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Spain reports first monkeypox-related death in Europe

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(Last Updated On: July 30, 2022)

Spain reported its first death related to monkeypox outbreak on Friday, in what is thought to be Europe’s first death from the disease and only the second outside of Africa.

Brazil reported earlier on Friday the first monkeypox-related death outside the African continent in the current wave of the disease, Reuters reported.

According to a World Health Organization report from July 22, only five deaths had been reported worldwide, all in the African region.

The WHO last Saturday declared the rapidly spreading outbreak a global health emergency, its highest level of alert.

In its latest report, the Spanish Health Ministry said 4,298 cases had been confirmed in the country. Of the 3,750 patients it had information on, it said 120 had been hospitalised – accounting for 3.2% – and one had died, without providing further details.

A spokesperson for the Health Ministry declined to give further details on the deceased person.

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US and Britain roll out campaigns after poliovirus detected in water samples

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(Last Updated On: August 14, 2022)

The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples from New York and London has sparked fears of a possible public health crisis but health experts in the United States believe that the virus is unlikely to secure widespread transmission in the country, especially in highly vaccinated areas.

Medical Daily reported that the US declared the eradication of poliovirus in September 1994, and not many people are aware of the disease it causes and its symptoms at present. There is also limited awareness on how it spreads.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poliovirus spreads through person-to-person contact and other ways, such as the oral-fecal route and droplets.

Poliovirus is so contagious it can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions. Transmission is inevitable when a person makes contact with the feces from an infected person while infection via droplets from a sneeze or cough is less common, Medical Daily reported.

The CDC noted that an infected person could spread the virus almost immediately before and up to two weeks after the symptoms of the disease appear. Once the virus enters the mouth, it can stay in the intestines for many weeks. Asymptomatic people can still pass the virus to other people and make them sick, the report read.

Last month, the US reported its first case of polio in almost a decade.

Meanwhile, Britain rolled out urgent polio vaccinations this week for all London-based children below 10 after the discovery of polio traces in sewage samples across several London boroughs. The move was made after the detection of polio in wastewater samples from New York, London and even Israel sparked fears of a wider outbreak.

Among the symptoms of polio, paralysis is the one most commonly associated with the disease since it can lead to permanent disability or even death. Scientific data showed between 2 and 10 out of 200 infected people develop paralysis and die because the virus can significantly impact the muscles used for breathing.

Since there is no cure or specific treatment for paralytic polio, patients rely on long-term physical or occupational therapy to help them with arm or leg weakness.

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Pakistani doctors treat 3,764 Afghan patients at free eye clinic in Kabul

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(Last Updated On: August 12, 2022)

A team of Pakistani ophthalmologists examined a total of 3,764 Afghan patients at a four-day free eye clinic at Noor Hospital in Kabul this past week.

The free clinic was organized by an 11-member team of Pakistani doctors in collaboration with the Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum, Al Khidmat Foundation, and Afghan Ministry of Public Health.

The Pakistani doctors performed a total of 516 surgeries. These included 482 cataract surgeries, 22 oculoplastic surgeries and 12 vitreoretinal surgeries.

Dr. Zahir Gul Zadran, head of Noor Hospital, thanked the organizers for their support and said: “These doctors have also brought medical equipment to this hospital for the treatment of patients, the value of which is about Rs 2.4 million lakhs ($10 million).

Zadran said this was the second time that these doctors visited Noor Hospital to treat Afghan patients.

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New Langya virus infects 35 people in China

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

A new virus, which can be transmitted to humans from animals, has infected 35 people in Shandong and Henan provinces, according to a study by scientists from China, Singapore and Australia published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

So far, there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

The Henipavirus (also called Langya henipavirus or LayV) was first detected in late 2018 but was only formally identified by scientists last week, the Guardian reported.

It was discovered  thanks to an early detection system for feverish people with a recent history of exposure to animals, Bloomberg reported.

The virus was found after throat swabs were taken from the patients who were mostly farmers.

The virus is entirely novel, meaning it has not infected humans before.

But two viruses from the same family had been identified previously – the Hendra virus and Nipah virus. Both can cause severe and sometimes fatal illnesses. There are no vaccines or treatments, The Sun reported.

So far, the cases have not been fatal or very serious, so there is no need for panic, said Professor Wang Linfa from the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore who was involved in the study.

He added that it is still a cause for alarm as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.

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