• UN peacekeepers to blame for Haiti cholera, report says

    A scientific report prepared for the Haitian and French governments says that Nepalese soldiers — members of the UN peace keeping contingent in Haiti — are the likely source of the cholera epidemic which so far has killed 2,120 people and required medical treatment for 100,000 more; the study found that the source of the outbreak was a Nepalese peacekeeping base, whose toilets contaminated the Artibonite river; the river was the main focus of the outbreak when it began in October, but cholera has since spread throughout the country

  • Increasing cooperation between security, health officials

    Those in charge of preventing and treating man-made diseases (bioterrorism) and those in charge of preventing and treating naturally occurring epidemics have increased cooperation because of a growing recognition by both sides that only way to monitor the rapidly increasing globalization of “dual-use” biological technology — which can be used in regular research efforts or clandestinely put toward a weapons program — is to pool their resources

  • More questions raised about security of Boston BioLab

    Boston University has opened a $178 million biolab in a residential area in Boston’s South End; the facility, in which lethal diseases such as Ebola and the plague will be studies, houses only administrative staff, pending state approval; that approval depends on a final risk assessment review — but a new study by the National Research Council questioned the methodology of ongoing risk assessment by contractor Tetra Tech

  • MS drug to lead fight against bioterrorism

    A drug already approved for treating multiple sclerosis show promise as a long sought treatment for victims of bioterrorist attack with botulinum neurotoxin — which is 10,000 times deadlier than cyanide and the most poisonous substance known to man

  • Northrop Grumman testing autonomous biodetection instruments for BioWatch

    DHS has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to begin field testing a new generation of autonomous biodetection instruments as part of the BioWatch Gen-3 program.; the total potential value of the contract is $37 million over three years

  • Report: DHS underestimates risks of accidental pathogen release at Kansas BioLab

    Manhattan, Kansas, is the proposed location of a new, $450 million BioLab44 DHS research facility; a National Academy of Sciences panel report says that a risk assessment by DHS of the new facility vastly underestimates the risk of an accidental pathogen release from the lab and the associated costs; the NAS report also said last month’s analysis failed to learn from fifteen major accidental releases of the foot and mouth virus around the world

  • Cholera to linger in Haiti for years to come

    Worldwide, poor sanitation that spreads cholera and other gut infections accounts for 2.4 million deaths a year, and 6.6 per cent of all life-years lost to disease and disability; the current cholera crisis in Haiti offers a grim example: cholera deaths are climbing sharply in Haiti, after the infection reached the capital, Port-au-Prince, as feared; epidemiologists who have studied other outbreaks predict that hundreds of thousands of Haitians will be stricken by the infection over the next few years as cholera takes hold in the country

  • U.S. sees East Africa as front line in bioterrorism war

    Africa emerges as the front line in the war against bioterrorism; anthrax killed hundreds of hippopotamuses in Uganda in recent years; in 2008 a Dutch tourist died from Marburg disease after visiting a cave in a national park; in 2007 an Ebola outbreak killed more than twenty people; American officials say that the underlying threat is that lax security at the poorly financed labs that collect and study these and other deadly diseases pose a bioterrorism risk; the rise of Islamist radicals in several countries in East Africa has refocused attention on this region as a frontier in American security interests

  • India to be home to the 7th CDC global disease detection center

    One result of President Obama’s visit to India is the agreement to set up a global disease detection centre in India; the center will be part of the global network of detection facilities supervised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Indian center — the seventh CDC global facility — will monitor deadly pathogens and viruses, outbreak information, coordinate responses, and support the WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network to allow rapid identification, confirmation and response to outbreaks of international importance

  • Cholera treatment centers set up in Haiti's capital

    Port-au-Prince is estimated to be home to between 2.5 million and 3 million people, about half of whom have been living in homeless encampments since the 12 January earthquake ravaged the capital; Port-au-Prince’s pre-earthquake sanitation and drinking water systems were already miserable owing to neglect and indifference by successive Haitian governments, and health experts say that these conditions make the city “ripe for the rapid spread of cholera”

  • App to diagnose sexually transmitted infections

    Small devices similar to pregnancy testing kits are being developed that will allow people to test themselves privately for sexually transmitted diseases; the kit will include a computer chip around the size of a USB chip, that can be plugged into a phone or computer

  • Cholera spreads to Haiti capital

    The cholera epidemic has killed 583 people so far; 9,000 people are being treated for symptoms of the disease; the disease has now reached the capital, and health authorities say the spread in Port-au-Prince likely to be extensive; the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) says it expects tens of thousands more Haitians to catch cholera in the next few years; eradication will take time, as cholera bacteria now has foothold in the river system

  • Cholera threatens to engulf Haiti

    The cholera epidemic continues to spread unabated in Haiti; until this weekend the epidemic was co confined to rural Haiti and to the tent camps, erected after the earthquake earlier this year, which house 1.3 million Haitians; on Sunday it was revealed that the first 30 patients in Port-au-Prince, the capital, were admitted to hospitals for treatment; the situation in the country have gotten worse after Hurricane Tomas brought heavy rains last week; NGOs and international relief organizations have been attempting to get clean drinking water to those areas worst- affected by the storm, which triggered flooding and mudslides; the Haitian government appealed to donors for $19 million to cover urgent humanitarian needs

  • Haiti cholera death rise, disease spreads

    Haitian health officials say there had been a 40 percent jump in the number of new cholera cases; the number of people known to have died from a cholera epidemic in Haiti has increased markedly; health officials say 105 more people have died since Saturday, bringing the total to 442

  • Cholera outbreak closing in on Haiti capital; hundreds dead

    Nearly 300 Haitians have already succumbed to cholera, and 3,000 were sickened; health organizations fear that the squalid camps in Port-au-Prince where 1.3 million earthquake survivors live offer the disease an enormous potential breeding ground; with the corrupt, indifferent, and ineffective Haitian government not doing much more than paying lip service to the severity of the situation, the task of containing the disease from turning into another national tragedy falls to international bodies, NGOs, and local volunteers