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Charles Watson
Charles Watson

Stranded On The Congo

Refugees fleeing war in the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo are stranded at the edge of Lake Tanganyika and facean ordeal of days without food, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) saidin Tanzania on Thursday.Anthony Moga, UNHCR emergency coordinatorin the northern Tanzanian town of Kigoma, said the refugees were stuckon the Ubari peninsula on the western side of the lake after attemptingto cross by boat to Kigoma, western Tanzania.

Stranded on the Congo


Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFv) is a member of the genus Nairovirus in the family Bunyaviridae. It possesses a tripartite, single stranded RNA genome of negative polarity consisting of large (L), medium (M) and small (S) segments. CCHF virus is enzootic in life stock and wild animals in many parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa and is also recognised in Southeast Europe. Severe disease, manifest as haemorrhagic fever and high mortality rates (up to 50%), is only recognised in humans. We have determined the complete sequence of the small genomic RNA segment from several strains of CCHF virus from outbreaks in Pakistan 2000, Baghdad 1976 and Uzbekistan 1967. Phylogenetic analysis of three datasets of sequences from the small genomic RNA segment available from a range of strains indicates that they can be divided into seven subtypes. Superimposed on this pattern are links between distant geographic locations, pointing to the existence of a global reservoir of CCHFv. In some cases these links may originate from trade in livestock, and long-distance carriage of virus or infected ticks during bird migration.

Viruses in the family Filoviridae can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in people and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys and gorillas) and may spread in other animals, such as bats. Filoviruses are enveloped in a lipid (fatty) membrane and appear in several shapes. Each virion (complete, infective form of a virus) contains one molecule of single-stranded, negative-sense RNA.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, a severe hemorrhagic disease found throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia, is caused by the tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). CCHFV is a negative-sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) virus belonging to the Nairovirus genus of the Bunyaviridae family. Its genome of three single-stranded RNA segments is encapsidated by the nucleocapsid protein (CCHFV N) to form the ribonucleoprotein complex. This ribonucleoprotein complex is required during replication and transcription of the viral genomic RNA. Here, we present the crystal structures of the CCHFV N in two distinct forms, an oligomeric form comprised of double antiparallel superhelices and a monomeric form. The head-to-tail interaction of the stalk region of one CCHFV N subunit with the base of the globular body of the adjacent subunit stabilizes the helical organization of the oligomeric form of CCHFV N. It also masks the conserved caspase-3 cleavage site present at the tip of the stalk region from host cell caspase-3 interaction and cleavage. By incubation with primer-length ssRNAs, we also obtained the crystal structure of CCHFV N in its monomeric form, which is similar to a recently published structure. The conformational change of CCHFV N upon deoligomerization results in the exposure of the caspase-3 cleavage site and subjects CCHFV N to caspase-3 cleavage. Mutations of this cleavage site inhibit cleavage by caspase-3 and result in enhanced viral polymerase activity. Thus, cleavage of CCHFV N by host cell caspase-3 appears to be crucial for controlling viral RNA synthesis and represents an important host defense mechanism against CCHFV infection.

Monkeypox virus is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus that belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. There are two distinct genetic clades of the monkeypox virus: the central African (Congo Basin) clade and the west African clade. The Congo Basin clade has historically caused more severe disease and was thought to be more transmissible. The geographical division between the two clades has so far been in Cameroon, the only country where both virus clades have been found.

India began its Vande Bharath mission to bring back stranded Indian nationals from different parts of the world on May 7 and phase two of the plan that will extend upto mid-June is currently underway. However, hundreds of Tamil citizens stranded in different parts of the world are seeking urgent help from the government to return home.

According to Ministry of External Affairs website, during phase one of Vande Bharath Mission (May 7 to 17), eight flights returned to Tamil Nadu carrying stranded passengers from Dubai (2), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2), Kuwait (1) Muscat, Oman (1), Dhaka, Bangladesh (1) and Manila, Philippines (1). Meanwhile, in phase two, no flights have come into Tamil Nadu so far.

About 350 Tamils stranded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), in Central Africa had written to Pon Gautham Sigamani, Member of Parliament from Kallakurichi constituency in Tamil Nadu and a member of DMK, seeking permission for a chartered flight to return to the state.

Similarly, Tamils in the United Kingdom and in Kuwait are seeking urgent intervention to return home. About 300 Tamils stranded in the United Kingdom have shared that they missed the flight to Chennai on May 14 under the Vande Bharath mission and are unable to step outside their homes due to lockdown. Around 300 of them in different parts of the UK are seeking help from the state government to return home.

A member from the group reached out to TNM on Twitter expressing her concern over people who have urgent needs and have to return home. Shyamala who lives in UK writes with urgency, "If you can see our Twitter wall (UK Tamil Makkal), you will be able to understand that there are many people here with emergency and desperate needs and it seems like the central and state governments have turned a deaf ear to our pleas. We din't have any flights since the first phase of evacuation to Tamil Nadu. While there have been flights to other states in the second phase, the Tamils are still stranded here."

Cite as: Eleftherakos, C., van den Boogaard, W., Barry D., Severy, N., Kotsioni I. &Roland - Gosselin L., 2018, "I prefer dying fast than dying slowly", how institutional abuse worsens the mental health of stranded Syrian, Afghan and Congolese migrants on Lesbos island following the implementation of EU-Turkey deal", Conflict and Health.

Since 2016, voluntary return and voluntary humanitarian return have been an important protection measure and one of the most appropriate options for vulnerable and stranded migrants wishing to return to their country of origin but lacking the means to do so. These voluntary and humanitarian return operations are sometimes delayed for several reasons. Airlines postpone flight dates and claim technical reasons.

Monkeypox virus (MPXV) is an enveloped double-stranded DNA virus with a genome of approximately 197.209 bp. The current classification divides MPXV into three clades: Clade I (Central African or Congo Basin clade) and clades IIa and IIb (West African clades).


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