WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today declared the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
“It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts. We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system,” said Dr. Tedros. “Extraordinary work has been done for almost a year under the most difficult circumstances. We all owe it to these responders — coming from not just WHO but also government, partners and communities — to shoulder more of the burden.”
The declaration followed a meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee for EVD in the DRC. The Committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost two million people on the border with Rwanda, and the gateway to the rest of DRC and the world.
This was the fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee since the outbreak was declared on 1 August 2018.
The Committee expressed disappointment about delays in funding which have constrained the response. They also reinforced the need to protect livelihoods of the people most affected by the outbreak by keeping transport routes and borders open. It is essential to avoid the punitive economic consequences of travel and trade restrictions on affected communities.
“It is important that the world follows these recommendations. It is also crucial that states do not use the PHEIC as an excuse to impose trade or travel restrictions, which would have a negative impact on the response and on the lives and livelihoods of people in the region,” said Professor Robert Steffen, chair of the Emergency Committee.
Since it was declared almost a year ago the outbreak has been classified as a level 3 emergency – the most serious – by WHO, triggering the highest level of mobilization from WHO. The UN has also recognized the seriousness of the emergency by activating the Humanitarian System-wide Scale-Up to support the Ebola response.
In recommending a PHEIC the committee made specific recommendations related to this outbreak.
“This is about mothers, fathers and children – too often entire families are stricken. At the heart of this are communities and individual tragedies,” said Dr. Tedros. “The PHEIC should not be used to stigmatize or penalize the very people who are most in need of our help.”
Courtesy of who.int
Twelve people have died of a rare bacterial infection that has spread in Essex.
There have been 32 reported cases of the disease, called invasive Group A streptococcus (iGAS), the NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group has confirmed.
It said the outbreak started in Braintree and has since spread to the Chelmsford and Maldon areas.
The bacteria can be found in the throat and on the skin and people may carry it without displaying any symptoms.
It can live in throats and on hands for long enough to allow it to be spread between people through sneezing, kissing and skin contact.
In a report, the clinical commissioning group said the “sometimes life-threatening GAS disease may occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs”.
It said that “most of the patients affected are elderly and had been receiving care for chronic wounds, in the community, either in their own homes and some in care homes”.
An incident management team has been established to “control the incident and closely monitor the situation”.
Rachel Hearn, director of nursing and quality, Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Our thoughts are with the families of those patients who have died.
“The risk of contracting iGAS is very low for the vast majority of people and treatment with antibiotics is very effective if started early.
“We will continue to work with our partners in Public Health England to investigate how this outbreak occurred and take every possible step to ensure our local community is protected.”
Courtesy of Sky News
At least 92 people have died in Bihar, India as the severe heatwave takes hold which is also affecting most of India.
The country is experiencing droughts and hundreds of cases of heatstroke.
Other deaths have been recorded in Aurangabad, Gaya, and Nawada, where temperatures have been around 45C.
At least 562 people have endured heatstroke and admitted to various hospitals.
Government officials fear the death toll will rise.
Two more hospital patients have died after eating pre-packaged sandwiches and salads linked to an outbreak of listeria.
It takes the number of deaths to five, among nine cases in all of the bacteria infecting patients, Public Health England (PHE) said.
The source of the infection is understood to relate to products supplied by The Good Food Chain and the affected ones have since been removed from hospitals.
PHE said evidence suggests all of those who died consumed the products before the withdrawal happened on 25 May.
The first three confirmed victims were at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool.
It is not yet known where the latest two victims were receiving treatment, but PHE said there are seven trusts across the country dealing with listeria cases.
One is believed to have died after the first three confirmed cases, while the other died before.
The first case showed symptoms on 25 April and sandwiches and salads were withdrawn on 25 May.
It is understood that some of the products were sold at hospitals while others were given to patients.
The supplier, The Good Food Chain, meat producer North Country Cooked Meats and distributor North Country Quality Foods have voluntarily ceased production during the investigation.
PHE said: “Whilst any risk to the public remains low, PHE’s Whole Genome Sequencing analysis has identified an additional three cases of listeria linked to this outbreak.
“This brings the total number of confirmed cases to nine. All of the cases of listeria infection were in hospital patients in England.
“Sadly, one of the seriously ill six patients PHE confirmed last week has since died.
“One of the patients confirmed today as linked to the outbreak had already died. This brings the number of deaths linked to this outbreak to five.”
Dr Nick Phin, deputy director at the national infection service at PHE, said: “To date, there have been no patients linked to this incident outside healthcare organisations, but we continue to investigate.
The Good Food Chain said: “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the families of those who have died and anyone else who has been affected by this outbreak. The underlying cause of it remains unclear.
“For our part, we are co-operating fully and transparently with the FSA (Food Standards Agency) and other authorities, and will continue to do so”.
Listeria bacteria can cause listeriosis – a form of food poisoning – and can be found in unpasteurised milk and chilled foods, such as pate, certain cheeses, cold meats and smoked salmon.
It is usually not dangerous for healthy individuals, but can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
But for people with pre-existing health conditions and weaker immune systems, the infection can prove more serious.
It is most likely to be found in pregnant women, young babies and the elderly.
Courtesy of Sky News
#BubonicPlague outbreak sees medics board #plane and #quarantine #passengers who flew from #Mongolian region
This is the alarming moment that paramedics in hazmat suits were forced to board a plane in Mongolia amid fears of a bubonic plague outbreak.
Emergency workers intercepted the domestic flight at the airport in the capital Ulaanbaatar, after a husband and wife died of the contagious disease in the region where the flight originated.
According to reports they had eaten contaminated meat from a marmot, a large squirrel.
Eleven passengers from the west of the country were held at the airport and sent immediately for hospital checks while others were examined at the airport.
Alarming: Paramedics wearing hazmat suits board a flight in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar
Paramedics in anti-contamination suits boarded the flight from provincial outposts Bayan, Ulgii and Khovd as soon as it landed.
Some 158 people have been put under intensive medical supervision in Bayan-Ulgii province after coming into contact directly or indirectly with the couple who died.
Some frontier check points with Russia are reported to have been closed leading to foreign tourists being stranded in Mongolia.
A man named Citizen T, aged 38, died on April 27 after hunting and eating marmot meat.
His pregnant wife, 37, died three days later, reported The Siberian Times, leaving their four children orphaned.
Top medic Dr N. Tsogbadrakh said the plague had ‘affected the man’s stomach’ after he ate the meat and gave it to his wife.
The bubonic plague can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organisation.
It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is usually found in small mammals and their fleas.
The bacterium was linked to the Black Death which wiped out more than a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century and to subsequent plague outbreaks.
The disease is now treatable with antibiotics but hundreds of people have died of it around the world in recent years.
Since the 1990s, most human cases have occurred in Africa, according to world health bosses.
Courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
#Children Rushed to Hospital Due to #ChemicalLeak in #SwimmingPool’ in #Letterkenny, #Donegal, #Ireland
A large number of children have reportedly been taken ill at an Irish leisure centre due to a suspected chemical leak in the swimming pool. Several emergency services vehicles have been seen outside the Aura Leisure Centre, in Letterkenny, Donegal.
Three children were rushed to hospital, while another 50 to 60 were treated on site after the incident, Donegal Daily reports. One mother told the publication how her son had been diving in when they first spotted a ‘dark fluid’ coming into the pool under the water. She said: ‘Kids were screaming and running around. Some dark brown fluid came in the pool and the staff took them out.
‘Kids were sick, coughing and vomiting. The kids were all shaking and scared.’ Around 100 people were evacuated from the leisure centre. The mother said she was told to go home with her children, but said others were taken to hospital. The area has now been closed off to the public.
Courtesy of metro.co.uk