Global Alert and Response (GAR) by the World Health Organization (WHO)

Ebola infographic: What you need to know – August 2014

Travel to and from Ebola-affected countries is low risk
Here is what you need to know



5 habits that “seem” harmless

evita-sedentarismoAccording to a study carried out by Duke University in the US, over 40% of the actions we take every day are habits. Researchers state that in order to change these habits we need at least three weeks, 21 days; this is the time needed for neurological patterns to get modified.

If you analyze your behavior during a day, you’ll realize you do things automatically, things that could be detrimental to your body, such as:

  • Excessive use of computers. Sitting in front of a computer too long doesn’t only cause a sedentary lifestyle posing a risk of obesity, but also affects physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Listening to loud music. According to US National Health Institutes, repeated exposure to loud noises can cause hearing loss.
  • Drinking diet soda. The artificial sweeteners contained in these drinks fool the brain into increasing food intake.
  • Drinking juices. A study has revealed that drinking a glass of juice increases caloric intake due to the amount of sugar they contain. It also reduces fiber and vitamin intake.
  • Not sleeping well. Sleep deprivation is linked to changes in cognitive activity, increases depression and affects the immune system. It is also a risk factor for obesity, stroke and diabetes.

You should analyze your habits and find a healthy way to replace them. This will not only improve your quality of life, but your body will be in optimal conditions.

Source: Banca & Negocios

Chikungunya Fever

malestarChikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bites of mosquitoes infected with the chikungunya virus. It was first described during an outbreak in southern Tanzania in 1952 and has now been identified in nearly 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and, most recently, the Americas.


Symptoms usually begin 4 to 8 days after a mosquito bite but can appear anywhere from 2 to 12 days. The most common symptom is an abrupt onset of fever, often accompanied by joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash. Severe joint pain usually lasts a few days but can persist for months or even years. Serious complications are uncommon, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death. There is no vaccine or antiviral drug treatment for chikungunya. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.

fumigacion dengue

Key facts

Chikungunya was found for the first time in the Caribbean islands in December 2013.

By end of March 2014, more than 15,000 suspected cases had been reported in the Caribbean.

Local transmission has been confirmed in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barthelemy, St.Martin (British part), and St Maarten (Dutch part). Aruba has reported one imported case.

Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are the mosquito vectors that transmit chikungunya.

Prevention and control efforts focus on reducing the number of vectors (mosquitoes) and minimizing the natural or artificial habitats that support their breeding.

Prevention also relies on reducing human exposure to mosquitoes through window and door screens, using mosquito repellents on exposed skin, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and supporting local vector control programs.


For more information,

View Epidemiological Alert: “Chikungunya and dengue fever in the Americas, August 29th 2014”

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

Are stethoscopes more contaminated than a doctor’s hands?

EstetoscopioResearcher Didier Pittet, director of the Infection Control Program at the Geneva University Hospitals in Switzerland, wanted to find out how many bacteria can go from one patient to another if hands and instruments aren’t properly cleaned.

The result of the paper published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings review was that stethoscopes have as many bacteria as doctors’ palms; only the health professionals’ fingertips are more contaminated.

Doctors touch tens of people every day and the standard establishes for them to wash their hands after every exam. It is also recommended for them to clean their instruments, such as stethoscopes, with an antibacterial agent. However, the latter doesn’t seem to be a common practice.

Pittet’s team carried out several bacteria tests in the metal disc at the end of the stethoscope, the part that comes in contact with the skin, as well as the tubes that connect them to the earpieces. They also measured bacteria levels in four areas of the hand: two regions of the palm, fingertips and the back of the hand.

They did this after three doctors checked 71 patients using sterilized stethoscopes and gloves. Although fingertips turned out to be the most contaminated with bacteria, the stethoscope’s diaphragm was more contaminated than other parts of the doctors’ hands. As for the instrument’s tube, it carried more bacteria than the back of the hands.

According to a survey carried out in 2012 by US National Health Institutes, 76% of health professionals think stethoscopes could be the cause of infections, but only 25% said they disinfected the instrument after each use. However, the fact that stethoscopes carry bacteria doesn’t mean they generate infections.

Source: BBC

One out of every three persons is afraid of flying

superar-miedo-volarFear of flying, a problem that affects one third of the world’s population, had led airlines to try and help these passengers. Two thirds of the people with aerophobia never get on a plane, while the rest do it, in most cases, due to job requirements or when there is no alternative method of transportation.

Security statistics don’t help overcome the bitter moment. Even a decade of no airplane accidents will make an aerophobic person come to reason, and neither will catastrophes nor mystic aircraft disappearances like the Malaysia case reinforce their fear.

Aerophobia is generally suffered by a specific type of people. They’re typically untrusting and insecure, and therefore they don’t believe anyone can solve their problem.

A curious aspect of many aerophobic persons’ behavior has been observed, as is the fact that their anxiety tends to decrease when they fly first class. As to the rest, the feeling of having no control over what happens in the air or not knowing how a plane works are some of the irrational reasons that cause aerophobia.

Source: EFE

Can you live without internet and social networks?

social mediaIs it possible not to have a Facebook account, going to dinner without looking at your mobile device knowing you’re not about to receive anything important, or avoiding taking a picture of a tasty meal and sharing it on Instagram? Can we live offline?

Mrs. Diana de Livinoff, a member of the Argentinean Psychoanalysis Association, explained that being online is not the issue, the issue arises when the use of a social network such as Facebook becomes an end rather than a means of communication per se, thus altering interpersonal relations.

The problem occurs “when you go on vacation and you’re thinking about the picture you’re going to upload to Facebook instead of living the moment,” illustrates Litvinoff, author of the book “The subject hiding in reality”.

It is unquestionable that our lives are much easier thanks to technology, but there’s also a detrimental side to it.

Social network and electronic device addiction is real and is being recognized by mental health professionals. Users all over the world are suffering from new illnesses caused by the internet.

Months ago a video called “I forgot my phone” went viral. It shows the young woman’s day without her mobile phone as she discovers her close friends are always immersed in their telephones.

Different situations reflect this obsession with electronic devices. Users can’t stop taking pictures, making videos or texting during moments such as a family dinner, a birthday or a concert.

Source: Infobae

What is a proper age for children to use WhatsApp?

Niños y WhatsAppPeople, and specifically new generations, are more and more connected to the digital world, browsing the internet, texting, checking social media and getting mobile phones that allow them to do all those things.

Parents, particularly, wonder what would be a proper age for their children to start interacting with these new technologies, including WhatsApp, today’s most popular instant messaging service.

Experts in the subject state there is no specific age, but the ‘normal’ range is between 7 and 8 years of age. “This doesn’t represent a problem as long as they’re under their parents’ supervision,” emphasized Guillermo Cánovas, president of Protégeles, Spain’s Center for Children’s Internet Safety.

Cánovas assures the real problem is with 13 and 14-year-olds, when they send and receive messages without their parents’ supervision. It’s also difficult to keep children from using this kind of apps that allow them to communicate quickly and efficiently at no additional cost.

Instant messaging has become a very popular medium among users, and therefore parents should make sure their kids learn to use it properly.