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New data from studies evaluating diagnostic tools, therapies for infectious diseases released at ECCMID 2016

New data from ten late-breaking abstracts is released at ECCMID 2016 – the annual meeting of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID). At the congress, a dedicated session will examine recently released research across the full spectrum of infectious diseases both from a clinical and laboratory perspective.

Researchers presented recent data on a number of diagnostic tools to rapidly identify pathogens and therapies promising to treat challenging infections. The abstracts presented dealt with topics including meningitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, Zika and human papilloma virus.

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Pregnant women counselled about Zika virus

A doctor checks on a pregnant woman at Buôn Mê Thuột General Hospital. Hospitals in HCM City have been providing counselling on the Zika virus.

VNA/VNS Photo Dương Ngọc - April, 13/2016

HCM CITY —  A pregnant woman visiting the Hùng Vương Obstetrics Hospital in HCM City picked up a leaflet about the Zika virus off a shelf in the examination room.

The woman, 41, was especially concerned about the virus after hearing that HCM City had recorded its first Zika case, that of a 33-year-old pregnant woman from District 2.

 

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ZIKA VIRUS 'SCARIER THAN WE FIRST THOUGHT,' WARN U.S. HEALTH OFFICIALS

Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, and Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for Centers of Disease Control Prevention, speak about the Zika virus at the White House, Washington, April 11, 2016.KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS

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Climate Change An Imminent Health Risk, White House Reports

A new report released by the White House warns that climate change is an imminent and growing threat to public health, and that extreme heat will kill around 27,000 US residents per year by 2100.

A science advisor to the Obama administration by the name of John Holdren commented on the report at a recent press conference, noting that extreme heat waves will make outdoor work periodically “impossible:”

“People who work outdoors will be unable to control their body temperature and will die. This is a really, really big deal.”

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EPA Targets Ebola, Pathogen Disinfectant Claims

April 8 — The Environmental Protection Agency has issued aguidance document clarifying the claims disinfectant makers can and can't make during outbreaks of emerging pathogens.

The guidance is meant to prevent some of the confusion that occurred during the recent Ebola outbreak, when some cleaning industry companies were unsure if they could legally market their products as being effective at killing the virus.

It also creates a way around the EPA's rule preventing companies from making claims that their product can kill a specific microbe without lab studies on that specific microbe. In the case of many new or emerging pathogens, such as Ebola or avian influenza, efficacy tests in a lab could be infeasible or even dangerous.

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What to expect from the World Bank spring meetings

The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund spring meetings kick off on Tuesday, once again filling the bank’s Washington, D.C., headquarters with development professionals, policymakers, economists, advocates and a slew of other influential leaders seeking to shape the future of global development.

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Senegal battle ready for Ebola with new treatment centres

After being declared Ebola-free months ago, Senegal is still relentless in controlling any possible outbreak of the Ebola virus in its country.

With a dozen tents and twelve beds surrounded by a double fence, an Ebola emergency treatment centre has been built in the Fann Hospital in Dakar to contain the virus in case it penetrates the country’s porous borders,RFI reports.

The centre, a partnership between the government, Red Cross and the Japanese cooperation, will also be used for outbreaks associated with other infectious diseases.

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Choosing modern medicine over traditional healers in Ebola-affected Guinea

In many African societies, traditional healers are solicited for many reasons. They are called healers or witch doctors for their talents in hunting evil spells and for their mastery of medicinal plants. They are listened to and respected by communities who have full confidence and trust in their skills. It is how these men and women earn a living.

During the Ebola epidemic response, traditional healers were quickly identified as key actors to help raise awareness about the disease in communities, particularly in remote areas where they maintain close relationships with the people they serve.

Doumbouya Idrissa is a traditional healer and President of the Traditional Healers Network of the Lower Guinea region in Guinea. Known as Simbo, which means “strong man” in Sussu, one of the local languages, he played a key role in the mobilization of traditional healers and their commitment to help end the outbreak through the sharing of knowledge on symptoms and preventive measures.

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Regaining the People’s Trust in the Health System: What Will It Take?

 

Community engagement helped turn the tide of Ebola, and will be critical in combatting this latest outbreak.

This is no secret. Getting trusted community members, religious leaders, and local media on board increased adoption of difficult, often alien preventive behaviors like safe burials, which ultimately helped stop the spread of the disease.

But there’s a broader lesson here. If we are to prevent future epidemics, communities need to remain actively engaged in efforts to strengthen the health sector.

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