Category Archives: Infectious Diseases

Malaria outbreak in Limpopo and Mpumalanga

Malaria outbreak in Limpopo and Mpumalanga Following the malaria outbreaks in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, there has been daily monitoring of the developments through the district outbreak response meetings. However, the overall number of reported malaria cases has declined in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo over the past two weeks. There have been a high number of malaria cases in South Africa in the 2016/17 season, compared to the previous season. This has been attributed to the rise in ambient temperature, rainfall and humidity.…

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Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

On 9 May 2017, WHO was informed of a cluster of undiagnosed illness and deaths including haemorrhagic symptoms in Likati Health Zone, Bas Uele Province in the north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bordering Central African Republic. Since 22 April, nine cases including three deaths have been reported. Six cases are currently hospitalized. On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of DRC informed WHO that of the five samples collected from suspected cases, one tested positive by RT-PCR for Ebola…

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WHO supports proposed sugar-sweetened beverages tax in South Africa

The World Health Organization supports the consideration of Government of South Africa of introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) to help reduce excessive sugar intake. This is one of interventions proposed in the Strategy for the prevention and control of obesity in South Africa 2015-2020. WHO has supported introduction of such taxes since it was proposed by the National Treasury in August 2016. WHO’s Representative to South Africa, Dr Rufaro Chatora, took part in a parliamentary hearing held on 31 January to discuss…

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Final trial results confirm Ebola vaccine provides high protection against disease

{{unknown}}An experimental Ebola vaccine was highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea, according to results published today in The Lancet. The vaccine is the first to prevent infection from one of the most lethal known pathogens, and the findings add weight to early trial results published last year. The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, was studied in a trial involving 11,841 people in Guinea during 2015. Among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were recorded 10 days or…

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WHO and partners immunized over 155 000 migrant children through special vaccination posts in South Sudan

In response to the poliomyelitis outbreak associated with type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) and ambiguous vaccine derived polio virus (aVDPVs)  identified in Unity state,  the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with Ministry of Health and partners immunized over 155 000 migrant children under the age of 15 through special vaccination posts. Type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) and ambiguous vaccine derived polio virus (aVDPVs) was being detected in September 2014 and April 2015 respectively. Widespread displacement and continual population movements due to ongoing…

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National World AIDS Day 2016

World AIDS Day is commemorated each year on 1 December. The National Department of Health appeals to all South Africans to remember the importance of this day and support those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Under the theme “It Is In Our Hands To End HIV and TB”, communities are encouraged to care of their health by getting tested, practising safe sex and taking treatment. Media is invited to support and participate in the following activities on the day Activities for the day…

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World Antibiotic Awareness Week – 14-20 November 2016

World Antibiotic Awareness Week is being marked 14-20 November 2016. Antibiotics have saved millions of people’s lives from infections that were once deadly. We have come to rely on antibiotics in modern medicine and agriculture, to treat humans and animals that are sick and to prevent others from becoming infected. But they are losing their power, as ‘superbugs’ that resist treatment develop and spread, due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals. We must change the way that we use these…

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WHO report warns global actions and investments to end TB epidemic are falling far short

New data published by the World Health Organization  (WHO) in its 2016 Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report show that countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets. Governments have agreed on targets to end the TB epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. They include a 90% reduction in TB deaths and an 80% reduction in TB cases by…

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At UN, global leaders commit to act on antimicrobial resistance Collective effort to address a challenge to health, food security, and development

World leaders today signalled an unprecedented level of attention to curb the spread of infections that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi develop resistance against medicines that were previously able to cure them. For the first time, Heads of State committed to taking a broad, coordinated approach to address the root causes of AMR across multiple sectors, especially human health, animal health and agriculture. This is only the fourth time a health issue has been taken…

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WHO – updated Zika situation report – 15 September 2016

Key updates Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past week: None Countries in the Western Pacific Region have been reporting new cases as seen in Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. Countries and territories reporting microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week: None Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:…

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WHO – updated Zika causality statement on the evidence for a causal link to congenital brain abnormalities and GBS

Since 2013, an unexpected rise in the number of reported cases of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome2 (GBS) in French Polynesia, Brazil and other countries in the Americas led specialists to infer a link with an ongoing outbreak of Zika virus infection. Reports of unexpected increases in cases of microcephaly in north-eastern Brazil also led to the suggestion of a link to Zika virus infection in late 2015. On 1 December 2015, PAHO/WHO published an alert regarding the implications for public health of the detection…

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Millions protected in Africa’s largest-ever emergency yellow fever vaccination campaign

A major part of the largest emergency vaccination campaign against yellow fever ever attempted in Africa has been completed, with more than 7.7 million people vaccinated in record time in the city of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In less than two weeks, the campaign successfully reached the targeted population of Kinshasa, most of them (7.3 million people) using an emergency vaccine – one fifth of the full dose of yellow fever vaccine. This dose sparing strategy was recommended by the WHO Strategic Advisory…

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SA implement Test & Treat for HIV positive patients

The National Department of Health will from September 1, 2016 offer test and treat for all HIV positive patients in line with the World Health Organization’s guidelines. In December 2015 the World Health Organisation announced new guidelines for the treatment of people living with HIV based on new research that found that initiating patients diagnosed with HIV as soon as possible, regardless of CD4 levels or WHO staging was beneficial. In line with the WHO guidelines, Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi announced during his…

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Growing antibiotic resistance forces updates to recommended treatment for sexually transmitted infections

WHO releases new treatment guidelines for chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis New guidelines for the treatment of three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have been issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis are all caused by bacteria and they are generally curable with antibiotics. However, these STIs often go undiagnosed and they are becoming more difficult to treat, with some antibiotics now failing as a result of misuse and overuse. It is estimated…

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Mass vaccination campaign to protect millions against yellow fever in Angola and Democratic Republic of the Congo

One of the largest emergency vaccination campaigns ever attempted in Africa will start in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo this week as WHO and partners work to curb a yellow fever outbreak that has killed more than 400 people and sickened thousands more. Working with Ministries of Health in the 2 countries, WHO is coordinating 56 global partners to vaccinate more than 14 million people against yellow fever in more than 8000 locations. The yellow fever outbreak has found its way to dense,…

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Government of Nigeria Reports Two Wild Poliovirus Cases, First Since July 2014

After more than two years without wild poliovirus in Nigeria, the Government reported today that two children have been paralyzed by the disease in the northern Borno state. As an immediate priority, the Government of Nigeria is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to respond urgently and prevent more children from being paralyzed. These steps include conducting large-scale immunization campaigns and strengthening surveillance systems that help catch the virus early. These activities are also being…

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WHO encourages countries to act now to reduce deaths from viral hepatitis

Ahead of World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging countries to take rapid action to improve knowledge about the disease, and to increase access to testing and treatment services. Today, only 1 in 20 people with viral hepatitis know they have it. And just 1 in 100 with the disease is being treated. “The world has ignored hepatitis at its peril,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “It is time to mobilize a global response to hepatitis on the scale…

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Special Assignment

Access / Equity / Rights / Now!

‘We are going to shake the government, our government, we are going to shake the United Nations Aids Programme… we are going to make them all recognise that they must stop being complacent and just using clever words and clever terms and get this epidemic under control.’ Mark Heywood, Treatment Action Campaign and Section 27 Access / Equity / Rights / Now! A Special Assignment Investigation It is sixteen years since the global conference on Aids in Durban galvanised the world into dealing effectively with…

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WHO flags key challenges to global HIV response at International AIDS Conference

The World Health Organization is flagging 4 key challenges as the international community meets at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, from 18–22 July 2016. The Organization is highlighting the need to renew attention to HIV prevention, whilst maintaining momentum on scaling up access to HIV treatment. It is also signalling the growing emergence of antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance and the need for sustainable financing of the global response. “The enormous progress on HIV, particularly on treatment, is one of the big public…

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WHO confirms Zika virus strain imported from the Americas to Cabo Verde

Brazzaville / 20 May 2016 – Sequencing of the virus in Cabo Verde by Institut Pasteur, Dakar confirms that the Zika virus currently circulating in Cabo Verde is the same as the one circulating in the Americas – the Asian type- and was most likely imported from Brazil. This is the first time that the Zika strain responsible for the outbreaks linked to neurological disorders and microcephaly has been detected in Africa. “The findings are of concern because it is further proof that the outbreak…

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WHO/PAHO statement on Zika virus and the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) recognize that athletes and visitors are seeking more information on the risks of Zika and ways to prevent infection while attending the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games (5 August to 18 September 2016). Brazil is one of the 58 countries and territories which to-date report continuing transmission of Zika virus by mosquitoes. While mosquitoes are the primary vectors, a person infected with Zika virus can also transmit the virus to another person…

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1 year since lab confirmation of Brazil’s first Zika case

In early February 2015, doctors in the impoverished northeastern part of Brazil noticed a surge in the number of people complaining about a mild illness, with and without fever, characterized by rash, fatigue, joint pains, and red eyes. The illness was brief and recovery was spontaneous. A mild form of dengue, a mosquito-borne disease hyperendemic throughout the country, was initially suspected, but tests were negative in the vast majority of samples. Chikungunya, another mosquito-borne disease first detected in Africa in 1952, had hoped to Brazil…

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Yellow fever vaccination essential for Angola, WHO reminds travellers

26 APRIL 2016: GENEVA – As efforts to bring an outbreak of yellow fever in Angola under control continue, the World Health Organization is reminding all travellers to the country that they are required to receive the yellow fever vaccination and to have a valid certificate of vaccination to prove that they are protected from the disease and to prevent its further spread. Since the outbreak in Angola began in December 2015, 1975 suspected cases of yellow fever (618 laboratory confirmed) and 258 deaths have…

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Libya completes first polio campaign since 2014

21 April 2016 — More than one million children in Libya have been immunized against polio in a 5-day national campaign concluding today. The campaign is the first to be held in Libya since 2014. Approximately 2000 vaccinators in 600 health facilities around the country participated in the campaign which was conducted by the Ministry of Health’s National Centre for Disease Control, with support from WHO and UNICEF. “This is a truly significant achievement in ensuring Libya maintains its polio-free status,” said Dr Syed Jaffar…

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Angola extends yellow fever vaccination campaign to Huambo and Benguela provinces

As Angola grapples with its worst yellow fever outbreak in decades, the Ministry of Health, with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have extended the vaccination campaign beyond the capital Luanda into Huambo and Benguela – 2 of the other 5 provinces reporting local transmission. Since the outbreak began in December 2015, 1908 suspected cases of yellow fever have been reported (617 laboratory confirmed) and 250 deaths have been reported. The majority of the cases are concentrated in Luanda and in…

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