Dengue Fever

Many victims of yellow fever and dengue epidemics lie in this New Orleans cemetery.

The title of this blog is not a very catchy title, but I thought I’d drop in here and share a bit of information I learned about dengue fever. This is a fever that has plagued tropical regions of the world for centuries, but thanks to human activity, its reach is expanding. There is a vaccine in the works, but not one recommended for general use by the World Health Organization. People pretty much have to depend on physical prevention.

Dengue Fever is spread by mosquitoes, so prevention means keeping mosquitoes away. The two known carriers are Aedes.aegypti (sometimes called the yellow fever mosquito) and Aedes.albopictus, commonly called the tiger mosquito. It’s the tiger mosquito that is carrying the disease into temperate zones. These are not favored by *Aedes.aegypti*. It seems that the eggs of the tiger mosquito can survive a serious winter. And the eggs themselves can carry the disease.

I wrote a rather long article on this, which describes the most dangerous aspect of dengue: the first bout may be survived by most healthy people without much complication. However a second bout, with another variety of the disease (there are four subtypes) can lead to hemorrhagic dengue. This is a potentially life-threatening condition.

So, if you’ve had dengue and think you might be immune. No. That’s not true. You will be immune only to the type that you caught. The other three subtypes are very dangerous for you. Treatment at a facility with experience in fighting this disease is important.

More information, with links to references, may be found at my Steemit blog: “Is Dengue Fever Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Two mosquito species, Aedes.aegypti and Aedes.albopictus, are known to transmit dengue, yellow fever and other viral diseases. It turns out, they can travel pretty far, but mostly take advantage of resources near human habitation. These resources can be any container that holds a small amount of water.

So, empty those gutters. Don’t leave old tires around (this seems to be a favorite egg-laying site), and clear out pools of standing water, no matter where you find them.


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Blogging on Steemit

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This picture accompanied a story I wrote on Steemit, Anhelo: Ode to Color

 

It has been so long since I posted here, on WordPress.  My attentions have been elsewhere, on Steemit.  This is a platform I highly recommend, but with a few caveats.  Don’t expect to get rich quickly, or get rich at all.  You may make money.  Maybe a lot of money, but if that is your prime motivation, disappointment is likely to be the outcome.

I’ve been posting on Steemit for ten months.  It is a rather absorbing enterprise.  One of the chief advantages, for a writer, is that there is no boundary.  Whatever catches your interest may be material for a blog.

Over the last months I have written stories.  I’ve written on Chinese art, ants, land use in India, the Guinea worm, cryptocurrency…whatever subject caught my interest.  All these blogs had one thing in common–I worked hard on them.  I didn’t cheat the reader.  Sometimes the ‘payout’ was paltry.  That has not been my standard for success.  My standard, every writer’s standard has to be, I think, did I give my all?  Did I shortchange the reader?

If you do join Steemit, I recommend checking out some of the communities that may coincide with your interests.  There are a few science-oriented communities, creative writing communities, communities dedicated to blogs in different languages.  Take your time looking around.  Dip your toe in one place or another.  Soon you’ll find several that match your inclinations.

So, I’m recommending to everyone who likes to write: check out Steemit.  After a few months, if you produce good material, you’ll start to attract attention.  You’ll get feedback.  You’ll have an audience.

And, there is always the chance that you will actually make some money.

Bismark: A Life Book Review


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Otto von Bismark  July 1890

 

In Bismark: A Life, Jonathan Steinberg suggests that the modern German state had its origins in the imagination of Prince Otto von Bismark. However, Steinberg builds his case with such apparent animus toward the subject that the value of this book is somewhat undermined.  Steinberg implicitly lays at Bismark’s door responsibility for WWI (by creating the German Empire and buttressing autocracy), WWII (by reinforcing the Junker class and doubling down on militarism), and genocide of the Jewish people (by fueling antisemitism).

Steinberg’s approach is comprehensive. He traces Bismark’s rise to power and attempts to lay bare the state-builder’s multiple motivations. In support of his analysis, Steinberg provides extended excerpts from Bismark’s correspondence and from other first-person accounts. The portrait of Bismark that emerges is more demonic than Machiavellian.

Bismark, by Steinberg’s account, was a hypochondriacal, reactionary, anti-Semite, an ingrate with an unbridled thirst for power. Despite Steinberg’s compilation of evidence, the reader is left with doubts about the integrity of this author’s presentation. His loathing for Bismark is so manifest that we feel bias must inevitably influence judgment.

However, because Steinberg’s book is well resourced, it has much to offer. I was interested, for example, to learn how Germany reacted to the revolutions of 1848. Also interesting was the tension between the papacy and secular heads of Europe. Most fascinating was Bismark’s effort to weaken a rival, France, by aligning himself with Russia. I wondered, as I read, if there was a corollary with present times–with Donald Trump’s expressed criticism of NATO and his avowed admiration for Russia.

I recommend this book, but with reservations.  For a complete view of Bismark, it would be a good idea to read a second biography.  Many questions, in my mind, remained at the book’s end.  Chief among these was, what was Bismark really like?

A. G. Moore     June 2017