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After Bringing Cholera to Haiti, U.N. Can’t Raise Money to Fight It

           

A clinic in Rendel, Haiti, was overflowing with cholera patients in October. The disease has killed nearly 10,000 people in Haiti since it was introduced there in 2010 by a United Nations peacekeeping force. Credit Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

nytimes.com - by Rick Gladstone - March 19, 2017

When the leader of the United Nations apologized to Haitians for the cholera epidemic that has ravaged their country for more than six years — caused by infected peacekeepers sent to protect them — he proclaimed a “moral responsibility” to make things right.

The apology, announced in December along with a $400 million strategy to combat the epidemic and “provide material assistance and support” for victims, amounted to a rare public act of contrition by the United Nations. Under its secretary general at the time, Ban Ki-moon, the organization had resisted any acceptance of blame for the epidemic, one of the worst cholera outbreaks in modern times.

Since then, however, the United Nations’ strategy to fight the epidemic, which it calls the “New Approach,” has failed to gain traction.

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Sperm Donated in Florida May Contain Zika, CDC Says

CLICK HERE - CDC identifies potential risk of Zika virus transmission since June 15, 2016, in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - March 13, 2017

Sperm donated in three Florida counties since June 15 may be infected with the Zika virus, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned Monday.

"When semen is donated it can be stored frozen for periods of time. It does not necessarily inactivate Zika, so it could be stored in tissue banks, used subsequently and people should be made aware," said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration. He went on to say having this information can help individuals make informed decisions and they "might want to use these donations from other sources."

Sources other than the 12 sperm banks in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties of Florida, that is.

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Researchers Sound Alarm Over Zika's Potentially Harmful Heart Effects

Small case report suggests Zika-linked birth defects may only be 'tip of the iceberg'

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Myocarditis, Heart Failure and Arrhythmias in Patients With Zika

eurekalert.org - American College of Cardiology - March 9, 2017

As the Zika virus continues to spread globally, new evidence has emerged about the virus's potentially detrimental effects on the heart, according to data scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.

The study--the first to report Zika-related heart troubles following infection--included adult patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease who were treated at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela, one of the epicenters of the Zika virus outbreak. All but one patient developed a dangerous heart rhythm problem and two-thirds had evidence of heart failure, a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

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United States at Risk for Yellow Fever From Brazil Outbreak

Quote by Drs. Anthony S. Fauci and Catharine I. Paules. Credit: NIAID

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Yellow Fever — Once Again on the Radar Screen in the Americas

medscape.com - by Janis C. Kelly - March 8, 2017

Yellow fever could become the 5th mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States in recent years, according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.

An on-going outbreak in rural areas of Brazil has so far not involved human-to-human transmission through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but has been spread via nonhuman forest-dwelling primates, write Infectious Disease Fellow Catharine I. Paules, MD, and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in an article published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, the outbreak is near major urban areas, where yellow fever vaccine is not routinely given and might readily lead to urban human-to-human transmission.

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Genomics Reveal Surprises About Florida Zika Outbreak

medscape.com - Damian McNamara - March 4, 2017

CLICK HERE - bioRXiv - Multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States revealed through genomic epidemiology

CLICK HERE - PUBLICATIONS - Kristian G Andersen - The Scripps Research Institute - Genomics, Evolution, Immunology, Infectious diseases

LA JOLLA, California — The Zika virus outbreak in the United States in 2016 was caused by multiple infected travelers arriving in South Florida, not by a single "patient zero," genomic research has revealed.

Reporting here at the 10th Future of Genomic Medicine Conference, Kristian Andersen, PhD, from Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, and his team identified four different "introductions" of the Zika virus during the outbreak using genomic sequencing by testing samples from 17 people.

Extrapolating this to the total number of infected people, "the number of introductions that caused the outbreak in Miami is quite substantial," maybe on the order of 30, he explained.

Genomic sequencing of the virus from mosquitos and patients also revealed that Caribbean travelers were the primary means of introduction.

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Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast

White-footed mice are efficient transmitters of Lyme disease in the Northeast. They infect up to 95 percent of the ticks that feed on them. But it's people who create the conditions for Lyme outbreaks by building homes in the animals' habitat. Stephen Reiss/for NPR

Image: White-footed mice are efficient transmitters of Lyme disease in the Northeast. They infect up to 95 percent of the ticks that feed on them. But it's people who create the conditions for Lyme outbreaks by building homes in the animals' habitat. Stephen Reiss/for NPR

npr.org - March 6th 2017 - Michaeleen Doucleff, Jane Greenhalgh

Last summer Felicia Keesing returned from a long trip and found that her home in upstate New York had been subjected to an invasion.

"There was evidence of mice everywhere. They had completely taken over," says Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College.

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Birth Defects Rise Twentyfold in Mothers With Zika, C.D.C. Says

           

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first time looked at how common severe birth defects were in children whose mothers had the Zika virus. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014

nytimes.com - by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. - March 2, 2017

American mothers infected with the Zika virus last year were 20 times as likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as mothers who gave birth two years before the epidemic, federal health officials said on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded last April that Zika infection caused severe birth defects, including the abnormally small heads of microcephaly, but it had not previously estimated how common such defects were.

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Zika May Be Spread by Up to 35 Species of Mosquitoes, Researchers Say

           

The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, pictured here, is believed to be the most capable transmitter of Zika. But University of Georgia ecologists have created a predictive model that suggests up to 35 species of mosquitoes can spread the virus, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal, eLife. Miami-Dade was the only county in Florida to have designated active Zika transmission zones during an outbreak in 2016, according to state health officials.

CLICK HERE - STUDY - eLIFE - Data-driven identification of potential Zika virus vectors

miamiherald.com - by Daniel Chang - February 28, 2017

Zika may be spread by as many as 35 species of mosquitoes, including seven found in the United States, according to a forecasting model created by University of Georgia ecologists and published Tuesday in the journal eLife.

Most scientists, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species of mosquito, both of which are prevalent in Florida.

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CDC Reports Pneumonia, Influenza Mortality Rate Hits Epidemic Threshold

CLICK HERE - CDC - FLUVIEW - Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update

CLICK HERE - CDC - Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Past Weekly Surveillance Reports

healio.com - February 10, 2017

The mortality rate for pneumonia and influenza in the United States was slightly above the epidemic threshold during the week ending Jan. 7, according to CDC’s FluView.

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