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Mayaro virus disease - French Guiana, France

Disease outbreak news - 21 hours 13 min ago
On 13 October 2020, the French health authorities officially reported 13 laboratory-confirmed cases of Mayaro fever in French Guiana, France.

In September 2020, the Institut Pasteur de la Guyane (IPG) (member of the French National Reference Laboratory for arboviruses) identified two cases of Mayaro virus infection (MAYV) confirmed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and one probable case found positive for Mayaro antibodies. The case-patients presented dengue-like symptoms and joint pains, and tested negative for dengue by RT-PCR.

Steroids boost survival of preterm babies in low-resource settings, new study finds

WHO news - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 19:00

Accurate pregnancy dating and quality care combined with the steroids are key to survival

The results of a new clinical trial, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that dexamethasone—a glucocorticoid used to treat many conditions, including rheumatic problems and severe COVID-19— can boost survival of premature babies when given to pregnant women at risk of preterm birth in low-resource settings.

The WHO ACTION-I trial resolves an ongoing controversy about the efficacy of antenatal steroids for improving preterm newborn survival in low-income countries. Dexamethasone and similar drugs have long shown to be effective in saving preterm babies lives in high-income countries, where high-quality newborn care is more accessible. This is the first time a clinical trial has proven that the drugs are also effective in low-income settings.

The impact is significant: for every 25 pregnant women treated with dexamethasone, one premature baby’s life was saved. When administered to mothers at risk of preterm birth, dexamethasone crosses the placenta and accelerates lung development, making it less likely for preterm babies to have respiratory problems at birth.

“Dexamethasone is now a proven drug to save babies born too soon in low-income settings,” says Dr Olufemi Oladapo, head of maternal and perinatal health unit at WHO and HRP, and one of the coordinators of the study. “But it is only effective when administered by health-care providers who can make timely and accurate decisions, and provide a minimum package of high-quality care for both pregnant women and their babies.”

Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early, and 1 million die due to complications resulting from their early birth. In low-income settings, half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care.

The study notes, healthcare providers must have the means to select the women most likely to benefit from the drug and to correctly initiate the treatment at the right time – ideally 48 hours before giving birth to give enough time to complete steroid injections for maximal effect. Women who are in weeks 26-34 of their pregnancy are most likely to benefit from the steroid, so healthcare providers must also have access to ultrasound to accurately date their pregnancies. In addition, babies must receive sufficiently good-quality care when they are born.

“When a minimal package of care for newborn babies – including management of infection, feeding support, thermal care and access to a CPAP machine to support respiration – is in place in low-income countries, antenatal steroids such as dexamethasone can help to save preterm babies’ lives,” says Dr Rajiv Bahl, head of the newborn health unit at WHO and one of the study coordinators.

Conducted from December 2017–November 2019, the randomized trial recruited 2852 women and their 3070 babies from 29 secondary and tertiary level hospitals in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Beyond finding a significantly lower risk of neonatal death and stillbirth, the study also found there was no increase in possible maternal bacterial infections when treating pregnant women with dexamethasone in low-resource settings.


Note to editors

WHO includes dexamethasone in its Essential Medicines List. The drug has also recently been shown to be effective in helping to relieve the symptoms caused by severe COVID-19. It is therefore crucial that countries, health systems, and pharmaceutical companies across the world ensure quality, as well as effective supply chains and pricing to prevent hoarding or stock-outs of this drug, which has many uses; including for helping to save preterm babies lives.

New book calls on world leaders to unite in response to health threats

WHO news - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 18:33

At the occasion of the World Health Summit 2020 and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, a new book has been launched that calls on world leaders and politicians to unite in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other threats to health and the global economy.

Health: A Political Choice – Act Now, Together is the latest in a series of titles published by the Global Governance Project in collaboration with WHO.  

This year’s edition features another prestigious line-up of authors, including Amina J Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the UN, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa. Calling for coordinated action in response to COVID-19 and on other pressing health-related issues, the publication focuses on five key areas:

  1. Inclusive economics, defined by a new social contract and the pursuit of progress for all
  2. The fundamental requirements for a healthy life and equitable health care
  3. Equitable investments and how to make universal health coverage a reality
  4. Health in the digital age and how technology can help reshape the human rights agenda
  5. The long-term outlook on global health

Dr Tedros, WHO Director-General, said: “It has never been clearer that health is a political and economic choice. In the past 20 years, countries have invested heavily in preparing for terrorist attacks, but relatively little in preparing for the attack of a virus – which, as the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, can be far more deadly, disruptive and costly.” 

The first book in the series Health: A Political Choice. Delivering Universal Health Coverage 2030 was launched in 2019. 

 

Rapid Risk Assessment: Increased transmission of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK – thirteenth update

ECDC - Risk assessments - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 15:00
In this update, we assess the risk for the general population and vulnerable individuals in relation to the increase in COVID-19 notification rates in the EU/EEA and the UK.
Categories: C.D.C. (Europe)

Nigeria resumes Yellow fever vaccination with safety measures necessary for the COVID-19 context

WHO news - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 11:18

You can access the original press release by clicking here.

 

Developing a Wastewater Surveillance Sampling Strategy

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Developing a Wastewater Surveillance Sampling Strategy
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Wastewater Surveillance Testing Methods

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Wastewater Surveillance Testing Methods
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Wastewater Surveillance Data Reporting & Analytics

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Wastewater Surveillance Data Reporting & Analytics
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Targeted Wastewater Surveillance at Facilities, Institutions, and Workplaces

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Targeted Wastewater Surveillance at Facilities, Institutions, and Workplaces
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Public Health Interpretation and Use of Wastewater Surveillance Data

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Public Health Interpretation and Use of Wastewater Surveillance Data
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Considerations for Election Polling Locations and Voters

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Recommended Precautions for Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Election Polling Locations
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Fri, 10/23/2020 - 07:00
Institutions of higher education (IHE), working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases, and protecting vulnerable students, staff, and faculty to help ensure a safe and healthy learning environment.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia

WHO news - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 16:41

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. 

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. 

Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.

“Equitable access to trusted health information is critical to keeping people safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "Our new collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation will increase access to reliable health information from WHO across multiple countries, languages, and devices."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WHO has taken steps to prevent an “infodemic”— defined by the organization as “an overabundance of information and the rapid spread of misleading or fabricated news, images, and videos.” 

Wikipedia editors have similarly been on the frontlines of preventing the spread of misinformation surrounding the coronavirus, ensuring information about the pandemic is based on reliable sources and updated regularly on Wikipedia. 

By making verified information about the pandemic available to more people on one of the world’s most-visited knowledge resources, the organizations aim to help curb this infodemic and ensure everyone can access critical public health information.

“Access to information is essential to healthy communities and should be treated as such,” said Katherine Maher, CEO at the Wikimedia Foundation. “This becomes even more clear in times of global health crises when information can have life-changing consequences. All institutions, from governments to international health agencies, scientific bodies to Wikipedia, must do our part to ensure everyone has equitable and trusted access to knowledge about public health, regardless of where you live or the language you speak.”

WHO has served as the leading international health agency spearheading the global response to the coronavirus outbreak. Since the beginning, WHO has worked to rapidly establish international coordination, scale up country readiness and response, and accelerate research and innovation. Today, as information on the transmission and epidemiology of the virus evolves, WHO continues to provide essential guidance and public health recommendations to governments, communities and individuals everywhere.

At the same time, Wikipedia volunteer editors, many of whom are from the medical community, have been creating, updating, and translating Wikipedia articles with information from reliable sources about the pandemic. As one of the top ten sites in the world, studies have shown that Wikipedia is one of the most frequently viewed sources for health information. 

At the moment, readers can access WHO’s mythbusting series of infographics on Wikimedia Commons. The infographics, which focus on addressing common misconceptions about COVID-19, are also available for Wikipedia editors to incorporate into Wikipedia articles. 

In the coming months, the Wikimedia Foundation and WHO will continue uploading resources to Wikimedia Commons and collaborating with Wikipedia volunteer editors to better understand gaps in information needs on Wikipedia articles related to COVID-19 and how WHO resources can help fill these gaps. 

Additionally, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, other organizations, individuals, and websites can more easily share these materials on their own platforms without having to address stricter copyright restrictions. 



About the World Health Organization

The World Health Organization provides global leadership in public health within the United Nations system. Founded in 1948, WHO works with 194 Member States, across six regions and from more than 149 offices, to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable. Our goal for 2019-2023 is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and wellbeing.

For updates on COVID-19 and public health advice to protect yourself from coronavirus, visit www.who.int and follow WHO on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Twitch.

About the Wikimedia Foundation 

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.



New Study 31/A5349 on the treatment of drug-susceptible TB

WHO news - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 14:31

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global TB Programme welcomes the results from a landmark study on the treatment of drug-susceptible TB presented at the 51st virtual Union World Conference on Lung Health. The study, named Study 31/A5349, was led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC) in collaboration with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Study 31/A5349 is a phase 3, open-label randomized controlled clinical trial that examined the efficacy and safety of two four-month treatment regimens with high-dose rifapentine with or without moxifloxacin for the treatment of drug susceptible pulmonary TB, compared to the currently recommended six-month regimen composed of rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and ethambutol (2RHZE/4RH). Thirteen countries contributed data to the study, from 34 clinical sites. Approximately 2 500 people aged 12 years and older participated in the study, including 214 people living with HIV infection.

One of the key findings from the study was that the four-month regimen which included a combination of high-dose rifapentine, isoniazid, pyrazinamide and moxifloxacin, was shown to be non-inferior in terms of efficacy to the currently recommended six-month regimen composed of rifampicin, isoniazid, ethambutol and pyrazinamide. In addition, this four-month regimen was safe and well-tolerated by patients.

New, shorter and effective treatment regimens for both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB are urgently needed to treat all patients with TB and achieve the WHO’s End TB Strategy targets. Therefore, the findings from this study have the potential to complement current options for the treatment of drug-susceptible TB with a new effective and safe 4-month regimen.

Robust and representative scientific data constitute the premise for WHO public health policy recommendations, which are developed using a rigorous, systematic and evidence-based approach. WHO regularly reviews the findings from key studies on TB treatment in order to offer patients the most effective and safe treatment regimens. The results from Study 31/A5349 mark an important step forward in this process and once the final data become available, WHO intends to initiate a policy development process to refine its current policy recommendations on the treatment of drug-susceptible TB.

Statement of the Twenty-Sixth Polio IHR Emergency Committee

WHO news - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 13:37

The twenty-sixth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) on the international spread of poliovirus was convened and opened by the WHO Deputy Director-General on 14 October 2020 with committee members attending via video conference, supported by the WHO Secretariat.  Dr Zsuzsana Jakab in opening remarks on behalf of Dr Tedros congratulated all those involved in eliminating wild polioviruses from the WHO African Region despite some very challenging obstacles.  The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing spread of cVDPV2 were both growing major challenges, which would require strenuous efforts to overcome in order to restart progress toward global polio eradication.

 

The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine derived polioviruses (cVDPV).  The following IHR States Parties provided an update at the video conference or in writing on the current situation in their respective countries: Afghanistan, Chad, Egypt, Guinea, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.

 

Wild poliovirus

 

The higher incidence of global WPV1 cases seen during 2020 continues, with 121 cases reported between 1 January – 5 October 2020 compared to 85 for the same period in 2019, a 42% increase.  Last year there were 176 WPV1 cases, the highest number reported since the PHEIC was declared in 2014, when there were 359 cases in nine countries.  The lowest number of WPV1 cases was reported in 2017, when only 22 cases were found.  No wild polio cases have been detected outside of Pakistan and Afghanistan since the last cases in Nigeria in 2016 four years ago.  The number of positive environmental samples has increased 70% to 375 compared to 221 for the same time last year.  Since the last meeting, exportation of WPV1 from Pakistan to Afghanistan has been documented.

 

The Committee noted that based on results from sequencing of WPV1 since the last committee meeting in June, there were further instances of international spread of viruses from Pakistan to Afghanistan.  The ongoing frequency of WPV1 international spread between the two countries and the increased vulnerability in other countries where routine immunization and polio prevention activities have both been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are two major factors that suggest the risk of international spread may be at the highest level since 2014.  While border closures and lockdowns may mitigate the risk in the short term while in force, this would be outweighed in the longer term by falling population immunity through disruption of vaccination and the resumption of normal population movements.

 

On the other hand the certification of the WHO African Region as wild polio free in August 2020 indicated a lessening of the global risk from this previous source.

 

Vaccine derived poliovirus (VDPV)

 

The committee was very concerned that the international spread of cVDPV2 continues, causing new outbreaks in Guinea, South Sudan and Sudan, the latter two due to importation of a cVDPV2 lineage that emerged in Chad in 2019.  The same virus has also been detected in sewage in Cairo, Egypt but with no evidence of local circulation. The number of cases in 2020 is 409 as at 5 October 2020, already exceeding the 378 cases reported for the whole of 2019.  As in all other years after 2016 when OPV2 was withdrawn, the number of cVDPV2 cases has been greater than the number of WPV1 cases in 2020.  However, the number of sub-types / lineages detected so far in 2020 is 27, compared to 42 for the whole of 2019, and the number of newly emerged viruses is only seven so far this year, compared to 38 during 2019. 

 

Cross border spread of cVDPV2 is now occurring regularly.  Based on analysis by the US CDC of isolates, in the three months from April to June 2020, there has been evidence of exportation of cVDPV2 from:

·     Pakistan to Afghanistan

·     Côte d’Ivoire to Mali

·     Guinea to Mali

·     Côte d’Ivoire to Ghana, and Ghana to Côte d’Ivoire

·     CAR to Cameroon

·     Chad to Sudan and South Sudan

·     Ghana to Burkina Faso

 

COVID-19

 

The committee heard that nearly all countries (90%) have experienced disruption to health services especially in low and middle income countries, according to a survey of 105 countries conducted March – June 2020.  Routine immunization particularly outreach services was the area most frequently reported as disrupted.

 

The committee was very concerned that most of the current outbreak countries have had to delay immunization responses in recent months, meaning that transmission is likely continuing unchecked.  Furthermore, there appear to be significant falls in surveillance indicators in many of the outbreak countries, such as drops in AFP reporting rates, and lesser drops in environmental sampling.  Vaccine management and supply has been significantly impacted.  More than 60 campaigns in 28 countries have been postponed since late February and early March. Vaccine supplies have been disrupted in many ways, with some quantities already in-country at risk of exceeding their expiry data and therefore unusable.  Some suppliers are reaching storage capacity and may well be forced to stop production.

 

Although the resumption of Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs) is now occurring, the waves of the pandemic are expected to fluctuate considerably from country to country and across the WHO Regions, so the program will need to adjust according to the COVID-19 situation for the foreseeable future.

 

Although in general surveillance processes are continuing, there are clear signs of a significant drop in AFP case reporting, including in endemic countries, some outbreak countries and some other non-infected high risk countries. 

 

The committee noted that GPEI modeling indicated there is a risk of an exponential rise in the number of cVDPV2 infected districts in the African Region, leading to a 200% increase if response SIAs had not resumed. In addition to the risk of WPV1 geographical spread and intensification, cVDPV2 cases could rise exponentially in Pakistan and Afghanistan potentially reaching more the 3,500 cases without a resumption of immunization response.   Consequently, both Pakistan and Afghanistan are now implementing large scale mOPV2 campaigns and will continue with tOPV/mOPV2 until controlled. While there has been rapid spread, particularly in Afghanistan, expected exponential rise has been curtailed by the resumption of campaigns in July.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.  The Committee recognizes the concerns regarding the lengthy duration of the polio PHEIC, but concludes that the current situation is extraordinary, with clear ongoing and increasing risk of international spread and ongoing need for coordinated international response. The Committee considered the following factors in reaching this conclusion:

 

Rising risk of WPV1 international spread:  

Based on the following factors, the risk of international spread of WPV1 appears to be currently very high:

·     increasing transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan as evidenced by higher case numbers and positive environmental samples;

·     greater geographical spread within the endemic countries, particularly Afghanistan;

·     the ongoing inaccessibility in many provinces of Afghanistan, leading increasingly to highly susceptible populations which are and will continue to drive higher transmission;

·     the drop in population immunity consequent on the pause in polio vaccination necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to greater susceptibility to poliovirus importation and outbreaks in high risk countries; 

·     the complicated context of WPV eradication activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan created by the need to simultaneously respond to cVDPV2 and COVID-19;

·     the difficulties in supplying vaccines due to the pandemic (as is being seen in Yemen, for example);

·     the possible expiring of vaccines in country and stockpiles caused by delays in polio vaccination activities;

·     the results of modelling done by GPEI on the potential consequences for WPV1 of the pause on eradication activities.

 

Rising risk of cVDPV international spread:

The international spread of cVDPV2 is now established, with three newly infected countries being reported since June 2020.  While experience demonstrates the effectiveness of Sabin OPV2 in controlling outbreaks, and changes in the strategy and standard operating procedures for responding to cVDPV2 appear to be succeeding in reducing the risk of new emergences in outbreak zones and neighbouring areas, overall the problem continues to grow, affecting more countries and paralyzing more children. 

●    COVID-19:  This unprecedented pandemic is likely to continue to substantially negatively impact the polio eradication program and outbreak control efforts.  The need to take extra precautions to prevent COVID-19 transmission will probably have an impact on vaccination coverage, and also hamper polio surveillance activities leading to increased risk of missed transmission. 

●    Falling PV2 immunity:  Global population mucosal immunity to type 2 polioviruses (PV2) continues to fall, as the cohort of children born after OPV2 withdrawal grows, exacerbated by poor coverage with IPV particularly in some of the cVDPV infected countries.

●    Weak routine immunization: Many countries have weak immunization systems that can be further impacted by various humanitarian emergencies including COVID19, and the number of countries in which immunization systems have been weakened or disrupted by conflict and complex emergencies poses a growing risk, leaving populations in these fragile states vulnerable to outbreaks of polio.

●    Lack of access: Inaccessibility continues to be a major risk, particularly in several countries currently infected with WPV or cVDPV, i.e. Afghanistan, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia and Myanmar, which all have sizable populations that have been unreached with polio vaccine for prolonged periods.

●    Population movement: While border closures may have mitigated the short term risk, conversely the risk once borders begin to be re-opened is likely to be higher. 

●    The results of cVDPV2 modelling, done by GPEI in June 2020 which had indicated that there was a risk of an exponential rise in the number of cVDPV2 infected districts in the African Region and in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

●    New cVDPV1 outbreak: The new outbreak of cVDPV1 in Yemen in an area of conflict is a further example of the risks anywhere that conflict can contribute to lower immunization rates and therefore new emergences of other cVDPV.

 

 

Risk categories

 

The Committee provided the Director-General with the following advice aimed at reducing the risk of international spread of WPV1 and cVDPVs, based on the risk stratification as follows:

 

●    States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3, with potential risk of international spread.

●    States infected with cVDPV2, with potential risk of international spread.

●    States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV.

 

Criteria to assess States as no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV:

 

●    Poliovirus Case: 12 months after the onset date of the most recent case PLUS one month to account for case detection, investigation, laboratory testing and reporting period OR when all reported AFP cases with onset within 12 months of last case have been tested for polio and excluded for WPV1 or cVDPV, and environmental or other samples collected within 12 months of the last case have also tested negative, whichever is the longer.

●    Environmental or other isolation of WPV1 or cVDPV (no poliovirus case): 12 months after collection of the most recent positive environmental or other sample (such as from a healthy child) PLUS one month to account for the laboratory testing and reporting period

●    These criteria may be varied for the endemic countries, where more rigorous assessment is needed in reference to surveillance gaps.

 

Once a country meets these criteria as no longer infected, the country will be considered vulnerable for a further 12 months.  After this period, the country will no longer be subject to Temporary Recommendations, unless the Committee has concerns based on the final report.

 

TEMPORARY RECOMMENDATIONS

 

States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk of international spread

 

WPV1                                                                                                       

Afghanistan                       (most recent detection 7 Sep 2020)             

Pakistan                            (most recent detection 16 Sep 2020)

 

cVDPV1

Malaysia                            (most recent detection 13 March 2020)

Philippines                         (most recent detection 28 November 2019)

Yemen                               (most recent detection 5 June 2020)

 

These countries should:

●    Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency and implement all required measures to support polio eradication; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained as long as the response is required.

●    Ensure that all residents and long­term visitors (i.e. > four weeks) of all ages, receive a dose of bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (bOPV) or inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) between four weeks and 12 months prior to international travel.

●    Ensure that those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within four weeks), who have not received a dose of bOPV or IPV in the previous four weeks to 12 months, receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure as this will still provide benefit, particularly for frequent travelers.

●    Ensure that such travelers are provided with an International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis in the form specified in Annex 6 of the IHR to record their polio vaccination and serve as proof of vaccination.

●    Restrict at the point of departure the international travel of any resident lacking documentation of appropriate polio vaccination. These recommendations apply to international travelers from all points of departure, irrespective of the means of conveyance (e.g. road, air, sea).

●    Further intensify cross­border efforts by significantly improving coordination at the national, regional and local levels to substantially increase vaccination coverage of travelers crossing the border and of high risk cross­border populations. Improved coordination of cross­border efforts should include closer supervision and monitoring of the quality of vaccination at border transit points, as well as tracking of the proportion of travelers that are identified as unvaccinated after they have crossed the border.

●    Further intensify efforts to increase routine immunization coverage, including sharing coverage data, as high routine immunization coverage is an essential element of the polio eradication strategy, particularly as the world moves closer to eradication.

●    Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least six months have passed without new infections and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until the state meets the above assessment criteria for being no longer infected.

●    Provide to the Director-General a regular report on the implementation of the Temporary Recommendations on international travel.

 


 

States infected with cVDPV2s, with potential or demonstrated risk of international spread


Afghanistan           (most recent detection 5 September 2020)

Angola                   (most recent detection 9 February 2020)

Benin                     (most recent detection 12 June 2020)

Burkina Faso          (most recent detection 11 June 2020)

Cameroon             (most recent detection 1 September 2020)

CAR                       (most recent detection 28 July 2020)

Chad                     (most recent detection 22 August 2020)

Cote d’Ivoire          (most recent detection 20 June 2020)

DR Congo              (most recent detection 4 August 2020)

Ethiopia                 (most recent detection 13 June 2020)

Ghana                   (most recent detection 16 June 2020)

Guinea                  (most recent detection 21 July 2020)

Malaysia                (most recent detection 13 March 2020)

Mali                      (most recent detection 23 June 2020)

Niger                     (most recent detection 25 August 2020)

Nigeria                  (most recent detection 18 June 2020)

Pakistan                (most recent detection 24 September 2020)

Philippines             (most recent detection 16 January 2020)

Somalia                 (most recent detection 29 August 2020)

South Sudan          (most recent detection 8 July 2020)

Sudan                    (most recent detection 18 August 2020)

Togo                      (most recent detection 3 May 2020)

Zambia                  (most recent detection 25 November 2019)

 

These countries should:

●    Officially declare, if not already done, at the level of head of state or government, that the interruption of poliovirus transmission is a national public health emergency and implement all required measures to support polio eradication; where such declaration has already been made, this emergency status should be maintained.

●    Noting the existence of a separate mechanism for responding to type 2 poliovirus infections, consider requesting vaccines from the global mOPV2 stockpile based on the recommendations of the Advisory Group on mOPV2.

●    Encourage residents and long­term visitors to receive a dose of IPV four weeks to 12 months prior to international travel; those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within four weeks) should be encouraged to receive a dose at least by the time of departure.

●    Ensure that travelers who receive such vaccination have access to an appropriate document to record their polio vaccination status.

●    Intensify regional cooperation and cross­border coordination to enhance surveillance for prompt detection of poliovirus, and vaccinate refugees, travelers and cross­border populations, according to the advice of the Advisory Group.

●    Further intensify efforts to increase routine immunization coverage, including sharing coverage data, as high routine immunization coverage is an essential element of the polio eradication strategy, particularly as the world moves closer to eradication.

●    Maintain these measures until the following criteria have been met: (i) at least six months have passed without the detection of circulation of VDPV2 in the country from any source, and (ii) there is documentation of full application of high quality eradication activities in all infected and high risk areas; in the absence of such documentation these measures should be maintained until the state meets the criteria of a ‘state no longer infected’.

●    At the end of 12 months without evidence of transmission, provide a report to the Director-General on measures taken to implement the Temporary Recommendations.

 

 


 

States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV

 

WPV1

none                    

cVDPV

Mozambique         (most recent cVDPV2 detection 17 December 2018)

PNG                      (most recent cVDPV1 detection 6 November 2018)

Indonesia              (most recent cVDPV1 detection 13 February 2019)

Myanmar              (most recent cVDPV1detection 9 August 2019)

China                    (most recentcVDPV2 detection 18 August 2019)

 

These countries should:

●    Urgently strengthen routine immunization to boost population immunity.

●    Enhance surveillance quality, including considering introducing supplementary methods such as environmental surveillance, to reduce the risk of undetected WPV1 and cVDPV transmission, particularly among high risk mobile and vulnerable populations.

●    Intensify efforts to ensure vaccination of mobile and cross­border populations, Internally Displaced Persons, refugees and other vulnerable groups.

●    Enhance regional cooperation and cross border coordination to ensure prompt detection of WPV1 and cVDPV, and vaccination of high risk population groups.

●    Maintain these measures with documentation of full application of high quality surveillance and vaccination activities.

●    At the end of 12 months without evidence of reintroduction of WPV1 or new emergence and circulation of cVDPV, provide a report to the Director-General on measures taken to implement the Temporary Recommendations.

 

 

Additional considerations

 

The committee noted with concern the drop in the number of SIAs due to the problems caused by COVID-19, including preventive SIAs in high risk countries that are done to maintain population immunity in places where routine immunization is weak or disrupted.  This indicates a very dangerous situation could arise: not only is there increasing WPV1 in the two potential source countries, but the susceptibility in potential outbreak prone countries could significantly and relatively rapidly increase.  Furthermore, importations leading to outbreaks may be detected late due to the pandemic’s effect on surveillance.  The committee urges all at-risk countries to pay careful attention to managing these risks, ensuring population immunity for polio is maintained throughout the course of the pandemic whether through SIAs or improvements to routine immunization, and attention is also given to enhancement of surveillance, especially environmental surveillance where it remains limited in some high risk areas.

 

The committee also noted the risk of vaccine hesitancy could be exacerbated during the pandemic, so that adverse events during the development or future deployment of any COVID-19 vaccine could compound the existing issues around polio vaccines, particularly but not only in Pakistan.  Conversely, vaccine issues arising out of novel OPV2 or trivalent OPV2 use could adversely affect any future COVID-19 vaccine deployment.  The committee urged countries with particular problems around vaccine hesitancy to make preparations now to avert situations of greater vaccine refusals through education campaigns, activities to counter misinformation and rumors and wherever possible provide incentives to target populations such as multi-antigen campaigns and offering other health and wellbeing services (vitamins, anti-worming medication, soap etc).


 

The committee commended Egypt for its thorough investigation of the finding in Cairo of the VDPV2 poliovirus genetically closely linked to that which is circulating in Sudan and noted there was no evidence that it was circulating in Egypt.  However, given recent experience in other countries where such findings often heralded the beginning of an outbreak, the committee requests Egyptian health authorities to continue to monitor the situation carefully and provide a detailed update to the committee at its next meeting.  The committee urged any country that detects importation of a VDPV2 known to be circulating in another country prepare for a rapid response should local circulation be identified.

 

The committee was also very concerned about the polio program funding gap which is developing in 2021 and beyond and urged countries and donors to maintain funding of polio eradication activities, as the potential for reversal of progress appears high, with many years of work undone easily and swiftly if WPV1 spreads outside the endemic countries.  The committee was saddened to learn of several deaths of polio workers due to COVID-19, which serves as a reminder that both the polio PHEIC and the COVID-19 PHEIC are at dangerous crossroads and need equal attention.  The Committee recommends that in countries with strong polio programs to intensify efforts to link polio eradication and COVID-19 activities including surveillance to provide greater mutual benefits to both initiatives.

 

 

The phased replacement during 2021 of Sabin OPV2 with novel OPV2 is expected to substantially reduce the source of cVDPV2 emergence, transmission and subsequent risk of international spread.  Full licensure and pre-qualification of nOPV2 is not expected before 2022; therefore all countries at risk of cVDPV2 outbreak should consider preparing for nOPV2 use under Emergency Use Listing procedure. 

 

Based on the current situation regarding WPV1 and cVDPV, and the reports provided by affected countries, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 19 October 2020 determined that the situation relating to poliovirus continues to constitute a PHEIC, with respect to WPV1 and cVDPV.  The Director-General endorsed the Committee’s recommendations for countries meeting the definition for ‘States infected with WPV1, cVDPV1 or cVDPV3 with potential risk for international spread’, ‘States infected with cVDPV2 with potential risk for international spread’ and for ‘States no longer infected by WPV1 or cVDPV, but which remain vulnerable to re-infection by WPV or cVDPV’ and extended the Temporary Recommendations under the IHR to reduce the risk of the international spread of poliovirus, effective 19 October 2020.

Tips for Voters to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 07:00
Tips for Voters to Reduce Spread of COVID-19
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

Toolkit for Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 During Elections

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 07:00
Toolkit for Reducing the Spread of COVID-19 During Elections
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing among Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant (RIM) Populations: Important Considerations for Health Departments

2019 Novel Coronavirus (CDC) - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 07:00
The page provides guidance to health departments regarding contact tracing among refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) populations.
Categories: C.D.C. (U.S.)

World Sight Day 2020

WHO news - Thu, 10/22/2020 - 05:53

In recognition of World Sight Day 2020, the UN Friends of Vision, the Permanent Missions of Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh and Ireland to the United Nations, organized a high-Level event entitled ‘2020 and Beyond: Accelerating Vision for Everyone’. The event was aimed at bringing awareness and global attention to blindness and vision impairment, as well as discussion with Member States the way forward towards a UN General Assembly resolution on Vision Care and a preview of the forthcoming report of The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health.

 

WHO ADG Stewart Simonson gave key remarks, presenting WHO’s work on the issue and emphasizing the importance of multi-sectoral approach to scale up integrated people-centred eye care for all. He expressed appreciation of the Member States’ support in implementing the recommendations included in the WHO World Report on Vision fortified by the recent adoption of the WHA resolution 73.4 - ‘Integrated people-cantered eye care, including preventable vision impairment and blindness’. Dr. Alarcos Cieza: Unit Head, Sensory Functions, Disability and Rehabilitation in WHO, also participated in the technical panel discussion and provided further details on the WHO Report as well as its work on prevention of blindness and promoting eye care. Participants voiced their concerns of disrupted services for eye care, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed the need to strengthen health systems so that eye care becomes an integral part of health care service delivery to ensure all people obtain the eye care services they need without hindrance or financial hardship.


Click here to watch the event.

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