More than 1 million people a day get STDs – WHO

More than a million people every day worldwide catch a sexually transmitted infection, with rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis and syphilis the most worrying, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The vast majority of the infections are easily preventable and curable, but some diseases – in particular gonorrhea – are evolving into super-bug forms and that are increasingly difficult to treat with antibiotics, the WHO said in a report.

‘Sexually transmitted infections are everywhere. They are far more common than we think,’ Teodora Wi, a medical officer in the WHO’s department for reproductive health and research, told reporters as the data were released.

Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are a 'persistent and endemic health threat worldwide' and have a profound impact on both adult and child health, the WHO said

The report, based on 2016 global data which are the latest available, showed that among men and women aged between 15 and 49 there were 127 million new cases of chlamydia in 2016, 87 million of gonorrhea, 6.3 million of syphilis and 156 million of trichomoniasis.

Sexually transmitted infections or STIs are a ‘persistent and endemic health threat worldwide’ and have a profound impact on both adult and child health, the WHO said.

If they are left untreated, they can lead to serious and chronic health effects that include neurological and cardiovascular disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths and an increased risk of HIV.

Syphilis alone caused an estimated 200,000 stillbirths and newborn deaths in 2016, making it one of the leading causes of baby loss globally, the research said.

Peter Salama, the WHO’s executive director for universal health coverage, said the data showed the need for ‘a concerted effort to ensure everyone, everywhere can access the services they need to prevent and treat these debilitating diseases.’


Kenya among 9 countries on alert as deadly outbreak of airborne plague spreads across Africa

Health chiefs are desperately trying to contain a deadly outbreak of airborne plague in Africa that has prompted warnings in nine countries.

More than 1,300 cases have now been reported in Madagascar, health chiefs have revealed, as nearby nations have been placed on high alert.

Two thirds of those are suspected to be pneumonic – described as the ‘deadliest and most rapid form of plague’, World Health Organization figures show.

The deadly disease is caused by the same bacteria that wiped out at least 50 million people in Europe in the 1300s.

However, the lethal form currently spreading is different to the bubonic strain which was behind history’s Black Death. Pneumonic can spread through coughing and can kill within 24 hours.

The outbreak is moving quickly, with several British holiday hotspots now deemed at risk of the epidemic spreading, including Seychelles, South Africa and La Reunion.

Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Comoros and Mauritius are the six other countries to have received the heightened alert.

It has been reported as many as 50 aid workers are believed to have been among the people infected.

The African branch of the WHO states 93 people have lost their lives to the disease so far, lower than the 124 noted in official UN figures.

A WHO official said: ‘The risk of the disease spreading is high at national level… because it is present in several towns and this is just the start of the outbreak.’

However, amid widespread fears it could reach Europe and wreak havoc, the WHO has stressed the overall global risk is considered to be ‘low’.

How many people have died? 

The statement questions the UN figures released last week that warned the plague outbreak has infected less than 1,200.

WHO admitted the outbreaks have centered in cities, including the capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo – heightening the risk of it spreading.

Growing concerns 

Officials are growing concerned as around two thirds of the cases are suspected to be pneumonic plague, spread through coughing, sneezing or spitting.

It is more deadly then the bubonic variation of the disease which killed a third of Europe’s population in the 1300s before being largely wiped out.

Madagascar sees regular outbreaks of the disease, but this one has caused alarm due to how quickly it has spread and a high number of fatalities.

Like the bubonic form that often is found in Madagascar’s remote highlands, it can be treated with common antibiotics if caught in time.


Health officials are unsure how this year’s outbreak began.

However, bubonic plague which is endemic in rural parts of Madagascar can turn into the pneumonic form if left untreated.

Pneumonic plague, which is more virulent than other forms, can then be passed on through the air.

The bubonic form is spread from fleas that carry the Yersinia pestis bacteria which then bite humans.

It is believed they contract the bacteria from rats fleeing forest fires and striking rural communities.

The first death this year occurred on August 28 when a passenger died in a public taxi en route to a town on the east coast.

Two others who came into contact with the passenger also died.

This outbreak is the first time the disease has affected the Indian Ocean island’s two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina, officials said.

Around 600 cases are reported each year on the island. But this year’s outbreak is expected to dwarf previous ones as it has struck so early.

Drafting in help 

International agencies have so far sent more than one million doses of antibiotics to Madagascar. Nearly 20,000 respiratory masks have also been donated.

However, the WHO advises against travel or trade restrictions. It has previously asked for $5.5 million (£4.2m) to support the plague response.

Despite its guidance, Air Seychelles, one of Madagascar’s biggest airlines, stopped flying temporarily earlier in the month to try and curb the spread.

A Foreign Office spokesman previously said: ‘There is currently an outbreak of pneumonic and bubonic plague in Madagascar.

‘Outbreaks of plague tend to be seasonal and occur mainly during the rainy season, with around 500 cases reported annually.

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The world is running out of antibiotics – health leaders warn

The world is running out of antibiotics, global health leaders have warned.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that ‘antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency’.

Growing resistance to drugs that fight infections could ‘seriously jeopardise’ progress made in modern medicine, the head of WHO said.

The remarks come after a new WHO report found a serious lack of new drugs in development to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

Health experts have previously warned that resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that 'antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency'

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that ‘antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency’

In recent years, there has been a UK drive to raise global awareness of the threat posed to modern medicine by antimicrobial resistance.

If antibiotics lose their effectiveness, then key medical procedures – including gut surgery, caesarean sections, joint replacements and chemotherapy – could become too dangerous to perform.

Around 700,000 people around the world die annually due to drug-resistant infections including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria.

If no action is taken, it has been estimated that drug-resistant infections will kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

The WHO previously drew up a list of antibiotic-resistant infections posing the greatest threat to health.

It has now examined new drugs in the development pipeline.

The new WHO report found few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections – including drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) which kills around 250,000 people each year.

There is also a lack of treatment options for gram-negative pathogens, including Acinetobacter and Enterobacteriaceae, such as Klebsiella and E.coli – which can cause deadly infections and pose a particular threat in hospitals and nursing homes, WHO said.

Meanwhile there are very few oral antibiotics for infections caused by gram-negative pathogens in the pipeline, even though such drugs are essential for treating infections outside hospitals.

The authors of the report identified 51 new antibiotics and biologicals in clinical development. But the WHO said that only eight of these are deemed to be innovative treatments that will add value to the current antibiotic treatment arsenal.

Most drugs in development are modifications of existing antibiotics, which are ‘only short-term solutions’, the authors said.

‘The current clinical pipeline is still insufficient to mitigate the threat of antimicrobial resistance,’ they added.

The authors called for more investment in basic science, drug discovery and clinical development.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said: ‘Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine.

Health experts have previously warned that resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer

Health experts have previously warned that resistance to antimicrobial drugs could cause a bigger threat to mankind than cancer

‘There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.’

Dr Suzanne Hill, director of the department of essential medicines at WHO, added: ‘Pharmaceutical companies and researchers must urgently focus on new antibiotics against certain types of extremely serious infections that can kill patients in a matter of days because we have no line of defence.’

WHO said that new treatments alone will not be enough to combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Read more: dailymail

El Nino could spark large-scale dengue fever epidemic

The weather phenomenon known as El Nino could lead to an epidemic of dengue fever cases in southeast Asia, international researchers said Monday.

Cases of dengue fever have been shown to rise along with the ocean warming trend, which occurs some years but not others. The current El Nino, which has already begun and is forecast to last into next year, is expected to be among the most intense in 20 years, researchers say.

“Large dengue epidemics occur unexpectedly, which can overburden the health care systems,” said lead author Willem van Panhuis, assistant professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

“Our analysis shows that elevated temperatures can create the ideal circumstance for large-scale dengue epidemics to spread across a wide region.”

Researchers analyzed 18 years of monthly dengue surveillance reports across southeast Asia, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.

They found trends among the total of 3.5 million reported cases in eight countries.

During the last particularly strong El Nino season, in 1997 and 1998, “dengue transmission was very high, matching up perfectly with high temperatures that allowed mosquitoes to reproduce faster and spread dengue virus more efficiently,” said the study.

The higher temperatures in the tropics and subtropics were brought on by El Nino, moving warm sea water temperatures in the eastern Pacific toward the west.

Dengue fever is caused by a mosquito-borne virus in the tropics and subtropics, causing nearly 400 million infections each year.

Symptoms can include fever, severe pain, headache, nausea, vomiting and skin rashes. In some patients, the infection can be fatal.

There is no vaccine to prevent dengue and no medical treatment other than acetaminophen.

The World Health Organization says the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades, and about half of the world’s population is now at risk.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ebola cases fall to year low but WHO warns of trouble ahead

The World Health Organization on Wednesday hailed the fewest weekly infections for over a year in the west African Ebola epidemic, but warned they were braced for a significant new outbreak in Sierra Leone.

There were just four confirmed cases in Guinea in the week to Sunday and three in Sierra Leone, the WHO said in the latest of its weekly updates on the epidemic.

But it warned that one of the Sierra Leone cases, a patient who died after travelling from the capital Freetown to the central district of Tonkolili, posed “a substantial risk of further transmission”.

“On July 19 the case attended a community hospital complaining of a headache, and was treated as an outpatient and discharged,” the WHO said.

“Two days later on July 21, the case presented to a different hospital and was isolated on admission. The patient died on July 23 and was confirmed (Ebola) positive after post-mortem testing.

“Over 500 contacts have been listed so far, several of whom are deemed to be high risk. Investigations are ongoing to establish the source of infection and identify and trace all contacts.”

The WHO said all of the 500-plus contacts are in Tonkolili, which reported its first new case of Ebola earlier this month, ending a 150-day run of no new infections.

Around 28,000 people have been infected in the two countries and neighbouring Liberia in the worst Ebola outbreak in history, more than 11,000 of them fatally, according to official data widely seen as an underestimate.

Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has unveiled a two-year post-Ebola “battle plan” to reinvigorate the private sector as an engine for economic growth and job creation.

The programme will be funded by more than $804 million (730 million euros) earmarked for Sierra Leone at this month’s UN Pledging Conference on Ebola.

There was better news elsewhere, with Liberia reporting no new cases in the week to Sunday, following a small outbreak a month ago which dashed hopes that the country had eradicated the spread of the virus among humans for good.

Six people were confirmed infected in the first cluster of cases for three months. Two of them died, but the remaining four have been given the all clear and the country is once again dealing with no known cases.

For the first time since the epidemic emerged in December 2013, Guinea’s new cases were all registered contacts of previous Ebola patients, a strong indicator that the spread of the virus is under control.

The seven cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone represented the lowest weekly total for over a year, the WHO said, snapping a two-month run during which weekly case incidence had plateaued at between 20 and 30.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ebola deaths pass 11,000 mark: WHO

The number of deaths from the Ebola epidemic now exceeds 11,000, figures from the World Health Organization showed on Wednesday.

In the three countries worst affected — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea — 26,593 people were infected, and 11,005 had died, the WHO said.

The worst ever outbreak of Ebola began in southern Guinea in December 2013 before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Liberia has recorded the most deaths with 4,716, while 3,903 have died in Sierra Leone and 2,386 have died in Guinea.

Although the number of cases has topped 11,000, the WHO is due to declare on May 9 that the epidemic is over in Liberia, unless there are any new cases in the country before then.

The number of new infections are also dwindling in Guinea and Sierra Leone. Only nine new cases were recorded in each country last week, the lowest figures for almost a year.

Photo Credits : AFP

Ebola death toll passes 10,000: WHO

The global death toll from the Ebola outbreak centred in west Africa has topped 10,000 out of more than 24,000 recorded cases, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

Almost all the deaths and cases have been reported in the three west African countries worst hit by the outbreak: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

There have also been six deaths in Mali, one in the United States and eight in Nigeria, all of which have since been declared Ebola-free.

Spain and Senegal, which have also been declared free of Ebola, had one case each but no deaths.

The WHO on Wednesday said the fight against Ebola was “going in the right direction”.

– Sierra Leone –

Sierra Leone, which has overtaken Liberia as the country with the most infections, counted 11,677 cases and 3,655 deaths as of March 10.

– Liberia –

As of March 5, Liberia — long the hardest-hit country — had recorded a total of 9,343 and 4,162 deaths.

But the tide seems to be turning in the country which in August and September was reporting more than 300 new cases each week, with the WHO saying Wednesday that Liberia had registered no new cases since February 19.

Liberia’s last confirmed Ebola patient was discharged from hospital after testing negative for the virus for the second time on March 3, the UN body said.

That means Liberia started its 42-day, or two incubation-period, countdown towards being considered Ebola free on March 4.

– Guinea –

In Guinea, where the outbreak started in December 2013, 3,330 Ebola cases and 2,187 deaths were recorded as of March 10.

The WHO said on Wednesday that the country had seen no new cases in the previous 10 days.

– Healthcare workers –

Ebola, one of the deadliest viruses known to man, is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected with Ebola are especially exposed.

As of January 4, a total of 838 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 495 of them had died, the WHO said.

Photo Credits : AFP

UN reports significant drop in Ebola cases

The deadly Ebola epidemic is slowing significantly in the three west African countries at its epicentre, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, adding that those countries were now adequately equipped to stem the tide.

The UN health agency said in its latest update that a total of 8,626 people had died as of January 18, almost all of them in west Africa, since the epidemic broke out in December 2013. There were 21,689 confirmed cases.

But decrypting the figures revealed rare good news in the worst ever outbreak of the disease which sparked a health scare the world over.

“Case incidence continues to fall in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” the WHO said. Liberia, for instance, which had a peak over 300 new cases per week in August and September, only notched up eight last week. The UN agency also said the three hardest-hit countries which have a creaky health infrastructure and were struggling to deal with the epidemic were now adequately equipped largely thanks to international help.

They now have “sufficient capacity to isolate and treat patients,” it said.


More than 5,000 Ebola deaths, says WHO

More than 5,000 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, which was first identified in Guinea in March, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday, marking another grisly toll in the epidemic.

This is the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, with more than 14,000 people sickened, the vast majority in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

There are some signs that the rate of new infections may be slowing overall in Guinea and Liberia, but they are surging in Sierra Leone, the health agency said Wednesday, and there are still areas of Liberia and Guinea where transmission remains high. While the response to Ebola is ramping up, it is still insufficient: In Sierra Leone, for instance, less than 40 percent of cases are in isolation, according to WHO estimates.

Worryingly, the virus has continued to pop up in new places, both within the most affected countries and outside their borders. The most recent example is three deaths believed to be linked to a new Ebola cluster that Malian authorities reported Wednesday. It is an alarming setback as the country tries to limit the epidemic ravaging other West African countries.


Ebola outbreak: Cases pass 10,000, WHO reports

The number of cases in the Ebola outbreak has exceeded 10,000, with 4,922 deaths, the World Health Organization says in its latest report.

Only 27 of the cases have occurred outside the three worst-hit countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Those three countries account for all but 10 of the fatalities.

Mali became the latest nation to record a death, a two-year-old girl. More than 40 people known to have come into contact with her have been quarantined.

The latest WHO situation report says that Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 2,705 deaths. Sierra Leone has had 1,281 fatalities and there have been 926 in Guinea.

Nigeria has recorded eight deaths and there has been one in Mali and one in the United States.

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Girl, two, who was first confirmed case of Ebola in Mali dies

The young girl who just two days ago became the first confirmed case of Ebola in Mali has passed away.

The two-year-old had recently arrived from neighboring Guinea, where the outbreak began. The child was brought to a hospital in the Malian town of Kayes – which is about 375 miles from the capital of Bamako – on Wednesday, and her blood sample tested positive for the virus.

Now, there are new outbreak fears as WHO has revealed the girl was exposed to an unknown number of people while riding on buses. This after it was reported Friday, ‘The condition of the girl, according to our services, is improving thanks to her rapid treatment.’

It was also reported that ‘The sick child and the people who were in contact with her in Kayes were immediately identified and taken care of.’

This has now been thrown into question with news that the girl had traveled with her grandmother hundreds of kilometers by bus from Guinea via Mali’s capital to the western town of Kayes.

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Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark – WHO

The death toll in the world’s worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

In its latest update, the UN health agency said as of October 19, 4,877 people had died of Ebola out of a total of 9,936 cases registered in seven countries.

The previous WHO toll, running to October 14, had shown 4,555 deaths out of9,216 registered cases.

The WHO has repeatedly underlined that substantial increases in the number of registered deaths and cases do not mean that they have surged over the period in question.

Instead, they reflect delayed counting, given the extremely difficult conditions in the hard-hit west African nations.

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Ebola cases could soar to 10,000 a week – WHO

There could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of this year as the outbreak spreads, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters in Switzerland, WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Bruce Aylward told reporters that the Ebola outbreak could get worse before it gets better.

Already, this outbreak has gotten deadlier. The mortality rate has increased from 50% to 70%, he said.

And by December, he said, there could be between 5,000 and 10,000 new cases weekly in West Africa.

Compare those December projections to the latest figures. As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 8,914 Ebola cases and 4,447 deaths reported to the WHO, Aylward said.

“This has been a deadly disease ever since we discovered it in 1976,” said Dr. Seema Yasmin, a staff writer at the Dallas Morning News and a former CDC disease detective.


Ebola deaths in West Africa ‘pass 3,000’ – WHO

The death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has passed 3,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

The latest figures indicate that more than 6,500 people are believed to have been infected in the region.

Liberia is the worst affected country, having recorded around 1,830 deaths linked to the latest outbreak.

The outbreak is the world’s most deadly – US President Barack Obama has called it a “threat to global security”.

Some studies have warned that the numbers of infected could rise to more than 20,000 by early November.


Ebola death toll passes 1,900, says WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 1,900 people have now died in West Africa’s Ebola outbreak.

WHO head Margaret Chan said there were 3,500 confirmed or probable cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

“The outbreaks are racing ahead of the control efforts in these countries,” she said.

On Thursday the WHO is holding a meeting to examine the most promising treatments and to discuss how to fast track their testing and production.

Disease control experts, medical researchers, officials from affected countries, and specialists in medical ethics will all be represented at the meeting in Geneva.

The WHO has previously warned that more than 20,000 people could be infected before the outbreak of the virus is brought under control.


Ebola crisis vastly underestimated, says WHO

The scale of the Ebola outbreak appears to be “vastly underestimated”, the UN’s health agency says, as the death toll from the disease reaches 1,069.

The World Health Organization said its staff had seen evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths do not reflect the scale of the crisis.

It said in a statement that “extraordinary measures” were needed.

The outbreak began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

However, the WHO said the risk of transmission of Ebola during air travel remained low, as the disease is not airborne.

As a consequence, Kenya Airways has rejected pressure to suspend its flights to the Ebola-hit states of West Africa.


WHO reports new Ebola cases in West Africa

The World Health Organization reported 128 new Ebola cases and 56 deaths in West Africa in the two days to 11 August.

This brings the death toll from the worst ever outbreak of the disease to 1,069.

Since the outbreak was identified in March, there have been a total of 1,975 confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola cases.

These cases were in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, the United Nations health agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a member of the West African regional body Ecowas has become the third person in Nigeria to die of Ebola fever.

Jatto Asihu Abdulqudir, 36, a protocol assistant, was traveling to an Ecowas function with Liberian Patrick Sawyer, the man who brought Ebola to Nigeria last month.

Mr Abdulqudir had been under quarantine.


WHO: Ebola ‘an international emergency’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of Ebola in West Africa an international health emergency.

WHO officials said a coordinated international response was essential to stop and reverse the spread of the virus.

The announcement came after experts convened a two-day emergency meeting in Switzerland.

So far more than 930 people have died from Ebola in West Africa this year.

The United Nations health agency said the outbreak was an “extraordinary event”.