Also In Global Health News: Field Trial To Fight Dengue In Australia; Bangladesh Reducing Child Mortality; Yellow Fever In Uganda; HIV/AIDS In Iran

Dengue-Blocking Mosquitoes Field Trial To Kick Off Tuesday In Australia

AAP/Sydney Morning Herald reports that a 12-week field trial involving the release of mosquitoes infected with a bacterium known to block the transmission of dengue will kick off Tuesday in several suburbs in north Queensland, Australia. “Laboratory research has shown that [the bacteria] Wolbachia acts like a vaccine for the mosquito, by monopolising resources needed by the dengue virus,” according to the news service. “With up to 100 million people – largely from developing countries – being infected with dengue fever each year, a global solution was long overdue, [Scott O’Neill, of the University of Queensland, who is involved with the project] said” (Morgan, 1/3).

Inter Press Service Examines Child Mortality In Bangladesh

Inter Press Service examines Bangladesh’s efforts to reduce child mortality rates, noting a Save the Children report that said deaths among children under age 5 dropped at a rate of about 5.3 percent per year between 1993 and 2007. “The organisation traced this achievement to what it said was Bangladesh’s ‘equitable’ strategy of addressing both rich and poor families, and which combined family planning, gender empowerment, health service strengthening, and an immunisation campaign that especially targeted hard-to-reach districts,” IPS writes. The article includes perspectives from local health officials (Haq, 12/31).

Uganda To Vaccinate 2.5M People In Effort To Stop Yellow Fever Spread

“Uganda is planning to inoculate 2.5 million residents in the East African nation’s northern districts, where a yellow fever outbreak has killed 45 people and sickened another 183,” CNN reports (12/28). The BBC reports that though people living in Uganda first “began falling ill about a month ago in nine northern districts,” a Ugandan health official “told the BBC the outbreak was confirmed as yellow fever on Christmas Eve” (12/27). Last week, the CDC “confirmed that the disease is yellow fever, the U.S. embassy in Kampala said in a statement,” according to CIDRAP News. “Previous reports had suggested that the disease, which causes headache, fever, and vomiting of blood, was dysentery, Ebola fever, or, most recently, pneumonic plague” (Roos, 12/29). BBC notes: “The disease, transmitted by infected mosquitoes, was last recorded in Uganda almost 40 years ago, officials say” (12/27).

Health Officials Concerned Over Possible ‘AIDS Volcano’ In Iran

The Financial Times reports on health officials worries over a growing “AIDS volcano” in Iran, where “experts say rapid urbanisation and economic problems such as high inflation and unemployment have raised the marriage age and boosted divorce rates. These factors have led to increasing rates of drug addiction and sex outside marriage.” The article notes HIV transmission via injecting drug users (IDUs) remains the main mechanism through which the virus is spread, but “sexual transmission is rising at an alarming rate, experts say.” The Financial Times notes that health authorities in Iran “plan to implement a comprehensive five-year plan next year prioritising education of vulnerable women – including drug addicts, those married to drug users, and sex workers – and young people,” to help slow the spread of the virus (Khalaj, 12/27).

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