“The intensity of light shining from cities at night could help identify hot spots where outbreaks of infectious disease are likely to take place,” PBS NewsHour’s “The Rundown” reports, adding, “A team of researchers tracked satellite images of three cities in Niger and found that fluctuations in nighttime brightness were strongly correlated to measles incidence, according to results published in this week’s Science.” According to the blog, “The same tracking of nighttime light could be used for other diseases as well, the team wrote, and could help public health officials plan for emerging epidemics and predict outbreaks.”
In this post in Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog, Orin Levine of the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) recounts recent progress in expanding vaccine access to the world’s poor, writing, “From rolling out the first diarrhea vaccines in Africa, to doubling the number of low-income countries approved for vaccines against pneumonia, to announcing they will now assist countries [to] introduce vaccines for that prevent cervical cancer, the GAVI Alliance and its partners are tearing down the barriers to vaccine access that have historically divided rich from poor on our planet. To appreciate how far we’ve come you need to remember where we started.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said that Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad, who are in the ‘meningitis belt’ stretching across Africa, will this month introduce a new vaccine designed to eliminate a particular strain of the often deadly disease,” Afrique en ligne reports (12/10). “Alison Brunier, a spokesperson for WHO, told journalists in Geneva that the three countries plan to vaccinate about 22 million people [among] them, focusing on the highest-risk demographic category — those aged between one and 29 years” and that “the immunization campaign should be completed within a couple of weeks,” the U.N. News Centre writes (12/9).
The Center for Strategic & International Studies on Wednesday released two reports on immunizations and global health. “The Future of Global Immunization: Will the Promise Be Fulfilled?,” by Stephen Cochi of the CDC, “outlines 10 important issues facing the global vaccine and immunization agenda” (12/7). “Role(s) of Vaccines and Immunization…
“A group of health organizations [on Wednesday] launched a new international consortium to better prepare the clinical research community to respond to the next pandemic or other emerging health threat,” CIDRAP News reports (Schnirring, 12/7). “The International Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Consortium (ISARIC) is a global collaboration of over 20 hospital-based clinical research networks … aimed at ensuring the clinical researchers have in place the necessary open access protocols and data-sharing processes and have considered the ethical issues that will allow them to respond to rapidly emerging diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential, such as the recent pandemic H1N1 influenza and SARS outbreaks and potentially other rapidly emerging public health threats,” according to a Wellcome Trust press release.
After “President Obama threw the full weight of the U.S. government behind a vision” to end the AIDS epidemic in a World AIDS Day speech, “[n]ow the question is: How will we achieve this goal? What are the priority actions to take today, tomorrow, and years from now?” Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, writes in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. “First and foremost, the resource commitments need to match the strength of the scientific data,” he says, adding, “It is precisely at this moment, when the potential dividends are greatest, that the world’s modest AIDS investments should be sustained.”
Wall Street Journal Examines Potential Implications Of Allegedly Fake U.S. Vaccination Campaign In Pakistan
The Wall Street Journal reports on how “a reportedly fake vaccination campaign conducted [by the U.S.] to help hunt down Osama bin Laden has caused a backlash against international health workers in some parts of Pakistan and has impeded efforts to wipe out polio in the country,” one of only four worldwide where polio remains endemic. The article quotes a UNICEF country representative, a U.S. Embassy official, a Muslim cleric, a non-governmental organization representative, a local health care worker, and an official with a provincial health department (Tohid, 12/3).
The WHO on Friday issued a measles warning for Europe, where measles outbreaks “have caused nine deaths, including six in France, and 7,288 hospitalizations,” BBC News reports. A WHO report “says there were over 26,000 measles cases in 36 European countries from January to October 2011.” According to the news service, “Western European countries reported 83 percent of those cases, with 14,000 in France alone,” and “[i]n England and Wales, there were just under 1,000 confirmed measles cases in that period — compared with just 374 in the whole of 2010.”
“Fourteen of the 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean make the rotavirus vaccine available for all infants via national programs,” according to a report published Friday in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” United Press International reports. Approximately “seven million infants, 66 percent of the infants born in Latin America and the Caribbean, were immunized in 2010 against rotavirus infection — the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children, and one of several viruses that cause infections often called stomach flu,” the news agency writes. The WHO recommends rotavirus vaccination for children worldwide, the report noted, stating, “Studies from countries in this region have shown declines in the burden of hospitalizations and deaths related to severe diarrhea after rotavirus vaccine introduction,” according to UPI (12/2).
“If the momentum gained in the last few years” in fighting global diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, measles, and meningitis “is any indicator of our future trajectory, we are standing on the threshold of a revolutionary change in the state of global health,” Wendy Taylor, senior adviser of Innovative Finance and Public Private Partnerships at USAID, and David Cook, executive vice president and COO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), write in this opinion piece in The Hill’s “Congress Blog.” They discuss the importance of “Product Development Partnerships, or PDPs for short,” which “are great examples of public-private collaborations [that] are starting to build deep pipelines for new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tools.”