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PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed Maine's first case of the Zika virus.

A Hancock County resident over age 65 tested positive after returning home from one of the Zika-affected countries.

The virus is principally transmitted by a mosquito bite, so Maine epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says Mainers need not worry about catching the virus from the individual who tested positive.

A team of U.S. government disease detectives launched an eagerly anticipated research project in Brazil on Monday designed to determine whether the Zika virus is really causing a surge of serious birth defects.

A 16-member team of epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began training dozens of Brazilian counterparts in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, in preparation to begin work on Tuesday. The researchers will gather data on hundreds of Brazilian women and their children.

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Connecticut officials have prepared a plan to respond to the Zika virus that includes in-state testing for the virus, monitoring mosquitoes, and public education on how to avoid infection.

Connecticut plans to monitor mosquitoes for the Zika virus this summer.

Dr.Theodore Andreadis, Executive Director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, said the species of mosquito that has been largely responsible for spreading the virus in the Caribbean and South and Central America has not been found in Connecticut.  He said another species of mosquito in the state, the Asian tiger mosquito, has also been shown to transmit the Zika virus.

Until very recently it was thought that just one bacterium was to blame for causing Lyme disease in humans. But it turns out that a second, related bug can cause it too.

In 2013, during routine testing of bacterial DNA floating around in the blood samples of people suspected of having Lyme disease, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., realized they were looking at something different.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Several people quarantined in Connecticut after returning from West Africa during the Ebola epidemic in 2014 have filed a class-action lawsuit against state health officials, saying they were essentially imprisoned based on politics and not any legal or scientific reason. 

A patient acquired Zika virus in the U.S. through sex with a person who had traveled to a place where the virus is circulating, Dallas County, Texas, health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

This is not the first time that the virus has been sexually transmitted, and it most likely isn't the first time it's been sexually transmitted in the U.S.

Lori Mack

 The race is on to develop a vaccine for the Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects. Because the World Health Organization declared the virus a global health emergency it will open the door to more resources and funding. 

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

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The Michigan Civil Rights Commission announced it will hold hearings to see whether discrimination played a role in the handling of Flint’s water crisis. The decision came early last week, amid allegations of environmental racism against the city’s largely black community.

This hour -- from Flint, Michigan to New Haven, Connecticut -- we learn about the environmental justice issues affecting America's low-income communities of color. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

With rising concern about the spread of the Zika virus, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling for more federal funding for research into a vaccine, and said avoiding travel to affected regions isn't enough.

A human study of Zika virus vaccine could begin as early as this year, U.S. health officials told reporters Thursday.

But the officials cautioned that it could be years before the vaccine is available for wide use.

The news came as the Zika virus continues to spread through the Americas. Still, a large outbreak is seen as unlikely in the U.S.

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President Obama called for urgent action against the Zika virus this week. Meanwhile, one Brazilian virologist at the University of Connecticut has been hard at work in the development of a vaccine. 

The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and other countries has raised concern that the pathogen could start spreading widely in the United States, as well. But federal health officials and other infectious disease specialists say so far that seems unlikely.

The World Health Organization says it expects the Zika virus to spread to every country in the Western Hemisphere except Canada.

It says the virus has already "spread to 21 countries and territories of the Americas."

"Canada is off the list simply because it's too cold for the type of mosquito that transmits the Zika virus," NPR's Jason Beaubien reports to our Newscast unit.

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Speaking in his final State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama announced an ambitious challenge last week -- a call to cure cancer, as he put it, "once and for all."

Bed Bugs: Our Creepy, Pervasive, and Expensive Problem

Jan 11, 2016
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A Norwalk-based exterminator was called to an apartment building in the New Haven area and, entering one unit, he found the walls “dripping with bed bugs.”

Torrenegra / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s been 22 years since The New York Times lost Jeffrey Schmalz -- a young, fearless journalist who pushed the boundaries of AIDS reporting in 20th-century America. 

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Nationwide, eight percent of children under 18 have asthma. In Hartford, that rate is more like 29 percent. There's now an effort in the city to diagnose and treat asthma better. 

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For most shows, I’d use these first paragraphs to explain why we’ve chosen to spend an hour on its particular topic. I’d remind you of events in the news. I’d site a publication date. I’d point out a trend that we’ve maybe noticed that you maybe haven’t.

For today’s show, for instance, I could type a list of towns here — international towns, domestic towns, Connecticut towns — and you’d recognize them all as spots on a map that share a wound, as place names that represent a raw, unhealed sore in our shared memory.

Is it those holiday parties filled with people eating together? We're not sure, but we keep hearing about new clusters of people getting poisoned by their meals.

The latest outbreak sickened at least 120 people in Boston, most of them students at Boston College.

This included eight members of the college's basketball team. The team is scheduled to play Providence this evening, and as of this morning, it's unclear whether the game will happen.

Maureen O'Grady on Why She Went Forward with Treatment

Dec 8, 2015
Visual Appeal Studios / CPBN

As stage four lung cancer survivor Maureen O’Grady went through treatment, she faced a choice familiar to others with her diagnosis. 

Visual Appeal Studios / CPBN

Lung cancer survivor Phyllis Medvedow has continued to remain positive throughout her diagnosis and treatment, a mindset she believes has made all the difference.

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Black women with breast cancer fare worse than other women when treated with early chemotherapy, according to new research from the Yale Cancer Center.

Torrenegra / Creative Commons

It’s been twenty-two years since The New York Times lost Jeffrey Schmalz -- a young, fearless journalist who pushed the boundaries of AIDS reporting in twentieth-century America. 

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