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Ebola death toll nears 7,000: WHO

The World Health Organization has dramatically revised the death toll from the Ebola outbreak. Almost 7,000 have died from the virus - adding 1,200 more to a count released days ago. Nearly 7,000 people mainly in West Africa have died in what is the worst outbreak of Ebola, the World Health Organization said at the weekend. It is an abrupt increase of just over 1,200 deaths compared to its previous report, released days ago. A WHO spokesman said the steep hike in fatalities, mainly in Liberia, was mainly "a reconciliation of historical numbers" and not due to new deaths in recent days. The UN's health agency has previously said it believes there are far more deaths than actually registered. A total of 16,169 people have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak was confirmed at the beginning of this year. All but 15 of the total deaths have been in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The outbreak has reached five other countries. Last week, Ebola vaccine researchers said they were encouraged by the results of an initial clinical trial, in which volunteers developed antibodies needed to fight the virus. The rapid spread of Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, has left health agencies and pharmaceutical companies scrambling to fast-track experimental drugs and vaccines. On Friday, British scientists also announced trials on a 15-minute test for the Ebola virus, which is six times faster than existing tests. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person who is showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

The World Health Organization has dramatically revised the death toll from the Ebola outbreak. Almost 7,000 have died from the virus – adding 1,200 more to a count released days ago. Nearly 7,000 people mainly in West Africa have died in what is the worst outbreak of Ebola, the World Health Organization said at the weekend. It is an abrupt ... Read More »

WHO warns on HIV spread in Europe and Central Asia

Health officials say Europe and Central Asia must do more to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with some 136,000 people being infected last year. Russia is particularly at risk, they say. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that the HIV/AIDS virus remains a very present danger in Europe and Central Asia, with 80 percent more new HIV cases in 2013 compared with 2004. Figures from the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed that altogether 136,235 people were registered as having been newly infected by HIV in 2013, more than 105,000 of them in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). Eighty thousand of these cases were in Russia, according to the report, which was released ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. Compared with 2004, EECA has thus seen a doubling of new HIV cases, while European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) countries have remained at a constant rate of infection, despite advances in treating and preventing the virus. The report said an HIV epidemic among drug users was the main cause of the increase in EECA, while sex between men accounted for 42 percent of new cases in 2013 in the EU/EEA, making it the largest single source of infection. Overall, however, heterosexual contact was the main form of transmission, the report said. Incurable virus The HIV virus - an abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus -, which was discovered more than three decades ago, attacks the immune system, causing those infected to suffer a lifelong illness. It leads in its end stage to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), which comes about when the immune system has been destroyed, leaving sufferers exposed to a multitude of infectious diseases. HIV is spread via blood, semen and breast milk, with drug users and bisexual and gay men at particular risk. Thursday's report also said that while reported AIDS cases had declined by 48 percent in the EU/EEA in the past decade, the number of new AIDS cases in EECA had increased more than three times. Some 1.5 million people die as a result of HIV/AIDS across the world every year, according to United Nations figures, with 35 million people currently living with an infection.

Health officials say Europe and Central Asia must do more to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic, with some 136,000 people being infected last year. Russia is particularly at risk, they say. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday that the HIV/AIDS virus remains a very present danger in Europe and Central Asia, with 80 percent more new HIV cases in ... Read More »

Ebola researchers hopeful after promising vaccine results

Ebola vaccine researchers say they are "encouraged" by the results of an initial clinical trial, in which volunteers developed antibodies needed to fight the virus. But the end product is still some time away. Interim findings from a Phase 1 trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine showed it caused no serious side effects, and produced an immune response in participants within four weeks. The tests began in September and were conducted on 20 healthy adults, who were injected with a higher or lower dose of the vaccine. The results showed a significantly better immune response with a higher dose of vaccine - meaning those volunteers receiving a higher dose produced more antibodies than those on a lower dose. In addition, two of the lower dose group and seven in the higher developed a crucial kind of immune cell called CD8 T cells, an important part of the body's response against disease. The vaccine itself did not expose the volunteers to the virus - instead, it contained genetic material from two Ebola strains. It used a modified chimpanzee cold virus to deliver segments of the genetic material - without the ability to spread through the body like Ebola, but able to prompt the antibody response. The results were published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. 'Encouraging' "The safety profile is encouraging, as is the finding that the higher dose of vaccine induced an immune response quite comparable to that which has completely protected [lab] animals from Ebola," said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The NIAID is developing the intramuscular vaccine alongside Okairos, a biotechnology company owned by GlaxoSmithKline. None of the volunteers experienced serious side effects within the study period. Two, however, had a brief and mild fever 24 hours after the injection. Fauci cautioned that the vaccine is still a long way from use in the field. No announcement on larger-scale trials is expected before early next year. The trial is still ongoing and will monitor the participants for 48 weeks. The rapid spread of the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, has left health agencies and pharmaceutical companies scrambling to fast-track experimental drugs and vaccines. The virus has killed some 5,500 people this year, mostly in West Africa.

Ebola vaccine researchers say they are “encouraged” by the results of an initial clinical trial, in which volunteers developed antibodies needed to fight the virus. But the end product is still some time away. Interim findings from a Phase 1 trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine showed it caused no serious side effects, and produced an immune response in participants ... Read More »

Bubonic plague festers in Madagascar’s slums

The bubonic plague: it still gives Europeans the creeps, centuries after it wiped out swathes of Europe. The disease still exists; Peru, China and the US regularly report cases. But one island isparticularly hard hit. Ankasina is a poor and overcrowded slum on the northern edge of Madagascar's capital city Antananarivo. Waste water flows through open gutters; dirt and garbage collects in heaps on the streets. The area is infested with rats, local residents say. Many blame the state for neglecting the neighborhood. And now, the rats have brought in an even bigger problem: the plague. For the first time in ten years, the disease has started to spread in Madagascar's capital. A young woman from Ankasina died from the bubonic plague; she most likely contracted it after being bitten by a flea, which had contracted the bacteria from the rodents. She is one of 47 people who have died in the current outbreak on the island. Warm climate, poor hygiene Madagascar's Prime Minister Kolo Roger admits that the plague has now also entered the capital city. He speaks of an epidemic on the island. "For each case, all the necessary measures have been taken to stop the spreading," he announced. "All cases, whether far away or in the capital of Antananarivo are being dealt with seriously." Madagascar is among the poorest countries in the world. Most people live on less than two US dollars per day. The health system is insufficient; in some rural areas it is hard to find a doctor at all. This makes people there vulnerable to infections in general, especially to disease transmitted by rodents and insects. "Madagascar has been prone to plague outbreaks sporadically for many years," says Brendan Wren, an expert in infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The warm climate there was especially suitable for rodents and fleas transmitting the plague, he says. "But general hygiene is also a problem, for example, in overcrowded prisons." Fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes Though the health ministry has announced that 200 households have been disinfected in a pest control campaign in slum areas around the city, the World Health Organization (WHO) is alarmed. "We have never have seen so many cases in such a short time like now in Madagascar," the organization's spokesman Christian Lindmeier told DW. The organization has dispatched an expert to Antananarivo to assist local authorities contain the situation. "The main thing to do now to find and stop the source of the infection," Lindmeier said. "Insecticides have to be used against the fleas - which is the biggest challenge right now since these fleas have been found to be very resistant against the insecticides used." The plague kills about one in ten patients who are infected. Patients first develop high fever, headache and painful swelling in lymph glands. In extreme cases, the patient's skin turns dark purple. Once diagnossed, patients can be treated with antibiotics. If they are diagnossed early on, they have better chances of recovering. But some of the strains found on Madagascar were found to be resistant to the antibiotics, according to Brendan Wren. He said it might be impossible to ever fully eradicate the disease. No vaccine yet "A longer term solution would be a good vaccine," Wren said, adding that one had yet to be developed. For now, people in Madagascar need to rely on existing antibiotics and insecticides in the fight the plague. And they will have to live with the fear of rats and fleas infesting their neighborhoods.

The bubonic plague: it still gives Europeans the creeps, centuries after it wiped out swathes of Europe. The disease still exists; Peru, China and the US regularly report cases. But one island isparticularly hard hit. Ankasina is a poor and overcrowded slum on the northern edge of Madagascar’s capital city Antananarivo. Waste water flows through open gutters; dirt and garbage ... Read More »

WHO: Plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar

مڈغاسکر میں طاعون کی وبا پھیلنے کے نتیجے میں کم از کم 40 افراد ہلاک ہو گئے ہیں۔ حکام کے مطابق اگست سے اب تک بیکٹیریا سے پھیلنے والی اس بیماری سے 119 افراد متاثر ہوئے ہیں۔ عالمی ادارہ صحت نے خبردار کیا ہے کہ مڈغاسکر میں صحت عامہ کے ابتر نظام کی وجہ سے یہ وبا مزید پھیل سکتی ہے۔ عالمی ادارہ صحت نے کہا ہے کہ وہ اس وبا کے پھیلاؤ کو روکنے کے لیے ریڈکراس اور مقامی طبی انتظامیہ کے ساتھ مل کر دو لاکھ ڈالر کے ایک منصوبے پر کام کر رہا ہے۔ خیال رہے کہ طاعون کی بیماری مردہ چوہوں سے جنم لیتی ہے اور حشرات کے ذریعے پھیلتی ہے۔

A bubonic plague outbreak has killed 40 people in Madagascar. The WHO warns there is a risk the disease could spread rapidly in the capital Antananarivo, where there is high population density and poor sanitation. The UN health agency said at least 119 cases of infection had been confirmed across the Indian Ocean island nation since the first plague victim ... Read More »

UN chief says Ebola could be contained by mid-next year if response heightened

اقوام متحدہ کے سيکرٹری جنرل بان کی مون نے موريتانيہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے اسماعيل اولد شيخ احمد کو گزشتہ روز اقوام متحدہ کے ايبولا مشن کا نيا سربراہ مقرر کر ديا ہے۔ قريب دو ماہ قبل تشکيل کردہ ’يو اين مشن فار ايبولا ايمرجنسی ريسپانس‘ کی سربراہی کی ذمہ داری اب تک امريکا کے اينتھونی بينبری کے سپرد تھی۔ 54 سالہ احمد اقوام متحدہ کے متعدد ذيلی اداروں ميں خدمات انجام دے چکے ہيں۔ وہ شام، يمن، نيروبی اور جارجيا ميں بھی کام کر چکے ہيں۔ اسماعيل اولد شيخ احمد ايک ايسے وقت يہ ذمہ داری سنبھال رہے ہيں، جب مغربی افريقی ممالک سے پھيلنے والی ايبولا کی وباء کے متاثرين ميں بدستور اضافہ ہو رہا ہے۔ يہ وائرس اب تک اٹھارہ ہزار سے زائد افراد کو متاثر کر چکا ہے جب کہ اس کے نتيجے ميں ہلاک ہونے والوں کی تعداد 6,400 سے تجاوز کر چکی ہے۔

UN leaders are calling for the world to step up anti-Ebola efforts, despite infection rates slowing in some worst-affected countries. The UN is expanding its mission to Mali in the hope of preventing further outbreaks. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for international leaders to stay engaged on Ebola. Recent data has shown a slowing of the rate of ... Read More »

Sierra Leone hit hardest in latest WHO Ebola numbers

The global Ebola infection tally has surpassed 15,000. Sierra Leone confirmed 533 new cases in the week to November 16, accounting for much of the increase. Cases of Ebola reached 15,145, with 5,420 deaths, through November 16 - almost all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which reported the steepest uptick - the World Health Organization announced Wednesday. Sierra Leone has also reported 63 Ebola deaths since Friday. "Much of this was driven by intense transmission in the country's west and north," the WHO announced. Sierra Leone has only managed to isolate 13 percent of Ebola patients, the agency's figures show. Ebola does not transmit easily, but it has particularly spread in the capital, Freetown, which accounted for 168, or nearly one-third of Sierra Leone's 533 confirmed cases in the week to November 16, and nearby Port Loko. A doctor, the first Cuban infected with Ebola, who caught the virus in Sierra Leone will fly to Switzerland in the next 48 hours for hospitalization in Geneva. Five doctors from Sierra Leone have died of Ebola. Authorities in Mali have reported 6 Ebola cases including five deaths, according to the WHO. Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the United States have reported the remaining cases. 'Economic side effects' The latest figures show 243 total new deaths and 732 diagnoses overall since numbers issued Friday. WHO has cautioned that underreporting remains an issue. Despite the situation in Sierra Leone, the virus in Guinea and Liberia currently appears to have improved slightly, with transmissions concentrated in several key districts, the WHO announced, citing N'Zerekore and Macenta in Guinea and Montserrado in Liberia, which includes the capital, Monrovia. Though the rate of Ebola's spread seems to have decreased in Liberia, the virus has left nearly half of the country's workforce off the clock since the onset of the current outbreak just a few months ago, the World Bank announced Wednesday. The virus has killed more than 2,800 people in Liberia, or 54 percent of the overall total, ravaging the local economies and leaving many with too little money to buy food, according to the World Bank. However, the body announced that the economic hit to Africa had not proved as bad as initially feared. "Even those living in the most remote communities in Liberia, where Ebola has not been detected, are suffering the economic side effects of this terrible disease," said Ana Revenga, senior director of the Poverty Global Practice at the World Bank. "Relief efforts must focus not only on those directly affected by the virus, but also on those in the poorest communities for whom market access, mobility and food security continue to get worse."

The global Ebola infection tally has surpassed 15,000. Sierra Leone confirmed 533 new cases in the week to November 16, accounting for much of the increase. Cases of Ebola reached 15,145, with 5,420 deaths, through November 16 – almost all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, which reported the steepest uptick – the World Health Organization announced Wednesday. Sierra Leone ... Read More »

UN International Conference on Nutrition opens in Rome

روم میں اقوام متحدہ کی تین روزہ عالمی غذائی کانفرنس کا آغاز ہو گیا ہے۔ بدھ سے شروع ہونے والی اپنی نوعیت کی اس دوسری کانفرنس میں 190 ممالک کے سفارتکار شریک ہوں گے۔ اطالوی دارالحکومت میں انیس تا اکیس نومبر تک جاری رہنے والی اس کانفرنس کے مجوزہ مسودے میں کہا گیا ہے کہ عالمی سطح پر بھوک پر قابو پانے اور کم خوراکی کے خلاف جاری عالمی کوششوں میں بہت بہتری پیدا ہوئی ہے۔ عالمی ادارہ برائے زراعت و خوارک (ایف اے او) اور عالمی ادارہ صحت کی مشترکہ میزبانی میں منعقد کی جا رہی دوسری عالمی غذائی کانفرنس(آئی سی این ٹو) کا بنیادی مقصد یہ ہے کہ بین الاقوامی سطح پر غذائی قلت کو ختم کرنے کے لیے بنائی گئی پالیسیوں کے اطلاق کے لیے مختلف اقوام کے مابین وضع کردہ رابطہ کاری کے نظام پر مؤثر عملدرآمد کیا جا سکے۔ ایف اے او کے کم خوراکی یونٹ کی ڈائریکٹر آنا لاٹرے نے اس کانفرنس کے بارے میں تفصیلات بتاتے ہوئے کہا، ’’ہمارے پاس ایسے شواہد ہیں، جن کی بنیاد پر کہا جا سکتا ہے کہ ہمیں کیا کرنا چاہیے۔ اس لیے ہمیں وقت ضائع نہیں کرنا چاہیے۔ ہمیں تمام فریقین کو ساتھ ملا کر کام جاری رکھنا چاہیے۔ اور یہی اس آئی سی این ٹو نامی اس کانفرنس کا مقصد ہے۔‘‘ روم میں قائم عالمی ادارہ برائے زراعت و خوارک کے اعداد و شمار کے مطابق دنیا بھر میں پانچ برس سے کم عمر کے 161 ملین بچے دائمی کم خوراکی کا شکار ہیں جبکہ گزشتہ برس ہلاک ہونے والے نومولود بچوں میں پینتالیس فیصد کم خوراکی سے متعلق مسائل کی وجہ سے لقہ اجل بنے تھے۔ لاٹرے نے مزید کہا، ’’کم خوراکی کی وجہ سے ہونے والی بچوں کی اموات پر قابو پانے کے لیے ہمیں اب بھی مشکلات کا سامنا ہے۔ نومولود بچوں کی ہلاکتوں کی ایک بڑی وجہ کم خوراکی ہی ہے۔ ہمیں کامیابیاں ملی ہیں لیکن میرے خیال میں اس مخصوص صورتحال میں ہم اپنی کامیابیوں پر خوشی نہیں منا سکتے ہیں۔‘‘ اس طرح کی پہلی کانفرنس 1992ء میں منعقد کی گئی تھی، جس میں تعین کردہ اہداف کے کامیاب حصول کے نتیجے میں گزشتہ دو دہائیوں کے دوران کم خوراکی کے شکار افراد کی تعداد نصف ہو چکی ہے۔ یہ امر اہم ہے کہ کم خوراکی کا تعلق صرف بھوک سے ہی نہیں ہے، ماہرین کے مطابق دنیا بھر میں کم ازکم دو ملین افراد خوراک سے متعلق مختلف قسم کی مشکلات کا شکار ہیں، جن میں وٹامن اے اور آئرن کی کمی نمایاں ہے۔ اسی طرح بیالیس ملین بچے اور پانچ سو ملین بالغ موٹاپے کا شکار ہیں۔ اس مرتبہ عالمی غذائی کانفرنس میں ماہرین کے علاوہ جو ممتاز شخصیات شریک ہو رہی ہیں، ان میں پوپ فرانسس اور بل گیٹس کی اہلیہ ملینڈا گیٹس بھی شامل ہیں۔ اس کانفرنس میں ’کم خوراکی پر روم ڈیکلریشن‘ کی توثیق کی جائے گی، ایف اے او نے دو سو اقوام اور دیگر ماہرین کے ساتھ مل کر ترتیب دیا ہے۔ اس کے ساتھ ایک فریم ورک کی بھی منظوری دی جائے گی، جس کے تحت مستقبل میں اس اہم مسئلے پر بین الاقوامی سطح پر ایک مؤثر رابطہ کاری کے ساتھ کام کرنا ممکن ہو سکے۔

World leaders have adopted voluntary guidelines to fight malnutrition at a UN summit. Two billion people, almost one in three around the world, suffer from deficiencies such as a lack of vitamin A, iodine, iron or zinc. Meeting in Rome Wednesday, organizations and health, food and agriculture ministers from 170 countries committed to battling poor nutrition. Deficiencies caused 45 percent ... Read More »

EU boosts funding to fight Ebola

The European Commission has pledged millions of euros to support three nations which border the countries worst-hit by the Ebola virus. The EU wants to target early intervention. The EU on Monday announced that Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast would receive 12 million euros ($15 million) in a bid to stop Ebola spreading there from the worst-affected neighboring nations. The funding was intended "to help them prepare for the risk of an Ebola outbreak through early detection and public awareness measures." Most cases of Ebola have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization, 5,177 people have died and about 14,500 have become infected in the latest outbreak of the disease. On the whole, the European Commission has committed 29 million euros ($37.5 million) to West Africa to fight Ebola. It comes on top of the 1 billion euros previously announced by the European Union. The remainder of the new funding, 17 million euros, will go toward transporting aid and equipment to the three worst-affected nations and evacuating international aid workers who become infected with Ebola to hospitals in Europe. The new funding was announced by the European Union's Ebola coordinator, Christos Stylianides, following his trip to the worst-affected countries. Second US death Monday's announcement came as US health officials confirmed that Dr. Martin Salia, of Sierra Leone, had died of Ebola at a Nebraska hospital. The 44-year-old had been flown there over the weekend for treatment.

The European Commission has pledged millions of euros to support three nations which border the countries worst-hit by the Ebola virus. The EU wants to target early intervention. The EU on Monday announced that Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast would receive 12 million euros ($15 million) in a bid to stop Ebola spreading there from the worst-affected neighboring nations. The ... Read More »

Doctor being treated for Ebola dies in US hospital

ایبولا سے متاثرہ ڈاکٹر علاج کے دوران امریکا میں انتقال کر گیا ہے۔ حکام کے بقول سیرا لیون سے تعلق رکھنے والا یہ ڈاکٹر امریکی ریاست نبراسکا میں زیر علاج تھا۔ ملکی وزارت خارجہ کے مطابق44 سالہ ڈاکٹر کو اُن کی امریکی اہلیہ کی درخواست پر علاج کے لیے لایا گیا تھا۔ امریکا میں اس وقت ایبولا کے نو مریضوں کا علاج کیا جا رہا ہے اور ان میں سے زیادہ تر مغربی افریقہ ممالک میں ایبولا کا شکار ہوئے تھے۔ اِس سے قبل امریکا لائے جانے والے مریضوں میں سے صرف لائبیریا سے تعلق رکھنے والے ایک شخص کی ہلاکت ہوئی تھی۔

Officials at a US hospital have confirmed that Dr. Martin Salia, a native of Sierra Leone, has died of Ebola. The 44-year-old was flown to the Nebraska medical facility over the weekend for treatment. A second Ebola death was reported in the United States on Monday. Dr. Martin Salia, a permanent US resident originally from Sierra Leone, passed away during ... Read More »

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