Disease

Plague count grows in Madagascar

In an update on the human plague situation in Madagascar this season, since early August, 124 cases of plague have been recorded with 91 bubonic form (73.4 %), 31 pulmonary form (25%), 1 septicemia case and one unspecified.

Ebola Update – DR Congo

In a update on the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the Democratic Republic of the Congo Health Ministry is now reporting 498 cumulative cases (450 confirmed) and 285 deaths (237 confirmed).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits Vancouver Island, Canada.

5.1 earthquake hits the Sumbawa region, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the Prince Edward Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.1 earthquake hits Taiwan.

5.0 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits southern Alaska.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

West Java, Indonesia – Four people were killed and as many as 236 villagers were forced to flee home as landslides and floods struck East Java province of western Indonesia, a disaster agency official said on Sunday. The landslides occurred after soils of a hill slid down and hit a house, where the four were staying, situated in Sidomulyo village of Kebonagung sub-district in Pacitan district.

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Malaysia – Parts of Bintulu district in northern Sarawak were hit by flash floods on Monday (Dec 10) morning. The downpour that began in the early hours of the morning led to several roads in and out of Bintulu being flooded by 8am, including Jalan Sebiew.

Global Warming

US, Russia block key global warming report from climate summit

A landmark study on global warming has been blocked from being endorsed by a world climate summit by the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“I think it was a key moment,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The fact that a group of four countries were trying to diminish the value and importance of a scientific report they themselves, with all other countries, requested three years ago in Paris is pretty remarkable.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on what would happen if average global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and how to ensure they don’t go higher, was widely regarded as a wake-up call for policy-makers when it was released in October.

As diplomats wrapped up a week of technical talks on Saturday (Sunday NZT), almost all 200 countries present in Katowice, Poland, had wanted to “welcome” the IPCC report, making it the benchmark for future action.

Space Events

Meteor over Mexico City – Geminids

A spectacular meteor lit up the sky of Mexico City in the early hours of Sunday. The meteor is estimated to have been travelling at more than 12,000mph and could be seen hurtling through the skies over Acapulco and Mexico City’s Xochimilco neighbourhood. Although the precise size of the meteor is hard to determine, experts say its diameter is estimated to be around 500 metres.

Later this week the stunning cosmic light show known as the Geminids meteor shower is expected to reach its peak.

Disease

Leisgmaniasis – Uruguay

Uruguay health officials reported the first human leishmaniasis case in a minor from Salta, according to a news release Wednesday. The sandfly vector was first found in the country in 2010 and canine infections had been reported prior to this human case.

Epidemic and emerging disease alerts in the Pacific

An increasing number of dengue positive cases (serotype unknown) has been reported in Nauru. From 25 October to 5 December 2018, 114 samples were tested in the laboratory using NS1Ag Combo and 42 were positives..

Diarrhoea outbreak in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia: A total of 270 diarrhoea cases were reported from September 4th to November 30th, 2018. The Majority of cases are children under 4 years of age.

Three (3) imported cases of DENV-1 with travel history to Nauru were reported by Queensland Health (notifiable conditions data).

Eighteen (18) imported cases of dengue (4 cases of DENV-1, 1 case of DENV-2, 7 cases of DENV-4 and 6 cases of dengue serotype unknown) with travel history to Papua New Guinea were reported by Queensland Health (notifiable conditions data).

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.2 earthquake hits southern Sumatra, Indonesia.

5.0 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

Kurdistan – The latest floods caused by yet another bout of rainfall in the Kurdistan Region have resulted in the death of a teen, shut down multiple roads linking cities, and caused substantial damage to a camp for displaced persons and to local infrastructure in several areas. In southern Sulaimani Province, a bridge on a road linking the cities of Kalar and Darbandikhan collapsed, halting all intra-city traffic.

Texas, USA – Harris County Flood Control District officials are keeping a close eye on several Houston area waterways after the Houston area was inundated heavy rain, causing flooding along some creeks and bayous.

Disease

Typhoid – Fiji

The Fiji Health Ministry is reporting a typhoid outbreak in Naitasiri subdivision. To date, 31 confirmed typhoid cases have been reported and an additional 14 cases are classified as suspected at this time. The source of the outbreak is still under investigation.

Hepatitis A – West Virginia, USA

In a follow-up on the hepatitis A outbreak in West Virginia, through Dec. 7, 2,018 Hepatitis A outbreak cases have been reported, including 5 fatalities. Slightly more than half the cases required hospitalization (1035).

Foot and Mouth Disease – Vietnam

A new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been reported among pigs in Hanoi’s Ba Vi District. Local reports say 261 pigs belonging to 19 households in six communes of the rural district have been affected by the disease. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Department of Animal Health has asked provincial authorities to kill the affected pigs. Local veterinary units have initiated vaccinations of cattle in the area and disinfected the infected farms with chemicals and lime powder in an effort to control the spread of the disease.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.1 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

5.1 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits near the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

Global Warming

Global warming today mirrors conditions leading to Earth’s largest extinction event: study

More than two-thirds of life on Earth died off some 252 million years ago, in the largest mass extinction event in Earth’s history.

Researchers have long suspected that volcanic eruptions triggered “the Great Dying,” as the end of the Permian geologic period is sometimes called, but exactly how so many creatures died has been something of a mystery.

Now scientists at the University of Washington and Stanford believe their models reveal how so many animals were killed, and they see frightening parallels in the path our planet is on today.

Models of the effects of volcanic greenhouse gas releases showed the Earth warming dramatically and oxygen disappearing from its oceans, leaving many marine animals unable to breathe, according to a study published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science. By the time temperatures peaked, about 80 percent of the oceans’ oxygen, on average, had been depleted. Most marine animals went extinct.

By this century’s end, if emissions continue at their current pace, humans will have warmed the ocean about 20 percent as much as during the extinction event, the researchers say. By 2300, that figure could be as high as 50 percent.

Space Events

Asteroid to Skim the Earth before Christmas

An asteroid measuring more than one mile in diameter will fly past the planet on a so-called Earth Close Approach, space agency NASA revealed, but thankfully the odds of it hitting Earth are minimal.

At its closest, the space rock will reach the planet within 0.01890 astronomical units (AU). One astronomical unit measures approximately 93 million miles (149.5 million km) and describes the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Asteroid SD220 will close this distance down to just 1.7 million miles (2.8 million km). This is the equivalent of 7.36 Lunar Distances (LD) or 7.36-times the distance between the Moon and Earth.

On the cosmic scale of distances, this is an incredibly close brush with the killer space rock.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A fast-moving grass fire that burnt more than 1200 hectares southwest of Melbourne is now under control. Almost 100 firefighters continued to battle the fire near Little River overnight after a late cool change made efforts to contain the blaze easier.

About 19 bushfires had started in Victoria by mid-morning Friday, with the worst in the Little River area, southwest of Melbourne where an evacuation order was issued.

Disease

Ebola – DR Congo

The second-largest Ebola outbreak in history has spread to a major city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as health experts worry whether the stock of an experimental vaccine will stand up to the demands of an epidemic with no end in sight.

Butembo, with more than 1 million residents, is now reporting cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. That complicates Ebola containment work already challenged by rebel attacks elsewhere that have made tracking the virus almost impossible in some isolated villages.

Sweden – Ancient Strain of Plague Discovered

In a nearly 5,000-year-old tomb in Sweden, researchers have discovered the oldest-known strain of the notorious bacterium Yersinia pestis — the microbe responsible for humanity’s perhaps most-feared contagion: the plague.

The finding suggests that the germ may have devastated settlements across Europe at the end of the Stone Age in what may have been the first major pandemic of human history. It could also rewrite some of what we know of ancient European history.

The researchers discovered the previously unknown strain of plague in the remains of a woman at the Frälsegården excavation site. The limestone tomb was dated to the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, the period when farming began.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.0 earthquake hits southeast of the Loyalty Islands.

5.3 earthquake hits Tonga.

5.3 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.0 earthquake hits New Caledonia.

Two 5.0 earthquakes hit southeast of the Loyalty Islands.