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Polio found in New York wastewater

The discovery of the disease from wastewater samples collected in June.

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Polio found in New York wastewater
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Washington: The polio virus was present in wastewater in a New York City suburb a month before health officials there announced a confirmed case of the disease last month, state health officials said on Monday, urging residents to be sure they have been vaccinated.

The discovery of the disease from wastewater samples collected in June means the virus was present in the community before the Rockland County adult's diagnosis was made public July 21.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an emailed statement that the presence of the virus in wastewater indicates there may be more people in the community shedding the virus in their stool.

However, the CDC added there have been no new cases identified, and that it is not yet clear whether the virus is actively spreading in New York or elsewhere in the United States.

Laboratory tests also confirmed the strain in the case is genetically linked to one found in Israel, although that did not mean the patient had traveled to Israel, officials added. The CDC said genetic sequencing also tied it to samples of the highly contagious and life-threatening virus in the United Kingdom.

The patient had started exhibiting symptoms in June, when local officials asked doctors to be on the lookout for cases, according to the New York Times.

"Given how quickly polio can spread, now is the time for every adult, parent, and guardian to get themselves and their children vaccinated as soon as possible," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said.

There is no cure for polio, which can cause irreversible paralysis in some cases, but it can be prevented by a vaccine made available in 1955.

New York officials have said they are opening vaccine clinics to help unvaccinated residents get their shots. Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is the only polio vaccine that has been given in the United States since 2000, according to the CDC. It is given by shot in the leg or arm, depending on the patient's age.

Polio is often asymptomatic and people can transmit the virus even when they do not appear sick. But it can produce mild, flu-like symptoms that can take as long as 30 days to appear, officials said.

It can strike at any age but the majority of those affected are children aged three and younger.

The New York State Department of Health told Reuters that based on available evidence, it was not able to conclude for certain whether the positive polio samples stemmed from the case identified in Rockland County.

"Certainly, when samples such as these are identified, it raises concerns about the potential of community spread - which is why it is critically important that anyone who is unvaccinated, particularly in the Rockland county area, gets vaccinated as soon as possible," the department said.

The polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in the 1950s was heralded as a scientific achievement to tackle the global scourge, now largely eradicated nationwide. The United States has not seen a polio case generated in the country since 1979, although cases were found in 1993 and 2013.

SOURCE: REUTERS 

World

10 including prominent cleric killed in bombing at Kabul mosque

There were fears the casualty numbers could rise further.

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10 including prominent cleric killed in bombing at Kabul mosque

A bombing at a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday killed at least 10 people, including a prominent cleric, and wounded at least 27, an eyewitness and police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the latest to strike the country in the year since the Taliban seized power. Several children were reported to be among the wounded.

The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has stepped up attacks targeting the Taliban and civilians since the former insurgents’ takeover last August as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country. Last week, the IS claimed responsibility for killing a prominent Taliban cleric at his religious center in Kabul.

According to the eyewitness, a resident of the city’s Kher Khanna neighborhood where the Siddiquiya Mosque was targeted, the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber. The slain cleric was Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, the eyewitness said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. 
 
He added that more than 30 other people were wounded. The Italian Emergency hospital in Kabul said that at least 27 wounded civilians, including five children, were brought there from the site of the bomb blast.

There were fears the casualty numbers could rise further.

Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed an explosion inside a mosque in northern Kabul but would not provide a casualty toll or a breakdown of the dead and wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also condemned the explosion and vowed that the “perpetrators of such crimes will soon be brought to justice and will be punished.”

A U.S.-led invasion toppled the previous Taliban government, which had hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Since regaining power, the former insurgents have faced a crippling economic crisis as the international community, which does not recognize the Taliban government, froze funding to the country.

Separately, the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had captured and killed Mehdi Mujahid in western Herat province as he was trying to cross the border into Iran.

Mujahid was a former Taliban commander in the district of Balkhab in northern Sar-e-Pul province, and the only member of the minority Shiite Hazara community among the Taliban ranks.

Mujahid had turned against the Taliban over the past year, after opposing decisions made by Taliban leaders in Kabul.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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Pakistan

President urges youth to participate in monsoon plantation drive to cope with climate change

"Pakistan was the eighth country most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change"

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President urges youth to participate in monsoon plantation drive to cope with climate change

Islamabad: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday called for concerted efforts by all segments of society to carry out extensive plantations in a bid to save the country from the horrendous effects of climate change.

In his message on the launch of the national monsoon tree plantation drive, he urged every citizen, particularly youth, to actively participate in the campaign by planting trees in residential areas, on roadsides, and near industrial zones.

President Alvi said Pakistan was the eighth country most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.

He mentioned that rising mercury levels were resulting in glacier melting and urban flooding.

During the last 19 years, he said, Pakistan suffered around 173 incidents related to climate change besides the massive destruction this year as well.

The president said as per international standards, a country required 25 percent forest cover, however, pointed out that Pakistan only had 4.8 percent of the green area according to a World Bank report.

He emphasized carrying out plantation at a large scale across the country and mentioned the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami as the largest such plantation project in the country’s history.

Under the project, he said, 1.81 billion trees had been planted by June 2022. By 2023, around 3.29 billion trees will be planted.

President Alvi said 10,000 saplings were planted in the premises of the Aiwan-e-Sadr in 2021, while a Miyawaki forest was also raised at an area of 1.5 acres under the Green Presidency Initiative.

He expressed confidence that an increase in forest cover would help mitigate the effects of climate change in the country and would also control urban flooding.

Also, the extensive plantation would result in the preservation of wildlife and flora and fauna in the country, he added.

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Sports

2nd ODI: Pakistan to face Netherlands today

Pakistan is leading the series by 1-0.

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2nd ODI: Pakistan to face Netherlands today

Rotterdam: The second One-Day International of the three match series between Pakistan and Netherlands will be played on Thursday (today) at Rotterdam.

The match will start at 02:00 pm.

Pakistan is leading the series by 1-0.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Afridi, Shahnawaz Dahani, Zahid Mehmood

Netherlands squad

Scott Edwards (c), Musa Ahmad, Shariz Ahmad, Wesley Barresi, Logan van Beek, Tom Cooper, Aryan Dutt, Arnav Jain, Viv Kingma, Ryan Klein, Bas de Leede, Teja Nidamanuru, Tim Pringle, Max O'Dowd, Vikram Singh

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