Vol. III, No. 3~ EINet News Briefs ~ February 29, 2000
The EINet listserv was created to foster discussion, networking, and collaboration in the area of emerging infectious diseases (EID's) among academicians, scientists, and policy makers in the AsiaPacific region. We strongly encourage you to share their perspectives and experiences, as your participation directly contributes to the richness of the "electronic discussions" that occur. To respond to the listserv, use the reply function.
In this edition:
Below is a biweekly summary of AsiaPacific EID issues based on postings to the ProMED Electronic Network and other sources. ProMED is the prototype for a communications system that monitors emerging infectious diseases globally, an initiative of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), and cosponsored by WHO.
SINGAPORE HEPATITIS CONTROL
Increased surveillance, infectioncontrol precautions,
blood donor screening, and public health education have contributed
to Singapore's strategy to combat hepatitis infections.
SINGAPORE MEDICAL EXAMS
There are currently 80,000 employment pass holders and
450,000 work permit holders in Singapore.
MALARIA DRUG RESISTANCE
Resistance was demonstrated against the drugs, quinine, mefloquinine, and halofantrine; the gene also appears to influence resistance to chloroquine and artemisinin. The mutated gene was studied in Plasmodium falciparum, the deadliest strain of malaria.
Malaria kills more than a million people annually.
This report succeeds 2 cases of Plasmodium vivax recorded earlier this month; both presented malaria upon return from a vacation in Cancun. Each traveler responded to chloroquine therapy, and has since initiated terminal treatment with Primaquine. Rumors of additional malaria cases in the area have surfaced amid these reports. The origin of the cases has not been confirmed.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended
chloroquine prophylaxis to travelers to Cancun.
USACHICKEN NUGGETS RECALL
No reports of illness have been received to date. Listeria infection
usually leads to high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, and nausea.
In clinical trials, Prevnar was 100% effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease caused by the most common 7 strains of pneumococcus; it was 90% effective in preventing invasive disease caused by all S. pneumoniae strains. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Policy at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strongly recommended that all children <2 years of age are vaccinated, and has suggested that only highrisk children between the ages of 2 and 5 receive Prevnar.
An estimated 16,000 cases of pneumococcal bacteremia and 1,400 cases
of pneumococcal meningitis occur in the U.S. annually.
Meningitis has affected 22 Albertans, including 2 fatalities, since midDecember. In greater Edmonton, 15 people have been affected; 8 cases were between the ages of 15 and 19.
Meningitis, an inflammation of the membrane that lines the brain and
spinal cord, and meningococcemia, a severe disease that targets the blood
and other areas of the body, are spread through saliva, and present flulike
BREASTFEEDING AND INFANT MORTALITY
The protective effects of breastfeeding against infectious diseases remain
an issue of debate among many policymakers, particularly, amid reports
of mothertochild transmission of HIVם through breastfeeding.
EL NINO INCREASES DIARRHEAL INCIDENCE
Diarrhea causes 1 billion episodes, and 3 million deaths annually in
children <5 years of age.
GLOBAL HEALTH CONTROL MEASURES
A number of measures were suggested to increase global health intervention by the private industry: providing tax credits on research, encouraging publicsector venture capitalist funds, harmonizing licensing and expediting drug and vaccine approval for diseases prevalent in developing nations. The responsibility of government was also addressed, specifically, to provide funding and incentive to ensure more equitable development and distribution of lifesaving vaccine and drugs.
There is currently an estimated delay of 10 years between drug and vaccine
development and the time prior to its delivery to developing countries.
HIV VACCINE INITIATIVE
Coordination for global health in HIV has become increasingly important
with the emergence of multiple HIV subtypes and investigational vaccines.
RUSSIAHEMORRHAGIC FEVER WITH RENAL SYNDROME
Approximately 1300 cases of the fever were reported in the area last
The recent fatalities have raised concern among those who are positive
for the antibody; specifically, about the potential for infection to occur
persistently and asymptomatically, thereby leading to symptoms months
after primary infection. There is currently no evidence to support (or
negate) this hypothesis.
APEC INDUSTRIAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY WORKING GROUP CONFERENCE
One special meeting (8 am, 14 March) will bring together the economies involved in a project establishing a regional system to enhance collective capacity for emerging infectious disease surveillance and outbreak response. This project, approved at the 17th ISTWG in Seattle last August, is first focusing on a survey of health and other officials throughout the APEC economies. The survey will help define the current status of computer capability, facilities, staff, etc. needed for improved networking on infectious disease. Parties interested in attending this meeting must be delegates to the ISTWG, and request an invitation. Please contact the U.S. lead delegate on this project, Col. Patrick Kelley, for information (Patrick.email@example.com).
A side meeting on Emerging Infectious Diseases and Environmental Health issues will occur at 13.30 hrs on 14 March. This meeting will focus on updates on healthrelated projects previously approved by ISTWG, as well as discussion about new proposals and future activities. Side Meetings in the past few years have been an important part of the progress made within APEC toward greater collaboration on health issues. The meeting will be chaired by Dr. Melinda Moore of the United States (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Further information about the APEC Industrial Science and Technology
Working Group can be obtained at http://www.apecst.org
© 1998, The University of Washington