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In The News:  HIV-like disease emerges

There has been a new autoimmune disease affect adults in Asian that attacks antibodies and shows symptoms very similar to HIV. There have been about 12 cases found in the United States with no deaths caused. Most of the cases found have occurred in Southeast Asia and there have been deaths overseas as a result of this new disease. The important thing to note is that this disease is not contagious, it’s not an infection. The disease is caused by a syndrome that is being trigger by something – something that researchers have yet to discover. It’s more like a chronic disease, like diabetes, cancer, or asthma.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, says, “It is not a virus, that’s the first thing. “It’s a syndrome that was noticed and discovered in Asia where people get opportunistic infections similar to HIV/AIDS, but the cause of the syndrome is not an infection like HIV.”

This is not something new, the first case stems back to 2004 and has occurred mostly in Thailand and Taiwan. Kim Nguyen, 62, a seamstress from Vietnam who has lived in Tennessee since 1975, sought help for a persistent fever, infections throughout her bones and other bizarre symptoms in 2009. She had been sick off and on for several years and had visited Vietnam in 1995 and again in early 2009.

Nguyen was referred to specialists at the National Institutes of Health and spent nearly a year at an NIH hospital in Bethesda, Md., and is there now for monitoring and further treatment.

“I feel great now,” she said Wednesday. But when she was sick, “I felt dizzy, headaches, almost fell down,” she said. “I could not eat anything.”



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