Florida May Have Its First Zika Virus Outbreak

           

Marvin Recinos / AFP / Getty Images

CLICK HERE - Florida Department of Health - Investigating Possible Non-Travel Related Case of Zika

CLICK HERE - Newsroom - Miami-Dade County - Florida Department of Health

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - July 19, 2016

Florida health officials said Tuesday they were investigating a possible case of Zika that wasn't carried back by a traveler.

If it's confirmed, it would be the first evidence that Zika has spread to mosquitoes in the continental U.S. All cases up to now have been in people who traveled to Zika-affected regions or their sexual partners.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - STAT - Zika case in Florida could have come from local mosquito, a first in continental US

 

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New U.K. leader Theresa May shuts climate change department

cbsnews.com - July 16th 2016

British Prime Minister Theresa May has been facing criticism during her first few days in office over her decision to close the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change.

The closure was reported on Thursday, May's first full day in office after the departure of David Cameron.

The BBC reports the department will be folded into the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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New Utah Zika Case Baffles Health Officials

          

The mosquito that typically transmits Zika — the Aedes aegypti — does not usually range into northern Utah, but maps of the mosquito’s range can be unreliable and experts say it is theoretically possible that it has made it there. Credit Felipe Dana/Associated Press

nytimes.com - by Sabrina Tavernise - July 18, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Zika virus continues to surprise. On Monday, the Utah Department of Health reported that a new case had been diagnosed that did not appear to have be contracted through the two known sources of transmission: a mosquito bite or sexual contact.

The patient, who has since fully recovered, was a “family contact” who helped care for an older man who had become infected with the virus after traveling abroad. . . .

. . . The new case is something of a medical mystery: Zika is known to be transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and through sex, but neither seemed to be a plausible explanation for what happened in Utah.

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The Diversity of Life Across Much of Earth Has Plunged Below ‘Safe’ Levels

An aerial view shows a tract of Amazon rain forest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture near the city of Santarem, Para State, April 20, 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Science - Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - July 14, 2016

In an ambitious study that represents the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface — including some of its most important types of terrain and its most populous regions — the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The reason is not exactly a surprise — from grasslands to tropical forests, humans are using more and more land for agriculture, to live on, to build roads and infrastructure upon. When we take over, we clear the land or otherwise convert it for our purposes.

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Zika Outbreak to End in Two to Three Years, Scientists Predict

An aedes aegypti mosquito is seen inside a test tube as part of a research on preventing the spread of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at a control and prevention center in Guadalupe, neighbouring Monterrey, Mexico, March 8, 2016.
Reuters/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Science - Countering Zika in Latin America

reuters.com - by Julie Steenhuysen - July 14, 2016

The Zika outbreak rampaging through Latin America will likely burn itself out in the next two to three years, based on the fact that people develop immunity to the virus after an initial infection, British scientists said on Thursday.

The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Science, estimated that infections from the mosquito-borne virus will become so widespread in affected countries that populations will develop what is called "herd immunity." This occurs when a high percentage of a population has become immune to an infection either through developing natural immunity or through vaccination, making a wider outbreak less likely.

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First Zika-linked Microcephaly Case Identified in Harris County, Texas

click2houston.com - July 13, 2016 - (WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

HOUSTON - A positive test result for an infant diagnosed with microcephaly at birth has been confirmed by Harris County Public Health. It's the first case in the county and in Texas.

The mother received inconclusive test results after traveling from Latin American. HCPH said since the infant tested positive, it's likely that the mother carried the virus while pregnant and was infected in Latin America.

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Penn Engineers Develop $2 Portable Zika Test

CLICK HERE - Analytical Chemistry - Instrument-Free Point-of-Care Molecular Detection of Zika Virus

news.upenn.edu - June 29, 2016

University of Pennsylvania engineers have developed a rapid, low-cost genetic test for the Zika virus. The $2 testing device, about the size of a soda can, does not require electricity or technical expertise to use. A patient would simply provide a saliva sample. Color-changing dye turns blue when the genetic assay detects the presence of the virus.

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The Cholera Epidemic the U.N. Left Behind in Haiti

Haitians in a cholera treatment center in 2011. Credit Andres Martinez Casares for The New York Times.

Image:  Haitians in a cholera treatment center in 2011. Credit Andres Martinez Casares for The New York Times.

nytimes.com - July 6th 2016 - The Editorial Board

As Haitians were reeling from the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, United Nations peacekeepers inadvertently compounded their troubles by bringing cholera to the island. Roughly 10,000 Haitians have died from the disease, which spreads easily in places with poor sanitation.

The United Nations hasn’t acknowledged its responsibility and has vigorously fought legal efforts to secure compensation for victims.

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Utah Resident Becomes First Zika-Related Death In U.S.

Dr. Dagmar Vitek, left, of the Salt Lake County Health Department, speaks about a Zika-related death during a news conference Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

huffingtonpost.com - reuters - by Julie Steenhuysen - July 8, 2016

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that a Utah resident’s death last month is the first Zika-related death in the continental United States, the CDC said in an emailed statement.

Health officials in the Salt Lake County health department in Utah reported the death on Friday of an elderly resident who had been infected with the Zika virus while traveling to an area with active transmission of the virus.

The exact cause of death is not known, the health department said in a press release.

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CLICK HERE - VIDEO - Press Conference - Facebook - Salt Lake County Health Department - July 8, 2016

CLICK HERE - ANNOUNCEMENT - Salt Lake County Health Department

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Blockchain: the answer to life, the universe and everything?

The blockchain was developed as a means of creating digital property without the need for a central authority keeping track of who owns what. Photograph: Jacob Carter/Rex/Shutterstock Image: The blockchain was developed as a means of creating digital property without the need for a central authority keeping track of who owns what. Photograph: Jacob Carter/Rex/Shutterstock

theguardian.com - July 7th 2016 - Alex Hern

Have you heard the good news? The blockchain is here – and it’s going to save everything.

If you aren’t tied to the tech community, you might not have picked up on this salvation rhetoric.

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The Horror of Zika in Haiti

Claudy (Photo by Karen Bultje)

blogs.pjstar.com - by John Carroll, MD - July 6, 2016

A wonderful friend of ours, Karen Bultje, who is a missionary in Haiti, has been caring for a young man named Claudy in her home for several days. Claudy lives in the Kenscoff mountains above Port-au-Prince. He recently became ill with a high fever, rash, and severe pain. He also began having weakness in his legs which prevented him from walking. His mother and family carried him down the mountains and he went by motorcycle taxi and tap-taps to Karen’s home in Port.

Karen and her nursing staff took Claudy to a local hospital where he was examined but he was sent back to Karen’s home. They said there was nothing they could do for Claudy. The family is not able to pay for care in any local private hospital in Port and the public hospitals are on strike.

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'Super Bacteria' Discovered in Rio's Waters as Olympics Near

          

Super bacteria found on Rio beaches, Olympic venues

cnn.com - by Flora Charner - July 5, 2016

Rio de Janeiro (CNN)A group of Brazilian scientists has detected a drug-resistant bacteria growing off some of Rio de Janeiro's most stunning beaches, in research being published a month before the city hosts the 2016 Olympic Games.

According to lead researcher Renata Picao, the "super bacteria" entered the city's waterways when sewage coming from local hospitals got channeled into the bay.

"We have been looking for 'super bacteria' in coastal waters during a one-year period in five beaches," Picao told CNN during a visit to her lab. "We found that the threats occur in coastal waters in a variety of concentrations and that they are strongly associated with pollution."

The samples were collected between 2013 and 2014. The superbug found was carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.

Picao said there is no reason to believe the levels have changed because raw sewage continues to flow into many waterways.

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Venezuelans Storm Colombia Border City in Search of Food and Basic Goods

          

People protest against lack of food, in San Cristobal, Tachira state, on the border with Colombia, earlier this month. Photograph: George Castellano/AFP/Getty Images

Five hundred women pour into markets of Cúcuta to buy toilet paper, flour and other goods as economic crisis in Venezuela deepens

theguardian.com - by Sibylla Brodzinsky - July 5, 2016

Five hundred hungry Venezuelan women have stormed across a bridge into Colombia, defying a year-long border closure in search of basic foodstuffs and goods which are hard to find back home.

Dressed in white T-shirts, the women from the Venezuelan town of Ureña marched up to the barriers manned by members of the national guard. The guardsmen formed a cordon to prevent the women from passing but they eventually broke through, cheering as they ran across the bridge into the Colombian city of Cúcuta.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - BBC - Venezuelan women push past border controls for food

 

 

 

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World Bank Contributes to Improved Disease Surveillance and Health Systems in West Africa following Ebola Epidemic

                                                

worldbank.org

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2016—In Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal, more than 33.3 million people will benefit from stronger health systems and more effective disease surveillance systems through US$110 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing, approved yesterday by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors. This is the first in a series of investments planned under the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Program (REDISSE), which aims to address systemic weaknesses within the human and animal health sectors that hinder effective disease surveillance and response. The REDISSE program was developed with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and technical support from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Report of the Independent Panel on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Ebola Response

                    

disasterlit.nlm.nih.gov - June 30, 2016

This 57-page report summarizes a request to capture critical lessons from the Ebola epidemic of 2014-2016 and review the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s international and domestic responses. It summarizes an Independent Panel's assessment of HHS's challenges, and, where appropriate, challenges facing the broader U.S. government. It describes notable opportunities for improvement in leadership and organization, communication, management, and logistics, as well as in development and use of vaccines and treatments. It also presents recommendations for addressing future urgent public health threats.

CLICK HERE - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND ACCESS TO THE REPORT - Report of the Independent Panel on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Ebola Response

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CLICK HERE - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND ACCESS TO THE REPORT - Report of the Review Committee on the Role of the International Health Regulations (2005) in the Ebola Outbreak and Response

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