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Posts Tagged ‘zika’

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mosquito-about-to-biteTropical sailing means diseases, and the past decade has seen a grip of new threats facing anyone who spends their life next to the water.  As of last week, there’s a new one.  According to the Science Daily, scientists at the University of Florida have identified a patient in Haiti with a serious mosquito-borne illness that has never before been reported in the Caribbean nation. 

it’s called “Mayaro virus”, and has similar effects of Chikungaya, only worse.  With the world’s attention on stopping the Zika epidemic, “the finding of yet another mosquito-borne virus which may be starting to circulate in the Caribbean is of concern,” said Glenn Morris, director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute. “Hopefully we will not see the same massive epidemics that we saw with chikungunya, dengue and now Zika. However, these findings underscore the fact that there are additional viruses ‘waiting in the wings’ that may pose threats in the future, and for which we need to be watching.”

Watch, and learn here.

September 19th, 2016 by admin

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We’ve been bitching about the Rio Olympics for a long time now, however quaint our original complaint – sewage and garbage-laden Guanabara Bay – seems in light of recent developments; something of a coup d’etat/impeachment, a crumbling economy, and Zika, which blows them all away.

The Zika virus is potentially so bad that no less than the prestigious Harvard Public Health Review just published a scathing editorial calling for the postponement of the Games to prevent a new and dangerous pandemic.  Read the whole thing and let your own NGB know what you think about it, we’ll leave you with this excerpt:

But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half a million visitors into Brazil right now?  Of course not: mass migration into the heart of an outbreak is a public health no-brainer.  And given the choice between accelerating a dangerous new disease or not—for it is impossible that Games will slow Zika down—the answer should be a no-brainer for the Olympic organizers too.  Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.

Regrettably, instead of discussing the alternatives, both the International Olympic Committee and the World Health Organization seem to be in deep denial.  Asked about Zika, the most senior member of the IOC, Dick Pound, mocked it as “a manufactured crisis” for anyone but pregnant women (manufactured by whom?).[19]  With the most recent epidemiological evidence out of Rio, and new clinical studies all but proving that Zika causes microcephaly and, maybe, Guillain-Barré disease, the IOC’s sanguine, official statement on Zika and the Games from January 2016 is hopelessly obsolete—that organization must now break its months-long silence.

Even worse is WHO, which has never issued an official statement on Zika and the Olympics.  When I pressed WHO about that in April, through a spokesperson it “agreed with” the IOC’s obsolete statement, but refused to answer the direct question of whether WHO has confidence in Rio’s Games being safe.[20]  It is deplorable, incompetent and dangerous that WHO, which has both public health expertise and the duty of health protection, is speechlessly deferring to the IOC, which has neither.  WHO’s hesitancy is reminiscent of its mistakes with Ebola, all over again.

 

May 13th, 2016 by admin

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“Rio vowed Sunday to protect Olympic athletes and fans from Zika-carrying mosquitoes, blamed for causing horrific birth defects.” So says the AP.

Forgive us for not trusting the same Rio government that once promised a clean bay, and if you must go, pack your DEET if you ever want to have kids. Remember:

It only takes one bite, and it’s coming to a neighborhood near you (and for the really good news, it seems to be sexually transmittable, too).

 

January 25th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 2.11.19 PMFlorida’s first three Zika infections were reported yesterday, and along with the horrible damage the virus can do to babies, another rare disease may be connected to the the mosquito-borne Zika.  CDC and Brazilian health authorities are now trying to figure out how Zika may be triggering or causing the Guillain-Barré syndrome, which causes nerve damage, paralysis, and in rare cases, death.  Cases of the rare disease have increased significantly in the past few months, and who knows what other nastiness this little bug may be capable of?

Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Jamaica have all officially asked women to delay becoming pregnant until more can be learned about Zika, while in the US, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas and Hawaii have confirmed Zika infections involving returning travelers who were likely bitten by mosquitoes while abroad.  While the Olympics is the last thing anyone with a baby on the way is thinking about, Zika threatens to do the impossible and overshadow even the ongoing media scrum around Guanabara Bay’s pollution.

With Rio 2016 already scrapping bleachers and stands for sailing, swimming, and paddling events, plans for permanent facilities thrown in the trash, and ticket sales moving at a snail’s pace, much of the Brazilian public is wishing its government had stayed away from the 5-ring circus.  And perhaps the biggest antidote for those seeking to host more super-events like the Games is this: Some scientists believe the Zika outbreak in Brazil can be traced to African tourists who came over in 2014 to watch the FIFA World Cup.

One SA reader told us there is no screwing around.  We’ll share his full e-mail:

Good job presenting the scare factor.  Yes, Zika is scary shit.  So are you ready for an article about the ONLY thing that sailors can do…Get self-protection against mosquito bites with modern, effective mosquito repellents.  We call it Personal Protection.

Signed:  David A. Carlson, Ph.D.  [World expert on mosquito protection, 200 publication in scientific papers, Research Chemist (Ret. after 37 years) at USDA, Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL]

 

January 22nd, 2016 by admin

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With all the noise about corruption, recession, and pollution coming out of 2016 Olympic venue Brazil recently, you might have missed a little story last May focusing on a few cases of something called Zika in the deep jungle that now threatens not only any chance the Games had of helping Brazil’s wrecked tourism industry, but international health.  Since those early May cases, the mosquito-borne disease has turned into an international epidemic effecting potentially millions of people and damaging the brains of the most vulnerable of all of us: Newborn babies.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 10.55.44 AMThe virus is generally unremarkable when a healthy adult picks it up, and it’s far less dangerous and damaging than the mosquito-vectored illnesses tropical sailors are most used to; malaria, dengue, and most recently, chikungaya.  But to an unborn fetus, Zika has life-threatening consquences, and while scientists don’t yet understand exactly how, the virus zeroes in on the skull of the fetus.  The resulting conditions is called Microcephaly, and it’s a heartbreaking one that results in a smaller-than-normal skull and prevents proper brain development.  In just a few months, Brazil has gone from essentially zero cases of microcephaly to over 4,000, with estimates of around a million infections of Zika.  And some locals say the beleaguered government doesn’t give a shit.

If you’re not pregnant or intend to become pregnant soon, there’s very little to worry about.  But if you are, or someone back home is, this disease is not to be trifled with, and it’s not just in Brazil anymore; like most diseases spread by the nasty and ubiquitous Aegypti skeeter,  it’s spreading, and fast.  The first suspected case of Zika-connected microcephaly in the US was reported last week in Hawaii, and the virus has been found in several southern states.  Further afield, it’s exploding.

The CDC advised pregnant women to “Consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your doctor first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
Women who are trying to become pregnant: Before you travel, talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection. Strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip. Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time.”  Their full info sheet is here.

As of Thursday, the following countries have been impacted: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela, as well as Puerto Rico.

More info from the Wash Post here.

 

January 21st, 2016 by admin

http://www.camet.com/

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