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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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Compassion and Resilience in Haiti

Southern Haiti after Hurricane Matthew–October, 2016
(Photo by John Carroll)

blogs.pjstar.com - by John Carroll, MD - March 31, 2017

The Gallup Poll recently reported that “even before Hurricane Matthew ravaged Southern Haiti in late 2016, the small Caribbean nation was already in deep distress, with more than four in 10 Haitians (43%) rating their lives poorly enough to be considered suffering”. The only country suffering more than Haiti in the world is South Sudan where famine already has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, and 1 million people there are on the brink of dying from a lack of food. Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti last October; according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the storm left nearly 140,000 Haitians homeless . . .

 . . . The hurricane took the people’s lives, homes, chickens, goats, crops, trees, schools, and churches. They had little food and water. They had no money. What was left? . . . 

 . . . a plea for us to find humanity again.  With compassion, followed by action, we would create resilient societies which care for one another.

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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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More than 100 Chinese cities now above 1 million people

A boom in telecommunications businesses – including the arrival of e-commerce giant Alibaba – has transformed once-sleepy Guiyang. Photograph: Alamy

IMAGE: A boom in telecommunications businesses – including the arrival of e-commerce giant Alibaba – has transformed once-sleepy Guiyang. Photograph: Alamy

theguardian.com - March 20th 2017 - Benjamin Haas

China now has more than 100 cities of over 1 million residents, a number that is likely to double in the next decade.

According to the Demographia research group, the world’s most populous country boasts 102 cities bigger than 1 million people, many of which are little known outside the country – or even within its borders.

Quanzhou, for example, on the south-east coast of China, was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world a millennium ago, when it served as a hub for traders from across Asia and the Middle East. 

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Why Didn't Zika Cause A Surge In Microcephaly In 2016?

           

A family member holds twins Eloisa (left) and Eloa, both 8 months old and born with microcephaly, during a Christmas gathering. The mother of the twins, Raquel, who lives in Brazil, said she contracted Zika during her pregnancy.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - NEJM - Zika Virus Infection and Associated Neurologic Disorders in Brazil

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

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff - March 30, 2017

Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

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Fighting Famine in War-Torn South Sudan

cbsnews.com - by Scott Pelley - March 19, 2017

In South Sudan, 5M people don't know where their next meal is coming from and, of them, 100,000 are starving and face death. If not for humanitarian efforts, millions could die.

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South Florida Charity Discovers 240 Starving Haitians Living in Cave

Food For The Poor teams have discovered 240 people, including 84 women and 62 children, living in a cave in the rugged mountains near Fonds Rouge Dahere, where they have been since Hurricane Matthew hit the country’s southern peninsula in October. The charity is launching a campaign to help them immediately with lifesaving aid and to build homes. (Photo/ Food For The Poor) User Upload Caption: Families found in caves months after hurricane. - Original Credit: Courtesy - Original Source: Food for the Poor (Courtesy)

submitted by John Carroll

sun-sentinel.com - by Rebeca Piccardo - March 23, 2017

Despite their dire conditions and empty stomachs, about 240 people living inside a cave in the rugged mountains in Haiti’s southern peninsula were singing joyful hymns. And their voices led a team from Food For The Poor right to them.

Now the starving parents and children are receiving food and other essential items from the Coconut Creek-based charity, said Robin Mahfood, president and CEO of Food For The Poor.

The group, which include 84 women and 62 children, have been living in the cave near Fonds Rouge Dahere since they sought shelter from Hurricane Matthew when it pummeled the island in October.

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Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment For Deadly Sepsis

           

Of the million or so Americans a year who get sepsis, roughly 300,000 die. Unfortunately, many treatments for the condition have looked promising in small, preliminary studies, only to fail in follow-up research.  Reptile8488/Getty Images/iStockphoto

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Chest - Hydrocortisone, Vitamin C and Thiamine for the Treatment of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: A Retrospective Before-After Study

npr.org - by Richard Harris - March 23, 2017

It's hard not to get excited about news of a potentially effective treatment for sepsis, a condition that leads to multiple organ failure and kills more people in the hospital than any other disease.

But there have been so many false promises about this condition over the years, it's also wise to treat announcements — like one published online by the journal, Chest — with caution.

The study, from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., reported some remarkable success in treating patients who were at high risk of sudden death.

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