Saturday December 15, 2018

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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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)