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ZIKA VIRUS MICROCEPHALY AND GUILLAIN-BARRÉ SYNDROME

04/21/2016

Summary

"From 1 January 2007 to 20 April 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 66 countries and territories.

Mosquito-borne transmission:  42 countries are experiencing a first outbreak of Zika virus since 2015, with no previous evidence of circulation, and with ongoing transmission by mosquitos.  17 countries have reported evidence of Zika virus transmission prior to 2015, with or without ongoing transmission or have reported an outbreak since 2015 that is now over.

Person-to-person transmission:  Eight countries have now reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus, other than mosquito-borne transmission (Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal and the United States of America).

In the week to 20 April, no additional countries have reported mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission. Peru and Portugal are the latest countries to report person-to-person transmission. Microcephaly and other fetal malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection or suggestive of congenital infection have been reported in six countries (Brazil, Cabo Verde, Colombia, French Polynesia, Martinique and Panama). Two cases, each linked to a stay in Brazil, were detected in Slovenia and the United States of America. A further case, linked to a brief stay in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, was detected in a pregnant woman in the United States of America. In the context of Zika virus circulation, 13 countries and territories worldwide have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and/or laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus infection among GBS cases. Based on a growing body of research, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and GBS. The global prevention and control strategy launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Strategic Response Framework encompasses surveillance, response activities and research. This situation report is organized under those headings."

What You Get When You Mix Chickens, China and Climate Change

02/05/2016

Excerpt: "Every few months, it seems, an invasive virus from a distant land attacks the Americas: dengue, chikungunya and, most recently, Zika. But the pathogens that frighten me most are novel strains of avian influenza.

I’d come to see their birthplace. Highly virulent and easily transmissible, these viruses emerge from open-air poultry farms and markets of the kind that stretch across Asia. Thanks to rising demand for chicken and other poultry, they’ve been surfacing at an accelerated clip, causing nearly 150 percent more outbreaks in 2015 than in 2014. And in late 2014, one strain managed to cross the ocean that had previously prevented its spread into the Americas, significantly expanding its reach across the globe.

Novel avian influenza viruses are mongrels, born when the influenza viruses that live harmlessly inside the bodies of wild ducks, geese and other waterfowl mix with those of domesticated animals like the ones at Jiangfeng, especially poultry but also pigs. It’s possible to squelch their emergence. One way is to protect domesticated animals from the excreta of waterfowl, which can spread infection. But no such protections are in effect at markets such as Jiangfeng, which, like the rest of southern China’s booming poultry industry, lies within the East Asian flyway, one of the world’s most important waterbird migration routes."

Zika virus 'spreading explosively,' WHO leader says

01/28/2016

(CNN)The Zika virus is "is now spreading explosively" in the Americas, the head of the World Health Organization said Thursday, with another official estimating between 3 million to 4 million infections in the region over a 12-month period.

"The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty," Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general, told her organization's executive board members. "We need to get some answers quickly."

WHO Sets Priority for Emerging Diseases Research

12/22/2015

"The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an initial list of diseases needing urgent research attention to prevent severe outbreaks. This list, which includes Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, Ebola and Marburg virus diseases, Lassa fever, Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus diseases, Nipah, and Rift Valley fever, is expected to be a key element in the WHO Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint for infectious diseases with epidemic potential currently under development for presentation in May 2016 at the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland."

Migratory Songbirds Transport New Ticks & Pathogens Across the Gulf

10/21/2015

Excerpt: "An invasion of 19 million ticks. It might sound like the plot of a horror movie, but it’s real, and it happens every spring as migratory songbirds transport ticks — and the pathogens they carry — into the United States.

As covered previously on Cool Green Science, researchers from The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) and Texas A&M University are trying to figure out just how many ticks and tick-borne pathogens neotropical songbirds are transporting from Central and South America during their annual migration.

And now they have an answer. Their results, recently published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, reveal that neotropical songbirds are transporting an estimate of more than 19 million non-native ticks species into the country each year."

Play your Part in the Fight against Rabies - Access new tools from the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC)

06/03/2015

"This is an exciting partnership, aligning the small companion animal veterinary community with the major international organizations spearheading global rabies control programs.  More news of our joint plans to follow soon!

GARC offers free online education programs including the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC) aimed at anyone working in communities where rabies is prevalent.   If you work in rabies control, do check it out!"

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