VACCINE developed that protects MICE against EBOLA VIRUS ~ TRAVEL WARNINGS for MALAYSIA.

Fruit bats thought to serve as Ebola virus reservoir hosts. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Global 12/06/11 bbc.co.uk: by Jennifer Carpenter – First identified in 1976, Ebola fever kills more than 90% of the people it infects. The researchers say that this is the first Ebola vaccine to remain viable long-term and can therefore be successfully stockpiled. The results are reported in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

Ebola is transmitted via bodily fluids, and can become airborne. Sufferers experience nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and organ failure before they die. Although few people contract Ebola each year, its effects are so swift and devastating that it is often feared that it could be used against humans in an act of terrorism.  All previously developed vaccines have relied on injecting intact, but crippled, viral particles into the body. Long-term storage tends to damage the virus, paralyzing the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Dr. Charles Arntzen holds modified tobacco plant able to produce vaccines.

The new vaccine contains a synthetic viral protein, which prompts the immune system to better recognize the Ebola virus, and is much more stable when stored long-term.  The vaccine protects 80% of the mice injected with the deadly strain, and survives being “dried down and frozen,” said biotechnologist Charles Arntzen from Arizona State University who was involved in its development.  He said the next step is to try the vaccine on a strain of Ebola that is closer to the one that infects humans.

Travel Warnings:

Malaysia 12/06/11 cdc.gov: GeoSentinel has reported a cluster of sarcocystosis among travelers returning from Malaysia. These travelers reported visiting Tioman Island on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia before their illnesses occurred. Sarcocystosis is a disease caused by a parasite called sarcocystis. Sarcocystosis occurs in tropical or subtropical countries, mainly countries in Southeast Asia.

Malaysia

This disease usually affects animals but also can also cause disease in humans. Two forms of the disease can occur, one which causes diarrhea, and the other which causes muscle pain, fevers, and other symptoms. Most people infected with sarcocystis do not have symptoms. The travelers described in this notice returned from Malaysia with prominent muscle pain, a symptom consistent with sarcocystosis. Other reported symptoms included mild diarrhea and fever. Most people have been ill for 2-4 weeks. Muscle sarcocystosis is spread through the ingestion of food, water, or soil contaminated with infected animal feces. There is currently no vaccine or treatment for sarcocystosis; most infected people get better on their own.- For advice on how travelers can protect themselves go to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/outbreak-notice/sarcocystosis-malaysia.htm?source=govdelivery

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