Sunday April 22, 2018

Zika virus data to be shared by global health communities

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Zika virus
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New Delhi: The leading global health bodies, on observing the outbreak of Zika virus, have committed to sharing the data of the same and future public health emergencies as rapidly and openly as possible, said the Wellcome Trust.

This will also include India’s Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

According to a statement by Wellcome Trust on Thursday, a joint declaration has been signed by organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and the US National Institute of Health.

It is believed that soon, other such bodies will come on board to strengthen the battle against the Zika outbreak, it added.

“Research is an essential part of the response to any global health emergency. This is particularly true for Zika, where so much is still unknown about the virus, how it is spread and the possible link with microcephaly,” said Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the trust and a signatory to the declaration.

“It’s critical that as results become available they are shared rapidly in a way that is equitable, ethical and transparent. This will ensure that the knowledge gained is turned quickly into health interventions that can have an impact on the epidemic,” Dr Farrar added.

The joint declaration seeks to make “all content concerning the Zika virus free to access”.

“Funder signatories will require researchers undertaking work relevant to public health emergencies to set in place mechanisms to share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, including with public health and research communities and the World Health Organisation,” it said.

The Zika virus, which is known to occur in parts of Africa and Asia, is now spreading among the local American who have not traveled abroad.

Currently, no vaccine has been introduced to prevent the virus.

Zika virus is spread through the mosquito biting leading to fever, rash, pain and conjunctivitis. The symptoms can last from days to the week.

Zika virus is supposed to be associated with the infected mothers in Brazil giving birth to babies with small heads and underdeveloped brains. However, this remains unproven yet.

There has been a 20-fold increase in the number of babies born with this condition, known as microcephaly since Zika first appeared in Brazil in May 2015, researchers said.

More than 22 countries in the Americas have reported the sporadic Zika virus infections, indicating its rapid geographic expansion.

Luckily, no case of the virus has been reported till now in India but there is definitely the need to remain alert. (IANS)

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Fast Food Habits of Americans

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Americans include fast food in their daily food habits.
Fast Food. Pixabay

It’s no secret that Americans have a taste for fast food. In fact, almost one in four Americans eats it daily, according to a report from CBS News. However, the amount of fast food consumed varies depending on the region, according to a new report from Texas-based Datafiniti, which broke down some of the data about Americans fast food habit.

For example, the central and southern states boast the highest concentrations of fast food restaurants per capita, with Alabama as the state with the most. The northeastern states have the fewest and are led by Vermont, New Jersey and New York.

“The Central region, at 4.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents, has the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita,” the company wrote in a news release. “The South is close behind with 4.4. The Eastern region has the fewest with just 2.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents.”

Alabama has 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents, the most of any state. Of the top 10 states, nine were in the South. Nebraska and Indiana were the only non-southern states in the top 10 with 5.4 and 5 restaurants per 10,000 residents respectively.

Vermont, for example, has only 1.9 fast-food restaurants per 10,000 residents. Orlando, Cincinnati and Las Vegas boast the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita, with New York having the fewest. California has four cities among the top 10, with the fewest restaurants.

McDonald’s, which is the second largest chain of fast food restaurants, can be found in every American city, and Orlando and Las Vegas have the most per capita with 20.9 and 13.9 McDonald’s per 100,000 residents.

What is the largest fast-food chain? Subway, which has 18.5 percent of all fast food restaurants. McDonald’s has 11.3 percent. Behind them, in third, is Burger King, which has 5.7 percent.

Also Read: STUDY – Americans Online Almost Everytime

“Southern and Central states are the place to go if you love fast food; head to the East or out West if you don’t,” Datafiniti wrote. “Southern cities have abundant options for fast food, particularly in Florida; head to California if you don’t want to eat on the go.

“As for McDonald’s, it appears that this major restaurant chain has spread to every corner of America. Head to California if you don’t like the golden arches, and head basically anywhere else if you do.”  VOA

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