COVID-19 News Alert
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COVID-19 News Alert
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Q&A: Mosquito breeding trial raises hopes of defeating dengue
Public health messaging for dengue control often encourages the clean-up of mosquito breeding sites. But a novel method that researchers at the World Mosquito Program have introduced to several communities over the past eight years directly counters that concept. Instead of killing mosquitoes, they breed mosquitoes injected with Wolbachia bacteria and release them to communities that have been affected by dengue. Evidence from different countries where the method has been used showed large reductions in dengue transmissions. The method is not about suppressing the mosquito population, but about transforming them to a population that carries Wolbachia. So it’s novel.
Polio case reported in Malaysia – first in 27 years
A polio case has been confirmed in the country, the first in Malaysia in 27 years. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the last polio case in Malaysia occurred in 1992, and in 2000, the country was declared as being polio-free. In the recent case, the child was confirmed to be infected with the vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (VDPV1) on Dec 6 this year. He added that the VDPV1 is classified as a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) type 1. "Those who have been vaccinated will be protected from infection." Dr Noor Hisham said test results showed that the virus has genetic links to the polio virus that was detected in a recent outbreak in the Philippines. Investigations at the vicinity of the polio-infected child's residence found that 23 out of 199 people aged between two months until 15 years there have not received the polio vaccine. "This is a frustrating situation because the circulation of a cVDPV can only end with a polio immunisation. "After explaining the importance of polio immunisation, the parents of the children have agreed to have them vaccinated," he said.
Global heating driving spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever
Rising temperatures across Asia and the Americas have contributed to multiple severe outbreaks of dengue fever globally over the past six months, making 2019 the worst year on record for the disease. In 1970 only nine countries faced severe dengue outbreaks. But the disease, which is spread by mosquitoes that can only survive in warm temperatures, is now seen in more than 100 countries.There are thought to be 390 million infections each year. As climate change alters monsoon and rain patterns in many countries, this creates the damp and warm conditions that, along with rapid urbanisation, help the Aedes mosquitoes flourish. Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, also had outbreaks, with a particularly severe situation in the Philippines, where 1,000 people died of the disease, including hundreds of children.
An Aussie doctor in Samoa has labelled the measles outbreak an 'extraordinary crisis'
The leader of Australia’s emergency medical response team in Samoa has labelled the measles outbreak as an “extraordinary crisis” as the Pacific Island nation grapples with 249 new recorded cases in the last 24 hours alone. Fiji and Tonga have also been hit by the outbreak, believed to have originated in New Zealand, but Samoa has been worst affected because of vaccination rates as low at 25-48 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation. Emergency doctor Mark Little is the Mission leader for the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) -- a disaster response team deployed by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate
Nick Watts, MA et al.,
The Lancet Countdown is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration, dedicated to monitoring the evolving health profile of climate change, and providing an independent assessment of the delivery of commitments made by governments worldwide under the Paris Agreement. A child born today will experience a world that is more than four degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average, with climate change impacting human health from infancy and adolescence to adulthood and old age. Across the world, children are among the worst affected by climate change. Downward trends in global yield potential for all major crops tracked since 1960 threaten food production and food security, with infants often the worst affected by the potentially permanent effects of undernutrition (indicator 1.5.1). Children are among the most susceptible to diarrhoeal disease and experience the most severe effects of dengue fever. Trends in climate suitability for disease transmission are particularly concerning, with 9 of the 10 most suitable years for the transmission of dengue fever on record occurring since 2000 (indicator 1.4.1). Similarly, since an early 1980s baseline, the number of days suitable for Vibrio (a pathogen responsible for part of the burden of diarrhoeal disease) has doubled, and global suitability for coastal Vibrio cholerae has increased by 9·9% (indicator 1.4.1).