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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:34 pm 
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Sars-like coronavirus seen in UK

50% death rate

A second case of a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus has been identified in the UK. The patient, who is receiving intensive care treatment in a Manchester hospital, had recently travelled to the Middle East and Pakistan. Doctors insist the risk of the new coronavirus spreading to the general UK population is “extremely low” and the situation is being closely monitored. The total number of confirmed cases globally now stands at 10. The death toll is five - three patients treated in Saudi Arabia and two treated in Jordan. So the mortality rate is 50%. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus, spread through droplets of body fluids produced by sneezing and coughing. In 2002 an outbreak of Sars killed about 800 people after the virus spread to more than 30 countries around the world. The new coronavirus was first identified in September 2012 in a patient in Saudi Arabia who has since died. Soon after, officials identified another case - this time in the UK. The 49-year-old man in question had been transferred to St Thomas' hospital in London by air ambulance from Qatar. Five months on, a second UK case has been found. Prof John Watson, head of the respiratory diseases department at the Health Protection Agency (HPA), said: “The HPA is providing advice to healthcare workers to ensure the patient under investigation is being treated appropriately and that healthcare staff who are looking after the patient are protected. Contacts of the case are also being followed up to check on their health.” No travel restrictions are in place. But Prof Watson said people who developed severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, within 10 days of returning from the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding regions should seek medical advice and mention the countries they have visited


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:31 pm 
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Bird Flu death in China sparks fear of human-transmitted H5N1 strain

CHINA - A woman diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of the bird flu last week has died in southwest China. Health authorities in Guiyang, Guizhou province, announced that the 21-year-old woman, Shuai Pengyue, died on Wednesday due to multiple organ failure as a result of the flu. Shuai was one of two women reported in the area to have contracted the new strain of the avian influenza. Health officials have investigated the two of them and concluded that neither patient was in contact with poultry before showing symptoms of the illness. Victim proximity is important to note because typically, the bird flu is contracted by being in contact with poultry. In this case, health officials worry this could be signs that the H5N1 strain can now be transmitted between humans. Meanwhile, in Cambodia, a 3-year-old girl has become the sixth person to die from the bird flu in the country this year. The Cambodian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization released statements saying that the child was in contact with poultry recently in the southern province of Kampot. Cambodia has already reported seven human cases of the H5N1 virus this year, all of them fatal except one. Health officials and scientists have feared that the virus could mutate into a highly contagious strain which could be transmitted from human to human. Scientists in the Netherlands and the U.S. have been working on an artificially mutated version of the flu that is easily transmissible among humans in an attempt to do research for prevention or a cure. Research was halted until recently due to fears of a deadly global pandemic if the virus was accidentally removed from the controlled environment. Now, researchers are making a push to resume investigation of the deadly virus, especially in light of the new cases. Leo Poon Lit-man, an associate professor at the University Of Hong Kong School Of Public Health, told the South China Morning Post that he supports the controversial research. “The only way… to control the virus and come to a prevention plan is to allow the research to go forward,” Poon said. Adding, “the H5N1 is still a threat to humans, and it is true that the research may pose some risk. But we may also benefit from it, as we need further understanding of the virus to ensure a better response in case of an outbreak.” The mortality rate for the avian flu was as high as 60 percent during the 2003 outbreak in Southeast Asia. Most of the victims caught the disease from birds.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:24 am 
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Record snowfalls inundates cities across the globe

This is proving a freakish year for weather, but Japan is having an odder time of it than most. The country has had a record winter for snow, and northern Japan is currently coated by unprecedented volumes of the white stuff – more than five meters at higher altitudes, with houses turned into igloos and roads into snow tunnels. In the Hakkoda Mountains the depth of snow has been measured at 5.61 meters – a record for Japan. Even lower down, in the city of Aomori, snow is standing at almost 1.5 meters and bulldozers have to work round the clock. This has also been a record year for snow in parts of Russia – a couple of weeks ago snow piles of more than five meters caused gridlock in Moscow – and Switzerland, too, has been experiencing dramatic snowfalls, with depths of up to three meters. These snowfalls, especially those in northern Japan, are remarkable by any standards. But they still fall well short of the all-time record-breakers. Tamarack in California claims the record for the deepest snow ever recorded: 11.5 meters on 11 March 1911. That was clearly some year in the Sierra Nevada, as Tamarack also recorded the largest snowfall in a single month in the US: almost 10 meters.


Texas blizzard breaks 120 year old record: The blizzard that hammered the nation’s midsection broke a 120-year-old record in Amarillo for one-day snowfall in February with 19.1 inches. The blizzard was accompanied by fierce winds in excess of 75 mph. National Weather Service meteorologist Krissy Scotten in Amarillo says the snowfall total Monday bested a record set Feb. 16, 1893, when 19 inches fell.


Canada sees record February snowfall: Toronto broke a snowfall record for Feb. 27, according to Environment Canada. At Pearson International Airport, 12.4 centimeters of the heavy wet snow covered the ground, breaking the record of 7.1 centimeters set in 1967. The slush is still flooding some city streets. City officials are asking homeowners to stop shoveling the slushy snow onto the road as it’s blocking the catch basins. According to a report in the Toronto Sun, the city said the cost to clean up Wednesday’s slushy mess is around $2.5-million.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:12 am 
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Thousands of sharks spotted migrating along South Florida coast, swimmers banned from waters


PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Area beaches are closed to swimmers after thousands of sharks have been spotted swimming along South Florida shores.

Marine biologists have spotted tens of thousands of sharks from Boca Raton to Jupiter since the start of the month. They say the marine animals are moving north, after migrating south for the winter.

Chopper 5 spotted hundreds of sharks swimming along Palm Beach this morning.

On Tuesday off Midtown Beach, lifeguards spotted a school of spinner sharks moving through the area. The red flags quickly went up, meaning swimmers could not go in the water at that time.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:58 am 
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WHO confirms 15th case of deadly new virus in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi man infected with a deadly new virus from the same family as SARS has died, becoming the ninth patient in the world to be killed the disease which has so far infected 15, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old developed symptoms of the novel coronavirus (NCoV) on February 24 and died on March 2, several days after being hospitalized, the WHO said in a disease outbreak update.

NCoV is from the same family of viruses as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that first emerged in Asia in 2003. The new virus is not the same as SARS, but similar to it and also to other coronaviruses found in bats.

The WHO first issued an international alert in September after the virus infected a Qatari man in Britain who had recently been in Saudi Arabia.

Symptoms of NCoV include severe respiratory illness, fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

"Preliminary investigation indicated that the (latest Saudi)patient had no contact with previously reported cases of NCoV infection," the WHO said. "Other potential exposures are under investigation."

Nine of the 15 people confirmed to have been infected with NCoV have died. Most cases have been in the Middle East or in patients who had recently traveled there.

Research by scientists in Europe has found that NCoV is well adapted to infecting humans.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:57 pm 
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Tornado kills 23: injures over 500 in Bangladesh, as it sweeps through 25 villages

The death toll from a tornado that swept through some 25 villages in eastern Bangladesh, rose to 23 with rescuers finding three more bodies in debris, a day after the deadly storm which also left nearly 500 people injured. The storm which hit the area on Friday, left a trail of destruction in 20 villages of Brahmanbaria sadar, Bijoynagar and Akhaura upazilas. “Three more bodies were recovered today. One of them was Yasmin, who is the mother of two young boys and was found inside the tank of a sanitary latrine,” a local journalist at the site said. Television footage showed villagers under an open sky around their flattened homes awaiting relief as the storm that lasted for some 15 minutes wreaked havoc in the area. Survivors said the storm blew away many people off the ground and several of the dead were found yards from their houses, or where they were when the disaster struck. Rail travel between the capital and three districts — Chittagong, Sylhet and Noakhali — was suspended, as tracks were blocked by trees uprooted by the tornado. Officials said the tornado led to partial collapse of the Brahmanbaria jail among other damaged buildings, killing a prison guard but all inmates were secure in the facility and officials were safe. “The storm was so powerful that it overturned dozens of motor vehicles and big trucks and uprooted dozens of trees and electricity poles,” a local official told a private TV channel at the scene. Initial reports said at least 10 people were killed and a newspaper put the toll for the injured at 500 in the storm that lashed the distant villages in Brahmanbaria district. Police superintendent of Brahmanbaria, M Moniruzzaman said some 100 people were rushed to hospitals, over a dozen of them with critical wounds. Bangladesh is among the countries most prone to natural floods, tornadoes and cyclones.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Rare Large Tornado Strikes Northern Italy

Image

A storm system pushed out of Spain, generating upper level divergence across the area. Clear skies boosted instability and a strong southerly wind brought in the shear factors.


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:02 am 
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Record number of dolphins dying off East Coast in ‘measles’ outbreak

he deadliest known outbreak of a measles-like virus in bottlenose dolphins has killed a record number of the marine mammals along the U.S. Atlantic coast in recent months, officials said Friday. A total of 753 bottlenose dolphins have washed up from New York to Florida from July 1 until Nov. 3, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figure represents a 10-fold increase in the number of dolphins that would typically turn up dead along East Coast beaches, said Teri Rowles, program coordinator of the NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. “Historic averages for this same time frame, same geographic area, is only 74, so you get an idea of the scope,” she told reporters. The cause of death is morbillivirus, a form of marine mammal measles that is similar to canine distemper and can cause pneumonia, suppressed immune function and brain infections that are usually fatal. The virus spreads among dolphins in close contact to one another. The death toll is also higher than the 740-plus strandings in the last major Atlantic morbillivirus outbreak in 1987-1988. And they have come in a much shorter time period, leading officials to anticipate this event could get much worse. “It is expected that the confirmed mortalities will be higher,” said Rowles. “If this plays out similar to the ’87-88 die-offs, we are less than halfway through that time frame.”


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 Post subject: Re: NATURE GOES NUTS
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:03 am 
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Typhoon Haiyan death toll in Philippines estimated at 1,200: strongest storm to ever make landfall in recorded history

The Philippines Red Cross said it has received reports of 1,200 deaths in two areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan. The agency said that at least 1,000 had been killed in Tacloban and 200 in Samar province. The typhoon has passed over the Philippines and is expected to hit Vietnam later today. Communication and transports links have been disrupted by the storm making it difficult to assess damage and offer assistance. Gwendolyn Pang, secretary general of the Philippine Red Cross, said the numbers came from preliminary reports by Red Cross teams in Tacloban and Samar, among the most devastated areas hit by typhoon Haiyan on Friday. “An estimated more than 1,000 bodies were seen floating in Tacloban as reported by our Red Cross teams,” she told Reuters. “In Samar, about 200 deaths. Validation is ongoing.” The death toll from typhoon Haiyan is expected to rise sharply as rescue workers reach areas cut off by the fast-moving storm, whose circumference eclipsed the whole country and which late on Saturday was heading for Vietnam. Roads in the coastal city of Tacloban in the central Leyte province, one of the worst-hit areas, were either underwater or blocked by fallen trees and power lines, and debris from homes blown away by Haiyan. Bodies covered in plastic sheeting were lying on the streets. “The last time I saw something of this scale was in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami,” said Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, head of the UN disaster assessment co-ordination team sent to Tacloban. “This is destruction on a massive scale. There are cars thrown like tumbleweed and the streets are strewn with debris.” The category 5 “super typhoon” weakened to a category 4 on Saturday, though forecasters said it could strengthen again over the South China Sea, en route to Vietnam. Authorities in 15 provinces in Vietnam have started to call back boats and prepare for possible landslides. Nearly 300,000 people were moved to safer areas in two provinces alone – Da Nang and Quang Nam – according to the government’s website.


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