The mismanagement of human waste is a serious health problem for the 2.6 billion people who don't have regular access to toilets. In fact, in the slums of Kenya, waste management is so haphazard that residents dispose of feces-filled plastic bags by simply flinging the bags away without concern about where they land. And it was discovering those flying sacks of waste that inspired Anders Wilhelmson to invent the PeePoo, a chemically treated toilet bag that sterilizes human waste and converts it to fertilizer, all for only two or three cents.
Steve Jobs may have grabbed the most headlines recently with Apple's glimpse of the possible future of computing, but Bill Gates also has his sights set on bettering the world. The Microsoft founder announced that the Gates Foundation would put at least $10 billion toward vaccines that could save the lives of eight million children by 2020, the New York Times reports.
Flu season in the Southern Hemisphere is almost over—and now it's heading back our way. At the time this issue went to press, there were more than 162,000 confirmed cases and 1,154 deaths worldwide from "novel H1N1," a.k.a. swine flu, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes this figure is a gross underestimate, especially since only a fraction of people who have the flu go to the hospital.
A new public health study released just in time for Global Handwashing Day (today!) offers not one but two gems of Science-Confirms-the-Obvious wisdom. Firstly: the gee-whizzer that men have poorer personal hygiene than women. Secondly, that people are more likely to wash their hands when others are watching.
New research shows where deadly pathogens are cropping up the fastest. Unfortunately, the hottest hot zones often have the least funding to monitor for emerging diseases
By Martha HarbisonPosted 02.21.2008 at 6:06 pm 1 Comment
As if I'm not paranoid enough about contracting some germ-based doom from riding the subway everyday, now scientists have presented, in this week's issue of Nature, the first map of emerging infectious disease hotspots throughout the world. And, yep, New York City seems to be in the red.