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WHO news on Ebola

WHO Press Releases - 31. July 2015 - 10:53

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World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine

WHO Press Releases - 30. July 2015 - 19:00
Results from an interim analysis of the Guinea Phase III efficacy vaccine trial show that VSV-EBOV (Merck, Sharp & Dohme) is highly effective against Ebola. The independent body of international experts - the Data and Safety Monitoring Board – that conducted the review, advised that the trial should continue. Preliminary results from analyses of these interim data are published today in the British journal The Lancet.

"This is an extremely promising development," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization. "The credit goes to the Guinean Government, the people living in the communities and our partners in this project. An effective vaccine will be another very important tool for both current and future Ebola outbreaks."
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WHO press releases on Ebola

WHO Press Releases - 30. July 2015 - 18:53

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Africa risks large meningitis outbreak

WHO Press Releases - 28. July 2015 - 3:30
With Africa at risk of a large meningitis outbreak, an acute shortage of meningitis C-containing vaccine threatens to severely limit the world’s ability to minimize the number of people affected, 4 international public health organizations warned today.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the WHO (the 4 organizations, which together constitute the International Coordinating Group for Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis Control - ICG) are therefore calling today on vaccine manufacturers to step up meningitis C-containing vaccine production by 5 million doses before the 2016 meningitis season starts in January.
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WHO calls for urgent action to curb hepatitis

WHO Press Releases - 23. July 2015 - 4:40
On World Hepatitis Day (28 July) WHO highlights the urgent need for countries to enhance action to prevent viral hepatitis infection and to ensure that people who have been infected are diagnosed and offered treatment. This year, the Organization is focusing particularly on hepatitis B and C, which together cause approximately 80% of all liver cancer deaths and kill close to 1.4 million people every year.

WHO is alerting people to the risks of contracting hepatitis from unsafe blood, unsafe injections, and sharing drug-injection equipment. Some 11 million people who inject drugs have hepatitis B or C infection. Children born to mothers with hepatitis B or C and sex partners of people with hepatitis are also at risk of becoming infected.
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Global health workforce, finances remain low for mental health

WHO Press Releases - 13. July 2015 - 18:52
Worldwide, nearly 1 in 10 people have a mental health disorder, but only 1% of the global health workforce is working in mental health. This means, for example, that nearly half of the world’s population lives in a country where there is less than one psychiatrist per 100 000 people.

Huge inequalities in access to mental health services exist depending on where people live. On average globally, there is less than one mental health worker per 10 000 people, according to the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Atlas 2014, released today. In low and middle-income countries rates fall below 1 per 100 000 people, whereas in high-income countries the rate is 1 per 2000 people.
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WHO lays out plans for financing new global health goal: to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

WHO Press Releases - 10. July 2015 - 2:40
WHO is urging countries to move towards universal health coverage and to scale up international investment in catalytic development funding. The call comes as world leaders travel to the Third UN Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa to discuss ways to pay for the new Sustainable Development Goals, to be launched in New York in September 2015.

“The best way to assure meaningful progress towards the new global health goal is for countries to move closer to universal health coverage,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.
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Liberia update: New information from genetic sequencing

WHO Press Releases - 9. July 2015 - 19:27
On 29 June 2015, a new case of Ebola virus disease was identified in Liberia 50 days after interruption of active transmission was achieved on 9 May. Since then, a cluster of cases has been identified, all of them from Nedowein in Margibi county. Currently, 5 people have been confirmed with Ebola virus disease by laboratory testing.

As part of the investigation into the source of this new cluster of infections, samples taken from the first person found to have Ebola were sent to the Liberian National Reference Laboratory for genetic sequencing. Tests on these samples have shown that the virus is genetically similar to viruses that infected many people in Margibi County more than 6 months ago, in late 2014.
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WHO statements on Ebola

WHO Press Releases - 7. July 2015 - 10:53

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WHO: Stepped up government tax action needed to curb tobacco epidemic

WHO Press Releases - 6. July 2015 - 23:30
Too few governments levy appropriate levels of tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. They therefore miss out on a proven, low-cost measure to curb demand for tobacco, save lives and generate funds for stronger health services, according to the "WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015".

The report focuses on raising taxes on tobacco. Although 33 countries impose taxes that represent more than 75% of the retail price of a packet of cigarettes, many countries have extremely low tax rates. Some have no special tax on tobacco products at all.
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WHO response to the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel report

WHO Press Releases - 6. July 2015 - 18:01
WHO welcomes the report from the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel and thanks the hard-working members for their rapid review, analysis and recommendations.

The panel members divided their review and recommendations into 3 areas: the International Health Regulations, WHO’s health emergency response capacity and WHO’s role and cooperation with the wider health and humanitarian systems.
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Statement on the 6th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

WHO Press Releases - 6. July 2015 - 18:01
The 6th meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) regarding the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa took place by teleconference on Thursday, 2 July 2015, and by electronic correspondence from 2-6 July 2015.

As in previous meetings, the Committee’s role was to advise the WHO Director-General as to:
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Recurrence of Ebola transmission in Liberia

WHO Press Releases - 2. July 2015 - 19:27
On 9 May 2015, Liberia marked an important milestone in the management of their Ebola outbreak. On that day, the country was declared free of Ebola transmission because no new cases had been identified for 42 days after the safe burial of the last person confirmed to have been infected with Ebola virus disease.

Although transmission of the virus had ceased, Liberia remained at high risk of a recurrence of Ebola due to ongoing transmission in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone. For this reason Liberia then entered a 90-day period of vigilance involving testing anyone with features of Ebola virus disease and testing post-mortem swabs for Ebola virus.
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Managing contacts in the MERS-CoV outbreak in the republic of Korea

WHO Press Releases - 1. July 2015 - 13:58
In June 2015, WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Public Health and Welfare presented the results of their joint assessment of the MERS outbreak. The assessment led to a series of recommendations, which incorporated specific actions to halt the spread of the virus, including early and complete identification and investigation of all contacts; and robust quarantine/isolation and monitoring of all contacts and suspected cases.

To date, a total of 182 MERS-CoV cases, including 33 deaths, have been reported. One of the 182 cases is the case that was confirmed in China. In order to quickly identify and isolate any new cases, contacts for identified cases are monitored for a 14-day period (the incubation period of the virus). Currently, about 2 400 people are being monitored. The vast majority of these are monitored in their homes, while about 700, who were in close contact with a confirmed case, are monitored in a health care facility.
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Lack of sanitation for 2.4 billion people is undermining health improvements

WHO Press Releases - 30. June 2015 - 12:30
Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals.

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on sanitation and drinking water: 2015 update and MDG assessment, says worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open.
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WHO validates elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba

WHO Press Releases - 29. June 2015 - 18:42
Cuba today became the first country in the world to receive validation from WHO that it has eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation” she added.
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MERS-CoV infographics

WHO Press Releases - 26. June 2015 - 11:02

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Emergency Committee – 9th meeting summary

WHO Press Releases - 22. June 2015 - 13:58
On16 June 2015 the Emergency Committee held its ninth meeting to review the situation related to MERS-CoV. The Committee concluded that the conditions to declare this a public health emergency of international concern have not been met. The description below provides additional information to help understand the rationale behind this decision.

The Emergency Committee stressed that this is a very significant outbreak and that a robust response is needed to control it. However, the Committee concluded this is not a public health emergency of international concern for two main reasons.
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WHO statement on the ninth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS-CoV

WHO Press Releases - 17. June 2015 - 3:00
The ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005) regarding Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was conducted with members and advisors of the Emergency Committee by teleconference on 16 June 2015, from 12:00 to 15:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC +2). WHO convened the meeting in regards to the outbreak in the Republic of Korea.

The WHO Secretariat updated the Committee on epidemiological and scientific developments, including recent cases and transmission patterns in the Republic of Korea and China, related risk assessments, and control and prevention measures. These countries provided updates and assessments on the MERS-CoV situation and developments in their countries.
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MERS-CoV joint mission findings discussion

WHO Press Releases - 15. June 2015 - 7:28
On 13 June, WHO and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Public Health and Welfare presented the results of their joint assessment of the MERS outbreak. The assessment led to a series of recommendations. These include further strengthening of measures to control the current outbreak, such as continuing to strengthen contact tracing, and enhanced precautions in hospitals to prevent transmission, as well as increased communication with the public and better preparation for future outbreaks.

As of 15 June 2015, the Republic of Korea has reported 150 laboratory-confirmed cases and 15 deaths. The outbreak, which started with the introduction of MERS-CoV infection into the country by a single infected traveler, was amplified by infection in hospitals and movement of cases within and among hospitals.
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