India’s Mars satellite ‘Mangalyaan’ sends first images

I am very impressed with India’s foray into exploration of our solar system. It is, indeed, historic.

India’s space agency has released its first picture of Mars, taken by its satellite which entered orbit around the Red Planet on Wednesday.

It is the first time a maiden voyage to Mars has entered orbit successfully and it is the cheapest. Nasa’s latest Maven mission cost almost 10 times as much.


Okay, about this Ebola thing…

I haven’t written about this topic until now, but I am getting lots of questions, so here goes…

Again, this is from the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC and Texas Health Department Confirm First Ebola Case Diagnosed in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed today, through laboratory tests, the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a person who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia. The patient did not have symptoms when leaving West Africa, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 20.

The person fell ill on Sept. 24 and sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas on Sept. 26. After developing symptoms consistent with Ebola, he was admitted to hospital on Sept. 28. Based on the person’s travel history and symptoms, CDC recommended testing for Ebola. The medical facility isolated the patient and sent specimens for testing at CDC and at a Texas lab participating in the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network. CDC and the Texas Health Department reported the laboratory test results to the medical center to inform the patient. A CDC team is being dispatched to Dallas to assist with the investigation.

DON’T PANIC! This is not the first time a viral hemorrhagic fever has reached the United States. We have had one case of Marburg fever (2008) and 4 cases of Lassa fever–none have resulted in further transmission.

“Ebola can be scary. But there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities,” said CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “While it is not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with this patient in the coming weeks, I have no doubt that we will contain this.”

I encourage you to read the article on the CDC website, and take anything else you read on the internet or hear on network news with a grain of salt.


More about EV-D68, and HFM disease

From the Centers for Disease Control:

EV-D68 infections have recently been documented across the United States.
From mid-August to September 30, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 472 people in 41 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68. Learn about states with confirmed cases. This indicates that at least one case has been detected in each state listed but does not indicate how widespread infections are in each state.

Enteroviruses commonly circulate in summer and fall. We’re currently in middle of the enterovirus season, and EV-D68 infections are likely to decline later in the fall.

We haven’t seen much of an outbreak at University Health. There are some positive tests in the state, but only a few. There may be lots more, of course, in children who are mildly ill and aren’t tested.

What we are seeing is quite a few kids with hand-foot-mouth disease, caused by a coxsackie virus, another Enterovirus seen commonly this time of year. The patients I have seen have been mostly toddlers, with brief periods of fever, lots of bumps and sores on the hands, feet and around the mouth. They have had few or no ulcers in the mouth, which makes this year’s strain pretty benign. It all resolves without complications in about a week.


Warning: Political post

Great television ad by Elbert Guillory slamming Sen. Mary Landrieu. He says that in spite of 95% black support at the polls, Landrieu has done nothing for the black people of Louisiana.

While everything Mr. Guillory says is accurate, the truth is that Landrieu has done nothing for poor and middle class people in Louisiana, whether they be black, white or purple.

I do not watch a lot of television. Has this ad been getting much air time?


Well, duh!

Deep-fried Mars bars ‘could trigger a stroke’: Blood flow to the brain slows within minutes of eating the snack.

The study was done in Scotland, where deep-fried Mars bars are apparently popular at fish-and-chips shops.

The changes were seen only in men, and were “modest”. I would think that the long-term risks of frequently eating Mars Bars, deep-fried or not, would be more worrisome.