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HIV’s spread around Europe mapped

_45796683_000367668-1img_2499Spain is of the most wide-ranging HIV exporters
Scientists who have mapped HIV’s spread across Europe say holidaymakers infected abroad are largely to blame.

By analysing samples from 17 European countries, the international team tracked the movement of the virus around the continent.

Their map shows Greece, Portugal, Serbia and Spain are big HIV exporters, with many tourists to and migrants from these countries leaving with the virus.

The UK is an exporter and importer, Retrovirology journal says.

The same is true of Israel, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, while countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg are largely importers of HIV, the researchers say.

In Poland, HIV is contained but is spread among its inhabitants because of injecting drug-users, the research group found.

To construct their map, the researchers looked at the most common type of HIV circulating in Europe, known as HIV-1 subtype B.

They tracked its migration by creating a family tree for the virus, looking at detailed genetic characteristics that reveal how the virus has been evolving over time.

Exporters: Greece, Portugal, Serbia and Spain
Both exporters and importers: Israel, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK
Importers: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Luxembourg
Lead author Dimitrios Paraskevis, of the University of Athens, said: “Popular tourist destinations like Greece, Portugal and Spain probably spread HIV with tourists infected during their holidays.”

In the case of Serbia as an exporter, it is most likely down to its inhabitants travelling to other countries and carrying the virus with them, he said.

“To a large extent HIV spread within Poland is due to injecting drug-users, who make up around half of the HIV-infected population.

“Viruses move around with travellers – thus health programmes within countries should not only target the national populations, prevention efforts must also be aimed at migrants, travellers and tourists – who are both major sources and targets of HIV.”

Rowan Harvey, of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “HIV isn’t constrained by borders, it’s a global epidemic and there are bound to be patterns of transmission between countries.

“Tourists travelling abroad should definitely pack condoms, but people should also be aware that HIV is at its highest level in the UK as well.

“To protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, safer sex is essential both at home and abroad.”

Adapted from the researchers’ original map to show the main exporter countries

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British expats in Spain say no to motorway through park

PD*28638968Three cheers for the Brits blocking greedy amoral Spanish developers, lawyers, notaries, and politicians intent on destroying the interior of the region, since they´ve already completely fucked up the coast with mafia money help. It´s fucking sad for the Andalusian people it has to be other Europeans that love the place more than the sheer filth who can´t degrade the natural resources and scenery fast enough. I love Juan Manuel Lopez, provincial head of the environmental ministry, saying, ¨it´s progress and it´s needed.¨ Yeah, the bribes and kickbacks are needed by you to pay for your second chalet in Portugal for your mistress, you punk ass thieving bitch.

With its circling storks and whitewashed medieval villages nestling among groves of sweet chestnut and cork trees, it is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled corners of inland Spain.

But now residents of the Sierra de Arcena park, 50 miles from Seville, are launching a furious defence of their tranquil surroundings from what they say is an onslaught by the Spanish government.

Madrid has unveiled plans for a network of new roads across the park, including two motorways and a high speed dual carriageway, and expatriates from illustrious British families who have made the area their home are among campaigners who are protesting against them.

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They say that the roads will upset the delicate equilibrium achieved between man and nature over hundreds of years, and thereby change the Sierra for ever.

“These wooded hills are the lungs of Andalusia, and what is being proposed will not bring a single benefit to the area,” said Lady Victoria Leatham, 61, whose family has a house near the centre of the park. “I’m not upset because it crosses my land – that’s a minor inconvenience and no great shakes.

“What enrages me is the tragedy of destroying the peace and quiet of an area that is quite beautiful and special for so many reasons.”

The 75,000 acre area, inland from the crowded concrete of the Costa del Sol, has been designated a biosphere reserve by Unesco – the United Nations cultural body – and its wooded and hilly countryside is almost unchanged since Roman times.

Under the first stage of the government’s plan, an existing east-west road that currently snakes slowly through the park will be completely upgraded to a high-speed dual carriageway or Via Rapida. This would create a faster road link between Seville, the Andalusian capital to the southeast, and Rosal de La Frontier on the park’s northern boundary – from where traffic can cross into Portugal and speed on its way towards Lisbon.

But the project has drawn vehement opposition. Lady Leatham, the retired chatelaine who restored the gardens at her family’s ancestral home, the Elizabethan period Burleigh House in Lincolnshire, built a property outside the village of Los Marines, in the centre of the park, 15 years ago which she and her family use as a holiday home.

The large country house overlooks an unspoilt valley rich in the flora and fauna that are unique to this part of Spain.

Since learning that the proposed Via Rapida will slice off a corner of her property, she has vowed to be a thorn in the side of the authorities.

“I’m all for civil disobedience,” Lady Leatham told The Sunday Telegraph. “I’ll be marching against this absurdity until they realise the huge mistake they are making.”

A banner already hangs at the impressive wrought iron gates of her property emblazoned with the Spanish slogan, “Via Rapida No” – a phrase which has come to represent a protest movement that is gaining ever greater momentum.

Critics of the project, part of a nationwide infrastructure upgrade aimed at better connecting Spanish cities and improving links with Portugal, want the new road to be rerouted around the park.

The upgrading of the only road running east to west across the hilly terrain will involve bypassing villages, cutting through hillsides, and building up viaducts to construct a route devoid of bends where traffic can move at a speed of 100 km (62 miles) per hour.

If the (euro) 500 million project goes ahead as planned, some 10,000 trees will have to be uprooted for the highway, which will be flanked on each side by service roads and fences designed to prevent animals crossing. Instead wild animals will be encouraged to use aluminium tunnels beneath the highways.

A new motorway will later disect the park north to south, while another stretch of motorway will link the two new roads diagonally in the east.

Manuel Guerra, 40, the socialist mayor of Aracena, which with a population of 8,200 people is the largest town within the park, believes the protests are being made through ignorance.

“The British people who live here are stirring things up,” he said. “They talked among themselves and decided to take their own action against the proposal without really understanding the issues. The fact is there is a historic demand to better the routes connecting the area with the principal cities of Seville and Huelva, and to improve links to the coast.”

Juan Manuel Lopez, provincial head of the environment ministry, told hostile inhabitants of the town of Cortegana, where the proposed Via Rapida will pass by the walls of the 13th century castle: “What is proposed is part of a nationwide plan to improve roads across all of Spain, to link up its cities and improve communications. It’s progress and it’s needed.”

But Rafael Hernandez Mancha, the former director the Park Natural Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche, said: “It’s madness. It means the park will be divided into six separated segments and that people will be forced to take long detours in order to reach their own land.”

It will also prove, he believes, a tragedy for the animal population of the sierra, especially the endangered Iberian lynx, of which there are less than 200 adults left in the wild.

“The park is a corridor between two of the last remaining colonies of lynx and nothing is being done to protect it,” he said.

It was under his leadership in 2002 that the area, already designated a natural park, was recognised by Unesco as a world Biosphere Reserve – a label that was hard won but ultimately awards little protection.

“People here have been very patient, accepting difficult restrictions imposed on them by park authorities that were necessary to preserve the park’s unique nature,” Mr Mancha said. “The irony is that it will be lost with a plan like this.”

Planning restrictions within the confines of the park are among the most stringent in Spain with permission needed even to prune one of the chestnut trees that mantle the hillsides or to harvest the cork trees that take 40 years to reach maturity.

That has made the area attractive to those looking for rural retreats and has led to a booming industry in sustainable tourism, with several centres within the park offering rambling and horse-riding holidays and even yoga retreats.

Sam Chesterton, 62, a relative of the late author G K Chesterton, was one of the first Britons to realise the potential of the region when he moved here with his wife Jeannie in 1983.

They built a grand country house to their own eclectic design, furnished with pieces passed down from their families, and opened their doors to guests looking for a luxury but nature-filled getaway.

For the last two decades they have run residential gourmet cooking classes using local produce including mushrooms foraged from forests in the rolling hills that surround their property, fruits from the orchards and the region’s famous jamon – ham from the black skinned pigs that root around beneath the chestnut trees.

“We don’t want to be seen as ‘nimbies’,” Mr Chesterton said, referring to the “not in my back yard” label often given to those who oppose planning projects near their homes. “But the whole economy of this area is threatened with this ridiculous plan.

“Who will want to come to enjoy the nature of a place when the birdsong is drowned out by the roar of traffic?” img_2499

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Otra epidemia de la que no se habla

img_2499Fernando Navarro. El País, 7 de mayo de 2009

Cuando la comunidad internacional anda preocupada por las consecuencias del virus H1N1 que ha matado a 44 personas y ha afectado a algo más de 1.000 en una veintena de países, África occidental sufre literalmente una epidemia, que se puede prevenir con facilidad pero se ha llevado por delante a miles de africanos.
No tiene un problema de nomenclatura ni desata las hostilidades internacionales. Aún menos ha causado alertas sanitarias y mediáticas en el mundo. Sin embargo, desde primeros de este año una gran epidemia de meningitis (infección que afecta a las membranas que cubren el sistema nervioso central) se ha extendido por varios países de África. Para combatirla, Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF), en colaboración con diversos Gobiernos, ha puesto en marcha una de las mayores campañas de vacunación de la historia.
“Siempre hay un riesgo epidémico en esta parte de África pero este año la infección es muy agresiva. Desde 1996 no se había visto una tan fuerte en Nigeria, y casi se puede decir igual de Chad y Níger”, cuenta Miriam Alia, enfermera de MSF que ha trabajado en las últimas semanas en nueve Estados del norte nigeriano.
El contagio actual es uno de las más graves de las últimas décadas. Los ministerios de Salud de Níger, Nigeria y Chad se han visto superados. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) ha alertado de su grado de letalidad. Las cifras no son ningún goteo. A día de hoy son más de 1.900 los fallecidos por la infección, mientras que con 56.000 casos declarados el brote se extiende por los tres países, con riesgo de saltar a algún vecino.

Despliegue histórico
Los Gobiernos locales y MSF intentan pararlo y se han movilizado con el mayor despliegue de la historia en esta zona. Trabajadores autóctonos e internacionales cooperan en distintas áreas a un ritmo vertiginoso. “Sin el tratamiento la mitad de los afectados muere”, avisa la enfermera de MSF. Hace poco más de diez años el peor azote de meningitis que se recuerda en el continente africano acabó con la vida de 25.000 personas.
La alerta reside principalmente en la falta de acceso que hay en África a la vacuna que cura la enfermedad. Nigeria obliga a sus ciudadanos a pagar por el medicamento y la mayoría de los afectados no pueden permitírselo. Y como Nigeria otros países. Vacunar a una persona de meningitis en África tiene un coste aproximado de un euro, según cálculos de MSF. La ONG ha llegado a un acuerdo con las autoridades locales para ofrecerlo de manera gratuita.
“Con la vacuna se evita que la persona enferme de meningitis, pero no se evita la transmisión”, añade Olimpia de la Rosa, responsable técnica de emergencias para MSF. De la Rosa explica que la actual vacuna ofrece inmunidad solo por tres años, pero a partir del 2010 se podrá utilizar una nueva que la alarga por 10 años. Pero hasta entonces, este 2009 se está cebando con una de las partes de África más pobres.
“Este año la transmisión ha sido muy rápida y ha llegado a campos de desplazados de Darfur”, afirma la responsable técnica de MSF. La transmisión de este tipo de meningitis bacteriana (meningocócica de tipo A) se produce de persona a persona por la nariz o por la boca. El aire seco, el polvo y el viento irritan la garganta y por lo tanto, explica De la Rosa, esta ya no actúa de barrera. El hacinamiento y las condiciones muy poco saludables aumentan el riesgo de transmisión e infección.
Para limitar la propagación de la epidemia, 270 grupos de MSF trabajan en este proyecto de vacunación masiva. Los expertos calculan que más de siete millones de personas tienen que recibir de manera urgente la inyección en estos tres países, que se hallan dentro del conocido cinturón de la meningitis, un área geográfica desde Senegal hasta Etiopía que abarca a una población de más de 300 millones de personas.
Cada día, cada uno de los 270 equipos médicos llegan a vacunar a unos 1.500 hombres y mujeres con edades comprendidas entre los dos y los 30 años, la población de mayor riesgo. “Trabajamos en centros sanitarios, escuelas, en casas particulares, incluso de hogares de chamanes, o en la plaza del pueblo, bajo un árbol”, cuenta Alia. Es un trabajo sencillo pero vital. Es la única forma de detener la epidemia allí donde poco se sabe de lo que ha sucedido en México. África solo ha registrado en la ciudad de Ceuta un caso sospechoso de la nueva gripe o gripe A. Las preocupaciones son otras: a contrarreloj, sin descanso y apenas medios, se intenta evitar que la conocida meningitis siga cobrándose miles de vidas.


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mejor muerto que con preservativo

ya lo comenté cuando lo dijo benedicto y sigo pensando lo mismo… “si no tienen un asesor médico, que lo pongan, y si lo tienen, que lo quiten.
el arzobispo de granada, que ya había sido noticia por ser el primer arzobispo que fué juzgado (y perdió por ser considerado culpable) por acoso laboral. pero esto no viene a cuento.
el sida en áfrica se ha propagado por el uso del condón… ¡¡¡¡¡¡pues vaya!!!!. señor arzobispo, eso es mentira, así que debería imponerse una penitencia… ¿estudiar algo de medicina?

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A New Virus Emerges Novel influenza A (H1N1) is a new flu virus of swine origin that was first detected in April, 2009. The virus is infecting people and is spreading from person-to-person, and has sparked a growing outbreak of illness in the United States with an increasing number of cases being reported internationally as well. CDC anticipates that there will be more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths associated with this new virus in the coming days and weeks because the population has little to no immunity against it. Novel influenza A (H1N1) activity is now being detected in two of CDC’s routine influenza surveillance systems as reported in the May 8, 2009 FluView. FluView is a weekly report that tracks U.S. influenza activity through multiple systems across five categories. The May 8 FluView found that the number of people visiting their doctors with influenza-like-illness is higher than expected in the United States for this time of year. Second, laboratory data shows that regular seasonal influenza A (H1N1), (H3N2) and influenza B viruses are still circulating in the United States, but novel influenza A (H1N1) and “unsubtypable”* viruses now account for a significant number of the viruses detected in the United States. It’s thought that novel influenza A (H1N1) flu spreads in the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread; mainly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick with the virus.


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