CDC updates Aedes mosquito maps, gears up for Zika summit | CIDRAP

Maps show best estimates, but not disease risk The new maps—the first update in over a decade—are the CDC’s best estimates for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus ranges, based on a variety of sources. The agency emphasized that the maps aren’t intended to show exact locators or portray the risk for the spread of Zika virus.

Source: CDC updates Aedes mosquito maps, gears up for Zika summit | CIDRAP

Security for Turkey′s Erdogan scuffles with journalists in Washington | News | DW.COM | 31.03.2016

The National Press Club condemned the incident. “Turkey’s leader and his security team are guests in the United States,” Thomas Burr, the group’s president, said in statement. “They have no right to lay their hands on reporters or protesters or anyone else for that matter, when the people they were apparently roughing up seemed to be merely doing their jobs or exercising the rights they have in this country.” Turkey is under mounting international criticism over press freedom and free speech. Journalists are regularly physically harassed, arrested, censured and taken to court for reporting. The media landscape is dominated by pro-government mouthpieces as the government takes control of some of the few remaining opposition media outlets.

Source: Security for Turkey′s Erdogan scuffles with journalists in Washington | News | DW.COM | 31.03.2016

ISIS Turns Saudis Against the Kingdom, and Families Against Their Own – The New York Times

BURAIDA, Saudi Arabia — The men were not hardened militants. One was a pharmacist, another a heating and cooling technician. One was a high school student. They were six cousins, all living in Saudi Arabia, all with the same secret. They had vowed allegiance to the Islamic State — and they planned to kill another cousin, a sergeant in the kingdom’s counterterrorism force. And that’s what they did. In February, the group abducted Sgt. Bader al-Rashidi, dragged him to the side of a road south of this central Saudi city, and shot and killed him. With video rolling, they condemned the royal family, saying it had forsaken Islam. Then they fled into the desert. The video spread rapidly across the kingdom, shocking a nation struggling to contain a terrorist movement seen as especially dangerous not just because it promotes violence, but also because it has adopted elements of Saudi Arabia’s intolerant version of Islam — a Sunni creed known as Wahhabism — and used them to delegitimize the monarchy. “Wahhabism is fundamental to the Islamic State’s ideology,” said Cole Bunzel, a scholar of Wahhabi history at Princeton University and the author of a recent paper on Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State. “It informs the character of their religion and is the most on-display feature, in my opinion, of their entire ideology.” Among 20 terrorist episodes in Saudi Arabia since late 2014, the killing of Sergeant Rashidi was the third in which citizens had secretly joined the Islamic State and killed relatives in the security services. In each case, they justified their acts by saying Saudi Arabia practiced a corrupted version of the faith, a charge aimed at a kingdom that holds itself up as the only true Islamic state.

Source: ISIS Turns Saudis Against the Kingdom, and Families Against Their Own – The New York Times

Eurosurveillance – View Article – Measles from Philippines to Netherland and UK on one flight! Vaccines are important!

This report describes a joint measles outbreak investigation between public health officials in the United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands following detection of a measles cluster with a unique measles virus strain. From 1 February to 30 April 2014, 33 measles cases with a unique measles virus strain of genotype B3 were detected in the UK and the Netherlands, of which nine secondary cases were epidemiologically linked to an infectious measles case travelling from the Philippines. Through a combination of epidemiological investigation and sequence analysis, we found that measles transmission occurred in flight, airport and household settings. The secondary measles cases included airport workers, passengers in transit at the same airport or travelling on the same flight as the infectious case and also household contacts. This investigation highlighted the particular importance of measles genotyping in identifying transmission networks and the need to improve vaccination, public health follow-up and management of travellers and airport staff exposed to measles.

Source: Eurosurveillance – View Article

Avian Flu Diary: WHO SitRep : Zika, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome – March 31st

Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Read the full situation report Summary From 1 January 2007 to 30 March 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 61 countries and territories. Four of these (Cook Islands, French Polynesia, ISLA DE PASCUA – Chile, and New Caledonia) reported a Zika virus outbreak that is now over. Six countries have now reported locally acquired infection in the absence of any known mosquito vectors, probably through sexual transmission (Argentina, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand and the United States of America). In the Region of the Americas, the geographical distribution of Zika virus has steadily widened since the presence of the virus was confirmed in 2015. Mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in 33 countries and territories of this region. In the Western Pacific Region, mosquito-borne Zika virus cases have been reported in 16 countries and areas. Microcephaly and other fetal malformations have been reported in Brazil (944 cases), Cabo Verde (two cases), Colombia (32 cases), French Polynesia (eight cases), Martinique (one case) and Panama (one case). Two additional cases, linked to a stay in Brazil, were detected in the United States of America and Slovenia. In the context of Zika virus circulation, 13 countries or territories have reported an increased incidence of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) and/or laboratory confirmation of a Zika virus infection among GBS cases. Based on observational, cohort and case-control studies there is strong scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of GBS, microcephaly and other neurological disorders. 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.

Source: Avian Flu Diary: WHO SitRep : Zika, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome – March 31st

ASIA/SINGAPORE – The Mufti of Singapore to the Archbishop: “the massacre in Lahore is against Islam”

Singapore – The terrorist attack in Lahore, which targeted civilians indiscriminately, “is not only against Islamic teachings, but it is also an attack against all humanity”: is what the Muslim leader in Singapore, mufti Mohamed Fatris Bakaram said in a letter of condolence sent to the island’s Catholic Archbishop, Mgr. William Goh.The letter, sent to Fides, condemned the criminal act which killed 73 people and over 300 were injured in Lahore on Easter Sunday: “We strongly condemn the attack in Lahore and express our deepest condolences to the families of all the victims. We must join together to tell our clear horror of such acts of inhumanity”. The mufti specifies that “it is unjustifiable to attack another human being just because they have a different faith”, recalling that the attack was “an act of inhumanity and an affront to the people who believe in the values of compassion and peaceful coexistence”. This is “a serious error towards peace and inter-religious harmony, promoted by Islam”.On the same day the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore condemned the acts of violence committed in the name of Islam around the world, including attacks in Istanbul, Jakarta, in Syria, in Ankara, Brussels, as well as in Lahore. “We are saddened and outraged by such cruelty”, the Council said. “Along with all Muslims and all the inhabitants of Singapore, we express closeness and solidarity to the families of all the victims of these senseless tragedies” wrote the Council in a statement.

Source: ASIA/SINGAPORE – The Mufti of Singapore to the Archbishop: “the massacre in Lahore is against Islam”

Long-term vegetarian diet changes human DNA raising risk of cancer and heart disease – Telegraph – {Talking about diets thousands of years old – not your dad’s diet and brought to you by research funded by???}

“Those whose ancestry derives from vegetarians are more likely to carry genetics that more rapidly metabolise plant fatty acids,” said Tom Brenna, Professor of Human Nutrition at Cornell.

Source: Long term vegetarian diet changes human DNA raising risk of cancer and heart disease – Telegraph

Ebola no longer poses global risk, says WHO | News | DW.COM | 29.03.2016

{The very non-health related desire to say everything is OK now, is the same reaction that caused WHO and its member nations to urge calm and under-react to Ebola – which gave Ebola all the time it needed to outstrip several nation’s ability to fight it. Immediate “economic” concerns that drive this behavior may well be the leading cause of the pandemic that kills millions!}

Chan stressed that the three worst affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – remain vulnerable to Ebola flare-ups, including an ongoing cluster of cases in Guinea, which has left five people dead.But the UN’s health agency said all original chains of virus transmission have now ended.Chan said the “risk of international spread is now low, and…countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences.”Her statement brings to an end a nearly 20-month emergency that started in Guinea in late 2013, saw 28,638 cases emerge and 11,300 deaths.

Source: Ebola no longer poses global risk, says WHO | News | DW.COM | 29.03.2016

Tick saliva discovery could be key to treating blood and immune disorders – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The discovery of how the proteins in a tick’s saliva stop a human’s immune system from running amok could be the answer to treating life-threatening blood disorders, researchers say.

Source: Tick saliva discovery could be key to treating blood and immune disorders – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Lauren Kirchner: What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

{The billions spent on collecting and combing the data is, for the most, part of the CYA program supported by nearly all elected politicians in nearly all countries. They support the spying programs so they can tell the people voting for them – “We are spending billions protecting you with the latest technology and brightest minds available.” If any useful information in collected – woohoo! but neither the politicians or we who vote for them care – we just want to know that the money is being spent and we hope it does some good. In short, shame on them and shame on us!}

Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs. CIA Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of “hand-wringing” that has made “our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging.” Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, “In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn’t seem to be the scariest thing in the room.”Ultimately, it’s impossible to know just how successful sweeping surveillance has been, since much of the work is secret. But what has been disclosed so far suggests the programs have been of limited value.

Source: Lauren Kirchner: What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics