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Dudley J.P.,SAIC | Dudley J.P.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | Dudley J.P.,University of Alaska Museum | Mackay I.M.,University of Queensland
Journal of Clinical Virology | Year: 2013

We used data on age and sex for 136 laboratory confirmed human A(H7N9) cases reported as of 11 August 2013 to compare age-specific and sex-specific patterns of morbidity and mortality from the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus with those of the avian influenza A(H5N1) virus. Human A(H7N9) cases exhibit high degrees of age and sex bias: mortality is heavily biased toward males >50 years, no deaths have been reported among individuals <25 years old, and relatively few cases documented among children or adolescents. The proportion of fatal cases (PFC) for human A(H7N9) cases as of 11 August 2013 was 32%, compared to a cumulative PFC for A(H5N1) of 83% in Indonesia and 36% in Egypt. Approximately 75% of cases of all A(H7N9) cases occurred among individuals >45 years old. Morbidity and mortality from A(H7N9) are lowest among individuals between 10 and 29 years, the age group which exhibits the highest cumulative morbidity and case fatality rates from A(H5N1). Although individuals <20 years old comprise nearly 50% of all human A(H5N1) cases, only 7% of all reported A(H7N9) cases and no deaths have been reported among individuals in this age group. Only 4% of A(H7N9) cases occurred among children. <. 5 years old, and only one case from the 10 to 20 year age group. Age- and sex-related differences in morbidity and mortality from emerging zoonotic diseases can provide insights into ecological, economic, and cultural factors that may contribute to the emergence and proliferation of novel zoonotic diseases in human populations. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Li J.,Fudan University | Xia R.,Fudan University | McDowall R.M.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | Lopez J.A.,University of Alaska Fairbanks | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

This study examines phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic Western Australian Lepidogalaxias, and extends previous studies by including eight new taxa to enable re-examination phylogenetic relationships of lower euteleostean fishes at the ordinal level, based on mitochondrial genomes from 39 ingroup taxa and 17 outgroups. Our results suggest that Lepidogalaxias occupies a basal position among all euteleosts, in contrast with earlier hypotheses that variously suggested a closer relationship to esocid fishes, or to the galaxiid Lovettia. In addition our evidence shows that Osmeriformes should be restricted Retropinnidae, Osmeridae, Plecoglossidae and Salangidae. This reduced Osmeriformes is supported in our results as the sister group of Stomiiformes. Galaxiidae, which is often closely linked to Osmeriformes, emerges as sister group of a combined Osmeriformes, Stomiiformes, Salmoniformes, Esociformes and Argentiformes, and we give Galaxiiformes the rank of order to include all remaining galaxioid fishes (Galaxias and allied taxa, Aplochiton and Lovettia). Our results also support a sister group relationship between Salmoniformes and Esociformes, which are together the sister group of Argentiniformes. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

News Article | April 26, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

How have Native Alaskans survived for thousands of years in one of the world’s harshest climates? A new series of films produced by filmmaker Sarah Betcher and University of Alaska Museum of the North curator Steffi Ickert-Bond provides some answers by focusing on traditional Alaskan indigenous uses for plants. The project, Ties to Alaska’s Wild Plants, was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The first film in the series documents Tlingit elder Helen Watkins in Juneau, Alaska. She demonstrates how a prickly shrub called Oplopanax horridus, or devil’s club, can be used to treat a wide range of ailments, from coughs and colds to stomach ulcers. It can survive in up to minus 20 degrees fahrenheit. In the video, Watkins demonstrates how devil’s club can be processed into salves, oils, and even beads for jewelry. She also talks about the plant’s spiritual significance. In each video, Betcher has Iñupiat elders explain the traditions of their people in their own words. Historically tribal knowledge has been passed down orally, so the videos are an appropriate format for the techniques to be preserved. Alaska Natives make up about 15 percent of the state’s population. Unfortunately, poverty has plagued Native Alaskans throughout the state for decades. In recent years, several tribes have also experienced a devastating spike in suicides. To make matters worse, police kill Native Americans at almost the same rate as African-Americans, according to the CDC. Alaska’s rape rate is also is the highest in the country, and sexual violence is believed to disproportionately affect native populations. Oftentimes, these depressing statistics are the only story that the media tells about Native Americans. Ties to Alaska’s Wild Plants offers an alternative perspective, highlighting positive aspects of tribal culture. The films also come at a time when climate change is undermining the traditional lifestyle of many tribes. Over the past 60 years, the average temperature across Alaska has increased by around 3 degrees fahrenheit, twice the rate of the continental US. Food is expensive in remote communities in Alaska, and it’s not practical for most families to rely on purchased goods alone, but local resources are becoming scant too. As the supply of fish and game decline, many Native Alaskans who rely on fishing and hunting for income and food have struggled to find other alternatives. Rising sea levels are also causing flooding along some of Alaska’s coasts, forcing more than 30 tribes to relocate their entire villages. Many of the people Betcher visited reported seeing the effects of climate change in their lifetimes. “The Arctic is changing faster than any place on the planet,” she said. “If we record the traditional ways of today, it can help us learn about how traditions change through time, and inevitably help us to adapt as climate change continues to change our world,” Betcher said. You can watch the series here.

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