Daily Dose: WHO took its time declaring Ebola a global health emergency

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After refusing to declare an international global health emergency due to the spread of Ebola in Africa, the World Health Organization finally took the step of declaring one. This development comes on the heels of a new case of Ebola, this time in Goma, a city of over 2 million people on the Congo side of its border with Rwanda. Over 1600 people have died since the outbreak began in August. http://bit.ly/2JIxu2Q

A new report from the World Health Organization had some disturbing news. In the three years that has passed since its last investigation, global world hunger has actually increased. According to the WHO, “An estimated 820 million people did not have enough to eat in 2018, up from 811 million in the previous year, which is the third year of increase in a row.” On top of that, the global obesity epidemic is only getting worse. Hard to wrap your head around. http://bit.ly/2XTdGUw

A PNAS article dives into the debate as to whether the so-called hologenome actually exists or whether the concept is just plain wrong. The hologenome consists of the host’s genes as well as the microbes that make up its microbiome. “The hologenome theory suggests that evolutionary pressure acts on holobionts, not hosts or microbes alone, and so the two should be considered a single unit of selection.” While it’s much too involved to get into here, it’s worth a read. http://bit.ly/2XLR5Jj

With all the news about 5G, there was bound to be a resurgence of wireless-technology-causes-cancer fears. The New York Times traces that unfounded sentiment to a set of alarmist studies performed in the early 2000s by a physicist named Bill P. Curry. Even though his research has been widely discredited, the fears he touched on continue to linger, regardless of how many researchers state that 4G/5G/Wi-Fi bandwidths are, in fact, safe. https://nyti.ms/2XMcdze

Dengue is a major problem in equatorial countries. A paper in the Lancet Global Health documents the seroprevalence of Dengue among children in India. According to the study, “The overall seroprevalence of dengue infection in India was 48·7% (95% CI 43·5–54·0); increasing from 28·3% (21·5–36·2) among children aged 5–8 years to 41·0% (32·4–50·1) among children aged 9–17 years and to 56·2% (49·0–63·1) among individuals aged 18–45 years.” While it is still relatively high, South Asian seroprevalence pales in comparison to SE Asian countries where children the ago of 9 have over 70% seroprevalence. http://bit.ly/2XOx4BL

A new technology being worked on by an American technologist and Indian researchers may make ridiculous amounts of information tucked behind paywalls available to the general public. According to Nature, Carl Malamud “has — without asking publishers — teamed up with Indian researchers to build a gigantic store of text and images extracted from 73 million journal articles dating from 1847 up to the present day. The cache, which is still being created, will be kept on a 576-terabyte storage facility at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.” While the actual articles may not be available, since that may break copyright laws, the data contained within the studies will be readily searchable. That’s an even better deal than having access to the full papers. Sign. Us. Up. https://go.nature.com/2XKO8J3

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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