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United States at Risk for Yellow Fever From Brazil Outbreak

Quote by Drs. Anthony S. Fauci and Catharine I. Paules. Credit: NIAID

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Yellow Fever — Once Again on the Radar Screen in the Americas

medscape.com - by Janis C. Kelly - March 8, 2017

Yellow fever could become the 5th mosquito-borne virus to hit the United States in recent years, according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.

An on-going outbreak in rural areas of Brazil has so far not involved human-to-human transmission through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes but has been spread via nonhuman forest-dwelling primates, write Infectious Disease Fellow Catharine I. Paules, MD, and NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in an article published online today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

However, the outbreak is near major urban areas, where yellow fever vaccine is not routinely given and might readily lead to urban human-to-human transmission.

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Genomics Reveal Surprises About Florida Zika Outbreak

medscape.com - Damian McNamara - March 4, 2017

CLICK HERE - bioRXiv - Multiple introductions of Zika virus into the United States revealed through genomic epidemiology

CLICK HERE - PUBLICATIONS - Kristian G Andersen - The Scripps Research Institute - Genomics, Evolution, Immunology, Infectious diseases

LA JOLLA, California — The Zika virus outbreak in the United States in 2016 was caused by multiple infected travelers arriving in South Florida, not by a single "patient zero," genomic research has revealed.

Reporting here at the 10th Future of Genomic Medicine Conference, Kristian Andersen, PhD, from Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California, and his team identified four different "introductions" of the Zika virus during the outbreak using genomic sequencing by testing samples from 17 people.

Extrapolating this to the total number of infected people, "the number of introductions that caused the outbreak in Miami is quite substantial," maybe on the order of 30, he explained.

Genomic sequencing of the virus from mosquitos and patients also revealed that Caribbean travelers were the primary means of introduction.

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'First Chemical Attack' in Mosul Battle Injures Twelve

           

IS has been accused by both US and Iraqi officials of using rudimentary chemical weapons - AFP

bbc.com - March 3, 2017

Twelve civilians have been injured in Mosul in what appears to be the first chemical weapon attack in the battle for the IS stronghold.

A doctor from the International Red Cross (ICRC), based in nearby Irbil, confirmed the incident to the BBC.

An 11-year-old boy has severe respiratory and skin problems and a month-old baby was also injured.

The ICRC doctor said the substance used was still unknown, but it was being treated as a chemical attack.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Red Cross says chemical weapons used near Mosul

 

 

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Birth Defects Rise Twentyfold in Mothers With Zika, C.D.C. Says

           

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first time looked at how common severe birth defects were in children whose mothers had the Zika virus. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014

nytimes.com - by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. - March 2, 2017

American mothers infected with the Zika virus last year were 20 times as likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as mothers who gave birth two years before the epidemic, federal health officials said on Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded last April that Zika infection caused severe birth defects, including the abnormally small heads of microcephaly, but it had not previously estimated how common such defects were.

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Zika May Be Spread by Up to 35 Species of Mosquitoes, Researchers Say

           

The Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, pictured here, is believed to be the most capable transmitter of Zika. But University of Georgia ecologists have created a predictive model that suggests up to 35 species of mosquitoes can spread the virus, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal, eLife. Miami-Dade was the only county in Florida to have designated active Zika transmission zones during an outbreak in 2016, according to state health officials.

CLICK HERE - STUDY - eLIFE - Data-driven identification of potential Zika virus vectors

miamiherald.com - by Daniel Chang - February 28, 2017

Zika may be spread by as many as 35 species of mosquitoes, including seven found in the United States, according to a forecasting model created by University of Georgia ecologists and published Tuesday in the journal eLife.

Most scientists, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, believe Zika is primarily spread through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus species of mosquito, both of which are prevalent in Florida.

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CDC Reports Pneumonia, Influenza Mortality Rate Hits Epidemic Threshold

CLICK HERE - CDC - FLUVIEW - Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update

CLICK HERE - CDC - Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Past Weekly Surveillance Reports

healio.com - February 10, 2017

The mortality rate for pneumonia and influenza in the United States was slightly above the epidemic threshold during the week ending Jan. 7, according to CDC’s FluView.

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NIH Workshop Identifies Complex Health Problems Among Zika-Affected Infants

           

Credit: NICHD/NIH

CLICK HERE - JAMA Pediatrics - Bridging Knowledge Gaps to Understand How Zika Virus Exposure and Infection Affect Child Development

nih.gov - scienmag.com - February 20, 2017

Children exposed to Zika virus in the womb may face complex health and developmental problems as they grow older, according to discussions at a National Institutes of Health workshop. A summary of the proceedings, authored by researchers from NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is available in the latest issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

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UTMB Scientists Uncover How Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly

           

utmb.edu - February 16, 2017

The findings are key to unraveling the mysteries of why the Zika virus causes birth defects

CLICK HERE - Stem Cell Reports - Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

GALVESTON, Texas –A multidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered the mechanisms that the Zika virus uses to alter brain development. These findings are detailed in Stem Cell Reports . . .

. . . Since a normal brain develops from simple cells called stem cells that are able to develop into any one of various kinds of cells, the UTMB team deduced that microcephaly is most likely linked with abnormal function of these cells . . .

. . . The researchers established a method of investigating how Zika alters the production, survival and maturation of brain stem cells using cells donated from three human fetal brains. They focused on the impact of the Asian lineage Zika virus that was involved in the first outbreak in North America in late 2015.

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Scientists Develop New Antibiotic in Fight Against MRSA

           

Researchers have created a new antibiotic from bacteria found on a Kenyan plant-ant that shows promise in combating antibiotic resistance. Pictured, a Kenyan whistling thorn tree, where the ant species is found. Photo by Chr. Kooyman/Wikimedia Commons

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Chemical Science - Formicamycins, antibacterial polyketides produced by Streptomyces formicae isolated from African Tetraponera plant-ants

Bacteria found on Kenyan ant used to create new antibiotic strong enough to combat antibiotic resistance.

upi.com - by Amy Wallace - February 15, 2017

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England have developed a new antibiotic from a bacterium found on a species of African ant that shows potential in fighting MRSA.

UEA scientists, along with researchers from the John Innes Center, have identified a new member of the Streptomyces bacteria family from the African fungus-growing plant-ant Tetraponera penzigi. The new bacterium was named Streptomyces formicae and the antibiotic is formicamycins.

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Bill Gates Warns Tens of Millions Could be Killed by Bio-Terrorism

           

Bio-terrorism could kill 30 million people in a year, says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

theguardian.com - Bill Gates / Ewen MacAskill - February 18, 2017

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

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CLICK HERE - Munich Security Conference

 

 

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