Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Ebola Epidemic: Does it ever end?

The Ebola outbreak has been in the forefront of the news this year. Please take a moment to read our editorial, “Ebola: History, treatmentand lessons from a new emerging pathogen.”
on this very deadly disease by Dr. Kevin S. Harrod, a prominent member of our Editorial Board with significant expertise in virology.  Within this article you will see two highlighted tables on the etiology, transmission and clinical outcome of Ebola infection.  Ebola is another example of a zoonotic disease (like AIDS) but its natural reservoir has not been identified. 

During the last two years we have published at least 14 articles on viral infections {Pubmed search using the following terms: am j physiol lung cell mol physiol. AND viral infections AND (2014 OR 2013)}.  Please submit your research manuscripts on viral infections to AJP-Lung.  They will be reviewed promptly and fairly and the reviews will improve the quality of your paper.

With best wishes for the holidays

Sadis Matalon, PhD, Sc.D. (Hon.)
Editor in Chief, AJP-Lung

Amy McEver,
Administrative Assistant, AJP-Lung

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chlorine Gas Exposure in the News

December 7th, 2014
Chicago Tribune

A recent article published in the Chicago Tribune described an incident in which the entire Rosemont Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago was evacuated due to the intentional release of chlorine gas. The evacuation of the hotel resulted in the hospitalization of 19 people. Fortunately, there were no deaths associated with this incident probably due to the lower doses of the toxic gas involved. Immediate symptoms due to chlorine inhalation can range from a burning sensation in the nose, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Upon inhalation of higher doses of chlorine gas, the long term consequences of lung injury can lead to lung edema, respiratory distress and even death. A recent study published in the ‘American Journal of Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol’ demonstrated that chlorine inhalation caused sloughing of bronchial epithelium one day after chlorine exposure, which can cause pneumonitis and bronchial hyper-reactivity (1). Surprisingly, health screenings for individuals located within one mile of a 54 metric ton release of liquid chlorine following a 16 tanker car train derailment on 6 January, 2005 in Graniteville, South Carolina, USA demonstrated that even 8-10 months after the event, patients still had abnormal lung function and some even developed new pulmonary symptoms (2).

 However, there are no immediate counter-measures available to date to mitigate chlorine toxicity. Current treatment regimes consist of providing supportive medical care in a hospital setting. For effective treatment, first responders and hospitals need compounds that are easily administered for the purpose of halting the cascade of events that lead to future respiratory complications. Recent work being conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the labs of Drs. Sadis Matalon and Rakesh Patel have shown that the administration of aerosolized heparin can reduce lung injury, and an intramuscular injection of nitrite can reduce mortality after chlorine exposure (3,4). The research was supported by the Counter Act Network, and therefore many will potentially benefit from the work being done at UAB and other institutions under the Counter Act umbrella. 

Author: Dr. Saurabh Aggarwal MD., Ph.D. Instructor, Department of Anesthesiology, UAB, Birmingham, Al