Monthly Archives: May 2014

Patient Zero problem. My New Fun

In the physical world, the first thing researchers look for during an outbreak is patient zero. Where did the virus start and where are all of the places and who are all of the people it could have touched? In the cyber world this almost never happens. But it is just as fundamental. In reality in public health this does not happen so often unfortunately because epidemiology has been so far an extremely descriptive discipline. 

Just as many other security technologies are delivering benefits through automation (for example, automated threat blocking, policy tuning, policy enforcement and reporting), technologies that automate as many steps as possible in the malware analysis process are essential. We need to be able to identify ‘the who,’ ‘the how’ and ‘the what’ quickly. Moreover, in epidemiology we need to plan optimal control strategies that stop the attack when detected.


Keep in touch soon for my papers!


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Delta Omega Induction of Matteo Convertino

It`s nice and funny I receive this prize!

Funny because Delta is represented by a triangle which is probably my favorite shape (and yes the perfect geometrical element), it’s representing the 3 virtues (passion (virtue), freedom, and faith) and also because Delta in a mathematical/physical sense indicates a change (a variation that is tyoicallu small but not too small, or large), and for me a change is always positive (even if it appears negatively initially). Omega, instead literally means “great O” (ō mega, mega meaning ‘great’), as opposed to omicron, which means “little O” , or in statistical mechanics it refers to the multiplicity (number of microstates) in a system: that is related to diversity!. Thus, overall, ”Delta Omega” means GREAT VARIATION (DIVERSITY) which fits me better than a suit!


Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 2.06.40 PM

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A change is ”always” a relative change … on climate change and environmentalism …

I read about the article below on the sudden collapse of the ice sheet  … leaving aside my environmental skepticism this seems to me another trap of reductionist thinking or ”disaster environmentalism” …. a change is a change but it depends on the window you observe that change and what you consider together in your view …

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Ecosystem Health Issue – Coral in Hawaii

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 6 May 2014
Source: KITV Honolulu [edited]

It’s called black band coral disease and it was first found in Kauai
waters in 2006.

Two summers ago marine photographer Terry Lilley began documenting the
die-off triggering a rapid response team of experts from the
University of Hawaii, National Marine Fisheries and US Geological
survey to spring into action.

Scientists pinpointed the cyanobacteria — the blue-green algae —
that has been attacking montipora rice corals.

They do know it is spreading, although so far the outbreak is just on
Kauai — most recently documented at Ke’e and Makua beach. “We really
hope we can control it before it spreads elsewhere,” said Frazer
McGilvray, aquatics administrator of the Department of Land and
Natural Resources [DLNR].

Now, the various agencies are preparing to launch a campaign to keep
the coral problem a top priority. It’s putting out the call for ocean
users to be on the lookout for the disease across the state.

“We do know of coral diseases that have wiped out 80 percent of the
coral in the Caribbean. So, this is potentially a very, very damaging
disease so we need to get a handle on it here,” said McGilvray.

Aquatic Resource staff have launched a new webpage [Reef Response]
they hope will be a go-to site for information, including links to the
“Eyes of the Reef” — a non-profit group tasked with reporting marine

“The Eyes of the Reef website is where you go to file your
observations and send in your photos. The Reef Response webpage on the
DLNR site is where all the information that is coming out of the multi
agency team [will be posted]. It’s a one-stop shop for information,”
said DLNR marine resource specialist Anne Rosinksi.

Summer is just around corner and scientists fully expect more of these
hotspots to crop up but they hope this approach and this website will
help keep the public on guard.

The state’s new aquatic resources boss admits his program is massively
understaffed and underfunded to deal with the problem on its own.

“In an ideal world we would have been on this 10 years ago but the
best thing we can say is, we are on it now and moving forward we know
we have to do this,” said McGilvray.

[Byline: Catherine Cruz]

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A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sun 11 May 2014
Source: RTE News [edited]

A US Airways flight traveling from Venice [Italy] to Philadelphia
[USA] has been diverted to Dublin [Ireland] Airport, after a number of
crew members became ill. The plane was forced to land at Dublin
airport at 3.15 pm this afternoon [11 May 2014] after a number of
people on board complained of nausea and dizziness. Airport emergency
services along with paramedics from the HSE were on site when the
plane landed.

A spokesperson for the HSE [Health Service Executive, Ireland] said
this evening, 11 May 2014, that 9 people were taken to Beaumont
Hospital [Dublin] for observation. 185 passengers were on board US
airways flight 715 which was travelling from Venice to Philadelphia.

A spokesperson for the Dublin Airport Authority has said the flight
has now been cancelled and the passengers have disembarked. It’s
understood the passengers will be accommodated in Dublin overnight as
arrangements are made for them to continue their journey.

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From ProMED – The IMPORTANCE OF Vigilant Surveillance

May 8, 2014

Dear Colleagues,


The World Health Organization this week took the unusual step of declaring a global health emergency. Reacting to the spread of polio in several countries, WHO exercised this power for only the second time since new regulations were adopted seven years ago. Why now and why is this important?


After a 25-year campaign to eliminate polio through massive deployments of teams to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children, we were close to eradicating the paralyzing virus. In February, dignitaries from around the world came together in Delhi to celebrate three years since the last confirmation of a case of WPV associated polio in India. Critical to this success have been high-quality campaigns that reached children multiple times with OPV and the development of systems for reliable surveillance and timely reporting so that the full extent of outbreaks can be determined, tracked, and understood.


WHO is reacting to the very real possibility that the disease will rapidly spread from Pakistan, Syria, and Cameroon to their neighbors and, via international travel, to the rest of the world. Based on public health data disclosed by the Ministries of Health in the affected countries in accordance with international agreements, the WHO’s declaration puts public health measures in place in these countries. These actions not only represents a welcomed aggressive stance on a re-emerging disease by the global health community, it supports the notion that gathering data and sharing it freely is in the best interests of everyone’s health.


Vigilant surveillance remains the best strategy for rapid response, and the ProMED network remains the best and most reliable provider of that vigilance. ProMED has posted 173 detailed reports on polio since 2007. No other source provides the accurate, relevant, and timely emerging infectious disease reporting that ProMED provides multiple times each day. Covering the entire One Health spectrum of human, animal, and crop plant diseases, ProMED brings you news and unique expert interpretation and context that informs you about the disease and helps you understand how it might affect you, your family, your patients, your business, and your plans. No other source keeps you so well informed on topics you need and want to know about. No other source covers the topic of infectious diseases so broadly, deeply, and internationally. No other source provides it free of charge.


Except, of course, it is not free. We provide access to it for free in order to foster an international community of people concerned about emerging diseases, but the level and quality of service ProMED provides you isexpensive. Maintaining an international staff of experts available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to add perspective and analysis is expensive. Please help keep ProMED-mail unfettered, uncensored, and free – please contribute generously.


ProMED-mail has been widely recognized for the transparency and scope of its reporting, the depth of its commentary. Now is the time for you to recognize the important role you play as a reader and supporter. We are committed to aiding international disease surveillance vigilance at no cost to subscribers in 187 countries around the world. But we need your support to do that. More than a third of the annual operating budget for ProMED is funded with voluntary contributions from subscribers. If you are one of more than 65,000 subscribers who rely on ProMED for up-to-the-minute information on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, please give now.



Larry Madoff, Editor



P.S. Our Fall 2013 fund raising campaign was a great success. Thank you to everyone who contributed! If you haven’t given recently, please consider joining the nearly 1000 subscribers and organizations who have demonstrated just how important ProMED is to them!

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USA as pathogenic bomb – MERS IN USA – first case

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[1] CDC Press Release
Date: Fri 2 May 2014
Source: CDC Press Release [edited]

CDC announces 1st case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
infection (MERS) in the United States
MERS case in traveler from Saudi Arabia hospitalized in Indiana
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed
today [2 May 2014] in a traveler to the United States. This virus is
relatively new to humans and was 1st reported in Saudi Arabia in

“We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and
are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
“We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state
health officials to find people who may have had contact with this
person so they can be evaluated as appropriate. This case reminds us
that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and
the water we drink. We can break the chain of transmission in this
case through focused efforts here and abroad.”

On [24 Apr 2014], the patient traveled by plane from Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia to London, England then from London to Chicago, Illinois. The
patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On [27 Apr 2014], the
patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness
of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency
department in an Indiana hospital on [28 Apr 2014] and was admitted on
that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated;
the patient is currently in stable condition. Because of the patient’s
symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials tested
for MERS-CoV. The Indiana state public health laboratory and CDC
confirmed MERS-CoV infection in the patient this afternoon [2 May

“It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation,
but this 1st U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low
risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon
general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and
Respiratory Diseases. In some countries, the virus has spread from
person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living
with an infected person. However, there is currently no evidence of
sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

CDC and Indiana health officials are not yet sure how the patient
became infected with the virus. Exposure may have occurred in Saudi
Arabia, where outbreaks of MERS-CoV infection are occurring. Officials
also do not know exactly how many people have had close contact with
the patient.

So far, including this U.S. importation, there have been 401 confirmed
cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date [2 May 2014], all
reported cases have originated in 6 countries in the Arabian
Peninsula. Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory
illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died.
Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it
spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment
recommended for the virus.

“In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make
its way to the United States,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have been preparing since 2012
for this possibility.”

Federal, state, and local health officials are taking action to
minimize the risk of spread of the virus. The Indiana hospital is
using full precautions to avoid exposure within the hospital and among
healthcare professionals and other people interacting with the
patient, as recommended by CDC.

In July 2013, CDC posted checklists and resource lists for healthcare
facilities and providers to assist with preparing to implement
infection control precautions for MERS-CoV.

As part of the prevention and control measures, officials are reaching
out to close contacts to provide guidance about monitoring their

While experts do not yet know exactly how this virus is spread, CDC
advises Americans to help protect themselves from respiratory
illnesses by washing hands often, avoiding close contact with people
who are sick, avoid touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth with
unwashed hands, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

The largest reported outbreak to date occurred April through May 2013
in eastern Saudi Arabia and involved 23 confirmed cases in 4
healthcare facilities. At this time, CDC does not recommend anyone
change their travel plans. The World Health Organization also has not
issued Travel Health Warnings for any country related to MERS-CoV.
Anyone who develops fever and cough or shortness of breath within 14
days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula
should see their doctor and let him or her know where they travelled.

For more information about MERS Co-V, please visit:
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome:

About Coronavirus:

Frequently Asked MERS Questions and Answers:

Indiana Department of Health:

Communicated by:

[2] Media report
Date: Fri 2 May 2014
Source: CNN [edited]

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