News Scan for Dec 07, 2016

MERS in Riyadh
Ancient malaria

Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case, 2 deaths

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new case of MERS-CoV in Riyadh. Riyadh has been the site of a number of recent cases, including one yesterday.

The MOH said a 56-year-old man was in stable condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). His infection is listed as primary, meaning it's unlikely he contracted the disease from another person.

A 29-year-old woman from Hafar Al Batin and 59-year-old man from Yanbu have also died from the respiratory virus, according to the MOH.

The new case raises Saudi Arabia's total from the disease to 1,502 since the first human infections were detected in 2012. So far 621 people have died from MERS. Sixteen people are still being treated for their recently announced illnesses.
Dec 7 MOH


Researchers find Plasmodium DNA in ancient Roman teeth

DNA extraction from 2,000-year-old molars dating to the 1st through 3rd centuries in Italy indicates the oldest known presence of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in humans, according to a new study in Current Biology.

An international team performed hybridization capture to analyze tiny DNA fragments from first and second molars from human remains obtained from three cemeteries in southern Italy that date to the earliest centuries A.D. They were able to extract, purify, and enrich the specimens specifically for the Plasmodium species known to infect humans.

"There is extensive written evidence describing fevers that sound like malaria in ancient Greece and Rome, but the specific malaria species responsible is unknown,” said Stephanie Marciniak, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University, in a McMaster University Daily News story.

"Our data confirm that the species was likely Plasmodium falciparum, and that it affected people in different ecological and cultural environments," she said. "These results open up new questions to explore, particularly how widespread this parasite was, and what burden it placed upon communities in Imperial Roman Italy"
Dec 5 Curr Biol study
Dec 5 McMaster Daily News

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