Ebola Current Affairs - 2019
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) list of 10 global health threats lists 10 issues which demand immediate attention from WHO and health partners in 2019 has been released. They are:
Air pollution and climate change
Nine out of ten people breathe polluted air every day. In 2019, air pollution is considered by WHO as the greatest environmental risk to health. Burning fossil fuels which are a major contributor to climate change also impacts people’s health in different ways.
Noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, are collectively responsible for over 70% of all deaths world and are responsible for over 85% of these premature deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
Global influenza pandemic
WHO warns of impending influenza pandemic.WHO states that Global defences are only as effective as the weakest link in any country’s health emergency preparedness and response system.
Fragile and vulnerable settings
WHO notes that fragile settings exist in almost all regions of the world, and half of the key targets in the sustainable development goals, including on child and maternal health, remains unmet.
Time with antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials is running out. Antimicrobial resistance which is the ability of bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi to resist these medicines is threatening to send the world back to a time when the world was unable to easily treat infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis.
Ebola and other high-threat pathogens
2018 witnessed two separate Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both outbreaks spread to cities of more than 1 million people and One of the affected provinces was also in an active conflict zone. Similar outbreaks can be witnessed in 2019.
Weak Primary Health Care
Primary health care is the first point of contact people have with their health care system, and Primary Health Care centres should provide comprehensive, affordable, community-based care throughout life. Yet many countries do not have adequate primary health care facilities.
The reluctance or refusal to vaccinate despite the availability of vaccines threatens to reverse progress made in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases. WHO notes that complacency, inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy.
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that causes flu-like symptoms which can be lethal and kill up to 20% of those with severe dengue. A high number of cases occur in the rainy seasons of countries such as Bangladesh and India, with rainy seasons lengthening significantly and the disease is spreading to less tropical and more temperate countries such as Nepal which have not traditionally seen the disease, Dengue needs to be fought with urgency.
Even though enormous progress has been made in terms of getting people tested, providing them with antiretrovirals and providing access to preventive measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, the epidemic continues to rage with nearly a million people every year dying of HIV/AIDS.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The announcement comes 42 days (two 21-day incubation cycles of the virus) after the last confirmed Ebola patient in the affected Bas-Uélé province of DRC tested negative for the disease for the second time.
It was DRC’s eighth outbreak of EVD since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. It killed four of the eight people infected in the central African country.
The recent outbreak in DRC is not connected to the 2014 deadly Ebola outbreak that had worst hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and killed more than 11,300 dead, highest ever since its discovery of virus. This outbreak was declared finished in 2016.
About Ebola virus disease (EVD)
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebola viruses. It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name.
Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats are natural host of this virus. It spreads through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva. It also spreads through sexual transmission.
Symptoms: High fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. However, in past outbreaks case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90%.
Treatment: There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including immune therapies, blood products and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. An experimental Ebola vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV is proved to highly protective against the deadly virus in a major trial in Guinea conducted in 2015.