World Bulletin / News Desk
The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency in the ninth largest U.S. city on Wednesday to combat the spread of West Nile virus infections, which have been more prevalent than usual in Texas and other states this year.
There have been more cases of West Nile virus reported so far this year than any year since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control said on its website.
Nearly half of the 693 human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus infections reported this year to the CDC have been in Texas, along with 14 of the 26 deaths confirmed by the federal agency as of Tuesday.
The Texas health department said the number of cases of West Nile in the state had reached 465 and there had been 17 deaths. There is a lag in the CDC confirming cases and deaths.
The emergency declaration by Mayor Mike Rawlings followed a similar action last week by Dallas County officials and paves the way for aerial pesticide spraying to begin this week.
Aerial spraying also is being used elsewhere, including in neighborhoods in New York City and Sacramento, California, to combat the spread of West Nile virus. Officials say such spraying is the most effective way to fight the mosquitoes that carry the disease despite safety concerns about exposing people to chemical pesticides.
"We are on track to have the worst year ever for West Nile virus in Texas," said Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas health department, adding that the number of cases was triple the previous high year of 2003.
It is not clear why the number of West Nile cases in Texas is so high. It could be related to a warmer winter and rainy spring that has contributed to an increased mosquito population, Mann said.
West Nile virus usually flares up in the summer because it is most often transmitted by mosquito bites. People infected can suffer fever and aches that can become severe or even cause death, especially of the elderly, children and other at risk groups. There is no specific treatment for the West Nile infection.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection found that 82.8 percent of the contaminated samples contained toxic inorganic pollutants, including cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium and lead.
Pakistan's army will join campaign to eradicate polio.
Instead of testing one drug at a time, a novel lung cancer study announced will allow British researchers to test up to 14 drugs from AstraZeneca and Pfizer at the same time within one trial
Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office said that medical officers at the centre had confirmed three cases of the potentially fatal tropical disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) last month ordered a halt to its annual hunts in the Southern Ocean, prompting Japan to cancel its 2014-2015 Antarctic hunt, the programme's mainstay, as it pledged to abide by the ruling
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The Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus was found in the person's blood who died on Sunday in Istanbul.
Authorities said a cancer-inducing chemical had been found in tap water supplied by the firm at 20 times above national safety levels, state media said
Ebola is a contagious disease for which there is no known treatment or cure.
The central government has identified the heavily industrialised Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region as one of the main fronts in its war against pollution
The findings of the study and the likely changes to the food chain will be of concern to millions in the tropics who depend on coral reefs for food security and livelihoods.
More compact city designs that cut commutes, insulation to save energy, better public transport, cycle lanes and pedestrian areas can all cut emissions, mainly from fossil fuels.
Along with Saudi Arabia, cases of MERS have so far been reported in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Jordan and Oman.
The proposed establishment of an African Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as proposals for a centralized regulatory system for medical products, is expected to feature on the conference agenda.
The report, endorsed by governments, is meant as the main scientific guide for nations working on a U.N. deal to be agreed in late 2015 to rein in world greenhouse gas emissions
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