The Togolese have eliminated sleeping sickness

Rodrigue Apénou, 22, is a student in 2th year of IT management, in Lomé. He doesn’t know anything about sleeping sickness. “I don’t know about sleeping sickness. I never heard of it”, he tells VOA Africa.

Rodrigue Apénou was not born when Togo experienced its last case of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). It’s the same for his comrade Joël Atohoun, aged 21, who had to use his previous knowledge to remember.

It is a disease thought to be caused by a fly called a tsetse fly. We were taught that in elementary school “, he said proudly as if to taunt Rodrigue. Playing the experts, Joël continues, “as a sign, it can be noted that the person who is bitten will sleep a lot. It’s a bit like that “.

It was in 1996 that Togo recorded its last case of HAT, commonly known as sleeping sickness. The latter is characterized by sleep disorders as confirmed by Dr Kossi Badziklou, former coordinator of the HAT control program in Togo.

Dr Kossi Badziklou, former coordinator of the HAT control program in Togo, Lomé, September 2, 2020 (VOA / Kayi Lawson)

What we see in patients at a given level is a little messy sleep. That is, people who can spend the whole day sleeping and in really abnormal conditions. Someone to whom we serve a dish, who is at the table and who begins by sleeping without eating for example. Someone who goes to the field, who takes his hoe to work, he sits and sleeps all day “, explained this doctor. “Without proper treatment death is inevitable “, added Dr Badziklou.

Eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem should not lead to slackening, warns the former coordinator of the disease control program.

What we should not forget is that the disease can come back. Already in the 1960s many countries were at this stage “, he said. “But there was a relaxation and we were surprised by the resurgence of this disease”, recalled Dr Kossi Badziklou.

By eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem, Togo becomes the first in Africa to achieve this feat. WHO has acknowledged that the country has met all the criteria.

To eliminate human African trypanosomiasis, it must be proven that there have been no indigenous cases at least during the last 10 years. Beyond that, it was necessary to follow up and then present a file. A very good file because it is necessary to document the entire history of the disease since it started in the country “, detailed Dr Fatoumata Binta Diallo, WHO resident representative in Togo.

After the elimination of sleeping sickness, Togo will work to verify that its transmission has stopped. The last level, which is its total eradication, concerns all endemic countries, as was the case on August 25 for wild polio in Africa.

According to a WHO file, the disease is present in 36 African countries.


progress compromised by the Covid-19 epidemic

Thousands of Muslims took part in Istanbul on Friday in the first prayer organized at the former Hagia Sophia since its conversion into a mosque.

It was the first prayer organized at the former Hagia Sophia since its controversial conversion into a mosque; a ceremony in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited a passage from the Koran.

During this prayer broadcast live, Mr. Erdogan, who wore the Muslim Djellabah for the occasion, read the first sura of the Koran. Then the four minarets of Hagia Sophia issued the call to prayer on Friday. Then the four minarets of Hagia Sophia issued the call to prayer signaling the beginning of the rite.

“We are witnessing a historic moment (…) A long separation comes to an end,” said Religious Authority leader Ali Erbas who, during his preaching, held a scimitar symbolizing the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453.

This is the first collective prayer organized in 86 years at Hagia Sophia, a major architectural work built in the 6th century which has successively been a Byzantine basilica, an Ottoman mosque and a museum.

On July 10, Erdogan decided to return the building to Muslim worship after a court ruling revoking its museum status obtained in 1934.

This measure has aroused the anger of certain countries, notably Greece, which closely follows the fate of Byzantine heritage in Turkey. Pope Francis also said he was “very distressed” by this reconversion.

Despite the epidemic of new coronavirus, compact crowds formed in the morning around Hagia Sophia, AFP journalists noted. Several faithful even spent the night there.

“This is historic. May Allah bless Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is doing such beautiful things. I am very moved,” Aynur Saatçi, a 49-year-old housewife who cut short her vacation to come, told AFP. pray in Hagia Sophia.

– “Breaking the chains” –

For many observers, the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque aims to galvanize the conservative and nationalist electoral base of Mr. Erdogan, in a context of economic difficulties aggravated by the pandemic.

By making this decision, the Head of State, often accused of Islamist drift, is also attacking the legacy of the founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal, who had transformed Hagia Sophia into a museum to make it the emblem of the Republic. ‘a secular Turkey.

As a symbol, Mr. Erdogan chose for the first prayer the day of the 97th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne which fixes the borders of modern Turkey and which the president, nostalgic for the Ottoman Empire, often calls for revision.

Hagia Sophia remains in Turkey closely associated with the capture of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmet II, said the Conqueror. An Ottoman brass band was also present on the forecourt of the building on Friday.

“This is the moment when Turkey breaks its chains. From now on it will be able to do what it wishes, without being subject to the West,” said Selahattin Aydas, a trader who came to pray in Hagia Sophia.

“No one other than our president could have turned it back into a mosque,” he adds.

The Friday prayer also comes against a backdrop of strong tensions between Ankara and Athens, particularly related to Turkish hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece strongly denounced the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, seeing it as a “provocation against the civilized world”.

– “Political show” –

In protest in Greece, Orthodox churches were to ring their bells on Friday. “It is a day of mourning for (…) all of Christendom,” said the head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Iéronymos.

Israfil, a kilim seller near Hagia Sophia, is also unhappy with the conversion of Hagia Sophia, fearing a “negative impact on tourism” which has already suffered greatly from the epidemic.

“This whole show is for political reasons,” he grumbles.

But Ankara rejected all criticism in the name of “sovereignty”, stressing that tourists will be able to continue to visit this building classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

In any case, the authorities’ haste to organize a first prayer there raises concerns.

“The measures taken in haste (…) can have disastrous consequences and cause irreversible damage” to the 15-century-old building, underlines Tugba Tanyeri Erdemir, researcher at the University of Pittsburgh.

The fate of the Byzantine mosaics found inside Hagia Sophia is of particular concern to historians.

The Religious Affairs Authority (Diyanet) claimed that they would be covered by curtains only during prayers, as Islam prohibited figurative representations, and would remain visible the rest of the time.


Measles speed race, deadlier than Ebola

At least 18 people were killed, including 12 rangers who came to the aid of civilians, Friday in an attack perpetrated by an armed group inside the Virunga national park, natural and tourist jewel in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In addition to the twelve rangers, their two drivers and four civilians died in the unclaimed attack north of Goma, a park spokesman told an AFP journalist.

A security source has for its part made a report of 13 eco-guards and five civilians killed.

There were also “wounded, some of whom are fighting for their survival,” the park said in a statement, referring to a day to mark with a “black stone” for this site classified as World Heritage by Unesco and “the residents of neighboring communities “.

It is one of the heaviest attacks targeting some 700 Virunga rangers, 176 of whom have been killed in 20 years, in this region of Kivu destabilized by the violence of armed groups for a quarter of a century.

In its statement, the park said the attack was carried out near its headquarters in Rumangabo, in the mountains of Rutshuru territory.

“All the information available at this stage indicates that it was an attack against civilians. The guards were not the target and died while assisting the civilian vehicle which had been taken under fire from the attackers” , details the press release.

Virunga Park claims it “is unable to provide details on the motivations and identity of the attackers”, and warns of “the spread of rumors and unrelated information verified. “

Covering an area of ​​7,769 km2, the Virunga cover part of the province of North Kivu (almost 60,000 km2), especially along the border with Rwanda and Uganda.

– Active armed groups –

The oldest natural reserve in Africa unseen in 1925, the park is a sanctuary for mountain gorillas.

The great apes are one of its tourist attractions, with the spectacular ascent of the Nyiaragongo volcano, and a nocturnal bivouac in the red glow of its active crater at more than 3,000 m above sea level.

But the park is also the field of action for dozens of armed groups active in the region, such as the Rwandan Hutu rebels of the FDLR, very present in the attack area.

Trusteeship Institute of Virunga, the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) has identified all the threats to its natural jewel: “illegal production of charcoal”, “poaching of large mammals, especially the hippopotamus” , “illegal fishing” as well as the “presence of armed groups” and the “invasion by illegal diggers of minerals”.

In May 2018, Virunga Park had suspended its tourist activity, following the kidnapping of two British tourists, who were finally released. An eco-guard was killed in this attack.

The park had reopened its activity to tourists in February 2019.

In 2014, the park director, Emmanuel de Mérode, was injured in an armed attack.

That same year, the park had again gained notoriety in the world with the documentary Virunga produced in 2014 by the American actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

The Virunga company has also embarked on the construction of hydroelectric power stations, for the production and distribution of electricity in Goma and its region.

The visits had been suspended since March 19 as part of the preventive measures taken by the authorities in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.

“However, the personnel and the technical teams are the only ones authorized to circulate on these areas, while respecting the measures advocated by our leaders”, specified the body responsible for the park.


Corrosive South Korean film “Parasite” broke down barriers

The South Korean film “Parasite”, both a thriller and a corrosive satire on social inequalities, succeeded in breaking down language barriers to meet immense success around the world, up to winning three Oscars in one evening.

It is a consecration for “Parasite”, the first Korean film ever awarded an Oscar. Exceptional crowning of a year 2019 marking the hundredth anniversary of Korean cinema.

Its director Bong Joon-ho first received a first statuette for the best original screenplay. Then his film was crowned best international feature film, and he received the Oscar for best director.

Bong Joon-ho’s film had previously won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival last year and the Golden Globe for “best foreign language film” in January, two prestigious prizes which already constituted a first for a southern film. -Korean.

“Parasite” is also the first foreign language film to be awarded the “Best Actor Set”, the most popular award from the Screen Actors Guild, as well as two Bafta awards for British cinema.

If this feature film has won over an international audience, it is because it tackles problems common to all societies, explains Jason Bechervaise, professor at the South Korean University of Soongsil Cyber.

“There is a lot of political anger around the world, and it is compounded by a palpable feeling of growing social inequality. The word” parasite + “really fits that,” he told AFP. .

– Poverty and wealth “inextricably linked” –

Dark comedy, “Parasite” tells how four members of a family of unemployed – who vegetate in a dark and sordid apartment overgrown with cockroaches – manage to get into the daily life of a wealthy family in Seoul.

Their life begins to change radically the day the son becomes the private tutor of English for the daughter of this wealthy family, who lives in a sumptuous contemporary villa surrounded by a magnificent garden.

The film by Bong Joon-ho, known for his thrillers camouflaging satires of South Korean society, shows “very well how poverty and wealth are inextricably linked”, explains to AFP John Lie, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The rich are parasites on the poor, like the poor are on the rich,” he said.

The international success of this work, especially in the United States, is all the more remarkable since the English language dominates international cinema and the success of non-English-speaking films is rare.

In France, “Parasite” has become the most seen Palme d’Or in cinemas for fifteen years.

– “A universal interest” –

During the Golden Globes ceremony, Mr. Bong – who was signing his seventh film there – called out to American spectators: “Once you have overcome the subtitle barrier, you will open yourself up to so many other amazing films” .

For Bao Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American director, Mr. Bong’s Oscar is an “example to follow for future Asian and American filmmakers”.

“Parasite” is a film “deeply rooted in its representation of Korean society, and has in no way yielded to the expectations of a foreign audience,” he told AFP.

Its success will open new horizons for other films, wants to believe Deborah Shaw, professor of cinematographic studies at the University of Portsmouth in Great Britain.

This should “make more international producers and distributors likely to invest in non-English speaking films,” she said.

But in any case, it is proof that a “good story, told in an excellent way and with universal interest, can transcend” language barriers, according to her.


More than 6,000 dead in the “worst measles epidemic in the world” (WHO)

The political, diplomatic and economic heart of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be “quarantined” for 14 days from Monday due to the coronavirus, the governor of the city announced on Thursday.

This measure comes after the DRC’s mobilization against the Covid-19 began in dispersed order and in confusion.

The residential commune of Gombe, one of the 26 in the capital of at least ten million inhabitants, “is quarantined from April 6 to 20,” said Governor Gentiny Ngobila during a radio intervention. televised.

Seat of government, major embassies, several banks, the town of Gombe “is considered to be the epicenter of the epidemic in the city,” added the governor.

During the partial confinement of the only Gombe, the team of the “response” to Covid-19 “will organize itself to search for the sick people, but also to investigate the contacts at risk and the symptomatic cases on all the extent of the city Kinshasa for their screening and treatment, “he said.

The same governor had announced last Thursday a first “total containment” of four days of all Kinshasa, before reversing the next day for fear of soaring prices and insecurity.

– Jamming –

The beginning of the fight against the virus in the DRC has so far been marked by the confusion around confinement, the lack of resources, and even panic.

“Next week will be the most difficult for Kinshasa. The figures will quickly double or even triple,” warned the head of the care teams, Doctor Jean-Jacques Muyembe, in an interview with Jeune Afrique.

According to the last official report published Thursday evening, the country has 134 confirmed cases (11 cases more in 24 hours) with 13 deaths and three recoveries.

A figure probably very undervalued in one of the largest countries in Africa (around 80 million inhabitants), given the low number of tests carried out. “On average, 50 per day by the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB)”, according to a health source.

The vast majority of confirmed cases (126) are concentrated in Kinshasa, isolated from the rest of the country by decision of the Head of State, Félix Tshisekedi.

Outside the capital, eight cases have been reported for a week in the east of the country.

Thursday evening, a first case was even declared in Beni in the province of North Kivu, epicenter of a previous Ebola epidemic whose end must be officially proclaimed on April 12.

The first cases declared from March 10 were “imported” from Europe, for example affecting those close to the government, some of whom have died. The Gombe health zone was the most affected.

In terms of health, the care team is organized around the virologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus in 1976, head of the INRB.

The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, gynecologist Denis Mukwege, has been appointed head of a “health commission” in his province of South Kivu (east) where two cases have been recorded.

– 65 respirators –

On paper, each of the 26 communes in Kinshasa is attached to one or two hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 cases.

But in practice, “the medical structures are not prepared to receive the sick, with the exception of a hospital run by the Chinese,” according to a health source. And hospitals only have 65 respirators for the entire city, according to a researcher.

IRNB teams “have no cars, no fuel. NGOs provide cars,” foreign sources report.

The illness struck relatives of the head of state, who themselves experienced difficulties in care.

Special adviser to the president, Vidiye Tshimanga stayed 48 hours at home without any news from the care teams after being diagnosed on March 23 (and after an error in the transmission of the diagnosis), he told AFP. . The forties, who has mild symptoms, has since been treated with chloroquine and zithromax.

“There is a general form of panic that has set in. The patients of Covid-19 are left out without receiving care. There is a lack of information which will be remedied by the government. It must be done as soon as possible, “hopes Tshimanga.


The UN is betting on sterilizing mosquitoes to fight diseases

Donald Trump further toughens his tone against China on the coronavirus: the American president threatened on Thursday to sever all relations with the Asian giant and assured that he no longer wanted to speak to his president.

White House tenant Donald Trump has been hammering for weeks that the heavy toll of the Covid-19 – nearly 300,000 dead worldwide – could have been avoided if China had acted responsibly from the start virus in Wuhan city.

In an interview with Fox Business television broadcast on Thursday, he said he was “very disappointed” with Beijing’s attitude and rejected the idea of ​​speaking directly with his counterpart Xi Jinping to ease tensions.

“I have a very good relationship (with him) but at the moment I don’t want to talk to him,” he said.

Asked about the various retaliatory measures he was considering, Mr. Trump, who in recent days has talked about the possible introduction of punitive customs taxes, was both evasive and threatening.

“There are a lot of things we could do. We could end all relationships,” he said.

“If we did it, what would happen?” He continued. “We would save $ 500 billion if we cut all ties,” said President Trump, a veteran of warnings.

“What has happened to the world and to our country is very sad, all these deaths,” continued Donald Trump, criticized in the United States for his lack of empathy towards the victims.

“They could have arrested him”

“They could have stopped it (the virus) in China, where it came from. But it did not happen like that,” said the American president, who will run for a second term on November 3. He had made the good health of the economy one of his main campaign arguments.

Beijing claims to have transmitted all the information as quickly as possible to the World Health Organization (WHO) and to other countries, including the United States.

The two largest economic powers in the world are engaged in a verbal escalation with an uncertain outcome.

“While the United States and its allies coordinate for a collective, transparent response to save lives, China continues to silence scientists, journalists and citizens and to spread disinformation,” said Mike Pompeo on Thursday, head of American diplomacy.

Senators from his Republican camp, very upset against Beijing, presented a bill on Tuesday that would give the president the power to impose sanctions on China if it did not transparently help to shed light on the origin of disease.

Washington on Wednesday accused Beijing of trying to hack into US research into a vaccine for the new coronavirus.

“China’s attempts to target the (health and research) sectors pose a serious threat to our country’s response to Covid-19,” said federal police (FBI).

Beijing immediately denounced this “American defamation”.

“China is at the forefront of research into vaccines and treatment for Covid-19. Therefore, it has more reason than anyone to be wary of the theft of information on the internet,” said Zhao Lijian , spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Asked about any evidence he would have to show that the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan, Mr. Trump was Thursday much less categorical than in the past, even seeming to backtrack.

“We have a lot of information (…) But you know, worst of all, whether the virus came from the laboratory or from the bats, it is that it came from China and that they should have stop it. “


Yellow fever epidemic with 89 cases and one death

The secretary general of the Ivorian presidency Patrick Achi, one of the closest collaborators of President Alassane Ouattara, announced Thursday on social networks that he was affected by the coronavirus.

“This Thursday, April 16, I tested positive for Covid-19. So I am confined to my home although I have no symptoms,” said Achi on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Aged 64, Mr. Achi is close to the president whom he often meets. Several times minister, he succeeded in January 2017 as secretary general to Amadou Gon Coulibaly, another close friend of the president when he was appointed Prime Minister.

Mr. Gon Coulibaly was also designated as the candidate for the Ouattara coalition for the presidential election in October 2020.

“I am followed by wonderful health workers who will surely help me overcome this ordeal,” writes Mr. Achi on the networks, stressing: “This is the place to remember that this virus is extremely contagious. I therefore invite you again to strict compliance with barrier measures, social distancing and screening in order to stop the spread of the virus together. “

Achi is the second political figure, after Defense Minister Hamed Bakayoko, known as “Hambak”, to be affected by the virus.

“Hambak”, another key man in President Ouattara’s regime, announced on April 6, also on social media, that he was infected with coronavirus. He has not given official news since.

He was behind Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly for the 2020 presidential election, when many observers believed that he was more charismatic and better able to represent the ruling party.

Côte d’Ivoire has 688 confirmed cases and six deaths from coronavirus, according to the latest official report.


Fight against the return of dengue fever

“You have to cover your goods!” advises Dr Fofana to a vegetable seller from Abidjan, while thick smoke insecticide invades the street to kill mosquitoes carrying dengue fever, a sometimes fatal disease that returns to Côte d’Ivoire.

An epidemic has declared since May in this West African country, where 130 cases and two deaths have been recorded.

To thwart the spread of this “re-emerging” disease on a global scale which appeared in West Africa in 2006, the health authorities are carrying out a mosquito control and awareness campaign in the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, where the majority of cases have been detected.

“Larvae multiply in stagnant water, for example in used tires. You should never store water in a bucket in the open air at home, and regularly throw water from the saucers of green plants”, advises Dr Diakaria Fofana, deputy head of vector control at the National Institute of Public Hygiene (INHP).

This medical anthropologist supervises one of the teams responsible for spraying a larvicidal product in the stagnant waters of the city, a work of Sisyphus in an agglomeration of five million inhabitants, especially in the middle of the rainy season.

Without a vaccine available in Côte d’Ivoire and in the absence of specific treatment against dengue fever, responsible for thousands of deaths per year worldwide, mainly in children, “the only effective means of control is the fight against the mosquito, “says the doctor.

The mode of transmission of dengue fever is similar to that of malaria: female mosquitoes become infected by biting someone who carries the virus, which they then inoculate with other humans.

In the vast majority of cases, dengue remains “silent”, but asymptomatic patients can still infect mosquitoes that bite them, thus participating in the cycle of contamination.

– “Big brother of malaria” –

In Côte d’Ivoire, where malaria accounts for a third of medical consultations, many Ivorians resort to self-medication when they experience the symptoms they are used to (fever, nausea, body aches, vomiting).

“This is a real problem because the symptoms of malaria, dengue fever, typhoid or yellow fever are similar. It is absolutely necessary to have a blood test,” insists Dr Fofana, explaining that unsuitable medicines can make the situation worse.

There is a vaccine against dengue fever, but Côte d’Ivoire does not currently have one because it “has a lot of side effects, it is expensive and does not take into account the four types of dengue fever”, according to Professor Joseph Vroh Benié Bi, director of the INHP.

Developed by the French pharmaceutical group Sanofi Pasteur and approved at the end of 2015 in several Latin American and Asian countries, the first dengue vaccine (Dengvaxia) is also suspected of being the cause of the death of a ten children. The Philippine government launched proceedings against the laboratory in March.

Half of the world’s population is now at risk of dengue fever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), mainly in tropical and subtropical regions as well as in urban and semi-urban areas.

The WHO estimates at 50 million the number of annual cases, including 500,000 cases of dengue hemorrhagic which are fatal in 2.5% of the cases.

Less deadly than malaria, which caused 435,000 deaths in 2017 worldwide according to the WHO, dengue fever is progressing and has affected Europe where the first two cases were recorded in 2010. Thus in France, “the vector mosquito is established in 18 French departments “out of 101, according to the Pasteur Institute.

In Côte d’Ivoire, where an epidemic in 2017 had already caused the death of two people, the threat is taken seriously by the inhabitants.

“We know the risks”, says Bamba Segbe, an Abidjan resident who came to attend the spectacular mosquito control operation, before adding: “It is not for nothing that we call dengue fever the big brother of malaria “.

With AFP


Global warming and globalization are the bedrock of tropical diseases in Europe

Chikungunya in Italy, dengue on the Côte d’Azur … And one day in Scandinavia? Europe must prepare for epidemics hitherto reserved for tropical regions, warn researchers, even if the pace and scale of this expansion remain difficult to predict.

“Encouraged by climate change, travel and international trade, epidemics of vector-borne diseases (transmitted by insects such as mosquitoes or ticks, Editor’s note) will develop to affect a large part of Europe in the decades to come “, they underline, on the occasion of a Congress in Amsterdam.

All the countries around the Mediterranean are already affected, notes Giovanni Rezza, director of the infectious diseases department at the Higher Institute of Health in Rome, interviewed by AFP.

The most worrying recent event is the chikungunya epidemic which hit Italy in the summer of 2017, with “more than 400 cases”, and “a failure in early diagnosis”, since the disease has only been identified by the public authorities only after several weeks, favoring the infection of new people, underlines the researcher.

This task of early identification is all the more difficult in Italy as the tiger mosquito, which transmits dengue and chikungunya, is now endemic in much of the country.

Hence the need to strengthen vigilance where the phenomenon is still limited, such as France with the Côte d’Azur, where several indigenous cases of dengue have been reported since 2014, insists Dr Rezza, who presented his conclusions on these recent episodes at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, which is being held in Amsterdam until Tuesday.

“Fortunately”, Italy, Spain, southern France, the Croatian coast and Greece are for the moment “a tropical zone only part-time”: the winters are cold enough for the transmission to stop .

– Early warning systems –

But as the periods of high temperature lengthen, this “window” during which these diseases can be transmitted will become wider, favoring epidemics of greater importance, warns Giovanni Rezza, while stressing that it is of “medium not short term change”.

The work presented by Jan Semenza, from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CEPCM), a European agency based in Stockholm, also shows an extension of the territory of ticks, responsible for certain viral encephalitis and Lyme disease.

“We are seeing an expansion of ticks caused by higher temperatures, they are growing northward and at higher altitudes,” he told AFP.

Likewise, the sand fly or sand fly, the main vector of the parasitic disease leishmaniasis, could find favorable climatic conditions for its establishment in France, Germany and the south of the United Kingdom by 2060.

Faced with this phenomenon, “public health agencies must improve surveillance, for example through early warning systems, increase awareness among health professionals and the general public of the risks, as well as adopt innovative control strategies. such as community actions “against the proliferation of mosquitoes, underlines Professor Semenza.

The CEPCM helps the public authorities by “modeling in real time the places where the climatic conditions are favorable for transmission, in order to be able to increase our attention and our surveillance system in these areas”, he explains.

The European center has thus developed a tool that monitors the temperature and salt content of seawater, illustrated by a map ( ). The latter makes it possible to identify the beaches with the highest risk of the presence of bacteria of the vibrio family, responsible for sometimes serious intestinal disorders in humans.


Opportunity Martian robot now out of service

The Opportunity robot, which has been traveling on Mars since 2004 and confirmed that water once flowed there, was officially declared out of service by NASA on Wednesday, marking the end of one of the most successful missions in the history of l exploration of the solar system.

“I declare the Opportunity mission over,” said NASA chief scientist Thomas Zurbuchen at a press conference in Pasadena, California, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from which the American rovers are piloted.

“Even if it’s a machine, it’s hard to say goodbye, it’s poignant,” said program manager John Callas.

Contact had been lost since June 10, 2018, when a dust storm engulfed the red planet, darkened the atmosphere for several months, and prevented the rover from recharging its batteries with its solar panels.

After eight months and more than a thousand messages sent from Earth remained unanswered, NASA had decided that the last attempt would take place Tuesday evening. “We heard nothing in return, so it’s time to say goodbye,” said John Callas.

Over the months of silence, the community of researchers and engineers involved in the program seemed to have prepared their mourning for the legendary rover.

“Swallowed by a giant dust storm encompassing the entire planet: is there a more suitable end for a mission as perfect and courageous as that of Opportunity?” said Frank Hartman, who has been driving the robot for seven years.

“It is a celebration of such success,” said NASA chief Jim Bridenstine.

Its record is extraordinary in the history of planetary exploration: 45.16 kilometers traveled, more than the Soviet rover Lunokhod 2 on the Moon in the 1970s and more than the rover driven by the American astronauts from the Apollo 17 mission on the Moon in 1972 (35 km).

Opportunity also sent to Earth 217,594 images, all made available to the public on the internet.

– One active rover –

Robots had landed on Mars before him, but each time in flat places, without the ability to move to explore rocks or mountains visible from a distance.

“We were stuck, and it unlocked us,” said Jennifer Trosper, engineer working on the successor to Opportunity, dubbed March 2020.

“For the general public, Mars has become this dynamic place that can be explored every day,” said Emily Lakdawalla, a space exploration expert who writes for the Planetary Society.

“The rover was so mobile that it seemed to be an animated creature,” she said. “He had this quasi-human perspective on the surface of Mars, his eyes were spread apart like human eyes, at a height of about 1.50 meters from the ground, like humans. It was like an avatar of humanity who was traveling on the surface. “

Opportunity had landed on a large plain where he spent half his life, crossing kilometers of flat land and even being trapped for a few weeks in a sand dune. This is where the robot, with its geological instruments, confirmed that liquid water was once on Mars.

The second part of his life, he climbed the sides of the Endeavor crater, taking spectacular panoramic shots … and discovering veins of gypsum, new proof that water was flowing between these rocks.

His twin Spirit had landed three weeks before him, and died in 2010. The two largely fulfilled the expectations of their designers: their missions were supposed to last 90 days, durations often exceeded but rarely as much …

Only one rover remains active on Mars, also American: Curiosity, which landed in 2012. It is not dependent on the Sun because its energy comes from a small nuclear reactor.

In 2021, it will be joined, on another site on the planet, by the robot recently named Rosalind Franklin, as part of the European-Russian mission ExoMars.