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Birth Defects Among Fetuses and Infants of US Women With Evidence of Possible Zika Virus Infection During Pregnancy

jamanetwork.com - December 13, 2016 - doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19006

In this report based on preliminary data for pregnant women in the USZPR with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infection, 6% overall had a fetus or infant with evidence of a Zika-related birth defect, and among women with timing of possible Zika infection exclusively during the first trimester, 11% had a fetus or infant with a birth defect. The birth defects primarily involved included microcephaly with brain abnormalities, such as intracranial calcifications. Preliminary estimates from the USZPR were within the range of 1% to 13% risk of microcephaly following first-trimester maternal Zika virus infection modeled on the outbreak in Bahia, Brazil, lending support to the credibility of these estimates.

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Arctic Heating Up at Twice as Fast as Rest of Globe

           

Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing

CLICK HERE - NOAA - Arctic Report Card: Update for 2016

cnn.com - by Mayra Cuevas and Max Blau - December 14, 2016

The Arctic is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world -- triggering a "massive decline in sea ice and snow," according to a new federal report.

On Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its 11th annual Arctic Report Card, which compiles data from 61 scientists in 11 countries.

"Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year," Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA's Arctic Research Program, said in a statement.

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CLICK HERE - NASA - Scientific Visualization Studio - Weekly Animation of Arctic Sea Ice Age with Graph of Ice Age By Area: 1984 - 2016

CLICK HERE - VIDEO - NASA - Older Arctic Sea Ice Disappearing

 

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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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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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Prepare for 'Surprise' as Global Warming Stokes Arctic Shifts - Scientists

           

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies in the Arctic Ocean in this July 12, 2011 NASA handout photo. Kathryn Hansen/NASA via REUTERS/File Photo

"Ultimately, realising resilience in the Arctic will depend on empowering the people of the North to self-organise"

CLICK HERE - Stockholm Resilience Centre - Dealing with Arctic tipping points

CLICK HERE - Arctic Resilience Report

Thomson Reuters Foundation - by Megan Rowling - November 25, 2016

Unless the world stops burning fossil fuels that are fuelling global warming, irreversible changes in the Arctic could have disastrous effects for the people that live there and for the rest of the planet, researchers warned on Friday.

The Arctic's ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change and other human activities, such as oil and gas extraction, they said in a report for the Arctic Council, an inter-governmental forum working to protect the region's environment.

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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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Climate Changing 'Too Fast' for Species

           

Tropical species are thought to be particularly vulnerable.  Thinkstock

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Rates of change in climatic niches in plant and animal populations are much slower than projected climate change

bbc.com - by Helen Briggs - November 23, 2016

Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, say scientists.

A study of more than 50 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change.

Amphibians, reptiles and plants are particularly vulnerable, according to US researchers.

And tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones.

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At The U.S.-Mexico Border, Haitians Arrive To A Harsh Reception

           

Haitian nationals at a Mexican government immigration office near the port of entry between Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz., wait day after day for appointments with U.S. immigration agents so they can enter. As a result of the Haitian influx and a continuing surge of Central Americans on the Texas-Mexico border, the U.S. government has run out of detention space.  John Burnett/NPR

npr.org - by John Burnett - November 23, 2016

Desperate Haitian immigrants have been massing along the U.S.-Mexico border for months seeking humanitarian relief. In the past year more than 5,000 have sought entry into the United States — a 500 percent increase over the previous year.

After the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, thousands of citizens migrated to Brazil looking for work. But as Brazil has slipped into recession in recent years, many of them have hit the road again, heading north on a 6,000-mile journey to the U.S. border — by every means of conveyance . . .

 . . . The Homeland Security Department announced new rules in September. All Haitians who show up at the border without papers and who don't ask for asylum are now detained.

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