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.

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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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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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Dengue May Bring Out the Worst in Zika

           

Brazilian soldiers last year led a battle against Zika in a door-to-door campaign about how to control mosquitoes that carry the disease.  EVARISTO SA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

CLICK HERE - Science - Enhancement of Zika virus pathogenesis by preexisting antiflavivirus immunity

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - March 30, 2017

Close relatives have complicated relationships with each other even in the viral world. A new mouse study shows that if the animals have antibodies from dengue or West Nile virus, it sets them up for more severe disease from their close cousin, Zika virus.

If such "antibody-dependent enhancement" (ADE) also takes place in people, it could have helped fuel Zika's recent explosion in Brazil, where more than 90% of people in some communities have been infected with dengue. ADE could also complicate the development of vaccines for West Nile, dengue, and Zika. And with the onset of spring reigniting local transmission of Zika last week in the continental United States—where West Nile is widespread—ADE could give epidemiologists a new window into transmission and disease patterns.

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Compassion and Resilience in Haiti

Southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew–October, 2016
(Photo by John Carroll)

blogs.pjstar.com - by John Carroll, MD - March 31, 2017

The Gallup Poll recently reported that “even before Hurricane Matthew ravaged Southern Haiti in late 2016, the small Caribbean nation was already in deep distress, with more than four in 10 Haitians (43%) rating their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering”. The only country suffering more than Haiti in the world is South Sudan where famine already has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, and 1 million people there are on the brink of dying from a lack of food. Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti last October; according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the storm left nearly 140,000 Haitians homeless . . .

 . . . The hurricane took the people’s lives, homes, chickens, goats, crops, trees, schools, and churches. They had little food and water. They had no money. What was left? . . . 

 . . . a plea for us to find humanity again.  With compassion, followed by action, we would create resilient societies which care for one another.

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Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

Note: Average seasonal cycle removed from monthly mean sea level Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Graphic: Jan Diehm/The Guardian

IMAGE: Note: Average seasonal cycle removed from monthly mean sea level Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Graphic: Jan Diehm/The Guardian

theguardian.com - March 20th 2017 - Oliver Milman

The Irish Pub near Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk doesn’t have any locks on the doors as it is open 24 hours a day. So when Hurricane Sandy crunched into what was once known as the Las Vegas of the east coast in 2012, some improvisation was needed.

Regular drinkers helped slot a cork board through the frame of the door, wedging it shut and keeping out the surging seawater.

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Why Didn't Zika Cause A Surge In Microcephaly In 2016?

           

A family member holds twins Eloisa (left) and Eloa, both 8 months old and born with microcephaly, during a Christmas gathering. The mother of the twins, Raquel, who lives in Brazil, said she contracted Zika during her pregnancy.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection and Associated Neurologic Disorders in Brazil

CLICK HERE - Science - Enhancement of Zika virus pathogenesis by preexisting antiflavivirus immunity

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff - March 30, 2017

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

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The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease

Credit Niv Bavarsky

nytimes.com - by MICHAEL T. OSTERHOLM and MARK OLSHAKER
March 24, 2017

While the Trump administration is proposing significantly increased military spending to enhance our national security, it seems to have lost sight of the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease.

We already spend far more on our military than any other country in the world. To help pay for the increases, President Trump wants to cut back many federal programs, including those that prepare us to wage war against microbes, the greatest and most lethal enemy we are ever likely to face. This is where “defense spending” needs to increase, significantly.

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South Florida Charity Discovers 240 Starving Haitians Living in Cave

Food For The Poor teams have discovered 240 people, including 84 women and 62 children, living in a cave in the rugged mountains near Fonds Rouge Dahere, where they have been since Hurricane Matthew hit the country’s southern peninsula in October. The charity is launching a campaign to help them immediately with lifesaving aid and to build homes. (Photo/ Food For The Poor) User Upload Caption: Families found in caves months after hurricane. - Original Credit: Courtesy - Original Source: Food for the Poor (Courtesy)

submitted by John Carroll

sun-sentinel.com - by Rebeca Piccardo - March 23, 2017

Despite their dire conditions and empty stomachs, about 240 people living inside a cave in the rugged mountains in Haiti’s southern peninsula were singing joyful hymns. And their voices led a team from Food For The Poor right to them.

Now the starving parents and children are receiving food and other essential items from the Coconut Creek-based charity, said Robin Mahfood, president and CEO of Food For The Poor.

The group, which include 84 women and 62 children, have been living in the cave near Fonds Rouge Dahere since they sought shelter from Hurricane Matthew when it pummeled the island in October.

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Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment For Deadly Sepsis

           

Of the million or so Americans a year who get sepsis, roughly 300,000 die. Unfortunately, many treatments for the condition have looked promising in small, preliminary studies, only to fail in follow-up research.  Reptile8488/Getty Images/iStockphoto

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Chest - Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: A Retrospective Before-After Study

npr.org - by Richard Harris - March 23, 2017

It's hard not to get excited about news of a potentially effective treatment for sepsis, a condition that leads to multiple organ failure and kills more people in the hospital than any other disease.

But there have been so many false promises about this condition over the years, it's also wise to treat announcements — like one published online by the journal, Chest — with caution.

The study, from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., reported some remarkable success in treating patients who were at high risk of sudden death.

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Tiny Genetic Change Lets Bird Flu Leap to Humans

           

At least six provinces have reported human cases of H7N9 influenza this year, according to Chinese state media - Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Communications - An NS-segment exonic splicing enhancer regulates influenza A virus replication in mammalian cells

bbc.com - March 21, 2017

A change in just a single genetic "letter" of the flu virus allows bird flu to pass to humans, according to scientists.

Monitoring birds for viruses that carry the change could provide early warning of risk to people, they say . . .

 . . . The change in a single nucleotide (a building block of RNA) allows the H7N9 virus to infect human cells as well as birds, say Prof Honglin Chen and colleagues.

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Testing for Zika Virus: There's an App for That

           

Sandia National Laboratories chemical engineer and lead paper author Aashish Priye offers a view into the Zika box prototype, along with co-authors Sara Bird, a virologist, center, and a biomedical engineer.  Credit: Randy Wong

CLICK HERE - Scientific Reports - A smartphone-based diagnostic platform for rapid detection of Zika, chikungunya, and dengue viruses

sciencedaily.com - DOE/Sandia National Laboratories - March 20, 2017 - 

Prototype dramatically cuts cost, time for detection of mosquito-borne illness

Add rapid, mobile testing for Zika and other viruses to the list of things that smartphone technology is making possible. Researchers have developed a smartphone-controlled, battery-operated diagnostic device that weighs under a pound, costs as little as $100 and can detect Zika, dengue and chikungunya within 30 minutes.

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African Strain of Zika Kills Placenta Cells in Days

futurity.org - University of Missouri - posted by Jeff Sossamon - March 9, 2017

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Vulnerability of primitive human placental trophoblast to Zika virus

Infection of pregnant women by the Asian strain of Zika virus has been linked to brain abnormalities such as microcephaly in their infants. It’s not clear, however, at what stage of pregnancy the human fetus is most susceptible to the disease.

A new study shows the human fetus may be most vulnerable to Zika infection very early in pregnancy. In addition, the lesser-known African strain of Zika might possibly cause nearly immediate death of the placenta.

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