In the epicenter of the Zika epidemic in northeast Brazil, 73 percent of people living in an urban slum in Salvador were infected in 2015. However, in this highly affected population, those with immunity to dengue, a genetically similar virus, had a reduced risk of infection with Zika. University of Florida epidemiologist Derek Cummings is a senior author on the first study to explore the relationship between dengue antibodies and Zika resilience. This new research, published in Science on Feb. 8, 2019, offers insights into how immunity might be conferred from dengue-infected individuals exposed to Zika. “This study is the first to demonstrate that immunity to dengue can protect against Zika infection in human populations,” said Cummings, professor of Biology and faculty in the Emerging Pathogens Institute.

Led by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, a team including Cummings, as well as scientists from the Yale School of Public Health and the University of California San Francisco, examined a cohort of 1,453 residents participating in a long-term health survey in Pau da Lima, Salvador, Brazil. The residents may have been exposed to Zika during the 2015 outbreak in northeastern Brazil. The team then examined a subset of 642 dengue-infected residents and analyzed their risk for Zika. “Even though there was protective immunity in the population, this community was heavily infected,” said Cummings. “We estimate that 73 percent of the population was infected by Zika.”

The team developed a unique assay that measured immunoglobulin G3, which responds to a key protein in Zika. Despite the study area comprising less than one-quarter of a square kilometer, the researchers found an overall attack rate of 73 percent, yet wide variation in the risk of Zika infection across short distances. Likely depending on environmental factors such as mosquito breeding grounds, rates of infection varied from a low of 29 percent to a high of 83 percent.

Out of the 642 samples, 86 percent were positive for dengue, and for those with this prior immunity to dengue, each doubling of antibody titers was associated with a 9 percent reduction in risk of Zika infection.
“Although there are pockets of susceptible populations which were not hit by Zika, the Zika pandemic has created overall high rates of immunity in the Americas, which will be a barrier for outbreaks for the next few years,” said Cummings.

The study was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (grant to the University of Florida NIAID R01 AI114703, other institutes supported by NIAID R01 AI121207, NIAID U01 AI088752, FIC R01 TW009504 and FIC R25 TW009338), Yale School of Public Health and the Brazilian Ministries of Health, Education and Science and Technology.

Surrounded by salty water, sea snakes sometimes live a thirsty existence. Previously, scientists thought that they were able to drink seawater, but recent research has shown that they need to access freshwater. A new study published in PLOS ONE on Feb. 7 and led by Harvey Lillywhite, professor of biology of the University of Florida, shows that sea snakes living where there is drought relieve their dehydration as soon as the wet season hits, and do so by obtaining freshwater from “lenses” that form on the surface of the ocean during heavy rain—events in which the salinity at the surface decreases enough for the water to be drinkable.

The yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus) is the only reptile in the order Squamata that lives on the open sea. It has one of the largest geographic ranges of any vertebrate species. Given its broad range and seafaring existence, during the dry season (6-7 months at the study site in Costa Rica) it has no access to freshwater. How they survive in regions of drought seems to hinge upon access to freshwater lenses, but little is known about how marine vertebrates react to or consume rainfall. “This study contributes to a fuller understanding of how pelagic sea snakes, and possibly other marine animals, avoid desiccation following seasonal drought at sea,” said Lillywhite.

The researchers captured 99 sea snakes off the coast of Costa Rica (interestingly, the snakes have never been observed in estuaries) and offered them freshwater in a laboratory environment. The team happened to be there just as six months of drought broke and the rainy season began. They found that only 13 percent of snakes captured after the rainfall began accepted the offer, compared to 80 percent of those captured before. The rainfall must have quenched their thirst.

The study continues many years of work by Lillywhite. The present paper was coauthored by Mark Sandfoss, Lillywhite’s current PhD student, Coleman Sheehy, his former student who is now the Collections Manager in Herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and then-Fulbright visiting scholar Jenna Crowe-Riddell.

“How these animals locate and harvest precipitation is important in view of the recent declines and extinctions of some species of sea snakes,” said Lillywhite. The question remains: How will climate change and its effects on precipitation impact the sea snakes?

The Representation of Translation and Translators in Contemporary Media

Dror Abend-David
In an increasingly global and multilingual society, translators have transitioned from unobtrusive stagehands to key intercultural mediators-a development that is reflected in contemporary media. From Coppola’s Lost in Translation to television’s House M.D., and from live performance to social media, translation is rendered as not only utilitarian, but also performative and communicative.
In examining translation as a captivating theme in film, television, commercials, and online content, this multinational collection engages with the problems and limitations faced by translators, as well as the ethical and philosophical aspects of translation and Translation Studies. Contributors examine the role of the translator (as protagonist, agent, negotiator, and double-agent), translation in global communication, the presentation of visual texts, multilingualism in contemporary media, and the role of foreign languages in advertisements. Translation and translators are shown as inseparable parts of a contemporary life that is increasingly multilingual, multiethnic, multinational and socially diverse.

Short review:

This timely book makes a very important contribution to the growing field of translation and media. Unusual in placing the translator firmly in the spotlight, these varied and informative studies show how translators and translating are presented in films, or represented in advertisements, or discussed on social media. A fascinating and instructive resource for researchers and students at all levels.

– Jean Boase-Beier, Professor Emerita of Literature and Translation, University of East Anglia, UK

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