>Vol. VI, No. 04~ EINet News Briefs ~ Feb. 21 , 2003
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In this edition:
1. OVERVIEW OF INFECTIOUSDISEASE INFORMATION
Below is a semimonthly summary of AsiaPacific emerging infectious diseases.
China (Hong Kong) — Outbreak of Influenza A (H5N1)
In the current outbreak, a 9yearold boy who traveled to Fujian Province (China) in January with his mother and his two sisters became ill on Feb. 9 and was admitted to a Hong Kong hospital on Feb. 12. He has recovered and is in a stable condition. Other members of his family presented with a similar illness. The child's sister and father (33yearold) have died. The boy's mother was ill but has recovered. As of Feb. 20, the Department of Health in Hong Kong SAR confirmed that the father had been infected with a strain of the influenza A (H5N1) virus as well.
The World Health Organization is collaborating closely with health authorities
in Hong Kong SAR and China in investigating the outbreak. The WHO Global Influenza
Surveillance network has been alerted.
China (Guangdong) – Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Syndrome
Health officials said the outbreak had been brought under control and Health Ministry investigators sent from Beijing were trying to find the source of the disease. Investigations carried out by the Chinese authorities have ruled out anthrax, pulmonary plague, leptospirosis, and haemorrhagic fever.
According to Guangzhou City's Director of the Municipal Health Bureau, Huang Jiong Lie, Mycoplasma pneumoniae is suspected as a causative organism. In addition, Chlamydia has been identified as the cause of a pneumonia outbreak on Feb. 18, 2003.The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in cooperation with the Guangdong Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found Chlamydiain 2 specimens taken from the lungs of patients who died from the strain of pneumonia.
Rumors that hundreds of people had died prompted residents to stock up antibiotics
and pay inflated prices for white vinegar for use as disinfectant, officials said.
Photos in Hong Kong newspapers showed people in Guangdong wearing surgical masks
to avoid infection.
Thai — Children Orphaned by AIDS Increasingly Growing
Imported drugs cost about $490 per person per month, which is extremely expensive to the nation with an annual per capita income of $6,600, according to the 2002 CIA World Factbook. The last September, Thailand's government increased the number of patients receiving free medication from 3,000 to 13,000 through the Access to Care program, which became possible due to a cheap, singlepill HIV cocktail that combines three generic drugs manufactured by a Thai pharmaceutical company.
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Japanese Proposal to WTO on Generic Drug Access Fails
Japan's proposal would have offered a list of 22 diseases for which developing countries could import drugs, but it also recommended that the WTO TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Council confirm coverage of any diseases not listed and seek "views of any outside experts".
The proposal was one of several attempts to reach an agreement after ambassadors representing 144 nations in December 2002 failed to meet a selfimposed deadline to clarify the November 2001 Doha declaration. The agreement states that WTO member nations can ignore pharmaceutical patents and domestically produce generic drugs in cases of public health emergencies. The talks stalled after the United States "insisted" that the deal should apply only to drugs used to treat certain infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
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Nearly 4.2 Million people living with AIDS in South Asia
"Over 4 million people are living with AIDS in the region. Of them, over 1 million are young people, who account for about half of all the new infections, including a growing number of young women," said Carol Bellamy, executive director of United Nations Children's Fund. "Communication and peer education campaigns must be stepped up to ensure that young people are armed with the facts about HIV and its prevention," she said.
Delegates also said the disease is largely being spread by migration and the
crossborder trafficking of women. About 5,000 Nepalese women work as prostitutes
in neighboring India, and many come home with AIDS.
Indonesia (Java) — Chikungunya Outbreak
Jarnadi Kusmayadi, senior official with the city's health office, said that the local administration had been taking measures to prevent the disease from spreading to other villages in Cirebon and neighboring towns.
Chikungunya virus was isolated during an epidemic in Tanzania in 1952 from both patients and mosquitoes. Subsequently it has been isolated frequently from humans and mosquitoes in tropical Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Nonhuman reservoir species have not been identified, and migrants and travelers are often blamed for spread of infection
Recent laboratory studies suggest that in southeast Asia, Aedes albopictus
is a more competent vector of chikungunya virus than Aedes aegypti. The clinical
picture resembles that of dengue fever. After an incubation period of 2 to 4 days,
there is sudden onset of fever followed by crippling joint pains which may temporarily
incapacitate patients. Arthralgia is the most typical sign, occurring in around
70 percent of cases. The acute phase of the disease lasts for 2 to 4 days with
recovery in 5 to 7 days. Treatment is palliative.
USA (Texas) — Influenza, multiple types
The graph of "The spread of flu" can be seen at: <http://www.mysanantonio.com/images/art/flash/0211flu.swf>
Although BHong Kong has been the primary strain, Texas also has
seen a second B strain and 3 A strains in smaller numbers. Atype flu strains
tend to be more genetically stable, allowing people to develop some immunity from
year to year. However, B strains are more sporadic and vary more, causing more
problems among the young.
Chile – Cholera Alert
Chile has not had cases of cholera over the past 5 years, after
controlling an outbreak that originated in neighboring Peru that affected approximately
150 persons between 1991 and 1994.
USA—CDC Update: West Nile Virus Case Count
Monitoring the occurrence of emerging forms of CreutzfeldtJakob disease
in the United States.
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© 2003, The University of Washington