Study: The common cold and flu appear to cancel each other out
Today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) British authors offered evidence supporting a long-observed phenomenon of the cold and flu season: Having either a rhinovirus or influenza makes a person less likely to contract the other virus.
This is the first study with enough samples to show evidence of the relationship between rhinoviruses, which cause the common cold, and influenza viruses, at both an individual and population level. To conduct the study, the researchers looked at 44,230 cases of acute respiratory illness, in 36,157 patients, who were tested for 11 types of respiratory viruses over 9 years in Glasgow and Clyde, Scotland.
In the strongest study finding, patients with influenza A were approximately 70% less likely to also be infected with rhinovirus than were patients infected with the other virus types. In general, only 8% of patients testing positive for either rhinoviruses or influenza viruses were co-infected with another virus.
The contradictory relationship was also seen on a population level.
Sema Nickbakhsh, PhD, from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research at the University of Glasgow, said in a UK Research and Innovation press release, "One really striking pattern in our data is the decline in cases of the respiratory virus rhinovirus, which is typically a mild common cold causing virus, occurring during winter, around the time that flu activity increases."
Dec 16 PNAS study
Dec 16 UK research and innovation press release
Montana reports its first chronic wasting disease case in wild elk
For the first time, state officials in Montana have tracked chronic wasting disease (CWD), a deadly prion disease that affects cervids, in a wild elk. The animal was harvested on private land northeast of Red Lodge in November.
According to ProMed Mail, the reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, Montana last reported CWD in captive elk in 1999.
CWD was found in wild mule deer in Montana in 2017. Earlier this year, a moose in the state was also found to have the disease. In total, Montana's Fish, Wildlife, and Parks office has recorded 91 animals with CWD this year, with the rest in deer.
Montana's general hunting season ended on Dec 1. Though there have been no documented cases of CWD jumping from animals to humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend testing all animals harvested from areas with known CWD transmission.
Dec 14 ProMed post
Dec 9 Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks news release
MERS sickens 2 more in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia over the past few days reported two new MERS-CoV cases, bringing the total for December to three, an apparent decline from November when 12 cases were reported.
The patients are 66-year-old man from the city of Abha in Asir region and a 72-year-old woman from the city of Riyadh, the country's capital, according to updates from the ministry of health (MOH). Neither of the people are healthcare workers and both had primary exposure to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), meaning they probably didn't contract the virus from another known case. Contact with camels is listed as unknown for both.
Asir region is southwestern Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh is located in the central part of the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in an update earlier this month that since MERS-CoV was first detected in humans in 2012, it has received reports of 2,484 cases, at least 857 of them fatal. Most were reported from Saudi Arabia.
Dec 14 Saudi MOH statement