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Friday, 19 February


Torrential downpours trigger extensive flooding in Nelson city and Tasman district, New Zealand The Watchers » Latest articles

Heavy rainfall over the last two days triggered extensive surface flooding in parts of Nelson city and Tasman district in New Zealand on February 18, 2016, local civil defence and emergency authorities reported. Reported flooding resulted from a period of severe...... Read more »

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Thursday, 18 February


January Breaks Global Temperature Records Fire Earth

January 2016 temperature breaks 2007 record —NOAA The January 2016 globally-averaged temperature across land and ocean surfaces (SST) was 1.04°C (1.87°F) above the 20th century average of 12.0°C (53.6°F), the highest for January in the 137-year period of record, breaking the previous record of 2007 by 0.16°C (0.29°F). This departure from average is the second […]


Indigenous land and forest rights in the spotlight during pope’s visit to Mexico Mongabay Environmental News

Green wooden crosses line the edges of the open air auditorium overlooking the highlands of Chiapas, in southern Mexico. Below the cement floor lies the tomb where 45 Maya Tzotzil children, women and men are buried after having been massacred in Acteal by a paramilitary group in 1997. Killed while they were praying in the local chapel, the Acteal massacre victims belonged to Las Abejas Civil Society, a grassroots faith-based pacifist organization formed five years earlier. “We're still here, taking care of the survivors and of the blood of the martyrs,” Las Abejas president Sebastián Pérez Vásquez told Mongabay and a handful of other publications during a visit to Acteal last week, a few days before Pope Francis' February 15 visit to Chiapas. [caption id="attachment_179690" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Las Abejas Civil Society association president Sebastián Pérez Vásquez welcomes the pope's message speaking up for people and the planet. Photo by Sandra Cuffe.[/caption] The December 22, 1997 massacre took place in the context of the Mexican government's counterinsurgency campaign in Chiapas following the Zapatista uprising of 1994, when a guerrilla army of thousands of Mayans descended on cities and towns in the state, demanding land, autonomy, and democracy. Las Abejas supports the Zapatistas' vision and demands, but does not support armed struggle. However, that did not stop the pacifist group from becoming a target in the ongoing low-intensity conflict. Justice for the massacre of unarmed villagers continues to be a central focus for Las Abejas, but the group also defends land rights and…


Temperatures over 35 degrees will halt felling of Leard State Forest Front Line Action on Coal

Media Release from the Leard Forest Research Node

Little lorikeetTemperatures over 35 degrees will halt the felling of Leard State Forest, under conditions imposed on the Boggabri and Maules Creek Coal mines, but community observers have extreme doubts that the condition will be observed, say members of the Leard Forest Research Node.

“The condition is there because over 35 degrees many animals are simply too stressed to flee from the destruction of their nests and habitat,” said Anna Christie of the Leard Forest Research Node, a community group established to conduct observations and scientific analysis of mine impacts at Leard Forest.

“Each mine has its own weather station and they told the Department of Planning they would not even accept eachother’s weather station readings. We fear if the temperature limit is invoked, Idemitsu Resources and Whitehaven Coal companies will start disputing the temperature and lead to a collapse in regulation of this condition.”

The community is reliant on two University of NSW weather stations, at North Avoca (Elfin Crossing) adjacent to Maules Creek, and Middle Creek, both easily accessible via the OzForecast Narrabri web page.

“We have heard that 28 ecologists are on hand to observe the felling of Leard Forest and ensure it takes place according to the conditions,” said Ms Christie. “But the community has no confidence in these consultants nor indeed any scientific information issued by Idemitsu or Whitehaven Coal.”

“Also Idemitsu has applied for planning approval to dig a new bore field...


Visualizing milestones of the ExoMars 2016 mission The Watchers » Latest articles

The European Space Agency (ESA) has established the ExoMars programme to research the question if life ever existed on Mars. The programme will investigate the Martian environment through two missions. The first one, consisting of an Orbiter plus and Entry, Descent...... Read more »


Creating the Enemy: Adding it all up — Head Space

When psychopathic individuals inject themselves into positions of power, they need to recruit fellow deviants or face the scrutiny of decent human beings. The tipping point of pure corruption happens when good people are forced out of the system due to a crisis of conscience or by brute force. Flashback: Obama Feinstein Silent – Rahm Emanuel’s […]


Major Disaster Declared for Alaska Fire Earth

Federal Disaster Declared in the State of Alaska Alaska Severe Storm (DR-4257) Incident period: December 12, 2015 to December 15, 2015 Major Disaster Declaration declared on February 17, 2016 The White House has declared a major disaster exists in the State of Alaska in the area affected by a severe storm during the period of […]


TAIZ ZOO: ANTI TERRORIST POLICE & TROLLS BOTCH OPERATION. Speak Up For The Voiceless – International Animal Rescue Foundation – Environmental News and Media




Wednesday 17th at 14:30hrs a member of our team was visited by the Anti Terrorist Police of the United Kingdom. The allegation that was made (and we know it was), as we hold that evidence, was in relation to our own desperate pleas to bring aid, veterinary assistant, and medication to suffering and starving animals at the Zoological Gardens in Yemen, Taiz. The allegation is listed below for your information based on a communication[s] made public on the 3rd or 4th February 2016. The complaint was picked from Twitter that we have been monitoring for some time. The officer and branch we have not identified in that communication. [See data below relating to that visit, names are withheld]. (Image: Third above party image not-related to I.A.R.F.A)


Image: Malicious complaints published on line, Anti Terror Police had to investigate. 


[Name withheld], [accused name withheld], [officer and dept name withheld]. “Hi I believe that [name withheld]”, is organizing a heavily armed gang of men, or is...


Nanomedicine Advances in Immunology Head Space

Nanotechnology treatment reprograms immune cells to reverse autoimmune disease Parvus Therapeutics today announced the publication in Nature of a seminal paper describing the discovery and applications of a novel therapeutic approach employing nanomedicines, referred to as “Navacims”, to reprogram white blood cells to become regulatory cells capable of blunting autoimmune responses and restoring the equilibrium […]


Biological Health Hazard – Chikungunya Outbreak: (Update) Americas Head Space

CHIKUNGUNYA (04): AMERICAS ************************** Published Date: 2016-02-17 05:31:35 Subject: PRO/EDR> Chikungunya (04): Americas Archive Number: 20160217.4027484 In this update: Cases in various countries: Regional summaries — Americas — Regional summary WHO/PAHO report Cases in various countries not mentioned above or more recent case numbers. Mexico and Central America — Mexico – national – Tabasco state […]


Biological Health Hazard – Zika Virus Outbreak (update): Americas, Asia, Europe, Pacific Head Space

ZIKA VIRUS (08): AMERICAS, ASIA, EUROPE, PACIFIC ************************************************ Published Date: 2016-02-17 05:17:20 Subject: PRO/EDR> Zika virus (08): Americas, Asia, Europe, Pacific Archive Number: 20160217.4026836 In this update: [1] Cases in various countries: Americas [WHO has provided an excellent question and answer video applicable to the situation in the Americas:] Mexico and Central America — […]


Harmony and Newcrest plan 65km pipeline Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

Business Day Live |17.02.2016

HARMONY Gold and its partner, Australia’s Newcrest Mining, plan to build a pipeline traversing about 65km of Papua New Guinea to pump a copper and gold concentrate from their Wafi mine to the port of Lae.

The Wafi pipeline will be far shorter than the 529km pipeline Anglo American built to pump iron-ore slurry to the coast. Another critical difference is that Harmony does not foresee that permit challenges will stall its project — something that gave Anglo executives sleepless nights and led to project cost and time overruns.

Johannes van Heerden, the CEO of Harmony’s East Asia unit, said the pipeline would be installed along areas that already had infrastructure in the form of power lines or a highway.

While he was sanguine on the pipeline, experience of operating in Papua New Guinea, where Harmony and Newcrest built and operate the loss-making Hidden Valley gold and silver mine, has meant the partners have given themselves a two-year window to secure approvals from a broad range of stakeholders for the Wafi mine.

The mistakes the partners made at Hidden Valley, which is under consideration for sale, closure or reinvestment, have proved an expensive but valuable lesson in building and operating a big mine in Papua New Guinea.


Tropical Cyclone "Winston" to u-turn westward and affect Niue and Vava'u islands The Watchers » Latest articles

Tropical Cyclone "Winston" is currently quasi-stationary system over the waters of South Pacific, over 200 km (124.3 miles) away from Niue. It will intensify over the next 48 hours and become equivalent to a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson...... Read more »

Shallow M6.1 earthquake hit off the coast of Halmahera, Indonesia The Watchers » Latest articles

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by Geoscience Australia as M6.1 hit off the coast of Halmahera, North Maluku province of Indonesia at 17:26 UTC on February 17, 2016. The agency is reporting a depth of 0 km. USGS is reporting M6.0 at a depth of 10 km (6.2...... Read more »

Massive landslide in Turkey captured on video The Watchers » Latest articles

A massive landslide occurred at Yaglidere in Giresun, Turkey during the last week. The event was filmed, and uploaded on Youtube on February 11, 2016. Video credit: Hüseyin Yamak via YouTube According to expert's interpretation of the event, the landslide...... Read more »


One step closer to keeping fracking out of Prince George’s County! Chesapeake Climate Action Network

This morning, the Prince George’s County Council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZED) Committee voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass bill 3-2016, a defacto ban on fracking in the county.

We are one step closer to keeping fracking out of Prince George’s! The full council will take the bill up in early March.

lehman glaros umd students

Councilwoman Lehman and Councilwoman Glaros, and students from University of Maryland College park, who joined us to testify and show their support.

The bill, introduced by Councilwoman Mary Lehman on February 2nd, and co-sponsored by Councilwoman Dannielle Glaros, Councilman Mel Franklin, Councilwoman Deni Tavares, and Councilman Todd Turner, would amend the county’s zoning ordinance to prohibit fracking. Montgomery County moved to do this last year.

As she introduced the bill at today’s hearing, Councilwoman Lehman referenced a heart wrenching conversation she’d had with Pennsylvania resident and fracking victim Craig Stevens just before walking in. Craig’s takeaway from years of living with the health effects of fracking in his own backyard? “If Pennsylvania, after 12 years, still can’t safely regulate fracking, there’s no way Maryland can. It can’t be done.”

CCAN and our allies at Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club and GCAN first began talks with Councilwoman Lehman shortly after helping Maryland pass...


Testifying for the REDUCE Act We All Live Downstream

By Troiano Rivera, Baltimore Field Manager

As a field manager for Clean Water Action, I’ve crisscrossed the State of Maryland many times, knocking on doors and recruiting citizens to join me in Clean Water Action’s fight to protect our environment. I’ve met a lot of really interesting people with this job but yesterday was the first time I’ve ever been able to share Clean Water Action’s mission with members of the Maryland General Assembly!

I was honored to testify before the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee yesterday in support of the REDUCE Act (Senate Bill 398). This Bill supports information sharing about diesel trucks to enhance community engagement in decision about new industrial development. The goal is effective community engagement between neighborhoods, industry, and government when new air pollution permits are being considered.

Supporting this bill was a no-brainer for me. Many of the communities I have worked in know the effects of pollution firsthand and they are eager to have their voices heard. They also know where their kids play, the route they take as they walk to school, and where they hangout. This is why their input on new air pollution permits is vital.

I’m proud to work for an organization that believes that one’s health and quality of life should not be determined by his or her zip code and I was proud to support the REDUCE Act yesterday in Annapolis. This bill will ensure that every community’s health is treated with equity and integrity.

Learn more about the REDUCE Act here.


Coffee’s Invisible Carbon Footprint EcoWatch


Think of the environmental impacts of coffee and your mind likely goes to...


A Message To The “Order Followers” And The Geoengineers, Stop Facilitating Tyranny Geoengineering Watch

447How can so few at the top exercise so much power and injustice over so many? The blind obedience of the "order followers", this is the mechanism by which total tyranny has taken control. The brief moving statement below and the powerful short videos following it, are from a father and devoted activist. His message is extremely


Climate Justice Forum: Idaho Oil & Gas Resistance, Koch Brothers Militia, Federal Fossil Fuels, & California & Utah Protests 2-17-16 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

The Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Climate Justice Forum radio program hosted by Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) discusses southwest Idaho oil and gas legislation and resistance, links between the Bundy militia and the Koch brothers, a Supreme Court decision and Congressional bill addressing fossil fuel development, a federal oil and gas lease auction protest in Utah, and a Rising Tide action at the California Public Utilities Commission building.  Broadcast on progressive, volunteer, community station KRFP Radio Free Moscow every Wednesday between 1:30 and 3 pm PST, live at 90.3 FM and online, the show covers continent-wide climate activism and community opposition to extreme energy projects, thanks to the generous, anonymous listener who adopted program host Helen Yost as her KRFP DJ.

Filed under: Climate Justice Forum


Is Climate Change to Blame for More Intense Hurricanes and Typhoons? EcoWatch


With hurricanes and typhoons becoming more intense, we wanted to ...


Torrential downpour floods Córdoba, Argentina The Watchers » Latest articles

Heavy rainfall and strong winds battered the city of Córdoba, Argentina on the night of February 15, 2016. Flooding has been reported across the affected areas, and 4 deaths resulted from extreme weather related incidents. Over 70 mm (2.8 inches) of rainfall...... Read more »


Wednesday Evening Sandpoint WIRT Gathering Wild Idaho Rising Tide

As a reminder, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) welcomes you at the monthly, third Wednesday, Sandpoint climate activist gathering at 7 pm this Wednesday, February 17, in the Eichardt’s Pub upstairs game room, 212 Cedar Street in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Please call 208-301-8039 for agendas, carpools, and directions for this meeting and other events across the region.  At this convergence, we will be crafting plans and delegating work on:

* Carpools to and participation in the Don’t Frack Idaho Statehouse Rally! in Boise on Monday, February 22

* An open-house event for area activists at the new WIRT Sandpoint office

* Screenings and panel discussions of This Changes Everything on March 23 in Moscow and March 24 in Sandpoint

* The Fifth Annual Celebration of Wild Idaho Rising Tide benefit concert on April 2 in Moscow

* Direct action training camps, educational workshops, presentations, peaceful protests, and anti-fossil fuel campaigns in spring and summer 2016

We need your input at the table and on the ground!  Please bring your friends, family, ideas, and energies to emerging plans for upcoming, frontline demonstrations of dirty energy resistance.  Thanks!

Filed under: Newsletters ...


World’s Tallest Solar Tower to Supply 120,000 Homes With Renewable Energy EcoWatch


Israel's 787-foot concentrated solar power tower will bring up to 121 megawatts of...


What’s the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics? EcoWatch


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are food for...


25 Scientific Facts That Will Blow Your Mind EcoWatch


Did you know the human brain has more synapses than the...


Nestlé Pumps Millions of Gallons for Free While Flint Residents Pays for Poisoned Water EcoWatch


As Flint residents are forced to drink, cook with and even bathe in bottled water, Nestle is allowed to...


Bernie Sanders: ‘If We Can Rebuild Villages in Iraq, We Can Damn Well Rebuild Flint, Michigan’ EcoWatch


"It is beyond my comprehension that in the year 2016 in the United States of America we...


Cancún's mangroves are destroyed. But hope grows again! The Ecologist

Mexico's tourist resort of Cancún has just lost one of its greatest natural riches, writes Miguel Rivas: 57 hectares of species rich mangrove forest, bulldozed in a massive overnight attack by property developers in league with local officials. But people power can still win the battle and see the Tajamar mangroves restored.


Record rainfall lashes Pacific Northwest, US, more precipitation on the way The Watchers » Latest articles

The "Pineapple Express" storm system lashed the Pacific Northwest with an abundant amount of rain over the last few days. Several high precipitation records were broken, and this winter is set to become one of the wettest winters on record. Rivers...... Read more »


Lawsuit Filed Over Oklahoma’s ‘Fracking’ Earthquakes as Its Third Largest Quake Is Felt in 7 Other States EcoWatch


“The science laid out in our case is clear, Oklahoma may be on the verge of...


ExxonMobil, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is EcoWatch


If ExxonMobil thinks anyone is going to believe that it is sincerely interested in combating climate change, it needs to...


Radioactive Leak at Indian Point Nuclear Plant Shows ‘We Are Flirting With Catastrophe’ EcoWatch


Gov. Cuomo has called for Indian Point nuclear power plant to be shut down after...


BLM Oil and Gas Auction Disrupted in UT, Activist Purchases Parcels Earth First! Newswire

by Sage Grouse Rebel / Canyon County Rising Tide

Keep It In The Ground protest in Salt Lake City 2/16/16

Keep It In The Ground protest in Salt Lake City 2/16/16

Today, over one hundred people erupted into song and disrupted the Utah Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) oil and gas lease sale in Salt Lake City, Utah. The auction was then closed to the public as the entire audience was escorted outside.

Activist and author, Terry Tempest Williams, attended and purchased several parcels totaling 1,751 acres in Grand County, Utah through a company she formed called Tempest Exploration. One was an 800 acre parcel 14 miles from and within view of Arches National Park that was leased for $1.50 / acre / year. The group of grassroots organizations, representing a broad-reaching alliance of community members, packed and overflowed the auction room. They rallied and marched outside, and then came into the auction, spontaneou...


Terry Tempest Williams Ups the Ante on the ‘Crime of America’s Lands Being Sold to the Highest Bidder’ EcoWatch


More than 100 climate activists disrupted an oil and gas lease auction in...


Science Used to Regulate Roundup is Outdated, Says New Study Latest News

Environmental health scientists call for expanded research and monitoring of world’s most widely used herbicide


Genocide in Canada Fire Earth

4,232 Indigenous women missing and murdered in Canada since 1980 Canada’s minister for the status of women, Patty Hajdu, has told reporters that the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the country is more than 4,000, based on the research from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), said a report. Activists working […]


High-Profile Trial of the ‘Heathrow 13’ Enlists Climate Scientist as Expert Witness EcoWatch


The high-profile trial of the “Heathrow 13” has gone down the rare route of...


Gates Foundation: stop 'biopirated' GMO banana feeding trials The Ecologist

The Gates Foundation has received a 57,000 strong petition denouncing its support for a 'biopirated' GM banana program in Africa, and calling on it to suspend a feeding trial on US students, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The banana threatens both the health of the students, say campaigners, and the future of African agriculture.


Turkish Police Fire Teargas on Gold Mine Protesters Earth First! Newswire

from The Guardian

 Reports said that locals had parked vehicles in key locations and on the hills to ensure the heavy vehicles of Cengiz Holding are not able to begin work on the project. Photograph: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

Reports said that locals had parked vehicles in key locations and on the hills to ensure the heavy vehicles of Cengiz Holding are not able to begin work on the project. Photograph: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish police fired teargas Wednesday to disperse hundreds of protesters trying to prevent a gold mine from being built in an ecologically pristine area in the Black Sea region, an AFP photographer said.

There has been a growing standoff over plans by the Cengiz Holding conglomerate to build the mine in the Artvin region on the Black Sea.

Environmental activists have put up barricades, set rubbish bins on fire and made bonfires with tree branches in a bid to block construction work.

Meanwhile, police have sent reinforc...


Global Disasters/ Significant Events – Feb. 17, 2016 Fire Earth

One million children require treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa: UNICEF Two years of erratic rain and drought have left about one million children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF said today. Across the region, millions of children are at risk from hunger, […]


Bulgarian Motorway Poised to Carve up Wildlife Haven Earth First! Newswire

by Arthur Nelsen / The Guardian


Bulgaria is planning to carve a motorway to Greece through a spectacular gorge famed for its golden eagles, griffon vultures and peregrine falcons, in defiance of an EU order to tunnel the road.

The 11-mile Kresna valley is also a crucial migratory path for bears, wolves and jackals, with a warm micro-climate that bridges the southern fringe of the Balkans with the northern tip of the Mediterranean.

The project, which would link Germany to Greece, is thought so vital to tourism, trade and transport that the EU is offering €673m (£530m) of grants towards it between now and 2020.

But local people say it will bring “desertification” to their villages, sparking demographic upheaval in a region where young people are already upping sticks for countries suc...

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Wednesday, 17 February


Dairy farmers' uprisings lead the way to a democratic world food system The Ecologist

The increasingly militant protests by dairy farmers against low prices forced on them by the corporate 'free market' represent serious and effective resistance against the 'free trade' agenda being forced on the world by neoliberal governments, writes David Miller. They are the first steps to building a new global food system that respects food, people, culture and environment.


War crime? Israel destroys Gaza crops with aerial herbicide spraying The Ecologist

Gaza farmers have lost 187 hectares of crops to aerial spraying of herbicides by Israel hundreds of meters within the territory's borders. The action, carried out in the name of 'security', further undermines Gaza's ability to feed itself and may permanently deprive farmers of their livelihoods. It may also represent a war crime under the 1977 Protocol to the Geneva Conventions.

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Tuesday, 16 February


Maules Creek farmers suffer coal impacts, while Leard Forest falls Front Line Action on Coal

Media Release from the Leard Forest Research Node

BlastMaules Creek is in security lockdown on the eve of extermination of possibly a further 500 hectares of Leard State Forest, to expand the Maules Creek and Boggabri coal mines.

“Mine security monitors all traffic at checkpoints within a 25km radius of the mines”, said Libby Laird, of the Maules Creek Country Womens Association. “Vehicles and their passengers, including children, are routinely photographed by security personnel who also employ aggressive driving tactics to cause drivers to slow down to be identified.”

Meanwhile, affected farmers bear the economic and health brunt of living next to the mines.

Twice since 15th January, neighbouring residents have been exposed directly to blasting fumes, with one local seeking medical attention.

Sydney University postgraduate ecology student, Amelie Mareva, and biology student Naomi Jones accompanied a group of experts and community members who toured coal mine impacted farms last week.

Although their primary focus is a study of dust impacts on pollination, and ambient dust measurement, they also were on site to observe a double blast at Maules Creek mine.

Having heard about the two toxic encounters with blast fumes during the weeks prior, Ms Mareva’s team of observers were careful to note the wind speed to ensure they could make a quick getaway from any coming fumes.

“Whitehaven should desist from blasting when the wind is gusting...


Rubber Company Denies Illegal Logging Illegal Logging Portal

A rubber plantation in Mondolkiri province targeted by a new government task force sweeping the eastern provinces for illicit timber stocks has denied any involvement in the illegal logging trade.

The Unigreen Resources rubber farm is one of several sites authorities have visited across the eastern pro­vinces since Prime Minister Hun Sen announced the creation of the task force in mid-January and put National Military Police Com­mander Sao Sokha in charge.

In a letter to General Sokha re­leased to the media on Monday, a Uni­green representative, Lam Kim­chean, denied any illegal activity.

He said local media reports that the firm had dealings with well-known timber magnate Try Pheap or businessman Tob Viyada, or that the task force found a cache of il­legally sourced logs on its property on January 29, were all false.

“We believe those rumors are created by the real culprit in order to direct the attention to Uni­green,” he said. “We have no interest in tim­ber and no link with any timber com­pany. We only want to develop our rub­ber plantation according to our ma­ster plan, and these false ac­cu­sations have hindered our progress.”

Mr. Kimchean said authorities in­spected a pile of timber near, but not on, its plantation on January 27.

He added that the firm had actually been telling local authorities about il­legal logging taking place around it for the past two years, but to no avail.

Mr. Pheap, a frequent target of il­legal logging claims himself, is­sued his own statement last month denying reports that he had any ties to Unigreen.

Contacted on Monday, deputy Mondol­kiri governor Svay Sam Eang said authorities did indeed find logs on Unigreen’s property last month—he could not recall the exact date or amount—and sus­pected that they were felled by a company it hired to...

Sunday, 14 February


Zika spreads like wildfire, and there are more questions than answers CHANGING TIMES

_88082024_zika_virus_past_present_624_01022016The Zika virus is spreading like wildfire in Brazil and other countries of South America, and is causing international alarm. The symptoms of the virus itself are usually relatively mild and it is suspicions that Zika may be causing complications after infection that are causing the most concern.

However, some specialists have cast doubt on the suspected link between Zika (ZIKV) and the birth defect microcephaly, saying there could be other reasons for the increase in microcephaly cases in northern Brazil.

It is the suspicion that Zika is causing microcephaly that prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a global health emergency.

It is also believed that Zika may be to blame for an increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), in which the body’s immune system attacks peripheral nerves. The syndrome can cause devastating paralysis, and can be fatal.

Colombian health officials say that three people who died after contracting GBS were infected with the Zika virus.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier urges caution, however, and says the connection between Zika and GBS has not yet been proven.

The Venezuelan authorities report that three people have died from complications related to the Zika virus and officials in Brazil are investigating three deaths that they also think may be Zika-related.

There is now active local transmission of the Zika virus in 33 countries and territories, mostly in the Americas, and there are millions of reported cases.


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