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Pitt, Drexel, and NIH team up to study persistence of Ebola virus in wastewater

EUREKEALERT                                                                                                               Aug. 25, 2015
PITTSBURGH--The historic outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa that began in March 2014 and has killed more than 11,000 people since, has raised new questions about the resilience of the virus and tested scientists' understanding of how to contain it. The latest discovery by a group of microbial risk-assessment and virology researchers suggests that the procedures for disposal of Ebola-contaminated liquid waste might underestimate the virus' ability to survive in wastewater.

Current epidemic response procedures from both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that after a period of days, Ebola-contaminated liquid can be disposed of directly into a sewage system without additional treatment.

However, new data recently published by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University, and the National Institutes of Health indicate that Ebola can survive in detectable concentrations in wastewater for at least a week or longer.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/uop-pda082515.php

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Video - Humanity From Space

      

pbs.org - July 22, 2015

From the global perspective of space, this 2-hour special reveals the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.

A journey through 12,000 years, Humanity from Space shows how seemingly small flashes of innovation have changed the course of civilization; innovations that touch all of us today in ways unimaginable to our ancestors. And we’ll gaze into the future at the new challenges we’ll face in order to survive as our global population soars because of our success. In every case we’ll look at our progression in a unique and surprising way, revealing unforgettable facts and "who knew?" connections.

To visualize these stories cutting-edge technology is used to turn raw data into authentic moving images, building on expertise from a previous (and highly-praised) project; "Earth From Space." Using this technique, we can map humanity’s behavior in stunning, never seen before detail, revealing how our civilization grew, how it works today and what the future might hold.

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World's Displaced Hits Record High of 60 Million, Half of Them Children - UN

reuters.com - by Joseph D'Urso - June 18, 2015

Almost 60 million people worldwide were forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution at the end of last year, the highest ever recorded number, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, warning that the situation could deteriorate further. . .

. . . "I believe things will get worse before they eventually start to get better," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said at a news conference in Istanbul.

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The Swift Unraveling of Fragile Peace in Burundi

      

Refugees from Burundi arrive at the Mahama camp in Rwanda. The political crisis in Burundi has driven thousands to seek refuge in neighboring countries. Photo by: Thomas Conan / ECHO / CC BY-ND

devex.com - by Andrew Green - May 25, 2015

A failed coup and ongoing political conflict in Burundi have sparked a regional refugee crisis and stalled much-needed development projects in one of the world’s poorest countries.

This after Burundi spent the past decade attempting to overcome a post-independence period marred by a brutal civil war played out largely along ethnic lines. . . .

. . . The 10 years of relative peace allowed humanitarian partners to transition from emergency relief to long-term development projects in a country consistently ranked among the five poorest in the world. Now many of those partners have evacuated, as the country’s political situation has unraveled over the past month.

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Fighting Ebola requires a culture change in the west, as well as west Africa

COMMENTARY: Only by turning our response to Ebola upside down can another epidemic be avoided: communities need to be front and centre to eradicate this disease

THE GUARDIAN by and                      March 3, 2015

Today in Brussels African political leaders and experts will meet to discuss how west Africa should be supported to respond to the Ebola catastrophe that has killed nearly 10,000 people.

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Displaced by disease: 5 displacement patterns emerging from the Ebola epidemic

INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT MONITORING CENTRE                                                                            Nov.19, 2014

When a whole town was displaced in the south of Guinea during the Ebola crisis, the link between disease and displacement began to emerge. With IDMC monitoring the crisis across the three countries most affected since the outbreak took place, we have identified five key displacement trends emerging.

On 14 November 2014 the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) reported that the Guinean government had announced the withdrawal of troops from Womey, Nzérékoré prefecture, in the south of the country when a group of people raising awareness about the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) were killed by angry residents.

Since the army’s deployment in September, there have been accusations of human rights violations at the hands of military personnel, resulting in the displacement of the whole town, with some 6,000 residents fleeing to forests in the surrounding area. This is the single largest reported incident of displacement during the Ebola crisis.

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Spread of Ebola virus

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WHO launches $100 million plan as Ebola death toll tops 700

The World Health Organization is launching a $100 million response plan to combat an "unprecedented" outbreak of Ebola in West Africa that has killed 729 people out of 1,323 infected since February.

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United Nations - World Urbanization Prospects - 2014 Revision

esa.un.org - Press Release (excerpt)

UN finds world's population is increasingly urban with more than half living in urban areas today and another 2.5 billion expected by 2050

With nearly 38 million people, Tokyo tops UN’s ranking of most populous cities followed by Delhi, Shanghai, Mexico City, São Paulo and Mumbai

New York, 10 July—Today, 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66 per cent by 2050. Projections show that urbanization combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to a new United Nations report launched today.

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