Written by Ben Johnson, Senior Acquisitions and Development Editor, BioMed Central
Mosquito borne viruses are a major cause of mortality and morbidity, especially in the developing world. As warmer weather increases the habitat for these disease vectors the problem is spreading to the developed world. A five-year study published today in Virology Journal shows for the first time the extent of mosquito-borne viruses (known as arboviruses) in diverse regions of Kenya.
The researchers surveyed almost half a million mosquitoes from varied habitats including savannah grassland, semi-arid Acacia thorn bushes, and mangrove swamps, and sequenced the genomes of the viruses they found. 83 different viruses were discovered, both known and unknown species that cause disease in humans and livestock. Predominant virus …
The seventies was a decade defined by its free-loving, environmentally aware, “hippie” culture, so it comes as no surprise that Earth Day, a day dedicated to environmental awareness, was created in the spring of 1970. Founder Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator (1963 to 1981), was so appalled by the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, he decided that it was time for a change. Along with support from Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman and Denis Hayes, who became the national coordinator, he announced to the media the need for a “national teach-in on the environment.”
Initially motivated by the student anti-war movement, Nelson believed that if he could inspire the same …
Written by James Balm, Social Media Intern, BioMed Central
In our culture, we use mobile phones everyday with little thought to the benefits they may provide outside of socialising. Yet in developing countries, mobile phones may be the key to improved healthcare and education. With the recent increase of mobile phone usage in developing countries, these areas may help influence the handheld market. Recent studies identified a good 64 per cent of users worldwide are from developing countries, and in Africa, mobile phone sales have increased by 550 per cent due to growing popularity.
According to a study in Malaria Journal by Wasif A Khan from iccddr,b, in a rural district of Bangladesh, mobile phones have proved …
Water is “the driving force of nature”, said Leonardo da Vinci around 500 years ago. It is the most precious element our earth has to offer, yet in the western world, it is taken for granted thanks to ease of accessibility. Elsewhere, in Africa, there are approximately 345 million without any access to water, and a further 780 million people worldwide who can only access unclean, contaminated water. It is unjust that in some countries this vital resource is so scarce whereas in others it’s endlessly available on tap.
In order to draw attention to the importance of available freshwater and to advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources, The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated the …
Written by Lin Lee, Senior Editor, BMC Medicine
BMC Medicine recently attended the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH 2013) conference on global health, which took place in Washington D.C. from the 14th-16th March. Around 1400 delegates participated, with a broad range of expertise, such as those involved in general medicine, surgery, policy making, and governance, reflecting the broad scope of this field.
The conference was particularly exciting because of the recently published Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 (GBD 2010) – a series of articles on how the international disease burden has changed since 1990. Although people are living longer due to decreases in the burden of infectious diseases and malnutrition, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer …
Written by Rosie Smith, Journal Development Editor, Reproductive Health
Every year the lack of access to contraceptives leads to 60 million unwanted pregnancies, 22 million unsafe abortions and 3 million infant deaths; the majority of which occur in developing countries. Women all around the globe are unable to choose when they fall pregnant, nor control the size of their family, because contraception is simply not accessible. Reducing fertility would not only prevent maternal deaths each year but could significantly contribute to eradicating extreme poverty, promoting the empowerment of women and ensure environmental and economic sustainability. Initiatives like Every Woman, Every Child and the 5th Millennium Development Goal advocate wider access to contraception in developing …
The rights of women have progressed, and today is a marker of how far women have come through history, to celebrate their achievements and to focus on how we can move towards sustainable change. International Women’s day (IWD) is an initiative that dates back to the early 1900’s; a time that saw great expansion in the industrial world, a growing population and history-changing ideologies. It was not until 1975 that the United Nation’s began celebrating IWD on 8th March. Now every year organizations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and media across the globe play a role in addressing global and local gender issues.
This year’s official United Nations theme is “A promise is a promise: time …
Written by Sam Rose, JDE, Investigative Genetics
With the current, and rapidly spreading, worldwide situation of incorrect meat labelling, the question continually arises of how are we to manage this? Not knowing what meats we are actually buying and eating is an important issue to most people for a variety of reasons, occasionally religious, but more often simply because we believe we have the right to know.
A new study published in Investigative Genetics has revealed that almost 80% of 146 meat samples purchased from various sources in South Africa were incorrectly labelled. The samples analyzed were wild game meat, in particular biltong (air dried strips), which is hugely popular in this region of Africa. Meat substitutions included …
Written by David Molyneux, Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine & Lorenzo Savioli, World Health Organisation
Elephantiasis (filariasis), schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), dracunculiasis, neurocysticercosis – if you have heard of these diseases at all, you probably think of them as being rare diseases, but in all probability you’ve never heard of them or many other diseases like them. They are part of a group of infections called the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) – diseases of neglected populations, those who are at the bottom of the social and economic ladder, the so-called “bottom billion”. They are, in short, infections which are most prevalent amongst the poorest.
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over a billion …
Your wedding day. An occasion that for most, is one of the best days of your life. A day to celebrate the union of two people in love, committing to a life-long journey of happiness. Yet for some, marriage represents nothing more than the end of life as they know it, and opens a door to a world of abuse and disdain. This is a reality for many people and for a large proportion, married life is forced upon them and can begin as early as five years old, before even understanding existence preceding their title as husband or wife.
Child marriage, defined as “a formal marriage or informal union before the age of 18” is unfortunately the cold reality …