We’re starting this update with some big blog news, are you sitting down? This will actually be the last weekend update…at least for a while. We’re in discussion with how to proceed with the blog and social media for GMU Biodefense. Please check back at pandorareport.org and on twitter @PandoraReport for updates as they happen.
Looking back, there have been times since I’ve started as managing editor that the news has been sad, or, frankly, downright depressing. So, for this edition, lets focus on some of the good in the world. The first story comes from (probably the nicest human on the face of the Earth) Jimmy Carter. We’ve also got good news about Polio. Then, of course, we’ve got stories you may have missed.
Thank you for reading… and don’t forget to wash your hands!
Jimmy Carter Wants to See the Last Guinea Worm Die Before He Does
This week, former President Jimmy Carter announced that his cancer had spread to his brain. Though many members of his immediate family died from cancer, Carter said “I’m perfectly at ease with whatever comes.” Rather than fear or sadness over his diagnosis, Carter instead focused on meeting one of the long-term goals of his nonprofit organization—the Carter Center—the eradication of Guinea worm. In 1986 when the Carter Center began its work there were 3.5 million cases of across 21 countries. In 2014 there were 126 cases; today, there are 11.
The Huffington Post—“When Guinea worm has been eradicated, it will be only the second time in human history that a disease has been totally wiped out. The first, smallpox, was eradicated in 1977, according to the World Health Organization. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that Guinea worm will meet the same fate — a final piece in Carter’s legacy.”
WHO Declares Africa Free of ‘Wild’ Cases of Polio
According to the World Health Organization, Africa has been free of wild cases of Polio since July. This doesn’t mean that there are no cases on the continent; there is still ongoing work in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, but transmission of the illness has been interrupted. The director of the Polio Global Eradication Initiative has said that even though Africa is now free of wild cases, there are still challenges when it comes to eradication, for example, surveillance of the disease.
io9—“The goal of the Initiative has been to interrupt the natural transmission (wild cases) of the virus, which seems to be the case so far. The next step, according to WHO, will be to continue to monitor the region for additional cases. If none appear in the next two years, the continent will be certified Polio-Free.”
Stories You May Have Missed
- Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have announced that they’ve had positive results from their experimental MERS CoV vaccine for both camels and monkeys. Yay!
- Sierra Leone has had no new cases for Ebola for the first time in 15 months. The country must got 42 days with no new cases in order to be declared Ebola-free.
- At Pandora Report we talk a lot about infectious disease, so this next story should come as no surprise. Vox ran a really interesting piece about how people in the US die versus how people die abroad.
- We’ve covered bird flu a LOT over the last few months as it spreads across the world. The CDC says that transmission to humans is of concern but not yet a high risk.
- I was a history major in college, so this article about the first people to die from nuclear weapons during peacetime was right up my alley. Enjoy!
Image Credit: Commonwealth Club