Skip to main content

tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  January 31, 2016 12:30am-1:01am EST

12:30 am
robot i'm not, and i try to, but it's - i do the best that i can. >> reporter: she becomes the first german to win a grand slam title since her idon in 1999 all the news, of course, at our website. there it is, the address, thank for joining us for "america tonight" i am joanie khefpbl a new threat has emerged with international healthcare workers warning of the devastating conference as more and more cases of the zika virus
12:31 am
surface a cross united center. just how great is the danger and who is most at risk. we get answers from lisa fletcher on the trail of a vicious attacker. >> reporter: this tiny insect so small but doing big damage around the globe. doctors say this particularly aggressive mosquito, is carrying the zika virus, which may be responsible for serious birth defects. the numbers rise almost daily. right now at least 24 countries are battling active transmissions, mostly in central and south america. the latest numbers here in north america show at least 34 cases spread over 12 states, the district of columbia and four in canada. all are related to people returning from countries where the virus is endemic. a few weeks ago, we sat down with dr. anthony head of allergies and infectious diseases for the national institute of health.
12:32 am
he told us he was working late nights in the research lab anticipating this virus would emerge in a big way. >> we haven't started on a vaccine for seek, zika, but wel very soon, when i say soon i am talking about within weeks to a month because of the seriousness of the problem in brazil. >> just days later met with president obama as zika became a household word and headlines around the globe indicated the virus was spreading fast. >> at this stage are we traveling down to the c.d.c. next week. >> reporter: dr. gavin ma greg ore skinner is the director of global response at harvard teaching medical hospital and an expert in infectious diseases. the w.h.o. said it's spreading explosively. that kind of language, while accurate, can insight sort of a panic among the population. >> it's a really good point. and we need to keep this real. it shows, though, that the surveillance systems, the diagnostic systems, the
12:33 am
awareness of amongst physicians and nurse within these countries are there, it's happening. that's a very, very good thing. so it shows that the surveillance is working. it has caught us by surprise. >> reporter: he says while it's promising to have global numbers being reported, it's very difficult to quickly test large populations for the virus. >> there is only five laboratory is here in the u.s., one at c.d.c. atlanta and four state department health labs that can currently today diagnose zika. zika virus out of a blood sample. what we need to see is that has to be scaled. not just here in the u.s., but also in central america, south america, and the caribbean countries as we. >> reporter: is that realistic different that they are far poorer countries of the united states and we only have five labs. >> this he will require lots of assistance, that will require a plan and we don't have a commercially available test that can be done at the point of care. you actually have to take a sample and accepted to a lab that's what will cause a big
12:34 am
backlog and delay diagnosis. >> reporter: according to the centers for disease control and prevention, only about one in five people infected actually get sick. symptoms are usually mild and last about a week. fever, rash, joint pain and pink eye. but in brazil, something more startling and insidious is happening. therein frequented pregnant women have given birth to more than 4,000 babies suffering from microcephaly. a rare neurological disorder that is being linked to zika virus. with this birth defect, the brain doesn't develop normally during preis a or stops growing altogether. resulting in a disproportionately small head. and that's just the beginning. mcgregor skinner says microcephaly can cause a host of other problems, including developmental delays, sears your honor, hearing and vision loss, they can be sever and often are lifelong. the sheer numbers have prompted government officials here to
12:35 am
warn pregnant american women not to travel to brazil. >> that's what we primarily concerned bench the travel guidance that we have, that the c.d.c. has issued relates to advice that is given to pregnant women or women who are thinking of becoming pregnant about traveling to some of these countries. and steps they can take to mitigate the risks they face. >> reporter: respond to this concerns of travelers, united and delta airlines are allowing customers to delay or cancel their trips to zika-affected areas without penalty. other carriers are making similar moves, but are not restrictive. as the world find ways to cope with the immediate implications mcgregor skinner reminds us that dealing with zika virus will be a long journey. >> and we really don't know how we are going it approach if if we suddenly have thousands of babies with neurological deficits and that will be really challenging. again, think how worried the moms and dads must be right now. and how we may have to get down
12:36 am
to the local community level and insure that they are being looked after, answering all of their questions and that's another real publish health emergency we'll be faced with. often we say, right, you know, it's fine, it's under control. but disasters happen locally and we have to act locally and it takes a lot of moving parts to get this one right. >> "america tonight" lisa fletcher is here now. talking about the community level, fighting this at this community level but we saw what happened with ebola, this can be awfully difficult. >> right. it's why he's so intents on getting the message out that it happens khabibulin is to start with governments and doctors and nurses communicating the right message from the top down. with ebola, governments were saying things like don't get ebola. that's not helpful. what they need to do is put out specific actionable messages so people can actually do things to prevent getting the virus and that's really what gavin mcgregor skinner and others are pushing for. >> but speaking of specific instructions from your government, el salvador suggested that women not get
12:37 am
pregnant for a couple of years. >> yeah, that's not going to happen. el salvador doesn't support birth control. right? >> right. >> and it's just not a practical plan. we brought that up with mcgregor skinner and he said, look, you gotta give a population specifics are you can't just say don't have sex. say wear deet impregnated clothing. get rid of standing water around your house, use nets over your bed. practical things that people can do to prevent infection from the virus. >> and so on the list of things that can be done, we do talk about vaccines for example fox, ebola that became a very dig part of the conversation when we were so worried and seeing so many people dieing in africa. what about the likelihood of getting a vaccine, some sort of prevention out there quickly? >> it was really interesting because when we did that ebola piece and talked to the doctor like you saw in the piece, that was a couple of weeks ago and he said we are working on it, fast forward to right know. and he said i think sometime in 2016 we are going to have a zika
12:38 am
vaccine in trials. not necessarily approved for widespread human use but very con if i want deposit we'll have one in the trial station, so in the world of vaccine creation and getting them out there, this is happening very, very fast. >> is that because there is something different in this case? or what's happened that makes, you know, we were talking about ebola, gee, how long would it take to get an effective vaccine even in to the trial stage. what is disk here? >> well, i think one of the things and mcgregor skinner was talking to me about this, he says we have a lot of similar things going on with mosquitoes. we have dengue fever, yellow fever, chicken, and you can use the knowledge we have to combat these other motorcycle toe illness to his help move things along with the zika virus. >> vehicle a is from the place where some of that research takes place. >> yes, a place called the zika for nest uganda where it was originally discovered in 1947. since then, it's a small forest, like 62 acres, it is protected and it is only used for
12:39 am
research. by the government of uganda. and they research mosquitoes specifically because there are like 40 different kind of mosquitoes in this small area. >> 40 variety is of mosquitoes all of which may be carrying different kind of illnesses. >> right. >> i didn't know even know there were that many kind of mosquitoes. talk about this one being very aggressive. >> very aggressive. we have these all over the united states, they are aggressive, they -- even when you look at them they are more robust that is the average mosquito. they have describes, sometimes they are called the tiger mosquito. they can particularly problematic because as they have evolved, they have learn today do things like breed without much water. even when you give people these instructions of, you know, get rid of standing water it doesn't take very much for this particular type of mosquito breed. mcgregor skinner told us as little as a tiny vase of flowers is enough. but it brought up something really interesting. he said there is this whole program in place that they have been working on for years to --
12:40 am
it's an insect sterility program, so they infect the mosquitoes and then the mosquitoes become sterile. and her eggs cannot hatch. and it's had some tremendous success he said and he would like to see that used on a much broader scale around the world. he thinks that's the way to really tack it. get at the heart of this with the mosquitoes stop the breeding. >> bug birth corollas it were. >> exactly. >> could make a big difference. "america tonight's" lisa fletcher, thanks. next on the program a look at the other dangers crossing the border. and making texas a hotspot for a growing number of tropical diseases. later here iowa ground zero at the start of primary season. and it's unlikely community of voters targeted in the political fray. hot on america tonight's website faith and the future. young nun, a new generation committing her life to god. at
12:41 am
>> that's the kind of debate that we need to have. >> stay with al jazeera america for... >> it's going to be about getting people out to the caucus, which is not an easy thing to do. >> comprehensive coverage that's... >> the focus will be on south carolina tonight.
12:42 am
12:43 am
♪ now what looks like another health crisis that's emerging in communities across the country. we just heard about the sudden and ominous spread of the zika virus. there are also increasing reports that even the small sting of those mow mosquitoes cn create a an enduring legacy of other very serious illnesses, even death.
12:44 am
zika has emerged as a particularly dangerous concern for the unborn babies of travelers. but america tonight's michael found that there are many other nightmare diseases things that you probably never thought would be a problem in this country now traveling across our borders. >> reporter: martin is on the move. trying to corral killers roaming around houston. >> we are on our way, we'll be there in around if 15 minutes. >> reporter: this is what he's looking for. mosquitoes. culprits behind a growing public health crisis. mosquitoes are now testing positive for tropical diseases which are spreading across america. houston is now one of the world's top 10 hot zones for tropical diseases. that's why he is out every day checking some of the county's 268 mosquito traps. these are these mosquitoes enemy number one for you? >> because they are the ones that cause these illnesses. >> reporter: and it these illnesses are serious?
12:45 am
>> they are serious. illnesses you are more likely to associate with subsaharan africa than houston, texas. >> all of the bottom billion. the billion people who live on no money has at least one of these neglected tropical diseases. >> reporter: including 12 million americans nearly all undiagnosed. according to baylor college's dr. pete h pita one of the expen agree neglected trop dal diseases did he deflected because there is so little research being done on them and no medicines aura proved vaccines. >> i thought when we started finding widespread tropical see ceases bay year after i moved here in houston and texas i thought people will really care about this issue. it's just the opposite. nobody cared. >> reporter: why? because most victims are poor. not exactly the ideal demographic for big pharma, says the doctor. he showed us why some impoverished areas in america like this one in houston are
12:46 am
breeding grounds for neglected tropical diseases. >> on the left-hand side is piles of discarded tires think while they are considered dez diseases of poverty. they are also perceived as an immigrants problem. >> we have to get over this mentality that these are not diseases that are coming across our southern border. they are for the most part diseases where we are having transmission here in the united states. >> reporter: case in point, candace stark, born and raised in texas. >> i did not live in a mud hut. i live right here in texas. i grew up in a brick home. i don't live in poverty. i have never even been on a cruise so i have never left and we want to another country. >> reporter: and yet. >> and yet i have [ inaudible ] >> reporter: it's blood-born and causes heart disease. it can go undetected for decades. two years ago stark happen today learn that she had it after
12:47 am
donating blood. you know that you must have come in to contact with some kind of so-called kissing bug. >> that's right. that's right. >> reporter: and sometimes a kiss isn't just a kiss. >> no, it's not. this is a deadly kiss. >> reporter: typically found in most of latin america, kissing bugs are now popping up in the u.s. and spreading the disease. the c.d.c. estimates 300,000 people in america have the disease. a number considered to be grossly underestimated by the doctor's team at baylor. here they are studying the bugs as part of the research. >> it's huge. imagine that being on your face at night while you are asleep it. can either bite close to your libs -- >> is that where it tries to go? >> yes. >> reporter: is it trying to get to your lip? >> it goes towards your lip that's why it's called a kissing bug. the pug carries parasites those fast-twitching objects you see which enter the bloodstream and eat the cells surrounding the heart. a third of its victims will
12:48 am
develop heart disease. this is a mouse heart with the disease. >> see how it's die dye lated and it stops beating. >> reporter: my goodness. >> the point is this is not a rare disease, 9.4 million people living in poverty value this disease. >> reporter: frustrated by the lack of attention these diseases are getting. he helped establish the national school of tropical medicine at baylor. the only one of its kind in north. the doctor and its team are doing what big parma isn't. so what happens hooker? >> what we are doing is making vaccines. so far they have made six, they are still in the testing phase but making progress, he warns the afternoons these diseases go i don't understand film there is a huge social affect as well. >> they cause poverty because they make people too six to go to work. >> reporter: most doctors don't
12:49 am
screen for neglected tropical diseases, many patients will die never knowing why. you could say candace is among the lucky ones. if it's going to affect my heart i want to know. i don't want it to sneak up on me and i die from a heart attack and not have plans for my children. i have already increased my life insurance. because i don't know when it's going to happen. >> reporter: an innocent victim finally sounding at large. so that more unsuspecting people don't die. michael, al jazeera. next a turn to the center of the political universe right now. iowa home of the nation's first vote of the campaign season. and an unlikely faith community there in the center of a political fray.
12:50 am
12:51 am
12:52 am
♪ ♪ so this is it, with the first of the nation caucus voting iowa's neighbor-to-neighbor begins the presidential race. what's proving to be a hot topic in the heartland, islam. faith and values voters who fear that in campaign 2016, they will be left behind. this is all you might expect to hear along the lonely roads of eastern iowa. but listen more closely and you
12:53 am
might discover something unexpected. a call to prayer. that's drawn the faithful to this community along the cedar river for more than a century. what did you think when you first saw cedar rapids, iowa? >> i couldn't believe all the corn. it was all corn, corn, corn. and it just took forever. >> born in lebanon, her parents brought her to detroit when she was just nine. but she found her true american home as an 18-year-old bride in eastern iowa. in the community that built the very first mosque in the americas. the mother mosque. >> it's not where most people in
12:54 am
other parts of the country think they are going to find the mother mosque. >> well, it was the first mosque in the western hemisphere and five families built that mosque. because they had the drive and the determination to raise their children as muslims. >> local lore says it was the lebanese christians who encouraged muslim to his come here in the late 1800s to join them as pedalers, small merchants, among the iowa farmlands. over the century, they integrated cedar rapids' faith community, but never abandoned their own. you are eye good muslim who sends out christmas cards? >> yes, why not. >> in her holiday greetings, she reminds her friends of the close connection between islam and christianity. >> his name will be christ, jesus, the son of mary held in honor in this world and thereafter. >> from the koran. >> from the koran, the chapter
12:55 am
3.45. >> here in cedar rapids, the faithful have long lived and even died in harmony. divisions were few, the cemeteries were generation after generation of muslims, chews, czechs and bohemian honored their bed all lying next to each other. along with the calm has been the sound of success. this company cedar graphics, started as a print shop tucked in the back of his grandfather's grocery. it's hard to believe that from those kinds of roots you end up with something like this. >> well mark i gran grandfathers an entrepreneur. >> today the business employs 100 in suburban cedar rapids and just bought out another iowa company. >> i can credit my grand father for a lot of that because he had the entrepreneurial spirit.
12:56 am
>> so like any immigrant to america. >> like any immigrant. the land of freedom and opportunity and they came with nothing and you know, the story can be duplicate aid million times. >> they just happen to come from -- >> they just happen today come from syria. >> your story is is not different from anything other kid growing up in iowa? >> i just couldn't drink pork or drink alcohol. >> are different pressures in muslims in now? >> if you go about your normal life and never go online and go to any of the news outlets or watch tv, you wouldn't notice a difference is, if it wasn't for that i would say, no, there is no difference. >> but he says there is just for way for iowa muslim to his stay silent in this time. >> now we have to spends our time and energy explaining what islam is. people just won't listen, they don't care. they have an image about what a muslim, is they are thinking about what they see and read in
12:57 am
the media. >> that's underscored by the service at the islamic center in cedar rapids where he worships. and is he surrounded by family at worship. and where they encourage worshiper ises to share their faith. >> we have seen people saying horrible things about muslims and american muslim because they don't know us, they hear story about his us, but they never know who we are. this is eye time we should show people islam through our actio actions. >> at the send leaders say the worst attacks so far have been no more than nasty comments, but as the presidential candidates amp up the verbal strikes on muslims, the faithful here are braced for the possibilities of more trouble.
12:58 am
do you think this endangers people in your community? >> absolutely. yes, we are. >> does it micah iow iowans hate muslims? >> no doubt it will raise some hate, raise some fear and raise some trouble to the muslims and, ing. >> and what will your community do? >> all we will do is pray. >> she praise too. hoping keep the hate at a distance. does it make you angry? >> no, it makes me sad. it really does. it makes me worry. it's very heartbreaking for us. at my age, i am not worried about what will happen to me. but i am thinking about my grandchildren and great grandchildren growing up.
12:59 am
>> what does make you worry about? >> if we get one of those presidents what will happen to us. what will happen to us? are they going to close our mosques? so our driver's licenses and show our social security numbers when we have to go somewhere. this is what makes me sad. that's what upsets me. >> real fears in this political season. that's "america tonight" please tell us what you think at you can talk to us on twitter or facebook. and come back we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow.
1:00 am
>> previously on hard earned. >> my father said something to me that tore me down. you have been a f*ák up. >> this is the one. this is the one. this is the one.