On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) country office in China was informed of 27 patients with pneumonia of unclear cause in Wuhan — a metropolis with 19 million inhabitants in Hubei province.
The Good News<p>Eight patients are currently considered cured and have reportedly left the hospital.</p><p>Having identified the virus, experts are one step further in their search for what is triggering the mysterious <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/unknown-lung-disease-in-china/a-51902586" target="_blank">lung disease</a>.</p><p>The pathogen's gene sequence has been deciphered, according to the head of the team of Chinese experts, Xu Jianguo.</p><p>He said the cause is a new type of coronavirus found in the blood and saliva of 15 patients. An investigation into what brought about the outbreak will continue. </p><p>Gauden Galea, a WHO representative in China, also confirmed the discovery of the new strain of the coronavirus <a href="https://www.who.int/china/news/detail/09-01-2020-who-statement-regarding-cluster-of-pneumonia-cases-in-wuhan-china" target="_blank">in a statement</a>.</p><p>According to the WHO, the quick preliminary identification of the novel virus is a notable achievement and demonstrates China's increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.</p>
What are coronaviruses?<p>Coronaviruses were first found in humans in the 1960s. The name is derived from their appearance under the microscope: The peplomers, the outwardly protruding protein structures of the virus envelope, are arranged in the form of a crown (from Latin: <em>corona</em>).</p><p>Coronaviruses are common and infections are often harmless with patients developing only flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. Gastrointestinal complaints, especially diarrhea, can also occur. The incubation time for a coronavirus can vary from a few days to two weeks. </p>
How is the virus transmitted?<p>Zoonoses can be transmitted through direct contact between animals and humans as well as — like with many germs — simply through the air, such as by coughing or sneezing.</p><p>But there are many other ways of infection, for example through food or vectors. A mosquito, tick or other insect can transport a pathogen from the host to another organism without becoming ill itself. </p><p>In addition, zoonoses can also be transmitted via food, for example when eating meat or animal products. If these are not sufficiently heated or if they were prepared under unhygienic conditions, they also represent a source of infection.</p>
Lunar New Year: Be safe<p>Compared to the major instances of SARS and MERS, the current coronavirus outbreak is small, but experts said it should not be underestimated.</p><p>China is, therefore, exercising caution regarding the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in late January. Millions of people travel in buses, trains and airplanes to celebrate the holiday.</p><p>Wang Yang, the Chinese Transport Ministry's chief engineer, said authorities will step up efforts to prevent the pneumonia outbreak from spreading further during the holiday period, including ensuring proper disinfection in major public transportation hubs like airport and train stations.</p><p>Other Asian countries also stepped up precautions on entry, especially for travelers from Wuhan, and introduced fever controls to prevent the feared spread of the virus. To date, there are 16 suspected cases in Hong Kong, and a possible patient has been reported in Singapore. Not in all of the cases have a direct connection to Wuhan.</p>
How to protect yourself?<p>The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/pneumonia-china" target="_blank">released a statement warning</a> travelers to Wuhan to avoid animal markets and contact with animals or uncooked meat. People in the area should also avoid the sick and wash their hands frequently with soap and water.</p><p>Those who have been to Wuhan and feel ill should seek medical help immediately and avoid contact with others, the report said.</p><p>Before the doctor is consulted, the practice or clinic should be informed about the travel history and symptoms.</p><p>The WHO did not issue a specific travel warning.</p>
- Black Death Is Back! Two Cases of Plague Confirmed in China ... ›
- Unknown Lung Disease in China - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tweeting that the U.S. has the cleanest air in the world does not make it so. Not only do we rank 10th, but a new study says that after steady improvement during the Obama-era, air pollution has gotten worse while Donald Trump has been president.
- Air Pollution Caused 400,000 Early EU Deaths in 2016, Study Finds ... ›
- New Study Links Air Pollution to Dementia - EcoWatch ›
- Even Small Spikes in Air Pollution Can Threaten Children's Mental ... ›
- Air Pollution Reaches the Placenta During Pregnancy, New Study ... ›
- Polluted U.S. Neighborhoods Haven't Improved in 40 Years ›
Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
- Best CBD Oils of 2020: Reviews & Buying Guide - EcoWatch ›
- Best CBD Oil for Pain Management - Top 10 CBD Oil Review 2020 ... ›
- Best CBD for Dogs 2020 - Organic CBD Oil for Pets - EcoWatch ›
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released new numbers that show vaping-related lung illnesses are continuing to grow across the country, as the number of fatalities has climbed to 33 and hospitalizations have reached 1,479 cases, according to a CDC update.
- Vaping Damages Blood Vessels After Just One Use, New Study Says ›
- E-Cig Vaping Led to Lung Cancer in Mice: What Does This Mean for ... ›
- Vaping Lung Damage Compared to Chemical Weapon Burns in ... ›
People who develop respiratory illnesses after using e-cigarettes to vape nicotine and marijuana are showing symptoms akin to chemical burns in their lungs, according to new research by Mayo Clinic doctors.
- 30+ Seizures After Vaping Have FDA Questioning a Link - EcoWatch ›
- Vaping Leads to 14 Hospitalizations in Two States - EcoWatch ›
- Vaping Damages Blood Vessels After Just One Use, New Study Says ›
- E-Cig Vaping Led to Lung Cancer in Mice: What Does This Mean for Humans? - EcoWatch ›
An extraordinary delay in the development of federal protections against exposure to crystalline silica is harming American workers, more than 300 public health scientists, doctors and occupational safety experts told President Obama Jan. 25.
In a letter, the group asked the president to intervene and direct the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to complete its review of a proposed rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers from exposure to the deadly dust “so that the public, workers, unions, public health experts and employers have the full opportunity to participate in the development of this important worker protection measure.”
Despite being required by executive order to complete its review of proposed rules within 90 days, OMB has held the rule for nearly a year, with no signal of when its review will be complete.
“This delay in action by OMB leaves workers at significant risk of disease and death,” according to the letter. “It also prevents the rulemaking process from moving forward, obstructing public participation on this important worker safety and public health matter.”
The scientists have joined the American Industrial Hygiene Association in questioning whether the delay is due to politics. The letter notes that OMB staff has held at least nine private meetings on the proposed rules, most of which involved individuals that represent companies with a direct financial stake in their outcome.
The rule has been in development for 14 years. On Dec. 21, 2011, the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health wrote the secretaries of Labor and Health and Human Services to emphasize the importance of issuing the proposed silica rule “so that the public hearings and comment period can commence, and a final silica standard issued to protect workers from this serious workplace hazard.”
“The White House’s job is to coordinate the development of rules that protect the public, not to stand in their way,” said Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Scientific Integrity Program. “The OMB is hundreds of days behind schedule, and every day these rules are delayed, more workers are at risk.”
An estimated 1.7 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to respirable crystalline silica, a product of industrial processes like stonecutting, road building and sand blasting that can cause lung cancer, silicosis and other respiratory illnesses.
“Working in silica dust has left me with bad lungs," said Leonard Serafin, a former railroad worker with silicosis from San Bernardino, Calif. "Every day, I struggle to do activities because of my condition. I want to see that other people are protected from this dust—it’s not fair to expose people to something this dangerous when they can be protected.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about 200 workers die each year from silicosis, and studies estimate there are as many as 7,300 new cases of silicosis annually among U.S. workers. Most of the time, the prognosis is grim.
“When a person with silicosis starts to have trouble breathing, it is too late for effective treatment because the silica dust has caused permanent scarring of the lungs," said Dr. Robert Harrison, clinical professor of Medicine at University of California San Francisco and an occupational disease expert who signed the letter. "When I see a patient with silicosis, it's a stark reminder that our worker safety regulations are inadequate. Silicosis is 100 percent preventable."
Signers of the letter include public health and occupational safety advocates from 39 states and the District of Columbia along with several advocacy groups, including the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Interfaith Worker Justice.
For more information, click here.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C.