Hawaii, Illinois, Florida, and Texas have all recently reported travel-related cases of Zika virus, including two pregnant women who are being actively monitored. The virus has shown a strong association with fetal brain damage, but no treatment or vaccine is currently available. Last week, the CDC advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries where transmission of the virus has been reported. Read more at The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/19/cdc-issues-guidelines-for-pregnant-women-returning-from-zika-affected-countries/
An investigation into the Army labs at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, responsible for chemical and biological defensive testing, was launched last year after it was discovered to be accidentally shipping live anthrax to laboratories across the country for over a decade. The report reveals gaps that go far beyond that of poor leadership, and include a dozen personnel that are being held accountable and could face disciplinary action as a result. To read more about the findings of the Army investigation report, visit USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/01/15/military-bioterrorism-lab-safety/78752876/
Fifteen people were killed and more wounded by a small militant group in Quetta, Pakistan. The suicide bomber targeted a polio vaccination center as teams prepared for a three-day immunization campaign. A spokesman for the group claiming responsibility has warned of future attacks on polio teams. More information can be found at the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.
The National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity met last week to discuss Gain of Function (GOF) studies. A topic of debate for the past several years, GOF studies involving H5N1 avian influenza and accidents at federal high containment laboratories caused the U.S. government to declare a moratorium in 2014. To find out more about the meeting, including the concerns and recommendations of opponents and researchers, read the article published in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/