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WHO warns against spread of Ebola in Congo



GENEVA: An Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of the Congo has a high risk of spreading internally, the World Health Organization warned today ahead of a meeting on whether to declare it an event of international concern.

In a statement, the UN agency said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus would convene an emergency committee to discuss the matter.

He is due to speak to the media later on Friday. The fresh Ebola outbreak, publicly declared on May 8 with 23 deaths so far, was first reported in a rural part of Equateur Province in the vast country’s northwest but has now spread to the city of Mbandaka.

Mbandaka’s population has been variously estimated at between 700,000 and 1.2 million. Peter Salama, in charge of emergency response at the WHO, has said the spread to a city complicated the fight against Ebola, which depends on identifying and isolating suspected cases.

The city is on the banks of the Congo River which connects to the capital Kinshasa, hundreds of kilometers to the south, and also to surrounding countries, increasing the risk of a national and regional outbreak, according to WHO officials.

Ebola is lethal and highly contagious, which makes it difficult to contain – especially in urban environments where people are mobile and come into more contact with others. 

The Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed that a case of Ebola had been recorded in a northwest city, and a doctor there said several hundred people may have been in contact with people infected by the disease.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said, “two suspected cases of haemorragic fever” had been reported in the Wangata area of Mbandaka, a city about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the epicenter of the outbreak in the rural Equateur province. “One of the two samples tested positive for the Ebola virus,” he said in a statement.

The case was reported earlier by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), which expressed concern over the spread of the virus to a city – a development that typically makes it far tougher to fight a contagious disease.

“We estimate that more than 300 people have been in contact, directly or indirectly, with people contaminated by the Ebola virus in Mbandaka,” a doctor at the city’s general hospital told the Media.

The outbreak — the ninth in the DRC since Ebola was first identified as a disease in 1976 – is centered in remote Bikoro, near the border with the Republic of Congo. Out of 44 confirmed, probable or suspected cases, 23 have died, according to WHO figures.

The head of the World Health Organization was due in DR Congo to aid preparations for “all scenarios” in combatting the latest Ebola outbreak.

“WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on his way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the needs of the response first-hand. We are preparing for all scenarios,” the UN health agency said in a statement.

The outbreak in the region northeast of Kinshasa near the border with the Republic of Congo has so far killed 18 people around the town of Bikoro in Equateur province, according to the WHO.

A report from the provincial council of ministers said there were “three suspected cases” in the region’s capital Mbandaka, which has 700,000 inhabitants. WHO’s head of emergency response Peter Salama said Friday getting aid to the affected area was “extremely challenging” given its remoteness and lack of infrastructure.

“We know the number of suspected, probable and confirmed cases is significant. We are very concerned and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario,” he said. DRC health ministry Ebola responders have been dispatched to the affected area with a joint WHO and UNICEF team following.

“We are about to go to Bikoro after this stop at (regional capital) Mbandaka where we began the deployment of mobile labs to start analyses” of suspect cases,” Eugene Kabambi, leading the WHO communications team in DR Congo, told AFP Saturday, adding his team hoped to obtain results swiftly.






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Health sector being improved in GB: Secretary health



Health sector being improved in Gilgit Baltistan

ASTORE: Secretary Health Gilgit Baltistan Saeedullah Khan Thursday said the government was solid measures for the development of health sector.
As part of such efforts, the secretary health said district health officers had been directed to ensure that people had access to the medical facilities and there was no shortage of medicine.
He said that concerned staff of health sector pay visit the dispensaries and basic health units on regular basis and interact with patients to check service delivery.
He urged people to forward their suggestions or complains with regard to the health sector adding swift action would be taken for addressing their concerns.
He also warned staff in health facilities against strict action in case they were found in dereliction of their duties.

Meanwhile, President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz PML-N women wing of the district chapter Munira said Thursday Gilgit Baltistan government was committed to taking tangible measures for the socio-economic development of the
As part of such efforts, the PML-N leader told media, the government had initiated a number of projects for the welfare of the underprivileged areas of the country including Gilgit Baltistan, adding utmost efforts were made to protect rights and ensure justice for the women of the area.
She said that Chief Minister Gilgit Baltistan was taking much interest in the development of women in education health and social sector which were benefiting thousands of women in Gilgit Baltistan region.
Among other projects, she said, Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) had served as the social safety net which was targeting womenfolk by disbursing cash grants to empower them economically.
She said that he would take up the issues concerning women at all fora to resolving pending issues of women
in the district and initiate new welfare-oriented projects for them.

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Stressful life events not linked to increased cancer risk



ISLAMABAD: In the largest study of its kind, researchers have found that stressful life events are not linked to increased cancer risk.
“This study provided no evidence that a severe chronic stress disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with cancer incidence,” said corresponding author Jaimie Gradus, assistant professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in the US.
“The general public may have a perception that stress contributes to cancer occurrence and given the ubiquity of PTSD and cancer and their costs to individuals and society, any observed associations could have meaningful public health implications,” Gradus explained.
The association between stress and cancer has been discussed in the scientific literature for more than 70 years.
Despite plausible theories that would support this association, findings from clinical research have been mixed, said the study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
According to the researchers, the large sample and long study period allowed them to examine associations that have not been studied previously as they were able to look at rare cancer outcomes and associations among important subgroups.


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NIH asks citizens to take preventive measures against typhoid



ISLAMABAD: The Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division (FEDSD), National Institute of Health (NIH) Wednesday issued an advisory on control of typhoid fever.
According to NIH, viewing situation of an increased number of typhoid fever cases in the country, the Institute has issued an advisory on typhoid fever. It said typhoid fever spread mostly in summer and rainy season in Pakistan. It added typhoid caused by bacteria, (Salmonella Typhi) which occurs through the feco-oral route and spread through contaminated food, milk, frozen fruits, and water or through close contact with an already infected person.
Contamination mainly caused by poor sanitation and mixing of sewerage in drinking water. It said that newly emerged form of typhoid fever, extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Typhoid is being reported in some areas of Sindh province, especially in Hyderabad and Karachi.
There are more than 2000 positive cases of XDR Typhoid have been reported so far. The advisory suggested adopting preventive measures in routine life to avoid such kind of infections. It advised to wash hand properly and restore hand hygiene condition in routine life, avoid eating raw food and vegetables and always drink boiled drinking water.
It added typhoid vaccine is available in Pakistan and people should also administer typhoid vaccine after consultation with a doctor.  The advisory said that the NIH had disseminated awareness material about these disease for the general population, health sector stakeholders, and all provincial authorities. The institute also displayed the poster advisories in the Urdu language in public places.

Relevant pieces published earlier: 


US warns apropos drug-resistant typhoid in Pakistan!

The United States furnished a health warning to travelers pertaining a current epidemic of extremely drug-resistant typhoid fever prevailing in Pakistan on Wednesday. The statement reads, “All travelers to Pakistan are at risk of getting XDR typhoid fever. Those who are visiting friends or relatives are at higher risk than are tourists and business travelers.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested all tourists to Pakistan or South Asia to get themselves immunized and pick out food items and drinking water carefully.

Moreover, the CDC noted in the notice that various travelers to Pakistan are down with the lethal disease when returned to their home states. Therefore, washing hands before guzzling down food is a must. It is pertinent to mention here that last year, NPTV had reported that the drug-resistant typhoid was prevailing in various vicinities of Sindh particularly Hyderabad.

Moreover, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined forces with the Government of Sindh on a children’s anti-typhoid campaign by donating 250,000 syringes earlier this year. (Aiman Inam) (Published on 5th July 2018) 

ii) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Government of Sindh on a children’s anti-typhoid campaign by donating 250,000 syringes. After the Sindh Department of Health noticed a recent rise in the number of drug-resistant typhoid cases, it reached out to USAID for assistance. The syringes will help immunize over 250,000 children against a drug-resistant strain of typhoid reported in Latifabad and Qasimabad, two sub-districts of Hyderabad, Sindh.

Oghale Oddo, USAID’s Acting Deputy Mission Director for Sindh and Balochistan, said, “Our support for the government’s anti-typhoid campaign exemplifies the strength of our ongoing partnership.  USAID will continue to support the Government of Sindh in their efforts to institutionalize evidence-based care.” The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported the Government of Sindh for over five years to save the lives of children by ensuring that they have access to basic health services. (6th of February 2018) 

ii) Sources privy to has been informed that over 250 children have been infected in Hyderabad and some 15 kids in Karachi with Multi-drug resistant (MDR) typhoid so far during this pre-Monsoon season.  Experts warn that this is the worst sort of typhoid epidemic, which is getting widespread in both of the cities. Lyari, North Karachi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Malir and Ibrahim Haydri are some of the most affected localities.  It has further been learned that the major culprits behind disseminating such occurrence are un-chlorinated water, impure water and poor sanitation and sewerage conditions – thanks to the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB)! So as to thwart this condition, people must avoid germ-infested food and water.

Also, they should clean their underground and overhead water tanks and add some chlorine pills. As usual, the situation of this Megapolis has gone downhill after the first rain spell. Everyone can clearly see the filthy water in every nook and corner, particularly in slum areas. No civic body bothers to take care of poor people. Now another rain spell is just around the corner and thundershowers are expected to pour from Saturday (today) through Tuesday. This could make the situation worse. Typhoid outbreak along with many other infectious disorders are more prevalent throughout the monsoon season. Health and wellness experts reiterate that people should consume foods rich in vitamin C. Being an immune booster, Vitamin C has the ability of slaying infected cells in the body. Do not let your kids play and get wet in the rains. Avoid eating out, particularly, spinach, eggplant as well as all sorts of meat. (Published on 15th July 2017) 

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