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Is this a new Sleepy Sickness epidemic developing? H5N1?

  1. Mar 28, 2015 #1

    Doug Huffman

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    Gold Member

    Sleeping sickness traps Kazakh town in waking nightmare
    Scientists are baffled by a mysterious illness that has sent hundreds of people into days-long slumbers

    ProMED is my first professional news source that I consult every morning after three vulgar news sources. I am an occasional contributor as an 'interested layman'.

    Published Date: 2014-09-14 20:13:11
    Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Undiagnosed cerebral disease - Kazakhstan (03)
    Archive Number: 20140914.2772224



    The relationship between encephalitis lethargica and influenza: A critical analysis

    It is frustrating that after almost a century of effort, we know very little about the etiology of
    EL. Pertaining to the influenza hypothesis, it is invariably difficult to prove a negative case.
    There are myriad technical limitations that potentially could cause experimental false
    negatives. Contemporary morgues were not refrigerated so autolysis likely caused viral
    degradation, after which brain is notoriously difficult to fix, and formalin fixation is suboptimal
    for molecular studies. A 1-day delay of formalin fixation reduces measurable mRNA 99% and
    the ratio between measured quantities of different genes could vary over 10-fold. This effect
    is most pronounced for large amplicons; reducing the amplicon from 497 to 136 bp increased
    quantifiable mRNA 100-fold (Abrahamsen et al, 2003; Smolinski et al, 2005). Additionally,
    there is the difficulty of lysate processing from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue and
    the common problem of PCR inhibitors. All of these factors may adversely affect sensitivity.

    Furthermore, cellular housekeeping mRNAs may be more plentiful and therefore statistically
    more likely to survive postmortem degradation in amplifiable lengths than influenza RNA.

    This effect might lower the power of negative RT-PCR studies such as those of McCall et al
    and Lo et al. Most available cases had clinical courses long enough before their death that an
    acute viral infection might no longer be detectable.

    Influenza causation might provide a convenient explanation for EL’s disappearance because
    the 1918-like influenza strains ceased human circulation sometime before 1933 when the first
    human strain was cultured (Taubenberger, 2006). Empirical studies provide little evidence of
    influenza causation; but, as we have demonstrated, technical limitations and the shortage of
    appropriate material for testing limit the degree of confidence. Therefore, unless another cause
    of classical EL is positively identified, its return in the context of another influenza pandemic
    remains formally possible. Such a recurrence would provide an opportunity to establish the
    etiology of EL using modern methods.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2015 #2
    Will be interesting to track any progress on this story. Hope it is not contagious!
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