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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – United Arab Emirates

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 19:30
On 18 May 2015, the IHR National Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

The patient is a 33-year-old, non-national male from Al Ain. He has a history of contact with MERS-CoV infected camels imported from Oman (see DON of 18 May). A sputum sample tested positive for MERS-CoV on 17 May, whereupon the patient was admitted to hospital. He was asymptomatic at the time of laboratory testing. He has no comorbidities and no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to detection. Currently, the case is still asymptomatic and in stable condition in a negative pressure room on a ward.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Republic of Korea

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 19:20
On 20 May 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of the Republic of Korea notified WHO of the first laboratory confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. On 21 May, two additional confirmed cases were reported.

The first case is a 68 year-old male with the following travel history: 18-29 April, Bahrain; 29-30 April, United Arab Emirates; 30 April to 1 May, Bahrain; 1-2 May, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; 2 May, Bahrain; and 2-3 May, Qatar. The patient arrived at Korea’s Incheon International airport via Qatar on 4 May. He was asymptomatic on arrival. The patient developed symptoms on 11 May and sought medical care at a clinic from 12 May to 15 May on an outpatient basis. He was then admitted to hospital on 15 May and discharged on 17 May. On the evening of discharge, the patient visited the emergency department of another hospital. A sputum sample tested positive for MERS-CoV on 20 May, whereupon he was transferred to the nationally designated treatment facility for isolation. The patient has no history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to detection. Investigation of the source of infection is ongoing.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Qatar

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 19:10
On 21 May 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of Qatar notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection

A 29-year-old, non-national male from Doha developed symptoms on 15 May and sought medical advice at a primary health care center on 19 May, whereupon he was treated symptomatically and sent home with home isolation instructions. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs tested positive for MERS-CoV on 20 May, whereupon the patient was admitted to hospital. He has no comorbidities. The patient has a history of frequent contact with camels but no consumption of raw camel milk. He has no history of exposure to other known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. Currently, the patient is in stable condition in a negative pressure isolation room on a ward. Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for the case.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 19:05
Between 11 and 13 May, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 12 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, including 2 deaths.

Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for these cases.

World Health Assembly gives WHO green light to reform emergency and response progamme

WHO News - Sat, 05/23/2015 - 16:00
Delegates at the World Health Assembly made a series of decisions stemming from the 2014 Ebola virus disease outbreak. These give the WHO Secretariat the go-ahead to carry out structural reforms so it can prepare for and respond rapidly, flexibly and effectively to emergencies and disease outbreaks.

Delegates at the 68th World Health Assembly welcomed WHO’s commitment to deep reforms of its emergency work, in particular by setting out clear and effective command and control mechanisms across all 3 levels of the Organization – headquarters, regional and country offices.

WHA reaches agreement on polio, International Health Regulations and strengthening surgical care

WHO News - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 16:00
The World Health Assembly continued progress Friday, reaching agreements on polio eradication; further implementation of the International Health Regulations (2005); surgical care and medical products.

Delegates at the World Health Assembly today agreed on a resolution in which Member States recommit to stopping polio and to preparing for the phased withdrawal of oral polio vaccines.

WHO Director-General and WHA President present annual public health awards

WHO News - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 16:00
Director-General Dr Margaret Chan and the President of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly, Dr Jagat Prakash Nadda, today led the World Health Assembly’s annual awards ceremony, presenting four prizes to leaders in public health.

The Sasakawa Health Prize was given to the Childbirth with Dignity Foundation, which has helped transform the field of obstetrics in Poland. Women are now able to be accompanied by their partner during childbirth. They may also have visitors following delivery and are no longer separated from their babies. The Foundation proposes to use the prize money to continue, and further develop, its web-portal “GdzieRodzic.info” (“WhereToGiveBirth.info”), which includes a database of hospitals and maternity wards in Poland and provides information to expecting parents, and to maintain the Foundation’s database of hospitals.

World Health Assembly agrees Global Malaria Strategy and Programme Budget 2016-17

WHO News - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 16:00
WHO Member States today agreed a new global malaria strategy for 2016-2030 and approved the Organization's proposed programme budget for 2016-2017.

The strategy aims to reduce the global disease burden by 40% by 2020, and by at least 90% by 2030. It also aims to eliminate malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – United Arab Emirates

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 00:37
On 13 May 2015, the National IHR Focal Point of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) notified WHO of 1 additional case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

A 29-year-old, non-national male from Abu Dhabi tested positive for MERS-CoV on 12 May. The patient works as a truck driver and frequently transports camels from Oman to UAE. He travelled to Ibri city, Oman on 6 May and transported camels to Abu Dhabi on 9 May. As part of the national policy of testing all imported camels for MERS-CoV, on 9 May, laboratory examinations were carried out on the camels that the truck driver was transporting. The animals tested positive for MERS-CoV on 10 May. This triggered an investigation of the truck driver, which started on the same day. Following hospital admission, the patient tested positive for MERS-CoV on 12 May. He was asymptomatic at the time of laboratory testing. The patient has no comorbidities and no history of exposure to other known risk actors in the 14 days prior to detection. Currently, he is asymptomatic in a negative pressure room on a ward.

68th World Health Assembly Opens in Geneva

WHO News - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 16:00
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany addressed delegates on the first morning of the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly. "The WHO is the only international organization that has universal political legitimacy on global health issues,” she said.

Chancellor Merkel called for a new plan to deal with “catastrophes” like the recent Ebola outbreak. The outbreak highlighted the critical need for urgent, collaborative action in emergencies, and the importance of having efficient structures in place. Chancellor Merkel paid tribute to all those working to safeguard human health worldwide, urging them to “work together”.

WHO Director-General's speech at the Sixty-eighth World Health Assembly

WHO Director-General Speeches - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 15:00
Mister President, Excellencies, honourable ministers, ambassadors, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

This is a time of transitions and transformations.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 17:25
Between 4 and 9 May, the National IHR Focal Point for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 5 additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Contact tracing of household contacts and healthcare contacts is ongoing for these cases.

Rapidly growing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Niger

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 04:00
From 1 January to 12 May 2015, Niger’s Ministry of Public Health notified WHO of 6,179 suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, including 423 deaths. This is a rapidly growing outbreak with some unprecedented features.

Suspected cases have been increasing very quickly, tripling over the last two weeks. This is the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by Neisseria meningitides serogroup C to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt.

Rapidly growing outbreak of meningococcal disease in Niger

WHO News - Sat, 05/16/2015 - 00:47
From 1 January to 10 May 2015, Niger’s Ministry of Public Health notified WHO of 5,855 suspected cases of meningococcal meningitis, including 406 deaths. This is a rapidly growing outbreak with some unprecedented features.

Suspected cases have been increasing very quickly, tripling over the last 2 weeks (see previous notification from 29 April 2015: http://www.who.int/csr/don/29-april-2015-niger/en/ ). This is the first large-scale meningitis outbreak caused by Neisseria meningitides serogroup C to hit any country in Africa’s meningitis belt.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Thu, 05/14/2015 - 23:20
On 9 May 2015, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 6 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus, including 2 deaths.

Onset dates ranged from 26 March to 12 April 2015. Cases ranged in age from 3 to 67 years with a mean age of 36 years. Of these 6 cases, 4 (67%) were male. Four cases (67%) reported exposure to poultry related environment and 2 cases (33%) had unknown exposure. No clusters were reported. Cases were reported from five provinces and municipalities: Anhui (1), Fujian (1), Jiangsu (1), Shanghai (1), and Zhejiang (2).

Emergency preparedness pays off as Kathmandu hospitals respond to earthquakes

WHO News - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 21:18
The earthquakes and the continuing aftershocks in Nepal highlight the importance of the efforts the Ministry of Health and Population and WHO have had in place for more than a decade to ensure key hospitals, health facilities and health workers would be ready and able to function well in an emergency or natural disaster.

The first earthquake on 25 April measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale and the second on 12 May measuring 7.3 failed to disrupt services at Kathmandu’s largest public hospitals, including Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Patan Hospital, Civil Service Hospital, Birendra Army Hospital and the trauma centre at Bir Hospital.

As of today, more than 8200 people are reported to have been killed in the earthquakes and over 19,000 injured.

In Nepal, hospital retrofitting, which involves everything from repairing cracks in walls to installing seismic belts and roof bracing, has been a core part of preparedness plans.

“Retrofitting meant that when the earthquakes struck the hospitals did not collapse,” said Dr Roderico Ofrin, WHO’s Health Response Leader. “ It is clear that the investment in time and resources paid off.”

In more than 15 years, WHO has supported Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population to prepare health facilities in the Himalayan country that sits on a fault zone. In 2009, WHO focussed global attention to the need for safe health facilities in emergencies through its World Health Day campaign. The campaign underscored the need to build strong health systems able to provide medical care in times of disaster and emergency – an aim which the Organization has long been supporting with both technical and material support.

“These hospitals that are standing and were retrofitted went through a process of prioritization. Emergency rooms, maternity wards, and operating theatres were some of the first areas retrofitting was applied,” said Ofrin.

Still, retrofitting alone does not ensure an adequate health-care response in times of disaster. Capacity building and staff training is equally important.
Dr Pradeep Vaidya, director of TUTH’s Trauma Centre and coordinator for the WHO-supported Hospital Preparedness for Emergency Programme, says the response to the earthquake by health care providers was resilient because of pre-planning and training initiatives.

“The most helpful part during the earthquake response was the hospital emergency preparedness plan. People knew what to do, where to meet and how things will flow when the earthquake happened,” he said. “The roster management system worked well.”

Training in triage management has been an ongoing aspect of WHO’s working Nepal, putting into practice its guidelines and strategies in mass casualty management systems, released in 2007.

Because of the training, when large number of injured patients began to arrive, the emergency responders could quickly prioritize the injuries and save lives.

Though the devastation caused by the earthquakes is enormous, the strength of the retrofitted health facilities and the quick response of the health workers show that investment in preparedness pays off.

Media contacts:
(In Nepal)
Shamila Sharma
Mob: +91 9818287256
Email: sharmasha@who.int

(In New Delhi)
Vismita Gupta-Smith
Mob: +91 9871329861
Email: guptasmithv@who.int

(In Geneva)
Paul Garwood
Geneva mob: +41.79.603.7294
email: garwoodp@who.int

Tarik Jašarević
tel: +41 22 791 50 99
mob: +41 79 367 62 14
Email: jasarevict@who.int




Ebola virus disease – Italy

WHO Disease Outbreak News - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 18:40
On 12 May 2015, WHO received notification of a laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola virus disease (EVD). This is the first EVD case to be detected on Italian soil.

The patient is a healthcare worker who has returned from volunteering at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone. The patient flew from Freetown to Rome via Casablanca, Morocco on 7May. The arrival of the case had been communicated to the Ministry of Health, according to the health surveillance procedures in force since October 2014 for individuals coming back from Ebola affected countries in West Africa. At the arrival in Rome, the case displayed no symptoms of infectious Ebola.

World Health Statistics reports on global health goals for 194 countries

WHO News - Wed, 05/13/2015 - 16:17
2015 is the final year for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – goals set by governments in 2000 to guide global efforts to end poverty. This year’s "World Health Statistics" – published today by WHO – assesses progress towards the health-related goals in each of the 194 countries for which data are available. The results are mixed.

By the end of this year if current trends continue, the world will have met global targets for turning around the epidemics of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis and increasing access to safe drinking water. It will also have made substantial progress in reducing child undernutrition, maternal and child deaths, and increasing access to basic sanitation.

WHO Director-General addresses high-level meeting on Ebola R&D

WHO Director-General Speeches - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 15:00
Distinguished scientists, representatives of industry, colleagues in public health, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and a warm welcome to this high-level meeting. I thank you for your time and expertise.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia is over

WHO News - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 15:00
Today, 9 May 2015, WHO declares Liberia free of Ebola virus transmission. Forty-two days have passed since the last laboratory-confirmed case was buried on 28 March 2015. The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia is over.

Interruption of transmission is a monumental achievement for a country that reported the highest number of deaths in the largest, longest, and most complex outbreak since Ebola first emerged in 1976. At the peak of transmission, which occurred during August and September 2014, the country was reporting from 300 to 400 new cases every week.

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