Date: August 6, 2011
Source: Daily Post
Abstract: The devastated parents of a little boy who died after contracting a mystery illness while on holiday in Africa have opened their hearts about their “perfect” son.
Four-year-old James Devaney, known to family and friends as Jamie, died at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya last week.
The happy and healthy youngster had been ill for 12 days due to deadly toxins released into his body by an unidentified bacteria or virus, causing his organs to shut down.
Jamie had been on holiday in Uganda with mum Avril and dad Jim, who was near the end of a charity bike ride to raise cash for the country’s Kisiizi Mental Health Hospital when his son took ill.
Avril, a nursing director at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Jamie had not really been himself for a few days, but we were not really worried. We just put it down to the long flight and different food.
“Jim set off on his bike ride and we travelled to Kisiizi Hospital to meet him at the end. While we were there, Jamie started to suffer stomach pains and diarrhoea and he was seen straight away by a doctor. We hoped it was just a 48-hour bug, but by the third day we could see it was more serious.
“By that time, he had toxins in his body which were starting to affect his organs and cause internal bleeding.”
Jamie was flown to Kenya to receive specialist treatment and began to get better, giving both his family and doctors a shred of hope. “He was taken off the ventilator and was responding to questions,” said Jim, who abandoned his bike ride on the fourth day to be at his son’s bedside.
“We hoped he was over the worst, but then we discovered his other organs were affected. His doctors were devastated when he died. Nurses were breaking down in tears.”
Avril added: “There was nothing anyone could have done. Jamie had a team of about six consultants and they were all absolutely brilliant.”
No-one has been able to pinpoint what caused Jamie’s illness, which could have been picked up at home in Halkyn.
“It could have been caused by anything,” Avril said. “We don’t know if it was something he ate or touched. By the time he was displaying symptoms, the illness had left him – it was just the toxins that were still there.
“Throughout it all he was so brave. He never complained and had so much dignity for a little boy of his age. Jamie was special. He formed a special relationship with everyone he met and was so kind.
“He loved being outdoors and did everything with us. He even climbed mountains, he would give anything a go.
“He loved animals and got to see a lion – his favourite – while we were in Uganda, which he absolutely loved. Jamie mesmerised everyone he met, he had so many friends and was so bright. I could not believe nature could have created anything so perfect as our son.”
Jamie was due to start school at Ysgol Rhos Helyg, where he had attended nursery, in September. “It seems such a waste, but we won’t let it be,” Jim said. “We are planning to set up a memorial fund in Jamie’s honour and build new hospital facilities in Uganda with the proceeds. Something good has to come from his death, as he brought us so much joy.
“He would want us to do something like this, because he was so kind and gentle. He had a wisdom beyond his years.”
Avril, Jim and Jamie’s 17-year-old twin sisters Laura and Emily have been overwhelmed with messages of condolence, which they say has helped them through. A celebration of Jamie’s life will be held at St Mary’s Church, Halkyn, on August 11 at 11am. The family are asking everyone to wear bright colours and donations will taken for Kisiizi Hospital (Daily Post, 2011).
Date: October 7, 2011
Source: Brisbane Times
Abstract: Biosecurity Queensland has now confirmed that five horses have been euthanised in a paddock where seven others have mysteriously died.
Test results have confirmed that the Hendra virus is not the cause of the illness that affected the 12 dead horses at the property in the Kooralbyn area in the Gold Coast hinterland.
Speculation is mounting that the horses consumed a toxic or contaminated substance.
Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Rick Symons said Biosecurity Queensland would perform post mortems on the horses to try and determine what made them fall sick and die so rapidly.
“We don’t expect to have the complete post mortem results until next week,” he said.
“There were a total of 25 horses on the property. Three of the surviving horses are showing signs of the illness and are being monitored.
“I want to acknowledge the quick actions of the private veterinarians who attended the property yesterday and their use of appropriate protective equipment.
“While this is not a case of Hendra virus infection, vets should always take appropriate precautions including the use of personal protective equipment.”
Two private vets were called to the paddock yesterday, after locals in Kooralbyn discovered the dead horses and notified the RSPCA.
The horse deaths were reported to Biosecurity Queensland about 4pm.
A Kooralbyn resident, who stopped at the property early yesterday afternoon and did not want to be named, said several horses were dead and one was struggling to get off the ground.
"I went as far as the fence line and I saw enough and I wasn't getting any closer," she said.
"The horses looked in terrible condition. One was trying to get up and was shaking and struggling as though it was suffering from colic.
"We've been told one of the horses was found dead in the creek."
She said the horses had been in the paddock for two weeks.
No one had been seen visiting the paddock, which was about five kilometres from a local pony and equestrian club, she said.
There were concerns in the community about why and how the horses had died and whether the creek water was contaminated, she said.
"It's hard to understand why the horses have gotten that sick in a fortnight and the question is where were they before they were put in the paddock?"
The RSPCA has ruled out animal cruelty as the cause of death, according to spokesman Michael Beattie.
Veterinarians, called in by the RSPCA, found the horses were covered in ticks.
Mr Beattie said they did not believe ticks had caused the deaths.
There was speculation that the animals had consumed something contaminated, but that still had to be confirmed through more tests (Brisbane Times, 2011).
Title: 22 Students Hospitalized After Falling Ill At Houston High School Football Game
Date: November 5, 2011
Source: Fox News
Abstract: More than 20 people, mostly band members, were hospitalized Friday night after suddenly falling ill during a high school football game in southwest Houston on Friday night.
It was first believed they had been exposed
to an unknown chemical, but fire officials said later they had found no
trace of gases or chemical agents at the scene.
Austin and Yates high schools were playing at Barnett Stadium when, sometime around 9:00pm local time, students suddenly fell ill and hazmat teams and emergency crews were dispatched to the stadium, myFOXhouston reported.
The victims, mainly band members and dancers from Austin High, were reportedly suffering from nausea, vomiting and heart palpitations.
"A number of the students were complaining of nausea," he said. "We ended up with 22 students being transported to five different hospitals"
A hazmat team was set up a decontamination unit in the vicinity of the stadium, which was evacuated following the incident, KPRC-TV reported.
A student told myFOXhouston he began to smell something odd when he saw his sister lose consciousness.
Another witness told KTRK-TV, "Three dancers moved to the side and started throwing up, then as we got to the stands, more started falling."
A doctor who interviewed patients at the scene said investigators were still trying to work out what caused the students to suddenly become ill, after fire officials said their detection equipment had found no sign of gases or chemical agents in the area."The kids all ate at different places, some of them ate at different times ... but they did have something in their stomachs. At this point, it remains a little unclear what set it off," Emergency Medical Services doctor David Purse said (Fox News, 2011).
Title: Mysterious Illness At Leroy High School
Date: November 8, 2011
Source: WKBW News
Abstract: It's been more than a week that six Leroy High School students have been shaking uncontrollably and the cause has doctors stumped.
The symptoms are similar to Tourette Syndrome, including shaking and jerking in their necks and heads. One student, who did not want to be identified, said it started when she woke up from a nap and could not speak because the shaking was so severe.
Now, she said the shaking has gotten so bad that she can't go to school. She is tutored at home. The teen has gone to a psychologist, neurologist and general practitioner but doctors can't pinpoint the problem.
The teen said the medicine the doctors have administered are making her so tired, she sleeps nearly the entire day. She said what's worse is that she worries about what could happen.
"For eight or ninth days now shaking and it doesn't stop. It's a lot of pressure on my back and it makes my neck sore," Unidentified girl said.
School officials said
they are working closely with students, their parents and doctors to try
and find a cause. They also hope to stop this illness from spreading.
Doctors said they will be monitoring the six girls to make sure they
don't get any worse (WKBW News, 2011).
Date: November 23, 2011
Abstract: An American woman died aboard a cruise ship that docked at Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, the same ship on which 86 passengers previously fell ill, according to the state-run Brazilian news agency, Agencia Brasil.
The American tourist died aboard the MS Veendam, owned by cruise operator Holland America. Federal Police told Agencia Brasil that forensic doctors were investigating her death.
The ship's doctors told police that the woman was elderly and suffered from diabetes and hypertension, according the agency.
The other passengers came down with diarrhea prior to her death during an earlier part of the trip, the ship's doctors said.
The Veendam left New York 36 days ago for a South America tour (CNN, 2011).
Date: November 23, 2011
Source: Huffington Post
Abstract: An American woman has died, and 86 others have fallen ill aboard a cruise ship that was struck by a mystery illness, CNN reports.
According to The Examiner, only 79 passengers were sickened.
The MS Veendam, operated by Holland America, was on a South American tour and docked Tuesday in Rio de Janiero. Forensic doctors are investigating the elderly woman's death. It's not believed to be related to the "mystery illness," as ship doctors told police she suffered from hypertension and diabetes.
AFP reports the mystery illness has been solved, and was simply the stomach flu.