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Big Daddy
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:51 pm  Reply with quote

Joined: 24 May 2007
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Virulent form of cold virus worries experts
By Will Dunham Thu Nov 15, 7:52 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new and virulent strain of adenovirus, which frequently causes the common cold, killed 10 people in parts of the United States earlier this year and put dozens into hospitals, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.
A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report detailed cases of people ill in May of 2006 and from March to June of 2007 with a strain of the virus called adenovirus 14 in New York, Oregon, Washington state and Texas.

"Whether you're a healthy young adult, an infant or an elderly person, this virus can cause severe respiratory disease at any age," said John Su, who investigates infectious diseases for the CDC and contributed to the report.
"What makes this particular adenovirus a little different is that it has the capability of making healthy young adults severely ill. And that's unusual for an adenovirus, and that's why it's got our attention," Su said in a telephone interview.

Two of the 10 people who died from the new strain were infants, Su said. The CDC report said about 140 people were sickened by the virus and more than 50 hospitalized, including 24 admitted to intensive care units.
One of those who died was a 19-year-old female recruit at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas where other cases were found.
"Adenoviruses are notorious for causing illnesses, particularly in military recruits," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

A CDC spokesman said there was no evidence the virus was currently causing disease anywhere in the United States.
Adenoviruses frequently cause acute upper respiratory tract infections like the common cold, but also can cause other illnesses including inflammation of the stomach and intestines, pink eye, bladder infection and rashes.
Colds caused by adenoviruses can be very severe in the very young and the very old as well as in certain other people, like those with compromised immune systems.

Dr. William Schaffner, a spokesman for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said an important next step is for public health officials to determine the dimension of the problem.
"I think this is a big alert to those of us in infectious diseases and public health to gather the appropriate specimens and see how widely distributed this virus is," said Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.
The first case described in the report was that of an infant girl in New York City who died in May 2006. Seven other people died in Oregon, including an infant. And a patient with AIDS died in Washington state.
Su said it was possible people outside the four states were sickened by the new strain of the virus.

"The cases described in this report are unusual because they suggest the emergence of a new and virulent Ad14 (adenovirus 14) variant that has spread within the United States," according to the CDC report.
There are 51 types of adenoviruses, the CDC report said.
(Additional reporting by Maggie Fox, Editing by Philip Barbara)

CDC: New respiratory bug has killed 10
By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer Fri Nov 16, 3:59 AM ET

ATLANTA - A mutated version of a common cold virus has caused 10 deaths in the last 18 months, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Adenoviruses usually cause respiratory infections that aren't considered lethal. But a new variant has caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington and Texas, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC officials don't consider the mutation to be a cause for alarm for most people, and they're not recommending any new precautions for the general public.

"It's an uncommon infection," said Dr. Larry Anderson, a CDC epidemiologist.
The illness made headlines in Texas earlier this year, when a so-called boot camp flu sickened hundreds at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The most serious cases were blamed on the emerging virus and one 19-year-old trainee died.
"What really got people's attention is these are healthy young adults landing in the hospital and, in some cases, the ICU," said Dr. John Su, an infectious diseases investigator with the CDC.

There are more than 50 distinct types of adenoviruses tied to human illnesses. They are one cause of the common cold, and also trigger pneumonia and bronchitis. Severe illnesses are more likely in people with weaker immune systems.
Some adenoviruses have also been blamed for gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis and cystitis.
There are no good antiviral medications for adenoviruses. Patients usually are treated with aspirin, liquids and bed rest.

Some people who get infected by the new bug probably would not suffer symptoms, and some may just feel a common cold. Sick people should see a doctor if they suffer a high fever or have trouble breathing, Anderson said.
In the CDC report, the earliest case of the mutated virus was found in an infant girl in New York City, who died last year. The child seemed healthy right after birth, but then became dehydrated and lost appetite. She died 12 days after she was born.

Tests found that she been infected with a form of adenovirus, called Ad14, but with some little differences, Su said.
It's not clear how the changes made it more lethal, said Linda Gooding, an Emory University researcher who specializes in adenoviruses.
Earlier this year, hundreds of trainees at Lackland became ill with respiratory infections. Tests showed a variety of adenoviruses in the trainees, but at least 106 — and probably more — had the mutated form of Ad14, including five who ended up in an intensive care unit In April, Oregon health officials learned of a cluster of cases at a Portland-area hospital.

They ultimately counted 31 cases, including seven who died with severe pneumonia. The next month, Washington state officials reported four hospitalized patients had the same mutated virus. One, who also had AIDS, died.
The Ad14 form of adenovirus was first identified in 1955. In 1969, it was blamed for a rash of illnesses in military recruits stationed in Europe, but it's been detected rarely since then. But it seems to growing more common.
The strain accounted for 6 percent of adenovirus samples collected in 22 medical facilities in 2006, while none was seen the previous two years, according to a study published this month in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The new bug could have implications for the military. Other forms of adenoviruses have been a common cause of illness in recruits. Military officials are bringing back an adenovirus vaccine — administered as a pill — that was given to recruits from 1971 to 1999, CDC officials said.
A Barr Pharmaceuticals vaccine for the military, currently being tested, is expected to be licensed in 2009. Like the old pill, it focuses on adenovirus serotypes 4 and 7, because those bugs have been persistent problems, said Col. Art Brown, an Army physician involved in the product's development.

Some CDC officials said a vaccination against the mutant Ad14 might be needed. Brown said it isn't clear if the mutant Ad14 will be an enduring threat, but the military will monitor illness reports.
"If it persists, then we'd consider if the vaccine needs to be modified further," said Brown, of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity.
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