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Category: epidemic

Governments around the world have spent $9 billion stockpiling a flu drug that's probably no better than aspirin and possibly harmful.

So writes Julia Belluz at Maclean's magazine...

Governments around the world have spent $9 billion stockpiling a flu drug that's probably no better than aspirin and possibly harmful.

So writes Julia Belluz at Maclean's magazine in Canada. The story was prompted by a study and a new release from the Cochrane Collaboration, a non-profit research group that produces broad reviews of the evidence for and against such things as drugs, medical procedures, and healthcare policies.

In a new review, Cochrane reports that "Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza." It reports that the...

This morning, Mom Kunthear and Justine Drennan of The Phnom Penh Post report that a new case of avian flu has been found in a two-year-old girl...

This morning, Mom Kunthear and Justine Drennan of The Phnom Penh Post report that a new case of avian flu has been found in a two-year-old girl, the fourth case of the disease in Cambodia since Jan. 1. 

The World Health Organization reports that as of Jan. 16, 610 confirmed cases of H5N1 virus infections have been reported to WHO from 15 countries. Of those infected, 360 died.

The virus generally spreads from chickens to humans, and that is believed to be what is happening in Cambodia and elsewhere. But public-health authorities worry about mutations that could make the virus transmissible from one human to another. To try to understand that risk, some labs had engineered the virus...

In a story from Los Angeles, The AP reports that a 9th case of hantavirus has been linked to Yosemite National Park. It's not an epidemic yet, and no cause for alarm, one might think. But there...

In a story from Los Angeles, The AP reports that a 9th case of hantavirus has been linked to Yosemite National Park. It's not an epidemic yet, and no cause for alarm, one might think. But there is a worrying observation tucked into the middle of the AP story. 

The AP says the disease is rare--587 cases were diagnosed in the U.S. between 1993 and 2011. "But the cases at Yosemite are more unusual. Authorities said they had not heard of more than one case of the disease in the same location within a year."

What can that mean? To my mind, that demands follow-up. This is the first cluster of cases in one place ever? If so, it's a more important story than the coverage so far suggests. Katherine Harmon addresses this...

In May and June, an EHEC epidemic started in Germany. According to the Robert Koch...

In May and June, an EHEC epidemic started in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin it was the worldwide most severe EHEC outbreak ever. About 3800 patients were diagnosed with the E.coli-variant bacteria EHEC O104:H4 and developed an enterogastritis or a hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), causing 53 deaths in Germany. The disease also spread over European countries and Northern America, too, mostly via tourists, adding 137 cases (2 deaths, one of them in the US).

As soon as the Robert Koch Institute got knowledge of the outbreak, it started an investigation. The source seemed to be salads, but whether the germ came from cucumbers or tomatoes or other ingredients was not clear, first. Later, through comparisons of recipes of restaurants...