Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2018 07:36:22 +0100

Tegucigalpa, Jan 10, 2018 (AFP) - A powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit off Honduras late Tuesday, triggering tsunami threats and advisories for nearby Caribbean shores, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The quake struck at 0251 GMT and its epicentre was located some 27 miles (44 kilometres) east of Great Swan Island, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was provisionally considered to be shallow.   The Honduran emergency management agency known as COPECO issued a 10-hour tsunami alert for three coastal departments.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez said authorities had activated the country's emergency system but urged people to remain calm.   "Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 1,000 kilometres of the earthquake epicentre," the US National Weather Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. But it later said the tsunami threat had passed.

Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Jamaica meanwhile were issued "threat" warnings of waves between 0.3 to one meter (a foot to 3.3 feet) high.   The USGS's PAGER algorithm assigned the event a "green alert," meaning a low likelihood of casualties and damage.   "Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist," it said.
Date: Fri 13 Jan 2017
Source: Rare Disease Report [edited]
<http://www.raredr.com/news/curse-of-an-ancient-lost-city>

Douglass Preston and his crew of explorers and archaeologists planned for 3 years to visit an ancient lost city. They set out to adventure to the ruins of Ciudad Blanca, also known as the "City of the Monkey God" nestled deeply in the jungle of Mosquitia in Honduras and Nicaragua. The ruins have been dated between 1000 and 1500 AD and were thought to be filled with exciting ancient artefacts. The city's possible existence has tempted adventure seekers since the 1500s to go search for the ruins, including Douglas' partner in the journey, Steve Elkins.

The adventure was made a lot easier with an expensive laser mapping technological device called LIDAR, which was funded for the adventure by documentary filmmaker Bill Benenson. LIDAR was capable of scanning hundreds of square miles of dense jungle in a matter of days. LIDAR found them the ancient lost city. While seeing many artefacts of the deserted city, the team concluded that the site could not be excavated at that time, and waited for intervention by the Honduran government.

Months after leaving the jungle, Douglass noticed a bite from a sand fly that just was not properly healing; so did another member of the team. After going to get it medically looked at, Douglass found that he had contracted a virulent strain of leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that migrates to the mucous membranes of your mouth and your nose and eats them away.

Over the next few months, about half the team came down with the early symptoms and had to undergo treatment. Douglass and his team aren't sure they are ready to go back. Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. It is classified as a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).

Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies. [Byline: Andrew Black]
=========================
[For more information on La Ciudad Blanca, see:
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Ciudad_Blanca>.

The leishmania parasite is found in animals, usually small rodents, and is transmitted to humans by the sandfly vector. The area the adventurers explored just happened to have a high density of infected rodents and an abundance of the vectors.

Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis in Honduras is caused by _L. panamensis_ and _L. braziliensis_, and the reservoir is not known (Alvar J, Vélez ID, Bern C, Herrero M, Desjeux P, Cano J, et al. (2012) Leishmaniasis Worldwide and Global Estimates of Its Incidence. PLoS ONE 7(5): e35671. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035671. Annex 42).

The high infection rate underlines the importance of thorough prevention measures against insects using repellents, impregnated clothes and tents, and impregnated bed nets. - Mod.EP A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/22>.]
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2016 18:37:39 +0200

Tegucigalpa, Aug 3, 2016 (AFP) - Honduras on Wednesday issued a red alert for its Bay Islands, popular with tourists in the Caribbean, as Tropical Storm Earl bore down on Central America.   A fishing vessel with 82 crew members capsized because of the storm, but they were all rescued, an official with Honduras' Copeco emergency services agency told the HCH television channel.   The red alert for the Bay Islands, an archipelago of eight main islands and smaller cays, was to last two days.

The islands' main airport in Roatan was closed, as were two others near the Caribbean coast on the mainland.    Schools were also shut in the north of the country.   Copeco said it had plans ready to evacuate residents at high risk from the storm.   Tropical Storm Earl, packing winds of up to 118 kilometres per hour, was expected to drive into northern Honduras, a coastal part of neighbouring Guatemala, and the small country of Belize.   Authorities have warned of high winds, heavy rain and flooding.
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2016 20:00:20 +0200

Tegucigalpa, Aug 2, 2016 (AFP) - Six people have died and 10 babies have been born with defects in Honduras in cases feared to have been caused by Zika, the health minister said Tuesday.   Tests were being carried out to confirm whether the cases were the result of the virus, which is most commonly transmitted by mosquitos and, more rarely, through sexual contact.

The fatalities were due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disorder brought on by the immune system attacking the nerves, which can cause paralysis, according to the minister, Mireya Batres.   The latest death was a 15-year-old boy, she told local broadcaster HRN and other media.

The number of babies born with microcephaly, or abnormally small skulls and underdeveloped brains, has risen from six to 10, Batres said.   The tallies were higher than the minister's last count given June 26, when she spoke of three Guillain-Barre deaths and eight microcephaly cases.   Authorities in the tropical Central American country were conducting campaigns to try to reduce populations of the Aedes aegypti mosquito known to transmit Zika.    So far this year they have counted nearly 30,000 cases of Zika infection.
Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2016 17:00:54 +0200
By Noe LEIVA

Choluteca, Honduras, July 30, 2016 (AFP) - Six Honduran women have delivered babies with the birth defect microcephaly in just three days, raising fresh concerns about the spread of the Zika virus, doctors said on Saturday.   All six cases of the Zika-linked birth defect were registered at the same hospital in Choluteca, a city just south of the capital Tegucigalpa that has been particularly hard-hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which can also spread through sexual contact.

"These six cases have alarmed us and we think they are connected to Zika," epidemiologist Gustavo Avila said. "Every year a child is born with microcephaly, but six over the course of three days is alarming."   Zika infections -- which cause flu-like symptoms and a rash -- have been reported in dozens of countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.

However, the virus poses a particular danger to pregnant women, who if infected face a higher risk of bearing infants with microcephaly.   The birth defect causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

Honduras has detected 27,869 cases of Zika this year, according to Health Minister Yolani Batres.   The rise in infants born with microcephaly, which causes irreversible malformations, has been most acute in Brazil.   Honduran health officials have mobilized to destroy mosquito breeding sites with the support of some 2,000 military troops and local institutions.
More ...