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Posts Tagged ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’

WHO Declares Microcephaly Cluster a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’

Posted by feww on February 2, 2016

Experts ‘strongly suspect’ causal relationship between Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly

WHO convened an Emergency Committee, under the International Health Regulations, to gather advice on the severity of the health threat associated with the continuing spread of Zika virus disease in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some 18 experts and advisers assessed “the strong association, in time and place, between infection with the Zika virus and a rise in detected cases of congenital malformations and neurological complications,” and agreed that a causal relationship between Zika infection during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected, though not yet scientifically proven, said WHO in a statement posted online.

After a review of the evidence, the Committee advised that the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes an “extraordinary event” and a public health threat to other parts of the world.

Members of the Committee agreed that “a coordinated international response was needed to minimize the threat in affected countries and reduce the risk of further international spread,” and that the “situation meets the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” said WHO.

“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” said WHO Director-General.

WHO did not elaborate as to why the Committee had “found no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus.”

Countries that have past or current evidence of Zika virus transmission

AFRICA: Angola*, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt*, Ethiopia*, Gabon, Gambia*, Kenya*, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone*, Somalia*, Tanzania*, Uganda and Zambia*.

AMERICAS: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Suriname and Venezuela.

OCEANIA/PACIFIC ISLANDS: Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

ASIA: Cambodia, India*, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan*, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam*.

[*For these countries, the only evidence of Zika virus transmission is from studies that detected Zika virus antibodies in healthy people.  These studies cannot determine where the people were infected or if they were infected with Zika virus because the antibodies may have resulted from infections with other closely related viruses, such as dengue virus.]

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Ebola Outbreak Declared Global Health Emergency

Posted by feww on August 8, 2014

EMERGING & RE-EMERGING INFECTIOUS DISEASES
VIRAL HEMORRHAGIC FEVERS
DEADLY EBOLA HF EPIDEMIC
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN WEST AFRICA
GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY
SCENARIOS 797, 444, 080, 011
.

The largest ever Ebola outbreak continues spreading

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern,’ under the International Health Regulations.

Earlier this week, the organization released the following statistics concerning the deadly outbreak:

  • No of reported infection: 1,779 cases (including confirmed and probable cases)
  • No of mortalities: At least 960
  • Cases reported in Nigeria, the most recent country to be affected

The WHO director-general called the outbreak the “most complex outbreak in the four decades of this disease.”

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF)

EHF is a highly contagious virus that spreads via close personal contact and kills up to 90% of the victims.

Five subspecies of Ebolavirus have so far been found. Four of those have caused disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans, according to CDC.

  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and damage to central nervous system.
  • There are  no known cure or vaccine for the Ebola virus.
  • Incubation period is from two to 21 days.

In Africa, confirmed cases of Ebola HF have previously been reported in the following countries:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  • Gabon
  • South Sudan
  • Ivory Coast
  • Uganda
  • Republic of the Congo (ROC)
  • South Africa (imported)

The current outbreak  is the first known occurrence of Ebola HF in Guinea.

“The natural reservoir host of ebolaviruses, and the manner in which transmission of the virus to humans occurs, remain unknown. This makes risk assessment in endemic areas difficult. With the exception of several laboratory contamination cases (one in England and two in Russia), all cases of human illness or death have occurred in Africa; no case has been reported in the United States,” said CDC.

Ebola_2_thumb_colorized
Ebola virions (image 2 colorized 1), diagnostic specimen from the first passage in Vero cells of a specimen from a human patient — this image is from the first isolation and visualization of Ebola virus, 1976. In this case, some of the filamentous virions are fused together, end-to-end, giving the appearance of a “bowl of spaghetti.” Negatively stained virions. Magnification: approximately x40,000.  Micrograph from F. A. Murphy, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.

Affected Countries [August 4, 2014]

Guinea

Liberia

Nigeria

Sierra Leone

12 deadly pathogens could spread into new regions aided by climate change

A report by Wildlife Conservation Society released on October 7, 2008 lists 12 deadly pathogens that could spread globally as a result of climate change. “All have potential impacts to both human and wildlife health as well as global economies.” Report said.

Titled ‘The Deadly Dozen: Wildlife Diseases in the Age of Climate Change,’ the report illustrates examples of diseases that could spread due to temperatures changes and variations in regional precipitation levels.

The “Deadly Dozen” list [ABC order]

  1. Avian influenza
  2. Babesia
  3. Cholera
  4. Ebola
  5. Intestinal and external parasites
  6. Lyme disease
  7. Plague
  8. Red tides
  9. Rift Valley fever
  10. Sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis)
  11. Tuberculosis
  12. Yellow fever

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