Monday, August 3, 2009


Even for a topical subject there were a surprising number of disease stories in the news today.

Briefly the lead item on the CNN home page was a report on a PNAS paper abut the origin of Malaria:

Today scientists reported that they have discovered the origin of malaria, one of the deadliest diseases of humanity. Chimpanzees, native to equatorial Africa, have been identified as the original source of the parasite that likely moved from them to humans via mosquitoes.

Also in the news today was a story based on a Nature Medicine paper this week that describes a new strain of HIV:

These findings indicate that gorillas, in addition to chimpanzees, are likely sources of HIV. The discovery of this novel HIV lineage highlights the need to better monitor the emergence of new HIV variants, particularly in western central Africa from where existing HIV groups have originated.

Finally, the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe I mentioned has finally been declared over:

Zimbabwe's Health Minister yesterday said a cholera epidemic has ended, after more than 4200 deaths and 100 000 cases since last August, but gave warning new outbreaks remain a threat.

"The nation experienced the worst cholera outbreak between August 2008 and June 2009, but the epidemic has successfully been contained and has ended," Health Minister Henry Madzorera said.

International aid organisations said the cholera epidemic was the worst to hit Africa in 15 years and gave warning the disease had now entrenched itself as endemic in Zimbabwe.

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