SALMONELLA PEANUT OUTBREAK-In late 2008 and early 2009, nine people died and at least 691 people, half of them children, became sick, in 46 states in the outbreak of food poisoning from eating products containing peanuts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among persons with available information, 23% reported being hospitalized. The real numbers are likely much higher, since for every reported case of salmonella, another 38 cases go unreported, according to the CDC.
MELAMINE SCARE- On 17 September 2008, Health Minister Chen Zhu stated that tainted milk formula had "sickened more than 6,200 children, and that more than 1,300 others, mostly newborns, remain hospitalised with 158 suffering from acute kidney failure". By 23 September, about 54,000 children were reported to be sick and 4 had died. An additional 10,000 cases were reported from the provinces by 26 September. A World Health Organisation official said 82 percent of the children made ill were 2 years of age or below. The Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety said that 99% of victims were aged under 3 years. Ten Hong Kong children were diagnosed with kidney problems, at least four cases were detected in Macau, and six in Taiwan. Non-human casualties included a lion cub and two baby orangutans which had been fed Sanlu milk powder at Hangzhou Zoo.
MENINGOCCOCCEMIA-Meningoccocemia (which can be more lethal than SARs) that hit the headlines. Meningococcemia can kill more rapidly than any other infectious disease. Death may happen almost immediately when an individual inhaled air droplets or respiratory secretions contaminated with the bacterium from an afflicted person. However, persons with stronger defenses may resist the offensive of the disease within 10 days starting from affliction. There had been no reported cases in Baguio City for the past five years until last October 2004, when nine of the two dozen infected cases died.Meningococcal infections remains to be a serious health problem throughout the world. Neisseria meningitides strains are classified into serogroups of which 13 has been identified. Groups A, B, C, Y and W-135 are the major pathogens involved in human disease.
BIRDS FLU ATTACK-The global spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 in birds is considered a significant pandemic threat.While other H5N1 strains are known, they are significantly different from a current, highly pathogenic H5N1 strain on a genetic level, making the global spread of this new strain unprecedented. The H5N1 strain is a fast-mutating, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) found in multiple bird species. In the first two months of 2006 H5N1 spread to other Asian countries (such as India), north Africa, and Europe in wild bird populations possibly signaling the beginning of H5N1 being endemic in wild migratory bird populations on multiple continents for decades, permanently changing the way poultry are farmed. In addition, the spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 to wild birds, birds in zoos and even sometimes to mammals (example: pet cats) raises many unanswered questions concerning best practices for threat mitigation, trying to balance reducing risks of human and nonhuman deaths from the current nonpandemic strain with reducing possible pandemic deaths by limiting its chances of mutating into a pandemic strain. Not using vaccines can result in the need to kill significant numbers of farm and zoo birds, while using vaccines can increase the chance of a flu pandemic.
S.A.R.S OUTBREAK- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory disease in humans which is caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). There has been one near pandemic to date, between the months of November 2002 and July 2003, with 8,096 known infected cases and 774 deaths (a case-fatality rate of 9.6%) worldwide being listed in the World Health Organization's (WHO) 21 April 2004 concluding report. Within a matter of weeks in early 2003, SARS spread from the Guangdong province of China to rapidly infect individuals in some 37 countries around the world. As of May 2006, the spread of SARS has been fully contained thanks to the efforts of the WHO, with the last infected human case seen in June 2003 (disregarding a laboratory induced infection case in 2004). However, SARS is not claimed to have been eradicated (unlike smallpox), as it may still be present in its natural host reservoirs (animal populations) and may potentially return into the human population in the future.
SWINE FLU OUTBREAK: Swine influenza refers to influenza caused by those strains of influenza virus, called swine influenza virus (SIV), that usually infect (is endemic in) pigs. As of 2009 these strains are all found in Influenza C virus and the subtypes of Influenza A virus known as H1N1, H1N2, H3N1, H3N2, and H2N3. Swine influenza is common in pigs in the midwestern United States (and occasionally in other states), Mexico, Canada, South America, Europe (including the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Italy), Kenya, Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan and other parts of eastern Asia.The 2009 flu outbreak in humans, known as "swine flu", is due to a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that contains genes closely related to swine influenza. The origin of this new strain is unknown. However, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports that this strain has not been isolated in pigs. This strain can be transmitted from human to human, and causes the normal symptoms of influenza.