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Chasing Cures for Deadly Scourges, and Getting in Our Own Way

nytimes.com - RETRO REPORT - by Clyde Haberman - May 14, 2017

What do the C.I.A. and Nigerian imams have to do with the fight to end polio? Retro Report examines how the worlds of politics and public health can collide. By RETRO REPORT on May 14, 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/retro-report-disease-eradication.html

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New Zika Virus Inhibitor Identified

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Characterization of the Zika virus two-component NS2B-NS3 protease and structure-assisted identification of allosteric small-molecule antagonists

business-standard.com - ANI - May 17, 2017

A new research has brought a drug to treat Zika infections closer to reality.

The team led by Alexey Terskikh and Alex Strongin from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) discovered a compound that prevents the virus from spreading.

"We identified a small molecule that inhibits the Zika virus protease, and show that it blocks viral propagation in human cells and in mice," Terskikh said. "Anti-Zika drugs are desperately needed. The fact that the compound seems to work in vivo is really promising, so we plan to use it as a starting point to make an even more potent and effective drug."

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US May Be Severely Underestimating Zika's Potential Impact; Costs Could Be in the Billions

Deadly carriers of disease: Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  Paulo Whitaker | Reuters

Gulf Coast region is vulnerable to Zika attacks

Congress may not appreciate full extent of potential damage

Conservative calculations suggest full impact could exceed $2 billion

CLICK HERE - PLOS - The potential economic burden of Zika in the continental United States

cnbc.com - by Robert Ferris - May 11, 2017

The Zika virus stands to cost the United States billions of dollars, even if few people are infected.

Researchers from several American institutions have calculated that the "virus from Hell" could result in total costs ranging from $183 million to over $1.2 billion, depending on infection rates in several at-risk states in the South.

The researchers warn that infection rates could engender costs that exceed the amounts of money the U.S. government may give for prevention and treatment, if the recent debates over funding are any indication.

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Zika Testing Recommendations Changed for Pregnant Women

           

A nurse practitioner gives a pregnant woman insecticide and information about Zika at a Miami clinic last summer.  LYNNE SLADKY/AP

CLICK HERE - CDC - Health Alert Network (HAN) - Prolonged IgM Antibody Response in People Infected with Zika Virus: Implications for Interpreting Serologic Testing Results for Pregnant Women

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - May 5, 2017

 . . . Testing for Zika infection is becoming more difficult, making it harder for doctors to advise pregnant women about the chances their child might have a Zika-related birth defect, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in a health advisory issued Friday.

The CDC is now suggesting that women thinking of getting pregnant, and who may be exposed to the Zika virus through travel or because of where they live, should consider having their blood tested for Zika antibodies before they get pregnant. Having a baseline reading would help to interpret Zika tests done during a later pregnancy.

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Here’s the Ideal Temp for Mosquito-Borne Diseases

           

(Credit: budak/Flickr)

CLICK HERE - PLOS - Detecting the impact of temperature on transmission of Zika, dengue, and chikungunya using mechanistic models

futurity.org - Stanford University - May 5, 2017

New research shows how rising temperatures might influence mosquito behavior and disease risk around the world. The researchers also calibrated their model with field data on human infections of mosquito-borne diseases.

Scientists have known for some time that climate change has caused the extension of mosquito season beyond the summer months, but the ways in which climate change affects the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika has remained somewhat mysterious . . .

 . . . The group found that mosquito traits favorable to spreading disease peaked when temperatures reached 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), but were lower when temperatures were cooler or warmer.

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Bill Gates Won’t Save You From The Next Ebola

 Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Image: Illustration of screens showing patients in a ward for Ebola patients. JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

huffingtonpost.com - April 30th 2017 - Robert Fortner, Alex Park

In late August 2014, Tom Frieden, then director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveled to West Africa to assess the raging Ebola crisis.

In the five months before Frieden’s visit, Ebola had spread from a village in Guinea, across borders and into cities in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Médecins Sans Frontières, the first international responder on the scene, had run out of staff to treat the rising numbers of sick people and had deemed the outbreak “out of control” back in June.

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Brazil Yellow Fever Outbreak Spawns Alert: Stop Killing the Monkeys

Yellow fever is threatening species at risk of extinction, like the golden lion tamarin, which lives in the forests of Rio de Janeiro State. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

Image: Yellow fever is threatening species at risk of extinction, like the golden lion tamarin, which lives in the forests of Rio de Janeiro State. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

nytimes.com - May 2nd 2017 - Simon Romero

As fears spread in Brazil over the resurgence of yellow fever, health officials are issuing a warning: Stop killing the monkeys.

Some assailants clubbed monkeys to death in panicked reactions to Brazil’s most alarming outbreak in decades of a virus that haunted the country in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Authorities found other monkeys dead with fractured skulls after having been being attacked with stones. 

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Florida Officials: No Zika Found in Mosquito Samples So Far

 

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - April 27, 2017

The department continues to support local programs by providing mosquito testing at the Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. To date, nearly 90,000 individual mosquitoes, represented by more than 6,500 pools of mosquitoes, have been tested for the presence of the Zika virus. Of those collected in 2017, none has yielded positive results.

CLICK HERE - Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Hosts Statewide Zika Workshops

CLICK HERE - Associated Press - Florida officials: No Zika found in mosquito samples so far

 

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Liberia - 9 Persons Die Mysteriously In Sinoe County

gnnliberia.com - by Cholo Brooks - April 25, 2017

Police in Sinoe County, southeastern Liberia, are investigation the mysterious death of nine persons after a repass of one late Edwin Dunbar, former Proprietor of One Family Entertainment Center who died few weeks ago in Greenville following a 2-night wake keeping.

According to our contact, those who died mysteriously include five females and four males, our contact said specimens from the nine deceased have been taken to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for testing to establish the actual cause of death.

As a result of this terrible incident, officers of the Liberia National Police have been deployed in the streets of Greenville using mega phones and requesting those who ate the repass to report themselves.

Our contact said the strange and disturbing situation has created panic among citizens of the County, with others leaving for their towns and villages for fear of the unexpected.

County Health Officer John Logan when asked by our contact to speak on this prevailing situation, as to what is responsible for the mysterious deaths declined to comment on the issue.

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