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Vaccines Tag

We have been following the mosquito-borne Zika virus epidemic, which had been declared an international medical emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The good news: The organization has officially ended the emergency status. The bad news: The virus is now a permanent addition to our nation.
By lifting its nine-month-old declaration, the UN's health agency is acknowledging that Zika is here to stay. The infection has been linked to severe birth defects in almost 30 countries.

More troubling news is now coming from infectious disease experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting that the first cases of a drug-resistant and potentially fatal fungal infection have occurred within the United States.
The fungus, Candida auris, is known to occur in health care settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. Seven cases occurred between May 2013 and August 2016 in four states: Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. As of August 31, four of these seven patients, all with bloodstream infections, died, though it is unclear whether their deaths were due to C. auris. The remaining six cases were identified after August and are still under investigation.

Reports have surfaced that a new pathogen has made the hop from South America to the Caribbean, and may soon head to our shores. Researchers at the University of Florida have identified the Mayaro virus in an 8-year-old Haitian, the first reported case in that region.
"The virus we detected is genetically different from the ones that have been described recently in Brazil, and we don't know yet if it is unique to Haiti or if it is a recombinant strain from different types of Mayaro viruses," Dr. John Lednicky, an associate professor in the environmental and global health department at the University of Florida, said in a press release.

I noted that Senate Democrats protected the sacred cow of Planned Parenthood when they blocked a bill to fight the spread of the Zika virus in this country. That decision now has consequences, as the coffers for the War against Zika are now running low.
Another government agency fighting Zika has run out of cash to do it, as Congress fights over whether and how to come up with more. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has spent all the money it has for work on Zika, says the agency's director, Dr. Anthony Fauci. That includes money for further work on a Zika vaccine.

There is another disturbing report related to the spread of the Zika virus; however, this one doesn't involve birth defects or neurological problems. Millions of honey bees were killed after areas of South Carolina were sprayed to kill the mosquitoes that transmit the pathogen.
"On Saturday, it was total energy, millions of bees foraging, pollinating, making honey for winter," beekeeper Juanita Stanley said. "Today, it stinks of death. Maggots and other insects are feeding on the honey and the baby bees who are still in the hives. It's heartbreaking." Stanley, co-owner of Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville, South Carolina, said she lost 46 beehives -- more than 3 million bees -- in mere minutes after the spraying began Sunday morning. "Those that didn't die immediately were poisoned trying to drag out the dead," Stanley said. "Now, I'm going to have to destroy my hives, the honey, all my equipment. It's all contaminated."
Truly, the images of the bee-keepers assessing the loss of both their bees and their livelihoods are heartbreaking:

Some intriguing news has been reported that gives me hope that our bureaucrats are taking the public health threat related to the Zika virus seriously. As you may recall, the last time I reported on the Zika epidemic, 4 Floridians had developed locally-acquired infections (probably from mosquito bites). Now, there are 16 cases and stores in the impacted area of Miami are closing due to the viral spread.
Cafes and art galleries in Miami’s Wynwood Art District would normally be bustling this week, even during some of the hottest days of the year, but with Zika virus spreading in the area, businesses like Wynwood Yard and Gallery 212 are keeping their doors shut. There were 16 cases of mosquito-transmitted Zika reported in the mainland U.S. as of Friday, and health officials have traced most to a square-mile area north of downtown Miami. Empty streets there reminded Gallery 212 owner Michael Perez of when he had to temporarily close a store in New York in 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks. “I’m just like living my life all over again, with this Zika thing,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s crazy, the streets are bare right now.”
Florida is not only an important beacon of tourism for this nation; it is a critical swing state in this election. Therefore, it should surprise nobody that the normally slow-moving Food and Drug Administration just approved the releasing of mutant Zika-killing mosquitoes in the Sunshine State.

While Democratic members of Congress built a pillow fort on the floor of the House to oppose gun rights, the Republicans continued their work on behalf of the American people.
At about 1 am on Thursday, while drowned out by cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" from Democrats and partially blocked from C-SPAN’s cameras by protest signs, Ryan held some procedural votes on when the House would reconvene to vote on emergency funding to address the Zika virus. The votes were held at 2:30 am, and the Zika bill passed.
The need for a robust response to Zika is becoming more evident each day, as reports of more outbreaks in this country continue to mount.

I have previously reported that a coalition of 17 state attorney generals has formed (AGs United for Clean Power), which intends to promote the climate change agenda by targeting the fossil fuel industry. The first victim of the Climate Change purge was the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit organization that has assisted businesses in countering climate justice activism, when Attorney General Claude E. Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands issued a subpoena in an attempt uncover the content of CEI’s comprehensive work on climate change policy.

Despite numerous efforts to fight the Texas's campus carry law, including a bizarre protest involving dildos, the law stands, and students are free to carry licensed firearms on campus beginning on August 1st of this year. A University of Texas (UT) Architecture dean has declared that the new law is the reason for his decision to leave UT. The Texas Tribune reports:
The University of Texas at Austin's longtime architecture dean announced on Thursday he is leaving, saying the state's new campus carry law played a major role in pushing him out. . . . . The departure is a blow for UT-Austin. Its architecture school has consistently ranked among the best in the nation under Steiner. This year, Architectural Record ranked its undergraduate program seventh.

Obama now says that there is no reason to panic over a virus that has been linked to an outbreaks in birth defects in South America:
President Obama is asking people not to panic about the Zika virus. "The good news is this is not like Ebola, people don't die of Zika — a lot of people get it and don't even know that they have it," the president said in an interview with Gayle King that aired Monday on "CBS This Morning."
While I agree panic is unwarranted, concern is not...especially after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that its emergency operations center has been put on a “Level 1” status. The President is also asking for $1.8 billion in funding for the resources to combat the disease.

The World Health Organization officially declared a "public health emergency of international concern" over the wildfire spread of the Zika virus.
The agency said the emergency is warranted because of how fast the mosquito-borne virus is spreading and its suspected link to an alarming spike in babies born with abnormally small heads -- a condition called microcephaly -- in Brazil and French Polynesia. Reports of a serious neurological condition, called Guillame-Barre Syndrome, that can lead to paralysis, have also risen in areas where the virus has been reported. Health officials have specifically seen clusters of this in El Salvador, Brazil and French Polynesia, according to WHO's Dr. Bruce Aylward.
Brazilian officials are claiming the outbreak is even worse than reported, because most cases show no overt symptoms of "Zika". Therefore, testing potentially infected people (especially pregnant women) will be one element of controlling the public health crisis.

Just as President Obama declared victory in the combat against the Ebola virus, fears about another one are spreading. Zika virus, which is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause birth defects when women become infected during pregnancy, has hit South America hard and health professionals around the world are now responding to the new infectious disease crisis.
Officials in four Latin American and Caribbean nations have warned women to avoid pregnancy amid concerns over an illness causing severe birth defects. Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica recommended to delay pregnancies until more was known about the mosquito-borne Zika virus. This followed an outbreak in Brazil. Brazil said the number of babies born with suspected microcephaly - or abnormally small heads - had reached nearly 4,000 since October.

Watchdog groups are accusing the Bureau of of Land Management (BLM) of illegally selling thousands of wild horses to be slaughtered between 2008 and 2012 under the office's Wild Horse and Burro Program (WH&B). A report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week, found that the BLM sold 1,794 federally-protected wild horses to a rancher in Colorado, who then sold the horses to be slaughtered in Mexico. The American Wild Horse Preservation says selling wild horses for slaughter both violates BLM policy and a Congressional ban. The BLM employee who sold the horses to Colorado rancher, Tom Davis, received monetary compensation based on the number of horses sold. The detailed OIG investigation unearthed inconsistency among state-level brand inspectors and licensed officials in Colorado and New Mexico, in what reads like Jim Geraghty's Weed Agency.

After California became the epicenter of a measles outbreak earlier this year, the state's legislature proposed a tough, new bill making vaccinations for children attending public school mandatory (with few exceptions.) Governor Jerry Brown just signed that bill into law.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law one of the nation’s strictest childhood vaccination requirements, approving a bill that generated multiple protests and controversy as it moved through the Legislature. Senate Bill 277, authored by Sacramento pediatrician state Sen. Richard Pan and former Santa Monica-Malibu school board president state Sen. Ben Allen, eliminates parents’ ability to claim “personal belief” exemptions to schoolchildren’s vaccine requirements at both private and public schools in California. Only medical exemptions, approved by a doctor, will be allowed under the law. A licensed physician will have to write a letter explaining the child’s medical circumstances that make immunization unsafe for that child.
Opponents are so unhappy with the new rule that they began preparing a lawsuit before the ink had dried.

American officials are scrambling to contact people exposed to an Indian woman who has been diagnosed with an extremely difficult-to-treat strain of tuberculosis.
A female patient with an extremely hard-to-treat form of tuberculosis is being treated at the National Institutes of Health [NIH] outside Washington, D.C., and federal and state officials are now tracking down hundreds of people who may have been in contact with her. The woman traveled to at least three states before she sought treatment from a U.S. doctor. While TB is not easily caught by casual contact, extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB is so dangerous that health officials will have to make a concerted effort to warn anyone who may be at risk. ... The patient, who isn't being identified in any way, may face months or even years of treatment. Ordinary TB is hard to treat and requires, at a minimum, weeks of antibiotics. XDR-TB resists the effects of almost all the known TB drugs. Sometimes patients have to have pockets of infection surgically removed. Only about a third to half of cases can even be cured.
This quest could prove extremely challenging. The NIH's latest patient traveled through one of the country's busiest airport hubs then onto three separate states.

Do you like the idea of tax dollars being used for research to support gun control? Two Democrats introduced legislation last week for that very purpose. The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action reported:
Legislation Proposes $60 Million for Anti-Gun Research On Monday, NRA F-rated Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give $60 million of the taxpayers' money to anti-gun activists over the next six years, to conduct "research" promoting gun control. The two longtime anti-gun legislators say that their bill is necessary for two reasons, both of which are hokum: First, they say, Congress in 1996 "almost halted entirely" all funding of gun control research, the operative word being "almost." In 1996, Congress did stop the CDC from funneling millions of the taxpayers' dollars to anti-gunners to conduct "research"--pitiful by academic standards--designed from the get-go to promote a political agenda against a constitutionally-protected right. However, it didn't shut off the spigot through which millions of dollars flow to the same anti-gunners from leftwing philanthropic foundations. For example, the Joyce Foundation alone has given several million dollars to a variety of anti-gun groups and individuals every year since 1996.