WHO Reports 30 per cent Measles Cases In 2017

Measles cases spiked 30 percent in 2017, due entirely to poor vaccination rates, the World Health Organization reported Thursday.

More than 6.7 million people, mostly young children, caught measles in 2017, the WHO reported. And 110,000 died from the virus.

That’s way down from the half a million deaths in 2000, but the progress the world made toward eliminating measles through vaccines is being quickly reversed, the WHO said. It’s in part due to economic chaos in countries such as Venezuela or conflict and unrest in countries including Pakistan and Nigeria. But in other countries, such as Italy, anti-vaccine sentiment means more kids are going unvaccinated.

“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved, or were close to achieving measles elimination,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, deputy director general for programs at WHO. “Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under-, or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease.”

Vaccines have prevented 21 million deaths from measles since 2000, WHO said. But global vaccination rates for measles are just 85 percent on average. Only 67 percent of the world population has received the second needed dose of MMR. To stop transmission of the highly contagious virus, 95 percent of a population needs to be vaccinated, WHO said.

Measles is just the first wave of disease that shows up when kids are not vaccinated, said Dr. Peter Hotez, a pediatrician and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“I call measles a great biomarker of vaccine coverage because it is one of the most highly contagious viruses that we know about,” Hotez told NBC News.

“If a single person gets measles, 12 to 18 other people get it, typically babies too young to be vaccinated,” Hotez said.

“The first pop-up disease you see is measles because it is so contagious. Measles is the harbinger of things to come.”

WHO is already seeing high rates of measles infections in 2018. In August, WHO reported 41,000 measles cases in Europe alone, making this year the worst year in a decade for measles in Europe.

“The increase in measles cases is deeply concerning, but not surprising,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Complacency about the disease and the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, a collapsing health system in Venezuela and pockets of fragility and low immunization coverage in Africa are combining to bring about a global resurgence of measles after years of progress,” Berkley said in a statement.

“Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another.”

Babies should get a measles, mumps and rubella vaccine as a routine immunization, but the WHO estimated that 21 million infants did not get their shots in 2017. Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Ethiopia had the most unimmunized infants.

Measles can cause a range of symptoms, including fever and a characteristic rash. It can also lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, which can kill. Children who survive severe bouts of measles can become blind or partly paralyzed.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 220 cases of measles so far, making 2018 one of the worst years in a decade. “A total of 15 outbreaks (defined as three or more linked cases) have been reported so far in 2018,” the CDC said.

Travelers often bring measles back with them, and in certain spots around the country, low vaccination rates make for good tinder for the virus to take hold and spread.

“This is a self-inflicted wound,” said Hotez, who has written a book about the anti-vaccine movement entitled “Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism.”

“I have been trying to make the point now that the anti-vaccine movement is starting to inflict real public health damage. It’s taken a few years,” Hotez added.

“This should be a wake-up call that the anti-vaccine movement is not a fringe movement. It is a well-organized public health destruction machine.”

In the most comprehensive estimate of measles trends that covers the last 17 years of data, health groups said today that illness reports surged in 2017, reflecting severe and long outbreaks in many countries, along with gaps in vaccine coverage.

Outbreaks touched all regions of the world, and researchers estimated that measles caused about 110,000 deaths in 2017.

In the United States this year, Kansas City, Mo., reported two measles clusters, and parts of New Jersey and New York are currently experiencing measles outbreaks linked to people infected during overseas travel.

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) published their findings today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record.

In a statement today, Soumya Swaminathan, MBBS, MD, deputy director-general for programs at the WHO said measles resurgence is concerning, especially in countries that had achieved or were close to achieving measles elimination.

“Without urgent efforts to increase vaccination coverage and identify populations with unacceptable levels of under-, or unimmunized children, we risk losing decades of progress in protecting children and communities against this devastating, but entirely preventable disease,” she said.

Vaccines saved an estimated 21 million

Using updated modeling data, the group estimates that since 2000, measles immunization has saved more than 21 million lives. However, since 2016, illness reports have increased by more than 30%.

Regions that experienced the greatest spikes in 2017 include the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe. The only WHO region in which measles cases dropped was the Western Pacific.

As of July, measles has become endemic again in Venezuela, sparking imported cases and outbreaks in bordering countries. The report also says measles resurgence in Europe has probably reestablished endemic transmission in some of the region’s countries.

“These outbreaks highlight the fragility of gains made toward global and regional measles elimination goals,” the group wrote.

According to the report, global coverage for the first of two measles doses has stalled at 85%, which the authors say is far short of the 95% level needed to prevent outbreaks. Second-dose coverage is much lower at 67%.

Complacency, vaccine misinformation fuel increase

Seth Berkley, MD, chief executive officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in the WHO statement that the increase is deeply concerning but not surprising. He said complacency, the spread of falsehoods about the vaccine in Europe, Venezuela’s collapsing health system, and pockets of fragility and low vaccine coverage in Africa have combined to trigger a global resurgence after years of progress.

“Existing strategies need to change: more effort needs to go into increasing routine immunization coverage and strengthening health systems. Otherwise we will continue chasing one outbreak after another,” he said.

In their report, the authors call for investments in immunization systems combined with efforts to strengthen routine immunization, especially targeting the poorest, most marginalized communities, including those struggling with conflict and displacement.

They also said actions to bring down measles levels need to address misinformation and hesitancy about vaccines.


WHO Reports 30 per cent Measles Cases In 2017

Measles spike triggered by vaccination gaps

Global Lawn Sprinkler Market Economy

Lawn sprinkler market continues to witness promising growth, with more consumers focusing on sustainability, seeking their landscaping to potentially conserve water. Several residential consumers are inclining toward use of water barrels in their lawn sprinkler systems, thereby aiding growth of the Lawn Sprinkler Market. Proliferation of IoT has further brought advancements to lawn sprinkler systems, aiding homeowners in remotely controlling and monitoring their lawn sprinkler, which in turn is underpinning expansion of the lawn sprinkler market. Next-generation lawn sprinkler developments are focused more toward sustainability, and use of eco-friendly materials.

EPA’s concern of water wastage owing to overwatering when used for lawns have led lawn sprinkler manufacturers to step up efforts in development and marketing their water-efficient lawn sprinkler variants. The trend toward underground irrigation in lawn and garden sector has significantly undergird growth of the lawn sprinkler market. Concerns regarding overwatering or use of sprinkler even during rains are being offset by new lawn sprinkler introductions that feature integrated smart technologies for enabling users to control lawn sprinkler remotely. Utilization of real-time plant and local weather data from sensors to adjust and improve lawn sprinkler schedules automatically, tailored to specific requirements, will continue to impact future growth of the lawn sprinkler market.

A lawn sprinkler is a device with perforated holes used to water lawns in a well-defined pattern. Lawn sprinklers are also used to control airborne dust and as well as temperature. They vary in shape, size and complexity. The lawn sprinkler market is highly fragmented with various global and regional players ruling the market. The entry barrier to the lawn sprinkler market is also very low. The lawn care market is lucrative and hence, various small players around the world are entering and competing in the market. Even though the lawn sprinkler market is at the verge of maturity, innovations and developments have been seen in the recent years.

More than 350 golf courses are in the planning stage and more than 203 golf courses are under construction worldwide. Consequently, the increasing number of golf courses worldwide has accelerated the demand for lawn sprinklers. The Green Roof Concept, primarily followed in the United States and Germany, includes covering of rooftops with vegetation that assists in reducing the wastage of water as well as facilitates air purity. With the growing inclination towards using green roofs, the demand for sprinklers is expected to increase in direct proportion, consequently aiding the growth of the global market. With every product tending towards “Smart Technologies”, sprinklers are also following the trend. Lawn sprinklers can now be operated with the help of mobile applications. Lawn sprinklers are also equipped with sensors and use the weather forecast to water the lawn accordingly. The average size of a newly built house in the U.S. covers about 50% more area as compared to a house built in the 1970’s. The increasing house size in the U.S. is compensated by the reduction of lawn size, which may hamper the growth of lawn sprinklers in the region. Expansion of the artificial turf market, which does not require much water, may decimate the adoption of lawn sprinklers in the coming years.

The lawn sprinkler market can be categorized on the basis of product type, mechanism type, application type and material type. By product type, the market can be further classified into stationary sprinklers, oscillating sprinklers, rotary sprinkler travelling sprinklers, impact sprinklers and in ground sprinkling systems. Rotary sprinklers are mostly preferred in this segment. On the basis of the mechanism, the lawn sprinklers market can be classified into manual and automatic. Manual lawn sprinklers account for a greater market share as compared to automatic lawn sprinklers; however, automatic lawn sprinklers are expected to register a higher growth rate over the forecasted period.

On the basis of the application, the lawn sprinkler market can be categorized into residential lawn sprinklers, commercial lawn sprinklers and other purpose lawn sprinklers. Commercial lawn sprinklers hold the highest market share in this segment. Nevertheless, other purpose lawn sprinklers are likely to grow at a much higher rate than residential lawn sprinklers. On the basis of material type, the lawn sprinkler market can be classified into metal sprinklers, plastic sprinklers and hybrid sprinklers. Plastic sprinklers have gained high popularity, due to the ease of manufacturing and low manufacturing cost.

According to NASA, the estimated area of lawns is about 63,000 sq miles, which is about the size of Texas. Lawns are seen as an indicator of socio-economic character in America and thus, to maintain lawns, the use of lawn sprinklers is expected to grow in the near future. In terms of regional demand, North America leads the sales charts for lawn sprinklers, owing to the high coverage of lawns. In terms of total demand, North America is expected to be followed by APEJ and Europe.

The global lawn sprinkle market is fragmented and mainly ruled by regional players. Some of the leading manufacturers in the lawn sprinkler market include Orbit Irrigation Products, Inc., The Toro Company, Hunter industries, Rain Bird Corporation, K-Rain, Gilmour, Fort Worth Lawn Sprinkler Company and various other regional players.

The key to success in the lawn sprinkler market is through mergers and acquisitions of small players with big lawn sprinkler manufacturers to sustain in the highly competitive market. For example, Hunter, a big lawn sprinkler manufacturer, acquired Florida-based Senninger Irrigation, Fiskars Corp acquired Gilmour and Nelson to strengthen and diversify its lawn sprinkler product portfolio, Toro acquired Regnerbau Calw GmbH, a manufacturer of professional irrigation equipment such as lawn sprinklers. With depleting water resources, manufacturers are now focusing on smart lawn sprinklers in order to save time, money as well as natural resources.

Lawn Sprinkler Models are diverse and vary for different lawn parameters. The article Best Popup and Portable  Lawn Sprinklers provides you a detailed analysis thereby enabling a customer for making easy choice.

Water restrictions in Waikato Due To Summer

The first day of summer in the Waikato will bring water restrictions.

Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Pirongia and Waikato district will move to Water Alert Level 1 on Saturday December 1.

Water Alert Level 1 means using a sprinkler between 6am to 8am and 6pm to 8pm or hand-held hosing at any time.

Hamilton City Council’s City Waters Manager Maire Porter said over the past month the city had seen a significant increase in water demand.

“Despite the recent rain, historical trends indicate that with improving weather, water use will continue to increase throughout December.”

Waikato District Council Waters Manager Karl Pavlovich says warmer weather always leads to an increase in water consumption.

“Everyone has been doing well so far and as we move towards summer Level 1 is a reminder to keep on top of our water usage.

It has generally been a damp year so far, but the community can play their part by using water wisely ahead of what could be a long, dry summer.

“There are lots of ways to conserve water, taking shorter showers, watering the garden by hand, or washing your car on a piece of lawn which needs watering can save hundreds of litres a day,” says Mr Pavlovich.

Waipa District Council Water Services Manager Tony Hale said demand has “crept up” during November across the district, but low-levels in the stream that supplies Te Awamutu and Pirongia means water conservation measures are necessary in the towns.

“Te Awamutu and Pirongia’s water comes from the Mangauika Stream. In the summer months, the stream struggles to keep up with demand. Despite rainfall in town in the past week, we haven’t seen enough rain near the stream’s catchment and it’s already looking low for this time of year.”

“While the rest of the Waipā district are not on water alerts yet, we’re in for a long, hot summer and we all need to consider how much water we are using.”

How the alerts work: 

Water Alert Level 1
Use sprinkler systems between 6 – 8am and 6 – 8pm.
Hand-held hosing can be used anytime.

Water Alert Level 2
Use sprinkler systems on alternate days between
6 – 8am and 6 – 8pm.
Hand-held hosing can be used anytime.

Water Alert Level 3
No use of sprinklers.
Hand-held hosing only.

Water Alert Level 4
No use of outside water systems.


Global Lawn Sprinklers Economy Market Analysis

Water Restrictions in Waikato


NASA Announces 9 Private Companies Going To Moon

NASA has selected the first batch of U.S. companies to join the agency on its journey to its next destination, the moon, which NASA wants to explore in order to prepare to go on to Mars.

During a public event held today (Nov. 29), the agency unveiled nine new partners that will be designing and building lunar landers aimed at facilitating scientific exploration of the moon. In addition to the specific companies chosen, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced that the program running those contracts — the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program — is now part of the science section of NASA’s bureaucracy, not the human exploration section.

The general idea is that these companies will be able to compete for contracts to deliver NASA science experiments to the surface of the moon by flying lunar landers on rocket launches purchased from other commercial space companies. Those individual contracts would substitute for NASA needing to build those capacities itself.

But under this approach, NASA won’t be alone in hiring these companies — the agency hopes to spur development that the commercial sector can also utilize. “We want to be first customers, not only customers,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s head of the science mission directorate, said during the event.

The agency did not provide any details about the choices beyond what the selected companies were: Astrobotic Technology Inc., Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace Inc., Intuitive Machines LLC, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Inc., Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (far left) and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen (far right) pose for a photograph with the representatives of the nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts. NASA announced the companies Nov. 29, 2018 at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine (far left) and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen (far right) pose for a photograph with the representatives of the nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts. NASA announced the companies Nov. 29, 2018 at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA

When asked what information companies had to provide in order to participate in the program and how NASA chose the winners, Zurbuchen did not go into specifics. “We went with a really broad set of criteria,” he said, adding that those criteria “ask questions about the overall liability of the companies, their likelihood to be able to deliver these services, but we did not go in very deep depth relative to the technical capability.”

All told, NASA is planning for the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program as a whole to encompass contracts totalling up to $2.6 billion over the course of 10 years, although NASA spokesperson Cheryl Warner wrote in an email to Space.com that each company will receive at least $25,000 through the program, with the value of individual contracts varying in accordance with the service the company will provide.

“These nine companies will bid on and be paid through task orders issued by NASA starting in the near future,” Warner wrote. (The agency has said that it intends for the first flight to occur next year.) “Services they provide NASA will cover payload integration and operations, launch and landing on the Moon.”

NASA has been working to encourage private interest in the moon as a way to reduce the agency’s own costs as it looks to return to human exploration, first at the moon and then at Mars. That goal is meant to facilitate NASA’s timeline of landing humans on the moon during the 2020s.

Last year, President Trump signed a directive that tasked NASA with returning to the moon — an effort that Vice President Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine have repeatedly backed. And that goal is set to include commercial companies, which will partner with NASA on moon missions and beyond. “Working with US companies is the next step to achieving long-term scientific study and human exploration of the moon and Mars,” the agency has said, and today, Bridenstine announced which companies NASA plans to partner with as it works towards a return to the moon.

The next time NASA heads to the moon, its equipment and experiments will be carried by spacecraft provided by one of nine commercial firms that are now part of its new Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program. And they’ll now be able to bid on missions to deliver payloads to the moon. Lockheed Martin, a recognizable name in this space, is among those eligible for missions, but the other companies aren’t as well-known. They include Astrobotic Technology, Deep Space Systems, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express and Orbit Beyond.

Bridenstine said the goal is to have multiple providers that can compete on both cost and innovation. “We’re doing something that’s never been done before,” he said during the announcement today. NASA will consider factors like technical feasibility, price and schedule when it assesses bids, and the CLPS contracts have a combined maximum value of $2.6 billion over the next 10 years.

The US isn’t the only country setting its sights on the moon. China, Japan and Israel all have moon missions in the works as well.

NASA says lunar missions could take place as early as next year, and it put in a call for lunar study proposals in October. “These early missions will enable important technology demonstrations that will inform the development of future landers and other exploration systems needed for humans to return to the lunar surface, and help prepare the agency to send astronauts to explore Mars,” the agency said. NASA may also offer additional companies contracts with the CLPS program going forward.

“Today’s announcement marks tangible progress in America’s return to the moon’s surface to stay,” said Bridenstine. “The innovation of America’s aerospace companies, wedded with our big goals in science and human exploration, are going to help us achieve amazing things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars.”


US Companies Going To Moon

NASA reveals US companies going to Moon