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Red Cross says delivers medical aid to Taiz in Yemen 'breakthrough'
13 Feb 2016 at 4:01am
The Red Cross said on Saturday it had entered the war-torn Yemeni city of Taiz for the first time since August, delivering three tonnes of life-saving medical supplies to four hospitals treating the wounded. Taiz has been one of the hardest-fought fronts in a war in which local militias and forces loyal to a Saudi-backed government ousted by Houthi rebels last March are seeking to fight their way back to the capital Sanaa. "This is a breakthrough and we hope that today's operation will be followed by many more to come," Antoine Grand, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Yemen, said in a statement.
Soccer-I'm 2-0 up in battle against cancer, says Cruyff
13 Feb 2016 at 3:29am
Dutch soccer great Johan Cruyff says he is "2-0 up in the first half" of his fight against lung cancer and confident of winning the battle. A former smoker who had heart surgery in 1991, the 68-year-old former Barcelona coach was diagnosed with cancer in October. "After several medical treatments I can say the results have been very positive, thanks to the excellent work of the doctors, the affection of the people and my positive mentality," triple Ballon d'Or winner Cruyff said in a statement.
Urbanization leads to change in type of bacteria in the home
13 Feb 2016 at 3:25am
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Whether it's a jungle hut or a high-rise apartment, your home is covered in bacteria, and new research from the Amazon suggests city dwellers might want to open a window.
Guillain-Barre on rise in five Latam countries, no proven link to Zika - WHO
13 Feb 2016 at 2:22am
By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - A neurological disorder suspected of links to the mosquito-borne Zika virus is on the rise in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday. The rare Guillain-Barre syndrome, in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system, causes gradual weakness in the legs, arms and upper body and sometimes leads to total paralysis. "In the context of the Zika virus outbreak, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname and Venezuela have reported an increase of GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome)," the WHO said in a weekly report on Zika virus now circulating in 34 countries, including 26 in the Americas.
Athletes concerned about Zika before Rio Olympic test event
13 Feb 2016 at 1:20am
International athletes set to compete in an Olympic diving test event in Rio de Janeiro next week have asked about risks linked to the Zika virus, but have not canceled participation because of the outbreak, one of the organizers said on Friday. "They are concerned and are being given advice on how to proceed," Cassius Duran, a former Brazilian diver, told reporters at the inauguration of the remodeled Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, where the Olympic diving will be held in August. Duran said organizers were telling athletes to use repellents to protect themselves against mosquito bites, the primary means of transmission of the virus.
Hawaii declares emergency over mosquito-borne illnesses
12 Feb 2016 at 7:37pm
HONOLULU (AP) ? Hawaii Gov. David Ige declared a state of emergency to fight mosquito borne illnesses including dengue fever and the Zika virus.
US scientists travel to Colombia for Zika collaboration
12 Feb 2016 at 6:23pm
American scientists traveled to Colombia to investigate the mosquito-borne Zika virus and help find a vaccine for the disease that is plaguing Latin America, the US ambassador to Bogota said Friday. The US experts are studying "the possibility of a vaccine" alongside specialists from the Colombian Health Ministry, Ambassador Kevin Whitaker said from Bogota, capital of the second worst-hit nation. "It's a process that can take months," Whitaker said, without providing details on the financial cost of sending the US scientists.
Zika virus may hide in organs protected from the immune system
12 Feb 2016 at 5:06pm
By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Zika virus may be particularly adept at entrenching itself in parts of the body that are shielded from the immune system, making it harder to fight off and possibly lengthening the timeframe in which it can be transmitted, top U.S. experts said on Friday. Researchers reported that Zika virus can be detected in semen for 62 days after a person is infected, adding to evidence of the virus?s presence in fetal brain tissue, placenta and amniotic fluid.
Zika pushes 38 percent of U.S. businesses surveyed to let workers defer trips
12 Feb 2016 at 5:06pm
Some 38 percent of U.S. multinationals, universities and non-profits surveyed by an arm of the State Department are allowing female employees to defer travel or leave countries where the Zika virus has been reported. A fifth of the 321 respondents said they were giving male employees similar options, a sign of how employers' travel policies are diverging as they react to the mosquito-borne virus and uncertainty about the way it is transmitted. Scientists are investigating a potential link between Zika infections of pregnant women and more than 4,000 suspected cases in Brazil of microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems.
Zika link to birth defects could be proven within weeks: WHO
12 Feb 2016 at 5:06pm
By Stephanie Nebehay and Ben Hirschler GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - The suspected link between the Zika virus and two neurological disorders, the birth defect microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome, could be confirmed within weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday. A sharp increase in microcephaly cases in Brazil has triggered a global health emergency over the mosquito-borne virus, which had previously been viewed as causing only a relatively mild illness, and spurred a race to develop a vaccine, medicines and better diagnostic tests.
Factbox: Why the Zika virus is causing alarm
12 Feb 2016 at 5:06pm
(Reuters) - Global health officials have said that the Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is rapidly spreading in the Americas and could infect up to 4 million people. The virus is transmitted to people through the bite of infected female Aedes mosquitoes, the same type of mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said Aedes mosquitoes are found in all countries in the Americas except Canada and continental Chile, and the virus will likely reach all countries and territories of the region where Aedes mosquitoes are found.
Timeline: Zika's origin and global spread
12 Feb 2016 at 5:06pm
(Reuters) - The following timeline charts the origin and spread of the Zika virus from its discovery in Uganda nearly 70 years ago: 1947 - Scientists researching yellow fever in Uganda's Zika Forest isolate the virus in samples taken from a rhesus monkey 1948 - Virus recovered from Aedes africanus mosquito in the Zika forest 1952 - First human cases detected in Uganda and Tanzania 1954 - Virus found in young girl in Nigeria 1960s-1980s - Zika detected in mosquitoes and monkeys in band of countries stretching across equatorial Africa 1969?1983 - Zika is found in equatorial Asia, including ...
Brazil minister says no doubt Zika connected to microcephaly
12 Feb 2016 at 4:08pm
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) ? Brazil's health minister said Friday that authorities were "absolutely sure" that the Zika virus is connected to devastating birth defects and rejected criticism that the government was slow to investigate the surge of cases that set off international alarms.
Zika effect short-lived in Latin Americann stocks, for now: Morgan Stanley
12 Feb 2016 at 3:49pm
The spread of the Zika virus will likely affect tourism and transport-related stocks in Latin America in the short term, but evidence of its longer-lasting impact on markets and local economies has yet to surface, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. The economies of Mrbrexico and Peru would be the most affected if the virus spreads through all of Latin America, something the World Health Organization fears could happen this year. "Colombia, although having a smaller tourism exposure relative to GDP, is heavily reliant on foreign tourists and hence could see a bigger loss of tourism revenue," said the Morgan Stanley note.
U.S. agencies to study safety of artificial turf fields
12 Feb 2016 at 3:30pm
Three U.S. government agencies will team up to study whether artificial turf fields and playgrounds that use bits of recycled tires are exposing children to dangerous chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday they will study the issue, CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement. "I am very pleased that we are joining forces to investigate crumb rubber, as millions of children are exposed to it on playground surfaces and as infill on playing fields," he said.