WBEZ | South America http://www.wbez.org/tags/south-america Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Brazil Fears New Danger from Zika Virus: Paralysis http://www.wbez.org/news/brazil-fears-new-danger-zika-virus-paralysis-114599 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RTX1VI38.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Parents in Brazil are nervous.</p></div><p>There&#39;s an increase in microcephaly, a condition when babies are born with unusually small heads. And the increase is being linked to a surge in cases of Zika.</p><p>But what exactly is Zika?</p><hr /><p>&quot;It&#39;s related, quite distantly, to yellow fever virus,&quot; says virus researcher Derek Gatherer at Lancaster University in England. &quot;Zika was also discovered in Uganda in 1947 in the great lakes region. But there we no reports of any serious illness associated with it.&quot;</p><p>He says the interest in Zika was so low that no case studies had appeared in the tropical medicine literature from 1947 onward to 2008.</p><p>Mosquitos spread Zika. And the classic symptoms are a relatively mild fever and muscle aches. &quot;But in all of the classic cases, until the turn of the millennium, it always resolves successfully and no patients had ever died.&quot;</p><p>That&#39;s not the case in Brazil, where at least five people have died from Zika. Gatherer says it&#39;s serious, but still not that deadly when you consider there are 1.3 million case of Zika. &quot;It might represent an indication that Zika is becoming more virulent,&quot; he says.</p><p>But what&#39;s caused real concern &mdash; and a CDC travel warning &mdash; is the disease&#39;s possible connection to the birth defect of microcephaly.</p><p>And while Gatherer says nothing is absolutely proven,&nbsp;&quot;I think it would be unlikely if it&#39;s not proven to be connected, given what we&#39;ve seen so far.&quot;</p><p>Brazilian health authorities announced Wednesday that nearly 4,000 babies have been born with microcephaly since they started tracking the problem in October. That&rsquo;s compared to fewer than 150 cases in all of 2014.</p><p>On Thursday, a new danger from Zika surfaced:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/22/world/americas/zika-virus-may-be-linked-to-surge-in-rare-syndrome-in-brazil.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;clickSource=story-heading&amp;module=first-column-region&amp;region=top-news&amp;WT.nav=top-news&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">paralysis</a>. The New York Times disease specialists in Brazil as saying the virus may cause<a href="http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm" target="_blank" title="nih.gov">&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/gbs/detail_gbs.htm" target="_blank" title="nih.gov">Guillain-Barré</a>&nbsp;syndrome, in which a person&rsquo;s immune system attacks part of the nervous system. It is potentially life threatening.</p><p>Though Zika outbreaks have occurred elsewhere, the noted association with microcephaly has been&nbsp;new, perhaps because the number of cases during previous outbreaks in places like Micronesia and New Caledonia have been much smaller.</p><p>Viruses like dengue fever have been known to pass from pregnant mothers to fetuses, but it&rsquo;s not yet clear if and how the Zika virus enters the placenta and damages the brains of babies.</p><p>The outbreak of Zika and microcephaly is centered in the drought-prone northeastern region of the country, where residents store water in outdoor reservoirs and containers to prepare for periodic water shutoffs. These areas provide ample breeding grounds for the mosquitos that spread Zika.</p><p>There is concern, however, that when the rainy season begins in February, the epidemic will spread to the more heavily populated areas around Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.&nbsp;</p><p>Currently, Brazilian scientists are trying to better understand virus transmission, speed up the development of a Zika vaccine and come up with a new testing kit.</p><p>Public health prevention efforts in Brazil are focused on reducing standing water where mosquitos lay their eggs.&nbsp;</p><p>The army has been called in to Sao Paulo and other states to accompany health workers as they visit homes to identify and remove standing water, and public service announcements are airing on TV and radio. In some areas, mosquito breeding areas are being dosed with insecticides.</p><p>In the Brazilian city of Sao Carlos, 18,000 school children are being trained to check homes for mosquito larvae, according to project coordinator Caio Freire.</p><p>National authorities are reminding visitors to use insect repellent and long sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US&nbsp;last week recommended pregnant women consider postponing travel to Brazil and other countries where Zika transmission is ongoing, including Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and the US territory of Puerto Rico.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-01-21/zika-virus-may-be-responsible-shrinking-babies-heads-brazil" target="_blank"><em>&mdash;via PRI&#39;s The World</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/brazil-fears-new-danger-zika-virus-paralysis-114599 With Hugo Chavez ailing, his opposition gains traction in Venezuela http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-05/hugo-chavez-ailing-his-opposition-gains-traction-venezuela-96974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/chavez seg.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hugo Chavez reported on his latest cancer surgery today. The Venezuelan leader said the two-centimeter tumor was cancerous; however he was optimistic saying vital signs, including blood pressure, were "favorable." Chavez also clamis to have "no fever, hemorrhages or infections"and that scarring is occurring at "a normal pace, and digestion is normal." Chavez sums up his recovery as "real, sustained, progressive and fast...I am flying like the condor."</p><p>But Chavez never said what kind of cancer he has. His health, and a unified opposition ready to contest the October elections, creates many questions about the Venezuela's future.</p><p><em>Worldview</em> talks with <a href="https://www.amherst.edu/users/C/jcorrales/aboutme">Javier Corrales</a>. He’s Professor of Political Science at Amherst College and co-author of the 2011 book, <em>Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chavez and the political economy of revolution in Venezuela</em>.</p></p> Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-03-05/hugo-chavez-ailing-his-opposition-gains-traction-venezuela-96974 How the U.S. lost South America http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/how-us-lost-south-america-96342 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-13/AP03093003866.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>While the U.S. economy has struggled in the last decade, South America's has thrived. And as the U.S. deals with near record poverty, South American countries are ramping up social spending and broadening their safety nets. For the first time, it looks like the U.S. may need a dose of South America’s economic advice instead of the other way around.</p><p>Hal Weitzman is author of the book, <a href="http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470481919.html"><em>Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering</em></a>. Hal covered the changes in South America for the <a href="http://www.ft.com/"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. He’s now the FT’s Chicago and Midwest Correspondent.</p><p><em>Hal Weitzman will speak tomorrow morning (Feb. 14) at a Chicago Council on Global Affairs <a href="http://www.thechicagocouncil.org/files/Event/FY_12_Events/02_February_2012/Latin_Lessons.aspx" target="_blank">event</a> at the Chicago Club.&nbsp; He will also make some bookstore appearances on Feb. 16 at Afterwords bookstore (23 E. Illinois, 6.30pm) and Feb. 23 at Unabridged bookstore (3521 N. Broadway, 6.30pm).</em></p></p> Mon, 13 Feb 2012 17:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-13/how-us-lost-south-america-96342 Dam project in Chile's Patagonia region causes mass protests http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/dam-project-chiles-patagonia-region-causes-mass-protests-88586 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/5596907836_1df8f850df_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The $3.2 billion <a href="http://www.hidroaysen.cl/eng/" target="_blank">HidroAysen</a> project is a controversial hydroelectric dam complex planned for Chile. The project’s five dams would flood almost 15,000 acres of Patagonian wilderness. Getting the power to market would require transmission lines to gauge a 1,200 mile swath through the forest. Chile’s government says they need the dams to help double the country’s energy output in the next 10 years. But activists against the dams have increasing popular support to stop the project.</p><p>Berklee Lowrey-Evans is a Latin America program associate at <a href="http://www.internationalrivers.org" target="_blank">International Rivers</a>, which works to protect rivers and the communities that depend on them. Ten days ago, a Chilean court suspended work on the dams. Lowrey-Evans tells us what this means for the project's future.</p><h1>&nbsp;</h1></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 16:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/dam-project-chiles-patagonia-region-causes-mass-protests-88586