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When contagion strikes, it's Honolulu you should avoid

submitted by Cody Shearer

Image: Christos Nicolaides/Juanes Research Group

www.guardian.co.uk - July 24, 2012 - Posted by Nadja Popovich

 

When the next outbreak of Sars or Swine flu hits, New York's John F Kennedy airport and Los Angeles's airports will likely be the key spreaders of disease, according to a new study. But while the influence of these super-hubs may not come as much of a surprise, the third most outbreak-friendly airport in the states is far smaller, and far less obvious – Honolulu International.

In a paper published Monday in the journal PLoS One, a team of researchers from MIT outlined a new computer model that predicts how the 40 largest American airports may contribute to the diffusion of contagious disease within the first few days of a potential epidemic.

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Avian Flu Makes Jump to Seals, May Pose Threat to Humans

submitted by Susan Steinhauser

AMA - BulletinHEALTHCARE.com

mBio - Emergence of Fatal Avian Influenza in New England Harbor Seals

Many outlets reported on new research, published online July 31 in the journal mBio, which documents a mutated form of avian flu in seals. The sources all discussed the significance of the development, focusing on the risk the transmission of bird flu to mammals poses to humans.

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mBio - Emergence of Fatal Avian Influenza in New England Harbor Seals

Abstract

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The Ecology of Disease

The Ecology of Disease cover, by Olaf HajekImage: The Ecology of Disease cover, by Olaf Hajek

Jim Robbins - July 14th, 2012 - nytimes.com

There's a term biologists and economists use these days — ecosystem services — which refers to the many ways nature supports the human endeavor. Forests filter the water we drink, for example, and birds and bees pollinate crops, both of which have substantial economic as well as biological value.

If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about.

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Health Team Fights Ebola Outbreak That Has Killed 14 in Uganda

The New York Times - by Josh Kron - July 28, 2012

KAMPALA, Uganda — An outbreak of the rare and deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in midwestern Uganda, many in the past week, the Ugandan government said Saturday.

A team of health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the Ugandan government has been sent to the area, roughly three hours from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to begin emergency response measures, according to a government statement.

The strain of the virus, which in recent years has killed at a rate often above 70 percent of those infected, has been identified as Ebola Sudan, one of the virus’s more common strains.

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How Climate Change is Increasing Cholera Outbreaks in Northern Europe

Rising temperatures: The Baltic Sea represents the 'fastest warming marine eco-system examined so far anywhere on earth'

(SEE LINK TO STUDY BELOW)

 

  • Vibrio bacteria, which is normally found growing in warm and tropical waters, now thrives in the Baltic Sea
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  • Bacteria strains will multiply as seas warm, predict researchers
  • The bacteria causes illnesses from cholera to gastroenteritis

    dailymail.co.uk - by Claire Bates - July 23, 2012

    Climate change could be driving an increase in illnesses such as cholera and gastroenteritis in northern Europe, scientists have warned.

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    A rise in temperatures in the Baltic Sea has triggered the growth of the water-borne bacteria Vibrio.

    An international team examined sea surface temperature records and satellite data in the Baltic, as well as statistics on Vibrio cases in the region.

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    Pakistan's Escalating Vaccine Tensions

    cfr.org - Laurie Garrett - July 18th, 2012

    Last year the CIA deployed a Pakistani physician to execute a phony hepatitis vaccine campaign in Abbottabad, hoping to extract blood samples from the children living inside a compound, thought to house Osama bin Laden and his family. Because of the vaccine deception, multiple imams and Taliban leaders have declared that vaccines are CIA plots. The ruse may also be responsible for what appears to have been an assassination attempt against a World Health Organization immunization convoy that injured two people on July 17.

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    How Doctors Without Borders is mapping the world’s epidemics

    Cholera cases in MSF facilitiesImage: Cholera cases in MSF facilities

    dailydot.com - David Holmes - March 9th, 2012

    Five years ago, Ivan Gayton would spend months at a time in the African bush with no connection to the outside world except for a satellite phone or a high-frequency radio.

    But today, the head of Doctors Without Borders in Nigeria spends 75 percent of his time on a computer or a cell phone, even when working in rural Africa. And while the sense of adventure may be diminished, Gayton says the new technologies have had an “astonishing” effect on his organization’s effectiveness.

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    World Health Organization (WHO) - World Health Statistics 2012

     

    World Health Organization (WHO) - who.int

    World Health Statistics 2012 contains WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States, and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets.

    This year, it also includes highlight summaries on the topics of noncommunicable diseases, universal health coverage and civil registration coverage.

    CLICK HERE - World Health Statistics 2012

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    Climate Change, Disaster Risk, and the Urban Poor - Cities Building Resilience for a Changing World

    scribd.com/WorldBankPublications - April 2012

    Poor people living in slums are at particularly high risk from the impacts of climate change and natural hazards. They live on the most vulnerable lands within cities, typically areas that are deemed undesirable by others and are thus affordable. Residents are exposed to the impacts of landslides, sea-level rise, flooding, and other hazards.

    Exposure to risk is exacerbated by overcrowded living conditions, lack of adequate infrastructure and services, unsafe housing, inadequate nutrition, and poor health. These conditions can turn a natural hazard or change in climate into a disaster, and result in the loss of basic services, damage or destruction to homes, loss of livelihoods, malnutrition, disease, disability, and loss of life.

    This study analyzes the key challenges facing the urban poor given the risks associated with climate change and disasters, particularly with regard to the delivery of basic services, and identifies strategies and financing opportunities for addressing these risks.

    Several key findings emerge from the study and provide guidance for addressing risk:

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    WHO 'Concerned' Over Deadly Vietnam Mystery Disease

    The rash as seen on the hands and feet caused by the mystery "infection" - Photo credit: Saigon Giai Phong

    google.com / News - AFP - April 23, 2012

    HANOI, Vietnam — The World Health Organisation said Monday it was "concerned" about an outbreak of a mysterious skin disease in central Vietnam which has killed 19 people, mostly children.

    More than 170 people have fallen ill with the unidentified illness, which causes stiffness in the limbs and ulcers on victims' hands and feet that look like severe burns.

    "We are concerned about this. WHO is very aware of this case," said Wu Guogao, the organisation's chief officer in Hanoi, adding Vietnam had not asked for help with an investigation into the outbreak.

    The WHO has not been given access to any official reports on the issue.

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