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‘They’re Just Hiding’: Experts Say Puerto Rico May Be Underreporting Zika-Affected Births

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

A mother caresses her 2-month-old son, who has been diagnosed with microcephaly.  CARLOS GIUSTI/AP

statnews.com - by Helen Branswell - April 8, 2017

The number of babies born in Puerto Rico with microcephaly and other birth defects caused by the Zika virus appears to be unexpectedly low — so low that experts are beginning to question whether the actual count is being significantly underreported by authorities on the island.

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Stunning Drops in Solar and Wind Costs Turn Global Power Market Upside Down

           

CREDIT: U.N. and BNEF

CLICK HERE - REPORT - United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) - GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017 (90 page .PDF report)

The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

thinkprogress.org - by Joe Romm - April 6, 2017

Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down . . .

 . . . Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

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Thousands Of Bacteria-Infected Mosquitoes Released To Fight Zika & Other Viruses

           

miami.cbslocal.com - April 18, 2017

On Tuesday, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate with naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria.

The offspring produced when the lab-bred mosquitoes mate with wild female mosquitoes won’t survive to adulthood. Male mosquitoes don’t bite, and Wolbachia is not harmful to humans.

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Receding Glacier Causes Immense Canadian River to Vanish in Four Days

       

A view of the ice canyon that now carries meltwater from the Kaskawulsh glacier, seen here on the right, away from the Slims river and toward the Kaskawulsh river. Photograph: Dan Shugar/University of Washington Tacoma

First ever observed case of ‘river piracy’ saw the Slims river disappear as intense glacier melt suddenly diverted its flow into another watercourse

theguardian.com - by Hannah Devlin - April 17, 2017

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

The abrupt and unexpected disappearance of the Slims river, which spanned up to 150 metres at its widest points, is the first observed case of “river piracy”, in which the flow of one river is suddenly diverted into another.

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There’s Another Mosquito Carrying Zika Virus

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - Journal of Medical Entomology - Evidence of Zika Virus RNA Fragments in Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) Field-Collected Eggs From Camaçari, Bahia, Brazil

Zika Found in Common Backyard Asian Tiger Mosquito

nbcnews.com - by Maggie Fox - April 14, 2017

A common backyard mosquito can be infected with the Zika virus and it may pass the virus along in its eggs, researchers reported Friday.

The findings add to worries that the Asian tiger mosquito, scientifically known as Aedes albopictus, could help spread the virus as mosquito season hits temperate regions of the world.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, doesn't prove that tiger mosquitoes can spread Zika, which causes severe birth defects. But it adds to evidence that they might.

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New CRISPR Tool Can Detect Tiny Amounts of Viruses

The Cas13a enzyme causes collateral RNA damage that is the heart of a new diagnostic system, SHERLOCK, that can detect minute quantities of virus and much more.  Broad Institute

CLICK HERE - Nucleic acid detection with CRISPR-Cas13a/C2c2

sciencemag.org - by Jon Cohen - April 13, 2017

 . . . That’s the realm of SHERLOCK, a new diagnostic system that can detect attomolar levels of viruses in a sample and also distinguish Zika from its close relative, dengue. This exquisitely sensitive and specific tool promises to help detect diseases that other diagnostics miss, and it’s simple and cheap to use. Sexier still, it exploits a variation of CRISPR, the genome-editing method that has become the rage in biology.

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A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: With a Focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

undp.org - April 3, 2017

In early 2016, Zika was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern due to its association with a surge of birth defects. Zika has since spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with local transmission also reported in parts of the USA, Asia and Africa. The nature of the neurological complications Zika can cause in humans, and the emergence of a condition in infants known as ‘congenital Zika syndrome’, have posed and continue to pose a significant challenge to health specialists, international organizations and governments alike.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), produced this assessment of the socio-economic impacts of Zika on countries, families and communities, and to examine institutional responses.

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE AND ACCESS THE REPORT

 

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Texas Health Officials Urge Zika Testing for Pregnant Women, Others in Rio Grande Valley

                                                    

CLICK HERE - Texas Department of Health Services - HEALTH ALERT - Zika Testing Urged in Pregnant Women and Symptomatic Individuals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley - April 7, 2017

keyetv.com - CBS - by Bettie Cross - April 7, 2017

A health alert on Friday for pregnant women in Texas. Zika testing is now recommended as part of routine care for pregnant women in the Rio Grande Valley. Six counties are impacted: Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

Mosquito season typically starts in May. But experts say our warm winter could push that up and mosquito season could be here in a week.

"We're starting to see some increase," said Dr. John Hellerstedt.

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County Health Director: Count on More Zika-Related Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

The Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito is photographed through a microscope. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

CLICK HERE - REPORT - CDC - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

mypalmbeachpost.com - by John Pacenti - April 8, 2017

Sick of hearing about Zika already? Get used to it as more birth defects related to the virus are expected in 2017 in Florida and throughout the U.S.

This summer, there will be a full-court press by health officials against Zika.

“It’s not something to be taken lightly,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, head of the Palm Beach County Health Department, in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

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Zika Could End Up Costing Latin America and the Caribbean Up To $18 Billion, UN Reports Finds

                           

CLICK HERE - REPORT - A Socio-economic Impact Assessment of the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean: with a focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname

un.org

6 April 2017 – In addition to the impact on public health, the tangible impact of the Zika outbreak, such as on gross domestic product (GDP), could cost the Latin American and the Caribbean region as much as $18 billion between 2015 and 2017, a new United Nations report has revealed.

The report Socio-economic impact assessment of Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean, prepared by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has a particular focus on Brazil, Colombia and Suriname – countries that first reported the outbreak in October-November 2015.

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One in 10 Pregnant Women With Zika in U.S. Have Babies With Birth Defects

submitted by Albert Gomez

CLICK HERE - CDC - MMWR - Vital Signs: Update on Zika Virus–Associated Birth Defects and Evaluation of All U.S. Infants with Congenital Zika Virus Exposure — U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, 2016

nytimes.com - by Pam Belluck - April 4, 2017

One in 10 pregnant women in the continental United States with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with brain damage or other serious birth defects, according to the most comprehensive report to date on American pregnancies during the Zika crisis.

The report, published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also provided more evidence that the risk of birth defects was greater when women were infected in the first trimester of pregnancy. Fifteen percent of women with confirmed Zika infection in the first trimester had babies with birth defects, the report found.

(CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

 

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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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Atlantic City and Miami Beach: two takes on tackling the rising waters

Note: Average seasonal cycle removed from monthly mean sea level Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Graphic: Jan Diehm/The Guardian

IMAGE: Note: Average seasonal cycle removed from monthly mean sea level Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Graphic: Jan Diehm/The Guardian

theguardian.com - March 20th 2017 - Oliver Milman

The Irish Pub near Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk doesn’t have any locks on the doors as it is open 24 hours a day. So when Hurricane Sandy crunched into what was once known as the Las Vegas of the east coast in 2012, some improvisation was needed.

Regular drinkers helped slot a cork board through the frame of the door, wedging it shut and keeping out the surging seawater.

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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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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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