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Indian woman infected with a rare drug-resistant strain of TB sets off scare in US

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New York: An Indian woman infected with a rare drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis has created a health scare in three US states and for people on her flight and is now being treated in a special isolation facility near Washington, health officials said on Tuesday.

The woman with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) travelled from India to Chicago and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as a precautionary measure it will be contacting people who may have come into contact with her on the plane.

The woman has not been identified in keeping with the patient privacy regulations.

Asked about the flight, CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner said that the information was not available. “We likely wouldn’t provide that to you even if we had it,” he added. “We are able to get flight manifest and reach those who need to be reached. If for some reason we couldn’t get flight manifest and we needed to reach people by going public with flight number we would.”

Information about where she was from India was also not available.

CDC said, “The risk of getting a contagious disease on an airplane is low but public health officials sometimes need to alert travellers who may have been exposed to a sick passenger.

The woman, who arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport in April, visited Missouri and Tennessee before seeking medical treatment seven weeks after coming to the US, CDC said.

CDC said it is now working with the Illinois state Department of Health to identify people she may have been in contact with.

Based on her medical history and molecular testing, she was diagnosed with XDR TB, CDC said. She was placed in respiratory isolation at a suburban Chicago hospital and later transported by air ambulance to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Maryland, near Washington.

The National Institutes of Health said patient was in a “stable condition” at NIH Clinical Center in an isolation room in the specially designed for handling patients with respiratory infections like XDR TB.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is treating the patient under an NIH clinical protocol for treating TB, including XDR TB, NIH said.

XDR TB is a rare type of TB that is resistant to nearly all medicines used to treat the disease. Technically, the CDC describes it as “resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs, that is, amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin”. (IANS)

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China, US Set To Take Action Against Each Other

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest

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USA, China,
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

China and the US are set to take action against each other as tensions escalate over trade, cyber hacking and espionage as senior American law enforcement officials identified Beijing as the most serious threat to Washington’s national security, officials said.

China’s methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed US lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As the US proceeds a whole of society response to this threat, we must address the vulnerabilities within our system while preserving our values and the open, free and fair principles that have made us thrive,” E.W. Priestap, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director of Counter-intelligence told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the US, but the future of the world.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top national security official told lawmakers on Wednesday the administration was reacting to China’s “steadily increasing” economic espionage activity, which costs the US an estimated $225 billion a year.

From 2011 to 2018, more than 90 per cent of the DOJ’s cases alleging economic espionage by a state have involved China, and more than two-thirds of trade secret thefts have a nexus to China, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Donald Trump, democrats, government,, pakistan
U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

“From underwater drones and autonomous vehicles to critical chemical compounds and inbred corn seeds, China has targeted advanced technology across sectors that align with China’s publicly announced strategic goals,” Demers said. “The play book is simple: rob, replicate and replace.”

Priestap and his colleagues testified hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an interview with Fox News that the US believes Beijing was behind the massive cyber-attack on the Marriott hotel chain, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the assault was part of a broader Chinese operation that also targeted health insurers and the security clearance files of millions of Americans.

Also Read- Bug Spotted in Microsoft Office 365, Outlook

Those disclosures came a day after President Donald Trump said that he would be willing to use Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran as a bargaining chip in his trade war with Beijing, which for now is in a 90-day pause.

A Canadian judge on Tuesday night granted Meng a $7.5 million bail, while she awaits extradition to the US.

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng’s arrest. (IANS)