A disease that has not been acquired in Miami since the 1950s has just reappeared — Miami-Dade county has reported the first case of dengue fever in almost 60 years, and health officials are urging people to take extra care to avoid being bitten by mosquitos.
Dengue fever is a disease common in tropical and subtropical regions that is spread by mosquitos much like malaria, but originates from different species. The Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitos can be carriers of up to four different viruses which can trigger the disease. Unlike malaria, dengue fever is equally as common in urban areas as in rural areas — making it a primary danger in Miami and South Florida.
Signs of an infection can begin with mild symptoms but these can quickly develop into DHF (dengue hemorrhagic fever) and dengue shock syndrome. Miami-Dade county residents experiencing severe symptoms should seek medical professionals as soon as possible. If the infection is treated early, the fever is easy to remedy.
According to Oregon Health and Science University’s Dr. Alfred Lewy, research has shown that traffic accidents noticeably increase for a week following the Daylight Savings changes in both spring and fall.
In addition, Swedish researchers have discovered a link between heart attacks and the time change. Their findings show a lower rate of heart attacks in the days following “fall back” and a higher rate of heart attacks following “spring forward.” A co-author of this study, Rickard Ljung, MD, PhD, says that the higher rate of heart attacks on Mondays in general might not just be due to the stress of people returning to work, but also related to their natural sleep rhythms which have been disturbed. Since there were found to be less heart attacks on the Monday following clocks being set back an hour, it appears that one extra hour of sleep can be very beneficial for your health.
The ICEDOT (which stands for “In Case of Emergency Dot”) is a very low-tech red plastic “chip” that can be attached to clothing. These tiny red discs allow authorized medical personnel access to a computerized system through which they can view a patient’s current health “profile.” All that is needed is the patient’s unique eight-digit serial number.
The chip is a new advance in the “Invisible Bracelet” system, a higher-tech incarnation of the medical bracelets and ID cards people have carried in the past. These are usually hand-written or stamped permanently, so the information contained on them is often highly outdated. Users of the ICEDOT system can register online and create a publically viewable profile of up to 160 characters — that’s just 20 characters longer than a Twitter “tweet.”
Last month, a family whose house caught on fire in Obion County, Tennessee watched helplessly as their home burned down, as their local fire department first refused to respond — then showed up only to watch as the house burned completely to the ground.
Residents of Obion County are not automatically provided with fire department protection. Each year, the residents are required to pay a separate $75 fee if they protection from the local fire department in South Fulton.
Homeowner Gene Cranick did not pay this fee. He claims he offered to pay anything it would take for the firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late and that they couldn’t do anything to stop his house from burning.
The Federal Aviation Administration reports that in the last twelve months, the rate of “serious” near collisions between commercial airliners has increased from 2.44 per million flights to 3.28 per million flights.
This rise could be due to the fact that there are more aircraft in the sky today than ever before. Meanwhile, the air traffic control infrastructure that governs the increasingly packed skies has changed little. Moreover, approximately half of all commercial air traffic now consists of smaller regional jets flying short trips at low altitudes. This means that the airspace closest to airport terminals has never been more congested than it is today, and more planes are flying all the time.
The FAA, as well as pilot and air traffic controller organizations, have stated that they are monitoring the situation carefully. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has issued sobering reports of dangerous mistakes made by air traffic controllers in their state which could have led to mid-air collisions if they hadn’t been corrected.