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Today's Headlines: September 14, 2017

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

The US Thought It Was Rid of Hookworm. Wrong ( NPR: Goats and Soda) The US thought it wiped out hookworm decades ago. But a new study shows that it never truly went away. Hookworm thrives in regions of extreme poverty with poor sanitation and affects some 740 million people worldwide. Developing nations with warm, moist climates, in regions like South America, South Asia and Southeast Asia, are most susceptible to the worm. Go to article


Domestic Preparedness & Response

Swarmed with Mosquitoes After Harvey, Texas Calls in the US Air Force ( Quartz) In an effort to combat the swarms of mosquitoes apparently making mating grounds out of the standing water left behind from Hurricane Harvey, Texas has called in the big planes. The state asked the US Air Force to spray 6 million acres in the state with insecticide from in its low-flying C-130 cargo planes. The Air Force has long used its planes in mosquito-control missions. Go to article

Weathering a Hurricane in Prison ( New Yorker) Huurricanes Harvey and Irma have prompted mass evacuations in Texas and Florida. But many Americans have been unable to flee, including huge numbers of prison inmates. The two states together are home to a quarter million incarcerated people. Texas has the largest prison population in the country, and Florida has the third-largest. Go to article


Global Health & Security

Melinda Gates on Why Foreign Aid Still Matters ( Atlantic) A new report from the Gates Foundation shows the devastating effects of a lapse in funding for global health. Go to article

Results Report 2017 ( The Global Fund) This report delivers a summary of the impact and results
achieved through the end of 2016 by programs supported by the Global Fund, showing cumulative progress since 2002. It is a collective effort, combining the strong contributions made by governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by HIV, TB and malaria. Go to article

Outbreak of Disease Carried by Mosquitoes Halts Blood Donation in Rome ( Reuters) Italian health officials have banned residents across half of Rome from donating blood because of an outbreak of the painful, mosquito-borne illness Chikungunya. At least 17 people in southeastern Rome have been diagnosed with the virus since the end of August, and the local health authority decided to suspend blood donations in the affected areas to prevent accidental transmission. Go to article

Building Better Defenses Against Rising Floods and Storms ( Brookings) In the last few weeks, Hurricane Harvey hammered the Texas coast in the United States with a confirmed death toll of more than 60 so far, and massive flooding in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal has taken more than 1,200 lives. These are the most recent reminders of the rising fury of floods and storms. Emergency relief and recovery is unquestionably the immediate priority. But as climate change intensifies these hydro-meteorological events, the only lasting response is to step up risk management, which includes mitigation and prevention, prediction, and early warning. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

Judge Bars Public from Trial over Homeland Security Contract for Device to Detect Bioterrorism ( Los Angeles Times) A federal administrative judge issued a sweeping order Monday prohibiting members of the public or the news media from seeing any part of a hearing concerning the Homeland Security Department's cancellation of a contract for a technology aimed at reliably detecting bioterrorist attacks. Go to article

Congressional Considerations Related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma ( CRS Insight) As of noon on September 8, in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, President Trump has issued major disaster declarations for Texas and the US Virgin Islands, and emergency declarations for Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act). Depending on future consequences, major disaster declarations could yet be made for those areas that have already received emergency declarations. Go to article

Congressional Primer on Responding to Major Disasters and Emergencies ( Congressional Research Service) The principles of disaster management assume a leadership role by the local, state, and tribal governments affected by the incident. The federal government provides coordinated supplemental resources and assistance, only if requested and approved. The immediate response to a disaster is guided by the National Response Framework, which details roles and responsibilities at various levels of government, along with cooperation from the private and nonprofit sectors, for differing incidents and support functions. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

The Race for a Zika Vaccine Slows, a Setback for Efforts to Head Off Future Outbreaks ( STAT) he development of a type of Zika vaccine that authorities had hoped to usher to the market has proven more challenging than some scientists and pharmaceutical companies had expected, people involved in the research have told STAT, posing a setback for efforts to avoid future outbreaks of the disease. Go to article

Indiana, Reeling from Opioid Crisis, Arms Officials with Data ( Wired) The opioid crisis has hit Indiana hard. In 2012, Indiana was among a handful of states whose opioid prescriptions roughly equaled its population. Three years later, intravenous drugs caused the nation's worst HIV outbreak in two decades, affecting 181 people in rural Scott County, Indiana. And since 2013, Indiana has had the dubious distinction of leading the nation in pharmacy robberies, beating even California, which has six times its population. Go to article

Surviving A Big Storm Doesn't Mean the Trauma Is Over ( FiveThirtyEight) The hurricanes in the Gulf and Florida over the last few weeks have left people displaced--and from more than just their homes. Places of worship, community centers, parks and schools are underwater, missing roofs or windows. And those losses can set the social infrastructure of a person's life adrift. Years after the family is safe and the home is rebuilt, disaster victims could still be struggling with health problems that got a start because of the way a stressful, terrifying situation disrupted their lives. It's even possible, some researchers say, that the stress and fear alone could create health problems later. Go to article

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