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Ebola-like virus which causes massive bleeding found to jump from human to human after Bolivia outbreak

Virus Outbreak - Danager

Scientists have sounded the alarm over an Ebola-like virus from Bolivia which has been found to spread from person to person, killing three out of every five confirmed patients.

The rodent-borne Chapare virus first emerged in 2004 in the Bolivian province from which it gets its name, about 370 miles east of the country’s capital city, La Paz.

New research has shed light on the deadliness of the disease and how it spread from patient zero.

Following a 2019 outbreak in the country, researchers have found that, though it comes from a different viral family than Ebola, it also causes hemorrhagic fever, which can, in turn, cause life-threatening organ failure and bleeding.

At present, there is no treatment for Chapare outside of intravenous hydration and supportive care. The virus causes fever, headache, abdominal pain, rash and bleeding of the gums, and is believed to result from contact with rat urine or droppings.

Dr. Caitlin Cossaboom, an epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control, presented findings from her research into a 2019 outbreak to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s annual meeting on Monday.

A 65-year-old rice farmer was patient zero in the outbreak who then spread the disease to a 25-year-old doctor who treated him.

“The night before he died, she suctioned saliva from his mouth, and then she fell ill nine days later,” Cossaboom explained.

The 48-year-old paramedic who transported the doctor to hospital was the next to be infected after performing CPR on her.

A gastroenterologist conducted an endoscopy on the doctor and developed symptoms 14 days later. All of the cases resulted in exposure to bodily fluids from an infected person.

Patient zero, the doctor and the gastroenterologist all died from the Chapare virus, while the ambulance worker and another infected person survived.

The pygmy rice rat and the small-eared pygmy rice rat were found to be the primary carriers of the pathogen. They inhabit Bolivia and several neighbouring countries.

Scientists now worry the virus may have been circulating in the country for years with patients having been misdiagnosed with dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus which cannot be transmitted from human-to-human, unlike Chapare.

The good news is that arenaviruses, such as Chapare, are vulnerable to both heat and disinfectants, which means that global spread is extremely unlikely.

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Severe floods kill scores in desert as army scrambles to evacuate dozens from danger zones in Morocco

Clinging to life: Driver and passenger sit on a truck stranded in flood waters in the southern region of Ouarzazate in Morocco.
Floods triggered by heavy rain have killed at least 32 people, swept away buildings, vehicles and roads and forced the evacuation of more than 200 people in southern Morocco, authorities say.
Flooding, which is quite common in the mostly arid desert region at this time of year, has in the past triggered violent protests by local people angered by what they see as a tardy or ineffective official response.
State television channel 2M showed local residents expressing anger after their homes were submerged near the town of Errachidia. The prolonged closure of many national roads could prompt further angry protests, media said.
Powerful surge: A car is carried away by flood waters in the southern region of  Ouarzazate in Morocco.
Morocco’s King Mohamed has given orders to the authorities to take “all necessary emergency measures to help and support victims of the floods”, a palace statement said.
“We have lost everything, everything. Now our families will sleep in the cold,” said a woman in the Errachidia region, where about 60 houses had been destroyed.
“[The authorities’] previous programmes to restore our mud houses did not save us, our houses were just swept away” she told the 2M channel.
A driver and his car are washed away by flood waters in Ouarzazate, Morocco.
Of the 32 confirmed deaths, 24 occurred in the region of Guelmim, a desert town, the interior ministry said, adding that six people were still missing.
The army deployed helicopters to evacuate dozens of people, including some foreigners, in some areas threatened by rising river levels, the official news agency MAP reported.
Local news websites showed floods sweeping away cars, tracks and roads in several regions, including Guelmim and Marrakesh.

Train Crash kills 3 in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The wreckage of a Gazipur-bound bus hit by a train at the TT Parha level crossing at Dhaka’s Kamalapur. Photo:
A collision between a train coming from Narayanganj and a Gazipur-bound bus at the TT Parha level crossing at Dhaka’s Kamalapur has left at least three people including the wife of a journalist dead.
The accident took place around 10:30pm on Tuesday, Kamalapur Police Station OC Abdul Mazid told
Dead bodies of two men were sent to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) to be autopsied, he said. One of them was identified as ‘Sohag’, 24, a labourer from Chadpur. The other could not be identified.
He said at least 20 people were also injured and six of them were sent to DMCH.
One of them, identified as Nazmus Saba Nazu, 24, wife of Daily Janakantha Sub-Editor Obaidur Rahman, died there soon afterwards.
The other five are – Al Amin, 25, ‘Saju’, 26, ‘Doly’, 25, Shah Alam, 38, and ‘Iqbal’, 38. Of them, doctors said Al Amin’s condition was critical.
Obaidur Rahman, who was with his wife on the bus, was also injured. He received first aid.
The wreckage of a Gazipur-bound bus hit by a train at the TT Parha level crossing at Dhaka’s Kamalapur. Photo:
He told reporters at the hospital that there was no bar on the level crossing which left the bus driver unaware of the approaching train.
Al Amin was taken from DMCH to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR), better known as Pongu Hospital.
Railway Police Sub-Inspector Rafiqul Islam, who witnessed the incident, told the bus fell into the accident because it was taking the wrong side.

Flood Problems Spark RED ALERT Over Rats In Bristol, UK

HOMEOWNERS in Bristol have been put on red alert amid fears that further flooding could spark a deluge of rats.

More than 7,500 homes and businesses in the UK have been badly affected by floodwater since the beginning of December.

And more communities are in danger over the next few days after forecasts of fresh heavy rain lasting into next week.

The gloomy prediction has prompted a warning from a professional pest control registry, which says rats will try to escape rising water levels.

Rob Simpson, managing director of BASIS PROMPT Pest Controllers register, said: “Infestations of rats often increase during very wet weather as flooding will flush them out and force them to find new homes.

“They will try to find some sort of dwelling to live in – it can be garages or sheds or even lofts to get away from the water and the knock-on effect is more infestations in homes.

“Rats are intelligent creatures able to adapt and replenish their numbers very quickly. They are always on the look-out for new opportunities.”

The number of call-outs to pest control experts has risen by more than a quarter during previous spells of prolonged heavy rain and Mr Simpson fears there could be a similar story this time around.

But he says only by adopting the professional approach can homeowners be sure pest problems are dealt with efficiently and comprehensively.

He added: “If people try to deal with issues themselves, or bring in unqualified controllers because they are cheap, infestations could get out of hand.

“It’s easy to get out of your depth when trying to control pests of all kinds, but particularly rats as their treatment is often complicated and specialised.

“I can understand people wanting to save money, but it’s important to make sure infestations are treated by professionals.”