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US teen dies of rare, hard to diagnose plague

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bubonic-plague-smear

By NewsGram Staff Writer

In an intriguing death tale, a 16-year-old boy in Colorado who appeared to have a common flu has died from a rare case of the plague.

Taylor Gaes died on June 8 but his illness was not revealed until Friday, a substantial four days later.

“The telltale sign of the infection – swollen lymph nodes–which would have alerted officials to the illness sooner, could not be detected in Taylor Gaes’ illness”, said Katie O’Donnell, a Larimer County Health Department spokeswoman.

On Saturday, O’ Donell said that the plague was “very rare, and hard to diagnose.” Taylor’s fever and muscle aches, further made his sickness appear like the flu.

The plague has been contracted by three people in Larimer County, Colorado in the last 30 years and is passed to people by fleas on rodents such as squirrels, rats and mice.

The plague that took Taylor’s life is yet to be uncovered, though health officials suspect it to be bubonic plague, since it is the most common and easiest to transmit through bug bite.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), septicemic and pneumonic plague, in which the germs reproduce in the bloodstream or lungs, are more dangerous varieties of the disease because the symptoms are harder to diagnose and the health of the patient deteriorates faster.

It is suspected that Taylor, most likely encountered a flea from a sick rodent that wandered onto his family’s property from a neighboring rural area.

Official say that the chances of people attending memorial services for Taylor on his family’s property having contracted the illness is small, though it cannot be ruled out completely.

“It’s a pretty far reach, but it’s possible,” O’Donnell said.

It is quite possible that infected fleas could have bitten some of the guests at the memorial services at his family’s home.

People have been informed and warned of the disease in Larimer County, which includes Fort Collins. They have been advised to visit a doctor immediately if they develop a high fever.

Patients diagnosed with the any of three types of plague, caused by some bacteria, are treated with antibiotic prescriptions.

Cases of plague in rodents in rural areas have been confirmed by the Health Department but O’ Donell says that they do not pose a threat to people living in populated areas as they are far away from public land.

According to the CDC, the disease exists in northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada.

On an average, the US records seven human cases of plague each year and fatalities are rare.

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Two Muslim Women Use Social Media to Empower Others in Unconventional Sports

Two Muslim women, who found a sense of accomplishment by being involved in sports are now helping to empower other women

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Muslim women Kulsoom Abdullah. Image source: VOA
  • Abdullah appealed the dress code of USA Weightlifting national competition in 2010 to honor her faith as a Muslim woman, which was denied
  • News media picked up her story and her friends took on social media, one year later, she became the first Muslim female to participate in the championship
  • Shareefy, who has a similar background, uses rock climbing as a tool to develop young entrepreneurs in Afghanistan

Muslim women Kulsoom Abdullah and Mariam Shareefy who found courage only when they were challenged both mentally and physically. Both found a sense of accomplishment by being involved in sports and are now helping to empower other women.

Abdullah, 38, who comes from a very conservative area of Pakistan, became interested in recreational weightlifting in her early 20s.

She qualified to compete in a USA Weightlifting national competition in 2010 but chose not to because she was not comfortable wearing the required uniform — a form-fitting singlet leotard with short sleeves and shorts that leaves most of the arms and legs bare so that officials can see if arms and knees lock, as required in competition.

She wanted to compete yet stay covered to honor her faith as a Muslim woman.

Abdullah appealed the dress code and the group denied her.

Social media campaign

After hearing Abdullah had lost her appeal, her friends started a social media campaign. When the news media picked up her story, Abdullah began to advocate for a change to the association’s dress code.

With the added media attention, Abdullah found her attire was getting more attention than her actual skills, she said.

“It was my attire, not my skills, which made me stand out in the beginning. Seeing a woman covered from head to toe participating in a sport like weightlifting was found rather unusual by the media,” said Abdullah, who became the first Muslim female to participate in the USA Weightlifting national championships 2011 with her head covered.

Abdullah told VOA that she is passionate about weightlifting and was fully aware of the sport’s dress code when she began.

Her website LiftingCovered.com and Facebook page document her weightlifting journey. She advocated to compete in clothing that adheres to religious codes, opening the door for women from cultures around the world to compete.

Her efforts bore fruit and USA Weightlifting, and later the International Weightlifting Federation, modified their rules, allowing Abdullah and others like her to compete while wearing a headscarf.

Kulsoom Abdullah, 38, who comes from a very conservative area of Pakistan, became interested in recreational weightlifting in her early 20s.

Kulsoom Abdullah, 38, who comes from a very conservative area of Pakistan, became interested in recreational weightlifting in her early 20s.

International competitor

Abdullah represented Pakistan at the 2011 World Weightlifting Championships as the first female on the international level to compete while wearing a hijab.

While female participants can compete in international weightlifting events while covered, Abdullah is modest about her accomplishment.

“It doesn’t really feel like I did anything amazing, because I was just trying to be able to do something I was interested in, while not compromising on my values and beliefs,” Abdullah said. “It’s still hard to believe that I’ve done something that affects so many other women around the world.

“In my case, and not just for me, my obstacle was being able to compete while observing my religious dress code, which was here in the USA. Attire can also be an additional obstacle for women in majority Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman (which sent women for the first time to the 2012 summer Olympics),” she said. “Islam gets misrepresented in the media a lot, but what was great in my case, it has helped me make a change.”

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She credits her success as an athlete and advocate to the unflinching support of her family, especially her father.

Abdullah, who now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, is currently not competing in the sport, but she continues to help by training other women in weightlifting.

Mariam Shareefy founded AERCS (Afghanistan's Entrepreneurship and Rock Climbing School), a nonprofit organization that uses rock climbing as a tool to develop young entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

Mariam Shareefy founded AERCS (Afghanistan’s Entrepreneurship and Rock Climbing School), a nonprofit organization that uses rock climbing as a tool to develop young entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

Rock climbing school

Shareefy, who comes from the same region and has a similar background as Abdullah, founded AERCS (Afghanistan’s Entrepreneurship and Rock Climbing School), a nonprofit organization that uses rock climbing as a tool to develop young entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Shareefy is training the Afghan immigrant community in Colorado how to rock climb.

Her own journey started when her family, after spending nearly two decades as refugees in Pakistan, decided to return to Afghanistan.

As Shareefy’s family traveled from Peshawar to Kabul, she said she found Afghanistan to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. When she saw the Mahipar rock formation, she decided she wanted to learn more about the rock faces and how to climb them.

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“The Afghan community here (in Colorado) is huge. They feel isolated and find it very hard to adapt to American culture,” Shareefy told VOA, adding that she wants to use her program to “make sure they become part of this (American) culture and not feel isolated.”

Colorado similarities

While her interest in rock climbing was sparked in Afghanistan, Shareefy finds unparalleled beauty and opportunity in the mountainous and scenic city of Boulder, Colorado.

“Colorado is beautiful, especially its mountains and rocks. Here I have plenty of opportunities to master my skills, this place is known for its rock faces,” she said. “There is no comparison between the opportunities I have here and that in Afghanistan and I want to avail them.”

Shareefy knows the significance of sports in empowering women and shaping their future. That is why she is not only engaging Afghan women refugees in the United States but also has started a project in Afghanistan for children, especially girls.

“We have started a project in Afghanistan for youth that teaches entrepreneurship through hiking,” she said. (VOA)

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Al Qaeda Leader warns US of ‘Gravest Consequences’ if Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is executed

Zawahri became al Qaeda's leader after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, urged Muslims to take captive as many Westerners as possible

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Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri. Image Source: Reuters.
  • Tsarnaev, named in a new online video message from Zawahri, was sentenced last year to death by lethal injection for the 2013 bomb attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260
  • Zawahri became al Qaeda’s leader after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011
  • Tsarnaev is being held at the “Supermax” high-security prison in Florence, Colorado, while his attorneys appeal his death sentence

US had been warned by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri of the “gravest consequences” if Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or any other Muslim convict is executed.

Tsarnaev, named in a new online video message from Zawahri, was sentenced last year, 2015, to death by lethal injection for the 2013 bomb attack, which killed three people and injured more than 260.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Image Source: Reuters.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Image Source: Reuters

“If the U.S. administration kills our brother the hero Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or any Muslim, it … will bring America’s nationals the gravest consequences,” Zawahri said.

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Zawahri became al Qaeda’s leader after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, urged Muslims to take captive as many Westerners as possible, especially those whose countries had joined the “Crusaders’ Campaign led by the United States”.

The veteran Egyptian-born Islamist, shown wearing white robes and sitting in front of green velvet drapes, said the Western captives could then be exchanged for Muslim prisoners.

Western powers “are criminals and they only understand the language of force”, he added.

The nearly hour-long video includes images of Tsarnaev but gave no indication of the location of Zawahri, believed to be based close to the Afghan-Pakistan border.

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Tsarnaev carried out the Boston bombings along with his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in a confrontation with police soon after. No organization claimed responsibility.

Boston Marathon Bombings.Image Source: Reuters.
Boston Marathon Bombings.Image Source: Reuters.

Tsarnaev is being held at the “Supermax” high-security prison in Florence, Colorado, while his attorneys appeal his death sentence.

Legal quarrel over Tsarnaev’s fate could play out for decades or years. Only 74 people were executed in US for federal crimes since 1998. (Reuters)

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One response to “Al Qaeda Leader warns US of ‘Gravest Consequences’ if Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is executed”

  1. Terrrorist attacks followed by the legal process for executing the terrorists and then the threats from Al Qaeda, this is going on and on for so long. Had the US government just taken care of the “problem” without the legal proceedings, it would end in swiftly.

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Jaipur Lit Fest: US edition begins on Saturday

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photo courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

New Delhi: The Jaipur Literature Festival is set to open its account in the US with its first overseas edition beginning on Saturday in Boulder, Colorado. The event has increased the enthusiasm of writers.

photo courtesy:arabiczeal.com
photo courtesy:arabiczeal.com

The two-day “greatest literary show on earth” is said to feature more than 100 notable writers, thinkers, poets and performers.

For Sanjay K Roy, the producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), zeroing in on Boulder came about by accident. “I received the proposal to hold JLF in Boulder from Buddhist scholars Jules Levinson and Maruta Kalnins. But I had no idea of the place and later I discovered that it’s a beautiful city with full of literature-loving people,” said Roy.

Boulder, famous for its colorful Western history, being a choice destination for hippies in the late 1960s, is also home for the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state’s largest.

The Rocky Mountains have also played a major role as a crucial migration route, which was important to the spread of people throughout the America.

Roy added that that keeping with the deep-rooted Native American sensibilities of the state, the event will have a strong focus on Latino, African American, Asian American and regional literature.

Tagged JLF@Boulder, the festival will emerge Indian-American, Asian and Latin American authors to explore a variety of literary topics and themes of local and international interest.

Author Namita Gokhale, the co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said that she is thrilled to take JLF to Boulder.

“I am deeply excited at the opportunity to read and understand American literature from a different perspective reading up on Mexican, Latino, Native American writers, and a load of new books on subjects as diverse as neuroscience and family phantoms. It’s a unique learning experience and I feel blessed and privileged to be a part of the programming process for Jaipur at Boulder,” said Gokhale.

The festival will feature international best-selling author Jung Chang, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, Morroccan-American essayist and novelist Laila Lalami, Israeli journalist, political commentator and author Gideon Levy, Chinese-American best-selling author Anchee Min, and journalist, historian and award-winning author Simon Sebag-Montefiore.

The event, to be held at the Boulder Public Library and the scenic Civic Lawns will feature interviews, panel discussions and audience interaction. “Boulder is a long way from Jaipur, and we are proud to erect our literary ‘Big Top’ in town and to bring the energy, sparkle and brilliance of Indian writing to a very different world,” said William Dalrymple, author and co-director of the JLF.

The topics likely to be discussed threadbare include, migration, politics and conflict, environmental concerns and Native American voices.

Vouching that the basic spirit of the JLF will be mirrored at its Boulder edition, Gokhale said that it promises democratic platform. “The event will provide a democratic and free-flowing platform for books, ideas, poetry and music. Like Jaipur, it will be deeply grounded and cosmopolitan, with a wide diversity of participants and audiences. The spontaneity and synchronicity with which Jaipur at Boulder is happening holds the promise of wonderful things to come”, she said.

(With inputs IANS)