President Trump said Monday that he’s ‘heard some great reports’ about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine treating the coronavirus, so didn’t understand why the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for the drug.
‘I have heard so many people who are so thrilled with the results from Hydroxy,’ Trump said.
President Trump said during a roundtable event Monday that he had ‘heard some great reports’ on the effectiveness of using hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, despit the Food and Drug Administration revoking its emergency use authorization for the drug
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday that hydroxychloroquine is still being studied for possible use at an earlier stage of COVID-19 progression
Trump turned to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar noting that the only place he hadn’t heard good news about the malaria drug was ‘coming out of Alex’s agency,’ asking the cabinet head what gives.
Azar said the drug is still being studied for possible use at an earlier stage of the disease.
‘A lot of the data that has come out that was more negative was people who were quite ill in the hospital,’ Azar said.
Based on new evidence, the FDA said Monday it was no longer reasonable to believe that hydroxychloroquine and the related drug chloroquine may be effective in treating the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The FDA also warned that the drugs have been shown in lab studies to interfere with Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir – the only medicine so far to show a benefit against COVID-19 in formal clinical trials.
The move comes after several studies of the decades-old malaria pills suggested they were not effective either as a treatment for or to prevent COVID-19.
British scientists earlier this month halted a large trial after deciding that hydroxychloroquine was ‘useless’ at treating COVID-19 patients.
Hydroxychloroquine’s anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties suggested it might help COVID-19 patients, and the FDA authorized its emergency use in March at the height of a pandemic for which there were no approved treatments.
The early enthusiasm was partly based on laboratory experiments in which the drug appeared to neutralize the virus.
Chloroquine, which is not approved for any use in the United States and has more side effects, has not fared any better in human clinical trials.
In March, Trump said hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin had ‘a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,’ with little evidence to back up that claim.
He later said he took the drugs preventively after two people who worked at the White House were diagnosed with COVID-19, and he urged others to try it.
‘I can’t complain about it, I took it for two weeks and I’m here – here we are,’ Trump told reporters Monday.
He answered in the affirmative when asked if he would still give quantities of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil.
Trump said he would because Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had asked for it.
Brazil has become a coronavirus hotspot in the last several weeks, as deaths near 44,000 Brazilians.
Last month ths U.S. sent 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil.
But France, Italy and Belgium late last month halted use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients.
In the U.S., Americans can still get the drug and use it against COVID-19 if their doctors prescribe it.
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Covid-19 was the 24th most common cause of death in England last month
Coronavirus was only the 24th most common cause of death in England in August, official figures revealed today.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows Covid-19 accounted for a mere 1.4 per cent of all deaths last month – just 482 out of 34,000.
Alzheimer’s was the leading cause of death, followed by heart disease and lung cancer. Flu and pneumonia was 8th.
Covid-19 was to blame for a third of all deaths in April. And it was still the third most common way to die in June. But it has dropped massively down the table over the summer, despite Britain still living under restrictions designed to curb the spread of the virus.
Figures showed Covid-19 was the 19th most common cause of death in August in Wales, and accounted for 2.2 per cent of all deaths.
ONS data also shows fewer people died of any cause in August since 2000, when records began. A total of 746 deaths were registered for every 100,000 people last month, more than half of the 1,859 in April – the highest on record.
Experts say that because the coronavirus is the most severe in vulnerable people, deaths were ‘front loaded’ to the start of 2020 when the elderly and people with underlying conditions caught it.
Covid-19 was not in the top ten most common causes of death in August in England (pictured)
Covid-19 was also missing from the top ten most common causes of death in August in Wales (pictured)
The rate of death per 100,000 this August (746) is the lowest on record
The data published today shows of the 34,750 deaths registered in August 2020 in England, 482 deaths involved the coronavirus, either suspected or confirmed. In Wales, 52 of the 2,379 deaths registered in August involved Covid-19.
The coronavirus did not even feature in the top ten leading causes of death in August in either country. But ONS do not publish a full table ranking the causes of deaths because it says the data is only preliminary and subject to change as more deaths are registered.
The leading cause of death was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in England, accounting for 10.9 per cent of all deaths (3,777), and ischaemic heart disease in Wales, 11 per cent of all deaths (261).
Alzheimer’s led to the deaths of around 80.6 people in England per 100,000 in August, compared with 7.2 for Covid-19. And flu deaths were 2.7 times higher than Covid-19 at around 19.6 deaths per 100,000.
In Wales the difference is even more stark, with flu killing 35.3 people per 100,000 – three times higher than the 11 per 100,000 from Covid-19.
However, deaths from the most common causes have also decreased below what would be expected when compared to a five year average, and are lower than levels seen in March.
|Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease||80.6||96.6|
|Ischaemic heart diseases||77.8||88.4|
|Cancerous lung tumour||44.4||52.3|
|Cerebrovascular diseases, including stroke and aneurysms||40.9||50|
|Chronic lower respiratory diseases||32.6||41.8|
|Cancerous tumour of rectum/colon/anus||23.8||25.8|
|Symptoms signs and ill-defined conditions||20.7||20.5|
|Influenza and Pneumonia||19.6||32.3|
|Cancerous tumour stated or presumed to be primary of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue||18.2||19.5|
|Cancerous tumour of the prostate||16.2||18.4|
|24th – Covid-19||7.2||N/A|
|Ischaemic heart diseases||91.5||102.7|
|Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease||88||95.2|
|Cancerous lung tumour||50.7||54.8|
|Cerebrovascular diseases, including stroke and aneurysms||44.9||56|
|Chronic lower respiratory diseases||40.9||43.1|
|Influenza and Pneumonia||35.3||44.3|
|Cancerous tumour of rectum/colon/anus||22.3||29.6|
|Cancerous tumour stated or presumed to be primary of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue||19.2||21.1|
|Cancerous tumour of the prostate||18.9||17.8|
|Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver||16.5||15|
|19th – Covid-19||11||N/A|
Data shows in April there were 623 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 in England, now at 7.2. And in Wales, this figure has shot down from 495.1 to 11
There have been more deaths this year than what would have been expected. This is because of the pandemic
6 IN 10 COVID-19 DEATHS INVOLVED A DISABILITY
Six in ten of Covid-19 victims had a disability, figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed today.
Disabled people made up 59 per cent of all deaths involving Covid-19 from March 2 to July 14 (27,534 of 46,314 deaths).
But only 16 per cent of the general population are disabled, according to the 2011 Census, meaning they were significantly impacted by the coronavirus than anyone else.
A disability was defined as a health problem which limits a person’s daily activities lasting or expected to last at least 12 months.
People answered the survey question with the answers of: Yes, limited a lot; Yes, limited a little; and No.
There were no disabilities described in the ONS report, therefore could range from a chronic pain condition, to arthritis in old age, to a physical handicap from birth.
According to the Government, the most commonly-reported impairments in Britain are those that affect mobility, lifting or carrying.
Covid-19 mortality rates between those with a disability compared to those without was 2.4 times higher for women and twice as high for men after adjusting for a range of factors – where people live, how densely population that area is and socio-demographics.
Of the total 46,314 deaths studied, 54.6 per cent were in males. And 90.5 per cent were in those over the age of 65 years.
Amongst the 19,405 deaths of women aged 65 years and over, 67.2 per cent (13,048) had a disability.
This was not as significant in men. Some 55.9 per cent of deaths in men over the age of 65 had a disability (12,612 of 22,525).
However, men looking at age-standardised mortality rates – used to allow comparisons between populations that may contain different proportions of people of different ages – men fared worse.
Men who were over 65 and severely limited by their disability had a mortality rate of 860.8 per 100,000 people compared to men in the same category without a disability at 351.87.
For women over 65 with a severe disability, the mortality rate was 589.63 compared with 187.95 in women without a disability.
The mortality rate for Alzheimer’s in August was 80.6, compared to the five-year average of 96.6.
Deaths per 100,000 for and ischaemic heart disease in Wales were at 95.1 in August this year, compared to the five-year average of 102.7.
It could be speculated that because a large proportion of people who have been recorded as a Covid-19 death have had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, those people’s deaths were brought forward due to the pandemic.
Essentially, they sadly died earlier than expected due to catching the coronavirus but still may have died this year.
Of the deaths that have involved the coronavirus during the pandemic, nine in ten victims had at least one pre-existing condition.
The most common are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (a quarter), and heart disease (nine per cent).
The ONS said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic resulted in deaths registered in April and May 2020 rising well above what would be expected (based on the five-year average).
‘Covid-19 has had a larger impact on the most vulnerable people (such as those who already suffer from a medical condition), and those at older ages.
‘Some of these deaths would have likely occurred over the duration of the year but have occurred earlier because of Covid-19. These deaths happening earlier than expected could contribute to a period of deaths below the five-year average, as seen in August 2020.’
Overall there were 1,521 fewer deaths this August compared to last August, and 2,060 fewer than the five-year average.
But the month of August tends to have lower deaths than the rest of the year anyway, the data shows.
The rate of death per 100,000 this August (746) is the lowest on record but is followed by August 2019 (788). August 2015, August 2014, August 2013 and August 2009 are all in the top 10 least deadly months.
Mortality rates in Wales show a similar pattern. There were 835.8 deaths per 100,000 population in August 2020.
Generally, since 2001, the age-standardised mortality rates for people aged 0 to 74 years have been decreasing, the ONS points out.
The number of people dying of all causes has now been below average for several weeks in England and Wales, reaching a low in August.
There were 739 deaths on August 31 this year compared to 1,189 in a typical year. But the former figure is subject to change as more death registrations come through.
Covid-19 deaths have drastically declined in numbers since the peak of the pandemic, with the worst day on April 8 (1,220 deaths in England and 70 in Wales).
This has slowly fallen as the spread of the coronavirus has been curbed. There were five deaths due to Covid-19 occurring on 31 August in England and zero in Wales. This may go up slightly as more deaths are registered.
Data shows in April there were 623 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 in England, now at 7.2. And in Wales, this figure has shot down from 495.1 to 11.
Covid-19 has been has been listed on death certificates as the underlying cause of death in 12.5 per cent of all deaths that occurred in England, and 9.8 per cent of all deaths in Wales since January.
Because of the pandemic, more people have died this year than would be expected.
Almost 365,890 people have died in England this year, 33,000 more than the five-year average, and 23,400 in Wales, 1,060 more than the five-year average.
Matt Hancock reveals Covid hospital admissions are doubling every EIGHT days as top expert warns thousands of infected patients a day could need NHS care in October
Matt Hancock today warned the number of coronavirus patients being admitted to hospital is doubling every eight days as he revealed ministers need to ‘take action’ because the outbreak is accelerating.
The Health Secretary pleaded with the public to ‘come together to tackle this virus’ and admitted that a new national crackdown could be on the cards because it ‘isn’t just cases’ that are increasing.
Government statistics show 194 newly-infected Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospitals in England on Tuesday, compared to just 84 eight days ago and just 38 on August 30. It means 154 patients are needing NHS care each day, on average — triple the figure of 52 on September 1.
More than 3,000 people each day were being admitted to NHS hospitals during the peak of the first wave in April. Analysis suggests, at the current trend, it would take little more than three weeks for daily admissions to top 2,000.
And a top infectious disease expert today warned that it is ‘plausible’ the doubling rate of every eight days could continue. Professor Paul Hunter, of University of East Anglia, told MailOnline the number of admissions could surpass the daily rate seen in March and April in just a month’s time.
Cases have spiked over the same time frame, with another 3,395 infections recorded yesterday — a 33 per cent rise in a week. Deaths are also starting to creep up, with the average number of patients dying each day now standing at 14 — up from seven a fortnight ago.
More aggressive measures, including a national ‘circuit breaker’, are on the cards to stop the growth of the outbreak. The move could come as soon as next week, with pubs, restaurants and hotels facing being shut to prevent ‘significant’ casualties.
It comes as hospitals have been warned they must clear beds and brace themselves for a rise in coronavirus patients in the next few weeks.
MPs in London have been informed of plans to increase ‘step down’ beds in the capital, it was reported today. The beds will be made available to coronavirus patients who no longer need any hospital treatment, but can recover from the disease while isolating.
Hospitals cancelled thousands of surgeries like hip operations and cancer treatment to free up space for infected patients at the peak of the crisis, causing the NHS to have a record-high waiting list for routine treatment. The drive to free up beds in the first wave also saw coronavirus-infected patients discharged into care homes, where the virus was allowed to spread.
Analysis suggests, at the current trend, it would take little more than three weeks for daily admissions to top 2,000
The Health Secretary pleaded with the public to ‘come together to tackle this virus’ and admitted that a new national crackdown could be on the cards because it ‘isn’t just cases’ that are increasing
MATT HANCOCK ADMITS A NATIONAL CRACKDOWN IS ON THE CARDS
Matt Hancock today admitted that a new national crackdown is on the cards as he warned infections are ‘accelerating across the country’ and more people will die.
The Health Secretary pleaded with the public to ‘come together to tackle this virus’ as ministers consider imposing draconian restrictions for a fortnight in a ‘circuit break’ to stop the spread.
The move could come as soon as next week, with pubs, restaurants and hotels facing being shut to prevent ‘significant’ casualties.
In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Hancock said a national lockdown was the ‘last line of defence’. But he warned that it was a ‘big moment for the country’ and the situation was ‘deadly serious’, with cases now doubling every eight days. Unless the ‘Rule of Six’ restrictions worked more would have to be done, he warned.
‘The virus is clearly accelerating across the country,’ Mr Hancock told Sky News. ‘We have got to take the necessary action to keep people safe. We will do what it takes to keep people safe.’
It comes as 10million people are told to follow new lockdown rules as Lancashire is placed under curfew alongside the North East.
The Government’s chief science and medical officers have warned that another serious outbreak of coronavirus could lead to a significant number of deaths by the end of next month.
In an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning, Mr Hancock warned that it was ‘absolutely critical’ that people continued to follow the basic rules with regard to coronavirus.
He said: ‘We have seen an acceleration in the number of cases over the last couple of weeks and we’ve also sadly seen that the number of people hospitalised with coronavirus is doubling about every eight days, so we do need to take action.’
The government’s most-up-to-date data shows 194 Covid-19 patients in England were admitted to hospital on September 15 — at an average of 154 a day over the past week.
For comparison, the rolling seven-day average had dipped to as low as 45 on August 22, when just 25 hospital admissions were recorded across the country.
At the height of the pandemic at the start of April, the average number of daily admissions was 2,700. Britain’s lockdown and tough social distancing measures allowed the rate to plummet to below 1,000 by the start of May.
Department of Health chiefs say data is not updated every day by all four nations and the figures are not comparable. For instance, Wales include suspected Covid-19 patients while all the other nations include only confirmed cases.
Professor Hunter told MailOnline that the spike in admissions is ‘predictable’ and ‘expected’, given the spike in cases over the past few weeks.
He added: ‘It’s worrying that it’s going up but the big concern is how many hospital admissions we will end up seeing.
‘I suspect it will carry on… but I suspect we won’t see it doubling quite as rapidly because, often, these things start off quite fast and then they tail off after a little while.
‘It doesn’t always tail off, but ultimately it does because if it carries on doubling [at that speed], then soon every single person on the planet will be on hospital. So it has to tail off eventually.
‘The issue is when does it start tailing off? I have no way of knowing.’
Professor Hunter added that it was ‘plausible’ England’s hospital admissions could get up the levels seen in April but admitted he think it’s probably won’t happen.
He said: ‘The evidence is older people are still, sort of, social distancing themselves more than other groups, and they’re the group most likely to get hospitalised. There’s also a smaller pool to get infected and be hospitalised than we saw back in March and April.
‘But it may well continue, and it’s plausible that England could well in a month’s time be surpassing that figure. But I hope not.’
It comes as hospitals have been warned they must clear beds and brace themselves for a rise in coronavirus patients in the next few weeks. One MP who has seen the plans told the Telegraph: ‘I was told hospitals have reserved beds for people coming out of hospital who need somewhere to re-cover.
‘At the start of lockdown they were having to send people back to care homes or back to other facilities, with dire consequences, so they’ve booked places in respite care or empty care homes, so people will go out of hospital, but won’t return to their normal place of living.’
Another source said that councils have also been asked to find extra beds
It comes amid more testing chaos yesterday as Baroness Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, revealed that demand for coronavirus tests is currently up to four times greater than the system’s capacity.
TEST & TRACE ‘COULD BE OUTSOURCED TO AMAZON’
By Lizzie Deane for the Daily Mail
THE UK’S test and trace system could be outsourced to a delivery giant such as Amazon, it was reported last night.
Ministers are said to be planning to hand over the running of the testing service to a logistics firm as the system struggles to cope with increased demand for tests.
A invitation to bid for a contract covering the management of the entire ‘end-to-end’ supply chain will be issued next month, The Daily Telegraph reported.
A Government source said ‘experts in delivery services’ were needed. ‘At the moment, the management of NHS Test and Trace has been in-house but, as we go into winter, we need experts in this area to take it forward,’ they said.
Amazon, DHL and other major logistics firms are all reportedly likely to be competing for the huge contract which will be the linchpin of the Health Secretary’s promise to deliver 500,000 tests a day by the end of next month.
An information notice issued by the Department of Health calls for potential bidders to register their interest in the contract to co-ordinate the testing service’s supply change.
It says: ‘In order to significantly scale up the number of daily tests as well as making the operations more efficient, we are looking for an end-to-end management of all associated supply chain and logistics processes along the chain.’
The government’s testing tzar also blamed the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) for seemingly getting its predictions wrong as she said testing capacity had been built based on the panel’s recommendations.
Last night it emerged the country’s faltering testing system could be outsourced to Amazon, as reported by The Telegraph.
A source said: ‘At the moment the management of NHS Test and Trace has been in-house but as we go into winter we need experts in this area to take it forward.’
The government is also expected to announce tighter restrictions on care home visits in areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases are expected to be announced by the Government in its winter action plan.
Care homes in areas subject to local lockdowns may be advised to temporarily restrict visits in all but end-of-life situations, it is understood.
For parts of the country where there is no local lockdown, but where community transmission is a cause for concern, an option officials are considering is advising that visits are restricted to one designated visitor per resident.
The Government will set out further details on Friday in its social care action plan to help fight the spread of coronavirus over winter.
As part of the plan, care homes will receive free protective equipment and providers must stop ‘all but essential’ movement of staff between homes, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
This will be supported by an additional £546 million announced on Thursday as part of the extended infection control fund.
A new dashboard will monitor care home infections and help local government and providers respond quickly.
And a chief nurse for adult social care will be appointed to represent social care nurses and provide ‘clinical leadership’.
Local authorities and the Care Quality Commission will be asked to take ‘strong action’ in instances where providers are not restricting staff movement adequately.
The DHSC said this could include restricting a service’s operation and issuing warning notices.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We are entering a critical phase in our fight against coronavirus with winter on the horizon.
‘Our priority over the next six months is to make sure we protect those most vulnerable receiving care and our incredibly hard-working workforce by limiting the spread of the virus and preventing a second spike.
‘This winter plan gives providers the certainty they need when it comes to PPE and provides additional support to help care homes to limit the movement of staff, stop the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
‘We will be monitoring the implementation of this carefully and will be swift in our actions to protect residents and colleagues across the country.’
It comes as Age UK said some older people are ‘dying of sadness’ because they have been cut off from loved ones over a long period of time.
Charity director Caroline Abrahams said it is important the plan achieves an ‘appropriate balance’ between ensuring infection control and allowing residents to keep in contact with loved ones.
She said: ‘All in all what we have seen so far is promising, but we will await with interest to read what the plan says about visiting in care homes.
‘With Covid-19 cases on the rise and winter on the way it’s right that every activity that could potentially place residents at risk is considered very carefully, including visiting, but any sense of a ‘blanket ban’ would be highly inappropriate, however anxious we may all feel.
‘Risks, capabilities and opportunities of all kinds differ hugely across care homes and for the sake of older people this enormous variation must be taken fully into account.’
Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow social care minister, welcomed the appointment of a chief nurse and increased funding.
She continued: ‘But the real test of this plan is whether the Government delivers on weekly testing of all care staff – first promised in July but still not delivered, with serious concerns about delays in getting results back.
‘Ensuring families can visit their loved ones is also critical, as without this care home residents can end up fading fast.’
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Pine-Sol gets EPA’s seal of approval for killing coronavirus on surfaces
Pine-Sol has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an effective cleaner that can kill the novel coronavirus.
This make the common disinfectant, which is owned by The Clorox Company, one of the nearly 500 products approved by the agency to neutralized the virus.
In a press release, the company stated Pine-Sol was effective against the virus with a ’10-minute contact time on hard non-porous surfaces.’
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump speculated about injecting a disinfectant into the human body as a defense against COVID-19.
But public health experts warn these products are not meant to be ingested in any way and that doing so can have serious consequences.
Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner was found effective against the virus on ‘hard non-porous surfaces’ after letting it stand for 10 minutes by a third-party laboratory, The Clorox Company said.
Pine-Sol, which is found on the EPA’s website under the name ‘Tuck 3,’ was added to the agency’s list of ‘Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2’ on September 3.
According to Good Housekeeping, the cleaner is listed under the code 5813-101 on the EPA’s website.
‘With a long-standing history of being a powerful cleaner and disinfectant…Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner now offers the clean families have trusted through generations with the protection they need right now against the spread of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,’ Chris Hyder, Vice President and General Manager of the Cleaning division, at The Clorox Company, said in a statement.
‘We hope this new Pine-Sol kill claim will increase access to disinfectants that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.’
To disinfect surfaces against the coronavirus, The Clorox Company recommend applying Pine-Sol with a clean sponge or a cloth.
Next, wet the surface and let stand for 10 minutes before rinsing.
According to the company, most of the other disinfectants recommended by the EPA have not been specifically tested against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Several cleaning products, such as Clorox and Lysol, have experienced shortages with some reporting it will be difficult to find these products in either wipe or spray form until 2021.
However, The Clorox Company says Pine-Sol disinfectant is not experiencing such shortages and is ‘readily available’ both in stores and online.
The EPA says that, when using any of the products on its list, to follow label instructions for ‘safe, effective use.’
This includes instructions for contact time, or the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet, before being rinsed.
Pine-Sol was founded by chemist Harry Cole in Jackson, Mississippi, with the original formulation being pine oil-based, which is a natural disinfectant.
Clorox acquired the Pine-Sol brand from American Cyanamid’s Shulton Group in 1990, but the products no longer contain pine oil to reduce costs
The company is perhaps most famous for having comedienne Diane Amos serve as the spokesperson for advertising campaigns since 1993 with her famous catchphrase: ‘That’s the power of Pine-Sol, baby.’
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Michigan reports suspected case of deadly mosquito-borne EEE virus
Michigan health officials suspect a resident has contracted the rare and life-threatening disease Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) after being bitten by a mosquito, they announced Tuesday.
It’s the first human case of EEE in the state so far this year, and the sixth in the US.
Last year, the US saw an unusual spike in the number of people bitten by infected mosquitoes. By early October 2019, at least 30 people had been infected with the disease, which kills about 30 percent of people who catch it.
After identifying a likely case in Barry County, Michigan, officials there are urging area residents to stay inside – especially after dark, when mosquitoes are more active – and pan to spray pesticides in the hopes of killing off some of the insects, before they have a chance to kill people.
Michigan health officials reported a suspected case of the deadly mosquito-borne disease Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a resident this week. If confirmed, it will b e the state’s first case of the infection that kills 33% of human victims this year, and the sixth for the nation (file)
‘This suspected EEE case in a Michigan resident shows this is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders and calls for continued actions to prevent exposure, including aerial treatment,’ said chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in a statement.
The state began ‘aerial treatment’ using special planes to dust 10 counties on Wednesday.
In addition to the treatment plan, health officials suggested that the counties – Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland – consider cancelling outdoor events planned to take place after dusk, especially if they involve children.
As of yet, the suspected EEE case has not been confirmed, but officials suspect that confirmatory labs will be back by the end of the week. No further details about them was provided.
EEE most commonly starts with a fever, body aches and chills that come on suddenly.
Already, 22 horses have been infected in Michigan this year – a worrying harbinger that there may be more cases in humans (pictured: mosquitoes swarm horses in Louisiana, another state where EEE-infected insects and animals are sometimes found; file)
It can quickly progress to cause intense headaches and disorientation, as well as tremors seizures and, eventually, paralysis.
The EEE virus (EEEV) is carried primarily by mosquitos, which can give it to birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals – most notably, horses.
Already this year in Michigan, 22 cases have been confirmed in horses, animals for which the virus is deadly about 90 percent of the time they become ill.
EEEV can travel from a mosquito bite through the bloodstream to the membranes around the spinal cord and brain.
Once the brain is infected, the virus can trigger dangerous swelling that proves fatal for 33 percent of symptomatic people.
Most years, there are only five to 10 cases, occurring between spring and early fall, when warm weather provides favorable conditions for mosquitoes to breed and, of course, feed.
The insects and the virus alike tend to thrive in humid, swampy areas, especially low-lying ones with standing water.
Cases are most common on the East Coast, Great Lakes area, and Gulf Coast states.
Over the past decade, Massachusetts – which has had three cases this year – Florida, Georgia, New York and North Carolina. Two cases have been reported in 2020 in Wisconsin as well.
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