by Anne Galloway May 9, 2013 vtdigger.org On Tuesday, Governor Peter Shumlin and legislative leaders agreed to eliminate any new General Fund taxes this year, effectively killing a number of provisions in the miscellaneous tax bill, H.528.A day later, however, lawmakers found a way to give the bill some heft. They are considering a net neutral proposal that would take the state a few steps closer toward eliminating deductions, and in the view of the committee, making the tax code fairer for middle class Vermonters.Most states tax residents based on adjusted gross income: only eight states, including Vermont, tax residents based on taxable income, or the amount taxpayers report after they have claimed deductions.The tax conference committee is taking a middle of the road route. Instead of going straight to AGI, and eliminating all deductions, they are looking at a cap on itemized deductions (2.5 times the standard deduction, or $29,750 total for a married couple), offering only the standard deduction and capping mortgage deductions at $12,000 (with a 3 percent minimum effective rate for Vermonters who earn more than $125,000). In the first two aforementioned proposals, the tax rates would be compressed to four and the top marginal rate would drop from 8.95 percent to 8.7 percent.In all three models, there is no effective change in the total amount of revenues generated. Thats why the lawmaker say it is a net neutral proposal.The basic idea isnt new: It is an extrapolation of the Vermont Blue Ribbon Tax Structure Commissions proposal from three years ago.Rep. Janet Ancel, chair of House Ways and Means and a former tax commissioner, has been working with her committee on drawing up proposals of this sort ever since. Sen. Tim Ashe, chair of Senate Finance, is interested in making the tax code more equitable.Though the proposals raise no new taxes in the aggregate, in the particulars there are winners and losers. The winners are middle class Vermonters who see a slight decrease in their tax burden; the losers are upper income Vermonters who would pay a bit more.Sue Allen, the governors press secretary, said the proposed income tax changes are not within the parameters of the no new tax deal.When Shumlin was asked about details of the deal at his weekly news conference, he wouldnt talk about specifics and whether net neutral policy changes would be subject to his veto pen. Im encouraged that legislative leadership has come to consensus with me that we not raise taxes beyond the gas tax this year, and my view is that while theres been some great work done on both sides â ¦ our job now is to complete the business of the session and come back next year ready to continue conversations, Shumlin said.
The Lenexa council said it wanted to revisit the proposed Midwest Sikh Gurdwara plans in June. Rendering credit Shukla & Associates.Plans for a new, $4.5 million Sikh temple in Lenexa were put on hold based on concerns about the project’s design expressed by some Lenexa City Council members and residents at the council’s Tuesday meeting.The Midwest Sikh Gurdwara is proposed for the northeast corner of 101st Street and Lone Elm Road. The two-story building would contain about 24,750 square feet. The second floor would hold the main worship hall with capacity for 326 seats at roughly 11,000 square feet. The first floor would contain an additional 13,750 square feet for a kitchen, dining hall, classrooms and conference rooms, said Pradeep Shukla, an architect and planner with Shukla & Associates in Leawood and the project’s architect.Golden domes, like the ones on this gurdwara in Delhi, are a fixture of Sikh architecture throughout the world. Photo credit Hari Singh.The building’s exterior would comprise precast concrete panels and brick, and three ornamental, golden domes in Sikh-style architecture would sit atop the building. The building’s parking lot would have 125 spaces.The building would be built on 12 acres, part of a 42-acre lot purchased two-and-a-half years ago by the Midwest Sikh Association, Shukla said. The association plans to eventually sell lots to build single-family homes on the remaining 30 acres in the same price range as existing, surrounding homes.The Lenexa Planning Commission recommended approval of the project at its April 2 meeting, and city staff also have recommended approval. The council, however, voted unanimously at its Tuesday night meeting to revisit the proposed project at its June 19 meeting.Several council members — including Ward 2 Councilman Thomas Nolte, who is an architect — and several residents at the Tuesday council meeting expressed concerns including the proposed building’s orientation relative to surrounding roads, possible negative effects on traffic in the area, design compatibility with surrounding residential neighborhoods and possible negative effects on surrounding property values.“I have some serious concerns about how this building got to this spot,” Nolte said. “All these concerns can be fixed…But I do think we need more dialogue.”Ward 2 Councilman Bill Nicks said he had recently spoken with about 30 residents about the project at one of his regular discussion sessions, and had received a few dozen emails and some phone calls about the project.“I think we should give the neighborhood and the applicant that time to work together so they can thrive together in a friendly, non-adversarial way with this project,” Nicks said.One resident, David Pulford, expressed displeasure at the Tuesday council meeting because he and other residents had no opportunity to voice their concerns at the April 2 planning commission meeting. No public hearing is required for the project because it doesn’t involve a special use permit request, said Mayor Michael Boehm.Shukla said he plans to hold a meeting with residents in the first week of June “and clarify all their concerns and get back on track.”He said he had received a letter from the city April 5 saying some residents had concerns about the project, and that he had sent a letter to three homeowners associations on April 7 asking to meet but hadn’t heard back from them.“We are very positive about this project,” he said, adding that residents had expressed valid concerns at Tuesday’s council meeting, “but they are minor clarifications only. We want everybody to be happy.”An elevation drawing of the proposed gurdwara.
APS Fellow Gretchen Chapman (Carnegie Mellon University) discussed social distancing in an article in Slate. APS welcomes and encourages additional content to include on this page. Feel free to forward recommendations to email@example.com. See the latest media appearances by APS members. APS Fellow David DeSteno (University of Maryland) is quoted in The New York Times and Quartz: “Someone who is already having problems with, say, social anxiety, depression, loneliness, substance abuse, or other health problems is going to be particularly vulnerable.” — Segrin In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, APS Fellow and Board Member Michele Gelfand (University of Maryland) discussed challenges unique to the United States. Anxiety and fear have survival value: to prepare and protect. So, what else can we do to not let COVID-19 fears go from helpful to harmful? Or lead us to carelessness or complacency? Tools from evidence-based psychotherapy highlight key principles. “[…] having a friend present can reduce a person’s cardiovascular response to a stressful task. There’s even a correlation between perceived social connectedness and stress responses. “Just knowing that you have someone you can count on if needed is enough to dampen some of those responses even if [that person is] not physically present.” — Holt-Lunstad In news stories and opinion pieces, psychological scientists are sharing evidence-based insights on public reactions to epidemics and the viral nature of news and information, particularly as they pertain to COVID-19. APS Fellow Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Chris Segrin provided insights on social distancing in Science magazine. “The answer is a mix of miscalibrated emotion and limited knowledge. As news about the virus’s toll in China stokes our fears, it makes us not only more worried than we need be about contracting it, but also more susceptible to embracing fake claims and potentially problematic, hostile or fearful attitudes toward those around us—claims and attitudes that in turn reinforce our fear and amp up the cycle.” “You’re looking around to see what people are doing,” says Chapman. “If you take your cues from other people, you might be more inclined to take strong action yourself because you see other people doing it.” “If your worldview is that you’re always asked to make sacrifices and you never get anything out of it, maybe you don’t want to comply with this request. But if you have a worldview that tells you it’s important to help others, then maybe you’re happy to make these sacrifices.” “It’s not just the fear and targeting of a group of people who have a higher risk of infecting you. You’re not reacting to a specific health threat, but are generalizing it to a group of people and labeling all of them as dangerous and deserving of exclusion and poor treatment.” APS has several Research Topics with additional relevant information: Epidemics and Public Health Behavior, Misinformation, and Risk. In a CNN article, APS Fellow Frank Farley (Temple University) is quoted: “Habit change is very, very difficult. We’re designed to build habits. When you try to break habits, you’re working upstream against your own evolutionary history. It’s not enough to simply instruct people to stop, people must be able to ‘outsmart their habit’ or form a different one. One way to do that quickly is to change something in your environment. Wear something on your hands or face (just not a mask if you’re not sick) that can serve as a cue, an interruption to an automatic action.” In an op-ed in the Seattle Times, APS Fellow Lori Zoellner (University of Washington) and her colleagues write: “[The novel coronavirus] is engendering a sort of survivalist psychology, where we must live as much as possible at home and thus must ‘stock up’ on essentials, and that certainly includes toilet paper. After all, if we run out of [toilet paper], what do we replace it with?” “While social distancing, better hygiene, and flat-out travel bans may help, we have yet to address one of our biggest vulnerabilities: America’s traditionally loose culture. The decentralized, defiant, do-it-your-own-way norms that make our country so entrepreneurial and creative also deepen our danger during the coronavirus crisis. To fight this pandemic, we can’t just shift our resources; we have to shift our cultural patterns as well.” APS Fellow Charissa Cheah was quoted in a Washington Post article exploring racial overtones in certain rhetoric. In an article published in the Washington Post, APS Fellow and Janet Taylor Spence Award recipient Elliot Berkman (University of Oregon) is quoted as saying:
Cambodia reports H5N1 deathCambodia’s health ministry has announced that a 10-year-old girl died from H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in a statement. The girl, from Kampong Speu province in central Cambodia, got sick May 20 and was treated in her village before admission to a hospital on May 25. The Pasteur Institute in Cambodia confirmed the presence of H5N1 on May 26, and the girl died on May 27, despite intensive treatment, according to the WHO. An investigation into the source of her infection found that recent poultry deaths were reported in her village and that the girl had prepared sick chicken for food before she became ill. The girl is Cambodia’s 21st H5N1 case since 2005 and its 19th death from the disease. So far this year Cambodia has reported three H5N1 infections, all involving children and all fatal. The new case pushes the WHO’s global H5N1 count to 604 infections and 357 deaths.May 29 WHO statementMay 29 WHO global H5N1 case count Researchers estimate 3 million US West Nile infections, 780,000 casesExtrapolating from surveillance data, US researchers estimate that, from 1999 through 2010, more than 3 million Americans were infected by West Nile virus (WNV), which resulted in 780,000 illnesses and more than $800 million in medical costs. Writing in Epidemiology and Infection yesterday, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fargo, N.D., San Francisco, and Madison, Wis., noted that the nationwide ArboNET surveillance system has detected 12,823 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) since 1999. They point out that a 2012 study in Emerging Infectious Diseases on blood donors in North Dakota suggested that, for every WNND case detected, 213 to 286 infections likely occurred. From these statistics, the investigators estimated that almost 2.8 million WNV infections occurred in the study period in adults. They note that estimates of infection rate vary for children, but, if they assume the rate to be similar to the adult rate, the number of US WNV infections grows to about 3.2 million. Assuming that 26% of infections lead to clinical disease, they estimated about 780,000 cases of WNF, for a total acute-care medical cost of about $832 million.May 28 Epidemiol Infect abstractApril Emerg Infect Dis report on WNND cases Scientists develop flu proteins that may disable multiple flu strainsUS researchers have developed a method for designing influenza proteins as antivirals that have proved potent against an array of flu strains, according to a preliminary study in Nature Biotechnology. The team used computer-aided design to engineer proteins that targeted vulnerable hemagglutinin sites on the flu virus, according to a news release from Michigan State University (MSU). The scientists then optimized those proteins by comprehensively mapping the mutations that gave the proteins a strong advantage when attacking the viruses’ targeted areas. The team improved their proteins through a process called “DNA deep sequencing” to simultaneously sequence millions of variants of the manufactured proteins and identify and keep the beneficial mutations. “By taking only the best mutations, we can reprogram our proteins to burrow into viruses at key locations and render them harmless,” said lead author Tim Whitehead, PhD, of MSU, in the release. “The most potent of these,” the authors write, “a 51-residue protein, is broadly cross-reactive against all influenza group 1 hemagglutinins, including human H2, and neutralizes H1N1 viruses with a potency that rivals that of several human monoclonal antibodies.” Whitehead added in the news release, “Our work demonstrates a new approach to construct therapeutic proteins, which we hope will spur development of new protein drugs by the biopharmaceutical industry.”May 27 Nature Biotech abstractMay 27 MSU news release CDC alerts travelers to Vietnam of HFMD outbreakIn a May 25 update for travelers, the CDC warned of a widespread outbreak of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in Vietnam that began in January. The agency said that, as of Apr 29, nearly 40,000 people had become ill from the HFMD virus and that 20 have died, all children younger than 5 years old. Hai Phong province in the north has reported the most cases, followed by Bac Can, Yen Bai, and Lao Cai provinces. “The Vietnam Ministry of Health is taking steps to control the outbreak,” the CDC said. The agency encouraged travelers to practice healthy personal hygiene such as washing hands and to avoid contact with HFMD patients, adding that packing alcohol-based hand sanitizer might be a good idea. In a May 15 update, the WHO, using data through May 6, said that Vietnam had 43,196 cases in 2012, including 22 deaths. China has had more than 99,000 cases this year, compared with 34,709 at this time last year, the WHO reported.May 25 CDC updateMay 15 WHO update May 29, 2012
Flu epidemics strike during the winter in temperate regions, but the seasonality of flu is less clear in the tropics, where outbreaks tend to occur during rainy seasons or year-round. The findings suggest that rain and humidity are key factors in tropical regions, while adding further evidence that cold and dryness are important in temperate areas. They fit with previous research showing that flu viruses survive longer in dry air. But the statement cautioned that climate is just one of several factors that influence flu seasonality. “Further work should focus on examining the role of population travel and other factors in influenza transmission,” said Mark Miller, MD, director of the Fogarty Center’s Division of International Epidemiology and Population Studies, who wasn’t involved in the study. See also: Feb 28 CIDRAP News item on link between humidity and flu virus infectivity The team identified a specific climatic threshold that separated sites with “cold-dry” and “humid-rainy” flu peaks, according to their report. In places where monthly specific humidity dropped below about 11 to 12 grams of water per kilogram of air and temperatures sank below 18º to 21ºC for at least a month, flu activity peaked in winter. The researchers used a fairly new global database that contains information on flu peaks at the 78 sites around the world, the report says. The locations range from 1 to 60 degrees latitude, and 39% are in the tropics. The flu data were gleaned from 85 studies conducted from 1975 to 2008, with a median duration of 2 years. In most cases they focused on a city rather than a province or region. Tamerius JD, Shaman J, Alonso WJ, et al. Environmental predictors of seasonal influenza epidemics across temperate and tropical climates. PLoS Pathogens 2013 Mar 7 [Full text] Mar 7 NIH press release To provide an independent check on the findings, the team also used epidemiologic data from nine countries participating in the World Health Organization’s global flu surveillance program, FluNet. The countries—Spain, Tunisia, Senegal, Philippines, Vietnam, Colombia, Paraguay, South Africa, and Argentina—each provided several years’ worth of data. . Mar 8, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – If peak influenza activity is an accurate measure, flu viruses prefer the weather either cold and dry or humid and rainy, according to an analysis of climate variables and flu patterns around the world. Researchers from several US universities and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reached this conclusion primarily by studying flu and climate data from 78 sites in 40 countries. Sponsored in part by the NIH, the study was led by geographer James D. Tamerius, PhD, of Columbia University as first author. Viboud said the findings could be used to refine flu transmission models, target surveillance efforts, and improve the timing of seasonal flu vaccine delivery, according to the release. Although specific humidity was found to be a good predictor of flu peaks overall, this was mainly due to its performance in higher latitudes, the authors write, adding, “In low latitudes, precipitation was a stronger predictor of the timing of influenza activity.” They also note that peak flu activity was harder to predict in low-latitude places, some of which do not have well-defined flu seasons. The report also says that the predictions of the climate-based models compared favorably with the epidemiologic information collected from the nine countries involved in FluNet. The scientists gathered data on temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation for each of the sites. They used the temperature, relative humidity, and atmospheric pressure to calculate the average monthly specific (absolute) humidity, meaning the ratio of water vapor to air. “The models we used predicted the timing of peak influenza activity with 75 to 87 percent accuracy,” senior author Cecile Viboud, PhD, of the NIH’s Fogarty International Center, said in the release. By comparing the flu patterns and climate data, the researchers found that temperature and specific humidity were the best individual predictors of peak flu activity, the NIH release said. They determined that in temperate regions, flu was more common 1 month after periods of the lowest specific humidity, which coincided with the coldest months. “For sites where specific humidity and temperature do not decrease below these thresholds, seasonal influenza activity is more likely to peak in months when average precipitation totals are maximal and greater than 150 mm [about 6 inches] per month,” the report says. “In contrast, sites that maintained high levels of specific humidity and temperature were generally characterized by influenza epidemics during the most humid and rainy months of the year,” the NIH said. “The paper, published in PLoS Pathogens, presents a simple climate-based model that maps influenza activity globally and accounts for the diverse range of seasonal patterns observed across temperate, subtropical and tropical regions,” the NIH said in a press release yesterday. Feb 25, 2010, CIDRAP News story “Study says humidity is key factor in US flu outbreaks”
Possible Ebola treatment ZMapp receives FDA fast-track statusMapp Biopharmaceuticals announced yesterday that its experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp received fast-track status to gain US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.The San Diego, Calif.–based company has been administering ZMapp in West African clinical trials, though with Liberia reporting no new Ebola cases since July and case incidence declining in Sierra Leone and Guinea, ZMapp’s effectiveness has been difficult to test.The FDA grants fast-track status to pharmaceuticals that potentially address unmet needs and treat serious conditions. The new status may allow Mapp Biopharmaceuticals and its commercial division, LeafBio, Inc., to more quickly file a Biologics License Application for marketing ZMapp in the United States.ZMapp was administered to the first two American Ebola patients, who survived. The drug is made with three lab-engineered monoclonal antibodies designed to attack Ebola surface proteins. Antibodies are grown in tobacco plants by Kentucky BioProcessing.Currently, no drug has been approved to treat Ebola, which since last year has caused 28,220 cases and 11,291 deaths, primarily in West Africa.Sep 17 MAPP Biopharmaceuticals press release Addition of inactivated polio vaccine enhances immunogenicityA study of poliovirus immunization among newborns found that use of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) increased seroconversion rates when added to a trivalent or multi-dose bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine schedule, according to findings yesterday in The Lancet.The open-label, randomized controlled trial followed 782 newborns at four hospitals in India. Research was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), which began recommending an immunization schedule comprising three or four doses of bivalent type 1 and type 3 oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) and one dose of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in January 2014.Healthy newborns were assigned to one of five immunization groups: group 1 (163 babies receiving trivalent OPV), group 2 (153 babies receiving trivalent OPV and IPV), group 3 (155 babies receiving bOPV), group 4 (156 babies receiving bOPV and IPV), and group 5 (155 babies receiving bOPV and two doses of IPV).OPV was administered at birth, 6 weeks, and 14 weeks; IPV was given intramuscularly at 14 weeks. Seroconversion against poliovirus was measured at 18 weeks.The immunologic response to IPV was greater than expected for poliovirus type 1 and type 3 and as expected for poliovirus type 2. The combination of trivalent OPV and IPV was significantly superior to the use of trivalent OPV alone (P < 0.0008), with 98% of newborns in the IPV group converting against type 1, 100% against type 2, and 99.3% against type 3.The combination of bOPV and IPV was superior to the use of bOPV alone (P = 0.0153), with 99.4% of newborns in the IPV group seroconverting against type 1, 68.6% against type 2, and 99.4% against type 3.The findings suggest that the newly recommended vaccination schedule and the addition of IPV to the regiment greatly improves immunogenicity of the poliovirus vaccine, especially against poliovirus type 3, the authors conclude.Sep 17 Lancet study Another biolab breach noted as Pentagon says probe overAs part of its ongoing investigation into Pentagon labs, USA Today reported yesterday that a senior Army lab researcher in Utah in 2007 tossed out a test tube containing live anthrax spores and sent the tested batch to other labs. A separate story noted that the Army has completed its probe into biosecurity lapses without releasing details.The 2007 incident involved a principal investigator (PI) at a Dugway Proving Ground facility that has been at the center of a probe into the shipping of live Bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, around the country and to at least nine other nations, as well as other safety and security breaches.Twelve pages of redacted documents released to USA Today by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General account the incident. The PI was using chlorine dioxide to inactivate B anthracis—which was deemed a scientifically acceptable method at the time—even though Dugway didn't have a standard operating procedure for using the chemical.The researcher found that a colony of the bacteria grew in a cell culture in one test tube, indicating that the chlorine dioxide kill step did not work. Instead of investigating further, the PI simply threw the test tube with the live culture away and shipped the remaining samples in the batch."The PI's notes do not explain why the viable colony grew, whether the inactivation procedure was performed properly, or why the remaining tubes were not retested for viability," one of the documents notes.Sep 17 USA Today story on testing misstepMeanwhile, the emergency probe into biosecurity breaches at Department of Defense (DoD) labs is now completed, though the shuttering of nine high-security Army labs will remain for now, USA Today reported in a separate story yesterday."Once the review results are compiled, the US Army will develop a plan to address any deficiencies," Lt. Col. Jesse Stalder, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. "This process will take some time and, once complete, more information will be made available."In addition to B anthracis, samples of Yersinia pestis, which causes plague, and encephalitis viruses might also have been improperly shipped from DoD labs.Sep 17 USA Today story on completion of probe Spanish study finds no genetic risk for severe pH1N1 diseaseA study of severe and mild 2009 H1N1 (pH1N1) found no significant host genetic factors that might cause or aggravate severe disease, according to findings published yesterday in PLoS One.In an effort to determine why pH1N1 caused severe disease in people without prior risk factors, researchers analyzed 547,296 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from a sample of 49 people with severe pH1N1 disease, 107 mild cases, and 549 members of the general population.Samples from case-patients with severe pH1N1 infections in 2009 and 2010 were obtained from three hospitals in Spain, samples from patients with mild disease came from the Spanish Influenza Case-Control Study, and the general population SNPs were retrieved from the nation's CeGen-PRB2-ISCIII genotyping database.Researchers found no significant genetic factor that could explain why pH1N1 affected some people more severely than others. The one SNP that tested above significance level encodes an enzyme that, in rats, regulates neural development and has no connection to immunologic or inflammatory activity. Identification of the SNP as significant was assumed to be a false-positive.Limitations of the study include its low sample size and its applicability only to a population of primarily European ancestry, the researchers said.Sep 17 PLoS One study Danish study finds human MRSA risk related to livestock proximityA Danish study found that human infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have been increasing steadily in the country and are associated with exposure to livestock and contact with livestock workers, according to a study yesterday in Eurosurveillance.Livestock, particularly swine, are a reservoir for the recently derived MRSA CC398-IIa, which is responsible for 40% of new MRSA cases in Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. The first MRSA CC398-IIa infection in Denmark was reported in 2004.Researchers from Denmark's Statens Serum Institut analyzed MRSA isolates collected from 1999 to 2011 by the national MRSA registry and repository; the registry has been mandatory since 2007.Of 7,429 MRSA samples identified in the registry, 416 were MRSA CC398-IIa. More than half of MRSA CC398-IIa isolates (237, or 57%) were multidrug resistant. After asymptomatic carriers were excluded, 148 samples came from people with infections, 51 of whom had no exposure to livestock.Incidence of MRSA CC398-IIa infections rose steadily in Denmark from 2004 to 2011, showing a linear annual increase of 66% (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5 to 1.9; P < 0.00001).Infected people who were not exposed to livestock tended to live within 5 kilometers of livestock workers. The risk of MRSA CC398-IIa infections among people not exposed to livestock was significantly higher in the 25 Danish municipalities where exposed patients lived compared with the rest of Denmark (IRR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1 to 5.7; P = 0.041).Researchers said that, given the recent increase of MRSA CC398-IIa infections in Denmark, spillover from livestock to the community via livestock workers is likely occurring and highlights the need to closely monitor infection rates, especially in municipalities at greater risk.Sep 17 Eurosurveillance study
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) grew by nine more cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) African region’s situation report posted today.There are now 29 total cases, with 2 cases confirmed, 2 probable, and 25 suspected. With the three deaths from the deadly virus previously reported, the case-fatality rate is now 10%.The nine new cases were identified in Ngayi and Azande, both located in the Likati health district. In contrast to previously published maps, Azande is now placed in northern DRC, away from the border with South Sudan.No health workers have been infected so far, according to the report, and most patients have presented with fever, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. The WHO said scientists are now following 416 contacts, up from yesterday’s 400.Two mobile labs set upThe report noted that two mobile labs have now been set up in Likati, and 30 biological samples collected in Likati health zone will be tested in these labs today and tomorrow. One of the labs will also test 13 samples collected from suspected Ebola cases in Banalia.Though the WHO said the global risk posed by this outbreak is still low, seven countries have now begun screening at airports and ports of entry (Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). HHS director in LiberiaIn other news, US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, traveled to Liberia today to address global health security concerns. It was the first stop on a three-nation tour. Liberia was the nation hardest hit during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola outbreak.Price toured an Ebola treatment center and laid a wreath on the grave of an unknown Ebola victim.According to an HHS press release, “Ebola survivors who met with the Secretary described the significant stigma associated with the virus and the continuing discrimination they face. Secretary Price shook hands with survivors, an important public gesture.”See also:May 18 WHO situation reportMay 19 HHSpress release
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IDEOL, the fast-growing french start-up specialized in innovative floating foundations for the offshore wind industry, announced the appointment of Bruno Geschier as Chief Sales & Marketing Officer.Bruno will bring his 20-year experience of international business development to IDEOL’s management team.Educated on both sides of the Atlantic, he started his professional career as entrepreneur and international business development specialist in the US and Canada, focusing his efforts on the construction, engineering services and natural resources industries.He has then managed the international expansion, the foreign subsidiaries and the export activities of innovative and fast-growing SME in the consumer electronics, energy efficiency and renewable energy industries such as ALDES (leader in energy efficient HVAC and IAQ solutions) and FONROCHE ENERGIE (France’s largest private player in solar, geothermal and biogas power generation).Multilingual and multicultural, he holds a Master of Science degree in Management.Press release, March 25, 2014; Image: ideol-offshore