“Zika has been sexually transmitted in Texas, CDC confirms” (CNN)

The first identified case of the Zika virus acquired in the continental United States has been confirmed in Texas, contracted via sexual transmission. The CDC is expected to release guidelines on sexual transmission, however relatively little is known. While it has been established that the virus remains in the blood for roughly a week, the viability in semen is yet to be determined. Find out more about the latest research developments of Zika virus at CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/02/health/zika-virus-sexual-contact-texas/

“Florida, Illinois officials report travel-related Zika virus cases” (The Washington Post)

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/

“Egregious safety failures at Army lab led to anthrax mistakes” (USA Today)

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 Todayhttp://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/01/15/military-bioterrorism-lab-safety/78752876/

“Suicide attack on Pakistan polio vaccination center kills 15” (Washington Post)

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.com/world/asia_pacific/police-14-killed-in-bomb-attack-on-polio-vaccination-center-in-southwestern-pakistan/2016/01/13/d27fafd0-b9b9-11e5-85cd-5ad59bc19432_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

“Biosecurity board grapples with how to rein in risky flu studies” (Science)

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/news/2016/01/biosecurity-board-grapples-how-rein-risky-flu-studies