WHO Calls Emergency Meeting On Yellow Fever Outbreak

The World Health Organization will hold an emergency meeting Thursday on the yellow fever outbreak that has hit hardest in Angola but risks spreading further if vaccinations are not ramped up.

Such meetings from the UN agency are often held before the declaration of an international health emergency, as happened amid the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and the current surge in neurological disorders linked to the spread of Zika virus in the Americas.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP the meeting had been called to underscore the severity of the yellow fever outbreak and to re-emphasise the need for mass vaccination against the viral disease.

As of May 12, Angola had reported 2,267 suspected yellow fever cases and 293 deaths in an outbreak that began in December and is most heavily concentrated in the capital Luanda.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has registered 44 suspected cases, both from a local outbreak and from patients who carried the virus from neighbouring Angola.

Eleven people have tested positive for yellow fever in China after returning from Angola, highlighting “the risk of international spread through non-immunised travellers,” WHO has said.

Several cases have also been reported in Uganda.

The percentage of people immunised against yellow fever remains low in many parts of Africa, even though the vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective and relatively cheap.

WHO has sent 11.7 million doses to Angola and there are plans to vaccinate 2.2 million people in DR Congo.

WHO has pledged to beef up its emergency response systems after widespread criticism following the Ebola outbreak, with many experts saying it took the UN body far too long to sound a global alarm.

Credit: Guardian

10 Die From Cholera Outbreak In Anambra

Ten persons have been feared dead as a result of cholera outbreak and other water borne diseases in Amansea in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

In a bizarre twist, villagers have attributed the development to a curse on the community that followed the 2013 discovery of 48 dead bodies in Ezu River, the major source of water in the area.

According to villagers, since the gruesome discovery, no fewer than 20 motor accidents have been recorded near the Ezu River Bridge.

The cholera outbreak may be connected to the fact that the river constitutes a major source of drinking water for the villagers.

The village head of Amaowele, who is also a member of Igwe’s cabinet at Amansea, Benjamin Onoania, accused the Anambra State Government of failing to fulfil its promise of sinking a borehole for them.

Read More: dailytimes

Lagos On High Alert To Thwart New Ebola Outbreak

The Lagos State Government has reiterated the need for members of the general public to ensure and maintain adequate personal and environmental hygiene to prevent the Ebola virus disease recurring.

This follows reported cases of resurgence of Ebola in some neigbouring West African countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Dr Modele Osunkiyesi, gave the advice from her office at Ikeja.

She said the need to be vigilant and ensure adequate hygiene was informed by the recent reported confirmed cases of Ebola in Liberia where a teenager was tested positive to EVD, 52 days after the country was cleared of Ebola while Sierra Leone had also recorded new cases.

“Lagosians are advised to remain calm as the government remains committed to protecting your health. Health workers are also enjoined to keep observing the universal safety precautions when dealing with patients,”
Osunkiyesi said.

She said the state government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders were maintaining surveillance through Port Health Services and community surveillance activities in all local government areas.

Osunkiyesi noted that that the prevention of Ebola remained a shared responsibility by all citizens.

She urged residents to observe the highest possible standards of personal and environmental hygiene through regular washing of hands with soap and running water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, ensuring that objects used by the sick are decontaminated and properly disposed and avoid touching or washing of dead bodies if not trained to do so.

She explained that EVD can be spread through close contact with the blood, body fluids, organs and tissues of infected animals, direct contact with the blood, body fluids, and tissues of infected persons and handling sick or dead infected animals.

Lagos was among states worst affected by the outbreak of Ebola last year when several lives were lost in the country.

Credit: CAJ News