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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

Image:  The Svalbard ‘doomsday’ seed vault was built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters. Photograph: John Mcconnico/AP

theguardian.com - May 19th 2017 - Damian Carrington

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. 

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POLIOMYELITIS UPDATE (06): SYRIA (DEIR AL ZOUR), CIRCULATING VACCINE DERIVED POLIOVIRUS SUSPECTED

promedmail.org - 12 May 2017

The current information is that there is a cluster of 23 AFP [acute flaccid paralysis] cases in Miadin district, with one of the specimens having a possible vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV). Samples were sent to Atlanta for further testing.

A concern is that the VDPV is a cVDPV [circulating vaccine derived poliovirus] which is now considered to be just like a wild polio. (The virus is a type 2 virus).

The investigation will reveal the status of this case and the hope is that it will be ambiguous or perhaps in an immune deficient individual.

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CLICK HERE - ProMED mail - Updates

ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE WITHIN THE LINK BELOW . . .

CLICK HERE - Suspected polio cases found in Islamic State-controlled area of eastern Syria

 

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Hospitals On The Brink As Cholera Kills 184 In Yemen’s Capital In Mere Days

submitted by Alison Thompson

           

More than half of the health facilities in Yemen are closed or partially functioning due to severe shortages in medicines, infrastructure, equipment and staff.  AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The outbreak in Sanaa is the second in less than a year in the war-torn country.

huffingtonpost.com - by Rowaida Abdelaziz - May 16, 2017

 . . . At least 184 Yemenis have died of cholera just this weekend in the capital, which Houthi rebels have controlled for the past three years. On Sunday, the city declared a state of emergency and called for international help to deal with the crisis. Yemen’s health ministry, run by Houthi rebels, said on its news agency Saba that the outbreak was “unprecedented” and had become impossible “to contain.” There have also been cases of the disease have been reported in other major cities including Hodeidah, Taiz and Aden.

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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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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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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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Graziano da Silva: 20 Million People Could Starve to Death in Next Six Months

The 156th session of the FAO Council runs from 24-28 April 2017.

Famine in the spotlight at FAO Council

fao.org - April 24, 2017

Urgent action is needed to save the lives of people facing famine in northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, FAO Directory-General José Graziano da Silva said today at the opening of the UN agency's Council. 

"If nothing is done, some 20 million people could starve to death in the next six months," the Director-General said in his opening address. "Famine does not just kill people, it contributes to social instability and also perpetuates a cycle of poverty and aid dependency that endures for decades."  

Council members will be briefed on the extent of the hunger crises, and the steps required to prevent catastrophe, during the week-long session.

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China's H7N9 Cases Spike, Led by Infections in Beijing

josephbergen / Flickr cc

cidrap.umn.edu - by Lisa Schnirring - April 21, 2017

After several weeks of declining H7N9 avian influenza activity, China's cases are rising again, partly related to a recent spurt of local infections in Beijing, an area that usually doesn't see many cases and is located north of the main hot spots.

Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP), citing mainland health officials, said today that 27 more cases, 7 of them fatal, were reported from Apr 14 to Apr 20. Seven of them are in Beijing. Cases peaked in January and February, but over the past few weeks, new infections had declined to about 15 a week.

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CLICK HERE - PRESS RELEASE - Hong Kong - Centre for Health Protection

Updates will be posted within the links below . . . 

Hong Kong - Centre for Health Protection - Avian Influenza Report
http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/guideline1_year/29/134/332.html

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Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse

Aedes aegypti. Credit Andrew Bettles for The New York Times

Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika.

nytimes.com - by Maryn McKenna - April 20, 2017

 . . . Climate change is turning abnormal weather into a common occurrence: Last year was the warmest year on record, the third in a row, and there were more heat waves, freezes and storms in the United States that caused $1 billion or more in damage just in 2016 than in the years 1980 to 1984 combined. Anything that improves conditions for mosquitoes tips the scales for the diseases they carry as well: the West Nile virus that flattened Dallas, the dengue that returned to Florida in 2009 after 63 years and the newest arrival, Zika, which gained a toehold in the United States last year and is expected to surge this summer . . .

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