WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently surmised that “Even as we focus on ending the [Ebola] outbreak, we must look beyond it. An outbreak of measles in DRC has killed almost 2000 children since January – more than Ebola in less time – and yet it gets little international attention.” In this post, we will be discussing the concurrent outbreaks in DRC beyond Ebola and how they are complicating the country’s response strategies.
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Several instances of quarantine populated the news this week. Quarantine is a long-standing staple of public health, but it is often misunderstood and misused. We take a brief look at quarantine in the context of outbreak response and use these recent examples to illustrate some of the situations in which it can be an effective response tool.
As nationwide measles incidence continues its rapid climb toward the highest yearly total since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000, public health officials are struggling to effectively engage with insular communities—in this case, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities—where vaccine-preventable diseases like measles can gain a foothold as a result of low vaccination coverage.
Venezuela’s political and economic crisis has fostered conditions favorable to communicable disease outbreaks, including measles, malaria, and HIV. We call attention to the spread of these diseases in Venezuela, and we examine the evidence of regional transmission.
Globally, measles are on the rise. This post outlines two outbreaks from this past year, one in the Ukraine and the other in Madagascar. Both of these outbreaks illustrate how low vaccination coverage can lead to high case numbers.
A measles outbreak centered in Clark County, Oregon has already resulted in cases in two other states, including Hawai’i. This outbreak illustrates the risks posed by pockets of low vaccination coverage and the intense effort required to complete contact tracing for such a highly transmissible infection.
In addition to high-profile measles outbreaks, other vaccine-preventable diseases, including chickenpox, are making a comeback. An ongoing outbreak in North Carolina highlights the risks posed by low vaccination coverage in children.
Europe is reporting a record high number of measles cases for the first six months of 2018. We explore which European nations have been hardest hit, and we examine the potential role of the European political climate in exacerbating the outbreak.
Even small outbreaks can have substantial financial costs, far beyond the cost of health care for the patients, which can be a major burden to health departments.
UPDATED 6/22/2018: PAHO announced that genetic sequencing detected neither wild nor vaccine-derived poliovirus in samples from the acute flaccid paralysis patient in Venezuela.