The latter is what knocked out Golu Kumar Paswan a week ago. The 18-year-old, who works as a laborer in a manufacturing facility, developed a high fever and pain. The virus has sapped him of all energy, making it impossible for him to go to work.”My company doesn’t pay me when I don’t show up, so I’m losing out on my wages, which I need desperately to pay for my rent in Delhi and to send back to my family in the Uttar Pradesh state,” Paswan said. “Things are really difficult. How am I going to survive?”Worker crunch hits industrial outputIt’s a question that many of Paswan’s fellow migrant workers laid low by the viral illnesses have answered by packing up their bags and leaving for their villages.That has left the over 1,500 small-scale factories in Mayapuri, an industrial hub that relies on the steady supply of cheap labor from the neighboring slums. Everything from car parts, textiles to machinery is produced here. The area has witnessed a 20 percent dip in production and profits because workers have been calling in sick or leaving to go back home.
Yesterday, members of Congress remembered they are obligated to, like, do stuff, when they narrowly avoided a government shutdown by agreeing to allocate $1.1 billion to fight Zika.Initially, the bill was held up thanks to language that would bar funds from Planned Parenthood, since any effort to boost women’s healthcare is akin to slaughtering schoolchildren on national television. (Note that the actual slaughter of schoolchildren fails to prompt any Congressional action.) But yesterday the Senate approved the bill by a vote of 72-26, and later in the day the House of Representatives approved it 342-85, narrowly averting a shutdown that would leave the government without money to operate Friday at midnight.President Obama, who requested $1.9 billion in Zika funding in February, is expected to sign the bill into law by tomorrow. Though an initial iteration of the legislation prohibited funds from going to Planned Parenthood, that language has since been removed. “Women’s health should never be treated like a political football,” Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington, told NPR. “I am glad that Republicans finally agreed to set aside the extreme provisions that would have specifically blocked Planned Parenthood health care providers from accessing critical funding.”
Singapore has reported 215 cases of Zika infections, as scientists in the city-state said the virus strain came from within Asia and was not imported from Brazil.Key points:Scientists say the virus evolved from South-East Asia strain and was not importedMalaysia says it expects the number of local transmissions to growIt is urging residents to adopt preventative measuresThe Ministry of Health and National Environment Agency said in a joint statement on Saturday evening that of the 26 new cases reported on Saturday, 24 were linked to a cluster in the Aljunied district where the country’s first locally-transmitted cases were reported.The statement did not say where the other two cases were from.A week after Singapore reported its first case of locally transmitted Zika infection, local scientists say they have completed genetic sequencing of the virus.”The analysis found that the virus belongs to the Asian lineage and likely evolved from the strain that was already circulating in South-East Asia. The virus from these two patients was not imported from South America,” the statement said.
A pair of studies today probing the complex antibody reactions between Zika and dengue infection have both bad news and good news: that earlier dengue infection can worsen Zika infections, but a certain antibody against dengue can also neutralize Zika virus, raising the possibility of a vaccine target.
In what may be the most accurate real-time picture of Zika activity in Puerto Rico, a sensitive test for screening blood donations shows rapidly rising levels that could result in thousands of infections in pregnant women, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned today. At a media briefing, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said high levels of Zika activity in the US territory could result in dozens to hundreds of babies born with microcephaly. Puerto Rico has been using a highly sensitive investigational test since Apr 3 to screen local blood collections. Frieden said that though it’s not a stand-in for a serologic survey and doesn’t reflect a random sample, “it gives us a window to see what’s happening with infection rates.” Illnesses probably haven’t peaked yet, and disease activity—in view of dengue and chikungunya patterns—may last through summer and into the fall.
Meanwhile, it would be great if Brazil published its national numbers in a weekly report – along with confirmed numbers. The promise of the “Boletins Epidemiológicos de Dengue, Chikungunya e Zika” has not been realised with only two reports over the past 10 epidemiological weeks and no specific listing of laboratory confirmed numbers.
A new method for tracking the virus could help prevent outbreaks.
“The clearest consequence is that you increase the risk of spreading the virus and the disease. With half-a-million people going to Rio for the Games – not just the usual visitors but people coming from every corner of the world – you open up the possibility of someone from each one of those places getting infected. Once the individual returns to his country, the local mosquitoes may then transmit the disease,” says Amir Attaran, a professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Ottawa. Attaran co-authored the letter that more than 170 scientists have signed and sent to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Olympic Committee, urging them to postpone the upcoming Games – scheduled for August 5 to August 21 – until the Zika virus is no longer a threat. The letter also asks the organizations to consider moving the Games to another host country.
The outbreak of seven autochthonous dengue cases reported by Succo et al. in this issue of Eurosurveillance  was triggered by one infected traveller returning from French Polynesia in the summer of 2015, and occurred in an area where another vector, Ae. albopictus, the Asian Tiger mosquito, was established in 2005. This is not the first event of local transmission of DENV reported in Europe in recent years. Since 2010, at least 23 dengue cases were detected. In September 2010, two autochthonous cases of dengue fever were identified in Nice, southern France. The index case had friends from the West French Indies staying with him, while the second case was an individual living nearby . In the summer of the same year, another transmission event occurred in Croatia [8,9]. The index case was a German man returning in mid-August from a two-week holiday spent at the Peljesac peninsula and the isle of Korĉula, ca 100 km north-west of Dubrovnik. A second autochthonous case, and other 15 individuals with serological evidence of recent infection, were identified in October 2010. How the virus was introduced in Croatia remains unclear. In 2013 and 2014, five autochthonous case of dengue were identified in southern France, one in Bouches-du-Rhône (2013) , and four in Aubage and Toulon-Hìres (2014) . Ae. albopictus was the vector in all the transmission events listed here. Dengue is not the only Aedes-borne viral disease threatening the health of European citizens. Nearly 10 years ago, in the summer of 2007, more than 250 cases of chikungunya occurred in the north-east of Italy . The primary case was a viraemic individual arriving from the Indian State of Kerala. The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) implicated in the sustained outbreak carried the A226V mutation, which increases virus fitness and is usually detected in areas where the Tiger mosquito is the predominant vector . In September 2010, autochthonous transmission of the CHIKV was also identified in south-east France, where chikungunya was diagnosed in two children living in the same area as another child who developed a febrile illness after returning from Rajasthan, India .
Source: Eurosurveillance – View Article
After two decades of work, the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur has licensed it to Mexico and the Philippines. Last month, Sanofi Pasteur rolled out its first ever dengue mass-vaccination programme. Fourth graders are being vaccinated in three areas in the Philippines where dengue cases were highest last year.Mario Baquilod is in charge of the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau of the Philippine Department of Health. He said last year there were 200,415 reported cases of dengue in the Philippines, one of the largest numbers in recent years.Baquilod said the department wanted to add the vaccine to its arsenal of tools that combat the virus. The government aims to get one million children immunized against dengue by June – so far 263,000 kids have received the vaccine.Baquilod said they decided to pilot the programme in three public schools because they wanted to have a “captive” population for the vaccine, which takes three doses – one every six months – to be effective. The medical world is now watching what happens in the Philippines.