Wastewater Measles Testing and the Cost of Nature

The comeback of measles in full swing, especially in the UK where only 85% of school-age children have had two doses of the MMR vaccine. Since October, nearly 300 individuals have come down with the disease. The situation is also escalating in the United States. Detecting measles outbreaks early presents difficulties, largely due to the disease’s initial symptoms of cough, runny nose, fever, and body aches. The characteristic rash of measles shows up after two to four days, at which point the individual is already highly contagious. With measles being one of the most contagious diseases, early detection is crucial. A potential solution could be using the extensive wastewater sampling network that the US developed for early detection of covid during the pandemic. This network might be harnessed to serve as an early warning system for measles.

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In other news, an economist seeks to incorporate the value of nature into her field. What are the worth of a honeybee, a mountain stream, or a mangrove tree? Gretchen Daily, the co-founder and faculty director of the Stanford Natural Capital Project, has committed her career to addressing these intricate questions. Daily and her team assist governments, international banks, and non-profit organizations to measure the value of nature and understand the benefits of conservation and ecosystem restoration.