Rabid racoons found at Zoo Miami


Zoo Miami visitors have been put on notice after six raccoons with rabies were found. The raccoons have since been euthanized in order to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Communications Director Ron Magill in a statement to the Miami Herald, the zoo’s 3,000 animals on its 740 acres have all received rabies vaccinations and also have been checked since the initial discovery of a rabid raccoon on May 15.

This scare comes after several alerts have been issued throughout Miami-Dade County regarding other raccoons found with rabies.

Rabies alerts are issued when the disease is discovered. If no additional cases are found within the 60 days following the initial alert, the alert is cleared. The state health department extended its warning another 60 days with the most recent finding on Sept. 8.

In early July, the first alert was issued throughout many parts of south-west Miami-Dade. Officials thought the situation was under control until another raccoon tested positive for rabies in early August.

The affected areas were within the boundaries of SW 152nd Street to the north; SW 187th Street to the south; SW 117th Avenue to the east; and SW 137th Avenue to the west.

This warning has now extended to the Zoo Miami property and its’ surrounding neighborhoods.

Miami-Dade Animal Services continues to monitor the situation closely.

FDA opposes plant-based milks


As people become more interested in plant-based diets, veganism is now the most talked about way of eating. Not only is the healthiest, if eaten right, but it also has thrived in market sales with vegan alternatives such as vegan Chao Cheese, Beyond Meat Burgers, and plant based milk.

Earlier this year, the dairy industry is troubled with a drop of sales. People are choosing alternatives to dairy whether it is for lactose intolerance reason, taste and simply just preference. The FDA argues consumers are being misled into buying milk alternatives since those alternatives have the word “milk” on their label.

According to Veganuary.com, the dairy industry has been in trouble for a while now due to milk alternatives. But until recently a bill was passed known as the Dairy Pride Act, which as it states, aims to “protect the integrity of dairy products by enforcing existing labeling requirements” with the purpose to enforce a new law against non-dairy products being labeled in the descriptor like milk and cheese with the claim that this is confusing to the consumer.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), sales of almond milk shot up over 250 percent between 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, consumption of dairy milk has dropped 37 percent since the 1970s.

It is not a matter of consumers being confused. For a while, studies have shown that consuming dairy raises risks of osteoporosis and raises chances of having breast cancer for about 41 percent according to Cowspiracy.com.

Although it is not for sure whether or not plant-based milks will be limited to remain described as “milk,” it is no doubt that advertising affects what people consume. If it becomes popular, it will most probably end up on the news.

But when it comes down to deciding whether dairy will regain their sales or not, this milk war has become one of the hottest topics to talk about through YouTube, Instagram, and it has become an interesting thing to decide if consumers are being mislead, which I doubt.

Through out the news outlets, not enough is covered on the topic that dairy does increase risk of death by 93 percent, according to a study by the British Medical Journal. Or just the fact that milk from a cow is not healthy to consume.

But as long as it is about the labeling controversy, it will be more covered in the news.

FDA’s new target: JUUL use


The JUUL is an electronic cigarette that has become increasingly popular with high school and college students since its release in 2015. Now, the Federal Drug Administration is putting its foot down when it comes to teenage vaping.

Sheila Kaplan and Jan Hoffman of The New York Times wrote a fantastic piece, titled, “F.D.A. Targets Vaping, Alarmed by Teenage Use,” about the FDA’s actions as well as the possible consequences for JUUL and other electronic cigarette companies.

Hoffman and Kaplan make the FDA’s main concern very clear. They are worried that these companied, specifically JUUL, are advertising and purposely selling their product to teenagers. The concern there is obviously that teenagers who have never smoked before will become addicted to nicotine via using these sleek devices. The FDA referred to this as the modern-day version of the Joe Camel advertisements.

The article also took quotes from the spokeswoman for JUUL. They said that they will work with the FDA and comply with them to keep their products out of the hands of teenagers.

While news reporters did a great job portraying both sides of the argument (pro and anti-government regulation) they failed to do one thing. They did not list statistics for how many adults, over the age of 18, have used devices like these to quit smoking, and how that population will be affected. The talk of regulation has been a concern in the vaping community and it would have added another element to the article to voice the concerns of people who have used JUUL and other companies to quit their cigarette addictions.

This is a big issue and one that is very obvious, especially if you walk around a high school or college campus. This article now has put this issue out in to the open for the general public to discuss and debate.

Tank fails at fertility clinic in Ohio


Called a “catastrophic” failure, a storage tank at an Ohio fertility clinic malfunctioned and resulted in the loss of more than 4,000 eggs and embryos this month. 950 patients were affected by the failure and have since had their childbearing plans altered.

The beginning of the newsletter issued by the University Hospitals fertility clinic. The full letter can be found at http://news.uhhospitals.org/news-releases/uh-fertility-clinic-update-patient-letter.htm.

According to a newsletter provided by the University Hospitals fertility clinic, the remote alarm system designed to alert employees of rising temperatures was turned off the weekend that the tank temperature rose.

The newsletter says that the clinic, “does not know who turned off the remote alarm nor how long it was off, but it appears to have been off for a long period of time.”

“We are heartbroken to tell you that it’s unlikely that any of the eggs are viable,” the newsletter said.

According to the letter, the clinic had recently come across issues with the auto-refill function of the tank, which fills the liquid nitrogen that preserves the eggs and embryos. Employees had been manually refilling the liquid nitrogen. The clinic claims that they do not know if the new fill process was affecting the temperature of the tank.

In an interview on March 21, cancer patient Elliot Ash said that he froze his sperm in 2003 before he underwent chemotherapy.  After getting married a few years later, Ash and his wife were able to use in-vitro fertilization to have a child in 2015. According to Ash’s wife, the couple’s “goal was to always give [their] son a biological sibling … it has been a rough few weeks.” The couple is “now unsure about their family plans,” according to The New York Times. The Ashs are filing a class action lawsuit against the clinic.

The newsletter issued by the clinic was sympathetic and deeply apologetic for the tank failure, but patients remain outraged and heartbroken. Jeremy and Kate Plants, a couple who lost their embryos, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper that they “had accepted that [their] embryos were lost, but [their] hearts still break for those who were holding on to hope that their embryos were still alive.”

Regarding the clinic, the Plants wrote, “why was nothing done before this disaster happened?”

The logistics of what actually happened are still being investigated.

Patients seek cause of glioblastoma


In Fort Pierce, more than a dozen people have been diagnosed with glioblastoma. This disease affects about 13,000 people in the U.S each year. It is an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer.

In this town of just 45,000 people, patients and their families want to know if there is something leading to their illness.

Eleven patients or surviving family members met each other through word of mouth over the last year and realized some interesting common trends. They live at most seven miles apart, the majority are within five miles of each other, and some lived on the same street at some point.

In one of the cases two patients even lived in the same house through over a span of 20 years. The 11 current cases that have been discovered were diagnosed within the last 5 years affecting people younger than three years old all the way to their 70s.

These families being affected are struggling immensely with financials and the bills are piling up.Some have paid more than $50,000 since their diagnosis.

The goal of these group of people is to find out whether or not there is an environmental factor making them sick.

Most of the glioblastoma patients have moved to new homes over the years and The Florida Department  of Health in St. Lucie County recently met with the support group of glioblastoma patients.

They will be offering them any available services due to the overwhelming amount of payments some patients have.

This story was covered in a very informational manner with lots of research on the people involved in the case. I feel like this story could be perceived as weird and crazy, but once reading it, I noticed it’s not just irony.

Scientists find a new organ in body


Scientists believe they have found a new human organ that could possibly help to better understand its impact on diseases like cancer and how it spreads through the body. This new discovery could change lives by having a better understanding of diseases.

The organ is called interstitium, which is a series of interconnected, fluid-filled sections found in the body. Scientists found the interstitium in various parts of the body including the lungs, arteries, bladder and digestive tract. The interstitium is the body’s biggest organ; however, not all experts are convinced, according to CNN.

Dr. Neil Theise, professor of pathology at New York University Langone Health, who was a co-senior author of the study said, “I think it’s bigger than the skin, my estimate is that 20% of the volume of the body is this [interstitium].” The skin is roughly 16 percent of your body mass, which has been known to be your largest organ for years.

Doctors knew that the interstitium was in the body, it is not technically a “new” organ. However, they previously believed that it was a dense connective tissue. Now with updated technology, they can view what is truly there. The interstitium is basically acting as a “shock absorber” that allows our organs to swell and compress as we breathe, eat, and live.

West Virginia teachers continue strike


After nearly a week of teacher walkouts throughout West Virginia, schools remained closed today and have been preemptively cancelled for tomorrow despite talks of an agreement to get teachers back in the classrooms.

The strikes began after Governor Jim Justice signed off on legislation that would grant teachers a two percent pay increase in July followed by a one percent increase over the next two years. The bill failed to address the state’s insufficient insurance program, a tax on payroll deductions, and the ever-rising cost of health care.

Considering that the state is ranked 49/50 in economy, 44/50 in health care, and 45/50 in education according to U.S. News, the subsequent rallies and strikes demanding stronger programs for educators are perhaps not expected expected, but comprehensible.

Though Wednesday was supposed to serve as a recovery day post-negotiations and Thursday a return to schedule normalcy, Justice’s announcement of his newest deal made on Tuesday sparked greater dissent than settlement. The new bill included a teacher pay increase by five percent, but again made no improvements to the teachers’ insurance program, which was the main concern of the first bill. School, then, was not in session today as legislators hoped.

Teachers instead crowd the state capitol today, holding signs proclaiming “No deal!” and “Will teach for insurance.”

According to CNN, Justice defended his attempts at compromise from the back of an SUV through a crowd of protesters, stating, “I’m not the king. I’m doing what all I can possibly do.”

President of the Senate Mitch Carmichael similarly expressed concerns to CNN that the state simply does not have the money to fund the raises.

As the news media scramble to grab hold of an ever-changing wreck of developments in the situation, sources like CNN, NPR, and WV Public Radio are doing an impressive job of keeping stories current.

Wrap-up reports went out last night that finally, school would be back in session and today, the news media have taken a whole new angle on the relentlessness of the strikes. This story has quickly become and defiantly remained one to watch; it looks as though the news media has every intention of keeping it that way.

Flu kills at least 120 in Hong Kong


This year’s flu has spread worldwide in a matter of a few weeks, leading to the death of children and elders.The common strain among the others this year is H3N2 also known as the “Australian flu.”

Currently, the flu has struck Hong Kong in January and has killed more than 120 people according to public broadcaster RTHK. In order to keep the flu from spreading, Hong Kong has ordered school children to wear face masks.

The city has also ordered some schools to close early for the Lunar New Year and to also help keep the flu quarantine.

According to the World Health Organization, they estimate that “each year around 290,000 to 650,000 people die worldwide as a result of influenza.” With numbers being so high, the Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection believes schools are easier sights to spread influenza strains because many toddlers and children may be too young to take care of their personal hygiene.

Hong Kong closed all kindergartens and primary schools 8 days ahead of the New Year holiday to contain the spread. According to HKU researchers, they announced in their latest study that this particular influenza virus was “more transmittable”.

GlaxoSmithKline, a company that supplies the city with batches of flu vaccines said more than 20,000 doses of vaccine from Germany had arrived in Hong Kong the second week of February. The firm released a statement saying the vaccines “will be allocated equally among the public and private clinics as soon as possible.” All this is a part of the process of keeping the flu from killing more people and spreading.

Juuling: Worse than a cigarette?


On Feb. 7, 2018, college students and active Juul users went crazy on social media. Rumors started circling around saying that kids were being diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 19 due to using their Juul excessively.

This statement is not true due to the fact that lung cancer takes years to develop.

The text message circulating said, ” Announcement: one of Chris friends from college has never smoked weed or cigs but for the past year he has been an addictive Juuler like constantly which is basically like all of us and he was just diagnosed with lung cancer and his lungs are completely black, and he’s 19 and he’s probably going to die. Scotty and a few of my guy friends have thrown their Juul away.”

Despite the chain mail nature of this story, students across the nation took action. This screenshot was posted on Twitter, which then proceeded to spread through college campuses such as our own. Twitter users started creating a Twitter thread by posting videos of throwing their Juul out into the street or smashing them with hammers.

A clinical professor from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine by the name of Dr. Kien Vuu stated that it is unlikely that Juuling has a short term carcinogenic effect. It usually takes a long time from an exposure of a carcinogen before cancer forms.

“The contents within Juul capsules are unknown in many cases, so it is possible for people to develop bronchitis, bronchiolitis, or forms of acute lung injury which can be severe. The carcinogenic effects of these additional substances long term are unknown at this point; so to say that the contents of Juul has no carcinogenic effects would be unjustified- we just don’t know” he said.

At this point, the route of the rumors are unclear but it is said it could have something to do with an New York University study released last month claiming that vaping can result in an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

This story was portrayed in a great manner due to supplying screenshots of what was posted on Twitter including the original texts. Including scientists with the real answers also answers the question for readers when learning about this issue.

Promising cancer approach reported


Cancer. It’s a word nobody wants to hear. The many forms and deadly results it causes brings major losses and hardships to families around the world. Billions of dollars have been donated to cancer research, yet cures have not been found.

Advancements in technology and medicine have slowed the progress of tumors; and radiation and chemotherapy have cured patients; however, there isn’t a treatment that can 100 percent cure cancer every single time.

A recent research at Stanford University in California found impressive results pertaining to curing cancer in mice. The research project consisted of 90 mice whom were injected with two immune-stimulating agents directly into the tumors.

Lead researcher Ronald Levy and Idit Sagiv-Barfi pioneered the project and cured 87 of the 90 mice injected with the medicine. All 87 of the mice cured had complete obliteration of the tumors and were entirely cancer free.

One of the two agents is currently approved for human use, but the other agent is not.

According to a recent interview conducted by the Stanford medical team, Levy believes the breakthrough starts with boosting the immune system.

“When we use these two agents together, we see the elimination of tumors all over the body,” said Ronald Levy, MD, professor of oncology.

“This approach bypasses the need to identify tumor-specific immune targets and doesn’t require wholesale activation of the immune system or customization of a patient’s immune cells.”

The types of cancers the mice were sick with were leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, and melanoma. The trick to killing the cancer was activating the T-Cells in tumors, which would effectively destroy the tumors from the inside out.

The impressive results have yet to be tested on humans. The two immune-stimulating agents are currently waiting to be reviewed by the FDA.

Father lunges at Nassar during hearing


On Feb. 2, Larry Nassar, ex-USA gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State University athletics trainer, had his third criminal hearing in front of his victims and their family members. Nassar harmed more than 250 victims and will be sentenced somewhere from 40 to 175 years in prison.

Nassar was a osteopathic doctor, which meant he moved his hands over a patient’s muscles and joints to stretch and apply pressure and resistance to those joints. However, he took the care too far. Nassar stated after getting caught that “as a doctor, he was in a position of authority over his victims, and that he used that position to coerce them to submit to the penetration.”

As girl after girl after girl, came up to the podium to speak the gruesome details of her attack, parent Randal Margraves grew angry and unsettled. Margraves, a father of three daughters all of which were abused by Nassar, commented to the judge, “Give me one minute with that bastard.”

After Judge Janice Cunnigham responded to his request “no,” Margraves ran over to Nassar and his attorney and attacked him. He was tackled by four deputies and escorted out of the courtroom. His daughters all screaming “Dad!” while his wife hugged them.

“There is no way this court is going to issue any type of punishment due to the circumstances of this case,” Eaton County Circuit Judge Janice Cunningham said later the same day.

On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram people are calling Margraves a “hero.” Someone started a GoFundMe page for him that is currently at $2,000 in donations to the family.

Before this all happened, Nassar was getting away with his countless sexual assaults. A softball player at Michigan State, Tiffany Lopez, who was also assaulted was told by someone she confined in that “she was fortunate to receive the best medical care possible from a world-renowned doctor.”

More than five girls came forward about Nassar’s abuse to Michigan State officials. However, they weren’t taken seriously. When officials decided to ask Nassar about such accusations he replied that they were “misunderstandings with the girls.” The twisted world we live in.

Fired for being pregnant


In June, Whitney Tomlinson, a 30-year-old single mother and packer at a Walmart Distribution Center in Atlanta, told her supervisor she wasn’t feeling well. She was experiencing morning sickness, which made her supervisor require her to get a doctor’s note in order for her to have a break.

The doctor was not able to identify any worrisome pregnancy complications, but suggested her to avoid heavy lifting while at work. After getting a note from the doctor, she handed it to her supervisor who then sent her to human resources.

She thought she would be granted a break, but it was not the type of break she had sought. It was not legal, according to a new complaint filed by Tomlinson to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Tomlinson was told to apply for an unpaid leave from her job, she was surprised and angry and was curious as to what she had done wrong. Her supervisor told her because of her “restrictions,” she was a “liability” and asked her to call a third party claims management service.

Walmart’s human resources told Tomlinson that she was not permitted to return to work until after she gave birth and she would need to apply for a formal unpaid leave of absence to avoid losing her job.

In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This made discrimination based on pregnancy and childbirth related medical conditions illegal.

Elizabeth Gedmark, a senior staff attorney and director for A Better Balance, said that Walmart’s treatment of Tomlinson was a violation of this act and that she needed restrictions to prevent problems before she started.

The news media have portrayed this story in a respectful but worrisome manner due to the immense detail about the issue. Stories don’t try to protect Walmart’s reputation because, at the end of the day, the business was unjust toward this worker.

Women are sexually harassed at work and it’s why women are discriminated against for being pregnant at work and it’s what needs to change.

Flu season breaks records this year


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just reported that Florida’s flu activity has tripled in just one month from December 2017.

When people receive a flu vaccine, they are protecting against four different strains of flu. However, there is sometimes a case where the flu that spreads is not covered by the vaccine. This year’s deathly strain is called “Virus H3N2.” The effectiveness of the vaccine again Virus H3N2 is only 10 percent.

A total of 37 children have died from the flu this season and more than 12,000 people have been hospitalized for flu-like symptoms. Sadly, this is only one month into the flu season.

Schools, government and doctors are trying to educate people on the difference between a cold and flu, and the ways to avoid both. Start by washing hands frequently, sending children or adults home if they feel sick, stay hydrated, and lastly and most importantly, get the vaccination.

Although cold and flu are both horrible to have, the flu is more severe. Emergency rooms are overbooked as of late and are trying to have patients distinguish between cold and flu before coming in for help.

If you start to develop flu symptoms like a runny nose, headache, vomiting, coughing, or fever, you should go see a doctor in the first 48 hours of feeling symptoms. Doctors can give out an antiviral drug that shortens the effects but only if you come within 48 hours.

The bad news is that this flu will last longer than the normal flu season, which usually only lasts from October to February. Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, said: “It may be several months before this flu season ends.” The CDC officials hope that the flu season had already peaked in the first week of January, but since then it has only increased in people it has affected.

Vegan documentary released on Netflix


The recently released pro-vegan Netflix documentary, “What the Health,” has come to the attention of many health experts. The film, co-directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, has been criticized by some health professionals for exaggerating data, as well as misrepresenting science to promote a diet that avoids all animal foods, rather than one that strikes a balance between the various kinds of foods.

Throughout the video, the directors talk about the presence of processed foods in our diets, as well as the prevalence of chemicals that are used in their creation. Preservatives, flavor enhancers, and other items are often pumped into these foods with little to no regard for safety.

This is all in spite of the negative effect that it has in the human body, which often leads to unhealthy foods becoming a natural part of our diets. The documentary itself frequently offers facts and research studies to support their research, including papers that determine that diabetes and heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., all of which is directly tied into our diets.

As expected, the film is skewed towards a low-fat vegan diet. In the opening, Kip Anderson, a film producer by trade, describes his qualifications as a “recovering hypochondriac.” The film advocates for a vegan diet and an expert on the panel states there is no room for “moderation.” The word “terrifying” is used when describing food, as though to foster action against the meat industry. The documentary itself also frequently uses scare-tactic approaches to push its agenda of persuading viewers to a low-fat vegan diet, rather than arguing about the balance of foods, in addition to justifying the body’s need for meat.

Anderson tries many times to contact many representatives of nutrition associations and it was seen that many of them were unable to answer questions via phone. He repeatedly calls or shows up personally to major organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society, asking why certain foods are recommended on their websites. However, many of them declined to show their information; in fact, Dr. Robert Ratner of the American Diabetes Association refused to discuss the role of diet and diabetes citing that there are too many different types of diets possible to recommend one specific diet.

What the documentary is good at doing is showing how the diets affect a person’s well-being and health. A lot of food affects our well-being, including our health and aesthetics. However, the documentary does not go deep enough into advocating the differences in bodies and diets and, instead, chooses to lean into a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting.

Opioid deaths continue to rise


Opioids, which are among the deadliest drugs in American history, continue to concern public health officials, as the number of drug-related American deaths rise.

An opioid is a drug derived from opium, which is a narcotic that has served as a base to produce other drugs with similar “pain reducing” effects like heroine and morphine.

Approximately two million Americans have a problem with opioids. Although it is a necessary medical advancement because of its continual aid for chronic pain and cancer patients; it is also a highly addictive drug that has increased the amount of deaths in the past years.

The problem began in the 1980s, when scholarly articles, which were popular among doctors, began easing the fear of prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Its effectiveness among patients began an uprising demand for pain killers. By the 1990s the pharmaceutical companies caught on. Shortly after, they began marketing drugs of this type and helped the industry for pharmaceutical narcotics grow.

Among the contributors to these fatalities is Fentanyl, a synthetic, cheaper, and more potent version of the narcotic, that has become more popular among drug users in the recent years.

According to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, “Heroin has become much cheaper in recent years as the supply in the United States has grown.”

Residents are becoming concerned about the high number of overdoses, especially in places with a more common vulnerability to drugs, like The Bronx, in New York City.

“Especially in the South Bronx, you have so many people in housing who overdose, says The Bronx native Terrell Jones.

This is not only a social issue in The Bronx, but also among areas where drugs are easily accessible. People are overdosing by the numbers and it seems to see no end.

New exec order issued on healthcare


This Thursday, President Trump signed a new executive order that could mean big changes for the nation’s healthcare system.

The order lays the groundwork for cheaper health insurance plans with fewer benefits to enter the marketplace. These new products may be exempt from certain regulations laid out by the Affordable Care Act, a factor that is already sparking heated debate in Congress.

According to President Trump and other prominent Republican lawmakers such as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, the order is a step towards diversifying healthcare, giving consumers more coverage options at a lower price than was ever possible before.

Prominent Democratic lawmakers, such as New York Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, do not share this view. They are instead concerned that new health coverage plans like the ones outlined could drive up costs for the poor and sick. Because the new plans are targeted towards healthy individuals able to pay for them, the older, more strictly regulated plans would be left to them, with many of the poor and sick being unable to pay for them.

The New York Times does a solid job presenting how both sides could be correct. The coverage includes a statement from Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who warns of the dangers of association health plans. It also has a statement from Dirk Van Dougen, president of the National Association for Wholesaler-Distributors, who is elated at the possibilities the order opens up for small insurance businesses.

Additionally, The Times includes a brief summary of Obama administration policies and stances on healthcare, in relation to the Trump administration policies and how they have been changed. It is an in detailed account of the current events that leaves plenty of room for the reader to form his or her own opinion on the matter.

Plague in Madagascar panics locals


The plague has returned to the country of Madagascar as reports of more than 194 people contacting the disease came in Tuesday.

For majority of the world, the plague is a thing of the past but, for the country of Madagascar, is it a seasonal worry that has taken the lives of 63 out of the 275 reported cases last year. Officials are particularly worried about this season’s outbreak, as it is mainly affecting heavily populated areas.

Madagascar has temporarily shut down all public and government institutions, including its capital, Antananarivo, home to 1.3 million residents. World Health Organization officials said plans to ship emergency supplies are underway.

Madagascar’s Minister of Public Health, Mamy Andriamanarivo, says the country is running low on face masks for the public, CBC reports.

On average, Madagascar accounts for 82 percent of the world’s plague related deaths. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world, most people making under $2 per day, The Washington Post reports. For the United States, rare cases have been reported and all have survived.

So far there has been little news media coverage on the condition of Madagascar, as most of the United States is giving attention to Sunday night’s Las Vegas massacre, as well as Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico rebuilding after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Epidemic season runs from September to April in Madagascar. So far the disease has killed 30 people.

Nobel awarded for fruit fly research


This Monday, the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded to Drs. Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Robash and Michael Young in recognition of their research pertaining to circadian rhythms.

After years of research, the trio was able to identify a molecule (called a “period”) that is linked to our bodies’ energy levels. As the day goes on, period levels drop, giving us the energy to get through the day. As night approaches, period levels increase, prompting us to call it a day.

The period molecule functions in all animals and is responsible for their daily cycles of wake and rest. But the model organisms this year’s Nobel Prize recipients used was none other than the humble fruit fly.

Being a cost-and-time efficient test subject, fruit flies are also genetically very similar to humans. As such, they have been the stars in numerous important areas of research, five of which led to past Nobel prizes.

New York Times‘ open-ended contributor David Bilder did a thorough job covering not only what happened, but why it is relevant and what are its consequences. He explained in simple terms what the research was and how it applied the ordinary person. He also called attention to the danger that research like the one that is the topic is in, with looming budget cuts from a Congress that does not understand the importance it holds. This also served the purpose of being a call to action for fascinated readers.

He also offered a brief history of the research behind the fruit fly, as a supplement to his urging readers as to the importance of this type of research. Overall, he provided enlightened and complete coverage of the event.

FDA OKs ‘living drug’ in leukemia fight


On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new and unconventional treatment that is expected to have an incredibly positive result on children with leukemia.

The treatment genetically alters the patient’s cells to be anti-leukemia specific cells, although experts are hopeful that it will also be useful against other forms of cancer. It is the first treatment of its kind to be approved by the FDA and its genetic nature has led writers from The New York Times to dub the cells it produces a “living drug.”

The treatment, named Kymriah and licensed to the Novartis pharmaceutical company, is predicted to cost $475,000 per patient and will be available in a specified chain of hospitals in as early as three to five days.

Both The New York Times and The Washington Post do well in covering the specifics of the treatment and the movement surrounding it, particularly in regard to sources. They cover people whom the treatment will affect, such as the sickly 12-year-old Emma Whitehead and her family, as well as health professionals and experts on the topic.

They go through people involved in every stage of the treatment’s development, from the University of Pennsylvania professor who pushed its development to the FDA officials who had the final say in getting it approved.

The newspapers also did their research and included explanations of how the treatment works, why it’s so costly and time consuming to produce, and how patients would be covered in the unlikely case of failure. Both news outlets seem to have covered all their bases while remaining factual and unbiased, making their articles both informative and professional.

Antibiotic resistance poses health threat


The world is dependent on antibiotics, however the efficiency of antibiotics in modern medicine is quickly decaying.

As bacteria mutates and changes, antibiotic treatment will no longer be efficient in treating illnesses. This means going back to a reality where people died from common illness like sinus infections or a scrape to the knee.

Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, spoke in a conference in April about one of the greatest global crises.

“The world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era in which common infections will once again kill. If current trends continue, sophisticated interventions, like organ transplantation, joint replacements, cancer chemotherapy and care of pre-term infants, will become more difficult or even too dangerous to undertake. This may even bring the end of modern medicine as we know it.”

The problem lies with mutation of the bacteria. In some cases, when people use antibiotics to treat an infection, bacteria will mutate and become antibiotic resistant. They then will pass on their DNA to other bacteria in a process called “conjugation.”

According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in U.S. there are approximately 23,000 people who die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections.

With the number expected to rise health organizations around the world are looking into ways to prevent this from spreading.

One of the ways for prevention is to limit the use of antibiotics and not prescribe it as often. Another way is to track it. The CDC now have a system called the National Antimicrobial Monitoring System (NARMS).

“Surveillance for antibiotic resistant bacteria is a big part of our mission,” said Dr. Jean Patel, deputy director of the office of Antimicrobial Resistance at the CDC. “We do this to measure the burden of infection and also characterize the types of resistance we see. This helps us strategize how best to prevent resistance.”

Diseases and bacteria don’t know any borders. They aren’t concerned with politics. Prevention and treatment for antibiotic resistance is a global issue and every nations problem.