Mason students are working through their summer courses and I’m happy to say mine is OVER! Let the summer begin (two months late)! This week we’ve got great news about Polio in Nigeria and a somber anniversary in Japan. We’ve also got other stories you may have missed.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week!
Coming up on the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, German and Japanese citizens in the city of Potsdam held a remembrance ceremony for both the victims that died in the blast and the future. Japan has become, according to the former President of the International Court of Justice, the world’s conscience against nuclear weapons and power. Why? Japan is “the only country in the world to have been the victim of both military and civilian nuclear energy, having experienced the crazy danger of the atom, both in its military applications, destruction of life and its beneficial civilian use, which has now turned into a nightmare with the serious incidents of Fukushima.”
Japan Times—“The Potsdam Conference was held between July 17 and Aug. 2 in 1945. The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and another bomb on Nagasaki three days later. On Aug. 15 that year, Emperor Hirohito announced to the nation that Japan had accepted the Potsdam Declaration, in which the United States, Britain and China demanded the nation’s unconditional surrender.”
Very, very, very exciting news: Nigeria has not had a case of polio in a year. A year! This makes Nigeria polio free and the last country in Africa to eliminate the disease. The achievement was possible with contributions from the Nigerian government (where elimination of the disease was a point of “national pride”), UNICEF, the WHO, the CDC, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International, and other organizations. With Nigeria’s accomplishment, there are only two other countries in the world where polio still exists—Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Voice of America—“Carol Pandek heads Rotary International’s polio program. She told VOA via Skype that a year being polio-free is a milestone for Nigeria, but noted that it is not over. “Now they need to continue to do high quality immunization campaigns for the next several years,” she said, as well as have a strong surveillance system so, should there be any new cases, they can be identified as soon as possible.”
Stories You May Have Missed
- A study at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) is looking at how to incorporate a number of influenza viruses into one vaccine. The hope is that this may lead to a universal flu vaccine instead of new annual seasonal vaccines.
- Inspired by Breaking Bad, a Liverpool man tried buying ricin from the “dark web” from an undercover FBI agent. The man is now in jail facing charges of
attempting to possess a chemical weapon.”
- Evidently, there is “another reason not to eat sea turtles”—antibiotic resistant bacteria. Frankly, I was unaware there was any reason to eat sea turtles in the first place.
- In local news, the Agriculture Secretary of Maryland says it is likely that avian flu will arrive in Maryland this fall. So, I guess start stocking up on eggs!
- Did you know that Ottawa’s Porter’s Island was used as an isolation area for typhoid and smallpox patients? Well, it was! And here is a lovely photo essay to prove it!
- Two Ebola vaccine updates: Tekmira is suspending their Ebola drug development in order to focus on Hepatitis B while Novavax’s reports on early-stage Ebola vaccine success resulted in an increase of their share price.
- Meanwhile, Ebola in West Africa is still happening. It’s not nearly as bad as last summer, but its still out there, and its still in the news.
- Lastly, in response to the recent DoD shipment of Anthrax, the CDC has ordered a comprehensive review of its safety and security regulations.
Image Credit: Fg2