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WHO 'Concerned' Over Deadly Vietnam Mystery Disease

The rash as seen on the hands and feet caused by the mystery "infection" - Photo credit: Saigon Giai Phong

google.com / News - AFP - April 23, 2012

HANOI, Vietnam — The World Health Organisation said Monday it was "concerned" about an outbreak of a mysterious skin disease in central Vietnam which has killed 19 people, mostly children.

More than 170 people have fallen ill with the unidentified illness, which causes stiffness in the limbs and ulcers on victims' hands and feet that look like severe burns.

"We are concerned about this. WHO is very aware of this case," said Wu Guogao, the organisation's chief officer in Hanoi, adding Vietnam had not asked for help with an investigation into the outbreak.

The WHO has not been given access to any official reports on the issue.

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Scottish Anthrax Outbreak 'Worst in UK in 50 Years'

The anthrax outbreak claimed 14 lives in Scotland

BBC News - January 5, 2012

An outbreak of anthrax among drug users in Scotland between 2009 and 2010 was the largest in the UK for 50 years, according to an official report.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) said there were 119 cases of anthrax and a total of 14 deaths during the outbreak.

Its report also recorded it as "the first documented outbreak associated with heroin use anywhere in the world".

HPS warned that as long as there was an illegal drug trade there was a risk of a similar outbreak.

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BANGLADESH: Trying to Stay Polio-Free

submitted by Stuart Leiderman

      

A six month old child receives his Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) on the 17th NID against polio  Photo: Contributor/IRIN

BANGKOK, 11 January 2012 (IRIN) - Mobile health teams in Bangladesh are conducting “child-to-child” searches to reach the remaining half million children not vaccinated during a nationwide polio immunization campaign launched on 7 January.

The campaign’s goal was to vaccinate 22 million children under five. Only 560,791 children short of reaching it, mobile teams have been conducting house visits, concluding on 11 January, to vaccinate the remainder, Arun Bhadra Thapa, World Health Organization’s country representative, told IRIN.

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A six month old child receives his Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) on the 17th NID against polio
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Mystery Kidney Disease in Central America

by Kate Sheehy - PRI's The World - BBC News - December 12, 2011

      

A mysterious epidemic is sweeping Central America - it's the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it's a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined. It's unexplained but the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death.

In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugar cane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla.

The small houses are a patchwork of concrete and wood. Pieces of cloth serve as doors.

Maudiel Martinez emerges from his house to greet me. He's pale, and his cheekbones protrude from his face. He hunches over like an old man - but he is only 19 years old.

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C-SPAN Video Link - Global Efforts To End Malaria

submitted by Albert Gomez

Witnesses testified on the future of drug and vaccine development as well as the challenges in ensuring the availability, affordability and safe distribution of anti-malarial medicines.

C-SPAN Video Link - Global Efforts To End Malaria (2 hours, 21 minutes)

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/MalariaP

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U.S. Needs a National Disease Surveillance System

The Institute of Medicine urges HHS to create system that taps into electronic health records and patient-compiled data to help prevent and treat chronic heart and lung conditions.
By Neil Versel  InformationWeek

IT and Information Sharing Environments for Community Health Resilience

Information Technology (IT) and Information Sharing Environments (ISEs) are crucial to the evolution of community health resilience.  Most people working to improve community health resilience do not understand the nuances of Information Sharing Environments, and how the rapid shifts in IT, mobile devices, social media, cloud computing, peer to peer parallel processing, smart grids, and the linking of millions of people, mobile devices, computers, and sensors are creating a societal mind, which is transforming community health resilience and the health and human security of Americans.

If you have thoughts on these topics, please comment within this collaboratory thread.

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Mobile Phone Keeps Tabs on Malaria

submitted by Albert Gomez

Israel21c.org - July 28, 2011

A Gates Foundation grant will help an Israeli scientist further develop his cell-phone imaging system for diagnosing and staging the serious African disease.

                      

Mosquitoes carry Malaria, a disease that is now the second-leading cause of death in Africa.

A simple mobile-phone imaging system developed in Israel for diagnosing and monitoring malaria has won its developers a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The grant is shared by biomedical engineer Dr. Alberto Bilenca of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and his research partner, Dr. Linnie Golightly of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

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Software Uses Twitter To Track Dengue Outbreaks In Brazil

submitted by Mary Suzanne Kivlighan

Kaiser Family Foundation - July 19, 2011

The New Scientist reports on a software program that is being used "to identify a high correlation between the time and place where people tweet they have dengue and the official statistics for where the disease appears each season."

Researchers at two Brazilian National Institutes of Science and Technology worked together to create the software, which filters tweets containing the word "dengue" and user location details. "Dengue outbreaks occur every year in Brazil, but exactly where varies every season. It can take weeks for medical notifications to be centrally analyzed, creating a headache for health authorities planning where to concentrate resources," the publication notes. Using Twitter could speed up response time, according to Wagner Meira, a computer scientist at the Federal University of Minus Gerais who led the study (Corbyn, 7/18).

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UN: 3.5 Million Pakistani Children at Risk for Waterborne Diseases

The United Nations says 3.5 million children in Pakistan are at risk from waterborne diseases, warning of a "second wave of death" from the country's devastating floods. U.N. humanitarian spokesman Maurizio Giuliano said Monday as many as six million people face the risk of contracting diarrhea and dysentery if donors do not provide more aid. Sluggish response The U.N. has launched an appeal for $460 million, but charities say the response has been sluggish, with only about 27 percent of the goal being met so far. Hundreds of angry flood victims blocked a highway outside Sukkur in southern Sindh province Monday, demanding government assistance. The protesters held up traffic as they called for food and shelter. Three weeks of monsoon rains have triggered Pakistan's worst flooding, with an estimated 1,600 people killed and 20 million affected in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh provinces. More flooding likely On Monday, authorities said a new wave of flooding was likely along the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Pakistan on Sunday and said the flooding was the worst natural disaster he has ever seen. He urged international donors to speed up aid. Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Monday called the international response to the disaster lamentable.

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