Date: Sun 23 Sep 2018
Source: Caracol Radio [in Spanish, trans., edited]

An alert on the risk posed by new outbreaks of wild rabies was launched by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA), mainly in the department of Magdalena, where suspected cases have been detected in the municipalities of Santa Ana, Zona Bananera, Santa Marta, Guamal, and San Sebastian de Buenavista. Caracol Radio Station spoke with Juan Pablo Velasquez, director of ICA's national wild rabies program, who said that rabies is transmitted by the bite of vampire bats and explained what actions can be taken to prevent the disease.

Without the appropriate management, rabies transmitted by vampire bats may end up affecting humans. Velazquez highlighted that vaccination of cattle and other animals is crucial for disease prevention. [Byline: Luis Rodríguez]
[There are 3 species of hematophagous bats in the Neotropical region, one of which -- _Desmodus rotundus_ -- is a well known reservoir of rabies. This species feeds on a wide range of hosts, including humans, although will preferentially feed on large livestock such as cattle and horses.

For a picture of _D. rotundus_ go to
<>. - ProMED Mod.PMB]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of Colombia: <>]
Date: Sun 22 July 2018 12:21 p.m.
Source: [in Spanish, trans. ProMED Mod.JG, edited]

Quarantine was declared in Bellavista prison because of a varicella outbreak. The authorities are currently assessing the inmates and measures are taken, aiming to avoid additional cases. In the last few hours, 460 inmates from ward 16 in Bellavista prison were placed into quarantine after a varicella outbreak had been detected, which led to placing 7 inmates under isolation conditions. Mr. Jorge Carmona, a human rights attorney, declared that this measure had upset the inmates' relatives, since nearly 350 persons were not able to enter the facility for the Sunday visits that were originally scheduled for children and women.

The discomfort arose because the quarantine was established last [Sat 21 Jul 2018] evening, and the outbreak has been taking place for the past few days. The inmates' relatives come from many different places outside Medellin, and even from different communities. This implies they had to waste money for planning a visit to the Bellavista prison, and this could have been prevented had they been warned on time of the visit cancellation", explained Mr. Carmona. He also emphasized that the poor hygiene conditions could be the cause for the outbreak. The authorities are currently assessing the inmates and measures are taken, aiming to avoid additional cases.
[Chickenpox (Varicella) is a very contagious disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). It causes a blister-like rash, itching, tiredness, and fever. The rash appears 1st on the stomach, back and face and can spread over the entire body causing between 250 and 500 itchy blisters. Chickenpox can be serious, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems. The best way to prevent chickenpox is to get the chickenpox vaccine.

The virus spreads mainly by touching or breathing in the virus particles that come from chickenpox blisters, and possibly through tiny droplets from infected people that get into the air after they breathe or talk, for example. (CDC) Prisons with their closely housed inmates, provide the perfect environment to facilitate spread of the virus.

Because an infected individual can spread the disease from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs, surveillance and possibly quarantine must be conducted to prevent further spread. - ProMED Mod.LK]

[A Healthmap/ProMED of Colombia:

HealthMap/ProMED map available at:
Medella­n, Antioquia, Colombia: <>]
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2018 18:57:47 +0200

Bogota, April 11, 2018 (AFP) - An explosives blast killed at least eight Colombian police officers Wednesday in northwest Colombia, where armed drug smugglers are active, officials said.   "The partial toll is eight policemen killed and a vehicle... affected," police command said in a statement.    The bomb went off in the town of San Pedro de Uraba, it said.
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 14:56:37 +0100

Bogota, Nov 10, 2017 (AFP) - Striking pilots with Colombia's Avianca, the second biggest carrier in Latin America, said on Friday they will end their 51-day work stoppage.   The decision to stop the strike came even though they did not reach an agreement with the company, which said it had to cancel more than 6,000 flights and lost $2.5 million a day since late September.

The Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC), which represents about half of Avianca's 1,388 pilots, had been seeking wage parity with  Avianca colleagues working on international routes.   Aviation safety was another issue.   One week into the dispute, Avianca pulled out of talks, saying the pilots did not want to negotiate, and obtained a court order declaring their services essential and the strike illegal.

An ombudsman later tried to mediate.   "Despite the refusal of Avianca S.A. to participate in the meetings, ACDAC and the unionized civil aviators... have decided to suspend the strike," the ombudsman Carlos Negret told reporters early Friday.   He said the pilots will be back in the air on Monday.   "It is the will of the Avianca pilots affiliated with ACDAC... to resume our work," said Jaime Hernandez Sierra, head of the civil aviators' association.

Hours before the announcement, Avianca said it could not rule out disciplinary action against those who were absent.   Under the law, 60 days was the maximum possible length of the work stoppage.   Even though the ACDAC members will resume flying, they can apply for an arbitration tribunal and raise their demands again with Avianca.   The airline serves more than 100 destinations in 26 countries throughout South America and Europe.
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2017 07:23:28 +0200

Cali, Colombia, Aug 22, 2017 (AFP) - Salsa and paragliding may not seem unusual to many visitors to the Colombian city of Cali. But exotic dances and extreme sports are brand new thrills to blind tourists from around the world.   Nearly 70 blind or partially-sighted visitors from Latin America and Europe came to the south-western city last week in one of its first "blind tourism" expeditions.   They tried salsa dancing while riding around town on a colourful local bus, clay modelling, rock climbing and even paragliding.

Technology specialist Pablo Lecuona, who is blind, launched the initiative in his native Argentina.   He started off by launching an online library for blind users and has expanded his activities to organizing adventure holidays in Argentina, Mexico and now in Colombia.   "As I got in contact with various people I could see that a lot of people wanted to visit Argentina or other countries," said Lecuona, 43.

"But since they had a visual impairment they didn't dare to, because often the hotels are not prepared and get scared when they see a person with a visual disability."   Volunteers and emergency services workers act as guides.   "I did different things, things I had never done before," said Spanish visitor Rafa Matos, 47, after flying off a hillside.   "I wasn't thinking of paragliding but at the last minute I said to myself: 'Go for it.'"
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