An Important Partnership in Central America

On the streets of Tegucigalpa or San Salvador or Santo Domingo or in the capitals of five other Central American countries, few people would be able to provide an answer to this question: What is the Council of Ministers of Health of Central America’s (COMISCA)? Dr. Nelson Arboleda, CDC Central American Regional Office Director Despite the understandable lack of awareness, COMISCA has emerged as an important—and effective—mechanism for improving public health across the region. It has unified eight disparate nations into a singular force in the fight against leading causes of death and illness. CDC is one of COMISCA’s prime partners


Correction: Global Role and Burden of Influenza in Pediatric Respiratory Hospitalizations,…

by The PLOS Medicine Staff

Disparities in influenza vaccination across the United States: Variability by minority group,…

The aim of this study is to examine the effects of ethnicity, disaggregating Asian Indian from other Asians, health insurance coverage, and nativity on influenza vaccination rates in the United States.

First nationwide web-based surveillance system for influenza-like illness in pregnant women:…

Pregnancy is a risk factor for severe influenza resulting in increased risks of hospitalisation and death in mothers and their new-borns.

Who benefits most from influenza vaccination policy: a study among the elderly in Beijing,…

Influenza continues to have a major impact on vulnerable populations worldwide, particularly among the elderly (≥60 years of age).

Prevalence of influenza vaccination and its association with health conditions and risk factors…

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 5-20 % of people are affected by influenza annually, and influenza causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year.

More Severe H1N1 Cases Recorded Across Europe, Middle East

The Guardian: Swine flu spreading across eastern Europe and Middle East “Swine flu has killed 183 people in Ukraine this winter and is spreading rapidly across eastern Europe and the Middle East. At least 107 people have died in Russia after contracting the disease, 18 in Armenia, and 10 in Georgia, according to government figures.…More

Need to Know: Zika Virus

James Gathany / Centers for Disease ControlThe Zika virus is transmitted through the bite of an Aedes mosquito, like the one shown above. Just as Ebola fades from the headlines, another infectious disease, the Zika virus, has captured the world’s attention. Although it’s been around for decades, Zika’s recent arrival in Brazil has made it a hot topic because of its suspected complications for pregnant women. Since May, 1 million cases have been recorded in Brazil, and nearly 4,000 infants have since been born with microcephaly, or an abnormally small head. The association between this condition and Zika in pregnant women is being investigated

South Korea Marked End Of MERS Outbreak In December

Agence France-Presse: South Korea announces official end to MERS outbreak “South Korea announced on Wednesday the official end to a deadly outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that killed 36 people and sparked widespread panic in Asia’s fourth-largest economy…” (12/23).

National hospital surveillance of childhood pneumonia in Malawi

Tim Colbourn and colleagues’1 study from Malawi is remarkable in scale. A dataset of 113 154 cases of severe pneumonia in young children, which led to 6903 hospital deaths over a period of more than 10 years, makes this a truly big-data study from Africa. The information system was set up by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease and the Malawian Ministry of Health and was supported by funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Scottish Government.2 The study included most government and non-governmental organisation hospitals in Malawi and aimed to give a national picture of the effect of child pneumonia over time on hospital inpatient services.

Cold comfort this Winter for Refugee crisis

Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University and a practicing emergency physician, Chris Tedeschi examines the added medical challenges a harsh winter will bring to already vulnerable refugee populations across Europe and the Middle East.  Across Europe and the Middle East, thousands of refugees have begun to brace for a cold winter far from home. Thousands more will continue their journeys in the coming months, despite falling temperatures and dangerous migration routes. The medical challenges posed by this at-risk population are complicated by a harsh environment, the prospect of smoldering outbreaks, and the need for care for acute and chronic disease. More than 875,000 asylum seekers have arrived by sea in Italy and Greece in 2015 alone. While their medical needs are as diverse as their pre-departure experiences, some common strategies may be helpful in delivering consistent care to this medically vulnerable group.

H1N1 Outbreak Kills 33 In Iran In 3 Weeks; Virus Likely To Spread, Health Official Says

Agence France-Presse: Iran swine flu outbreak kills 33 in three weeks, state media says “An outbreak of swine flu has left 33 people dead in two provinces of southeastern Iran in the past three weeks, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday…” (12/7). New York Times: Iran: Deadly Swine Flu Outbreak Is Likely to…More

Surveillance of antenatal influenza vaccination: validity of current systems and…

Background: Although influenza vaccination is recommended during pregnancy as standard of care, limited surveillance data are available for monitoring uptake.

Scientists Take Steps To Learn More About New, Emerging Diseases Such As MERS, Avian Influenza

Reuters: MERS, Ebola, bird flu: Science’s big missed opportunities “…Those [in Europe who agree to participate in a flu clinical trial this year] could be helping the world prepare for the next potentially deadly disease pandemic as well as helping scientists who are now desperate to plug gaps in knowledge left by previous missed opportunities.…More

Leadership Vital To Ensuring Global Health Security

The Lancet: MERS — the latest threat to global health security Editorial Board “…With new cases of Ebola still occurring in West Africa, frequent influenza epidemics worldwide, MERS (and previously SARS) adds to the infectious disease threat to global health security. As David Hui and colleagues call for in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, we need…More

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