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WHO Ships Vaccination For Yellow Fever in Ethiopia

The introduction of yellow fever vaccination into routine immunization in Ethiopia is planned for 2020.

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Yellow fever
A technician at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal, sterilizes one of the labs where the yellow fever vaccine is made. The World Health Organization said Monday it will send more than a million doses of the vaccine to Ethiopia. VOA
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The World Health Organization is releasing more than a million doses of yellow fever vaccine from its emergency stockpile after the deadly mosquito-borne disease killed 10 people in southwestern Ethiopia, a WHO report said Monday.

The outbreak was confirmed in Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region and has been traced back to a patient who fell ill on Aug. 21. It has caused 35 suspected cases of the disease.

“This outbreak is of concern since the population of Ethiopia is highly susceptible to yellow fever due to absence of recent exposure and lack of large-scale immunization,” the WHO report said.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America.
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Wikimedia Commons

Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, and although only a small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, about half of those die within seven to 10 days.

All the confirmed cases came from Offa Woreda district, and there have been no more confirmed cases since an immediate reactive vaccination campaign was conducted there in mid-October, reaching around 31,000 people.

However, the WHO said there was a risk of further spread of the disease, partly because of conflict in the region, and it was releasing 1.45 million doses of vaccine for a mass campaign that needed to take place “without further delay.”

Also Read: Air Pollution A Major Risk For Children: WHO

Ethiopia, the home country of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is within the geographic “yellow fever belt” and had frequent outbreaks until the 1960s, but no more until 143 cases were confirmed in the SNNP region in 2013, the weekly report said.

The introduction of yellow fever vaccination into routine immunization in Ethiopia is planned for 2020. (VOA)

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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)