Inside the insectary
- "These gene drives, they're able to copy themselves. So instead of half of the offspring inheriting the gene drive, almost all of them do. So what happens is that it spreads and it spreads and it spreads. And this is the fantastic thing. Because it allows that gene to be selfish in a population. And in a very short amount of time you can actually transform an entire wild population into a modified population. It's powerful." (previously
"This is quite a large epidemic, so another question is how did this get so big so fast? And no one has the answer," said Hotez. "There's nothing really published, most of what we’re going on are World Health Organization alerts." First case of tropical zika virus linked to serious birth defect found in Texas
(Jessica Glenza, The Guardian
); What You Need To Know About the Zika Virus
(Alexandra Ossola, Popular Science
home page for resources and information; FAQ
from Pan American Health Organization
(aboriginal) communities in Canada often have levels of squalor and health outcomes comparable to developing nations
[PDF]. Abuse of alcohol and other drugs
is rife. Generally low health care levels in these communities has led to outbreaks
of H1N1 (swine flu). While the distribution of hand sanitizer might help control these outbreaks, the Canadian government is hesitant to do so out of fear that the alcohol-based sanitizer will be ingested
. Some argue that this is nothing more than continued paternalism
that has reduced the First peoples of Canada to their present state.
Obesity has been called an epidemic in the United States.
Looking at an interactive statistic [CNN, flash]
of the state-by-state numbers is sobering mf
64% of adults are overweight and approx 25% are obese
The usual suspects have so far been a culture of low-exercise mf
high-consumption (due to urban sprawl, driving
, TV, ... ),
and bad diet
(the ubiquity of
with its high levels of fat, sugar and salt. Recently the high fructose levels in the common American diet has also been noted.
Fructose comprises 50% of table sugar and up to 90% of high-fructose corn
syrup (HFCS), both ingredients found in copious
amounts in most American 'convenience' foods.
[Wikipedia: Fructose#References, Wikipedia:HFCS]).
Now it seems that a
is a common virus, the
, which may really make obesity
an actual epidemic. [Int. Journal of Obesity
CDC Recommends it for Everyone between 13 and 60
This seems like a very expensive proposition. It appears more people are living with this virus without knowing about it.
Doctor Larry Brilliant (mentioned before)
spoke at TED this year, calling himself the "luckiest man in the world." He played witness to the last case of Smallpox, and played a significant role in making it the last case. Inspiring/terrifying video here,
long, with some graphic
images of smallpox.
Back in 1974, Brilliant's technique for early detection in India was to take graphic photos door to door, asking if anyone inside looks like this
. Now, as head of Google's philanthropic efforts, he's advocating systems for "early detection, early response." Unsurprisingly, Google, etc, are an important piece of that system: can we detect what's happening before it can spread?
One of the first responses to Brilliant is up already, a means for doctors to immediately text epidemiological information straight into a global spatial database.
It's a rough and promising start, and its fascinating that it's coming from the bottom up, instead of NGOs like the Red Cross.
China isn't known for being open
about most things, including the spread of deadly diseases. (Many will remember China's original attempt to cover up SARS
. As the International Society for Infectious Diseases
reports, a prominent WHO
virologist has made a claim that China has now experienced at least 300 human avian flu deaths and is actively attempting to cover this information up. "We are systematically deceived," he is reported to have said. "At least 5 medical co-workers who should be reporting on the
situation in the provinces were arrested, and [other] publication-willing
researchers were threatened with punishments."
CDC posts medical alert for atypical pneumonia.
There is travel alert for those traveling from Asian countries around and in China. It seems that this type of pnenumonia has been found in North America. Symptoms include fever and hard-of-breathing. More articles about the disease here.
3.1 million in 2002 comes out to some 8,500 a day, 354 an hour, and almost 6 a minute. Each minute. Each hour. Each day. Deaths. Of AIDS.
"China's catastrophic mismanagement of its AIDS crisis has come to this:
Xie Yan is trying to give away her son. Ms. Xie's husband died last year of AIDS, and she has the virus as well. They are the victims of government-backed blood-selling schemes that have left about one million people infected here in Henan Province in central China. Multiply Ms. Xie's heartache a millionfold, and you understand the cost of the Chinese government's cover-up of its AIDS crisis. If China continues to be more concerned with hiding the tragedy than confronting it, then today's Chinese leaders could kill millions of people over the next two decades. We in the West must exert strong pressure on China to act quickly to address the AIDS challenge."
The West Nile virus has leapfrogged into California.
Don't you find it suspicious that there are no subversive theories of how this virus showed up at all in New York, and now in California?
Is this the big one?
With some 18,000 sick and over 700 people having died of the flu in a country the size of France over the past couple of months, I find it odd that the media seems obsesessed with the US / Iraq thing and missing children.
The 1918 flu epidemic killed some 675,00 Americans alone, with a global tally in excess of 20 MILLION killed.
Some of the photos taken back then are pretty grim
. It seems the power of influenza is that it (ahhem) mutates
and thats why it could once again be a big killer. Cynical as it might sound, as a race maybe we need
something like this to teach us that we've got a lot more in common with each other than skin colour and religion might otherwise lead us to believe. ObDisclaimer: I'm unemployed right now, have maybe six months of canned goods in the flat; if this hits London, I ain't opening my door to nobody
No More Malaria?
The first step has been taken to making mosquitoes incapable of passing on malaria. But, should we?
seems to be on the rise. Working in a hospital lab I've seen an increase in tests for HPV
It's enough to make one wonder if sex is worth the risk.
with comprehensive links, thanks to Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and AEGIS
(AIDS Education Global Information System), "...a service the Centers for Disease Control calls 'the best of its kind'..." (See How Aegis Began) People making a difference.
"A mysterious epidemic, hitherto unknown, which had struck terror into all hearts by the rapidity of its spread, the ravages it made, and the apparent helplessness of the physicians to cure it." — on syphillis, in the 16th centruy.
Highlights from the CBC's 1996 Ideas shows on AIDS in historical perspective, available in real audio for downloading or streaming. I remember stopping the car and listening to the whole thing four years ago: "The programs underline how a whole series of biological, psychological and social factors shape the public's perception of disease, and society's response to it. The strengths and limits of past approaches to detecting sexually transmitted diseases are explored, in order to shed light on approaches that could be used to control AIDS today."
AIDS Project Los Angeles
can help you observe World AIDS Day and
get a start on those pesky holiday cards. For $5 each, APLA will personalize and send your choice of holiday cards to friends, family or clients! Cards are also available in sets of ten for $25 to be mailed by you.