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February 26 2015

rpiitpuapule

Santa Cruz Bank Robbers Caught



January 22, 2015

fotonoticia_20150120162715_800-600x319 The National Police have arrested two men on suspicion of a robbery committed on January 2 at a La Caixa Bank in Calle Azorin, Santa Cruz, the capital of Tenerife.

The suspects, local men aged 44 and 36-years-old respectively, are accused of intimidating bank staff with large  knives, attacking one of them and forcing customers to lie on the floor, while the pair made off with 62,000 euros.

The men, who had masks over thier faces, fled in a stolen vehicle.

Officers found 37,000 euros in cash in the homes of detainees and at the same time clothing and knives, believed to be used to commit the robbery,were seized.

http://newsinthesun.com/santa-cruz-bank-robbers-caught/

February 22 2015

rpiitpuapule

Ñandu still on top



Sport 2 THE second part of Ñandu rugby club's epic journey has ended in more success as they retained their position at the top of the league after another weekend double-header.

On Saturday, they beat Vilanova 36-0, then clung on to a 21-20 lead against Tarragona the following day.

As before, the Catalan teams' hospitality was exceptional, with Ñandu players, trainers and parents being made to feel like part of the family.

Weekend match reports

Ñandu 36 Vilanova 0

VILANOVA were not going to be pushover and, despite the scoreline, they provided Ñandu's sternest test so far in the competition.

After a nervous start, a yellow card added to the visitors' nerves, yet 12 points were scored while they were down to 14 men and this gave Ñandu a platform for victory.

The team found their rhythm and made forays into the opposing 22 , with the sin-bin prop Gregorio Prieto returning to the field and scoring the first of many tries.

This was followed closely by Chema Patino Gil scoring a try, converted by Gabriel Trujillo Mendez.

The second half was a completely different story, with two tries in the first two minutes, by the juggernaut Gregorio and Gabriel Córdoba, converted by Chema and Gabriel Mendez.

The forward dominance in set-pieces added to the revival of the back division, leading to scores from backs Deklan Banister Wells and Gabriel Mendez.

CR Tarragona 20 Ñandu 21

FOLLOWING their hard-fought battle and just one night of recuperation, the challenge of the perennial champions commenced.

After a rousing team talk by coach Jamie Whelan, the boys came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and scored an unanswered 21 points with tries from Facundo Patsouris (2) and Gabriel Mendez, all of which were successfully converted by Chema Gabriel.

The physical and attritional rugby continued into the second half, and the physicality of playing successive, brutal matches started to take its toll on Ñanduas Tarragona fought back to get to within a point of their opponents.

But a defensive platform was created by Ñandu'sforwards, and the backs complemented this with powerful tackles of their own.

These systems were backed up with controlled discipline, and a ferocious appetite to win the ball back.

With Tarragona entrenched on the five-metre line for the last 10 minutes, Ñandu battled to preserve their one-point lead.

It was a defensive master-, with all 15 players putting their bodies on the line and using every ounce of energy to achieve another success.

As previously mentioned, none of this is possible without the help and support of our current sponsors.

But we still have a long way to go, with three trips ahead, and are looking for more help if this incredible journey is to continue.

If you can help in any way, please phone 664 361 086, or email nandurugbytenerife@gmail.com

Short URL: http://www.canarianweekly.com/?p=25260

http://www.canarianweekly.com/nandu-top/
rpiitpuapule

Malaria News Feeds: Drug-Resistant Malaria May Soon Reach the Indian Border - Capital OTC



Drug-Resistant Malaria May Soon Reach the Indian Border

Health experts warn that a drug-resistant strain of malaria may soon reach India after countless efforts to keep it contained in Southeast Asia. Scientists found that the malaria parasite had developed drug resistance across more regions than previously estimated.

Malaria infection is now about to pose "enormous" health threats to the already fragile health system on the Indian subcontinent. India is not at its first drug resistance spread. It already struggles with an ever expanding antibiotic resistance.

Scientists explained that the malaria parasite had developed an increased resistance to artemisinin, the most effective drug in treating the disease. Health experts also believe that the situation is worse in Southeast Asia than in Africa because locals do not have the proper immune response to fight off malaria.

Currently, there are more than 580,000 recorded deaths from malaria worldwide, although the death rate has nearly halved since 2000. However, the efforts to contain and eradicate malaria may face serious challenges as the drug resistant strains make their way out of Southeast Asia.

Drug resistant malaria parasites were only located in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar, but India may soon join in the group. In Myanmar, nearly 950 people infected with malaria from 55 sites displayed resistance to artemisinin. A team of international experts tried to contain the spread within Myanmar's borders and prevent it from reaching India.

However, researchers found traces of drug resistant strains of malaria in the Sagaing region, in Myanmar, about 15 miles (25 km) from the Indian border.

"We can see artemisinin resistance is clearly present quite close to the Indian border, that's clearly a threat and in the future is likely to lead to extension of the problem to neighboring areas,"

Dr Charles Woodrow, a tropical disease expert from Thailand, recently told reporters.

Researchers say that it isn't the first time this region of Asia faces a drug-resistance problem. In 1957, malaria parasites unexpectedly developed resistance to chloroquine, artemisinin's forerunner, around the border between Thailand and Cambodia.

Seventeen years later, the spread reached Africa after affecting several other countries in its way there. As a result, the number of new malaria cases and malaria-related deaths reached new record levels.

African epidemiologists didn't report any case of artemisinin-resistance on the Dark Continent, but they are worried that the history may repeat itself.

All in all, scientists and local authorities call for a "vigorous international effort to address this issue in border regions" before the resistance spread reaches India.

Image Source: Smithsonian Mag

http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=us&usg=AFQjCNEkMLFd-eoyPSlJLjzJO_LHHCu7UQ&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&ei=wOboVIDTDsrx1QaDnIHgCw&url=http://www.capitalotc.com/drug-resistant-malaria-may-soon-reach-the-indian-border/29223/

February 19 2015

rpiitpuapule

Yellow alert for winds in the Canary Islands



waves at san agustin The Canary Islands Government Directorate General for Security and Emergency has terminated an alert for wind at summits and midland areas of Tenerife, Gran Canaria and La Palma, which had been issued yesterday, according to a statement this morning.

Weather-chart-180215 The alert, which mainly affected areas of those islands at altitudes above one thousand meters, was deactivated as of 08.45 this morning. The alert was based on a prediction from the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) and issued under the Canary Islands Emergency Plan for Risk dealing with unfavorable weather conditions.

Aemet reported on Monday that the archipelago was at risk with a yellow alert yesterday and today for strong winds, up to 70 kilometers per hour, as well as coastal phenomena suggesting choppy seas and larger than usual waves.

AEMET's yellow alerts remain in place until Friday, with a probability of rain on Thursday of between 70% & 90%, force 7 winds expected from the north-east and maximum gusts of up to 70km/h. {If you are planning on traveling to The Canary Islands the following link has lots of information on Cheap Child Friendly Hotels in Tenerife.|

If a trip to The Canary Islands is on this years holiday agenda then you will find that the following link has facts and information especially useful to those interested in ##LINK~##.|

Situated closer to North Africa than Spain, the Canary Islands have long been a favourite of the British holidaymaker. If you are considering a trip to The Canary Islands this year then you will find that the following link has information especially relevant to those interested in ##LINK~##.Four meter high waves are possible on the northern coasts.

The beaches are expected to see temperatures of between 12? and 15? in the shade, but in direct sunlight it can easily be 10-15? higher, so don't forget your sun screen.  The water is expected to be a little colder than usual, with a Chill factor of Very Cool. :)

As we head towards the weekend and into next week, temperatures are expected to start to steadily rise back towards our average of 18-24? in the shade.

http://thecanarynews.com/yellow-alert-for-winds-in-the-canary-islands/

February 18 2015

rpiitpuapule

Niger protests against Boko Haram





17 February 2015

Last updated at 13:33



Thousands of people have marched in Niger's capital to protest against Boko Haram, which has launched deadly raids into the country from Nigeria.

The demonstrators were led by Niger's Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and protected by a heavy police presence.

There were fears that the Nigeria-based Islamist group, which is known for suicide attacks, would target the march but it passed peacefully.

Boko Haram has intensified attacks in Niger's border areas in recent weeks.

The march ended outside the parliament building in Niamey, where President Mamahadou Issoufou told the crowds that "Niger will be the tomb" of the Islamists, according to the AFP news agency.

"Nobody attacks Niger without punishment and Boko Haram learned that to its cost last 6 February," Mr Issoufou said, referring to the group's attack on Niger's Diffa region, which was repelled.

"That day, our defence and security forces crushed Boko Haram," he said.

Niger's Defence Minister Mahamadou Karidjo said at the time that 109 Boko Haram fighters were killed in the fighting in Diffa, with four soldiers and one civilian losing their lives.

Demonstrators in Niamey told the BBC they believed Niger's military could prevent Boko Haram gaining a foothold in the country.

"What worries us most is that they are killing our brothers, our sisters, our parents and friends," said one. "That's why we support our military 100% to fight them, to kill them."

Another warned the jihadist group: "Don't touch our country."

He added: "Boko Haram cannot be above a state, it's impossible. They have some showing in an area of the country, but they cannot beat our armed forces."

Boko Haram continued to attack targets within Nigeria over the weekend, overrunning the town of Askira in the country's north-eastern Borno state.

Residents said the militants first attacked Askira on Sunday, shooting at civilians and razing homes, before returning on Monday to occupy the town.

Boko Haram at a glance

Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language

Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state

Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - has also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja

Has abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls

Controls several north-eastern towns

Has launched attacks on Cameroon

Why is Boko Haram so strong?

Soldiers without weapons

Boko Haram has set fire to towns and villages in Nigeria, forcing millions of people to flee their homes, often on foot.

Nigerian authorities estimate that 3.2 million people have been displaced by the group, which has taken control of vast swathes of the country's north-east.

It is now increasingly targeting Niger, Cameroon and Chad after they joined Nigeria in a military coalition against it.

Details emerged on Monday of a US-backed military exercise led by Chad, involving 1,300 soldiers from 28 African and Western countries and designed to strengthen the region's ability to defend against Boko Haram's insurgency.

US military Brigadier General James Linder told Reuters news agency the US will provide communication technology allowing the African nations allied against the Islamists to better co-ordinate their efforts.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for his handling of the crisis, and for the decision to postpone the country's elections six weeks to 28 March over security concerns.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31502172#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

February 15 2015

rpiitpuapule

US family to try rescue effort for S.Sudanese orphans



Ben Curtis / AP

Kim Campbell at the United Nations camp on Dec. 30 before she was forced to leave 10 orphans who were in her care.

By Alexander Smith, NBC News contributor

An American family who fled an orphanage they set up in South Sudan because of the outbreak of fighting there, are planning to spend $6,800 on a private plane to fly back into the violence-ravaged nation to rescue 10 orphans who were in their care.

The Campbells' plan comes after the United Nations said Friday that looters had stolen 3,700 tons of food, enough to feed 220,000 people for a month, from the refugee camp where the orphans are staying.

"[The family] agreed with the Red Cross on a price of $6,800 to get a plane to Malakal," said Freddie Power, president of the North Carolina-based Keeping Hope Alive ministry which is helping the family.

"They need to get to the children because they are running out of food. They are absolutely broken and very stressed."

Brad and Kim Campbell and their two American daughters sold their home in Omaha, Neb., to set up the orphanage in the city of Malakal in 2012. They fled amid fighting on Christmas Day and made it to a refugee camp.

They tried unsuccessfully for 10 days to get travel documents for the orphans, before flying to Nairobi, Kenya, where they are staying.

The family had initially tried to secure a safe passage out of the country for the orphans. This plan was thwarted when the permit office they needed to go to file the proper paperwork was bombed and looted of its computers.

They then turned to the local governor. But he starkly informed them that, as the orphans were South Sudanese, they would be dealt with by South Sudanese officials. The governor told them the orphans would not be allowed to move to another peaceful part of the country, let alone aboard.

There are flights from Nairobi to the South Sudanese capital Juba, but flights to Malakal are hard to come by for civilians.

Power said there was no guarantee, even if they got there, that the Campbells would not again run into difficulties with travel documents.

"It's madness, people are dying everywhere and authorities are worrying about 10 children," Power said.

Government and rebel leaders signed a ceasefire Thursday, but diplomats fear the violence which has left unknown thousands dead and 500,000 displaced may be hard to overcome.

Related:

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/24/22430272-us-missionary-family-plan-6800-rescue-of-orphans-from-south-sudan?lite

February 11 2015

rpiitpuapule

CAR gunmen free kidnapped minister





11 February 2015

Last updated at 14:52



A Central African Republic (CAR) government minister has been freed by gunmen who kidnapped him last month.

Family members confirmed on Wednesday that Armel Mingatoloum Sayo had been freed overnight, but the circumstances of his release remained unclear.

Mr Sayo was pulled from his car in January by gunmen believed to be linked to the country's anti-balaka militia.

The anti-balaka is a mainly Christian militia that formed to oppose the Muslim-led Seleka rebel group.

Mr Sayo's abduction was one of a number in CAR in January - a UN employee and a French aid worker were taken hostage at about the same time. Both were also later released.

The anti-balaka fighters deny involvement in Mr Sayo's abduction.

Mr Sayo's family were in contact with the kidnappers while he was being held but the government denied that a ransom had been paid.

"We have done it with discretion," Nicaise Samedi Karnou, CAR's minister for public security, told the BBC.

"We did not want to do it with the media hype. But I can assure you it's the government that has made this possible. Not a franc has been given for the release of the minister, not a single franc."

Lawless

CAR descended into sectarian violence in December 2013 when the anti-balaka militia attempted to overthrow a government led by the Muslim Seleka rebels from the country's north.

A UN-backed transitional government was put in place in April 2014 and is due to stage elections in 2015, but large parts of the country remain lawless.

UN troops arrested Mr Nagibona, known as General Andjilo, earlier this month.

He was wanted for alleged murder and rape in connection with attacks on minority Muslims in December 2013, and also faces charges of rebellion and looting.

The conflict in CAR has killed thousands of people and displaced about one million.

The UN currently has about 8,700 troops there and plans to bolster its presence in the country to 10,000 by April.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-31415276#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

February 08 2015

rpiitpuapule

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 04 2015

rpiitpuapule

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

February 01 2015

rpiitpuapule

Science Daily - Malaria: Treating Cerebral Malaria: New Molecular Target Identified

A drug already approved for treating other diseases may be useful as a treatment for cerebral malaria, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. They discovered a novel link between food intake during the early stages of infection and the outcome of the disease, identifying two molecular pathways that could serve as new targets for treatment.

"We have known for a long time that nutrition can affect the course of infectious disease, but we were surprised at how rapidly a mild reduction in food intake could improve outcome in a mouse malaria model," said senior author James Mitchell, associate professor of genetics and complex diseases. "However, the real importance of this work is the identification of unexpected molecular pathways underlying cerebral malaria that we can now target with existing drugs."

The study appears online January 30, 2015 in Nature Communications.

Cerebral malaria -- a severe form of the disease -- is the most serious consequence of infection by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, resulting in seizures, coma, and death. Currently there is a lack of safe treatment options for cerebral malaria, particularly for use in children, who represent the majority of cases. Even patients who receive early treatment with standard antimalarial chemotherapeutic agents run a high risk of dying, despite clearance of the parasite. Moreover, around 25% of survivors develop neurological complications and cognitive impairment.

Lead authors Pedro Mejia and J. Humberto Treviño-Villarreal, both researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that leptin--a hormone secreted from fat tissue with roles in suppressing appetite, but also in activating adaptive immune and inflammatory responses--is increased upon infection in a mouse model of cerebral malaria, and turns out to be a major bad actor in promoting neurological symptoms and death. Remarkably, Mejia, Treviño-Villarreal and colleagues showed that reducing leptin using a variety of means, either genetically, pharmacologically, or nutritionally by reducing food intake during the first two days of infection, protected against cerebral malaria.

The researchers also found that leptin acted primarily on cytotoxic T cells by turning on the well-studied mTOR protein, for which pharmacologic inhibitors are readily available. In their animal model, treating mice with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin protected them against the neurological complications of cerebral malaria. Protection was due in part to a preservation of the blood brain barrier, which prevented the entry of blood cells carrying the parasites into the brain. As rapamycin is already FDA-approved for use in humans, trials in humans for cerebral malaria treatment with this drug may be possible, according to the researchers.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/health_medicine/malaria/~3/RkAn5LN7kBM/150130082100.htm

January 18 2015

rpiitpuapule

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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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
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You Don't Want To Monkey Around With Monkey Malaria



The long-tailed macaque carries a virulent strain of malaria that is responsible for an increasing number of human infections in Malaysia. Shankar S./Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Shankar S./Flickr

The long-tailed macaque carries a virulent strain of malaria that is responsible for an increasing number of human infections in Malaysia.

Shankar S./Flickr

In Southeast Asia, the battle against malaria is growing even more complicated. And it's all because of monkeys, who carry a form of malaria that until a few years ago wasn't a problem for people.

"According to the textbooks there are only four species of plasmodium parasites that cause malaria in humans," says Balbir Singh, the director of the Malaria Research Center at the University of Malaysia in Sarawak. Now a fifth malaria parasite, called plasmodium knowlesi, has become the leading cause of malaria hospitalizations in Malaysian Borneo.

"At some hospitals in Malaysian Borneo," Singh says, "Up to 95 percent, even 100 percent of the cases are actually this monkey malaria."

The knowlesi parasite used to be found only in monkeys. But as farmers have cleared more land for palm oil plantations and new hydroelectric dams are built, the area's long-tailed macaques are being squeezed out of their original habitats. So the monkeys end up living closer to people. And the mosquitoes that transmit the parasite are now biting and infecting humans.

It's a tough malaria to deal with. The mosquito that carries monkey malaria, Anopheles leucosphyrus, feeds mainly at night and outdoors. So the traditional anti-malaria campaigns, which hand out bed nets and spray homes with insecticides, won't help.

What's more, lab technicians in Malaysia often misidentify this new parasite as the more benign plasmodium malarie. The milder form can be treated with pills; monkey malaria often requires hospitalization and a regimen of intravenous drugs. That's because of its aggressive nature. The knowlesi parasite reproduces every 24 hours in the patient's blood while the milder plasmodium malarie takes 3 days to replicate. So monkey malaria comes on fast and can quickly make a person terribly sick. It also has the potential to kill, as do some other strains of malaria. But plasmodium malarie does not.

The fact that the plasmodium knowlesi parasite resides in monkeys also makes it difficult to stop the spread of the disease. In the other forms of malaria, wiping out the parasite in humans can bring transmission in an area to a halt.

With monkey malaria this isn't possible because of the large number of long-tailed macaques in the Malaysian jungle. Singh notes that they're a protected species so any temptation to attack the disease by reducing the monkey population probably isn't feasible.

Singh predicts that the number of cases of monkey malaria will only go up as human development pushes further into the habitat of the long-tailed macaque. The parasite doesn't make the macaques sick, so the parasite and the monkeys get along peacefully. The problems arise when the people are linked to the monkey malaria chain.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/12/11/369666584/you-dont-want-to-monkey-around-with-monkey-malaria?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria
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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
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Malaria No More News

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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

January 15 2015

rpiitpuapule

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

January 11 2015

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You Don't Want To Monkey Around With Monkey Malaria



The long-tailed macaque carries a virulent strain of malaria that is responsible for an increasing number of human infections in Malaysia. Shankar S./Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption Shankar S./Flickr

The long-tailed macaque carries a virulent strain of malaria that is responsible for an increasing number of human infections in Malaysia.

Shankar S./Flickr

In Southeast Asia, the battle against malaria is growing even more complicated. And it's all because of monkeys, who carry a form of malaria that until a few years ago wasn't a problem for people.

"According to the textbooks there are only four species of plasmodium parasites that cause malaria in humans," says Balbir Singh, the director of the Malaria Research Center at the University of Malaysia in Sarawak. Now a fifth malaria parasite, called plasmodium knowlesi, has become the leading cause of malaria hospitalizations in Malaysian Borneo.

"At some hospitals in Malaysian Borneo," Singh says, "Up to 95 percent, even 100 percent of the cases are actually this monkey malaria."

The knowlesi parasite used to be found only in monkeys. But as farmers have cleared more land for palm oil plantations and new hydroelectric dams are built, the area's long-tailed macaques are being squeezed out of their original habitats. So the monkeys end up living closer to people. And the mosquitoes that transmit the parasite are now biting and infecting humans.

It's a tough malaria to deal with. The mosquito that carries monkey malaria, Anopheles leucosphyrus, feeds mainly at night and outdoors. So the traditional anti-malaria campaigns, which hand out bed nets and spray homes with insecticides, won't help.

What's more, lab technicians in Malaysia often misidentify this new parasite as the more benign plasmodium malarie. The milder form can be treated with pills; monkey malaria often requires hospitalization and a regimen of intravenous drugs. That's because of its aggressive nature. The knowlesi parasite reproduces every 24 hours in the patient's blood while the milder plasmodium malarie takes 3 days to replicate. So monkey malaria comes on fast and can quickly make a person terribly sick. It also has the potential to kill, as do some other strains of malaria. But plasmodium malarie does not.

The fact that the plasmodium knowlesi parasite resides in monkeys also makes it difficult to stop the spread of the disease. In the other forms of malaria, wiping out the parasite in humans can bring transmission in an area to a halt.

With monkey malaria this isn't possible because of the large number of long-tailed macaques in the Malaysian jungle. Singh notes that they're a protected species so any temptation to attack the disease by reducing the monkey population probably isn't feasible.

Singh predicts that the number of cases of monkey malaria will only go up as human development pushes furt

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/12/11/369666584/you-dont-want-to-monkey-around-with-monkey-malaria?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=malaria

January 08 2015

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Malaria No More News

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