Monday December 16, 2019

Ebola response is definitely getting better, eliminating possible in near future: WHO

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Geneva:  World Health Organisation (WHO) Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said here on Tuesday that the “Ebola response is definitely getting better”, adding that though many challenges remain, eliminating the deadly disease is possible in the near future.

Photo Credit: www.cdc.gov This colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion. See PHIL 1832 for a black and white version of this image. Where is Ebola virus found in nature?The exact origin, locations, and natural habitat (known as the "natural reservoir") of Ebola virus remain unknown. However, on the basis of available evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is zoonotic (animal-borne) and is normally maintained in an animal host that is native to the African continent. A similar host is probably associated with Ebola-Reston which was isolated from infected cynomolgous monkeys that were imported to the United States and Italy from the Philippines. The virus is not known to be native to other continents, such as North America.
Photo Credit: www.cdc.gov

With crucial improvements in care for contacts, case investigation, and contact tracing being observed, Aylward said that “there is a huge shift now from what was before a report on how many contacts were being seen daily to who are the missing contacts”.

According to Aylward, “this is a very different response to what you would have seen if you were on the ground a month ago”.

“We have gone over the last four weeks from 30 cases, to 25, to seven, and in the last week to two,” said Aylward, who iterated that this decline represents real progress in the fight against the disease which has killed over 11,000 people mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, according to Xinhua news agency.

Aylward added that each transmission chain is now being managed on a case by case basis, as “we’re able to treat each chain as an event and look at all the geographies associated with that event”.

This also means that each chain can be ranked by health officials according to the level of risk posed to populations, with experts estimating that there are currently some six transmission chains across the three West African countries.

Despite these trends, Aylward warned that “the biggest risk now is irrational exuberance, or unrealistic expectations”, as unsafe burials or missing contacts infecting new areas may still occur and create new infection points.

He also said that operational challenges linked to the region’s rainy season are hindering response efforts, while dwindling support and reduced financing is further compounding the situation.

(IANS)

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Kids in LMICs Receive Excessive Amount of Antibiotic Prescriptions

Kids in low income countries prescribed excess antibiotics

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Antibiotic Prescriptions
Children who receive excessive antibiotic prescriptions may lose the ability to fight pathogens. Pixabay

Kids in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are receiving an excessive amount of antibiotic prescriptions that could harm the children’s ability to fight pathogens as well as increase antibiotic resistance worldwide, warns a new study.

Children in these countries received 25 antibiotic prescriptions through age five – a “remarkable” estimate, given that two antibiotic prescriptions per year is considered excessive in many high-income settings, said the study published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

“We knew children in LMICs are sick more often, and we knew antibiotic prescription rates are high in many countries. What we did not know was how these elements translate into actual antibiotic exposure – and the results are rather alarming,” said lead author of the study Gunther Fink from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Basel, Switzerland.

Antimicrobial resistance is one of today’s biggest threats to global health and development, according to the World Health Organization.

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Children in LMICs received 25 antibiotic prescriptions through age. Pixabay

One factor contributing to this global health threat is the excessive use of antibiotics worldwide.

The research team from Swiss TPH and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the US analysed data from 2007-2017 from health facilities and household surveys from eight countries: Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nepal, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Results showed that antibiotics were administered in 81 per cent of cases for children with a respiratory illness, in 50 per cent for children with diarrhoea, and in 28 per cent for children with malaria.

The researchers found that the number of antibiotic prescriptions in early childhood varied from country to country.

While a child in Senegal received approximately one antibiotic prescription per year in the first five years of life, a child in Uganda was prescribed up to 12.

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In comparison, a prior study showed that children under five in Europe receive less than one antibiotic prescription per year on average.

“This number is still high given that the vast majority of infections in this age group are of viral origin,” said study co-author Valerie D’Acremont from Swiss TPH. (IANS)