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What’s all the fuss about Zika Virus?

Check out the Cloudy Media Blog for a good discussion about the Zika Virus and it’s Uber transit pal, the Mosquito. Consider why some people are raising the alarm and others are trying to reassure us that it’s not the end of the world if you do contract Zika.

microcephaly-comparison-triple-350px.jpgFor most people Zika is not all that harmful. the symptoms are often described as similar to a mild case of the flu. But, like rubella, the major risk may be to women who contract the disease while pregnant. It has been found that a rise in microcephaly cases in Brazil has coincided with a rise in Zika cases (increasing since April 2015). However, whether there is a causal link between the virus and the birth defect has been more difficult to demonstrate. Correlation is not Causation, otherwise the link between sunburns and the dramatic rise in ice cream sales seen every summer might make us consider shuttering the Dairy Queen to prevent skin cancer.

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So, why think there is a link between Zika and Microcephaly? The immediate reason is the spike in Zika cases just before the spike in microcephaly.

Why doubt the connection? One reason is that Brazil is not the only country seeing a spike in Zika infections. In fact, Columbia has many more confirmed cases of Zika than Brazil (however it is estimated that Brazil may have a larger population of unconfirmed cases) but has not yet seen the spike in microcephaly (or at least I haven’t been able to find good data on it). So, shouldn’t Zika be causing birth defects in children regardless of where they live?

To answer this question, some have decided to look directly at the brains of children born (or fetuses not born) with microcephaly to see if there is any evidence of the virus there. In work performed by the CDC, four of four cases were positive by RT-PCR (a technique looking for virus-specific RNA), and sequence analysis provided further evidence of Zika virus infection, revealing highest identities with Zika virus strains isolated from Brazil during 2015. Workers in San Paulo, Brazil found that the mothers of 23 of 29 infants (79.3%) with microcephaly reported signs of Zika virus infection. The majority of these reported that the symptoms occurred during the first trimester of the pregnancy.

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Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get myself into a vector for the airport. Seriously, check out Cloudy Media.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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First Quizzes tomorrow…

Image I mentioned in my classes that I sometimes post extra credit hints here – but not always. Just enough to make it worth checking once in a while and help buoy my stats.

In class last Thursday someone mentioned that they heard I liked to post extra credit questions about Twin Peaks (a favorite series), but that was last semester. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist throwing a couple in at some point. And, after all it’s always a good idea to see that TV doesn’t always have to be predictable and mundane – sometimes it can be awesome.

If I am giving any hints, it’s that this year, I’ve been watching a lot of movies- especially ones from the 70s and 80s – and writing reviews on my other blog, the now-incorrectly titled, 100FilmsIn100Days. So perhaps, we’ll see a little of that nice Dutch Colonial on Long Island from time to time. 

But not all of my extra credit questions come from incidental materials. Sometimes, they’re  serious, about subjects like the Measles outbreak I discuss below or material that I think is cool, but too detailed or tangential to be tested on for credit.

I look forward to getting back in class. See you soon.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Homecoming

It’s so good to be home!

Even dry and desolate, it’s where my own bed is, with my own pillow and my own family.

I can do with not traveling for a while now.

 

ps –

1.I’ve added a companion blog (AppCampus) where I am writing some serious material about technology and education.

2. Tomorrow is day 1 of P90X

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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