jueves, 8 de junio de 2017

Proven Strategies

6 June 2017 
Dear Colleagues,

On 11 May 2017, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) notified WHO of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the northern part of the country. The first patient, a 39-year-old man who reported to the local health facility, presented with fever, weakness, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, passing blood in urine, bleeding from the nose, and extreme fatigue. He was immediately referred to a health zone facility, but he died in transit. Shortly thereafter, the motorcycle driver who transported the first patient and another person who supported the first patient during transportation also developed acute febrile illness and died; others who were close to these patients eventually developed similar illness.
As the news spread, many feared we would see a repeat of the devastating outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016 in which 11,300 people died. WHO's recent assessment sees the risk as high at the national level due to the known impact of Ebola outbreaks, remoteness of the affected area causing limited access to health care and suboptimal surveillance. It is too early to be sure, but so far the DRC seems to have averted a large epidemic by applying lessons learned, not only from West Africa, but through its own previous experience with Ebola outbreaks: this is the DRC's eighth, the most of any country. The measures taken in the DRC reflect the WHO's playbook of proven strategies. Key among them: coordination and surveillance.
ProMED has followed this outbreak closely: 10 updates have been published with as many as a dozen news items in each one. Where else can you find such detailed reporting? What other resource brings the news to your in-box multiple times each day keeping you and your colleagues apprised of events and up-to-date on outbreaks of disease and breakthroughs in infectious disease research? Where but to ProMED would you go for expert commentary written by international infectious disease authorities that puts the global news in context? To continue providing up-to-the-minute surveillance information and promoting global communication, we need your financial support. Please, donate right now.
A major concern regarding the Congo outbreak is the situation in neighboring countries. While the remoteness of the affected region poses challenges in treating and identifying those infected with Ebola, its inaccessibility may slow the spread of infection to the larger population centers of the DRC. But the region borders multiple countries afflicted by long-term political, religious, and social unrest. Just the conditions that hamper disease surveillance and response, especially in countries where disease detection, reporting, sample collection and laboratory diagnosis are already severely taxed. Just the conditions that put vulnerable people at even greater risk when an outbreak occurs. Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda have set up checkpoints at their border posts to attempt to prevent suspected cases from crossing and South Sudan has closed its southern border with the DRC as a precaution. But about 2,750 refugees flooded into northern Congo in mid-May escaping sectarian violence in the border city of Bangassou, in the Central African Republic. Now the question is, will they take Ebola with them when they return home?
I ask for your help because ProMED makes a difference. I ask for your help because your financial help really does improve health and combat infectious diseases throughout the world. Sparking connections among health practitioners around the globe and sustaining these critical connections daily is a proven strategy that makes ProMED a singular force in creating and sharing the vital information you need to prepare for, prevent, manage, and treat infectious disease. Please, join your colleagues in supporting ProMED.
Best regards, 
Larry Madoff, MD 
P.S. ProMED is committed to accurate and timely reporting that connects you to your peers around the world. To succeed, we need your support and that of your affiliated institutions.  Please, help us further by asking your colleagues to help too.
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