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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Bill Gates Warns Tens of Millions Could be Killed by Bio-Terrorism

           

Bio-terrorism could kill 30 million people in a year, says Bill Gates

Microsoft founder and philanthropist tells Munich security conference genetic engineering could be terrorist weapon

theguardian.com - Bill Gates / Ewen MacAskill - February 18, 2017

A chilling warning that tens of millions of people could be killed by bio-terrorism was delivered at the Munich security conference by the world’s richest man, Bill Gates

Gates, who has spent much of the last 20 years funding a global health campaign, said: “We ignore the link between health security and international security at our peril.”

Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who has spent billions in a philanthropic drive to improve health worldwide, said: “The next epidemic could originate on the computer screen of a terrorist intent on using genetic engineering to create a synthetic version of the smallpox virus ... or a super contagious and deadly strain of the flu.”

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CLICK HERE - Munich Security Conference

 

 

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The Mission to Stop Ebola: Lessons for UN Crisis Response

CLICK HERE - International Peace Institute - The Mission to Stop Ebola: Lessons for UN Crisis Response (28 page .PDF report)

reliefweb.int - February 15, 2017
ADAM LUPEL AND MICHAEL SNYDER

Executive Summary

The Ebola epidemic of 2014–2016 was a fastmoving, multidimensional emergency that pre - sented unprecedented challenges for the multi - lateral system. In response to the outbreak, which was spreading exponentially in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the UN’s first-ever emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). UNMEER was mandated by the UN General Assembly in September 2014 to scale up and coordinate the activities of the UN presence on the ground working to stop the outbreak, which eventually claimed over 11,000 lives.

This report asks: Was UNMEER needed? Was it properly structured? Did it deliver? And what broader lessons can be learned from the experience of UNMEER for UN crisis response?

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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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Ebola 'Super-Spreaders' Cause Most Cases

           

Getty Images

CLICK HERE - PNAS - Spatial and temporal dynamics of superspreading events in the 2014–2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic

bbc.com - by James Gallagher - February 14, 2017

The majority of cases in the world's largest outbreak of Ebola were caused by a tiny handful of patients, research suggests.

The analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows nearly two thirds of cases (61%) were caused by 3% of infected people.

The young and old were more likely to have been "super-spreaders".

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLES WITHIN THE LINKS BELOW . . .

CLICK HERE - Disease “superspreaders” were driving cause of 2014 Ebola epidemic

CLICK HERE - Superspreaders Drove Ebola Epidemic, Study Finds

 

 

 

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Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise

       

Once called the "Dutchmen" because of their large noses and large bellies, proboscis monkeys live only in Borneo. Ecosystems that have a lot of diverse animals, like this monkey, also tend to have a lot of diverse viruses.  Charles Ryan

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh - February 14, 2017

The next troubling outbreak could come from a rain forest . . . And a big reason why: all the crazy animals that live here.

. . . Wild animals are now refugees. They have no home. So they come live in our backyards. They pee on our crops. Share our parks and playgrounds. Giving their viruses a chance to jump into us and make us sick.

"So it's really the human impact on the environment that's causing these viruses to jump into people," Olival says.

And cause an outbreak? I ask. Or a pandemic, says Olival.

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Greater Transparency Called for in Global Health Security

huffingtonpost.com - by Jonathan D. Quick - February 7, 2017

No More Epidemics is calling on all countries to publish their completed assessments of national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to epidemic threats, known as the Joint External Evaluation (JEE). Ethiopia, Liberia, Peru, Uganda, UK, and the US have openly shared theirs.

Data transparency and accountability are vital to address global health threats. Unless these documents are made public it will be impossible for civil society to either hold governments accountable for their obligations under the International Health Regulations (IHR), or to support governments in their compliance efforts.

More than 55 nations have joined the effort to combat highly infectious disease by signing on to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), and a number of participating countries have undergone the multi-sectoral JEE and developed five-year national country roadmaps to address gaps in health infrastructure and capabilities.

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CLICK HERE - No More Epidemics

CLICK HERE - Global Health Security Agenda - Assessments and JEE

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Recovering from Disasters: Social Networks Matter More Than Bottled Water and Batteries

submitted by Joyce Fedeczko

           

Survivors leave Tohoku a day after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Warren Antiola/Flickr

theconversation.com - by Daniel P. Aldrich

Standard advice about preparing for disasters focuses on building shelters and stockpiling things like food, water and batteries. But resilience - the ability to recover from shocks, including natural disasters - comes from our connections to others, and not from physical infrastructure or disaster kits.

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Grenada's Pledged Greenhouse Gas Reductions to UNFCCC

Grenada's Pledged Greenhouse Gas Reductions to UNFCCC
http://www4.unfccc.int/Submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Grenada/1/Grenada%20INDC.pdf

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) as Communicated by Parties
http://resiliencesystem.org/intended-nationally-determined-contributions-indcs-communicated-parties

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Turning the Tide Against Cholera

Map of the Sundarbans, part of the Ganges River Delta, where Cholera first emerged. Source: World Wildlife Fund

Image: Map of the Sundarbans, part of the Ganges River Delta, where Cholera first emerged. Source: World Wildlife Fund

nytimes.com - February 6th 2017 - Donald G. McNeil Jr.

Two hundred years ago, the first cholera pandemic emerged from these tiger-infested mangrove swamps.

It began in 1817, after the British East India Company sent thousands of workers deep into the remote Sundarbans, part of the Ganges River Delta, to log the jungles and plant rice. These brackish waters are the cradle of Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium that clings to human intestines and emits a toxin so virulent that the body will pour all of its fluids into the gut to flush it out.

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Trump Will Withdraw From Global Climate Pact, Transition Official Says

Demonstrators protest Donald Trump's climate change stance outside the office of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in New York, January 9. REUTERS.

Image: Demonstrators protest Donald Trump's climate change stance outside the office of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in New York, January 9. REUTERS.

newsweek.com - January 30th 2017 - Reuters

The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration.

Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA's transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20.

Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation. 

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Flamanville reactor blast: No nuclear risk, say officials

The two reactors at Flamanville will eventually be joined by a third.

Image: The two reactors at Flamanville will eventually be joined by a third.

bbc.com - February 9th 2017

An explosion and fire have occurred at the Flamanville nuclear plant on France's northern coast but there was no nuclear risk, officials say.

"It is a significant technical event but it is not a nuclear accident," senior local official Olivier Marmion told AFP news agency.

Five people reported feeling unwell but none was seriously injured.

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U.N. Needs $2.1 Billion to Avert Famine in Yemen

           

Girls stand at the entrance to their tent at a camp for internally displaced people in the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen January 30, 2017. REUTERS/Naif Rahma

reuters.com - by Stephanie Nebehay - February 8, 2017

The United Nations said on Wednesday that 12 million people in Yemen faced the threat of famine brought on by two years of civil war and the situation was rapidly deteriorating.

It appealed for $2.1 billion to provide food and other life-saving aid, saying that Yemen's economy and institutions are collapsing and its infrastructure has been devastated.

"If there is no immediate action, and despite the ongoing humanitarian efforts, famine is now a real possibility for 2017. Malnutrition is rife and rising at an alarming rate," U.N. emergency relief coordinator Stephen O'Brien told a news briefing.

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‘A Conservative Climate Solution’: Republican Group Calls for Carbon Tax

James A. Baker, seen here at former first lady Nancy Reagan’s funeral in March 2016, is a member of the Climate Leadership Council. Despite its impeccable Republican credentials, the group faces long odds with its carbon-tax idea. (Jae C. Hong/Associated Press)

nytimes.com by John Schwartz - February 7, 2017

A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.

The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles.

Mr. Baker is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, the senior adviser to the president, and Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, as well as Ivanka Trump.

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Yellow Fever Deaths Climb to 60 in Brazil Outbreak

           

Aedes Aegypti mosquito. SHUTTERSTOCK KOMUNIKA ONLINE

CLICK HERE - CDC - Yellow Fever in Brazil

en.tempo.co - February 5, 2017

TEMPO.CO, Rio de Janeiro - The Brazilian government announced Friday that the number of confirmed deaths caused by a yellow fever outbreak has reached 60, while 87 more suspicious deaths are being investigated.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said that 53 of the deaths had come in the state of Minas Gerais, where the outbreak started before spreading to other states. Four people have died in Espirito Santo and three more in the state of Sao Paulo.

Since the start of the outbreak, 150 deaths were potentially attributed of yellow fever, 60 of which have been confirmed, 87 are still under investigation and three have been eliminated.

In total, 921 people have been suspected of being infected, 804 of which happened in Minas Gerais. 702 are being investigated, 161 have been confirmed and 58 have been ruled out.

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