Plus some rare good water news.
First, from StarAfrica:
SADC health ministers hold emergency Ebola meeting in Zimbabwe
Health ministers from southern African are meeting in the Zimbabwean resort town of Victoria Falls to strategise on a regional response to the Ebola outbreak that has ravaged parts of West Africa, APA learnt here Friday.Ministers responsible for health in the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC) began a two-day emergency meeting on Friday to review measures adopted by countries in response to the Ebola outbreak with a view to ultimately developing a regional response.
Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, who currently chairs the SADC Committee of Health Ministers, said the meeting would, among others, seek to harmonise responses by member states to the outbreak, in particular measures on how to deal with travellers and border controls.
The meeting comes in the wake of reports that more than 80 cases have detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo, resulting in at least 36 deaths.
BBC News warns:
Sierra Leone’s Ebola lockdown will not help, says MSF
A three-day lockdown announced by Sierra Leone to combat Ebola will not help contain the virus, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.
The charity said a lockdown would force people underground, destroy trust between doctors and the public and ultimately help spread the disease.
Sierra Leone officials say the measure, due to begin on 19 September, will let health workers isolate new cases.
From StarAfrica again, sad and dangerous:
Another Ebola trial drug arrives in Liberia
Liberia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says dosages of the experimental homeopathic drug for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have arrived in the country as part of efforts by the government to curb the epidemic.A Foreign Ministry statement on Friday disclosed that a 3 kg package of the experimental remedy containing sufficient doses for 30 infected persons arrived in the country from the International Emergency Management Organization (IEMO) in Italy.
It comes following two weeks of telephone exchanges between Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan and the Rome-based office of IEMO, the statement said.
According to the IEMO, the remedy is an aqueous alternative medicine that promotes homeopathic cure with no side effect.
From TheLocal.at, another non-Ebola case:
15-year-old boy has malaria not Ebola
A 15-year-old boy who was admitted to Linz General Hospital on Friday having symptoms consistent with Ebola has now been confirmed as having malaria.
He had recently returned from a trip to West Africa, where there have been more than 3,000 cases of the disease since it was first identified in Guinea in February.
A suspected case of Ebola in Vienna was given the all clear on Wednesday, and earlier alarms in Tyrol and Upper Austria all proved not to be Ebola.
From the Daily Monitor in Kampala, Uganda, another alert:
Kasese on Ebola alert
According to WHO, the Health Ministry in the Democratic Republic of Congo said in August that two samples taken from a remote village in the North-western province of Equateur had tested positive for the deadly virus, but added that the infections were from a different strain than the one that has killed more than 1,400 people in four West African countries
Kasese district has been put on Ebola alert following reports that the disease had so far killed 13 people in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kasese district leadership has directed all Health facilities in the area especially those along the Uganda-DR Congo common border to be on the alert of any suspicious cases.
A Health Inspector with Kasese District local government, Mr Samuel Kabunga on Monday told a District Health Assembly that the ministry of health had confirmed that Ebola had been reported in the Equatorial Province of the DRC where 13 people were reported dead.
StarAfrica announces another ban:
Sudan: UN imposes anti-Ebola measures on W/African personnel
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has imposed wide health restricted measures among its staff to prevent the transmission of Ebola to Sudan through the West African UN personnel, reports said on Saturday.The move came after some Sudanese media reports warned of suspected cases among the West African UN staffs who are working in the mission in Darfur.
However the mission denied the reports, confirming that there are no recorded cases of Ebola among UNAMID’s personnel.
UNAMID said in a statement that the mission’s health section has put in place strict set of measures to prevent the risks related to Ebola, including three stages of tests to the personnel travelling to or coming from the West Africa countries.
From the Daily Monitor again, Uganda sends a general, not a doctor:
Gen Oketta for AU anti-Ebola operation
Maj Gen Julius Oketta, the disaster and relief coordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister has been nominated to join an Africa Union led humanitarian mission to combat the threat of the Ebola virus to the continent
Maj Gen Julius Oketta, the disaster and relief coordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister has been nominated to join an Africa Union led humanitarian mission to combat the threat of the Ebola virus to the continent.
Maj Oketta will join the Ethiopia-based Africa Union Support to Ebola Outbreak in West Africa( ASEOWA) that is spearheading an strategy code-named “Operation ASEOWA” in devising a strategy to combat the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa and is threatening East Africa.
In an interview on Tuesday, Maj Gen Oketta revealed that his appointment was a testimony that the African Union was impressed by Uganda’s effective response to the 2000 Ebola epidemic that ravaged Northern Uganda- even as the region was suffering war-but was ably dealt with.
And the Associated Press appreciates:
Zeal, devotion guides volunteers to Ebola crisis
These volunteers are passionate, but there’s also a cold logic to their commitment: This epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people and sickened 3,900 in five West African nations won’t end unless more experienced health care workers confront it directly.
Ebola is being spread by people, in hospitals, homes and funerals. People catch the virus when they have direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of those who are sick and dying, or already dead. At ELWA, Jamison trained workers how to protect themselves and the wider population.
The hospital in Monrovia is operated by Charlotte-based SIM USA, and includes more than 200 beds as well as the 50-bed isolation unit for Ebola patients.
And from Agence France-Presse, raw footage — including the loading of bodies — outside an Ebola facility in the capital of Liberia:
Relatives of Ebola victims wait for news at Liberia hospital
The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November.
From the Japan Times, an Asian outbreak expands:
Dengue spreads beyond two Tokyo parks; tally at 74
Evidence emerged Saturday that dengue fever is spreading throughout the capital after an infected Tokyo man said he hadn’t recently visited either of the parks so far linked to the virus, and the case tally grew overnight to 74.
The man, in his 60s, said he did not recently visit either Yoyogi Park or Shinjuku Chuo Park, the two hot spots identified as having mosquitoes carrying the virus, the health ministry said.
The others infected said they had spent time in or near Yoyogi Park, except for a Saitama man identified Friday who said he was bitten by mosquitoes in Shinjuku Chuo Park, west of Shinjuku Station and just north of Yoyogi.
From UC Riverside, some good water news for a change:
Acidity on decline in Sierra Nevada lakes
California’s water supply depends on a clean snow pack and healthy mountain lakes. The lakes receive a large amount of runoff in the spring from the melting snowpack. If the snowpack is polluted, the lakes will be polluted.
James O. Sickman, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Riverside, has conducted research on lakes in the Sierra Nevada — the most sensitive lakes in the U.S. to acid rain, according to the Environmental Protection Agency — and described human impacts on them during the 20th century. The research was done by long-term measurements of lake chemistry beginning in the 1980s and the collection of long sediment cores from the lakes.
The conclusion is the overall news is good: Air quality regulation has benefited aquatic ecosystems in the Sierra Nevada, and controlling air pollution is benefiting nature in California.
Led by Sickman and his graduate students, the researchers have published a series of articles in peer-reviewed journals on their work, the latest of which appears in Environmental Science and Technology.
Back to watery woes with Al Jazeera America:
In shadow of oil boom, North Dakota farmers fight contamination
- One county’s infertile lands offer a test case of the long-term effects of wastewater spills
Last summer, in a wet, remote section of farm country in Bottineau County, landowner Mike Artz and his two neighbors discovered that a ruptured pipeline was spewing contaminated wastewater into his crop fields.
“We saw all this oil on the low area, and all this salt water spread out beyond it,” said his neighbor Larry Peterson, who works as a farmer and an oil-shale contractor. “The water ran out into the wetland.”
It was August, and all across Artz’s farm the barley crop was just reaching maturity. But near the spill, the dead stalks had undeveloped kernels, which, the farmers knew, meant that the barley had been contaminated weeks earlier.
Soon after, state testing of the wetlands showed that chloride levels were so high, they exceeded the range of the test strips. The North Dakota Department of Health estimated that between 400 to 600 barrels of wastewater, the equivalent of 16,800 to 25,200 gallons, had seeped into the ground.
Wastewater, known as “saltwater” because of its high salinity, is a by-product of oil drilling, which has been a boom-and-bust industry in North Dakota since at least the 1930s. Far saltier than ocean water, this wastewater is toxic enough to sterilize land and poison animals that mistakenly drink it. “You never see a saltwater spill produce again,” Artz said, referring to the land affected by the contamination. “Maybe this will be the first, but I doubt it.”
Al Jazeera America again, with more fuelishness:
As Keystone awaits fate, other tar sands projects move forward
- Environmental groups accuse pipeline companies of skirting federal review to get tar sands to the US
Over the past few years, the Keystone pipeline has become a household name. The controversy caused by Canadian pipeline company TransCanada’s project, which would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from Canada’s tar sands to the U.S. each day, has ignited an environmental movement across the country, and has elicited responses from top U.S. politicians, including President Obama.
But the U.S. has approved other cross-border tar sands transportation projects with little fanfare.
Those projects include one by TransCanada competitor Enbridge to build a facility in Illinois to transport crude oil from the tar sands via train, which was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week. The decision came just weeks after the State Department approved an Enbridge pipeline project that would cross Canada through the Minnesota border and help bring millions more barrels of oil to the U.S. each year. The project was approved without a public review process or an environmental-impact assessment.
The Times of India gives us our lone nuclear story:
Cancer behind 70% deaths in India’s atomic energy hubs
Cancer caused almost 70% of the 3,887 health-related deaths in the atomic energy hubs across the country over the last 20 years, an RTI reply has revealed. In all, 2,600 succumbed to cancer in 19 centres between 1995 and 2014.
The query to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which, like the others, is under the Department of Atomic Energy, had another shocking revelation: 255 employees took their own lives while in harness in the same period, meaning an average of almost one every month over 20 years. Investigations showed they were mostly over prolonged illness or family problems.
Cancer is among the top ten killers in India, and accounts for around 7% of the roughly 9.5 million annual deaths, as has been estimated by the Centre’s ongoing Million Deaths Study.
And for our final item, via the London Telegraph, Help! Help! Sharks! [from a joke every U.S. fifth grade boy used to learn]:
Sharks nine times more likely to kill men than women, study says
- Australian scientists baffled by finding that men are targeted in 84 per cent of all unprovoked shark attacks, and make up 89 per cent of all shark bite fatalities
Sharks are nine times more likely to kill men than women, new research from Australia shows.
Men are targeted in 84 per cent of all unprovoked shark attacks, and make up 89 per cent of all shark bite fatalities – which means that women are statistically more likely to survive a shark attack.
The numbers are from a study out of Bond University in Queensland to be published in the international journal Coastal Management this week.