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Professor dispels Zika virus misconceptions

first_imgAfter the recent discovery in Washington, D.C. of mosquitoes capable of carrying and transmitting the Zika virus, worry over the disease — which can lead to severe birth defects — possibly spreading across the continental United States has grown. According to David Severson, a professor in the department of biological sciences, this panic over is not grounded in the reality of the situation.Severson said his primary research areas include entomology, evolutionary biology, genetics and genomics and infectious and vector-born diseases. Though Severson does not work directly with the Zika virus, he has studied the mosquitoes that transmit the virus.“People’s paranoia about Zika, in some ways is overdone. Some of these other viruses are much more of a threat when you go to these places,” Severson said.Those more threatening viruses include the dengue virus and yellow fever virus, both of which are of the Flaviviridae family along with the Zika virus. Additionally, the chikungunya virus, though of a different family, is carried through the same type of mosquito. All four related viruses are found in the “new world tropics,” Severson said, though none of the viruses are endemic, but rather were brought over from Africa and southeast Asia during colonialism.“We’re in a global society,” Severson said, “In most cases, with all four viruses, you may never realize you’re infected. So … the virus is circulating in your system, but you either hardly get sick at all, or you might feel like you have a slight cold, something like that.”Severson also said despite the recent discovery of mosquitoes that are capable of carrying the Zika virus in Washington, D.C., “there’s little transmission in the continental U.S., although there is certainly potential for transmission.”“As far as we know, there is no virus, there has been no active transmission in the Washington, D.C. area,” Severson said, “But it’s at least five years that that population has been there … so if you have active breeding during the summer, and you have someone come in from Brazil that lives in that neighborhood, you have the potential for a short term, seasonal outbreak of these viruses.“We have had dengue virus endemic transmission in southern Florida for probably the last three or four years, probably a little longer,” Severson said, “So we certainly have the potential for this coming in to the southern warmer areas around the east coast, then around the gulf and then along the Texas-Arizona-California-Mexican border.”If the Zika virus were to be transmitted widely across the United States, Severson said, “it probably won’t be as severe” as in Central and South America.“In the U.S. we have different standards of living: we tend to like air conditioning, we like screens on our windows, so we have everything closed up,” Severson said. “So we have limited contact compared to … [for instance] Brazil, you might not even have screens, people like to have the breeze blow through, so there’s a lot more opportunity for exposure to being bitten by a mosquito. And there’s a lot of opportunity for breeding sites, these things will breed in any little container that holds water for a couple weeks … and people don’t tend to have dependable municipal water in some places, so they’ll tend to hoard water in gallon drums or big plastic tanks … and those are the prime breeding grounds oftentimes.“So in the U.S., I suspect we’ll likely have some transmission. It’s the dry season in the new world tropics right now, so mosquito breeding is at the lowest point of the whole year, disease transmission is at the lowest point of the whole year. Rainy season will start in early June and ramp up, and that’s when the mosquito breeding will start, and shortly after that there will be a rapid spike in disease transmission.”Though there is no cure or treatment for the Zika, dengue or chikungunya viruses yet, Severson said that curbing outbreaks would begin with combatting insecticide resistance.“Right now with all those viruses, the only one for which there is a good vaccine is yellow fever,” Severson said, “There is no good vaccine for the other three. And there are no drug treatments. If you get sick, you have to power through it and get better. So right now the only way to deal with outbreaks of this or to try to prevent outbreaks is to try to control the mosquito population. So there’s massive insecticide use throughout the tropics to try to control the mosquito population, and you get pretty strong genetic resistance to those. People are looking at different ideas on how to deal with this.”Severson said his recent research with the mosquitoes that carry the dengue and Zika viruses has focused on “understand(ing) various pathways, what genes are up or down and regulated.”“We may be able to identify chemicals and drugs that you could take so if you were infected … you wouldn’t transmit it through the mosquito to another human host, so you could break the cycle that way,” he said.Severson said he hopes that his research with mosquitoes could lead to possible vaccination developments in the future, as well as species-specific pesticides that would cut back on the use of pesticides that “blanket kill every insect that’s out there.”“If we understand what makes a mosquito genetically competent to transmit this pathogen, then perhaps we can engineer a genetically modified mosquito that’s no longer capable … [of transmitting] that virus,” Severson said, “Then look into actually releasing those into the environment. So there’s a whole host of things that people have talked about, and some of those are actually in practice.”According to Severson, the Zika virus can only be transmitted from person to person in two ways. The first is through a blood transfusion, if the blood donor happens to be viremic. Severson said if a person goes to donate blood and finds that he or she is carrying the virus, however, “they might just say come back in a couple weeks and then you can donate blood.”Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted, Severson said, although this is “completely unusual,” noting there have only been two documented cases of sexual transmission.“The point to remember with Zika is that this virus has been around for a long, long time,” Severson said. “And usually it’s been most people, probably 90-plus percent of people, either don’t know they’ve had it or they get some mild (symptom), a cold, a flu or they just don’t feel well. … Microcephaly in Brazil, that’s brand new, and outside of that, if you’re not a young woman in a child-bearing age where you have the potential to get pregnant, it’s generally a benign problem.”As far as taking precautions against these viruses, Severson said it is important to note the time of day in which mosquitoes transmitting Zika virus bite.“These mosquitoes are day biters, they bite people during the daylight hours,” Severson said, “You hear about malaria and people sleeping under bed nets, but they won’t stop Zika virus. The mosquitoes that transmit malaria are night biters. So right now if you go to Brazil, for example, it does absolutely zero good at preventing Zika or dengue or chikungunya to sleep under a bed net. The mosquitoes that transmit these viruses are most active right at dawn and right near dusk. … That coincides when people are the most active, getting up to go to school or go to work, you’re coming home … especially in the tropics.”Severson said U.S. citizens planning on traveling to Brazil and other areas in which Zika outbreaks have been prevalent shouldn’t worry too much about the dangers of that virus, but should focus on avoiding the dengue virus.“Globally, there are about half a million hemorrhagic fever forms of (dengue) virus per year where you get internal hemorrhaging, and if you don’t get adequate healthcare, you could actually die from it,” Severson said, “So for people going to [tropical areas], dengue is a much greater threat. And that’s another one where you get infected and in most people you get a mild illness. The same thing with chikungunya. It doesn’t tend to cause [fatality], but habitual neuropathy in some people. … So of all the other things that are out there, outside of microcephaly coming through pregnant women, Zika is a pretty benign virus.”Tags: Zika viruslast_img read more

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Jerry Mitchell & Alex Rudzinski to Direct NBC’s Bye Bye Birdie Live!

first_img NBC’s Bye Bye Birdie Live! has tapped Tony winner Jerry Mitchell and Grease: Live Emmy winner Alex Rudzinski as the broadcast’s stage and live television directors, respectively. As previously reported, Jennifer Lopez is starring as Rosie and executive producing the project.Mitchell most recently choreographed NBC’s Hairspray Live! He directed the Gloria Estefan bio-musical On Your Feet! and earned a Tony for choreographing the 2013 Tony-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots, for which he was also nominated as a director. He also received a Tony for choreographing the 2005 production of La Cage aux Folles. His other Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Rocky Horror Show, The Full Monty, Hairspray, Never Gonna Dance and Legally Blonde. Mitchell was nominated for an Olivier Award for his choreography in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which he also directed and co-produced in the West End.Rudzinski, who was nominated for a DGA Award for his live television direction of Hairspray Live!, has won two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Direction for a Variety Special for his work on Fox’s musical Grease: Live. He has directed 22 seasons of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and his other work includes U.K. series Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and Maya & Marty. Rudzinski is the director and co-executive producer of NBC’s upcoming dance competition series World of Dance, for which Lopez serves as a celebrity judge on the show. Further casting, the creative team and a broadcast date are still to be announced View Comments Jerry Mitchell(Photo: Bruce Glikas)last_img read more

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Specialty Food Association to offer food safety workshops

first_imgThe Vermont Specialty Food Association is sponsoring two workshops on meeting the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 in Colchester (Hampton Inn) on October 4, 2011 and Rutland (Franklin Conference Center) on November 3, 2011. Known as FSMA 2011, the law will result in some of the most sweeping changes in decades to our food safety and regulatory system. Brian Norder of Vermont Food Consulting Services and Bob Weybright of Weybright and Associates, Inc. will guide participants through key provisions of the law, and, through hands-on exercises, how to write a food safety plan to comply with the law and private food safety audits. Special emphasis will be placed on differences in requirements for small and large producers. This project is funded in part by a USDA Rural Development Grant (USDA-RBEG.). More information of the sessions can be found at www.vtspecialtyfoods.org(link is external). The Vermont Specialty Food Association is a statewide organization representing over 100 food producers and 20 suppliers to the industry. It is one of the nation’s premier statewide associations for the specialty food trade, celebrating 26 years of service to the industry. A complete list of members is available at www.vtspecialtyfoods.org(link is external).last_img read more

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Manhattan view: Steve Cuozzo

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PREMIUMUnresolved colonial past clouds Dutch royal visit

first_imgLOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Linkedin Log in with your social account Topics : Forgot Password ? Google Dutch King Willem-Alexander is due to arrive in Indonesia for a state visit next week, the first time since his inauguration in 2013.Officials have promised an itinerary with a heavy emphasis on economic issues, but unresolved demands from those affected by past war crimes still loom large over the monarch’s visit.King Willem-Alexander is expected to arrive in Jakarta on March 9 accompanied by Queen Maxima, four Dutch cabinet ministers and a business delegation of about 130 people, the Foreign Ministry has announced.On March 10, the Dutch delegation will commence a three-day visit with stops in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan and Lake Toba in North Sumatra.Hans de Boer, the president of Dutch business and employers’ organization VNO-NCW, will lead the economic trade mission in Indonesia, which boasts representatives of 135 major and medium-… Facebook King-Willem-Alexander Dutch Dutch-colonialism history Indonesia war-crimelast_img read more

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Danish roundup: LD, Nordea, ATP

first_imgThis is the second time LD has put out its equity mandates to international competitive tender, with a total of DKK14bn of mandates being awarded this time.LD said today’s portfolio managers actively drew on information from risk managers when making their daily decisions, with risk management having become a strategic discipline.They are not afraid of risk, it said, but rather do not want to be surprised by unknown risks.Anderskouw said equity managers had taken serious account of the wishes of LD customers in the tender.“This is true not only on the risk side but also in areas such as responsible investment practice,” she said.“And it is particularly good to see that equities managers have revised their own bonuses.”She added that the managers were now putting the emphasis on sustainable returns.Earlier this month, MFS Investment Management and Fisher Investments won a global equities mandate and an emerging markets mandate from LD.In March, Carnegie Asset Management and Impax Asset Management won mandates for Danish equities and environment and climate, respectively.LD manages assets of around DKK53.3bn.In other news, Nordic and Baltic banking group Nordea said it reaped a DKK3.5bn gain from selling its stake in Nordic financial payments provider Nets, as ATP’s consortium completed its DKK17bn purchase of the firm.The consortium – comprising Danish pensions giant ATP and private equity firms Advent International and Bain Capital – announced the completion of the acquisition following approval from Danish, Norwegian, Finnish and EU regulatory authorities.Nordea said it was selling its 20.7% stake in Nets Holding to the consortium, gaining DKK3.5bn.Before the completion of the deal, Nets was owned by more than 180 separate banks.ATP and its joint venture partners announced the all-cash private equity investment deal in March.John Helmsøe-Zinck, managing partner at Via Venture Partners – the management company for ATP’s IT investments and a board member of Nets – said the company would now have the financial resources and operational expertise to make the big investment necessary to make sure it remained a market leader.“We are committed to accelerating the company’s growth and enabling the company to strengthen its international position,” he said. Denmark’s Lønmodtagernes Dyrtidsfond (LD) has praised the asset management sector, saying it found a higher quality of investment work and risk management when it conducted the pension fund’s latest DKK14bn (€1.9bn) round of equities outsourcing.Bente Anderskouv, head of equities at LD, said: “There are many particularly skilled equities managers throughout the world, and the most capable have even increased the quality of their investment work over the last few years.”LD, which manages a non-contributory pension scheme for Danes, based on cost-of-living allowances for workers granted in 1980, has recently awarded four equity mandates as part of an exercise to renew the outsourcing of most of its asset management.Anderskouv has spent more than a year working first on establishing LD’s equity strategy and then on the selection of the equity managers the pension fund would work with in future, LD said.last_img read more

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Dutch regulator’s pension fund aims for 30% outperformance on ESG

first_imgThe €2bn pension fund of Dutch financial regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) plans to fine-tune its policy on responsible investment, aiming for an investment portfolio with a 30% outperformance on ESG.In its annual report for 2018, Roeland van Vledder, the scheme’s chairman, said it also wanted to reduce the portfolio’s carbon footprint by 10% relative to the benchmark, and would exclude controversial weapons and tobacco from its investment universe.He said the board was convinced that the measures would contribute to maintaining its strong funding position: at the end of March its coverage ratio was 122.8%.The DNB pension fund reported an overall loss on investments of 0.4% for 2018. DNB’s office in AmsterdamThe scheme replaced a number of long-duration bonds with short-duration bonds in order to limit exposure to a relative drop in fixed income markets.Despite the loss, the DNB scheme was able to grant its participants full inflation compensation for the first time in 10 years.Indexation in arrears for pensioners and deferred members ranged from 4.75% to 8.54%, depending on whether they were linked to the salary or the consumer index.It follows a liability-driven investment policy, with 75% of the interest rate risk on its nominal liabilities covered by investments in fixed income and interest rate swaps. The DNB scheme simplified its investment portfolio in 2017, reducing the number of asset classes and switching to passive management.The board said it would carry out an extensive evaluation of its pensions administration after provider TKP announced plans to cease its advisory services, as the DNB scheme, given its scale, no longer fitted in its long-term strategy.Last year, the pension fund replaced BNY Mellon with KAS Bank as custodian, and at 2017-end Cardano became the manager of its matching portfolio.In addition, the DNB scheme’s board said it intended to simplify its pension arrangements in order to ease implementation and communication, as well as reduce costs. A simplified pension plan would also make adjusting to a new pensions system easier, it said.The pension fund reported administration costs of €295 per participant. It spent 16bps on asset management and 2bps on transactions.The DNB scheme has 2,065 active participants, 1,755 deferred members and 1,480 pensioners. A gain of 2.5% from its liability-matching portfolio of predominantly short-duration German and Dutch government bonds and interest swaps – which made up 60% of the overall portfolio – could not compensate for a 2.9% loss from its return-seeking holdings.Its equity allocation lost 4.3%, while its global property REITs allocation declined by 0.3%.last_img read more

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Spotted: Höegh LNG’s Ninth FSRU Afloat at Hyundai Heavy

first_imgImage Courtesy: Höegh LNGHöegh LNG has shared an image of its ninth FSRU floating at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in South Korea. Scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2018, the FSRU will have a storage capacity of 170,000 cubic meters and a max regasification capacity of 750 MMscf/day.With a gross tonnage of 103,800 tons, the newbuilding will feature a length of 294 meters and a width of 46 meters.As World Maritime News previously reported, the FSRU is intended for the LNG import project in Port Qasim near Karachi, Pakistan, under the 20-year charter contract signed with Global Energy Limited (GEIL).In a separate announcement, Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) informed that Höegh LNG’s USD 230 million debt financing for the company’s eight FSRU has been completed.Slated for delivery in the first quarter of 2018, the company’s eight FSRU is currently being built also at the HHI shipyard.The facility comprises a twelve-year export credit agency term loan of up to USD 150 million backed by Garantiinstituttet for Eksportkreditt and Eksportkreditt of Norway, and a five-year non-amortising commercial bank loan of up to USD 80 million funded by ABN AMRO Bank, Danske Bank, Nordea and Swedbank. The facility is available to fund 65% percent of the FSRU’s delivered cost of with no employment requirement, increasing to 75% upon securing long-term employment.The company currently has seven FSRUs in operation and three FSRUs under construction at HHI and Samsung Heavy Industries.Earlier this month, Höegh LNG informed that its profit for the three months ended September 30 was USD 1.1 million, down from USD 8.5 million in the preceding quarter. The company reported EBITDA of USD 31.6 million for the third quarter, compared with USD 37.7 million for the previous quarter.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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Juanita L. Scheidler, 95

first_imgJuanita L. Scheidler, 95, passed away on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at Aspen Place Health Campus in Greensburg.  She was born on July 17, 1924 in Moscow, Indiana to Chris and Irene (Bedinghaus) Springmeyer.  She attended Kingston and St. Maurice Elementary Schools and graduated from her beloved Clarksburg High School in 1942.  Juanita was a devoted wife, mother, and homemaker.  She was a lifelong member of the St. Lawrence Ladies Auxiliary.  On April 17, 1948, Juanita married Herb Scheidler, who preceded her in death on May 21, 2011, after 63 years of marriage.  She is survived by five children; Ken (Karen) Scheidler, John Scheidler, Joe (Lee) Scheidler, Mary (David) Miers, and Phil (Lisa Santos) Scheidler, six grandchildren; Erica (Lee) Hopewell, Stephen (Kimmie) Gauck, Jacob Scheidler, Luke Scheidler, Lydia (Blaise Freeman) Scheidler, and Diana (Kevin) Horstman, six great grandchildren; Christopher and Addie Gauck, Wesley, Kelly, Gabe, and Chad Hortsman, two brothers; Wayne (Dottie) Springmeyer, and John Springmeyer, and sister-in-law; Ruth Springmeyer.  She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, sister; Joanne Clark, five brothers; Dale, Leroy, Cliff (Gene), Vince, and Don Springmeyer, one brother-in-law; Andy Clark, three sisters-in-law; Bonnie, Cecilia, and Jo Springmeyer, and grandson; Paul Gauck.  Visitation will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greensburg on Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 9-11 am followed by a funeral mass at 11:00 am with Rev. John Meyer officiating.  Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Herb and Juanita Scheidler Family Fund at the Decatur County Community Foundation.  Online condolences can be made to the family at www.popfuneralhome.comlast_img read more

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Foster out for 12 weeks

first_img Press Association Wales international Boaz Myhill, who returned to training this week after a wrist injury, is likely to step in for Foster. The Baggies can also call on Luke Daniels, who made his first-team debut when he replaced Foster at Everton. Clarke added: “I’ve got two other very good goalkeepers to choose from. “Boaz did well when he deputised for Ben last season and Luke showed on Saturday he is a more than capable goalkeeper.” Foster, 30, who had retired from international football in 2011, returned to play for England against the Republic of Ireland in May. Foster, who limped off in the 77th minute of the 0-0 draw at Everton on Saturday, will undergo surgery in the next few days. West Brom boss Steve Clarke told the club’s website: “There’s no hiding the fact this is disappointing news as Ben is a key player for us. He was excellent on Saturday before his injury forced him off.” center_img West Brom’s England goalkeeper Ben Foster will be sidelined for up to 12 weeks after a scan showed he has suffered a stress fracture of a bone in his right foot.last_img read more

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