Over the past two weeks I’ve learned an important lesson which I would like to share with you: moving the same week you leave a job which is the week before the semester ends and you start a new job is too many things at the same time! Please excuse the lack of a weekly wrap-up last weekend—I was moving an apartment full of boxes which I am currently surrounded by. This weekend we look at antibiotic resistance in isolated societies and the eradication of rubella in the Americas plus other stories you may have missed.
Have a great week!
Findings published in the Science Advances journal describe the Yanomami Amerindians, who live in a remote, mountainous area of southern Venezuela and have been isolated from other societies for more than 11,000 years and yet still carry antibiotic resistant genes. This finding suggests that the human body may have carried the ability to resist antibiotics long before they became the overprescribed medicine they are today.
Design & Trend—“Thousands of years prior to the use of antibiotics to fight infection, soil bacteria began to produce natural antibiotics to kill competitors. The microbes evolved similar defenses to protect themselves from the soil bacteria. Researchers believe this was likely done by acquiring resistance genes from the producers themselves through a process known as horizontal gene transfer.”
Joining the ranks of polio and smallpox, the Pan American Health Organization, the CDC, Unicef, and the United Nations Foundation announced this week that Rubella (also known as German Measles) has been eradicated in the Americas. The last case was confirmed in Argentina in 2009.Each year, approximately 120,000 children worldwide are born with severe birth defects that can be attributed to the disease.
The Science Times—“The Americas region is the first region to eliminate rubella. The European region, which includes Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, hopes to be next, according to the World Health Organization.
Some regions are still not close enough to set firm target dates, so there is no chance that the disease will be eliminated worldwide before 2020, said Dr. Susan E. Reef, team lead for rubella at the CDC’s global immunization division, who joined in the announcement.
Stories You May Have Missed
- So, just how many nuclear weapons does North Korea have? The Wall Street Journal provides estimates from the U.S. and China.
- Fake and substandard drugs are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths globally each year and threatens efforts to combat malaria, TB, HIV and other conditions. This can also affect medicines for cancer and cardiovascular disease.
- Two of the most recent advocates for vaccination are S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Elmo. Yes, Elmo from Sesame Street!
- April 22 marked the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Flanders Fields, the first time chemical weapons were used in modern warfare. This led to the Geneva protocol in 1925, which prohibited the use of the weapons, and the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993, which prohibited the use, development, production, testing and stockpiling of the weapons.
- According to a new study, fewer than 18% of New York taxi drivers got their flu vaccine this year, which puts the cab-riding public at risk. This is well below the 39% vaccination rate for adults in the United States.
- Cholera poses a large risk to earthquake ravaged Nepal. The disease is endemic and makeshift camps with poor sanitation create the potential for outbreaks of this and other water borne diseases.
- A new experimental Ebola drug is matched exactly to the West African strain that has infected more than 26,000 and killed more than 10,000 people over the last year. The drug is made by a Canadian company named Tekmira.
Image Credit: Juan Tello