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For Migrants, Death due to Dehydration, Starvation,Sexual Attacks has become rampant in North Africa

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe

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USAIM provides funding and support for IOM projects worldwide. Image source: www.usaim.org
  • IOM said, this year in 2016, actual number of deaths is way higher than 471
  • Starvation, dehydration and extreme heat waves in the Sahara desert are the primary causes for death
  • Smugglers lie to the migrants about the way to safety, then often abandon them after receiving money

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that discovering of 34 dead migrants in the Sahara this week brings the number of known migrant deaths on the African continent this year to 471.

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Migrants in Africa blindly follow smugglers. Image courtesy: dw.com

IOM believes these deaths may be only a small percentage of the true number of migrant fatalities across North Africa.

The Geneva-based organization reports at least 120,000 migrants have passed through Niger this year on their way to Europe. Yet, the only deaths recorded by IOM in Niger are the 34 victims who died after being abandoned by their smuggler this week.

The agency said many more people have died from exposure, starvation or dehydration in the vast Sahara Desert.

It said there also is an alarming trend of violent deaths for migrants in North Africa. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told VOA that sexual attacks have been responsible for dozens of deaths.

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“This indicates terrible abuse of people en route, whether this is just armed men taking advantage of these people or it is part of sex trafficking,” he said. “I do not really have the details of that. We do know of literally hundreds of women from Nigeria have been forced into prostitution in Libya after being told they did not have enough money to make the trip up from Nigeria to the coast.”

Millman said smugglers often mislead people by telling them the border is only five kilometers away. After taking their money, they leave the migrants to wander, often with fatal consequences.

“We also hear about vehicles that run out of gas or become disabled in the high temperatures,” he said. “While waiting for relief, people die of dehydration. That is very common on that route.”

IOM began its Missing Migrants Project almost 18 months ago. In that time, it has recorded deaths for 678 migrants traveling in Africa, with 70 of those deaths occurring just in the past two weeks.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Deaths in Africa has been increasing. Awareness should be created in the African people so that they know what are the after effects of trusting a smuggler.

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Experimental Vaccine for Swine Fever Virus Shows Promise

When they deleted this gene, ASFV-G was completely attenuated

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Pigs, Swine Fever, Asia
Almost 5 million pigs in Asia have now died or been culled because of the spread of African swine fever over the past year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Friday, warning Asian nations to keep strict control measures in place. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a vaccine against African swine fever that appears to be far more effective than previously developed vaccines.

Currently, there is no commercially available vaccine against African swine fever, which has been devastating the swine industry in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is highly contagious and often lethal to domestic and wild pigs, according to the the study, published in the Journal of Virology.

“This new experimental ASFV vaccine shows promise, and offers complete protection against the current strain currently producing outbreaks throughout Eastern Europe and Asia,” said study researcher Douglas P Gladue from Plum Island Animal Disease Center, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture.

The research was motivated by the 2007 outbreak of African swine fever in the Republic of Georgia.

“This was the first outbreak in recent history outside of Africa and Sardinia–where swine fever is endemic–and this particular strain has been highly lethal and highly contagious, spreading quickly to neighboring countries,” Gladue said.

“This is also a new strain of the virus, now known as ASFV-G (the G stands for Georgia),” Gladue added.

chinese pork, african swine fever
Pigs stand in a barn at a pig farm in Jiangjiaqiao village in northern China’s Hebei province on May 8, 2019. Pork lovers worldwide are wincing at prices that have jumped by up to 40 percent as China’s struggle to stamp out African swine fever in its vast pig herds sends shockwaves through global meat markets. RFA

For the findings, researchers set out to develop a vaccine. Part of the process of developing whole virus vaccines involves deleting virulence genes from the virus.

But when the researchers deleted genes similar to those that had been deleted in older ASFV strains to attenuate them, “it became clear that ASFV-G was much more virulent” than the other, historical isolates, because it retained a higher level of virulence, said Gladue.

The researchers then realised they needed a different genetic target in order to attenuate ASFV-G.

They used a predictive methodology called a computational pipeline to predict the roles of proteins on the virus. The computational pipeline predicted that a protein called I177l could interfere with the immune system of the pig.

Also Read: Indoor Dust Bacteria Have Transferrable Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Says Study

When they deleted this gene, ASFV-G was completely attenuated.

In the study, both low and high doses of the vaccine were 100 per cent effective against the virus when the pigs were challenged 28 days post-inoculation, the researchers said. (IANS)