While onlookers cheered the start of the Paralympics last week in Rio de Janeiro, Public Radio International spoke with two local advocates for the disabled. They reflected on the irony of hosting the Paralympics in a city where access remains a serious issue for those with…

The discovery of scrub typhus off the coast of Chile suggests it may be endemic in South America, far from the Asia-Pacific region known as home to the deadly bacteria. Spread by the larvae of trombiculid mites (chiggers), researchers confirmed a cluster of 3 cases on an…

Unknowns are plentiful in connection with the Zika epidemic currently unfolding in Brazil, now estimated at 440,000–1,300,000 cases. No vaccine or antibiotic exists for the mosquito-borne virus and there are multiple questions about the link with microcephaly in infants…

Uruguay’s approach to making clandestine abortions safer—before the country legalized abortion in 2012—serves as a model for other countries. Working within Uruguay’s laws, doctors could not perform abortions, but they capitalized on opportunities to treat women before and…

A superbug resistant to the last-line antibiotic colistin has been found in seagulls in Europe and South America—indicating one vehicle for the spread of resistant bacteria. 2 separate research teams in Lithuania and Argentina, in letters to the Journal of Antimicrobial…

People reeling from Ecuador’s April 16 earthquake need food and essential supplies more than hands-on help at this point. Furthermore, volunteers may be doing more harm than good. “Many volunteers have arrived; many do not have food and are not self-sufficient when it…

With no treatment or vaccine for the Zika virus, Brazil’s best hope to keep the Zika virus at bay during the Olympics is preventing mosquito bites. Nature could help out, too: the games take place in August: winter for Brazil, with slightly lower temps and less rainfall…

Before last fall, Brazil reported about 150 annual cases of microcephaly—far less than the 5,600 cases reported since October, as concerns soared over a possible Zika link. But questions lurk about the data. Many cases have been thrown out or are still being investigated,…

Amid a backdrop of tension between Venezuela and Colombia—and Venezuela’s economic crisis—Zika is adding to the friction. While Colombia reports more than 37,000 cases, it suspects that Venezuela’s report of fewer than 5,000 is too low. And with shortages of medicine and…

In Turbo, a town of 60,000 on Colombia’s north coast, doctors would see perhaps one case per year of Guillain-Barré syndrome. In the past 6 weeks, they have diagnosed 5 severe cases, including 3 deaths. While global attention on the exploding Zika virus has focused on the…