The Credo Current – September 18
Today’s post provides you with background information on items that are in the news this week.
Congratulations to Mei Xiang, a giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo who gave birth on Sunday night. Giant pandas belong to the family Ursidae, the bear family, although there is some controversy over whether they’re more closely related to bears or raccoons. Giant pandas are an endangered species: their habitats are shrinking as people cut down the bamboo forests they feed on, poachers kill pandas for their fur, and pandas naturally mate and give birth very rarely. So it’s especially exciting when a panda gives birth, and Washington D.C.’s news channels are eagerly awaiting a glimpse of Mei Xiang’s cub.
West Nile Virus
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced in August that the outbreak the United States is currently experiencing is the largest in U.S. history. With over 2,600 cases and 118 deaths, it also has the highest death toll. One fifth of people infected with the virus develop West Nile fever, the symptoms of which include fever, headache, muscle ache, joint pain, nausea and vomiting, and in some cases rash and swollen glands. West Nile virus is most often spread through mosquito bites and can also be carried by several common North American birds, including the blue jay, crow and house sparrow.
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