Magnitude 7.3 earthquake strikes near Tabiauan,
The United States Geological Survey reports a magnitude 7.3 earthquake
struck near Tabiauan, Philippines on Tuesday.
An earlier report had stated that the preliminary magnitude was a 6.9,
but was later updated by the USGS.
The quake hit at 2:13 PM local time at a depth of 622 kilometers.
There was no initial word on damage or injury resulting from the quake.
More information on this earthquake is available on the USGS event page.
See the latest USGS quake alerts, report feeling earthquake activity and
tour interactive fault maps in the earthquake section.
Boko Haram: 5.1 million Nigerians risk starvation in 2017, UN says
by Aminu Adamu
The United Nations said on Friday that $1billion was needed in 2017 for
the provision of aid to victims of Boko Haram terrorism in north-east
The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Peter Lundberg, in a statement said
the Boko Haram menace was the largest in Africa, and that hope can be
brought to the victims through support from the international community.
The narrative on this humanitarian crisis can no longer be ignored and
we are appealing to the international community to help us prevent the
deaths of thousands of innocent civilians over the coming 12 months.
This is the largest crisis on the African continent and I am confident
that with the support of the international community and the private
sector, we can begin to bring hope to the people of the northeast, he
The UN official added that a projected 5.1 million people will face
serious food shortages as the conflict and risk of unexploded improvised
devices prevented farmers planting for a third year in a row, causing a
major food crisis.
Millions of people have been displaced from their homes in north-east
Nigeria since the insurgency began in 2009. Over 20,000 people have also
While tens of thousands of the displaced live in camps, millions of
others live in host communities where they are barely able to fend for
The Boko Haram, despite losing most of their seized territory to
Nigerian troops, still carry out attacks on civilians and security
5 Diseases to Watch Out for in 2017
US News - Derek Gatherer
The phrase "emerging disease," to describe an infectious disease that is
new to humans or which is suddenly increasing its geographical range or
number of cases, dates back to the 1960s. But it was the realization in
the late 1970s and early 1980s that the world was in the throes of
previously unrecognized pandemics of genital herpes and AIDS, that
really propelled the term into the mainstream.
The causative agent of genital herpes was type 2 herpes simplex virus
(HSV-2), a pathogen that was reasonably well-known at the time, but
whose capacity for explosive spread had been underestimated. AIDS, on
the other hand, was a completely new infectious agent one which we now
know had been spreading unrecognized since the early 20th century.
Since then, emerging diseases have been appearing at an accelerating
rate. Part of the explanation for this may simply be that we are much
better at detecting them now. On the other hand, population pressure,
climate change and ecological degradation may be contributing to a
situation where zoonosis the movement of a disease from a vertebrate
animal to a human host is more common.
Whatever the explanation, hepatitis C (1989), West Nile virus (1999),
SARS (2003), Chikungunya (2005), swine flu (2009), MERS (2012), Ebola
(2014) and Zika (2015) have all since had their time in the media
spotlight. A further 33 diseases have featured in the World Health
Organization's Disease Outbreak News since its inception in 1996. Of the
"big eight" listed above, six are known zoonotic diseases and the
remaining two (hepatitis C and Chikungunya) are assumed to be so,
although the animal reservoir remains undiscovered.
So what other new infectious diseases are on the horizon? These are the
ones to watch for in 2017.
Leishmaniasis: Historically known as "Aleppo boil," this parasitic
infection has recently, as the name suggests, become a problem among
Syrian refugees. Producing disfiguring skin ulcerations, and
occasionally spreading to internal organs with fatal consequences, the
increase of cases turning up in Europe among migrants has made it the
subject of considerable media interest. Leishmaniasis is spread by the
bite of the sandfly, however, which means it has a northern limit to its
Rift Valley Fever: This virus is spread by a variety of biting insects
but fortunately does not transmit from person to person. Humans appear
only to be infected by mosquitoes that have previously bitten livestock.
Nevertheless, RVF has been expanding its range in Africa, most recently
pushing north-west into the Sahel region.
It often turns up in travelers returning from affected areas and one of
those could be the carrier that takes RVF out of Africa and into new
continents. Beginning, as many viruses do, with a vague fever, aches and
pains, RVF can progress to internal bleeding, liver failure, brain
inflammation and blindness. The death rate is only 1% but rises to 50%
if bleeding occurs.
Oropouche: Another virus that has recently been expanding its range and
which is spread by mosquitoes of the genus Culex. This is always bad
news (as was previously found for West Nile virus), since Culex has a
far wider distribution than the Aedes mosquitoes that spread Zika or the
sandflies that spread Leishmaniasis.
Whether Oropouche's recent expansion out of its Amazonian heartland to
neighbouring parts of South America is just a local fluctuation or the
beginnings of a Zika-esque global tour, remains to be seen. Oropouche is
normally a self-limiting fever with loss of appetite, headaches and
vomiting, but the occasional meningitis complication is more concerning.
Mayaro: Characterized by fever, aches and pains and a rash, Mayaro is
distant relative of Chikungunya, and spread by biting Aedes mosquitoes,
Mayaro made a recent surprise appearance in Haiti and beat its Amazonian
rival Oropouche to the coveted title of "the next Zika." Mayaro, like
cholera, may be just another infectious disease that took advantage of
the degradation of Haiti's already impoverished health infrastructure by
the 2010 earthquake.
This illustrates a general point that emerging diseases tend to flourish
where wars flare up or the breakdown of civil society occurs. Syria's
Leishmaniasis and the expansion of Rift Valley Fever into areas of West
Africa beset by decades of insurgency are probably far from
Elizabethkingia: is the sole bacterial pathogen on the list the only
one that isn't spread by biting insects and the only one that is found
worldwide. So Elizabethkingia won't be expanding its range but may be
expanding its clinical impact in a world where antibiotics can no longer
be relied upon to save our lives from bacterial infections.
Unlike the others, Elizabethkingia isn't in the "possibly coming soon"
category but is already here. Its variety of presentations from
pneumonia to meningitis to sepsis together with recent increases in
virulence and antibiotic resistance, make it a potentially formidable
This article was written by Derek Gatherer, lecturer at Lancaster
University, for The Conversation on Jan. 3, 2017.