23 – 29 July 2016

Zika in the news:

Jimmy Whitworth comments on a study that found up to 1.65 million pregnant women could catch Zika. Jimmy Whitworth said: “Over 1,700 affected babies have been born in Brazil so far, and the numbers are going to continue to increase in the months ahead.” The story was covered by AFP and generates coverage in numerous outlets worldwide, including Yahoo NewsGlobalPost; Breitbart; The Times of India; The Jamaica Observer and South Africa’s The Times.

AFP also report another study that projects up to just 37 people out of the hundreds of thousands of visitors going to Rio could be expected to go home with Zika. Jimmy Whitworth commented: “These are low numbers in comparison with the overall opportunities for the virus to spread internationally through travel.” The research is covered globally including by Yahoo; Correio Braziliense, Brazil; Japan Today; Malay Mail, Malaysia; The Citizen, South Africa.

The Daily Telegraph quote both Jimmy Whitworth and James Logan on their advice to travellers going to the Rio Olympic Games. Jimmy Whitworth said: “For most people Zika is a mild illness and the risk of infection is going to be low in Rio and the risk can be made lower still be avoiding mosquito bites.” James Logan said: “Use a very good repellent. DEET, between 20 and 50 per cent. Long sleeves, long trousers, loose clothing, plug ins with insecticides and bed nets.” Their comments were also reported in The Sun.

Der Spiegel interview James Logan about the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, a vector for the Zika virus, and how to combat it. He says: “The CO2 of our breath, the carboxylic acid in our socks or the sweat on our skin. All this together tells the mosquito: Over there, there is a human.”

Jimmy Whitworth speaks to Men’s Health about what their readers need to know about Zika and the risks involved of travelling to the Rio Olympic Games. “It’s less of a health concern for those going to Rio than other conditions, such as gastrointestinal problems.”

 Quartz publish an article that explores the future of research into Zika and what impact the unique, recent case in Utah will have. Jimmy Whitworth is quoted: “[Few places in Brazil] have equipment that can analyse samples at high throughput. So for most places it’s a slow and laborious process.”

 Nature features a study recently launched by the Brazilian Ministry of Health to explore the distribution of Zika-linked microcephaly cases in the country. They have asked Oliver Brady to assist, who said: “The aim is to understand why we are only observing elevated rates in the northeast.”


Val Curtis and Anne Hardy feature in a Guardian ‘Long Read’ on the history of raising public awareness on how flies spread disease. The article also explores how we can learn from this to solve more modern health problems such as handwashing. Dr Curtis said: “It’s not education that will do it. It’s not knowledge. Disgust is the obvious emotion you can call on in public health.” And on Prof Hardy’s comments: “The creation of disgust around flies, according to Hardy, was a major achievement of the early 20th century. The question is why disgust is not called upon more to solve modern health problems.”

Vikram Patel writes for The Guardian on how the global community is failing to address mental health: “With more than 60 million people displaced by war, conflict, or persecution, now is the time for the global health community to wake up and realise what’s at stake if we keep ignoring mental health.”

Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) report on a study that Dutch men and Latvian women are, on average, the tallest in the world. AD cites Gert Stulp’s involvement, who found that between 1935-1967, tall men had more children, a trait that is highly heritable.

Claire Gilbert’s research into gender inequality in paediatric cataract surgery is covered by Eye World News. She said: “In some regions of the world, the proportion of girls accessing surgery for bilateral cataract is lower than anticipated.”

The Guardian feature the challenges created by India’s latest sanitation program to stop open defecation. Sandy Cairncross comments appear in the piece: “Improved toilet coverage is likely to benefit people much more than it hurts them, he points out, adding that it would be better to provide piped water to villages, instead of relying on tube wells and ponds.”

Gizmodo writes on research that investigates and ranks concentrations of bacteria on a selection of London Underground lines. The article quotes Alma Adler from a previous study: “In London where most people take public transport, the level of infection was no higher than elsewhere and in fact was slightly lower.”

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has been provided a grant to develop new products that prevent sexual HIV transmission. Business Wire cover the story quoting Charlotte Watts research. The Business Wire piece generates wide coverage in numerous outlets across the US.

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