Zika Virus

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A Web Services Approach to Public Health Clinical Decision Support

David Raths | Healthcare Informatics | October 22, 2016

Although it is still early days, I am increasingly convinced that the movement to bring a web services approach to healthcare is real. Every week brings announcements of new efforts to create modules that do one thing well and that providers could subscribe to from within their EHR. This approach makes so much more sense than each provider working with its software vendor to recreate the wheel.This is especially appealing in the realm of clinical decision support (CDS), in which knowledge management is so time-consuming and difficult for provider organizations...

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Experts Propose Global Targets for Cutting Antibiotic Use

Chris Dall | CIDRAP News | August 19, 2016

Arguing that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens to erase decades of progress in medicine, public health, and food security, a group of global health experts is urging the United Nations (UN) to set global targets for reduced antibiotic consumption. In a commentary published yesterday in Science, the authors argue that countries should aim to consume no more than the current median global level of antibiotics (8.54 defined daily doses per capita per year), an amount they say would reduce global antibiotic use by more than 17.5%...

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Flesh-eating Bacteria, Cancer-causing Chemicals, and Mold: Harvey and Irma's Lingering Health Threats

Julia Belluz | Vox | September 28, 2017

In the weeks following Hurricane Irma, parts of Florida have been awash in millions of gallons of sewage. Meanwhile, in Texas, oil refineries and chemical plants have dumped a year’s worth of cancer-causing pollutants into the air following Hurricane Harvey. In both states, doctors are on the lookout for an uptick in respiratory problems, skin infections, and mosquito-borne diseases brought on by the water and mold the storms left behind...

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How the Trump Budget Undercuts Security Risks Posed by Pandemics

President Trump proposed a US$54 billion military budget increase to solidify the security of our nation. However, the government also recognizes pandemic threats as an issue of national security – one that knows no borders. In the last four years, we have faced the Ebola epidemic – contained after significant loss of life – and Zika, which is still not contained. Collectively, we will feel these effects for a generation, while children born with Zika-related defects and their families will feel the effects every day of their lives...

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If Things Weren’t Already Bad Enough, Houston Is About to Face a Public Health Nightmare

Jessica Firger | Mother Jones | August 30, 2017

In the coming weeks and even months, residents of Houston and other parts of southern Texas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey will be faced with the public health disasters that can result from dirty floodwater and landslides. The natural disaster has ostensibly turned the city into a sprawling, pathogen-infested swamp...

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Larvicide Manufactured By Monsanto Partner, Not Zika Virus, True Cause Of Brazil's Microcephaly Outbreak: Doctors

Alyssa Navarro | Tech Times | February 14, 2016

A group of Argentine physicians claim that the sudden microcephaly outbreak in Brazil was not caused by the Zika virus, but by a larvicide injected into the country's water supplies...The chemical, which is known as Pyriproxyfen, was used in a massive government-run program tasked to control the mosquito population in the country. Pyriproxyfen is a larvicide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a company associated with Monsanto.

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Mosquitoes and Malaria: Taking a Big Step Against a Small but Deadly Foe

Shaun Donovan | White House Blog | February 22, 2016

If you’ve ever swatted away a mosquito on a muggy summer night, then you know how annoying these winged pests can be. But in many parts of the world, mosquitos are not just irritating—they’re deadly. Malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitos, took the lives of 438,000 people worldwide last year. More than 3 billion people remain at risk of contracting this horrific disease, which is especially dangerous for pregnant mothers and young people...

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Open Science Prize Announces Epidemic Tracking Tool as Grand Prize Winner

Press Release | Open Science Prize, Wellcome, Howard Hughes Medical Institute , National Institutes of Health | February 28, 2017

A prototype online platform that uses real-time visualization and viral genome data to track the spread of global pathogens such as Zika and Ebola is the grand prize winner of the Open Science Prize. The international team competition is an initiative by the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). The winning team, Real-time Evolutionary Tracking for Pathogen Surveillance and Epidemiological Investigation, created its nextstrain.org prototype to pool data from researchers across the globe, perform rapid phylogenetic analysis, and post the results on the platform’s website...

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Open Science Prize Goes to Software Tool for Tracking Viral Outbreaks

Press Release | Fred Hutch | February 28, 2017

“Everyone is doing sequencing, but most people aren’t able to analyze their sequences as well or as quickly as they might want to,” Bedford said. “We’re trying to fill in this gap so that the World Health Organization or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — or whoever — can have better analysis tools to do what they do. We’re hoping that will get our software in the hands of a lot of people”...

Q&A with Andy Oram: How Can We Tell Whether Predictive Analytics Are Biased?

Andy Oram | Zoom Data | May 24, 2017

The fear of reproducing society's prejudices through computer algorithms is being hotly discussed in both academic publications and the popular press. Just a few of the publications warning about bias in predictive analytics include the New York Times, the Guardian, the Harvard Business Review, and particularly a famous and hotly contested article by Propublica on predictions of recidivism among criminal defendants...

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Scientist at Work: Measuring Public Health Impacts after a Disaster

More than two months after Hurricane Harvey submerged much of metropolitan Houston, recovery is under way across the city. Residents and volunteers are gutting and restoring flooded homes. Government agencies and nonprofit organizations are announcing cleanup programs and developing plans to distribute relief funds. But many questions remain about impacts on public health. What contaminants did floodwaters leave behind? How many people are being exposed to mold – which can grow rapidly in damp, humid conditions – as they repair their homes? Will there be an increase in Zika, West Nile or other vector-borne diseases as mosquito populations recover? Or an uptick in reported cases of other illnesses?...

Sewage, Debris, Mosquitoes: Flood Waters Increase Health Risk for Harvey Victims

Jessica Glenza | The Guardian | August 30, 2017

Tropical storm Harvey continues to threaten lives in Houston, where officials are focused on evacuating hospitals and securing life-saving emergency transportation, knowing they face long-term health threats. “Our number one priority now,” said Chris Van Deusen, a clearly frayed spokesperson for the Texas Department of State Health Services, is “to make sure hospital patients and those with medical needs are taken care of.”...

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Special Report - The World Health Organization's Critical Challenge: Healing Itself

Kate Kelland | Reuters | February 8, 2016

For years the WHO has talked about streamlining its complex structure, governance and financing to make it more efficient. Critics say the organisation needs deep reforms to allow it to show clear leadership in promoting health and to respond decisively to disease emergencies that may span many countries. But progress has been painfully slow...

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The Secretary’s Ventures Fund Announces 2017 Projects

Press Release | U.S. Department of Health and Human Services | May 17, 2017
 
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. today announced the selection of five entrepreneurial projects for investment by the Secretary’s Ventures Fund (HHS Ventures). The projects were chosen from across HHS and are part of the latest round of funding and support designed to advance the Department’s innovation agenda... HHS Ventures is a highly competitive effort that provides growth-stage funding and support to HHS employees with proven ideas for how to dramatically improve their office, agency, or the Department’s ability to carry out its mission...

UMD Researchers Develop Tool to Counter Public Health IT Challenges

Press Release | University of Maryland | August 9, 2016

Front-line protection of U.S. communities against disease epidemics relies on seamless information sharing between public health officials and doctors, plus the wherewithal to act on that data. But health departments have faltered in this mission by lacking guidance to effectively strategize about appropriate “IT investments. And incidents like the current Zika crisis bring the issue to the forefront,” says Ritu Agarwal, Robert H. Smith Dean's Chair of Information Systems and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business...

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