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Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge In Appalachia

Radiologist Brandon Crum and former coal miner Mackie Branham, 39, view an X-ray of Branham's diseased lung at Crum's black lung clinic in Coal Run Village, Ky. Howard Berkes/NPR

Image: Radiologist Brandon Crum and former coal miner Mackie Branham, 39, view an X-ray of Branham's diseased lung at Crum's black lung clinic in Coal Run Village, Ky. Howard Berkes/NPR

npr.org - December 15th 2016 -  Howard Berkes

Across Appalachia, coal miners are suffering from the most serious form of the deadly mining disease black lung in numbers more than 10 times what federal regulators report, an NPR investigation has found.

The government, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported 99 cases of "complicated" black lung, or progressive massive fibrosis, throughout the country the last five years.

But NPR obtained data from 11 black lung clinics in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which reported a total of 962 cases so far this decade.

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A Year Later, Unfiltered Flint Tap Water Is Still Unsafe To Drink

The state says more than 600 pipes have been replaced in Flint, Mich., this year — but 30,000 suspect pipes remain. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Image: The state says more than 600 pipes have been replaced in Flint, Mich., this year — but 30,000 suspect pipes remain. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

npr.org - December 14th 2016 - Steve Carmody

A year ago, Flint, Mich., Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency because of lead-contaminated drinking water, attracting national outrage and sympathy, and millions of gallons of donated water.

But a year later donations have slowed to a trickle, and little has changed — unfiltered water here is still unsafe to drink.

With frigid temperatures and flurries swirling around outside, the crowd inside Flint's downtown transit station ebbs and flows as buses come and go.

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Negative Effects Of Zika During Pregnancy More Common Than Realized

           

Juan Pedro, who has microcephaly and turned one-year-old on December 4, sits in a specially designed chair to keep him upright as he is kissed by his sister Jennifer Karine on December 12, 2016 in Recife, Brazil. As many of the babies with microcephaly, believed to be linked to the Zika virus, turn one-year-old in Recife, doctors and mothers are adapting and learning treatments to assist and calm the children. Many of the children are suffering a plethora of difficulties including vision and hearing problems with doctors now labeling the overall condition as 'Congenital Zika Syndrome'. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection in Pregnant Women in Rio de Janeiro

forbes.com - by Tara Haelle - December 14, 2016

The rate of birth defects, disability and brain irregularities in babies exposed to the Zika virus is considerably higher than was previously believed — regardless of the mother’s symptoms or the trimester she had the infection — found a new study . . .

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Colombia Reports Major Rise in Birth Defect Amid Zika Crisis

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Preliminary Report of Microcephaly Potentially Associated with Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy — Colombia, January–November 2016

CLICK HERE - Columbia - INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE SALUD - Zika

nytimes.com - by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. - December 10, 2016

Colombia, which suffered a Zika epidemic that peaked in February, has reported four times as many cases of babies born with microcephaly this year as it did in 2015, providing more proof that the Zika virus causes brain damage in infants.

Because births of microcephalic infants peaked five months after the epidemic did, at about nine times the numbers of the previous July, scientists feel sure that the greatest risk is to babies whose mothers were infected during their first trimesters or early in their second.

The numbers were reported in a study released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and conducted jointly by scientists from the C.D.C. and Colombia’s national health institute.

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Superbug Gene Found on Pig Farm

           

FLICKR, RIKKISREFUGE

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae recovered from the environment of a swine farrow-to-finish operation in the United States

Evidence of resistance to a “last-resort” drug for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is discovered among farm animals for the first time.

the-scientist.com - by Ben Andrew Henry - December 7, 2016

Modern agriculture relies on antibiotics to shield livestock from disease, but widespread over-use of antibiotics has raised concerns over creating highly resistant “superbugs.” Researchers announced this week (December 5) that bacteria carrying a rare, dangerous gene for antibiotic resistance have been found in agricultural animals for the first time.

In a study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, researchers took swabs and fecal samples from a pig farm and discovered bacteria resistant to carbapenems, an important class of antibiotics.

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Zika in Fetal Brain Tissue Responds to a Popular Antibiotic

Infection of developing human brain with the Zika virus (green) highlights susceptibility of radial glial cells during fetal development. Image by Elizabeth Di Lullo

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Zika virus cell tropism in the developing human brain and inhibition by azithromycin

ucsf.edu - by Laura Kurtzman - November 29, 2016

Working in the lab, UC San Francisco researchers have identified fetal brain tissue cells that are targeted by the Zika virus and determined that azithromycin, a common antibiotic regarded as safe for use during pregnancy, can prevent the virus from infecting these cells . . .

 . . . In the new study, published online Nov. 29, 2016, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the UCSF researchers determined that the Zika virus preferentially infects brain cells with an abundance of a protein called AXL, which spans the outer cell membrane of several cell types and serves as a gateway for the invading virus . . . 

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Texas Reports First Case of Zika Spread by Local Mosquitoes

                                                                  

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of State Health Services - Texas Announces Local Zika Virus Case in Rio Grande Valley

reuters.com - by Julie Steenhuysen - November 28, 2016

Texas health officials on Monday reported the state's first case of Zika likely spread by local mosquitoes, making Texas the second state within the continental United States to report local transmission of the virus that has been linked to birth defects.

The case involved a woman living in Cameron County near the Mexico border who is not pregnant, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

Pregnancy is the biggest concern with Zika because the virus can cause severe, life-long birth defects, including microcephaly, in which a child is born with an abnormally small head, a sign its brain has stopped growing normally . . .

 . . . In adults, Zika infections have also been linked to a rare neurological syndrome known as Guillain-Barre, as well as other neurological disorders.

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Microcephaly Found in Babies of Zika-Infected Mothers Months After Birth

           

A 1-year-old child, one of the patients in a new study, showed clear signs of microcephaly, but also had good eye contact. Credit van der Linden V, Pessoa A, et al. MMWR: 11.22.2016

nytimes.com - by Pam Belluck - November 22, 2016

It is the news that doctors and families in the heart of Zika territory had feared: Some babies not born with the unusually small heads that are the most severe hallmark of brain damage as a result of the virus have developed the condition, called microcephaly, as they have grown older.

The findings were reported in a study of 13 babies in Brazil that was published Tuesday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At birth, none of the babies had heads small enough to receive a diagnosis of microcephaly, but months later, 11 of them did . . . 

 . . . The new study echoes another published this fall, in which three babies were found to have microcephaly later in their first year.

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Worrying Traces of Resistant Bacteria in Air

           

Forbidden City in Beijing.  Credit: bizoo_n / Fotolia

CLICK HERE - Microbiome - The structure and diversity of human, animal and environmental resistomes

sciencedaily.com - Margareta Gustafsson Kubista - November 18, 2016

Polluted city air has now been identified as a possible means of transmission for resistant bacteria. Researchers have shown that air samples from Beijing contain DNA from genes that make bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotics we have.

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ALSO SEE SAME ARTICLE HERE - UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG - Worrying traces of resistant bacteria in air

 

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Zika Virus Can Live for Hours on Hard, Non-Porous Surfaces

           

Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus. Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

sciencedaily.com - American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists - November 15, 2016

Research being presented today at the 2016 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientist (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which is taking place Nov. 13 -17 in Denver, found that under certain conditions, the Zika virus can live for several hours on hard non-porous surfaces and still be highly contagious, but that some commonly used disinfectants are extremely effective in killing the virus. The research may have important infection control implications for both consumers and those who work in healthcare or lab settings.

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