Mysterious illness in India kills 7

Discussion in 'Family Medicine' started by AdventureDoc, Oct 9, 2007.

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  1. AdventureDoc

    AdventureDoc 2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Sun 7 Oct 2007
    Source: The Telegraph (Calcutta) [edited]

    India (Manipur) - mystery ailment kills 7: request for information
    A supposedly mysterious disease has caused 7 deaths in a border area
    without doctors has set alarm bells ringing in the Manipur capital. Health
    minister P Parijat Singh today despatched a medical team to Moreh,
    bordering Myanmar, to detect the disease that has spread quickly in the
    villages along the boundary over the past week [1-6 Oct 2007]. The
    additional director of public health, Th Biren Singh, said the state health
    directorate received an SOS from Chandel district yesterday [6 Oct 2007].

    Patients suffering from the disease have complained of high fever, stomach
    pain, and vomiting. Health department officials said some of the victims
    had convulsions and seizures before they died. The directorate is still
    clueless what the killer ailment is since the symptoms are common to
    several diseases, including gastroenteritis, cholera, dysentery, and acute
    stomach infection.

    We have received preliminary information of some deaths in the border town
    in the past few days. We sent a medical team there today and will do
    everything necessary to contain the outbreak, the health minister said,
    ruling out the possibility of the disease assuming epidemic proportions.

    The first death occurred on 28 Sep 2007 and the last on 5 Oct 2007. We are
    preparing to send another batch of medical staff once we receive a detailed
    report. We will also send in specialists, Biren Singh said. He said blood
    samples of patients would be collected and tested to identify the disease
    type. The disease could have been triggered by contaminated water. We are
    in the process of finding the exact cause, the health minister said.

    Moreh, the main trade link between India and Myanmar, has only one primary
    health care centre, which was upgraded to a community health centre earlier
    this year. A couple of months later, the community health centre was
    shifted to Sugnu in neighbouring Thoubal district, as the state government
    planned to construct a 50 bed hospital in the town. The medical staff at
    the health centre were also moved to Thoubal along with the new recruits,
    rendering the Moreh unit defunct.

    Acknowledging that healthcare programmes had failed in the border town
    because of lack of adequate manpower, Parijat Singh said the government
    would soon deploy trained personnel at the health centre.

    Bets on what this turns out to be? The symptoms are vague and the history down right sucks. Cholera? Nipah virus?

    I figured this section could use some activity?!
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  3. BlondeDocteur

    BlondeDocteur 7+ Year Member

    I subscribe to Promed too (have for years) and they're always posting stuff like that-- random, mysterious illnesses that get picked up by the popular press, who usually aren't too adept at describing symptoms. When you think of the hundreds of thousands of people who die in the remote corners of the world each year without anyone to attend them, it's not too surprising that every once in a while, by happenstance, the rest of the world gets to peek in and discover something new. It's a funny conceit to think our nosologies are complete anyway.

    More mundanely, though, the mods on Promed usually pipe up and let us know it was really mass hysteria or epilepsy or viral diarrhea.

    But I'll bite and say... Kyasanur Forest Disease? :) (Just to get someone to look it up, really. Or rather, KFD, non-hemorrhagic variant.)
  4. AdventureDoc

    AdventureDoc 2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    If I were really smart I would have done something with virology. I find them absolutely fascinating. I think a lot of the "Emerging Infectious Diseases" are things that crawl out of the forest, so to speak. From the rural pig farmers to "hidden tribes" with little outside contact, they are people who have direct contact with animals and the sylvatic cycle.

    I had not heard mention of KFD in quite some time, it was a good chance to re-read it. Thanks! What are some of the resources people use to study this stuff?

    A few of my favorites include:

    APHA Control of Communicable Disease Manual by Heymann

    Travel and Tropical Medcine Manual by E. Jong
  5. BlondeDocteur

    BlondeDocteur 7+ Year Member

    I find the MSF field manuals to be quite good. I also have a Parasitic Diseases text written by a few of my med school profs, but to be honest I wish I had more cause to acquire a library on trop med!

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