Why People Have to Learn to Live with Wildfires

           

REUTERS/Noah Berger

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Adapt to more wildfire in western North American forests as climate changes

grist.org - by Bobby Magill - April 17, 2017

Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.

Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.

Firefighters and policymakers will also have to adapt in new ways as catastrophic wildfires burn more land and destroy more homes than ever before.

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Huge Genome Study Dissects Ebola Outbreak's Spread

NSAID / Flickr

CLICK HERE - Nature - Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

cidrap.umn.edu - Lisa Schnirring - April 14, 2017

The largest genome sample ever analyzed for a human epidemic reveals that the West Africa epidemic unfolded with small, overlapping outbreaks as the virus spread over short distances and that urban settings amplified the spread.

Meanwhile, another study harnessed different advanced scientific tools in the blood of a single sick patient to detail gene-level response during infection.

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CLICK HERE - Science Translational Medicine - Longitudinal peripheral blood transcriptional analysis of a patient with severe Ebola virus disease

 

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There’s Another Mosquito Carrying Zika Virus

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - Journal of Medical Entomology - Evidence of Zika Virus RNA Fragments in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Field-Collected Eggs From Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil

Zika Found in Common Backyard Asian Tiger Mosquito

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - April 14, 2017

A common backyard mosquito can be infected with the Zika virus and it may pass the virus along in its eggs, researchers reported Friday.

The findings add to worries that the Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, could help spread the virus as mosquito season hits temperate regions of the world.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, doesn't prove that tiger mosquitoes can spread Zika, which causes severe birth defects. But it adds to evidence that they might.

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Texas Warns About Biggest Mumps Outbreak in 22 Years

                                        

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Texas Alerts Providers, Public about Mumps as Cases Reach 20-year High

cnn.com - by Susan Scutti - April 14, 2017

The Texas Department of State Health Services warned this week of multiple ongoing mumps outbreaks. The surge, which includes 221 cases this year, constitutes the highest incidence of mumps in the state in 22 years.

Mumps is a contagious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person through saliva and mucus.

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New CRISPR Tool Can Detect Tiny Amounts of Viruses

The Cas13a enzyme causes collateral RNA damage that is the heart of a new diagnostic system, SHERLOCK, that can detect minute quantities of virus and much more.  Broad Institute

CLICK HERE - Nucleic acid detection with CRISPR-Cas13a/C2c2

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - April 13, 2017

 . . . That’s the realm of SHERLOCK, a new diagnostic system that can detect attomolar levels of viruses in a sample and also distinguish Zika from its close relative, dengue. This exquisitely sensitive and specific tool promises to help detect diseases that other diagnostics miss, and it’s simple and cheap to use. Sexier still, it exploits a variation of CRISPR, the genome-editing method that has become the rage in biology.

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ALSO SEE RELATED STUDIES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW . . .

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UK Scientists: Samples from Syrian Attack Test Positive for Sarin

           

A crater is seen at the site of an airstrike, after what rescue workers described as a suspected gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rebel-held Idlib, Syria April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah

reuters.com - reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by Janet Lawrence - April 13, 2017

Samples taken from the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria last week tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, the British delegation at the world's chemical weapons watchdog said on Thursday.

"UK scientists have analyzed samples taken from Khan Sheikhoun. These have tested positive for the nerve agent sarin, or a sarin-like substance," the delegation said during a special session at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.

Earlier testing by Turkish authorities had also said the chemical used on April 4 was sarin.

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CLICK HERE - UK - Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Sir Geoffrey Adams - Speech - 54th Special Session of the Executive Council - April 13, 2017

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Nigeria: Meningitis - the Killer Disease Ravaging Nigerians

allafrica.com - April 6, 2017

 . . . Nigerians should take precautions against meningitis . . .

 . . . The disease has also spread to 16 states, the Federal Capital Territory and 90 local government areas in the country. States affected so far are Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Nassarawa, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba , Yobe, Kano, Osun, Cross Rivers, Lagos, Plateau and FCT . . .

 . . . although this was not the first time or the worst epidemic ever faced by Nigeria, this round of the epidemic has come with a difference, as all previous epidemics were caused by Neisseria Meningitides type 'A' but this year's own was recording Neisseria Meningitides type C in epidemic proportion for the first time.

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CLICK HERE - WHO - Disease Outbreak News - Meningococcal Disease – Nigeria - March 24, 2017

CLICK HERE - Death toll in Nigeria meningitis outbreak up to 489

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Why Chinese Scientists Are More Worried Than Ever About Bird Flu

A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - April 11th 2017 - Rob Schmitz

At a research lab on top of a forested hill overlooking Hong Kong, scientists are growing viruses. They first drill tiny holes into an egg before inoculating it with avian influenza to observe how the virus behaves.

This lab at Hong Kong University is at the world's forefront of our understanding of H7N9, a deadly strain of the bird flu that has killed more people this season — 162 from September up to March 1 — than in any single season since when it was first discovered in humans four years ago. 

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International Research Effort Reveals Major Insights Into Spread of West African Ebola Epidemic

news-medical.net - April 12, 2017

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature - Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013-2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Published today in the journal Nature, the analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic

 

 

 

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A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: With a Focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

undp.org - April 3, 2017

In early 2016, Zika was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to its association with a surge of birth defects. Zika has since spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with local transmission also reported in parts of the USA, Asia and Africa. The nature of the neurological complications Zika can cause in humans, and the emergence of a condition in infants known as ‘congenital Zika syndrome’, have posed and continue to pose a significant challenge to health specialists, international organizations and governments alike.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), produced this assessment of the socio-economic impacts of Zika on countries, families and communities, and to examine institutional responses.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE AND ACCESS THE REPORT

 

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Texas Health Officials Urge Zika Testing for Pregnant Women, Others in Rio Grande Valley

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of Health Services - HEALTH ALERT - Zika Testing Urged in Pregnant Women and Symptomatic Individuals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley - April 7, 2017

keyetv.com - CBS - by Bettie Cross - April 7, 2017

A health alert on Friday for pregnant women in Texas. Zika testing is now recommended as part of routine care for pregnant women in the Rio Grande Valley. Six counties are impacted: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

Mosquito season typically starts in May. But experts say our warm winter could push that up and mosquito season could be here in a week.

"We're starting to see some increase," said Dr. John Hellerstedt.

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County Health Director: Count on More Zika-Related Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - CDC - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

mypalmbeachpost.com - by John Pacenti - April 8, 2017

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

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UN Images: 18,000 Destroyed Structures in South Sudan Region

abcnews.go.com - by JUSTIN LYNCH, ASSOCIATED PRESS - April 7, 2017

United Nations satellite images obtained by The Associated Press show at least 18,000 structures have been destroyed in the Yei area of South Sudan. It is one of the most significant caches of evidence of widespread destruction in the country's civil war.

The Yei region has become an epicenter of fighting between government and rebels after a peace deal collapsed in July. The U.N. has highlighted the area for its risk of genocide, and an AP reporter late last year during a visit to Yei saw charred bodies with their arms bound . . .

 . . . "Where are the people? That means that 18,000 families are dead or are displaced," Ateny said.

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Zika Could End Up Costing Latin America and the Caribbean Up To $18 Billion, UN Reports Finds

                           

CLICK HERE - REPORT - A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

un.org

6 April 2017 – In addition to the impact on public health, the tangible impact of the Zika outbreak, such as on gross domestic product (GDP), could cost the Latin American and the Caribbean region as much as $18 billion between 2015 and 2017, a new United Nations report has revealed.

The report Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has a particular focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname – countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015.

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One in 10 Pregnant Women With Zika in U.S. Have Babies With Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

nytimes.com - by Pam Belluck - April 4, 2017

One in 10 pregnant women in the continental United States with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with brain damage or other serious birth defects, according to the most comprehensive report to date on American pregnancies during the Zika crisis.

The report, published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also provided more evidence that the risk of birth defects was greater when women were infected in the first trimester of pregnancy. Fifteen percent of women with confirmed Zika infection in the first trimester had babies with birth defects, the report found.

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