Disease Diagnosis/Detection

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WHO Confirms 10 Polio Cases In Syria, Warns Disease Could Spread Across Region

The WHO on Tuesday “confirmed 10 polio cases in north-east Syria, the first confirmed outbreak in the country in 14 years, and warned that the disease could spread across the region,” the Associated Press reports (10/29). “Tests confirmed polio in 10 out of 22 children in Deir al-Zour Province in…

Scientists Discover SARS-Like Virus In Bats

“A decade after SARS swept through the world and killed more than 750 people, scientists have made a troubling discovery: A very close cousin of the SARS virus lives in bats and it can likely jump directly to people,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The findings create new fears about…

Spain Reports First Case Of MERS Virus

“Spain’s Health Ministry says the country has its first case of the new respiratory virus known as MERS and the female victim is believed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia,” the Associated Press reports. “A ministry statement says the Moroccan-born Spanish resident was admitted Nov. 1 to a…

NPR Examines U.S. Project Employing Traditional Healers To Track Plague In Uganda

NPR’s “Shots” blog examines a project through which traditional “healers and herbalists are helping to track down the plague in Uganda for scientists” at the CDC. “Many villages in rural Uganda don’t have medical doctors or nurses to diagnose or treat the plague,” but “many patients do go see their…

Qatar Reports 4th MERS Death; WHO Says Case-Fatality Rate At 39%

“An expatriate living in Qatar has died of [Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)], bringing to four the number of deaths in the Gulf state from the coronavirus, health authorities said on Friday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Experts are struggling to understand the disease, for which there is no vaccine,” the…

Address Drug Resistant Pathogens As Part Of ‘Next Stage Of Global Health’

This post in the Foreign Policy Association blog discusses reports from earlier this month of “an emerging strain of ‘totally drug-resistant’ tuberculosis (TDR-TB)” in India, which the Indian government last week denied, “arguing that the 12 cases were in fact extensively drug resistant (XDR).” The blog states, “Whether or not it’s fair to use the TDR moniker, drug resistance is a serious, emerging issue that may very well define the next stage of global health,” concluding, “We are reaching a turning point, one at which some drug resistant pathogens are on the cusp of shifting from a handful of cases, an endemic, to a bigger, epidemic or even pandemic problem. Now is the time to initiate discussions on what the global community will do to stem drug resistance” (Robinson, 1/21).

China Releases Updated Statistics On HIV/AIDS

“A total of 28,000 people died of HIV/AIDS in China in 2011, and another 48,000 in the country were found newly infected by the virus, according to an official publication” released on Saturday by China’s Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, and the WHO, Xinhua/China Daily reports. “With about 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS nationwide, including 154,000 AIDS patients, the total infection rate of the country stands at 0.058 percent, the report said,” according to the news service. “The report added that more than 136,000 AIDS patients had received anti-virus treatments by September 2011, bringing the treatment coverage rate to 73.5 percent, an increase of 11.5 percentage points compared to 2009,” Xinhua writes (1/21).

HHS Secretary Sebelius Helps India Mark One Year Since Last Recorded Polio Case

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “administered polio vaccination drops to children in New Delhi on Friday as India marked one year since its last case of the crippling disease,” the Associated Press reports (1/13). The Hill’s “Healthwatch” reports that “[o]fficials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] say U.S. funding and experience were key to beating back the disease,” but “[t]he news comes as federal funding for global health programs now faces sharp cuts from Tea Party lawmakers and others worried about the deficit” (Pecquet, 1/12). “­Globally, the U.S. government has provided $2 billion for the polio eradication campaign, Rotary International has raised about $1 billion from its members, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $1 billion,” and the CDC “weighed in with crucial expertise,” the Washington Post writes (Denyer, 1/12).

World Cancer Day Highlights Importance Of Detection, Prevention

“Early diagnosis is the key to reducing the nearly eight million deaths caused by cancer across the globe annually, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said” on Saturday to mark World Cancer Day, “stressing the importance of screening programs for healthy people to detect the disease promptly for easier treatment,” the U.N. News Centre reports (2/3). The theme of this year’s day, which is recognized annually on February 4, was “Together It Is Possible,” “reinforcing that it is only by every person, organization, and government individually doing their part that the world will be able to reduce premature deaths from cancer and other non-communicable diseases,” according to a press release from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2/4). The WHO “reminded the world that cancer is responsible for close to 13 percent of deaths globally, accounting for 7.6 million deaths in 2008,” according to the U.N. News Centre (2/3).