Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Federated States of Micronesia


Zika virus was discovered in Uganda in 1947 and is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which also act as vectors for dengue and chikungunya viruses throughout much of the tropical world. In 2007, an outbreak in the Federated States of Micronesia sparked public health concern. In 2013, the virus began to spread across other parts of Oceania and in 2015, a large outbreak in Latin America began in Brazil. Possible associations with microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome observed in this outbreak have raised concerns about continued global spread of Zika virus, prompting its declaration as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization. We conducted species distribution modelling to map environmental suitability for Zika. We show a large portion of tropical and sub-tropical regions globally have suitable environmental conditions with over 2.17 billion people inhabiting these areas.

Concepts: AIDS, Public health, United States, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Brazil, World Health Organization, Federated States of Micronesia


The taxonomy, biology, and population status of flying foxes (Pteropus spp.) remain little investigated in the Caroline Islands, Micronesia, where multiple endemic taxa occur. Our study evaluated the taxonomic relationships between the flying foxes of the Mortlock Islands (a subgroup of the Carolines) and two closely related taxa from elsewhere in the region, and involved the first ever field study of the Mortlock population. Through a review of historical literature, the name Pteropus pelagicus Kittlitz, 1836 is resurrected to replace the prevailing but younger name Pteropus phaeocephalus Thomas, 1882 for the flying fox of the Mortlocks. On the basis of cranial and external morphological comparisons, Pteropus pelagicus is united taxonomically with Pteropus insularis “Hombron and Jacquinot, 1842” (with authority herein emended to Jacquinot and Pucheran 1853), and the two formerly monotypic species are now treated as subspecies - Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus in the Mortlocks, and Pteropus phaeocephalus insularis on the islands of Chuuk Lagoon and Namonuito Atoll. The closest relative of Pteropus pelagicus is Pteropus tokudae Tate, 1934, of Guam, which is best regarded as a distinct species. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus is the only known resident bat in the Mortlock Islands, a chain of more than 100 atoll islands with a total land area of <12 km(2). Based on field observations in 2004, we estimated a population size of 925-1,200 bats, most of which occurred on Satawan and Lukunor Atolls, the two largest and southernmost atolls in the chain. Bats were absent on Nama Island and possibly extirpated from Losap Atoll in the northern Mortlocks. Resident Mortlockese indicated bats were more common in the past, but that the population generally has remained stable in recent years. Most Pteropus phaeocephalus pelagicus roosted alone or in groups of 5-10 bats; a roost of 27 was the largest noted. Diet is comprised of at least eight plant species, with breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.) being a preferred food. Records of females with young (April, July) and pregnant females (July) suggest an extended breeding season. Pteropus pelagicus pelagicus appears most threatened by the prospect of sea level rise associated with global climate change, which has the potential to submerge or reduce the size of atolls in the Mortlocks. Occasional severe typhoons probably temporarily reduce populations on heavily damaged atolls, but hunting and ongoing habitat loss are not current problems for the subspecies.

Concepts: Caroline Islands, Atoll, Pteropus, Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk, Namonuito Atoll, Yap, Pohnpei


Nine suvanine analogs including suvanine phenethylammonium salt and two new compounds were isolated from the marine sponge Coscinoderma sp., collected from Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by 2D NMR and HRMS analyses. Suvanine and a new analog exhibited weak but selective cytotoxicity against colon (HCT-15), lung (NCI-H23), stomach (NUGC-3), and prostate (PC-3) cancer cell lines.

Concepts: Cell, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Prostate cancer, U.S. state, Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk


Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 (1). Before 2007, only sporadic human disease cases were reported from countries in Africa and Asia. In 2007, the first documented outbreak of Zika virus disease was reported in Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia; 73% of the population aged ≥3 years is estimated to have been infected (2). Subsequent outbreaks occurred in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific (3). In May 2015, the World Health Organization reported the first local transmission of Zika virus in the Region of the Americas (Americas), with autochthonous cases identified in Brazil (4). In December, the Ministry of Health estimated that 440,000-1,300,000 suspected cases of Zika virus disease had occurred in Brazil in 2015 (5). By January 20, 2016, locally-transmitted cases had been reported to the Pan American Health Organization from Puerto Rico and 19 other countries or territories in the Americas* (Figure) (6). Further spread to other countries in the region is being monitored closely.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Infection, United States, England, Brazil, Islam, Latin America, Federated States of Micronesia


Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus (arbovirus) belonging to the Flaviviridae family and Flavivirus genus. ZIKV was first isolated from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947 [1]. Subsequently, sporadic human infections were reported in Africa and Asia. In 2007, the first large documented ZIKV outbreak was reported from Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia [2]. No further transmission was identified in the Pacific until October 2013 when French Polynesia (FP) reported the first cases; a subsequent explosive outbreak resulted in an estimated 28,000 cases seeking medical care (~11% of the population) [3,4]. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Pacific Ocean, Oceania, All rights reserved, Caroline Islands, Copyright, Polynesia, Federated States of Micronesia, Yap


An epidemic of Zika virus (ZIKV) illness that occurred in July 2007 on Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia prompted entomological studies to identify both the primary vector(s) involved in transmission and the ecological parameters contributing to the outbreak. Larval and pupal surveys were performed to identify the major containers serving as oviposition habitat for the likely vector(s). Adult mosquitoes were also collected by backpack aspiration, light trap, and gravid traps at select sites around the capital city. The predominant species found on the island was Aedes (Stegomyia) hensilli. No virus isolates were obtained from the adult field material collected, nor did any of the immature mosquitoes that were allowed to emerge to adulthood contain viable virus or nucleic acid. Therefore, laboratory studies of the probable vector, Ae. hensilli, were undertaken to determine the likelihood of this species serving as a vector for Zika virus and other arboviruses. Infection rates of up to 86%, 62%, and 20% and dissemination rates of 23%, 80%, and 17% for Zika, chikungunya, and dengue-2 viruses respectively, were found supporting the possibility that this species served as a vector during the Zika outbreak and that it could play a role in transmitting other medically important arboviruses.

Concepts: DNA, Biology, Virus, Mosquito, Nucleic acid, Aedes aegypti, Federated States of Micronesia, Yap


Chikungunya virus is a mosquito-borne alphavirus which causes an acute febrile illness associated with polyarthralgia. Beginning in August 2013, clinicians from the Yap State Department of Health in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) identified an unusual cluster of illness which was subsequently confirmed to be chikungunya virus disease. Chikungunya virus disease previously had not been recognized in FSM.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Arthralgia, Chikungunya, Alphavirus, O'nyong'nyong virus, Semliki Forest Virus, Federated States of Micronesia, Yap


The tropical alga previously recognized as Gibsmithia hawaiiensis (Dumontiaceae, Rhodophyta) was recently suggested to represent a complex of species distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean and characterized by a peculiar combination of hairy (pilose) gelatinous lobes growing on cartilaginous stalks. Phylogenetic reconstructions based on three genetic markers are presented here with the inclusion of new samples. Further diversity is reported within the complex, with nine lineages spread in four major phylogenetic groups. The threshold between intra- and interspecific relationships was assessed by species delimitation methods, which indicate the existence of 8-10 putative species in the complex. Two species belonging to the Gibsmithia hawaiiensis complex are described here: G. malayensis sp. nov. from the Coral Triangle and G. indopacifica sp. nov., widely distributed in the Central and Eastern Indo-Pacific. Morphological differences in the vegetative and reproductive structures of the newly described species are provided and compared to the previously described species of the complex. Additional lineages represent putative species, which await further investigation to clarify their taxonomic status. Gibsmithia hawaiiensis sensu stricto is confirmed to be endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, and G. eilatensis is apparently confined to the Red Sea, with an expanded distribution in the region. New records of the G. hawaiiensis complex are reported from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia, indicating that the complex is more broadly distributed than previously considered. The isolated position of Gibsmithia within the Dumontiaceae is corroborated by molecular data. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Algae, Species, Coral, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Egypt, Red Sea, Federated States of Micronesia


Background: Gynecologic cancers are common among Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (A/NH/PI) women. Prevention is important in United States associated Pacific Island jurisdictions (USAPIJ) because there are limited resources to treat cancer. The objective of this study was to educate A/NH/PI women and providers about evidence-based interventions to prevent and control gynecologic cancers in Yap, one of four major islands comprising the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). This was done through a partnership between Inside Knowledge: Get The Facts About Gynecologic Cancer national campaign and the Yap comprehensive cancer control program, both funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Methods: Inside Knowledge educational materials were obtained from the CDC website and used in facilitated educational sessions. Sessions were planned according to leading health education theories, and were implemented and led by local Yap public health practitioners. Pre- and post-session surveys were used to assess changes in gynecologic cancer awareness, confidence and behavioral intentions related to prevention/early detection for gynecologic cancer. Results: Twenty-nine providers and 326 adult women participated in sessions. All participants demonstrated significant increases in knowledge across all measured domains post-session. Public knowledge that HPV causes cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancer increased from 4.9% pre-session to 51.4% post-session (p<0.0001); provider knowledge increased from 17.2% to 96.6% (p<0.0001). Significantly more women identified smoking as a cervical cancer risk factor post-session (increased from 53.8% to 98.7% [p<0.0001]). An average of 61.4% of providers said they were extremely or somewhat confident in their gynecologic cancer knowledge pre-session compared to 91.7% post-session. Conclusion: Targeted education about gynecologic cancer symptoms and risk factors can be effective at increasing awareness, behavioral intention, confidence and knowledge. These increases can lead to more widespread prevention of these five cancers.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Human papillomavirus, Cervical cancer, The Canon of Medicine, United States, Endometrial cancer, Island, Federated States of Micronesia


There is very limited data available on the prevalence of Bancroftian filariasis in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Considerable attempts to eliminate the disease had occurred in the Pacific region by the year 2003, and the prevalence in FSM was thought to be sufficiently low that the region was considered non-endemic. However, a survey conducted in 2003 on an isolated atoll of FSM, Satawal Island, challenged that assumption.

Concepts: Pacific Ocean, Australia, Island, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia