June 19, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

On the news this week: Ebola outbreak in Congo; study shows large number of childhood cancer cases undiagnosed; and the global youth climate strike.

First up, the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is approaching 1000 cases, generating fear that the disease will soon become endemic in the country. The magnitude of the outbreak is thought to be contributed to by the civil unrest. Ebola treatment centres have been burnt down and bodies of victims have been found in their communities, not isolated during the later stages of the illness when the virus is at its most infectious. Ebola can be effectively treated if infected individuals make their way to hospitals during the early stages of the disease.


Next, a study published in The Lancet has revealed that up to 43% of childhood cancer cases remain undiagnosed globally, with the highest number being missed in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers at Harvard University compared official cancer registries to WHO data in order to make the estimates, which are much higher than previously predicted. As many children worldwide still do not have access to effective primary care, 170,000 children annually don’t end up getting referred on to specialists and the diagnosis is therefore missed. It is hoped that the study will be used to help guide efforts to appropriately increase health system capacity to ensure that every child has access to effective cancer care.


And finally, last Friday thousands of school pupils worldwide abandoned classrooms for a day of protest against climate change. The day of action was the biggest yet since the youth movement started in November last year, with strikes now appearing in over one hundred countries. The children are inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who protests weekly outside Sweden’s parliament. She has recently received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for her campaigning. The students are calling for governments to commit to reducing manmade climate change, before it’s too late.

This week’s news was presented and written by Madeleine Openshaw, Harry Lampert, and Gina Degtyareva, who are studying for a MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London.

Banner image: School Strike, Flickr