to support the government programs and the cost to those on the receiving end who pay by giving up freedom and dignity. (pg. 21 “Food for Thought”)

Chapter 3, devoted to Mao Tse-tung’s insurgence between 1949 and 1959, describes not only the misery, starvation, and displacement of millions, but the manipulation of information by state propagandists as well. Few were aware of the full scale of the unfolding Communist disaster. Intended treachery and violence were renamed or simply hidden, but inscrutable policies, such as that which lead the government to increase grain exports while its own people starved during China’s worst famine in memory, were never elucidated in any meaningful way.  “In China, official archives about the Famine are still largely sealed by the government and difficult to access. We can only estimate that the death toll of the Chinese Famine ranges between thirty and sixty million.” (pg. 31) In that chapter’s summary Raleigh exposes the way state propagandists successfully hid the horrendous crimes of Chinese Communism, and still do, to this day:

If you google “China’s Famine,” you will see a lot of gruesome images. Yet in China, the Great Famine remains a taboo subject. Some people in China claim that Mao had good intentions. They believe that Mao merely misstepped in his implementation. The government hid official records of the Famine from the majority of Chinese people in order to preserve Mao’s “savior of China” image. (pg. 33 “Food for Thought”)

Raleigh’s sternest warnings follow the chapters recalling the bloody horrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Tolerance for ever-growing government power:

Mao’s Cultural Revolution might be an extreme case in world history, but that doesn’t mean it won’t reemerge in various degrees, shapes, and forms in other countries. The lesson from the Cultural Revolution has universal implications. Are your forging your own chain right now? (pg. 67 “Food for Thought”)

Dissolution of the traditional family:

It concerns me deeply that one of the most obvious unintended consequences of the welfare policies in the U.S. in the collapse of marriages and families…No one can be truly free if he or she is chained to the welfare system. (pg. 79 “Food for Thought”)

Loss of privacy:

Why do communists hate privacy? Because they want absolute control, and the only way to do that is to control people’s intimate thoughts and behaviors. The totalitarian government in China showed no regard for people’s right to privacy because there is no “individual” in communism. (pg. 94 “Food for Thought”)

Thought control:

It is disturbing how much the socialist ideology emphasizes the virtue of self-sacrifice. Mao promoted selflessness and self-sacrifice through a mass campaign of the make-believe example of Lei Feng. But the real motive of his campaign was selfish, because communism was founded upon the belief that an individual must sacrifice for the collective in order to achieve the common good. Government requirements always took precedence over individual preference. (pg. 103 “Food for Thought”)

Rays of light from the West broke through the fog of communist misinformation with Chinese attempts at economic reform in the 1980s. This was largely due the exposure of images and stories of western wealth and personal freedom to Chinese citizens. The communist government was weakened as people recognized that there was a better way of life, and people in free countries were living it.

Confucius Never Said, like a shadow cast on the American conscience, reminds us that life can be much worse, and is for people in countries where freedom is limited. And it cautions us that a similar fate looms for us if we don’t change our national trajectory now. Despite all of its gentle wisdom for harmonious living, Confucianism lacks the strong individualism of western traditions. America’s fate does not have to be tied to China’s past, present, or future.  The belief that solutions are found with individuals, not the collective, is still America’s defining characteristic.

Confucius Never Said is at once a paean to the morality of genuinely Free Markets and the free exchange of wealth and ideas, as well as an alarm bell. Chinese Communism is again on the move. Once confined by its own stubborn adherence to a rigid state economy, Communist China, thorough corporatism and “economic reforms,” now stretches its arms of influence beyond its own borders and deeply into western economies. China’s allies include sworn enemies of America, and Communist China has never lost its appetite for control of world markets and vast swaths of resource-rich lands. This is why Helen Raleigh’s new book, a cautionary tale of the rise of Communism in 20th Century China, is more important today than ever before.

Biological Health Hazard – Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola virus): Dallas, Texas

Epidemic Hazard  – Hemorrhagic Fever (Ebola virus)

North America  - USA | State of Texas, Dallas, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
Bio-hazard Level: 4/4 Hazardous
Location:  N 32° 46.808, W 96° 48.027
Deaths:  0
Infected:  unknown

Biological Hazard in USA on Tuesday, 30 September, 2014 at 05:00 (05:00 AM) UTC.

A Dallas hospital expects preliminary test results Tuesday that may confirm whether a patient there has Ebola. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas placed the patient into “strict isolation” after the person’s symptoms and recent travel history raised concerns, spokeswoman Candace White said in a written statement Monday. The name and other details about the patient were not released. The hospital said it is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to ensure the safety of patients, staff members and visitors. No Ebola cases have been confirmed in the United States, though several aid workers who contracted the disease in West Africa have returned to the U.S. for treatment. Last month, patients in Sacramento and New York City were isolated because of concerns they’d contracted the disease, but they tested negative for the virus. Specimens from such patients are delivered to the CDC in Atlanta for testing that takes 24 to 48 hours. There have been more than 6,500 cases of the disease in Africa and more than 3,000 deaths have been linked to it, according to the World Health Organization. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hit the hardest. Ebola has killed up to 90 percent of those it has infected, but the death rate in this outbreak is closer to 60 percent because of early treatment. The virus spreads through direct contact with blood, organs or other bodily fluids and with surfaces contaminated with the fluids. Early signs of Ebola such as fever, diarrhea and vomiting can develop within two days of infection. There is no specific treatment for Ebola, but doctors can provide fluids and pain relief before symptoms become severe. Death occurs from profuse internal and external bleeding that starves the organs of blood. Dr. Kent Brantly, a Fort Worth physician who contracted the virus in July while doing relief work in Africa, was treated in an Atlanta hospital. He was discharged in August after nearly three weeks of treatment. He and another American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, received an experimental treatment called ZMapp. It’s unknown whether the drug helped or whether they improved on their own. On Sunday, an American doctor who was exposed to the Ebola virus while volunteering in Sierra Leone was admitted to an isolation unit at a hospital at the National Institutes of Health near Washington D.C. Another aid worker who contracted Ebola while volunteering in West Africa also remains hospitalized.


Related Media Reviews:

Ebola case in Dallas confirmed by CDC, first diagnosis in U.S.
There’s Really No Way To Screen for Ebola at Airports
Will CDC Activate Emergency Measures After Ebola Confirmed in US?


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