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Climate Change Isn’t Just Hurting the Planet – It’s a Public Health Emergency

           

‘Local air pollution around the world kills about 6.5 million people annually.’ Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Doctors have revealed that millions are already suffering the effects, in the spread of infectious diseases, uneven crop yields and longer allergy seasons

CLICK HERE - STUDY - The Lancet - Health and climate change - The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health

theguardian.com - by Christiana Figueres - October 31, 2017

A report just published in the Lancet from the specially created Lancet Countdown initiative, reveals just how bad climate change is for public health. The diagnosis reveals that hundreds of millions of people are already suffering the health impacts of climate change. Its insidious creep is being felt in multiple ways: rising temperatures are hastening the spread of infectious diseases; crop yields are becoming uneven and unpredictable, worsening the hunger and malnourishment for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet; allergy seasons are getting longer; and at times it is simply too hot for farmers to work in the fields.

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Is It Possible to Predict the Next Pandemic?

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse

           

A livestock market in India - Omar Sobhani / Reuters

Large initiatives are underway to pinpoint the next big viral threats—but some virologists believe the task is too hard.

theatlantic.com - by Ed Yong - October 25, 2017

It’s been two years since an epidemic of Zika began in Brazil, three since the largest Ebola outbreak in history erupted in West Africa, eight since a pandemic of H1N1 flu swept the world, and almost a hundred since a different H1N1 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. Those viruses were all known, but no one knew when or where they’d trigger epidemics. Other diseases, like SARS, MERS, and HIV, emerged out of the blue.

Sick of being perpetually caught off guard, some scientists want to fully catalogue all viral threats, and predict which are likely to cause tomorrow’s outbreaks.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

 

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‘Flesh-Eating Bacteria’ From Harvey’s Floodwaters Kill a Woman

The Meyerland neighborhood of Houston on Aug. 27. Some of the worst flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurred in Meyerland, and the floodwaters teemed with bacteria. Credit Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Image: The Meyerland neighborhood of Houston on Aug. 27. Some of the worst flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurred in Meyerland, and the floodwaters teemed with bacteria. Credit Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

nytimes.com - Maggie Astor - September 28th 2017

From the moment the waters began rising in Texas last month, disease was on health officials’ minds. Floodwaters, after all, are filthy.

When Hurricane Harvey finally moved north and the feet of flooding drained, hospitals saw a spike in skin and gastrointestinal infections, but Texans were spared some of the most serious illnesses that contaminated water can spread: cholera, for instance, and typhoid.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Zika Linked to Rising Tide of Serious Neurologic Complications in Adults

CLICK HERE - JAMA Neurology - Neurologic Complications Associated With the Zika Virus in Brazilian Adults

medscape.com - by Nancy A. Melville - August 15, 2017

A rising tide of serious neurologic complications among adults in Brazil has been linked to the spread of the Zika virus, new research shows.

"Our study is the first prospective study assessing the occurrence of neurological complications in adults secondary to Zika virus infection, with all previous data based solely on case series and case reports," senior author, Osvaldo Jose Moreira do Nascimento, MD, PhD, from the Neurology Department at Universidade Federal Fluminense, Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, told Medscape Medical News.

"We observed an increase in the admissions of patients with inflammatory complications, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), myelitis and encephalitis."

The study was published online August 14 in JAMA Neurology.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE WITHIN THE LINK BELOW . . .

CLICK HERE - Neurological complications associated with Zika virus in adults in Brazil

 

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Texas Doctors Under-Test for Zika

CLICK HERE - CDC MMWR - Notes from the Field: Zika Virus-Associated Neonatal Birth Defects Surveillance — Texas, January 2016–July 2017

Zika birth defects reported in 8% of zika infected Texas mothers

zikanews.com - by Don Ward - August 12, 2017

Zika virus testing for both travel-related cases and local transmission, need increased surveillance from Texas physicians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A recent CDC analysis found that 57% of infants or fetuses for whom Zika testing was indicated, did not receive tests.

This is important because 8% of Texas infants or fetal losses were delivered with lab-confirmed Zika.

The Texas birth defect rate of 8% compares with 5.5% for the entire USA, and 4.4% in USA territories.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

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Ebola May Linger in Men's Semen for More Than 2 Years

Particles of Ebola virus (Zaire) obtained from cell culture fluid.  Credit: Elena Ryabchikova, Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Ebola Virus RNA Detection in Semen More than Two Years After Resolution of Acute Ebola Virus Infection

livescience.com - by Tia Ghose - August 1, 2017

Ebola may linger in men's semen for more than two years, a new study suggests.

What's more, at least one man who survived Ebola and then tested negative for the presence of the virus in his semen later tested positive, the new study found.

The findings raise questions about how long Ebola can linger in special immune hideouts in the body.

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Texas Reports First Locally Transmitted Case of Zika in US This Year

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Health officials find probable local Zika infection - July 26, 2017

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - July 26, 2017

A resident of Hidalgo County, Texas who has now recovered from the Zika virus was probably infected within the county, local and state health officials said Wednesday. This represents the first locally transmitted case of the virus reported in the continental United States this year.

"Because the individual has not recently traveled outside the area or had any other risk factors, the infection was probably transmitted by a mosquito bite in South Texas sometime in the last few months," according to a joint statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services and Hidalgo County Health and Human Services.

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Hotez Measles Prediction: Something Awful is Happening in Texas

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Texas and Its Measles Epidemics

outbreaknewstoday.com - by Robert Herriman - July 15, 2017

The Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Dr Peter Hotez is concerned about measles in his state of Texas, so much that he is raising the alarm by predicting a measles outbreak could happen as early as the winter or spring of 2018.

In an article published in PLoS Medicine last fall, Hotez writes: Measles vaccination coverage in certain Texas counties is dangerously close to dropping below the 95% coverage rate necessary to ensure herd immunity and prevent measles outbreaks.

He tells me during the interview, “Something awful is happening in Texas,” Dr Hotez said.

(CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE AND ACCESS TO PODCAST)

 

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Uptick in Creutzfeld-Jakob Cases Raises Questions

Is chronic wasting disease in deer making the jump to humans?

medpagetoday.com - by MedPage Today Staff - July 10, 2017

Cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal prion disease that's closely related to "mad cow" disease, have risen in Wisconsin and nationally in recent years, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In Wisconsin, there were six cases in 2002, but in two of the last four years, 13 cases have been reported -- which could be attributed to better surveillance, local officials said. Yet the increase tracks with data on chronic wasting disease among deer in the state, raising concerns about whether the illness is jumping from animals to humans.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

CLICK HERE - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Can chronic wasting disease jump from deer to humans? Concerns keep rising

 

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Attacks in Syria and Yemen are Turning Disease Into a Weapon of War

           

A cholera-infected man receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, in May.  HANI MOHAMMED/AP

statnews.com - by Homer Venters - July 7, 2017

 . . . Today we are seeing another cruel method of warfare emerge on the battlefield: the weaponization of disease, particularly in Syria and Yemen.

Targeting health care facilities during conflict has occurred before. But unlike the attacks on hospital ships during World War I, or even sporadic attacks in more recent conflicts, the pace of attacks on health facilities, workers, and resources in Syria and Yemen is massive and unrelenting . . . 

 . . . We must not make the mistake of thinking of these deaths and illnesses as collateral damage of war. They are not accidental, and the destruction of medical and sanitation infrastructure is part of a cruel, illegal, and intentional strategy . .

 . . . there must be independent investigations of violations of international law when it comes to targeting health and humanitarian resources . . .

 . . . Hundreds of thousands have already died in Syria and Yemen. And without accountability and clear condemnation from the international community, millions more lives are at stake.

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