Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for May, 2019

Since January, the Philippines has had one of the worst measles outbreaks in the world: more than 33,000 cases and 466 deaths from the vaccine-preventable disease.


5/24/1964: More than 300 fans were killed and another 500 people were injured in the violent melee that followed a football match at National Stadium in Lima, Peru.

UN strengthens Ebola response in Democratic Republic of the Congo


23 May 2019


With the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo now in its tenth month and the number of new cases increasing in recent weeks, the United Nations announced today measures to strengthen its response and end the outbreak.

The Ebola epidemic has claimed more than 1,200 lives and the risk of spread to other provinces in the eastern Congo as well as neighbouring countries remains very high. A third of those who have fallen ill are children, which is a higher proportion than in previous outbreaks.

Under the leadership of the Government and Congolese communities, with support from the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the response has contained Ebola in parts of Ituri and North Kivu provinces. But ongoing insecurity and community mistrust in the response continue to hamper access to communities. This is hindering efforts by WHO and the Ministry of Health to detect sick people and ensure access to treatment and vaccination, ultimately leading to more intense Ebola transmission.

In view of the increasingly complex environment, the UN in partnership with the Government and all partners is now strengthening its political engagement and operational support to negotiate access to communities; increasing support for humanitarian coordination; and bolstering preparedness and readiness planning for Goma and surrounding countries. WHO is adapting public health strategies to identify and treat people as quickly as possible; expanding vaccination to reach and protect more people; and redoubling work to end transmission in health facilities.

The UN Secretary-General has established a strengthened coordination and support mechanism in the epicenter of the outbreak, Butembo.

MONUSCO Deputy UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) David Gressly has been appointed UN Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator (EERC) in the Ebola affected areas of the DRC. Mr. Gressly, who brings a wealth of humanitarian leadership and political and security experience to the role, will report to the SRSG, Leila Zerrougui. He will oversee the coordination of international support for the Ebola response and work to ensure that an enabling environment—particularly security and political—is in place to allow the Ebola response to be even more effective.

Mr. Gressly will work closely with WHO, which will continue to lead all health operations and technical support activities to the Government response to the epidemic. Dr. Ibrahima Socé Fall, Assistant Director-General, Emergency Response, who has been in Butembo since end-March, is leading the WHO response in DRC. WHO will also continue to coordinate public health interventions that are being implemented by other UN partners.

“The Ebola response is working in an operating environment of unprecedented complexity for a public health emergency—insecurity and political protests have led to periodic disruptions in our efforts to fight the disease. Therefore, an enhanced UN-wide response is required to overcome these operating constraints and this includes moving senior leadership and operational decision making to the epicenter of the epidemic in Butembo. We have no time to lose,” said DSRSG Gressly.

WHO’s Dr. Fall said: “This system-wide and international support is exactly what WHO has been calling for. We know that the outbreak response must be owned by the local population, and this new approach reflects what they have asked for: better security for patients and health workers, wider access to vaccination, and a more humane face to the response.” Dr. Fall has been working alongside Dr. Michel Yao, the WHO Ebola Incident Manager who has been in place since August 2018.  In Kinshasa, WHO has also appointed a special representative to the Ebola Response, Dr. Peter Graaff, to coordinate with partners there.

Additional UN measures will bolster the critical work of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and agencies already on the ground, including UNICEF. Working with NGOs, UNICEF leads community engagement activities; provides psychosocial interventions; and helps prevent infection through water, sanitation and hygiene services.

Financial planning and reporting will also be strengthened and efforts will be accelerated to ensure sustainable and predictable funding required for the Ebola strategic response plan considering the ongoing needs.


A “Tornado Emergency” for the Jefferson City, MO


yesterday Reports Graphic

Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria, 2018

Geographic and temporal distribution of laboratory-confirmed Lassa fever cases, Nigeria, January 1–May 6, 2018. A) Geographic distribution of laboratory-confirmed cases by state. Gray shading indicates states reporting no laboratory-confirmed cases. Locations of Lassa fever treatment centers are indicated. B) Epidemic curve of laboratory-confirmed Lassa fever cases. Epidemiologic week numbers are based on the date of symptom onset.

Ilori EA, Furuse Y, Ipadeola OB, et al. Epidemiologic and Clinical Features of Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria, January 1–May 6, 2018. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2019;25(6):1066-1074. doi:10.3201/eid2506.181035.

“Lassa fever (LF) is endemic to Nigeria, where the disease causes substantial rates of illness and death. In this article, we report an analysis of the epidemiologic and clinical aspects of the LF outbreak that occurred in Nigeria during January 1–May 6, 2018. A total of 1,893 cases were reported; 423 were laboratory-confirmed cases, among which 106 deaths were recorded (case-fatality rate 25.1%). Among all confirmed cases, 37 occurred in healthcare workers. The secondary attack rate among 5,001 contacts was 0.56%. Most (80.6%) confirmed cases were reported from 3 states (Edo, Ondo, and Ebonyi). Fatal outcomes were significantly associated with being elderly; no administration of ribavirin; and the presence of a cough, hemorrhaging, and unconsciousness. The findings in this study should lead to further LF research and provide guidance to those preparing to respond to future outbreaks.

WHO: Malaria has been eliminated from Algeria and Argentina


“…..[T]here were now 38 countries and territories that have been declared free of the disease…..”

Map of Malaria endemic areas in the world.

Tornadoes and floods in Oklahoma


5/22/1967: A fire at the L’Innovation department store in Brussels, Belgium, killing 323.



5/22/2017: An ISIS suicide bomber detonates an explosion at Manchester Arena in England, killing 22 concertgoers and injuring 116 more.


A 34-year old man was infected with Naegleria fowleri is struggling for life at a private hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.


“……Health department officials said Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, a resident of the Liaquatabad area, started having a headache and a low-grade fever a couple of days back and, despite taking medicine, his condition deteriorated. He was taken to the emergency of Aga Khan Hospital on Thursday where he was put on life support after his condition worsened and lab tests confirmed he was infected with Naegleria fowleri……”

Naegleria fowleri banner - trophs under a microscope with contrast

naegleria life cycle and life stages


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