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Nigeria: Meningitis - the Killer Disease Ravaging Nigerians

allafrica.com - April 6, 2017

 . . . Nigerians should take precautions against meningitis . . .

 . . . The disease has also spread to 16 states, the Federal Capital Territory and 90 local government areas in the country. States affected so far are Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Nassarawa, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba , Yobe, Kano, Osun, Cross Rivers, Lagos, Plateau and FCT . . .

 . . . although this was not the first time or the worst epidemic ever faced by Nigeria, this round of the epidemic has come with a difference, as all previous epidemics were caused by Neisseria Meningitides type 'A' but this year's own was recording Neisseria Meningitides type C in epidemic proportion for the first time.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW . . .

CLICK HERE - WHO - Disease Outbreak News - Meningococcal Disease – Nigeria - March 24, 2017

CLICK HERE - Death toll in Nigeria meningitis outbreak up to 489

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Why Chinese Scientists Are More Worried Than Ever About Bird Flu

A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A shop owner holds a live chicken for sale in a Hong Kong market. Isaac Lawrence /AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - April 11th 2017 - Rob Schmitz

At a research lab on top of a forested hill overlooking Hong Kong, scientists are growing viruses. They first drill tiny holes into an egg before inoculating it with avian influenza to observe how the virus behaves.

This lab at Hong Kong University is at the world's forefront of our understanding of H7N9, a deadly strain of the bird flu that has killed more people this season — 162 from September up to March 1 — than in any single season since when it was first discovered in humans four years ago. 

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International Research Effort Reveals Major Insights Into Spread of West African Ebola Epidemic

news-medical.net - April 12, 2017

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature - Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013-2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Published today in the journal Nature, the analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic

 

 

 

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A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: With a Focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

undp.org - April 3, 2017

In early 2016, Zika was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to its association with a surge of birth defects. Zika has since spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with local transmission also reported in parts of the USA, Asia and Africa. The nature of the neurological complications Zika can cause in humans, and the emergence of a condition in infants known as ‘congenital Zika syndrome’, have posed and continue to pose a significant challenge to health specialists, international organizations and governments alike.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), produced this assessment of the socio-economic impacts of Zika on countries, families and communities, and to examine institutional responses.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE AND ACCESS THE REPORT

 

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County Health Director: Count on More Zika-Related Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - CDC - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

mypalmbeachpost.com - by John Pacenti - April 8, 2017

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

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Zika Could End Up Costing Latin America and the Caribbean Up To $18 Billion, UN Reports Finds

                           

CLICK HERE - REPORT - A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

un.org

6 April 2017 – In addition to the impact on public health, the tangible impact of the Zika outbreak, such as on gross domestic product (GDP), could cost the Latin American and the Caribbean region as much as $18 billion between 2015 and 2017, a new United Nations report has revealed.

The report Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has a particular focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname – countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015.

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Cholera Spreads in Famine-threatened Somalia

           

Internally displaced Somali women gather to collect water from a plastic pan after fleeing from drought stricken regions near a makeshift camp in Baidoa, west of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 26, 2017.

voanews.com - March 31, 2017

BURAO, SOMALIA — Deadly cholera is spreading through drought-ravaged Somalia as clean water sources dry up, a top aid official said, deepening a humanitarian crisis in a country that is on the verge of famine.

The Horn of Africa nation has recorded more than 18,000 cases of cholera so far this year, up from around 15,000 in all of 2016 and 5,000 in a normal year, Johan Heffinck, the Somalia head of EU Humanitarian Aid, said in an email on Thursday.

The current strain of the disease is unusually deadly, killing around 1 in 45 patients.

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Blocking TLR4 Pathway May Help Control Ebola Infection

Boston University scientists curbed the host response to Ebola infection by inhibiting TLR4 in macrophages. (CDC Global CC BY 2.0)

CLICK HERE - Virology - Ebolaviruses associated with differential pathogenicity induce distinct host responses in human macrophages

fiercebiotech.com - by Amirah Al Idrus - March 23, 2017

The Ebola virus causes a disease that is often fatal, in part by infecting white blood cells called macrophages and disrupting their immune response. Boston University scientists found that using drugs that block the protein TLR4 can suppress this response and potentially control infection.

Macrophages are responsible for detecting and destroying pathogens, but the Ebola virus activates them through the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway, causing an inappropriate immune response. The Ebola-infected macrophages end up producing excess cytokines and chemokines—proteins that promote inflammation and worsen the disease.

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Dengue May Bring Out the Worst in Zika

           

Brazilian soldiers last year led a battle against Zika in a door-to-door campaign about how to control mosquitoes that carry the disease.  EVARISTO SA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

CLICK HERE - Science - Enhancement of Zika virus pathogenesis by preexisting antiflavivirus immunity

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - March 30, 2017

Close relatives have complicated relationships with each other even in the viral world. A new mouse study shows that if the animals have antibodies from dengue or West Nile virus, it sets them up for more severe disease from their close cousin, Zika virus.

If such "antibody-dependent enhancement" (ADE) also takes place in people, it could have helped fuel Zika's recent explosion in Brazil, where more than 90% of people in some communities have been infected with dengue. ADE could also complicate the development of vaccines for West Nile, dengue, and Zika. And with the onset of spring reigniting local transmission of Zika last week in the continental United States—where West Nile is widespread—ADE could give epidemiologists a new window into transmission and disease patterns.

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The 'Anticipatory Anxiety' of Waiting for Disaster

The Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the world's highest active volcanoes in Ecuador (Guillermo Granja / Reuters)

IMAGE: The Cotopaxi Volcano, one of the world's highest active volcanoes in Ecuador (Guillermo Granja / Reuters)

theatlantic.com - March 16th 2017 - Melody Schreiber

In April 2015, a volcano in Ecuador awoke from its restless slumber. The mountain shook with hundreds of earthquakes, and a thin tendril of steam escaped from Cotopaxi’s core. Each day, locals could see smoke and ash spiraling above the peak as seismic activity ramped up.

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