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March 02 2015

urishermegar

Still Living in Lanzarote Now Available For Your Kindle



Still Living In Lanzarote is the follow up to Mike's best selling book Living in Lanzarote. It has been out in paperback for some time, but is now available for the Amazon Kindle. The book follows the family's time on the island from 2006 until the present day, and covers a difficult period when the recession but hard, and when the going for many in Lanzarote got tough. {If you are thinking of taking a journey to The Canary Islands the following link has detailed information on Cheap Child Friendly Hotels in Tenerife.|

If you are considering a trip to The Canary Islands this year then you will find that the following link has facts and information especially useful to those looking for ##LINK~##.|

Situated closer to North Africa than Spain, the Canary Islands have long been a favourite of the British holidaymaker. If a trip to The Canary Islands is on this years holiday agenda then clicking on he following link will provide facts and information especially useful to anybody looking for ##LINK~##.Happily, it also charts something of a renaissance as well as a big change of direction both in their working and personal lives.

product_thumbnail

The Kindle version is just £2.27 for UK readers and EUR3.07 for those in Europe and here are links for most countries - if your country is not listed below, just visit your Amazon page and search for "Still Living in Lanzarote."

Spanish Store

United States Store

German store

French Store

Italian Store

View the forum thread.

http://www.lanzaroteinformation.com/content/still-living-lanzarote-now-available-your-kindle
urishermegar

Malaria News Feeds: 'God-Sized Goal': Pastor Aims High in Fight Against Malaria - The Ledger

pLAKE WALES | Jeff Kantz has infested his church's sanctuary with mosquitoes -- so to speak./ppIt's part of Imagine No Malaria, a global initiative from the People of the Methodist Church to eradicate malaria in Africa./ppFlorida's church leaders asked pastors to raise money and set a dollar amount goal for 2015. Statewide, church leaders said they hope to raise $2.5 million this year./ppSome congregations set a goal of a few hundred dollars, some as much as $1,000./ppThe Rev. Kantz, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Lake Wales, decided to set a "God-sized" goal of $10,000. /ppKantz has decorated the sanctuary with colorful mosquitoes made from pipe cleaners. It's one way he reminds the congregation that the goal to help end malaria in Africa is an urgent one./pp"The mosquitoes we needed to make up our goal are all hanging on nets there in the sanctuary," Kantz said. "Every week, for every $10 we received the previous week, we take a mosquito off and the children swat it."/ppThough malaria was effectively eliminated in the United States in 1951, it still affects countries worldwide, particularly parts of Africa, southern Asia and South America./ppAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria hits the hardest in Africa where, on average, a child dies from the disease every 60 seconds./pp"That's 60 an hour, 24 hours a day," Kantz said. "It's mind-boggling. As far as we (in the United States) know, this world doesn't have malaria. You can't imagine a world without malaria if you think it already exists."/ppChildren younger than 5 years old are most likely to die from the disease. Some communities, Kantz said, don't name their children until they are 5 years old./ppHe can barely fathom the idea./pp"It's like, this child isn't real until they reach 5," Kantz said. "No, that's not acceptable. We can't even imagine a world like that. But to them, that's just normal." /ppThe Methodist church as a whole first became involved in the fight against malaria about 10 years ago with Nothing But Nets, an initiative to provide insecticide infused mosquito nets to families in Africa./ppMalaria is most commonly spread at night by female mosquitoes. /ppNets have proven to be one effective way to battle the disease./ppSince then, the effort has become more comprehensive. Community health education, communication, prevention and treatment are now a part of Imagine No Malaria's efforts. /pp"This is a senseless disease," said the Rev. Valerie Hattery, pastor of the First United Church of Mulberry. "It doesn't have to be killing people as it is. As a world we need to come together when we see a need. Even though it's all the way around the world, when one at a time we get involved, things happen."/ppMulberry's church set a goal of $1,000 and already has $700./ppKantz has inspired her, Hattery said./pp"Anytime we read about what somebody else is doing and how a church that's comparable in size is able to do that, I think it does encourage you to up those goals," she said./ppHattery has seen the effects of malaria in person. She's visited Africa three times./ppOn one trip, she saw families bringing their children to live at orphanages because they would be safer there./ppHattery's trips to Africa also taught her that there are many other issues in Africa and beyond that require attention./ppThe Imagine No Malaria campaign, she said, is just the beginning./pp"The end is in sight," Hattery said. "It brings hope. If we can do this with this disease, imagine what's next."/pp[ Daniel Figueroa IV reports on Lake Wales and Frostproof. He can be reached at daniel.figueroa@newschief.com or 863-401-6981. Follow @danuscripts on Twitter. ]/p

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNGfpLJ8L2d4fw0sO_vnqzqjngystA&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=L6fwVIDxBMbG1AarsIGgDQ&url=http://www.theledger.com/article/20150226/NEWSCHIEF/150229361

February 27 2015

urishermegar

'Sadness and desperation - resilience and bravery'





10 October 2014

Last updated at 07:27





Tulip Mazumdar in burial ground

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The reality of living in a country in the grip of an Ebola outbreak is hard for families to take, as Tulip Mazumdar reports

BBC global health reporter Tulip Mazumdar shares her experiences from Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone, where UK aid workers will soon be joining the race to stem this deadly disease outbreak.

Day five: The people vs Ebola

Today we're heading into a village just outside Freetown for what's called "community sensitisation". This is about telling people what Ebola is, how to spot it and how to stop it spreading.

We drive down a mud road into a valley where wooden and tin shacks line a small stream. It's a very poor area. We watch women washing clothes in the water, while men wash and shine their motorcycles further upstream.

Save the Children has trained dozens of local volunteers to help deliver important messages about Ebola to this community. Around 50 meet at the local health clinic (the home of a nurse who's converted half her house into a health centre).

When I arrive, they burst into song. "Welcome, Welcome, Welcome" they bellow out with huge smiles across their faces.

This village, thankfully, hasn't had any Ebola cases so far. But our team has to be very careful. Lots of people gather and there's plenty of jostling.

"Start Quote

We gather around, all the time everyone shouting and laughing "no touching, no touching!""

End Quote

We have to be extra careful not to bump into anyone. Our biosecurity advisor Mac pulls at my backpack and gently removes me from an excited crowd.

This community is well informed about Ebola. The volunteers have been here before and are following up to see whether people are taking their advice. Children run over and show me how they wash their hands properly, rubbing in-between their fingers.

One woman shouts from her house: "DO NOT TOUCH DEAD BODIES". Her son follows with: "IF SOMEONE IS SICK, TAKE THEM TO HOSPITAL."

They are well drilled and it seems this crucial knowledge is helping keep Ebola away from this community, for now.

The community nurse Joyce asks for a photo with our team and her staff. We gather around, all the time everyone shouting and laughing: "No touching, no touching!"

It's midnight, and it's time to head back to the UK. We make the boat journey back from Freetown to Lunghi airport. Washing my hands with chlorine has almost become second nature now, as is standing in line waiting for my temperature to be checked.

The aircraft we board has come with passengers from Liberia. The pilot and the aircrew are all wearing latex gloves. So far, all exported cases from West Africa have arrived into other countries on planes like this one.

It's a sobering thought. My temperature is checked for a final time before I am allowed to board. 36.4C (97.5F).

It's been a tough trip. I've seen so much sadness and desperation, but I've also seen great resilience, dedication, kindness and bravery.

Day four: Live from the Ebola front line

It's an early start today to begin editing the material we've gathered over the past few days. There are lots of different global and UK-based programmes across BBC News, on radio, TV and online, and we want to get the stories from the people we've spoken to out across as many of them as possible.

"Start Quote

I am glad we were able to tell Francis Samuka's story. It's important people know that this is happening on a daily basis across West Africa"

End Quote

We set up our live position on the roof of our hotel. Trying to do live reporting from outside the hotel is much more risky because of how widespread Ebola has now become. We don't want crowds gathering around us. Our bio-security adviser, Mac, checks our location is safe, and we set up.

It's been so hectic these past few days, but as I'm getting ready for my first live broadcast, at 17:00 on the BBC News channel, I find a moment to look behind me and take in the incredible view of this beautiful city. I see lush forested hills curving around the gentle Atlantic ocean. The calm doesn't last long though as clouds gather and a storm brews.

After a few false starts and dropping off live programmes mid-sentence because of heavy rain and thunder, our satellite signal comes back, and we're off.

Then soon after 18:00, just as one of the BBC World presenters is about to introduce me live, my producer, Mark, runs over and tells me some terrible news. Francis Samuka, whom we watched being turned away from a treatment centre yesterday, has died. His family has called and told us he passed away at an isolation centre a few hours ago. His sister could barely speak when she was delivering the news, she was wailing with sorrow. My heart sinks... and then I hear the presenter in my earpiece saying: "Tulip, what's the latest?"

I explain what's happened, all the time thinking of Francis' bloodshot eyes and the look of despair I saw in him just the day before.

I am glad we were able to tell Francis Samuka's story. It's important people know this is happening on a daily basis across West Africa. It underlines why governments here and global aid agencies continue to plead for more international help, so patients like Francis can be treated, instead of being turned away.

Day three: Desperation and hope

We've been told about a small Italian non-governmental organisation called Emergency that has very recently set up a new treatment centre just outside the capital, so we're heading there today.

When we pull up, we see a carload of people looking angry and desperate. We stay close to our vehicle - keeping our distance - but shout over to them and ask what's wrong.

"My brother Francis is sick, and they won't take him at this centre. They say they are full. What are we supposed to do? We've been travelling from hospital to hospital all day and no-one will take him."

I peer into the car. Francis is sitting in the passenger seat staring into space. His eyes are red, and he has the hiccups - both are clear symptoms of Ebola. After almost an hour of pleading, the family eventually give up. The five of them pile back into their car and drive away. Everyone in that vehicle is now potentially at risk of catching Ebola.

When we enter the treatment centre, I feel the helplessness and frustration of that family and I demand to know why they didn't allow that potentially dying man inside. Surely they can do something for him. The centre's co-ordinator, Luca Rolla, tells me their priority has to be their staff and the patients they are already treating. He tells me that they cannot go over capacity or they risk everyone else inside the centre. One of their doctors has already contracted the virus and is now being treated in Germany.

It's an impossible choice for these medics, and my frustration quickly pales in comparison to theirs. Luca has taken the family's details and if a bed becomes free anywhere in or around Freetown, he will let them know.

Luca tells me, what's needed right now is more international medics and training of local medics, and more isolation centres. Until then - he says - he will have to continue turning patients away, knowing full well they risk going back into the community and infecting yet more people.

While we're filming, Luca's phone rings, he picks up, smiles and waves us over. He's just had some news that a bed has become available at another centre for the family he had to turn away. He calls them immediately and tells them to go straight there.

Then we see another glimmer of hope. Three young girls are sitting patiently on stools in matching purple sarongs - just beyond the orange protective gates. They have survived Ebola and are getting ready to go home.

Day two: The gravediggers

Today we are filming at the country's main referral hospital - Connaught Hospital in central Freetown. As we enter, I see a woman in a purple and pink shirt lying on a bench, with her head in her hands. She looks extremely unwell. This area is where patients showing symptoms of Ebola come for help, but the help is limited.

This isn't a treatment centre; it's an isolation ward within the hospital. People have to travel many miles from here by ambulance to get proper supportive treatment. There are just 18 beds in this hospital, and they are all full.

The latest patient to arrive is a one-month-old baby. Ebola killed both his parents overnight. The chances are he is also infected and will die within days. All medics can do is feed him and hold him through protective suits. I am reminded of my trip to Guinea a couple of months back, when I was covering this outbreak. Back then, I watched the body of a four-month-old baby lowered into the ground. Ebola also killed his mother. It's heart-breaking to imagine the most likely outcome for this other tiny baby.

As we are leaving the hospital, a black truck pulls up. The burial team is here to remove two bodies and bury them in the nearby cemetery. We watch and then follow the makeshift hearse to these victims' final resting place.

A whole area is cordoned off just for suspected and confirmed Ebola victims. Walking into it is eerie and tragic. There are hundreds of graves, most dug very recently, with fresh mounds of mud on top of them. One or two have a cross or children's toys scattered on them. Most, though, are unmarked. What hits me is the sheer scale - 400 bodies buried here in a matter of weeks.

The burial team is efficient and almost jovial. I imagine it's the only way they can keep performing this grim task day in, day out. The cemetery supervisor, Abdul Rahman Parker, tells me he's been ostracised by his community - people are scared of him now because he handles the bodies of Ebola victims. But he says he doesn't care, and that Sierra Leone needs him to continue doing this job, even if its people don't realise it.

The day ends with the burial teams throwing their protective clothing - gloves, masks and body suits - into the last grave. It's starting to rain again. We remove our protective suits and put them in a yellow biohazard bag, which the burial team disposes of. We spray ourselves with disinfectant, and silently head back to our hotel.

Day one: Welcome to Freetown

It's pitch black when we arrive at Lunghi airport at 01:00 local time, and the rain is coming down heavily. The journey, which before this outbreak took six hours from London, has taken us 20 hours. No airline flies direct to Sierra Leone from the UK anymore, so we have two stopovers - one in Paris and one in Casablanca.

Not that we were in any doubt, but it doesn't take long to establish all is far from well in Sierra Leone.

Before we're allowed into the main terminal building, we are ushered towards two large red containers filled with chlorine. Everyone silently adheres to washing their hands before entering. We're immediately handed "health declaration" forms asking us - among other things - where we've travelled in the past eight weeks and whether we are suffering with fever, diarrhoea or vomiting.

"Start Quote

I instinctively go to shake his hand and then immediately withdraw. He smiles and pats his chest instead - this is the new Sierra Leone handshake"

End Quote

We're also given a leaflet explaining what Ebola is and how it spreads. Disturbing animations show cartoon people squatting, passing blood in their urine and faeces. Similar posters are plastered all through the arrivals hall.

We pass through immigration - but before we are allowed to claim our baggage, men in gloves and white coats stop us again.

One of the men gives me a big, reassuring smile and then places a temperature gauge a few inches from my head. He says: "36.5 degrees: you can pass."

Our driver meets us at arrivals. I instinctively go to shake his hand and then immediately withdraw. He smiles and pats his chest instead - this is the new Sierra Leone handshake. "Welcome to Freetown," he says.

Follow Tulip on Twitter - @TulipMazumdar

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29507673#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
urishermegar

Dawn Rescue In Masca



January 17, 2015

Two 65-year-old hikers of Finnish nationality were rescued by firemen after getting lost while attempting the descent into the Masca Ravine yesterday.

According to Emergency services  Volunteer Firemen from Santiago del Teide finally located the two ladies in the early hours of the morning.

The authorities had first been alerted around 8pm the previous evening by other walkers who had been in the same party as the rescued women.

After beeing transferred by sea around 4am, the pair were met at Los Gigantes Marina by an ambulance and were then taken to a local health center where they received care for slight injuries.

http://newsinthesun.com/dawn-rescue-in-masca/
urishermegar

Jury Convicts Saudi Man in Connection with 1998 US Embassy Bombings



A Saudi man accused of being an early leader of al-Qaida has been convicted in connection with the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in east Africa.

Kahlid al-Fawwaz, 52, was convicted on four counts of conspiracy Thursday by a jury in New York.

Al-Fawwaz was not accused of helping to plan the bombings. Instead, prosecutors said that ahead of the attacks, he disseminated Osama bin Laden's declarations of war to the news media in London. They said that earlier, he operated an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan and a terrorist cell in Kenya.

Defense lawyers said their client was a peaceful dissident who shared bin Laden's goal of reform in Saudi Arabia but opposed his drift toward violence.

The August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people.

Al-Fawwaz was arrested in London in 1998 and extradited to the United States in 2002. He was scheduled to be tried with a co-defendant, Abu Anas al-Libi, but al-Libi died last month after a long illness.

Al-Fawwaz faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Huge numbers of international visitors contract malaria during visits to malaria affected countries, and even more alarming is the fact that, well over 10,000 people become ill with malaria many days after returning home. However, unreliable reporting of cases means that the true figure is without doubt much, much higher than the 10,000 quoted. Click on the link for more information on Malaria Prevention

Some material for this report came from AP.

http://www.voanews.com/content/jury-convicts-saudi-man-in-connection-with-1998-embassy-bombings/2660788.html

February 24 2015

urishermegar

Suspected Islamists kill 62 in Nigeria; 22 in church



By Imma Ande and Joe Brock, Reuters

YOLA, Nigeria -  Suspected insurgents armed with guns and explosives killed at least 62 people in northeast Nigeria, including at a church service, in a region where Islamist sect Boko Haram is resisting a military crackdown, witnesses said on Monday. 

They killed 22 people by setting off bombs and firing into the congregation in the Catholic church in Waga Chakawa village in Adamawa state on Sunday, before burning houses and taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege, witnesses said.

On Monday, a separate assault by suspected members of the shady sect killed at least 40 people in Kawuri village, in remote northeastern Borno state, security officials said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.

President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko Haram in remote rural regions in the country's northeast corner, where the sect launched an uprising in 2009.

Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law on a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has killed thousands over the past four and a half years and is considered the biggest security risk in Africa's top oil exporter and second largest economy after South Africa.

Its fighters' favorite targets have traditionally been security forces, politicians who oppose them and Christian minorities in the largely Muslim north.

The spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Reverend Father Raymond Danbouye, confirmed 22 people killed in the church were buried at a funeral on Monday.

The military and police did not respond to requests for comment but one army source confirmed the church attack, asking not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak with the media.

Village razed

Waga Chakawa is near the border with Borno state, in which the second attack occurred that killed at least 40 people.

Several witnesses put the figure at 50, although none had counted the numbers of bodies themselves. They added that the militants had burned down the village and set off multiple explosions, shooting anyone trying to flee.

"The whole village has been razed by Boko Haram and there were still loud explosions from different directions as I left, with bodies littering the village," said resident Bulama Kuliri, who narrowly escaped.

An army spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jonathan replaced his chiefs of defense, army, navy and air force last week in a widespread military shake-up. No reason was given for the overhaul, but security experts believe there was a need for a change of tactics in combating Boko Haram.

Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in May last year and launched an intensified military campaign to try to end the insurgency. 

Related 

This story was originally published on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:48 AM EST

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/27/22467383-suspected-islamist-insurgents-kill-at-least-62-in-nigeria-including-in-church?lite

February 20 2015

urishermegar

Several arrested for being gay in Nigeria under new law



Nigerian police targeted a group of gay men and tortured them into naming dozens of others, human rights activists said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

The men now face up to 10 years in jail for belonging to a gay organization under a new bill that criminalizes same-sex relationships. 

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was signed into law Monday by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, defying international pressure to respect gay and lesbian rights.

The bill, which bans gay marriage, same-sex "amorous relationships" and membership in gay rights groups, was passed by the national assembly last May, but Jonathan had delayed signing it into law.

Chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela of Bauchi state Shariah Commission, which oversees regulation of Islamic law, told the AP that 11 gay men have been arrested in the past two weeks, but denied torture or intimidation was used. 

An AIDS counselor who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear he would be arrested, told the AP he helped get bail for some 38 men arrested since Christmas.

Activists worry that the new law will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/14/22304293-several-arrested-for-being-gay-in-nigeria-under-new-law?lite
urishermegar

Murder Suspect In Custody



January 12, 2015

Photo used in the hunt for the killerPhoto used in the manhunt

The Guardia Civil arrested a 29-year old Moldovan, Eugeniu Berezenco, on Saturday.

He is their prime suspect in the case of the alleged murder of  Russian citizen Andrey Timofeev, 52, whose bound and gagged body was located in a shallow grave  in the Aguilas del Teide area, last November 29,

The accused was located after Guardia Civil agents detained two young men, a 25-year-old Moldovan, and the other  a 24-year-old of Spanish nationality.

The two are suspected of aiding and abetting the fugitive.

The deceased was found after his wife reported his disappearance, but the woman was subsequently interviewed by officers herself in early December, as it is believed  she was in a relationship with the Moldovan.

The accused has lived for several years in the South of the island in Adeje before moving more recently to Buzanada in Arona; he appears to be an illegal immigrant.

http://newsinthesun.com/murder-suspect-in-custody/

February 17 2015

urishermegar

Why is the UN's Ebola response so slow?





17 October 2014

Last updated at 01:46



Mark DoyleBy Mark Doyle

BBC International Development Correspondent, Accra

Ebola has only really hit the big international headlines in the last few weeks. During that same period, readers may well have also heard about the various aid agencies which are helping out.

So, a not unreasonable impression may have formed - that there's a big problem, but it's being dealt with. That there are people dying, but that help is out there to save the others.

Well, I'm afraid it's not like that at all.

There are some extremely brave African and international health workers trying to stop the Ebola epidemic.

The Africans among them - the Liberians, the Sierra Leoneans , the Guineans - have been working for six months.

The international staff, led by the medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - tend to go in for shorter, but still exhausting stretches of time.

These medics have been warning for months that Ebola is out of control. In fact, they've been screaming it from any platform they can.

"Help", they basically said. "Help, please, we can't cope on our own."

'Lumbering into action'

But it is only now, four or six months later, that the great machine of the so-called "international community", the United Nations, is lumbering into action.



Kofi Annan in Newsnight interview

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Kofi Annan says he is "bitterly disappointed" by the international response

I know this machine well. I've seen it in other disaster zones - in Haiti, in Somalia. I have many friends inside the machine - well-meaning UN officials, peacekeeping soldiers and medics.

Most readers will have seen and heard images of people like these in action - running clinics, bringing security, saving people.

So it's quite reasonable to think that this is what they're doing all the time. But the machine doesn't work like that. The reality is very different.

Imagine trying to set up and run a medium sized multinational company. But then imagine trying to set it up in countries with very bad roads and electricity supply, dodgy telecommunications and mostly badly-educated populations.



Sierra Leone boy whose relatives died of Ebola

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Sierra Leone boy: "I've lost five members of my family"

And, above all, imagine trying to set this up this company in countries where it can be highly dangerous to even touch a fellow human being if they are in the infectious stage of the Ebola disease.

Logistical nightmare

UN aid workers are not saints or superhumans.

To establish your "multinational company" you have to do some mundane tasks.

You have to bring in people from all over the world. Then you have to feed and house them. You have to get them cars and desks and telephones.

You have to make sure each bit of the machine knows what the other bits are doing.

And that's before your aid workers can move to the front line and actually do their job.

This week I saw the first plane that the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) sent from Ghana to the Ebola zone. It wasn't carrying hospital equipment or the protective clothing that medics need.

It was carrying poles and canvas to construct temporary warehouses - to put the hospital gear and protective clothing in at some later date.

Now, it would be most unfair to say that the whole of the UN has been inactive for all these months. Some of the big UN agencies like the World Food Programme or Unicef have been very busy on the front lines.

But the UN Ebola response office, the head, the brains of the great machine, is only just beginning to get into gear.

In fact, because the idea to form it was made during the UN General Assembly and so many UN members were around in New York, UNMEER itself was formed in record time for a UN agency - a matter of days.

What took a long time was deciding to set it up at all.

Incredible challenge

The managing director of the new "multinational", UNMEER, is a straight-talking American, Tony Banbury, who doesn't hide the enormity of his challenge.

But I've seen some of the lists of what he needs to make his "company" work.



UNMEER chief Tony Banbury

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UNMEER chief Tony Banbury tells the BBC what his mission needs most

Quite apart from the staff, he needs hundreds of cars, hundreds of flat-bed trucks to move stuff around, countless ambulances, and ten heavy lift helicopters.

He needs 3,000 tonnes-worth of protective clothing for medics treating the infectious patients, every month, and four tonnes-worth of body bags per month.

All these things have to be in the right places, at the right times. He doesn't have them yet, or anywhere near.

And here's how Tony Banbury puts it.

The man in charge of stopping what the World Health Organization has described as the most serious health emergency of modern times says this: "I need everything. I need it everywhere. And I need it super-fast."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29654974#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

February 13 2015

urishermegar

Ebola treatments - how far off?





14 October 2014

Last updated at 13:18



With the death toll rising and the disease still spreading, the race is on to find a treatment for Ebola.

Experts already know lots about the virus and how it attacks, but fighting it with a drug is newer territory.

Since Ebola was first identified, in 1976, every outbreak has been contained with strict hygiene - isolation of patients and suspected patients, ensuring staff wore suitable protective clothing and carried out proper cleaning and disposal of clinical waste.

There have been no drugs to do the job because developing them is extremely expensive, and, until now, the major pharmaceutical companies have not seen enough of a market. That's changing.

Known target

The virus can enter the body via infected droplets (blood, vomit, faeces) through broken skin or mucous membranes such as the eyes, the lining of the nose or the mouth.

Once inside, it rapidly multiplies in the blood, taking over and attacking cells.

The disease is not airborne like flu. Very close direct contact with an infected person is required for the virus to be passed to another person. Infection may also occur through direct contact with contaminated bedding, clothing and surfaces.

All of this has been known for nearly 40 years, but only now is the world really gearing up to the threat.

Medical weapons

Scientists are focusing their efforts on two approaches:

treatments to help people already infected with the virus

vaccines to protect people from catching it in the first place

There are lots of different experimental vaccines and drug treatments for Ebola under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

Experimental drugs such as ZMapp have already been given to patients in the current outbreak, but they have not saved all patients. Two US aid workers and a Briton recovered after taking it, but a Liberian doctor and a Spanish priest died.

The medicine has only previously been tested on animals, and experts say it is still unclear whether the drug boosts chances of recovery.

Stocks have been extremely limited, and the manufacturers of the drug say it will take months to increase production.

Donor blood

One of the first therapies to reach the frontline could be the blood of survivors.

They will have mounted an immune response capable of defeating the virus and antibodies that attack Ebola will still be loitering in their bloodstream.

Taking blood and emptying it of blood cells leaves behind an antibody-packed plasma which can be injected into patients.

In theory this should help the patient fight the virus. However, this has been tried only a handful of times before and it is unclear how effective it would be.

Also this is not some perfectly manufactured drug or vaccine. The effectiveness of the serum could vary from survivor to survivor.

Vaccines

The US, UK and Canada are testing different kinds of vaccine in controlled clinical trials.

The aim is to have 20,000 doses that could be used in West Africa by early next year.

Normally it would take years of human trials before a completely new vaccine was approved for use.

But such is the urgency of the Ebola outbreak that experimental vaccines are being fast-tracked at an astonishing rate.



Trials in monkeys have been promising. But they get a very different type of Ebola to humans"

End Quote

Dr Ben Neuman

University of Reading

Russia recently announced it is also developing three vaccines, with one being ready for clinical trials within three months.

David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "There's been a lot of international attention to making sure that clinical trials of new vaccines and medicines are done.

"And my feeling is that if the resources continue those studies could possibly be begun and already provide some initial answers before Christmas."

It is hoped these vaccines will offer protection by delivering a harmless agent that will teach the body how to mount an immune response against Ebola.

If the person then came into contact with the real virus, their body should already know how to fight it.

Tests are ongoing, but there is no certainty how well they will work.

Dr Ben Neuman, an expert in virus and from the University of Reading, said: "Trials in monkeys have been promising. But they get a very different type of Ebola to humans.

"In a person it's a different kind of disease and we don't know for sure if the same treatments will work.

"Plus we need to scale up the doses. People are a big, walking test tube essentially."

Given the size of the outbreak, it's also unlikely that there will be enough vaccine or medicine to go round - at least initially.

Until these medicines to fight Ebola are ready, the focus has to be on disease control.

It was basic techniques that beat previous outbreaks. The hope is they will do the same now.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29613902#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

February 10 2015

urishermegar

Malaria News Feeds: A Warning From the Heart of Malaria Research - Wall Street Journal



Feb. 9, 2015 1:34 p.m. ET

Bangkok

Despite a sharp drop in malaria-related deaths over the past decade, a veteran doctor here, in the heart of the world's malaria belt, says now is the time to wage a large-scale battle with the mosquito-borne disease.

One colleague calls Nick White "the grandmaster" of drug therapy for malaria. Dr. White and other researchers worry about the resistance to artemisinin--a drug that has successfully helped treat the disease in recent years--that has emerged in Southeast Asia, in part due to low-quality or fake drugs and patients' failure to take full courses of medication. The spread of drug-resistant malaria again looms large, as it did decades ago when resistance to another initially successful drug, chloroquine, spread to Africa at a cost of millions of lives.

The 63-year-old Dr. White has spent most of the last 35 years at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, or MORU. He was the organization's longest-serving director and now serves as chair of the Wellcome Trust Southeast Asian tropical medicine research units.

Dr. White has seen malaria shift from a regional terror to a more contained danger over his career. Following widespread resistance to chloroquine, treatment options when Dr. White first arrived in Asia and throughout the 1990s were poor. The number of global deaths from the disease peaked at 1,817,000 in 2004. Malaria infected an estimated 198 million people and killed 584,000 globally in 2013, according to the World Health Organization.

More than two decades ago, he and his team conducted some of the first major trials on artemisinin, an herb discovered by the Chinese centuries earlier. The drug, used in combination with other medications, turned out to be so effective that many experts believed they might eradicate malaria. Artemisinin combination treatments remain the recommended first-line treatment today.

But Dr. White and others again are gravely concerned that without a push for eradication soon, enough malarial parasites will become resistant to artemisinin that elimination of the disease will become impossible. Therefore, he says, a more radical approach must take place, one beyond the usual strategy of detecting and treating sick people. He calls the next five years critical.

"The response to this emergency is far too slow," Dr. White says. "Overall, I think this should be fought as a war, with research providing the real-time, actionable intelligence. Wars are not fought by committees."

One approach to elimination that researchers are evaluating is giving drugs to everyone in malaria-affected areas, whether they're sick or not. Dr. White and his team are testing this approach in several places in Cambodia, Vietnam and along Thailand's border with Myanmar.

Malaria causes fever and flulike symptoms. It is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes. Once inside the human body, Plasmodium grows in the liver and then infects red blood cells. The lethal form-- Plasmodium falciparum --causes a traffic jam in blood circulation and eventually interferes with the blood supply to various organs. And it is this parasite that is developing resistance to artemisinin.

The kind of battle Dr. White and others talk about waging would take a higher level of funding and energy. Groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have devoted some $2 billion to research how to fight the disease since 2000.

Alan Magill, director of the Gates Foundation's malaria program, says his organization is open to the mass drug administration approach, among several tactics to eliminate falciparum. "The status quo is the approach that's guaranteed to increase drug resistance," he says.

Dr. White's war strategy is only one possible path, and one that not all scientists agree on. Some experts think that the introduction of more artemisinin into a region where resistance has occurred will only breed more resistance.

MORU scientists have observed that in Africa, genetic mutations that give the parasite the ability to resist artemisinin in Asia are seen very rarely. Parasites with these mutations don't seem to be spreading, suggesting that these mutations may actually weaken their odds for survival.

Continuing to use artemisinin properly, in combination with effective partner drugs, could be enough to combat artemisinin resistance. In areas where malaria transmission is low, malaria could be eliminated altogether by keeping up the pressure on the parasite to maintain this weakening mutation, says Nick Day, the director of MORU's research unit.

"The picture is, unfortunately, quite complicated and quite a lot is still not known," Dr. Day says. Dr. White readily acknowledges his approach is no sure thing.

Richard Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, leads a team working to eliminate malaria in Asia and southern Africa. He agrees with Dr. White's approach of mass drug administration. The main unanswered questions for this approach are whom to target and which combination of drugs to administer. And, until the falciparum parasite is wiped out completely, new drugs for malaria must be developed, he says.

"I would say we should have taken much more action five years ago," Dr. Feachem says. "Certainly we should take the strongest action today. It may be too late to stamp it out completely."

MORU is a collaboration between the nonprofit Wellcome Trust, a major funder of U.K. research, and two universities--Oxford and Thailand-based Mahidol, where Dr. White holds joint professorships of tropical medicine.

"He's a good scientist, because he will accept whatever the data tell him," says Mike Turner, head of the Wellcome Trust's infectious disease department.

Dr. White is direct and noneuphemistic about what he doesn't like--bureaucracy, committee meetings and talking about himself. He is full of ideas, some of which he calls obsessions. In his glass-walled office at Mahidol University hangs a foot-high replica of a mosquito made of coconut bought from a puppet-maker in Laos. (Dr. White added a red straw to its mouth to represent the proboscis, the tube mosquitoes use to suck blood.)

Dr. Day recalls when he worked in Vietnam in the early 1990s and Dr. White would visit. The two would travel on a motorbike to the office. Dr. Day would drive, carefully weaving through the chaotic Ho Chi Minh City traffic, while Dr. White would "talk nonstop" into Dr. Day's ear about research ideas.

On the occasions when Dr. White repeated an idea, Dr. Day says he would know that the idea might be worth prioritizing.

One of Dr. White's obsessions is to figure out how many people actually have malaria, understand how malaria is sustained and how and why drug resistance emerges in areas where malaria is less common. He's particularly interested in Southeast Asia, which he calls "the cradle of drug resistance."

Since mosquitoes don't live very long and don't travel great distances, they must pick up malaria weeks before they infect people, somewhere close by. Dr. White suspects that many more people are infected with malaria than present numbers indicate, but they don't show symptoms. That's why he is studying whether everyone in a malaria-affected region needs to be treated, regardless of whether they're sick, to eliminate malaria rapidly.

Malaria-related deaths have fallen by nearly 50% since 2000, according to the WHO.

But close isn't good enough, Dr. White says. The disease will persist even if 99% of the parasites that carry malaria are wiped out, especially with the rise in artemisinin-resistant parasites.

"Successful elimination means eliminating the parasites, not the mosquitoes," he says.

Write to Shirley S. Wang at Shirley.Wang@wsj.com

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February 06 2015

urishermegar

Science Daily - Malaria: Malaria-in-a-dish paves the way for better treatments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have engineered a way to use human liver cells, derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, to screen potential antimalarial drugs and vaccines for their ability to treat the liver stage of malaria infection. The approach may offer new opportunities for personalized antimalarial drug testing and the development of more effective individually tailored drugs to combat the disease, which causes more than 500,000 deaths worldwide each year.

The researchers present their work in the February 5th issue of Stem Cell Reports, the official journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

"Our platform can be used for testing candidate drugs that act against the parasite in the early liver stages, before it causes disease in the blood and spreads back to the mosquito vector," says senior study author Sangeeta Bhatia, MD, PhD, the director of MIT's Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies and a biomedical engineer at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "This is especially important given the increasing occurrence of drug-resistant strains of malaria in the field."

Malaria is caused by parasites that spread between humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. In humans, the parasites grow and multiply first in liver cells and then in red blood cells where they cause the physical symptoms of the disease. One major challenge to malaria eradication is that the parasites can persist in the liver and cause relapses by invading the bloodstream weeks or even years later. Drugs or vaccines that target the liver stage could block the initial round of blood infection or perhaps even eradicate the dormant parasite pool and prevent relapse.

However, current methods for modeling liver-stage malaria in a dish are limited by the small available pool of liver cells from human donors and the lack of genetic diversity of these donor cells. These challenges have made it difficult not only to determine how genetics influences responses to antimalarial drugs, but also to establish a method to explore the development of personalized drugs for individual patients.

To overcome these hurdles, Bhatia and her team reprogrammed human skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)--embryonic-like stem cells capable of turning into other specific cell types relevant for studying a particular disease. iPSCs are a potentially renewable source of liver cells that retain the donor's genetic makeup and can be generated from any human donor. These features allow a broad spectrum of the human population to be represented in drug screens and provide the opportunity to test individualized responses to antimalarial drugs as well as genetic factors that determine susceptibility to infection.

The researchers infected iPSC-derived liver cells with various malaria parasites to model liver-stage malaria in the lab. These cells were sensitive to an antimalarial drug called atovaquone; chemical maturation through exposure to small molecules also made the cells sensitive to another antimalarial drug called primaquine, demonstrating the value of this approach for testing new antimalarial drugs.

"Moving forward, we hope to adapt the iPSC-derived liver cells to scalable, high-throughput culture formats to support fast, efficient antimalarial drug screens," says lead study author Shengyong Ng, a postdoctoral researcher in Bhatia's lab. "The use of iPSC-derived liver cells to model liver-stage malaria in a dish opens the door to study the influence of host genetics on antimalarial drug efficacy and lays the foundation for their use in antimalarial drug discovery."

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/health_medicine/malaria/~3/Dtn-mEUaG1o/150205123012.htm

February 03 2015

urishermegar

Several arrested for being gay in Nigeria under new law



Nigerian police targeted a group of gay men and tortured them into naming dozens of others, human rights activists said Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.

The men now face up to 10 years in jail for belonging to a gay organization under a new bill that criminalizes same-sex relationships. 

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was signed into law Monday by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, defying international pressure to respect gay and lesbian rights.

The bill, which bans gay marriage, same-sex "amorous relationships" and membership in gay rights groups, was passed by the national assembly last May, but Jonathan had delayed signing it into law.

Chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela of Bauchi state Shariah Commission, which oversees regulation of Islamic law, told the AP that 11 gay men have been arrested in the past two weeks, but denied torture or intimidation was used. 

An AIDS counselor who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear he would be arrested, told the AP he helped get bail for some 38 men arrested since Christmas.

Activists worry that the new law will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/14/22304293-several-arrested-for-being-gay-in-nigeria-under-new-law?lite

January 30 2015

urishermegar

How not to catch Ebola





7 October 2014

Last updated at 17:16



By Michelle Roberts

Health editor, BBC News online

As the outbreak continues to spread, the fear of catching the disease is rising.

Experts are learning more about how to contain the virus that has infected around 7,500 people in West Africa.

The race is on to stop this deadly disease that kills more than half of those it infects.

Here's what is known.

DON'T TOUCH

Ebola is spread by direct contact with contaminated body fluids. Blood, vomit and saliva can all carry and spread the deadly virus.

The relatives of sick patients and the healthcare workers who care for them are at highest risk of infection, but anyone who comes into close proximity potentially puts themselves at risk.

For that reason, contact should only be for essential medical care and always under the full protection of the right clothing.

The virus can't breach protective gear, such as gloves, mask/face shield, a full body suit and tough rubber wellington boots, but too few have access to state-of-the-art kit.



The BBC's Tulip Mazumdar in full biohazard kit reporting from Sierra Leone

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.



How journalists protect themselves while reporting the outbreak

Those who do get to wear it should keep changing it every 40 minutes to be safe. Inside the suit it can get up to about 40C. Getting into the kit takes about five minutes. Taking it off again takes the wearer and a designated helper "buddy" about 15 minutes.

This is one of the most dangerous times for contamination and people are sprayed with chlorine as this happens.



INTERACTIVE

×

health worker with protective ebola suit

×

The cap forms part of a protective hood covering the head and neck. It offers medical workers an added layer of protection, ensuring that they cannot touch any part of their face whilst in the treatment centre.

×

Goggles, or eye visors, are used to provide cover to the eyes, protecting them from splashes. The goggles are sprayed with an anti-fogging solution before being worn. On October 21, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced stringent new guidelines for healthcare personnel who may be dealing with Ebola patients. In the new guidelines, health workers are advised to use a single use disposable full face shield as goggles may not provide complete skin coverage.

×

Covers the mouth to protect from sprays of blood or body fluids from patients. When wearing a respirator, the medical worker must tear this outer mask to allow the respirator through.

×

A respirator is worn to protect the wearer from a patient's coughs. According to guidelines from the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the respirator should be put on second, right after donning the overalls.

×

A surgical scrub suit, durable hospital clothing that absorbs liquid and is easily cleaned, is worn as a baselayer underneath the overalls. It is normally tucked into rubber boots to ensure no skin is exposed.

×

The overalls are placed on top of the scrubs. These suits are similar to hazardous material (hazmat) suits worn in toxic environments. The team member supervising the process should check that the equipment is not damaged.

×

A minimum two sets of gloves are required, covering the suit cuff. When putting on the gloves, care must be taken to ensure that no skin is exposed and that they are worn in such a way that any fluid on the sleeve will run off the suit and glove. Medical workers must change gloves between patients, performing thorough hand hygiene before donning a new pair. Heavy duty gloves are used whenever workers need to handle infectious waste.

×

A waterproof apron is placed on top of the overalls as a final layer of protective clothing.

×

Ebola health workers typically wear rubber boots, with the scrubs tucked into the footwear. If boots are unavailable, workers must wear closed, puncture and fluid-resistant shoes.

COVER YOUR EYES

If an infected droplet does get on to your skin, it can be washed away immediately with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

The eyes are a different matter. A spray of droplets from a sneeze directly into the eye, for example, could let the virus in.

Similarly, the mucous membranes of the mouth and inside of the nose are vulnerable areas, as is broken skin.

LAUNDRY

One of the most shocking symptoms of Ebola is bleeding. Patients can bleed from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and rectum. Diarrhoea and vomit may also be tainted with blood.

A big infection risk is cleaning up. Any laundry or other clinical waste should be incinerated. Any medical equipment that needs to be kept should be decontaminated.

Without adequate sterilisation, virus transmission can continue and amplify.

Minute droplets on a surface that hasn't been adequately cleaned could, in theory, pose a risk. And it's unclear how long the virus could sit there and remain a threat. Flu viruses and other germs can live two hours or longer on hard environmental surfaces like tables, doorknobs, and desks.

The nurse who recently became infected while caring for two Ebola patients in Spain had twice gone into the room where one of the the patients was being treated - to be directly involved in his care and to disinfect the room after his death. Both times she was wearing protective clothing.

Soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitisers readily disrupt the envelope of this single-stranded RNA virus, and decontamination with dilute bleach is effective and readily available even in remote settings.

CONDOMS

Generally, once someone recovers from Ebola and they have the all-clear, they can no longer spread the virus.

But according to the World Health Organization Ebola can be found in semen for seven weeks and some studies suggest it can be present for up to three months.

For this reason, doctors say that people who recover from Ebola should abstain from sex or use condoms for three months.

Ebola patients treated outside West Africa*

*In all cases but two, first in Madrid and later in Dallas, the patient was infected with Ebola while in West Africa.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29518703#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

January 18 2015

urishermegar

If You Think You'll Never See A Poem About Malaria, You're Wrong



Poet Cameron Conaway (left, in gray cap) visits malaria-hit areas in the Chittagong Tract Hills, Bangladesh, in June 2012. Courtesy of Cameron Conaway hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Cameron Conaway

Poet Cameron Conaway (left, in gray cap) visits malaria-hit areas in the Chittagong Tract Hills, Bangladesh, in June 2012.

Courtesy of Cameron Conaway

Before traveling to Thailand in 2011, American poet Cameron Conaway viewed malaria as many Westerners do: a remote disease summed up by factoids:

It's borne by mosquitoes.

Half the world's population -- 3.4 billion people -- is at risk of catching it.

The disease claims 627,000 lives a year - that's one death every minute.

Conaway, 29, gives a human face to those figures in his new collection, Malaria, Poems. Each poem is paired with a related fact: "roughly one in ten children will suffer from neurological impairment after cerebral malaria" connects to a poem with this line:

"Here / a girl of ten / confused / why her arms won't raise / when she's asked to raise them"

Conaway started writing poetry in 2004, inspired by Lee Peterson, his poetry instructor at Penn State Altoona, who wrote about the Bosnian war. "She taught me that these literary tools weren't just for playing in the sandbox," says Conaway. "They could serve a social purpose."

He came to malaria in a roundabout way. Conaway's trip to Thailand was motivated by a desire to practice Mauy Thai kickboxing (he is a former mixed martial arts fighter and people sometimes call him "the warrior poet"). After he arrived in Bangkok, he met another poet hanging out there, Colin Cheney, who told him about the Wellcome Trust, a global charity that funds health research as well as projects on how culture affects health issues, such as with their features publication Mosaic. The Trust was soliciting applicants for its arts award, so Conaway attended one of the its conferences. There, he met Nick Day, the director of Bangkok's Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), one of the Trust's affiliates.

"I was impressed by Day's ability to talk about malaria and his research in ways that a normal human could understand. He did so with charisma and I really connected with him," says Conaway.

And Conaway learned that malaria has a poetic history. Sir Ronald Ross, who won a Nobel Prize in 1902 for identifying malaria parasites, often wrote poetry about the disease and his discovery:

"With tears and toiling breath / I find thy cunning seeds / O million-murdering death."

With Day's suggestion, Conaway applied for the Trust's arts award and became MORU's first poet-in-residence. He spent seven months traveling to villages and vaccine research centers near Bangkok and in Bangladesh, gathering impressions for his work.

Malaria, Poems was published this month by Michigan State University Press. The poems touch on everything from counterfeit malaria medicines to stillbirths caused by the parasite to traveling bards who perform plays about malaria awareness. He also wrote poems that address social issues such as violence against women in Bangladesh and the lack of medical care in the region.

An excerpt from Malaria, Poems follows and describes Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit the parasite between people.

SILENCE, ANOPHELES

You should have just asked the mosquito.

-- 14th Dalai Lama

It's risky business needing

(blood)

from others

not for science or even more life

for hellos and goodbyes

and most substances between

but so your kids can exit

while entering and spread

their wings long

after yours dry and carry on

by wind not will.

It's risky business feeding on others,

but we all do

one way or another.

It's risky business needing

when you have nothing,

but life has you and lives

writhe inside you.

Risky to solo into the wild

aisles of forearm hair thicket

for a mad sip,

not quick enough

to snuff the wick of awareness

but too fast for savoring.

A mad sip that makes

you gotcha or gone

and may paint you and yours

and them -- Plasmodium falciparum --

on the canvas you needed

to taste behind.

It's risky business needing

and then getting

and being too too

to know what to do --

too full and carrying

too many to fly.

It's risky business being

the silent messenger

of bad news when you don't know the bad news

is consuming you, too.

It's not risky business

being the blind black barrel

of pistol or proboscis,

but it is damn risky business being

the pointer or the pointed at.

It's risky business being

born without asking

for a beating heart.

Having and then needing to need

to want until next

or else

and sometimes still or else.

Risky when you're expected to deliver

babies and have no gods to guide

their walk on water

because you did it

long before they or him or her or it

never did.

Risky when you're born

on water and capricious cloudscapes

shape whether sun lets leaves

bleed their liquid shadow blankets

into marshes or mangrove swamps

or hoof prints or rice fields or kingdoms

of ditches.

It's risky business naming and being named

while skewered and viewed

under the skewed microscopic lens

of anthropocentrism

an (not) opheles (profit)

a goddess name, Anopheles,

that translates to mean useless

and sounds beautiful at first

then awful when its insides linger.

An(ophel)es, you are only 57% different, no,

you are 43% the same as me, no,

I am, no, we are 43% you, no, we all are

nearly, mostly.

It's risky business leaving

large clues --

a welt and then a dying child slobbering silver

under its mother's croon.

It's risky business being

when you don't

because you have two weeks

or less to do doing.

Risky business killing,

but it depends on who, where, when --

self-sufficient Malawi village in 2014

vs. the legend of Dante & Lord Byron.

Mae Sot or Maine, Rourkela or Leeds.

It's risky business killing

killers that always only want

their kind

of tropical retreat.

It's risky business being

small

profoundly --

the speck of black

sesame or apostrophe

blending in the expanse

of rye or papyrus

and taken

onto allergic tongues.

It's risky business sharing

your body with strangers --

uninvited multiplicities hijacking

what you have

because to them you are what you have.

Risky when all know

your 1 mile per hour,

your under 25 feet high for miles,

your 450 wingbeats per second.

Risky business being you

when some want not to fly

weeks with your wings

but walk days atop them.

Is it riskier business being content

and peacefully going extinct

or not being

content and forever brinking

in the bulbous ends of raindrops

that cling but fatten?

Like raindrops and us, Anopheles,

when you fatten, you fall.

History favors the fallen.

To drip

a long life

of falling

before the fall

or to live

a short life

oblivious to it all?

Risky that we exchange

counters -- DNA mutations

that make some of us

sometimes

sort of

immune to each other's jabs

though hooks always slip through,

and we send each other stumbling,

always stumbling, always only stumbling.

Changing ourselves changes each other.

Each other is ourselves.

They tell us it's risky business doing

being,

but it is more risky being

doing.

Did you hear all that, Anopheles?

How about now?

We're asking. We're good at that.

Does all life listen

at the speed of its growing?

Are we listening too loudly

or too slowly to your silence?

"Human malaria is transmitted only by females of the genus Anopheles. Of the approximately 430 Anopheles species, only 30-40 transmit malaria" (Malaria, Mosquitoes, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 February 2010).

Excerpted from Malaria, Poems by Cameron Conaway. Copyright 2014 by Cameron Conaway. Excerpted by permission of Michigan State University Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/11/06/360469321/if-you-think-youll-never-see-a-poem-about-malaria-youre-wrong?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
urishermegar

Which Contagious Diseases Are The Deadliest?



Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases) NPR Composite/CDC hide caption

itoggle caption NPR Composite/CDC

Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases)

NPR Composite/CDC

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?

Comparing fatality rates could help put the current Ebola outbreak in perspective. Trouble is, getting an accurate value for many diseases can be hard, especially in places where the health care infrastructure is weak.

Take the situation in West Africa right now. "We can only count those who come to the doctor, not those who stayed home and got well, or those who stayed home and died," says Carol Sulis, an epidemiologist at Boston University School of Medicine and the Boston Medical Center.

Another issue is that "deadliest" can mean two things. It can refer to the fatality rate -- the number of deaths per number of cases -- or it can mean the number of deaths in total caused by a disease.

What's more, diseases can take a different toll in different parts of the world. In low- and middle-income countries, only limited medical care may be available, if that. This will raise the fatality rate for many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria and infectious diarrhea.

"Similar to Ebola, people's chances of survival increase for most of these [contagious] diseases, some dramatically, if people receive medical treatment," says epidemiologist Derek Cummings, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Even if lists have their limitations, they can shed light. We spoke to Cummings and Sulis and consulted data from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to come up with two lists: the deadliest contagious diseases by death toll and by death rate if untreated.

Data are for all fatalities in 2012, except for infectious diarrhea and pneumonia. For those, death tolls represent a yearly estimate and represent childhood victims only.

Deadliest Contagious Diseases By Death Toll

Comparison point: As of Sept. 7, the number of reported deaths in the current Ebola epidemic is 2,218.

HIV/AIDS: 1.6 million deaths

Even though HIV takes a tremendous toll each year, the population of people living with the disease is about 35 million.

Since antiretroviral therapy -- ART -- became available in the mid-1990s, life expectancy for someone infected with HIV has dramatically increased. Today, a person who is promptly diagnosed with HIV and treated can look forward to a close-to-normal life span.

But as with other diseases, Sulas says, "we have to have the infrastructure to find the cases and be able to afford the medicine and deliver it to those affected."

Tuberculosis: 1.3 million deaths

Despite the death toll for this airborne disease, there is encouraging news: 7.3 million people developed TB and survived in 2012.

Recovery requires a regimen of several drugs over a six- to nine-month period. Patients who don't follow the drug schedule can develop drug-resistant TB. Drug-resistant forms of TB are also airborne. For those patients, treatment can extend to two years.

Pneumonia: 1.1 million children under the age of 5

It's the world's leading killer of children, "more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined," WHO says. The risks are also high for the elderly and those with other underlying conditions. In rich countries, like the U.S., vaccines can prevent the disease, but that is not the case in much of the world.

Infectious Diarrhea: 760,000 children under the age of 5

"That's an enormous waste," Sulis says. The majority of cases (about 1.7 billion globally each year) could be prevented and treated with better hygiene and sanitation, along with access to clean food and water. "There are many pathogens" that can cause these infections, she says, "but the whole class of diseases categorized as infectious diarrhea is deadly."

Malaria: 627,000 deaths

The world records about 200 million malaria cases each year. According to WHO, "most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from malaria."

There's a growing worry for both malaria and TB, Sulis says, because "the organisms that cause those diseases are becoming increasingly drug resistant throughout the world."

Deadliest Contagious Diseases By Fatality Rate (If Not Treated)

Here, as in the list above, fatality rates can be lowered significantly depending on the presence of sanitary conditions and the availability of medical care and vaccines.

We present the diseases that appear to have the highest fatality rates if not treated. If the rate is a range, we ranked the disease by the highest possible fatality rate.

Comparison Point: Outbreaks of Ebola can have fatality rates up to 90 percent, WHO says. But in the current outbreak, it's about 50 to 60 percent.

Rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal if not treated. There are approximately 55,000 deaths each year, primarily in Asia and Africa.

Doses of the rabies vaccine after a bite from an infected animal will essentially abort the disease. But a person must receive treatment immediately. Initial symptoms include discomfort where the bite occurred, anxiety and agitation. Once clinical signs such as delirium and hallucinations arise, the patient almost always succumbs.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is apparently 100 percent fatal.

This neurodegenerative disease rapidly progresses. It is caused by prions (nonviral, nonbacterial infectious agents that consist of a misfolded protein) that damage healthy brain tissue. Prions create holes in the brain that make it look like a sponge under the microscope.

CJD is classified as a contagious disease because it can be transmitted through contact with contaminated tissue during medical procedures. But it's not spread through the air or by casual contact.

No treatment exists for CJD. Its incidence is very low, affecting about 1 in 1 million people each year, with about 300 cases annually in the U.S. CJD can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms often resemble those of dementia and other diseases, with memory lapses, behavioral changes and sleep disturbances.

Marburg hemorraghic fever: 24 to 88 percent

Marburg is caused by a virus similar to Ebola, transmitted mainly by contact with bodily fluids from someone who's been infected. Fever, chills, headache and muscle pain are the first symptoms, showing up within five to 10 days after infection. The next stage can cause vomiting, diarrhea, delirium and organ dysfunction or failure. There's no known treatment beyond supportive hospital therapy. Since 1967, when Marburg was first recognized by scientists, there have been 571 reported cases.

H5N1 and H7N9 flu viruses: 60 percent for the former, 25 percent for the latter

These two viruses "remain two of the influenza viruses with pandemic potential," WHO says. They're in wide circulation among some groups of poultry; humans do not appear to have any immunity. The total number of human cases for both viruses so far is about 1,000. Some antiviral treatments and vaccines are available.

Middle East respiratory syndrome: 41 percent

First detected in 2012, this illness can lead to coughing, shortness of breath, fever and pneumonia. When patients die, the cause may be a lack of oxygen passing from the lungs into the blood. Scientists theorize that MERS could have first appeared in bats, which passed it to Arabian camels, which may then have infected humans. The majority of the 800 cases have been on the Arabian Peninsula.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/16/347727459/which-contagious-diseases-are-the-deadliest?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
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Malaria No More News

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Which Contagious Diseases Are The Deadliest?



Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases) NPR Composite/CDC hide caption

itoggle caption NPR Composite/CDC

Do you know what the deadliest disease is? Hint: It's not Ebola (viral particles seen here in a digitally colorized microscopic image, at top right, along with similar depictions of other contagious diseases)

NPR Composite/CDC

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?

Comparing fatality rates could help put the current Ebola outbreak in perspective. Trouble is, getting an accurate value for many diseases can be hard, especially in places where the health care infrastructure is weak.

Take the situation in West Africa right now. "We can only count those who come to the doctor, not those who stayed home and got well, or those who stayed home and died," says Carol Sulis, an epidemiologist at Boston University School of Medicine and the Boston Medical Center.

Another issue is that "deadliest" can mean two things. It can refer to the fatality rate -- the number of deaths per number of cases -- or it can mean the number of deaths in total caused by a disease.

What's more, diseases can take a different toll in different parts of the world. In low- and middle-income countries, only limited medical care may be available, if that. This will raise the fatality rate for many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, malaria and infectious diarrhea.

"Similar to Ebola, people's chances of survival increase for most of these [contagious] diseases, some dramatically, if people receive medical treatment," says epidemiologist Derek Cummings, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Even if lists have their limitations, they can shed light. We spoke to Cummings and Sulis and consulted data from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to come up with two lists: the deadliest contagious diseases by death toll and by death rate if untreated.

Data are for all fatalities in 2012, except for infectious diarrhea and pneumonia. For those, death tolls represent a yearly estimate and represent childhood victims only.

Deadliest Contagious Diseases By Death Toll

Comparison point: As of Sept. 7, the number of reported deaths in the current Ebola epidemic is 2,218.

HIV/AIDS: 1.6 million deaths

Even though HIV takes a tremendous toll each year, the population of people living with the disease is about 35 million.

Since antiretroviral therapy -- ART -- became available in the mid-1990s, life expectancy for someone infected with HIV has dramatically increased. Today, a person who is promptly diagnosed with HIV and treated can look forward to a close-to-normal life span.

But as with other diseases, Sulas says, "we have to have the infrastructure to find the cases and be able to afford the medicine and deliver it to those affected."

Tuberculosis: 1.3 million deaths

Despite the death toll for this airborne disease, there is encouraging news: 7.3 million people developed TB and survived in 2012.

Recovery requires a regimen of several drugs over a six- to nine-month period. Patients who don't follow the drug schedule can develop drug-resistant TB. Drug-resistant forms of TB are also airborne. For those patients, treatment can extend to two years.

Pneumonia: 1.1 million children under the age of 5

It's the world's leading killer of children, "more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined," WHO says. The risks are also high for the elderly and those with other underlying conditions. In rich countries, like the U.S., vaccines can prevent the disease, but that is not the case in much of the world.

Infectious Diarrhea: 760,000 children under the age of 5

"That's an enormous waste," Sulis says. The majority of cases (about 1.7 billion globally each year) could be prevented and treated with better hygiene and sanitation, along with access to clean food and water. "There are many pathogens" that can cause these infections, she says, "but the whole class of diseases categorized as infectious diarrhea is deadly."

Malaria: 627,000 deaths

The world records about 200 million malaria cases each year. According to WHO, "most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from malaria."

There's a growing worry for both malaria and TB, Sulis says, because "the organisms that cause those diseases are becoming increasingly drug resistant throughout the world."

Deadliest Contagious Diseases By Fatality Rate (If Not Treated)

Here, as in the list above, fatality rates can be lowered significantly depending on the presence of sanitary conditions and the availability of medical care and vaccines.

We present the diseases that appear to have the highest fatality rates if not treated. If the rate is a range, we ranked the disease by the highest possible fatality rate.

Comparison Point: Outbreaks of Ebola can have fatality rates up to 90 percent, WHO says. But in the current outbreak, it's about 50 to 60 percent.

Rabies is nearly 100 percent fatal if not treated. There are approximately 55,000 deaths each year, primarily in Asia and Africa.

Doses of the rabies vaccine after a bite from an infected animal will essentially abort the disease. But a person must receive treatment immediately. Initial symptoms include discomfort where the bite occurred, anxiety and agitation. Once clinical signs such as delirium and hallucinations arise, the patient almost always succumbs.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is apparently 100 percent fatal.

This neurodegenerative disease rapidly progresses. It is caused by prions (nonviral, nonbacterial infectious agents that consist of a misfolded protein) that damage healthy brain tissue. Prions create holes in the brain that make it look like a sponge under the microscope.

CJD is classified as a contagious disease because it can be transmitted through contact with contaminated tissue during medical procedures. But it's not spread through the air or by casual contact.

No treatment exists for CJD. Its incidence is very low, affecting about 1 in 1 million people each year, with about 300 cases annually in the U.S. CJD can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms often resemble those of dementia and other diseases, with memory lapses, behavioral changes and sleep disturbances.

Marburg hemorraghic fever: 24 to 88 percent

Marburg is caused by a virus similar to Ebola, transmitted mainly by contact with bodily fluids from someone who's been infected. Fever, chills, headache and muscle pain are the first symptoms, showing up within five to 10 days after infection. The next stage can cause vomiting, diarrhea, delirium and organ dysfunction or failure. There's no known treatment beyond supportive hospital therapy. Since 1967, when Marburg was first recognized by scientists, there have been 571 reported cases.

H5N1 and H7N9 flu viruses: 60 percent for the former, 25 percent for the latter

These two viruses "remain two of the influenza viruses with pandemic potential," WHO says. They're in wide circulation among some groups of poultry; humans do not appear to have any immunity. The total number of human cases for both viruses so far is about 1,000. Some antiviral treatments and vaccines are available.

Middle East respiratory syndrome: 41 percent

First detected in 2012, this illness can lead to coughing, shortness of breath, fever and pneumonia. When patients die, the cause may be a lack of oxygen passing from the lungs into the blood. Scientists theorize that MERS could have first appeared in bats, which passed it to Arabian camels, which may then have infected humans. The majority of the 800 cases have been on the Arabian Peninsula.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/16/347727459/which-contagious-diseases-are-the-deadliest?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
urishermegar

A $1 Microscope Folds From Paper With A Drop Of Glue



All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification. TED/YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption TED/YouTube

All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification.

TED/YouTube

We have pocket watches, pocket cameras and now -- with smartphones -- pocket computers.

So why shouldn't doctors and scientists around the world have pocket microscopes?

Origami microscope: Lines on the paper show you how to fold up and assemble the microscope.

Courtesy of Prakash lab

Bioengineer Manu Prakash and his team at Stanford University have designed a light microscope that not only fits in your pocket but costs less than a dollar to make.

And here's the coolest part: You put the microscope together yourself, by folding it.

Imagine all the uses for this so-called Foldscope. Even in the poorest corners of the globe, doctors and scientists could use the pocket scope to diagnose common bacteria and pathogens, such as giardia, Chagas and malaria.

Here's how it works.

Using Foldscope is simple: Stick the glass slide in the middle pocket and look through the lens. The microscope even has a stage.

Courtesy of the Prakash lab

"So the starting material looks really like a flat sheet of paper," Prakash says.

That's because, well, it is a flat sheet of paper. But it has a thin plastic coating that makes it sturdier and resistant to tearing, Prakash says.

Then he and his team run the paper through a special printer that actually prints a lens on the paper. "You should think of it as a drop of glue, a tiny drop of glue," he says, "except it is an optical-quality glue."

The printer also prints lines on the paper, showing people where to make the folds that will align the light on the lens so the microscope will work.

It turns out people can fold paper quite accurately, Prakash says. "So that's one of the things that is hidden in the design that allows us to make instruments that are very precise, but actually are just made by people folding a simple sheet."

And all the components of the Foldscope are quite cheap. When you manufacture 10,000 devices:

The sheet of paper costs 6 cents.

The lens costs between 17 and 56 cents, depending on the type of lens and microscope.

Add in an LED light for 21 cents.

A battery for 6 cents.

An on-off switch for 5 cents.

And a few other bits and bobs, and you've got a microscope for less than a dollar.

Prakash says he expects some people will use the microscope in schools. And others will find them useful in clinics or laboratories for doing simple medical tests or for making field repairs of small electronic equipment. But he's sending the Foldscopes out to many people around the world, hoping they'll find uses for them that he can't even imagine.

"By the end of the summer," he says, "we'll be shipping 50,000 of these microscopes to 130 countries, and then just watch what happens." Or to put it another way: He'll see what unfolds.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/03/345521442/a-1-microscope-folds-up-from-paper-and-a-lens-of-glue?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
urishermegar

A $1 Microscope Folds From Paper With A Drop Of Glue



All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification. TED/YouTube hide caption

itoggle caption TED/YouTube

All folded up and ready to magnify: The Foldscope weighs less than two nickels, is small enough to fit in your back pocket and offers more than 2,000-fold magnification.

TED/YouTube

We have pocket watches, pocket cameras and now -- with smartphones -- pocket computers.

So why shouldn't doctors and scientists around the world have pocket microscopes?

Origami microscope: Lines on the paper show you how to fold up and assemble the microscope.

Courtesy of Prakash lab

Bioengineer Manu Prakash and his team at Stanford University have designed a light microscope that not only fits in your pocket but costs less than a dollar to make.

And here's the coolest part: You put the microscope together yourself, by folding it.

Imagine all the uses for this so-called Foldscope. Even in the poorest corners of the globe, doctors and scientists could use the pocket scope to diagnose common bacteria and pathogens, such as giardia, Chagas and malaria.

Here's how it works.

Using Foldscope is simple: Stick the glass slide in the middle pocket and look through the lens. The microscope even has a stage.

Courtesy of the Prakash lab

"So the starting material looks really like a flat sheet of paper," Prakash says.

That's because, well, it is a flat sheet of paper. But it has a thin plastic coating that makes it sturdier and resistant to tearing, Prakash says.

Then he and his team run the paper through a special printer that actually prints a lens on the paper. "You should think of it as a drop of glue, a tiny drop of glue," he says, "except it is an optical-quality glue."

The printer also prints lines on the paper, showing people where to make the folds that will align the light on the lens so the microscope will work.

It turns out people can fold paper quite accurately, Prakash says. "So that's one of the things that is hidden in the design that allows us to make instruments that are very precise, but actually are just made by people folding a simple sheet."

And all the components of the Foldscope are quite cheap. When you manufacture 10,000 devices:

The sheet of paper costs 6 cents.

The lens costs between 17 and 56 cents, depending on the type of lens and microscope.

Add in an LED light for 21 cents.

A battery for 6 cents.

An on-off switch for 5 cents.

And a few other bits and bobs, and you've got a microscope for less than a dollar.

Prakash says he expects some people will use the microscope in schools. And others will find them useful in clinics or laboratories for doing simple medical tests or for making field repairs of small electronic equipment. But he's sending the Foldscopes out to many people around the world, hoping they'll find uses for them that he can't even imagine.

"By the end of the summer," he says, "we'll be shipping 50,000 of these microscopes to 130 countries, and then just watch what happens." Or to put it another way: He'll see what unfolds.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/03/345521442/a-1-microscope-folds-up-from-paper-and-a-lens-of-glue?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
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