Tag Archives: virus

Superbug outbreak extends to LA’s Cedars-Sinai hospital

Superbug outbreak extends to LA’s Cedars-Sinai hospital

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Four people have been infected with a superbug linked to a contaminated medical scope, Cedars-Sinai has discovered, and 67 others may have been exposed. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

By CHAD TERHUNE

In the latest superbug outbreak, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center discovered that four patients were infected with deadly bacteria from a contaminated medical scope, and 67 other people may have been exposed.

The Los Angeles hospital said Wednesday that it began investigating the possibility of patient infections after a similar outbreak at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center that sickened seven patients, including two who died.

The widening problem is certain to ratchet up the pressure on the Food and Drug Administration, already under fire for ignoring warnings about these medical instruments.

Device makers, led by Japanese electronics giant Olympus Corp., face similar scrutiny for designing scopes that are difficult to clean of dangerous germs.

“It’s highly likely many hospitals around the country have had outbreaks, and they haven’t been able to connect the dots until this problem was disclosed at UCLA,” said Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project at Consumers Union.

“It’s just a little late — especially for those who got infections and maybe died as a consequence,” she said.

Cedars-Sinai said one of the four infected patients died, but for reasons unrelated to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. The other three patients have been discharged from the hospital, a spokesman said.

The superbug CRE is highly resistant to antibiotics and can kill up to 50% of infected patients.

In these cases, the bacteria can be transmitted during a procedure known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP.

Nationally, about half a million patients a year undergo ERCP, in which a fiber-optic scope is threaded down the person’s throat to diagnose and treat problems in the digestive tract such as gallstones, cancers and blockages in the bile duct. These instruments are not the same type used in more routine endoscopies and colonoscopies.

Patients at Cedars-Sinai may have been exposed to the superbug from one Olympus duodenoscope in use from August 2014 to mid-February, according to the hospital. That’s the same model implicated in outbreaks at UCLA and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.

In a startling admission this week, the FDA acknowledged that the Olympus scope under scrutiny has been on the market since 2010 without the necessary government approval.

Let us know if you have been affected by the hospital outbreaks
Regulators said they decided not to pull the device from the market because the scope is so widely used by doctors and hospitals and they didn’t want to trigger a product shortage.

As for the Cedars incident, an FDA spokeswoman said the agency will be working with the hospital, local health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “to learn more about these infections, including the cleaning, disinfection and reprocessing steps in use.”

A spokesman for Olympus said the company didn’t believe further regulatory approval was necessary for the 2010 redesign of its TJF-Q180V duodenoscope. At the FDA’s request, the company subsequently filed for approval, which is pending.

Some medical experts and health officials have attributed these outbreaks to the intricate design of these scopes and how it impedes effective cleaning.

A day after the UCLA outbreak was reported by The Times on Feb. 18, the FDA warned hospitals and doctors about the infection risk from these devices. It said that following manufacturers’ cleaning instructions does not ensure that the scopes are free of bacteria, which can become trapped in tiny crevices near the tip of the devices.

Cedars emphasized Wednesday that it had meticulously followed the manufacturer’s instructions.

L.A. County health officials said they found no breaches in the cleaning protocol at Cedars. County officials also are recommending that all hospitals in the county perform a “retrospective review” of ERCP procedures to look for infections.

Before the developments at Cedars, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) sent a letter to the FDA on Wednesday asking what steps the agency is taking on redesign or device cleaning to limit further infections.

They also want to know when the FDA first learned that the scope design could lead to infection.

Scope maker Olympus faces scrutiny over patient deaths, infections
Scope maker Olympus faces scrutiny over patient deaths, infections
Lieu said he pressed his concerns in a meeting Wednesday with Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the FDA’s chief scientist. Ostroff is slated to take over as acting FDA commissioner when Dr. Margaret Hamburg leaves at the end of March.

“I believe the new revelations at Cedars show that this problem is larger than people may have believed,” Lieu said. “Having met with the incoming commissioner, I am optimistic he is very focused on this issue and wants to solve it.”

FDA officials have defended their response, saying it took time to investigate the source of the infections and what could be done to reduce the risks.

Last month, the agency said it was aware of 135 possible patient infections from January 2013 to December 2014 linked to duodenoscopes.

Olympus spokesman Mark Miller noted that “while any complication affecting a patient’s health is a serious matter, the reported incidence of infections is extremely low” compared with the 500,000 ERCP procedures performed annually.
Cedars launched a review of its scopes and patient records after the UCLA incident became public. The hospital said its infection-control experts used molecular analysis to identify the unique “fingerprint” of bacteria among patients who received ERCP.

To prevent further infections, the hospital took the tainted scope out of service and adopted additional safety measures, including enhanced monitoring of scopes before and after procedures.

Cedars is offering patients who were possibly exposed a free home testing kit.

McGiffert, a consumer advocate, said the intense scrutiny comes too late for some patients.

“It’s really horrific to know so many people underwent these procedures when they could have known the danger beforehand,” she said. “They went in trusting the system, and the system broke down.”

Mystery paralysis in children is perplexing parents — and researchers

Mystery paralysis in children is perplexing parents — and researchers

By Brady Dennis

BALTIMORE — For most of the children who fell ill last year during an outbreak of enterovirus, the symptoms were relatively mild — fever, runny nose, coughing and sneezing.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers Aaron Milstone and Priya Duggal are leading a study to help children who have been paralyzed after contracting enterovirus. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

But then there was this mystery: More than 100 kids suffered an unexplained, polio-like paralysis that struck quickly but even now continues to stump researchers and upend the lives of the families across the country.

For Priya Duggal and her colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University, the biggest puzzle is why those children became paralyzed while their brothers and sisters, who also were exposed to the virus, escaped largely unscathed.

“Is there something in these [paralyzed] kids that is different than the kids that are fine?” said Duggal, a genetic epidemiologist. “Maybe it’s the host, and the virus is a trigger that sets off the paralysis. . . . Maybe it’s something in their genetic makeup.”

Duggal and fellow researchers Aaron Milstone and David Thomas, who are gathering DNA from patients around country, are among the experts trying to find answers for families affected by the paralysis.

Doctors believe the condition, known as “acute flaccid melitis,” is linked to last year’s nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68, or EV-D68 — part of a family of viruses that appears in summer and fall — but they haven’t proved a connection. The outbreak probably sickened millions of children and sent thousands to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms with severe respiratory problems.

Many of the children with paralysis also got the virus, but initially they weren’t any sicker than their siblings or peers — until they experienced sudden muscle weakness days later.

Some of the children, whose average age is a little younger than 8, have lost the use of an arm or a leg. Some have ended up in wheelchairs or on breathing machines. Although some have improved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost none have fully recovered.

When viruses mutate, scientists try to stay one step ahead. Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello explains the different ways that viruses like enterovirus D68 can change. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)

Doctors flummoxed

Recently, as part of the Hopkins genetic study, Duggal sent DNA kits to some of the families wrestling with their new reality. One of the kits arrived at the Sheehan residence in Welches, Ore., a hamlet near Mount Hood.

Bailey Sheehan, then 7, had woken up Oct. 21 with a headache and pain in her neck and back. She soon developed a respiratory infection. The rest of the family — her parents; brother Caleb, 5; and sister Andi, 4 months — also came down with flu-like symptoms.
Everyone but Bailey recovered. Her respiratory problems cleared up, but the nerve pain got worse. One morning she had trouble lifting her arms. She later collapsed while trying to get up from the couch. “Mom,” she shouted, “my leg’s not working!”

Mikell Sheehan rushed her daughter to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, an hour’s drive away. Bailey’s right arm had grown weak from shoulder to elbow; her right leg was numb from ankle to knee. She underwent tests, including for West Nile virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Physicians determined that Bailey had been infected by enterovirus D68, but they couldn’t say for sure whether that caused the paralysis.

“The doctors just tell us they don’t know [the cause],” Sheehan said. “It’s the most terrible feeling to have to tell your little girl, who’s in so much pain and whose leg won’t work, ‘I don’t know how to fix it and neither do the doctors.’ ”

In her hunt for answers, Sheehan has scoured medical literature, called experts at the CDC and traded information online with other parents whose children have been affected. She has written to President Obama and other elected officials, talked to reporters, and enrolled her daughter in studies like the one at Johns Hopkins.

Nearly four months after her ordeal began, Bailey, now 8, still undergoes intense physical therapy six days a week. She’s learning to ride a bike again; her paralyzed foot must be strapped to the pedals. She recently returned to second grade but still uses a leg brace and a walker.

Other children are having similar struggles.
Thirteen-year-old Billy Sticklen of Joplin, Mo., developed polio-like paralysis this summer during an outbreak of the respiratory virus EV-D68. Billy’s family moved from Joplin to Kansas City, Mo., to access physical therapy at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Occupational therapist Kelly Grabendike works with Billy in the therapy pool on Jan. 28. (Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star)

A 13-year-old boy from Joplin, Mo., spent months in a wheelchair after he became paralyzed in September; he still uses a cane to walk. A first-grade boy in Tennessee lost the use of his right arm. Another girl in Oregon was almost completely paralyzed from the neck down.

In Seabrook, N.H., Dan Dugan, 13, spent nearly 50 days in Boston hospitals last fall after he had paralysis in his left arm and leg. Friends and businesses organized fundraisers. A store posted a sign saying, “Pray for Danny.” After months of rehabilitation, Dan, the youngest of six children, was able to move from a wheelchair to a walker and he recently began using special crutches.

“He’s got a good attitude,” said his father, Patrick Dugan, a mechanic who owns Pat’s Towing in Seabrook. “He’s not down about what happened. He has kind of accepted everything.”
No direct link to virus found
Mary Anne Jackson, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., is one of the researchers trying to explain the inexplicable condition.

When several cases surfaced at her hospital last year in children between the ages of 4 and 13, she and other doctors suspected that enterovirus was the culprit.

“We looked at blood, spinal fluid, stool — thinking we’d find [the EV-D68] virus,” Jackson said. “It just wasn’t there.”

They also saw on MRIs what other doctors nationwide were noticing: distinctive damage to a specific part of the spinal cord. “That’s the classic feature of polio,” Jackson said. “On the scan, it looks like polio.”

Doctors in Kansas City and at other children’s hospitals are examining hundreds of old MRIs of children who had suffered from limb weakness to see if the same pattern on the images may have been overlooked in the past.

Researchers at the CDC are equally perplexed.

In any given year, it’s not uncommon for several cases of acute flaccid paralysis to occur, said Jim Sejvar, a CDC neuroepidemiologist. But when the agency queried doctors around the country, he said, “almost unanimously, you get a response that they’ve really never seen anything like this.”

Like other specialists, Sejvar thinks there’s a striking association between EV-D68 and the sudden onset of paralysis. “If you overlay the epidemiological curves,” he said, “they are almost identical.”

CDC scientists haven’t had any more luck than other researchers in finding a direct link. They recently developed a test for antibodies in the blood that was designed to show whether children who became paralyzed were more likely to have had EV-D68 than other children.

But when officials tested the blood of children who had experienced severe respiratory problems and other flu-like symptoms from last fall and from previous years, nearly all of them possessed antibodies to the virus, offering no new evidence that EV-D68 was the cause of the paralysis cases. It was another dead end.

Deadly Tick-Borne ‘Bourbon Virus’ Unlike Anything Seen In USA Before

Deadly Tick-Borne ‘Bourbon Virus’ Unlike Anything Seen In USA Before

AP Photo/ Victoria Arocho

The fast developing and deadly tick-borne virus that killed a man in Kansas has been identified. The virus is so deadly that doctors were barely able to keep up with the symptoms.

The disease is now being called the Bourbon Virus–named after the Kansas County where the patient contracted the virus. The virus has never been seen before in the US but resembles tick-born viruses seen in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

The first, and thus far only, victim died a mere ten days after contracting the virus. The quickly developing illness frustrated doctors because of their lack of familiarity with the disease.

Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches, and a feeling of malaise. According to doctors, the patient’s symptoms were “fast-moving and severe, causing lung and kidney failure, and shock.”

Dana Hawkinson, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at The University of Kansas Hospital, identified the virus as a thogotovirus, part of a larger type of viruses called orthomyxoviruses. It is the first time the virus has been identified in the USA.

CDC Mandates ‘Hermetically Sealed Caskets’ For Ebola Victims

CDC Mandates ‘Hermetically Sealed Caskets’ For Ebola Victims

Revelation follows report of CDC storing thousands of airtight coffin liners in Georgia

by PAUL JOSEPH WATSON

CDC Mandates 'Hermetically Sealed Caskets' For Ebola Victims

The CDC has instructed funeral homes to bury Ebola victims in hermetically sealed caskets, a potentially disturbing revelation given reports that the federal agency had previously purchased thousands of air tight coffin liners which were being stored in Madison, Georgia.

A Yahoo News report reveals how the CDC is instructing funeral homes that “remains should be cremated or buried promptly in a hermetically sealed casket” which must be secure “against the escape of microorganisms” and have valid documentation for being airtight.

Dallas Institute of Funeral Service administrator Wayne Cavender said that the CDC was worried about an “epidemic” but that the type of caskets they were recommending were not airtight.
“The sealer caskets that they sell are not a guaranteed-type of sealing issue. It’s not completely airtight because you have to have a way to open them up and so forth. It’s not like it’s vacuum-sealed,” said Cavender.

As we reported last month, the CDC also issued a three page list of recommendations which warned funeral home workers not to carry out autopsies or to embalm corpses.

The revelation that the CDC is mandating the use of airtight caskets is intriguing given previous reports that the federal agency had purchased thousands of airtight coffin liners and was storing them in a field in Madison, Georgia.

I remember years back when I was still writing for my original website, Neithercorp.us, we came across a then little known video of air tight “coffin liners”, hundreds of thousands, stacked in a field in the middle of Madison, Georgia in close proximity to Atlanta and the home of the CDC,” writes Brandon Smith.

“Owners of the property leased to store the hermetically sealing plastic coffins stated that it was the CDC that had rented the land for storage of the coffins. Confirmation from the CDC has not been forthcoming.”

As Smith highlights, the patent for the coffins confirms that they are suitable for the burial or cremation of bodies exposed to infectious diseases.

The company that produces the coffin liners, Vantage Products Corporation, subsequently denied that any agency of the federal government owned the vaults, claiming they were owned by individuals or not yet sold.

The video below shows footage of the coffin liners being stored in Madison, Georgia. The liners were later moved to another location in Georgia.

20 Ebola Quarantine Stations Setup Around US

20 Ebola Quarantine Stations Setup Around US

[We reported in August about the ‘Secret’ centers the US gov’t had setup: see story]
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

NEW YORK – During a teleconference media advisory, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, praised health officials in Dallas and expressed the CDC’s continued confidence Ebola was under control in the United States.

“We know how to stop Ebola before the distribution of the disease becomes widespread,” Frieden explained in the media advisory on Saturday, the fifth day after Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas, Texas.

See: What is Ebola and How Its Spread?

Other highlights were the disclosure the CDC was engaged in “contract tracing” nearly 50 individuals, including 9 definitely known to have had contact with Duncan.

The family and other members of the household Duncan was visiting in Dallas have been moved out of their apartment to a home in an undisclosed location.

Ebola containment area at Emory
Ebola containment area

Finally, the CDC confirmed 20 quarantine stations have been set up in major airports and ports of entry around the United States, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and the airlines, to provide U.S. Customs and TSA officials with an isolated medical environment in which to confine air travelers detected with fever or other symptoms suspected of having Ebola.

See story: US Secretly Setting Up Ebola Centers Around US (reported in August)

In fact, as the CDC teleconference was concluding, ABC News reported from New York that a CDC crew in full HAZMAT gear removed two passengers from a United Airlines flight that arrived in Newark, N.J., from Brussels.

Duncan had originally arrived at Washington-Dulles on a United Airlines flight from Brussels on Sept. 20.

Ebola Pictures and Images

Nonetheless, Frieden contended, “Nothing we have done in Liberia or the United States would have changed the current situation because Mr. Duncan did not have fever or other symptoms during the time when he was boarding the airplane in Liberia or until four days after he had arrived in Dallas.”

While he was confident the outbreak of Ebola would be contained in Dallas, Frieden also conceded it was probably not possible to get to a “zero risk” of the disease spreading.

Frieden gave a detailed account of the CDC contract tracing being done in Dallas in an attempt to contain the current incidence of the disease in Dallas to Mr. Duncan.

“As of the end of the day yesterday, we have assessed 114 people who may have had contact with the infected person, and we have identified 9 individuals who we are pretty sure are definite contacts with the source patient [Thomas Eric Duncan],” Frieden said.

He explained the 9 individuals include family members and some health care professionals, including some of the ambulance staff that rode with the patient.

In addition there are about 40 other people that CDC cannot rule out from having contact.

Frieden indicated that none of these nearly 50 people had fever or showed any symptoms of Ebola, stressing that those individuals determined to have had contact with Duncan will be traced for 21 days, the maximum incubation time for Ebola to develop.

Some 100 cases around the country have been referred to the CDC as possible Ebola cases, and the CDC has assisted a dozen laboratories around the country to do high-quality Ebola testing, but the CDC stressed cases referred to the CDC as possible Ebola cases should have not only symptoms of the disease including fever, but also a patient history that includes travel in the last 21 days from one of the three West African countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak, namely Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Frieden made a strong appeal that imposing an air travel risk on the affected West African countries was not an appropriate way to get to “zero risk.”

“We must be careful that our responses do not end up making it more difficult to get the medical assistance into West Africa that we need to contain the Ebola outbreak there,” Frieden said. “Paradoxically, something we do to protect ourselves could end up increasing the risk.”

For example, he noted, the African Union was willing to send hundreds of health professionals into West Africa to fight the disease, but their efforts were hampered for about a week when a flight was cancelled and the health professionals were stuck in a neighboring country.

“Senegal had taken that action to protect themselves by stopping all flights,” Frieden commented, “but in effect that action made it more difficult to stop the outbreak in Liberia and elsewhere, potentially increasing the risk to Senegal.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins explained he personally helped move Duncan’s family, described as his fiancé Louise and three unidentified males, from the small apartment they had been occupying to a secure location provided by a member of the Dallas faith community, a place Jenkins said was “a place I would be happy to see my family placed if I were in Mr. Duncan’s situation.”

Virus Strikes US Power Plants

Virus Strikes US Power Plants

by wnd.com140706poweerlines

WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.

Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.

The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment.

According to Symantec, more than a thousand organizations in 84 countries were affected over an 18-month period.

Most of the targets were in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany Turkey and Poland – all countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

This has led some analysts to suggest the attacks were orchestrated by Russia, which seeks to build buffers between the Russian Federation and the NATO countries.

Given the time of day of the computer attacks – during work hours – and the targeting of strategic data, analysts believe the attacks were sanctioned by a government.

Related: US/China Perform Drills on Terrorist Attack on Electrical Power Grid

The attacks apparently are ongoing, as companies in the energy sector continue to sustain damage and disruptions to energy supplies in the most affected countries.

The Dragonfly group is said to have at its disposal a range of malware tools to disrupt computer systems, especially industrial control systems. Sources believe it operates similar to the Stuxnet malware that the United States and Israel had used against Iran’s nuclear program to disrupt the operation of its centrifuges that enrich uranium.

Related: Cyber, EMP, and Armed Groups Attack Our Power Grid

According to Symantec, Dragonfly used two main malware tools – Backdoor Oldrea and Trojan Karagany. The former appears to be customized malware written for the attackers.

Eric Chien of Symantec’s Security Technology and Response Team told Bloomberg in an interview the type of access Dragonfly has indicates something more than snooping.

“When they do have that type of access, that motivation wouldn’t be for espionage,” Chien said. “When we look at where they’re at, we’re very concerned about sabotage.”

“The worst-case scenario would be that the systems get shut down,” Chien said. “You could see the power go out, for example, and there could be disruption in that sense.”

Along these lines, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has uncovered “Ugly Gorilla,” a Chinese hacker who has been targeting utility companies’ systems to cut off heat and damage pipelines. The hacker is said to be working for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The hacker was indicted by a U.S. grand jury in May for economic espionage.

As for the Dragonfly hackers, they remained one step ahead of those seeking software packages that would fix their problem. They compromised a number of legitimate software packages that ICS equipment providers would seek to remedy the problem. The malware was inserted into these software remedies they had on their websites, making any downloads compromised before they could be used and, once implemented, compounded the cyber problems of industrial control systems.

Now that it has uncovered these software tools meant to attack industrial control systems, Synmantec has developed antivirus detection software for Backdoor Oldrea and Trojan KIaragany.

The World has two weeks to prepare for ‘powerful’ virus attack

The World has two weeks to prepare for ‘powerful’ virus attack

AFP Photo / Hoang Dimh Nam

The UK has warned its computer-users they have two weeks to protect their machines from two powerful viruses, GameOver Zeus and Cryptolocker, after a US-led multinational operation announced a coordinated takedown of malware.

FBI says BlackShades malware hijacked half a million computers

FBI says BlackShades malware hijacked half a million computers

The FBI described its investigation in criminal complaints unsealed in Manhattan federal court Monday as charges against five individuals were announced.

Law enforcement sources told CBS News the criminal operation allegedly involved stealing information, controlling computers, and exploiting people whose computers were hacked. This investigation was separate from another major hacking case announced today, in which the Justice Department announced charges against five Chinese military hackers for allegedly stealing U.S. trade secrets.

The FBI said the BlackShades Remote Access Tool has been sold since at least 2010 to several thousand users. The agency said one of the program’s co-creators is now cooperating with the government and has provided extensive information.

 

cassidy.jpg
Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA 2013, was targeted by a hacker who used the malware to hijack her computer’s webcam.

 

Among the victims of the malware was Miss Teen USA 2013, Cassidy Wolf. Authorities say a hacker used Wolf’s personal computer webcam to take nude photos of her and threatened to post them online if Wolf didn’t send him more revealing photos. She went to police. The hacker was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Acting on an FBI tip, police worldwide have arrested 97 people in 16 countries suspected of developing, distributing or using the malicious software called BlackShades, which allows criminals to gain surreptitious control of personal computers, European law enforcement officials announced Monday.

The malware allows hackers to steal personal information, intercept keystrokes and hijack webcams to make secret recordings of their users. BlackShades also can be used to encrypt and lock a computer’s data files, blocking the rightful owners from regaining access unless they pay a ransom.

French officials said last week’s raids happened after the FBI arrested two BlackShades developers and distributed a list of their international customers who purchased the malware.

Coordination agencies Europol and Eurojust, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said Monday that police in 13 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Britain, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Moldova, the Netherlands and Switzerland – as well as in the United States, Canada and Chile raided 359 properties and seized cash, firearms, drugs and more than 1,000 data storage devices.

“This case is a strong reminder that no one is safe while using the Internet,” said Koen Hermans, a Eurojust official representing the Netherlands. “It should serve as a warning and deterrent to those involved in the manufacture and use of this software.”

The two European agencies declined to provide country-by-country breakdowns of arrests, details of items seized, or the specific days when last week’s raids occurred.

In Paris, the state prosecutor’s office said French detectives arrested more than two dozen people during May 13 raids and described the global nature of the arrests and searches as an unprecedented “new form of judicial action.” It said those arrested were identified by the FBI as French “citizens who had acquired or used this software.”

In a BlackShades-related related investigation before the latest global arrests, Dutch police earlier this year arrested a 18-year-old man for using the malware to take pictures of women and girls using about 2,000 computers.