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Sperm Donated in Florida May Contain Zika, CDC Says

CLICK HERE - CDC identifies potential risk of Zika virus transmission since June 15, 2016, in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties

cnn.com - by Debra Goldschmidt - March 13, 2017

Sperm donated in three Florida counties since June 15 may be infected with the Zika virus, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned Monday.

"When semen is donated it can be stored frozen for periods of time. It does not necessarily inactivate Zika, so it could be stored in tissue banks, used subsequently and people should be made aware," said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the US Food and Drug Administration. He went on to say having this information can help individuals make informed decisions and they "might want to use these donations from other sources."

Sources other than the 12 sperm banks in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties of Florida, that is.

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UN: World Facing Greatest Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945

           

The world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945, the United Nations says, issuing a plea for help to avoid "a catastrophe", BBC News reports.

CLICK HERE - UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR, STEPHEN O’BRIEN - STATEMENT TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON MISSIONS TO YEMEN, SOUTH SUDAN, SOMALIA AND KENYA AND AN UPDATE ON THE OSLO CONFERENCE ON NIGERIA AND THE LAKE CHAD REGION - March 10, 2017 (6 page .PDF file)

bbc.com - March 11, 2017

UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said that more than 20 million people faced the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.

Unicef has already warned 1.4m children could starve to death this year.

Mr O'Brien said $4.4bn (£3.6bn) was needed by July to avert disaster.

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Dying Robots and Failing Hope: Fukushima Clean-Up Falters Six Years After Tsunami

           

Cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is expected to take 30 to 40 years. Photograph: AP

Exploration work inside the nuclear plant’s failed reactors has barely begun, with the scale of the task described as ‘almost beyond comprehension’

theguardian.com - by Justin McCurry - March 8, 2017

 . . . As the 60cm-long Toshiba robot, equipped with a pair of cameras and sensors to gauge radiation levels was left to its fate last month, the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), attempted to play down the failure of yet another reconnaissance mission to determine the exact location and condition of the melted fuel . . .

 . . . The Scorpion mishap, two hours into an exploration that was supposed to last 10 hours, underlined the scale and difficulty of decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi – an unprecedented undertaking one expert has described as “almost beyond comprehension”.

Cleaning up the plant, scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl after it was struck by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on the afternoon of 11 March 2011, is expected to take 30 to 40 years, at a cost Japan’s trade and industry ministry recently estimated at 21.5tr yen ($189bn).

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Researchers Sound Alarm Over Zika's Potentially Harmful Heart Effects

Small case report suggests Zika-linked birth defects may only be 'tip of the iceberg'

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Myocarditis, Heart Failure and Arrhythmias in Patients With Zika

eurekalert.org - American College of Cardiology - March 9, 2017

As the Zika virus continues to spread globally, new evidence has emerged about the virus's potentially detrimental effects on the heart, according to data scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.

The study--the first to report Zika-related heart troubles following infection--included adult patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease who were treated at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela, one of the epicenters of the Zika virus outbreak. All but one patient developed a dangerous heart rhythm problem and two-thirds had evidence of heart failure, a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.

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Polluted Environments Kill 1.7 Million Children a Year: WHO

           

Children look for plastic bottles at the polluted Bagmati River in Kathmandu March 22, 2013. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

CLICK HERE - WHO - News Release - The cost of a polluted environment: 1.7 million child deaths a year, says WHO

reuters.com - (Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Jeremy Gaunt) - March 5, 2017

A quarter of all global deaths of children under five are due to unhealthy or polluted environments including dirty water and air, second-hand smoke and a lack or adequate hygiene, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Such unsanitary and polluted environments can lead to fatal cases of diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia, the WHO said in a report, and kill 1.7 million children a year.

"A polluted environment is a deadly one -– particularly for young children," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement. "Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water."

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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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The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

Image: A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

nytimes.com - February 18th 2017 - Diane Cardwell

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. 

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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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Hard to Detect, China Bird Flu Virus May Be More Widespread

           

A quarantine researcher checks on a chicken at a poultry farm in Xiangyang, Hubei province, China, February 3, 2017. Picture taken February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

reuters.com - by Dominique Patton - February 17, 2017

Bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus that has killed more than 100 people this winter is hard to detect in chickens and geese, animal health experts say.

Poultry that have contracted the H7N9 strain of the avian flu virus show little or no sign of symptoms. That means any infection is only likely to be detected if farmers or health authorities carry out random tests on a flock, the experts said.

But in humans, it can be deadly.

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