Refugees from Congo Are Increasing the Tensions about Ebola

Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries have been keen towards keeping Ebola under most control since the very beginning. However, a new challenge has come along the way in the form of refugees. According to the latest reports, hundreds of people have left Congo and have crossed the border of Uganda. The details were shared by a Red Cross worker, who is working in Congo.

The biggest problem is that it is not clear how many of these people have been exposed to Ebola. If there’s a case of Ebola, it is likely that the disease would soon spread to Uganda. The complex presidential election in the country was a catalyst in the refugee influx. Of course, the Ugandan government has taken measures to prevent the same. It was reported that some Congolese people were sent back to the country.

This happened when the group was not co-operating with the Ebola screening set up by the health department in Uganda. The CEO of The One Campaign, an anti-poverty organization said in an interview: “I’m quite concerned that it hasn’t risen to a higher level of attention on the world’s agenda because as we know these viruses don’t pay attention to borders, and they move very quickly. It could kill a whole lot more people.

Ever since the Ebola outbreak was declared, the world has been looking cautiously at the country. Recently, a US medic was quarantined at Nebraska on the suspicion that he may have been exposed to Ebola. Major issues appeared after the Congo government’s decision to prevent one million voters from casting vote, and the Ebola crisis was cited as the reason.

Many protests were observed in the country and a number of them had targeted Ebola centers as well. An important number of centers had to suspend their activities for a few days.

Flu Reaches High Level in All the 21 Counties of New Jersey

We are just in the first month of New Year but already the flu season is in full force. As per the latest weekly data put out on 29th December from the New Jersey Department of Health, the virus has officially gone on to hit widespread levels all through the state. Now, what this means is that no matter where people live in the state, the number of cases related to influenza are beginning to increase at a much earlier time compared to the season during the previous year. Last year, during the same time, the state was only coming across moderate levels of influenza.

The epidemiologist from New Jersey, Dr. Tina Tan said that she is noticing quite an increased level of activity earlier in the year compared to the same period in the previous year. As of now, New Jersey is also noticing quite significant increases in emergency room visits and admissions. When asked whether this means that they are going to see a repetition of previous year’s nightmare, Tan said that it is still too early to predict that. The flu is not just one really nasty virus but there are several angles to it. Some are nastier than the others. In the year before, America was hit with an extremely nasty H3N2 virus, which can mutate, even outsmart vaccines to cause a major illness if anyone manages to catch it.

In order to combat this problem, there are quite a number of hospitals taking extra preparations this year. For instance, RWJBarnabas hospitals said that they have created a task force for the flu, gone on to increase stockpiles for medicines, also created additional areas for patients and even boosted staff. As far as the time for getting a flu shot is concerned, it is still not late. The flu vaccine has got some sort of modifications in order to match up the viruses, which circulate. Some of the vaccines that are getting offered this year include Standard Dose Flu Shots, High Dose Shots, and Cell-based vaccine, Flu Blok vaccine, Shots made with adjuvant and Nasal Spray.

Astronaut Dials 911 by Mistake from the International Space Station

As per a news report from the Netherlands, an astronaut of Dutch origin has accidentally dialed 911 from the International Space Station. This was actually the omission of one number in an accidental manner, while the astronaut was trying to dial for outside and then an international line. The process needs astronauts to dial up the number 9 for getting an outside line. This gets followed by dialing up 011 for an international line.

Unfortunately, the zero was missed. This mistake was committed by Andre Kuiper’s, a Dutch astronaut. He had talked about it with a Dutch public broadcaster. As per the report, Kuipers managed to hang up after missing the 0 but the call got noted by Mission Control at NASA. The day after, officials from NASA had sent an email to the International Space Station asking if someone had dialed up the number 911.

Apparently, the call happened to trigger an alert at NASA. They had checked on the room where the call got issued from and obviously did not find anything. It is said that Kuipers confirmed that the emergency service number was dialed accidentally. The VoIP phone services managed to make it possible for the accident to take place, which is installed on the International Space Station. Astronauts, who are there on the floating space lab, have managed to make calls to Earth for a large part of 10 years, all thanks to modern internet voice services along with getting better connectivity in space.

As per NASA, astronauts can make calls whenever they feel like, even to their families. This is quite far from the first time ever, when someone had placed a call by mistake to a woman from the International Space Station. The mistake was committed by Tim Peake, who had called the wrong number by mistake and asked a woman whether it was planet Earth.

Chinese Lunar Probe Chang’e-4 Successfully Landed On the Far Side of the Moon

China’s lunar mission is the first ever to land on the far side of the moon. Chang’e-4 spacecraft achieved the milestone on 3rd January at 10:26 a.m. local time. China’s state media service announced the news around 12 p.m. Beijing time. The probe landed within the South Pole-Aitken basin, and it is a large crater near the moon’s south pole. The mission is a historic move that highlights the nation’s growth potential to become a space power. Additionally, it sets a new record by visiting the region never explored by humanity. Zhu Mengua, a professor at Macau University of Science and Technology, worked with China on the lunar mission.

The professor said the mission’s success id a significant milestone for the nation and lays it out as a pioneer in space exploration. According to The New York Times, he said Chinese people had achieved the thing that the Americans have not dared try. After landing on the moon’s surface, the probe captured an image and sent back on Earth. The photo reveals a small crater and a dessert-life surface. The surface seems to be lightened by light from the probe. Shortly after landing, the observatory released a little rover that will explore the landing area. While stationed on the lunar land, the Chang’e-4 will attempt to investigate the popular Von Karman crater in the Aitken basin. It is the most massive crater in the entire solar system.

Chang’e-4 consists of four high-tech cameras to capture images while roaming around the surface. The probe also contains scientific equipment to study the surface and its mineral composition. It carries a set of components to perform experiments on the lunar land. The list includes fruit flies, cotton, yeast and some species of green plants. As it is the first mission to the dark side of the moon, there are some communication challenges on the region. Thus, the Chinese space agency launched another satellite, Queqiao relay, to overcome the problem in communication. The relay satellite permits the probe to phone home through the relay. Chang’e-4 will collect the samples from the moon’s surface. China aims to send another spacecraft on the far side. It would take the samples to Earth for further studies.

Wild Monkeys Infected with Fatal Herpes Virus in Central Florida Would Double by 2022

Experts fear about the growing population of monkeys in central Florida, as these primates carry a dangerous virus – Herpes B. The virus can be harmful to human beings and may lead to fatal brain disease. The group of rhesus macaques, an old species in monkeys, was brought to Silver Spring State Park in Central Florida around 1930s. The facility placed them on a small island, but they didn’t stay there. The monkeys lived in various parts of Central Florida. According to research published in the journal Wildlife Management, the population of monkeys could double by 2022.

Most of the monkeys at the park carry the strain of Herpes B virus. However, the virus can spread through a bite or a scratch. According to CDC, the virus can lead to severe brain damage and death if left untreated. The infection can spread from monkeys to a human if any contact of bodily fluid takes place. Although, the current population of monkeys in Silver Springs could be around 200. But in the upcoming four to five years, the number may reach 400. Johnson, a team member who studied monkeys for years, said the primates might become uncontrollable. Thus the state may require to decide what to do with the animals.

Johnson recommends to eliminate the group from the animals or sterilize the females and put them back. The second alternative may be dangerous to the people who will trap the animals. The rising number of primates are going to be a big problem. The CDC reported 50 cases of the disease since 1932. The group of people got an infection after being scratched or bitten by an infected monkey. Reports reveal that more than half of those people resulted in death, and remaining suffered permanent damage in the brain. Experts from the University of Florida warned that the growing population could introduce a higher risk to park visitors. The government should take suitable public health measures to avoid the worsening of the situation. But many animals cause disease; it doesn’t mean that we should kill them.

China Became Pioneer to Touch the Far Side of the Moon

China’s says its Chang’e-4 probe successfully landed on the far side of the moon, and that’s one giant jump for the country. China state television announced the news on Thursday. Moon is earth’s natural satellite which revolves around it. While we can see only one face of the moon, and another face of the moon is not visible from Earth. Chang’e-4 is the first observatory to reach another face of moon and soft-land on it. The probe touched the moon’s surface at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time on January 2. The mission docked the moon on December 7, and the spacecraft entered moon’s orbit on December 12. The Chinese spacecraft sent an image of the unexplored surface of the moon.

The probe will explore the big Von Karman crater being positioned on the moon’s surface. It is the largest crater in the solar system. It measures 15,000 miles across and has a depth of 8 miles. The probe contains scientific equipment to study the geology of the unexplored region, as well as to perform biological experiments. Chang’e-4 will also collect samples to perform mineral and radiation tests. So the researchers will get an opportunity to study minerals from the dark side of the moon.

Chinese news agency Xinhua said Beijing’s control center would decide the working direction of the spacecraft. It will also command for the separation of the rover from the lander. Xinhua reported the probe took six active species to the lifeless environment to form a mini biosphere. The list includes yeast, cotton, fruit fly, rapeseed, potato, and Arabidopsis. This journey to the moon has become a significant milestone in space exploration and the history of the Chinese space agency. The mission makes China the first country in the world to soft-land on the far side of the moon. The landing reveals China’s increasing ambitions to challenge the U.S. as a space power. Beijing intends to send another spacecraft to the moon that would bring the samples to the Earth.

Wireless Neuro-Stimulators Can Offer a New Way to Treat Neurological Disorders

A neuro-stimulator could be a new way to treat the patients suffering from neurological disorders. Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new wireless pacemaker for the brain. The medical device can listen to and stimulate electric current in the brain concurrently. Thus, the neuro-stimulator can offer fine-tuned treatments to patients having Parkinson’s or epilepsy. The device consists of two tiny arrays of electrodes which lie inside the skull. Both of them connect to a circuit board present on either side of the head. The pacemaker continuously records the normal electrical current of the brain.

In case, there is any change in the signal it immediately triggers a stimulating charge to normalize the pulse. Currently, the same type of deep brain stimulation is already used for people with neurological disorders. But there are some aspects which makes it unsuccessful. Dr. Rikky Muller, said the process to find the perfect therapy is very costly and takes many years. Dr. Muller is an Assistant Professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. She also said that this type of device can be extremely useful in the case of brain tumors and seizures. The currently available stimulators in the market either stop recording while delivering the electric stimulation, or record at another section of the brain.

The new device is continuously listening for interruptions in the electrical signals. Thus it is able to make instant adjustments according to the situation. Researchers say that it works like a pacemaker for the brain. The new device is WAND, which stands for Wireless Artifact-free Neuromodulation Device. Additionally, the device is wireless as well as self-governing. It means that once it learns to identify the symptoms of tremor or seizure, it can adjust the stimulation parameters by itself. To illustrate the device, the researchers used the WAND to recognize and delay particular arm movements in rhesus macaques. Dr. Muller said we can actually monitor activities happening in a particular part of the brain while treatment. Now doctors can stimulate and record the same region.

Mother of Hubble Space Telescope, Nancy Grace Roman died at 93 on Christmas Day

Nancy Grace Roman, a former NASA executive, has died at 93 on 25th December. Laura Verreau, Roman’s cousin, confirmed the news that Roman passed away after a prolonged illness. Researchers call her “Mother” of the Hubble Space Telescope. Additionally, she was the first woman to hold an executive position at the space agency. In school days, she loved to draw the moon. She was fond of the moon in the sky and stars. We can say that she had qualities to become a stargazer. Finally, her passion for becoming a stargazer prospered into a career. She completed her doctorate in astronomy at the University of Chicago in 1949.

After that, in 1959, Roman joined NASA as its first Chief of Astronomy at Headquarters. She joined the space agency soon after the agency’s establishment in 1958. Roman was the first to gain an opportunity to develop a pivotal department from the very beginning. Before her, Lyman Spitzer, a former astronomer, scratched an idea to create space-based telescope in 1946. But in those days, the proposal delayed due to high-budget and lack of technology. While she started to work on the project and played a crucial role in making of the Hubble Space Telescope. She also involved in foundational programs of the space agency including Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). Bob Zimmerman, a science historian, says she made it possible to get early telescopes into space.

Roman struggled to earn the position in a men-dominated sector, flooring the way for future female scientists. She is remembered for her hard work to boost career opportunities for women. She worked with the American Association of University for Women. According to NASA, Roman is a winner of the Women in Aerospace’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She also got the honor of the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award, and the NASA Outstanding Scientific Leadership Award. In 2017, Lego published a set of statues in respect of four pioneering women of NASA. One of the four was Roman. According to her statement to Science Magazine, Roman felt very happy. Roman said that she ignored the saying of many people who said she could not be an astronomer. She finished her NASA career in 1979. After retiring from the space agency, she worked as a contractor at Goddard.

Health Officials Warn About Increasing Outbreak of Hepatitis A in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Public Health is inquiring a rapid rise in the epidemic of Hepatitis A in Jackson Country. Health officials announced the news on Wednesday, by saying that the outbreak may have spread to neighboring countries. Health officials also said that Hepatitis A could spread fast when people avoid following preventive measures. They aim to vaccinate people at high risk, including homeless people. Dr. Karen Landers, the medical officer, said they have just started the investigation. She stated that the health department wants to raise awareness about vaccination among people. Dr. Karen recommends maintaining hygiene and a habit of hand-washing to avoid the epidemic from spreading.

On the other hand, health officers are investigating for Hepatitis A cases in Nashville. A year ago the health department discovered the first case of the disease. But more cases of severe liver infection are rising in the surrounding countries. The cases are also emerging in jails, firstly they arrived in Nashville followed by Sumner County. According to health experts, there is no way to foretell the end of the epidemic. Yet, it may last up to one year. Currently, places like San Diego and Louisville are having the latest cases of the severe lever infection. Hepatitis A is a type of liver infection which takes place due to a virus and results in inflammation of the lever. However, the infection doesn’t show any symptoms in children less than the age of 6 years.

Although the symptoms can be detected easily in other age groups, symptoms mainly include flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, and loss of appetite. The virus is typically spread by consuming food or liquid contaminated with fecal matter containing the virus. In addition to this, the virus can also spread by direct contact with an infected person. Moreover, officials say that the virus can circulate easily among the people who are not vaccinated. Additionally, it may spread if people fail to maintain good hand-washing practices. Therefore, health experts suggest washing hands before preparing or eating meals and after touching any type of waste. They also suggest not to share food, drinking, cigarettes, personal care stuff with each other.

On New Year’s Eve, NASA’s Horizons Probe Will Explore the Distant World Beyond Pluto

NASA’s new Horizon probe is ready to explore the world beyond Pluto. It will fly past 2014 MU69 in the early hours of 1st January 2019. The spacecraft will snap photos of Ultima Thule, an object farther than the last planet in the solar system. Therefore, the new year’s beginning will be a starting point revealing operating of the New Horizons spacecraft. The flyby will take place on the first day of the new year, and the rocket will continue exploring the Kuiper Belt until the upcoming two years. While Ultima seems to be a surprisingly dark world. Whereas there are a number of probable explanations of the location, but none of them have any previous case in the solar system.

Over last two weeks, the spacecraft gradually made its proceed towards Ultima Thule. Moreover, to ensure that the New Horizon is on the right track the scientists performed a series of tests and orbit corrections. While operating, they took care that the spacecraft should not collide with any space debris. Although, the team of observers, i.e., New Horizon watch team consists of 12 scientists. On 15th December, the team used New Horizons’ telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) to verify the safety of approach path. However, if they had detected any obstructions in the current approach path, the space agency would have selected a secondary route.

Scientists use a method to figure out the exact shape of small objects, and it is they observe light curve of the object. All in all, it means that looking at how the sunrays reflect the object changes as time passes. The technique can discover how fast the object is spinning and the shape of it. But in the case of Ultima Thule, there are entirely different prospects. Previously, researches revealed that the object could be shapeless. Moreover, there may be two different objects orbiting each other. That means the object must have a pretty erratic light curve, but it’s not present. Yes, the New Horizon’s team has not yet discovered any light curve. Finally, New Horizons will capture images from the flyby and clear the hypothesis made by researchers.