Midnight In The Desert — zika

How Zika Virus Went From Mild to Devastating

Posted by K R on

How Zika Virus Went From Mild to Devastating

A single genetic mutation just a few years back gave the Zika virus the ability to cause severe neurological birth defects like microcephaly, a new study in mice suggests. Scientists have known about the Zika virus since 1947, when it was discovered in a monkey from the Zika Forest in Uganda. At that point, it was only linked to mild symptoms. It wasn't until the Zika epidemic of 2015 in Central and South America that Zika became known as a cause of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a newborn's brain and skull are severely underdeveloped. How did that happen?...

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Zika is no longer an emergency – it’s worse than that, says WHO

Posted by K R on

Zika is no longer an emergency – it’s worse than that, says WHO

Zika virus no longer represents a public health emergency, the World Health Organisation announced on Friday. On the face of it, this sounds like good news. But this is not a downgrading of the threat of the virus – if anything, it’s an upgrading, says Christian Lindmeier of the WHO. The emergency status was used when little was known about Zika virus, and an urgent response was required from funders and researchers to learn more. “Today, we are in a very different situation,” Peter Salama, head of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, told a press briefing on Tuesday. Now that...

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What Happened While America Waited for Zika Funding

Posted by K R on

What Happened While America Waited for Zika Funding

The Zika fight in the United States is finally about to be funded. On Wednesday, Congress approved a $1.1 billion deal, which is now waiting on President Barack Obama’s signature. The amount is less than the $1.9 billion the president originally asked for in February, but much more than the zero federal dollars the government’s been working with in the seven months since then. “Did that delay cause harm? Did that set you back?” Jonathan Karl, ABC News’s chief White House correspondent, asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, on Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum,...

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Zika Funding Fails Again in Congress

Posted by K R on

Zika Funding Fails Again in Congress

Congress came back from a seven-week break Tuesday and once again failed to move forward a bill that would pay for a federal Zika response. As senators traded barbs about whose fault it was, Florida health officials said they'd found seven more home-grown cases of Zika, six of them part of an outbreak in Miami Beach. Florida now has documented 56 locally transmitted cases of Zika infection, presumably passed by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are active nearly year round in south Florida. President Barack Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika in February, but the Republican-dominated...

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Massive bee death after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes

Posted by K R on

Massive bee death after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes

Millions of bees succumbed to acute pesticide poisoning after little-publicized switch to aerial spraying. There is no question that people are justifiably freaked out by the ominous threat of the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that deliver it. Many of us remember when trucks spewing pesticide first took to the streets in order to battle the threat of mosquitoes transmitting West Nile virus, before that it was DDT for malaria; with the new mayhem of Zika on the rise, some areas have become more vigilant than ever in their municipal spraying. In South Carolina, to disastrous end. In parts of...

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