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Posts Tagged ‘Zika’

FIRE-EARTH Alert: Mosquitoes

Posted by feww on September 27, 2017

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[Issued by FIRE-EARTH Science Team and affiliated colleagues.]

  • Details via FIRE-EARTH PULSARS.


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Zika or Not?

Posted by feww on February 12, 2016

3rd adult died from Zika virus: Brazil health ministry

Brazil health authorities have confirmed the death of a third adult from Zika virus infection.

The latest reported victim was a 20-year-old woman, who suffered from lupus, arthritis and alcoholism. Her compromised immune system was unable to fight the ZIKV infection.

The three deaths occurred one each in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, the northern state of Para, and the city of Sao Luis, capital of the northern state of Maranhao.

Authorities believe the infection may have already killed up to 76 babies in Brazil, all of whom died with microcephaly after their mothers had contracted Zika.

However, they are still investigating whether Zika can cause microcephaly. Of the 4,000 or so reported cases of microcephaly, only 17 were linked to Zika, while 709 other cases have been ruled out.

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Pharma Phleecing: It’s Déjà vu All Over Again!

Posted by feww on February 9, 2016

Sent by a reader

The White House to ask Congress for $1.8 billion in Zika emergency funding

Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget, to be submitted to the Congress Tuesday, will include more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika.

The White House announced the request to cover research and planning globally shortly after CBS broadcast an interview with the U.S. President during which he declared, “there shouldn’t be panic on this — this is not something where people are going to die from.”

However, “it is something we have to take seriously,” he said.

“The good news is this is not like Ebola, people don’t die of Zika,” he said during an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Monday.

“A lot of people get it and don’t even know that they have it,” he added. “There appears to be some significant risk for pregnant women or women who are thinking about getting pregnant.

“There is much we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas. We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus,” reads a White House Fact Sheet on Zika.

$1.8 Billion in Emergency Funding

The funding. if approved by Congress, would be used “to enhance our ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, both domestically and internationally,” according to the White House.

About $1.5 billion of the money would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, including nearly $830 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for work on “mosquito control programs.”

Another $250 million would go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

And the rest of the money is earmarked for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, among various other agencies, mainly for “research, rapid advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests,” said the fact sheet.


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ZIKV Update – Feb. 3, 2016

Posted by feww on February 3, 2016

Zika virus acquired through sexual transmission —Texas Officials

Health officials have confirmed that a person in Dallas County, Texas, contracted the Zika virus through sexual contact, the first such case reported in the continental United States.

The patient in Texas was infected after having sex with their partner who had returned from Venezuela, according to reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier released the following statement:

CDC has confirmed through laboratory testing the first U.S. case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler in the continental United States. According to a Dallas County Health Department investigation, a person who recently traveled to an area with Zika virus transmission returned to the United States and developed Zika-like symptoms. The person later tested positive for Zika, along with their sexual partner, who had not traveled to the area. In this instance there was no risk to a developing fetus.

“Based on what we know now, the best way to avoid Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites. We do not have definitive information on the infectious time period, and will provide more guidance for individuals and clinicians as we learn more. Sexual partners can protect themselves by using condoms to prevent spreading sexually transmitted infections. People who have Zika virus infection can protect others by preventing additional mosquito bites.

Two confirmed cases of Zika virus reported in Ireland

Meanwhile, two cases of ZIKV infection have been reported in Ireland, which are being investigated by The Health Service Executive (HSE), said a report.

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Zika Virus: Coming to a Place Near You…

Posted by feww on January 5, 2016

ZIKV spreading in Brazil, reported in 19 countries as of January 4 —ECDC

At least 19 countries are reporting local transmission of confirmed Zika virus infections (ZIKV) in the nine months to 4 Jan 2016, reported the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

​Those countries are

​Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Guatemala​, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, New Caledonia, Puerto Rico, Panama, Paraguay, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Vanuatu and Venezuela.

ZIKV in Brazil
The Ministry of Health (MOH) of Brazil is concerned about a possible association between the Zika virus outbreak and increased numbers of babies born with microcephaly (smaller than expected head size).

Brazil reported its first case of ZIKV in May 2015. The virus has since spread rapidly, causing infections in many Brazilian states and other countries in Latin America. The association of Zika virus infection and microcephaly and is still under investigation, said MOH.

Microcephaly in Brazil
Starting in October 2015, the Brazilian MOH received reports of an increase in the number of babies being born with microcephaly. The number of microcephaly cases are roughly 10 times higher than what the country normally sees in a year.

There are no published reports of increased numbers of microcephaly associated with other similar viral (i.e. flaviviral) diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.

ZIKV in Puerto Rico
On December 31, the Puerto Rico Department of Health reported the first locally acquired case of Zika virus infection in Puerto Rico.  Zika was confirmed in a resident of Puerto Rico with no known travel history.  Health officials in Puerto Rico are monitoring for other cases of Zika virus infection, said CDC.

 Zika: Coming To America Through Mosquitoes, Travel, and Sex —Forbes
“…The latest two [viruses] that hit the U.S., chikungunya and dengue, are painful and bad enough — and dengue can kill people who are infected more than once. Zika adds an added nasty punch of perhaps causing microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small skulls and brains, and often have developmental abnormalities…” (Stone, 1/4).

On Dec. 10, officials in Panama announced the country’s first case of locally acquired ZIKV , which raised the number of countries in the Americas with reported cases of the infections to at least 10

On Dec. 1, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert concerning the Yellow Fever. Cases had already been reported in Brazil, Chile (on Easter Island), Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

In light of the circulation of yellow fever in several areas of the Region, and in the context of the ongoing El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization ( PAHO/WHO) advises Member States to establish and maintain the capacity to detect and confirm cases of yellow f ever and keep health professionals up to date to enable them to identify suspected cases and manage cases properly, especially in areas at risk for yellow fever. In addition, M ember States are advised to maintain high vaccination coverage in at risk populations.


Zika virus disease is a mosquito-borne disease caused by Zika virus (ZIKV) which causes in general a mild febrile illness with maculo-papular rash. Aedes mosquitoes are considered as main vectors. Before 2007, viral circulation and a few outbreaks were documented in tropical Africa and in some areas in Southeast Asia. Since 2007, several islands of the Pacific region have experienced outbreaks. In 2015, ZIKV disease outbreaks were reported in South America for the first time. ZIKV disease is now considered as an emerging infectious disease.

A significant increase of patients with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) was reported during the 2014 outbreak in French Polynesia. A similar increase along with an unusual increase of congenital microcephaly was observed in some regions in north eastern Brazil in 2015. Causal relationships are currently under investigation.

There is no prophylaxis, treatment or vaccine to protect against ZIKV infection. Therefore, preventive personal measures are recommended to avoid mosquito bites during the daytime.


  • Zika virus (ZIKV) disease is caused by a virus from the Flavivirus genus, Flaviviridae family, from the Spondweni group.
  • It was first isolated in 1947 from a monkey in the Zika forest, Uganda, then in mosquitoes (Aedes africanus) in the same forest in 1948, and in a human in Nigeria in 1952. There are two ZIKV lineages: the African lineage and the Asian lineage which has recently emerged in the Pacific and the Americas. [1,2]


  • The incubation period ranges between approximately three to 12 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
  • Most of the infections remain asymptomatic (between 60 to 80%).
  • Disease symptoms are usually mild and the disease in usually characterised by a short-lasting self-limiting febrile illness of 4–7 days duration without severe complications, with no associated fatalities and a low hospitalisation rate.
  • The main symptoms are macular or papular rash, fever, arthralgia, non-purulent conjunctivitis/conjunctival hyperaemia, myalgia and headache. The maculo-papular rash often starts on the face and then spreads throughout the body. Less frequently, retro-orbital pain and gastro-intestinal signs are present.

Auto-immune, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions such as Guillain-Barré syndrome and microcephaly in foetuses and newborns from mothers possibly exposed to ZIKV in the two first trimesters of the pregnancy were notified during recent Zika disease outbreaks (French Polynesia and Brazil). Further evidence is needed to establish a causal link between these neurological/neurodevelopmental impairments and infections with ZIKV.


  • Serological surveys in Africa and Asia indicate a most likely silent ZIKV circulation with detection of specific antibodies in various animal species (large mammals such as orangutans, zebra, elephants, water buffaloes) and rodents.
  • The knowledge of geographical distribution of ZIKV is based on results of serosurveys and viral isolation in mosquitoes and humans, and with reports of travel-associated cases and very few published outbreaks. Before 2007, the areas with reported ZIKV circulation included tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • An outbreak was reported on Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) from April to July 2007 [3]. This was the first outbreak of ZIKV identified outside of Africa and Asia. Between 2013 and 2015, several significant outbreaks were notified on islands and archipelagos from the Pacific region including a large outbreak in French Polynesia. In 2015, ZIKV emerged in South America with widespread outbreaks reported in Brazil and Columbia [1,4,5].


  • Zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. It has been isolated from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and experimental infections show that this species is capable of transmitting ZIKV.
  • Other Aedes mosquito species (notably Ae. africanus, Ae. albopictus, Ae. polynesiensis, Ae. unilineatus, Ae. vittatus and Ae. hensilli) are considered as potential vectors of ZIKV. These species bite during the day (especially in mid-morning and between late afternoon and twilight).
  • Additional modes of transmission have been identified. Perinatal transmission can occur most probably by trans-placental transmission or during delivery when the mother is infected. Sexual transmission was reported in two case reports.
  • There is a potential risk of ZIKV transfusion-derived transmission.
  • More information on mosquitoes can be found here: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. [1,6-8]

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Disasters/ Significant Events – Dec 25, 2015

Posted by feww on December 25, 2015

Brazil warns against pregnancy amid surge in ZIKV birth defects

States of Emergency have been declared in six  Brazilian states after a surge in the number of suspected microcephaly among the newborn linked to Zika virus (ZIKV).

In Pernambuco State, about 1,000 cases have been reported. In Rio de Janeiro, about 400 pregnant women are suspected of having Zika infection. About 3 dozen related infant deaths are being investigated. 

Brazilian health authorities are advising would-be parents not to get pregnant, especially in the country’s northeast. The advice follows research that have linked the potentially deadly virus Zika, a mosquito-borne infection, to newborn microcephaly—a neurological disorder that can result in a severe birth defect in which the brain fails to develop properly and the head is much smaller than normal.

Microcephaly can be caused by genetic factors, infections, or injuries. In recent years, there have been between 150 and 200 cases in Brazil per year. As of 30 November, more than 1,200 cases had been reported in 10 states, all of which have also reported Zika virus infections, says Ana Maria Bispo de Filippis, head of the flavivirus laboratory at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

However, the number of suspected infections have now doubled to more than 2,400  cases and spared to 20 Brazilian states (compared with 147 cases last year).


Storms kill at least a dozen, injure dozens more, leave trails of destruction across the U.S. South

Gov. Haslam approved the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s recommendation to go to a Level III State of Emergency, after storms moved across the state Wednesday night, killing at least two people.

Gov. Deal declared a state of emergency in Georgia for Fannin, Gilmer and Pickens counties through January.

“Following severe weather that resulted in flooding, damage to roads and properties and downed trees, the state is working to ensure the affected counties have access to the resources necessary for response efforts,” said Deal.

Gov. Bryant has declared a State of Emergency in seven Mississippi counties after storms pummeled the state late Wednesday..

Benton, Coahoma, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Prentiss and Tippah counties have all reported damage,  at least six dead and more than 40 injuried.

  • Macon County North Carolina issued a state of emergency after the storm caused severe flooding across the area.
  • An unknown number of people were injured after the storm overturned planes at a local airport northwest of the state, said reports.

A large tornado, one of at least 3 dozens, landed in Mississippi and raked along a 240-km trail to Tennessee.

spc reports 23-12-15
SPC received hundreds of severe weather reports including 39 tornadoes, as of posting. Tornadoes left trails of destruction across multiple states: Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Illinois.


Beijing air pollution worsens significantly

Air pollution index (AQI) in China hit a high of 592 on Friday and persisted at 562, as of posting.

[The EPA’s revised breakpoints for the upper end of the hazardous air pollution band, AQI of 401 – 500, is equivalent to PM2.5 concentration of 350.5 – 500 μgm−³ averaged over a 24-hour period.  —Editor]

There’s apparent confusion among officials concerning the severity and duration of the smog events, on the one hand, and the extent of willpower exercised by government to shoo away the potentially deadly pollution, on the other. The official news agency, Xinhua, wrote:

Even though Beijing has lifted the red alert for severe pollution, the capital city will remain in haze for a few more days. [How dare smog worsens “even though” the authorities have downgraded the pollution warning to the lowest level. Ed.]

The Beijing municipal heavy pollution emergency response headquarters issued a blue alert for heavy pollution in the city on Thursday afternoon, saying smog will hit central Beijing and southern suburbs on Thursday night. It called on residents in these areas to take protective measures.

“Red” represents the most severe warning level on China’s four-tier warning system,  followed by orange, yellow and blue.

In addition to Beijing, at least 50 other cities in northern and eastern China have issued air pollution alerts for potentially deadly smog this week.



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ZIKV – Emerging Virus May Cause Severe Birth Defects

Posted by feww on December 4, 2015

Brazil records six fold increase in microcephaly: Report

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease (Zika) are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eye. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week, according to CDC.

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus related to yellow fever, dengue, West Nile, and Japanese encephalitis viruses. In 2007 ZIKV caused an outbreak of relatively mild disease characterized by rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis on Yap Island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. This was the first time that ZIKV was detected outside of Africa and Asia. The history, transmission dynamics, virology, and clinical manifestations of ZIKV disease are discussed, along with the possibility for diagnostic confusion between ZIKV illness and dengue. The emergence of ZIKV outside of its previously known geographic range should prompt awareness of the potential for ZIKV to spread to other Pacific islands and the Americas. [Edward B. Hayes/CDC]

Zika may be responsible for an “unprecedented epidemic in Brazil and is quickly spreading through Latin America may be responsible for a spike in severe birth defects,” said a report.

Brazilian government has warned that the virus could be responsible for a dramatic rise “in cases of microcephaly, a severe birth defect in which the brain fails to develop properly and the head is much smaller than normal. Children with microcephaly frequently have developmental delays, learning disabilities, impaired motor function, and seizures.”  However, the connection remains to be proven.

“Microcephaly can be caused by genetic factors, infections, or injuries. In recent years, there have been between 150 and 200 cases in Brazil per year. As of 30 November, more than 1200 cases had been reported in 10 states, all of which have also reported Zika virus infections, says Ana Maria Bispo de Filippis, head of the flavivirus laboratory at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

Brazil’s northeastern state of  Pernambuco has recorded at least 487 microcephaly cases so far this year, compared with an average of 10 cases per year between 2010 and 2014, said the report.

“The virus has been found in the amniotic fluid of two fetuses diagnosed with microcephaly via ultrasound. It has also been found in tissues of a baby with microcephaly that died shortly after birth. It seems that in some cases the virus can cross the placenta and infect the fetus directly, says Patricia Garcez, a neurodevelopment expert at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It’s possible that the virus then attacks brain cells, she says. If that happens during the key phases of brain development in the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy, the overall size of the brain would be dramatically reduced, leading to microcephaly.”

Additionally, health authorities in French Polynesia reported “17 cases of unusual central nervous system birth defects following a Zika outbreak there in 2013 and 2014.”

Unpreventable and Untreatable!

There is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat Zika. When traveling to countries where Zika virus or other viruses spread by mosquitoes have been reported, travelers should protect themselves from this disease by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites.

Geographic Distribution

Outbreaks of Zika virus disease (or Zika) previously have been reported in tropical Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Zika virus likely will continue to spread to new areas. In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infections in Brazil. [CDC]

Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission (as of December 2015)

Source: CDC

Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission

AFRICA:  Angola*, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt*, Ethiopia*, Gabon, Gambia*, Kenya*, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone*, Somalia*, Tanzania*, Uganda and Zambia*

ASIA: Cambodia, India*, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan*, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam*

AMERICAS: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Suriname

OCEANIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS: Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

*For these countries, the only evidence of Zika virus transmission is from studies that detected Zika virus antibodies in healthy people.  These studies cannot determine where the people were infected or if they were infected with Zika virus because the antibodies may have resulted from infections with other closely related viruses, such as dengue virus.

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