News in the Humanosphere: WHO says mystery disease in Liberia likely meningitis

A young woman holding an infant during one of the early and massive immunization campaigns in Africa's Meningitis Belt. PATH photo by Gabe Bienczycki.

As of yesterday, the WHO says that a total of 31 cases of this “illness of unknown aetiology” was reported by the government of Liberia to the World Health Organization. This includes 13 deaths. But the WHO says it has a prime suspect: meningitis C. Samples from four of the deceased patients tested positive for this bacterial disease. More samples are being analyzed and if meningitis is confirmed to be this mystery illness, there is already a safe and effective vaccine that can be deployed to halt the spread of meningitis C. For now it appears that two weeks after this deadly mystery illness created a cluster of patients and victims, most people exposed to this disease have been tracked down and the disease itself provisionally identified. (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/2pl7ZgF)

Methane bill voted down…In a surprising victory for President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy, the Senate voted on Wednesday to uphold an Obama-era climate change regulation to control the release of methane from oil and gas wells on public land.Senators voted 51 to 49 to block consideration of a resolution to repeal the 2016 Interior Department rule to curb emissions of methane, a powerful planet-warming greenhouse gas.  (NYT http://nyti.ms/2plzA1a)

Top Stories

A university researcher jailed last month in Uganda for allegedly insulting President Yoweri Museveni on Facebook has been granted bail. (VOA http://bit.ly/2pA2hn8)

A six-month IRIN investigation into Berlin shelters reveals that female refugees in Germany have grossly inadequate protection from sexual and gender-based violence. (IRIN http://bit.ly/2q44Ws5)

Taiwan’s already precarious relations with old rival China took another step back this week after the self-ruled island said Beijing blocked it from the annual World Health Organization assembly, a move that may prompt Taipei to rethink how they treat the other side. (VOA http://bit.ly/2pkWUMq)

Kenya’s government says it is reaching out to U.S. officials so it can address concerns of “corruption and weak accounting procedures” the U.S. embassy says have prompted the suspension of $21 million in assistance to Kenya’s Ministry of Health. (VOA http://bit.ly/2q3TPiy)

An evangelical Nicaraguan pastor and four followers were sentenced to 30 years for burning a woman to death in a so-called exorcism ritual. (BBC http://bbc.in/2pAgqRd)

Following the release of over 80 missing schoolgirls in Nigeria, human rights groups have expressed concerns about their rights and future. (IPS http://bit.ly/2q42IbZ)

Nine men were stabbed or shot dead over a territorial dispute in a remote area of Mato Grosso state, deep in the Amazon rainforest. The worst land-related slaughter Brazil has seen in 21 years reflects a chronic ambiguity around land rights. On this lawless frontier, far from the gaze of the authorities, forest clearance and conflict go hand in hand. (Guardian http://bit.ly/2q6qeDy)

Yemen’s planning minister says 60 percent of the country’s population is in dire poverty more than two years since the Shi’ite rebels forced the country’s internationally recognized government and president out of the capital. (AP http://bit.ly/2pl1wSJ)

At least 9,900 of Iraq’s Yazidis were killed or kidnapped in just days in an Islamic State attack in 2014, according to the first study to document the number of Yazidis affected which could be used as evidence in any trial for genocide. (VOA http://bit.ly/2pAftZ6)

Opinion/Blogs

Even in the age of Trump, I believe we can meet the global goals (Guardian http://bit.ly/2q3DtH2)

Is America a Failing State? (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/2r2nV4L)

Outcry Over Photo Showing The Face Of A Girl Allegedly Being Raped (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2q3J9AF)

Why ‘stagflation’ matters for Africa’s economic transformation (ODI http://bit.ly/2pzJoAY)

How Kenya can manage increasing dengue fever cases (The Conversation http://bit.ly/2q3RSme)

How To Do A Really Good Job Washing Your Hands (Goats and Soda http://n.pr/2q6dtcs)

Hissène Habré’s rape acquittal must not be quietly airbrushed from history (Guardian http://bit.ly/2q3Tc8K)

Senegal struggles play out on screen (Africa is a Country http://bit.ly/2r2GPIG)

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