The Economist profiles Plasmodium vivax, a type of malaria that affects between 80 million to 390 million people worldwide annually with a cost to sufferers between $1.4 billion and $4 billion each year(5/26).
Small increases in temperature and rainfall amount may be able to predict cholera outbreaks in some areas, according to a study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Agence France-Presse reports (5/31).
“Google has launched Dengue Trends, a tool that aims to detect dengue fever outbreaks around the world using the same methodology behind Google Flu Trends,” PC Magazine reports (Yin, 5/31).
Health officials in Germany are continuing to search for the source of an E. coli outbreak after tests on suspected sprouts from a farm in the north of the country came back negative, Deutsche Welle reports.
The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle examines what it will take for the WHO to reach its new target of reducing malaria deaths to near zero by the end of 2015 and how “[s]ome experts questioned if WHO should be setting such lofty goals, especially at a time of declining funding.”
In this video clip from NBC’s Today show, contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager reports on a recent family trip to Africa to visit PEPFAR-funded programs and to announce a new initiative by the George W. Bush Institute to fight cervical cancer. In the video, the Bushes travel to Tanzania, where they visit a PEPFAR-funded program called Jipende!, which trains hairstylists as health educators in 70 salons throughout the country, and to Zambia, where they visit the Ocean Road Cancer Institute and discuss a new initiative for cervical cancer testing, treatment and vaccination (12/22).
“The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday warned about a new mutant strain of the deadly bird flu H5N1 virus in China and Vietnam, saying there could be a ‘major resurgence’ of the disease,” Agence France-Presse reports. In a statement, FAO “said it was concerned about ‘the appearance in China and Vietnam of a variant virus able to sidestep the defenses provided by existing vaccines,’ adding that the new strain was known as H5N1 – 18.104.22.168,” the news agency notes. The organization said the virus, which can be spread by wild bird migration, “poses a direct threat to Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia as well as endangering the Korean peninsula and Japan” (8/29).
In this New York Times opinion piece, W. Ian Lipkin, a professor of epidemiology and a professor of neurology and pathology at Columbia University and a paid technical consultant on the film “Contagion,” which opened this weekend, writes about the risks of an infectious disease outbreak as portrayed in the film, stating, “Those risks are very real — and are increasing drastically.”
World leaders attending the first-ever U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) kicked off the summit on Monday by “unanimously approving a ‘political declaration’ meant to stem a rising tide of [NCDs], now the world’s leading killer,” CNN reports (Ariosto, 9/19). The declaration “call[s] for a multi-pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to set up by 2013 the plans needed to curb the risk factors behind the four groups of NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes,” according to the U.N. News Centre.
Two million Pakistanis have become ill from malaria, diarrhea, skin diseases or snake bites “since monsoon rains left the southern region under several feet of water, the country’s disaster authority said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “More than 350 people have been killed and over eight million people have been affected this year by floods that officials say are worse in parts of Sindh province than last year,” the news agency reports.