Vol. VI, No. 09~ EINet News Briefs ~ May 9 , 2003
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In this edition:
1. OVERVIEW OF INFECTIOUSDISEASE INFORMATION
Below is a semimonthly summary of AsiaPacific emerging infectious diseases.
Indonesia (Jakarta) — Indonesia's Low Rates Could Mask Growing Trend, UNAIDS Warns
At the launch of Indonesia's National HIV/AIDS Strategy through 2007, Joint U.N. Program on HIV/AIDS Director Peter Piot said that Indonesia had the opportunity to deal a decisive blow against the disease with a relatively low HIV/AIDS prevalence of 0.1 percent and warned that the low rates of the disease could also mask the growing risk of HIV spreading in the country.
Piot said urgent action is needed to slow the spread of the disease. "The current low levels of condom use and widespread sharing of unsterilized needles among injecting drug users can be a lethal mix for HIV spread in the country." According to UNAIDS, the majority of the estimated 90,000 to 130,000 HIV/AIDS cases in the country are concentrated in highrisk groups, including drug users and sex workers.
Indonesia's National AIDS Commission decided to revise the National HIV/AIDS Strategy because of an increase in HIV infections in recent years and to respond to commitments made at the 2001 U.N. General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS. The new national strategy outlines six priority areas surveillance of the epidemic; prevention; treatment, care and support of people living with HIV/AIDS; human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS; research; and government coordination at all levels.
"AIDS cannot be fought by one sector alone every part of the government
and every force in society must be harnessed in a common fight," Piot
said. "The challenge now is to implement the national strategy and to
ensure that resources and capacity are in place so that it can be translated
into action" (UNAIDS release, May 9).
WHO — New AIDS Treatment Strategy for Asian Countries
Thailand will play host to this consultation, which is organized jointly by the WHO Regional Office for SouthEast Asia and its Regional Office for the Western Pacific. The goal of the meeting is to develop new strategies to address the care needs of the nearly 7 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the AsiaPacific region – about onesixth of all people living with HIV and AIDS globally.
Dr. Shigeru Omi, the Regional Director for WHO's Western Pacific Regional Office added said, "In order to develop effective and sustainable HIV/AIDS care including antiretroviral treatment, it is crucial to establish partnerships between public health and medical services, people living with HIV/AIDS, NGOs and the community at all levels."
Stigma, legal issues, and other humanitarian concerns remain important topics
for discussion within this AIDS care framework. With respect to all of these
critical issues, the regional WHO consultation will propose concrete recommendations
and strategies for the advancement of HIV policy at the national and regional
China — suspected avian influenza H5N1
A similar ban by Japan in 2001 that lasted for 2 months caused tight supply
on the domestic market, especially for frozen broilers, and contributed to
rising trade tensions between the Asian neighbours. Traders said that the
ban could also push broiler prices up in Thailand, Brazil and the
There are concerns that the disease could mix with human flu, producing
a strain against which humans have no resistance.
ASEAN Regional Workshop on HIV/AIDS: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination
The workshop provided a forum for networking, sharing of knowledge experiences and ideas on initiatives to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS among youth and youth serving organizations and other stakeholders besides promoting crosscountry exchange of best practices for implementing youthfriendly health services in the ASEAN region. The workshop was a success and made a difference in addressing stigma & discrimination related to HIV/AIDS.
The participants unanimously agreed that there was a need that an ASEAN
Regional Youth Network on HIV/AIDS. The World Youth Foundation is now embarking
on the next phase of establishing the network by the development of mail
discussion group /website. thus evolving a networking structure and partnership
among youth and stakeholders in the field of youth programmes and activities
in the ASEAN region.
Australia (New South Wales) — Psittacosis, birds
Psittacosis is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted from birds to
humans. Infection usually occurs when a person inhales the bacteria through
aerosolized bird droppings or by handling the feathers or tissues of infected
birds. People can also become infected by mouthtobeak contact with birds.
It is not transferred from person to person.
Canada (Alberta) — BSE, bovine
The United States, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea have all stopped Canadian beef imports. Alberta accounts for nearly 60 percent of Canada's beef production, providing C$3.8 billion (US $2.8 billion) in annual farm cash receipts. In 2002, Alberta shipped more than half a million live cattle to the United States.
Canadian officials are now waiting for results of probes on the origins of the diseased animal. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Anne Veneman mentioned that it could be difficult to trace where the animal had come from. Canada's only other case of brainwasting bovine spongiform encephalopathy was in 1993, but the animal was imported from Britain.
Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief stressed the animal had not entered the
food chain. "This must be kept in perspective. It's one cow out of 3.6
million animals that we slaughter a year in Canada," he told CBC radio.
USA (Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana) — West Nile Virus
"No Arkansas residents have been diagnosed with West Nile encephalitis this year; however, the identification of West Nile virus in a horse is a reminder that the virus is here and we all need to take precautions," said Dr. Sharon Williams, State Public Health Veterinarian with the Department of Health. "Since the majority of human and veterinary West Nile virus cases occurred from June through September (in 2002), a positive horse case this early is a little surprising, but some other states have already seen positive horses, birds, and even mosquitoes. It's certainly not too early to start protecting yourself and your loved ones from mosquito bites. We especially urge protecting our senior citizens, who are at greater risk of the more serious form of the disease."
In Georgia, local health officials are warning residents to protect themselves from mosquitoborne disease after a bird (a wood thrush) from midtown Savannah tested positive for the West Nile virus.
In Louisiana, 3 more parishes reported dead birds that tested positive for
West Nile Virus and then the virus has spread now to 24 of Louisiana's 64 parishes.
USA (Montana) — Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome
Through the end of March 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) had reported a total of 335 cases of hantavirus in the United States.
38 percent of all reported cases have resulted in death. Cases have been reported
in 31 states, including most of the Western half of the country and some Eastern
states as well.
USA (Oregon) — Demoic acid, razor clams
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin produced by marine phytoplankton
Multi Country Outbreak — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
• Comment on SARS virus in "healthy control" people
• As of May 21, 2003, a cumulative total of 7,9556 SARS cases, 666 deaths, and 4085 recovered cases since November 1, 2002, are reported from the following countries (number of cases): Australia (6), Brazil (2), Canada (140), China (5249), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China (1719), Macao Special Administrative Region of China (1), Chinese Taipei (418), Colombia (1), Finland (1), France (7), Germany (9), India (3), Indonesia (2), Italy (9), Kuwait (1), Malaysia (8), Mongolia (9), New Zialand (1), Philippines (12), Republic of Ireland (1), Republic of Korea (3), Romania (1), Singapore (206), South Africa (1), Spain (1), Sweden (3), Switzerland (1), Thailand (8), United Kingdom (4), United States (66), Viet Nam (63).
In order to see further details, including cumulative number of cases and
deaths, please visit the following URL:
For the full WHO travel advisory, together with additional information about
this disease, please visit the following URL:
For information from CDC including guidelines and recommendations, please
visit the following URL:
For information from Department of Health Hong Kong SAR, please visit the
For information from Singapore Ministry of Health, please visit the following
APEC 24th Industrial Science and Technology Working Group Brief extract from a draft (May 13, 2003) of APEC action plan on SARS Within APEC, we have tasked all APEC’s committees, Working Groups
and Fora to assess the impact of SARS in areas relevant to their work.
We have also asked them to do everything they can to contain the spread
of SARS as soon as possible and minimize its impact on APEC. Our strategy
to win the battle of SARS contains several measures that shall be implemented
immediately and in the medium to longer terms.”
The following items are measures that we have agreed to implement
APEC 24th Industrial Science and Technology Working Group
Brief extract from a draft (May 13, 2003) of APEC action plan on SARS
Within APEC, we have tasked all APEC’s committees, Working Groups and Fora to assess the impact of SARS in areas relevant to their work. We have also asked them to do everything they can to contain the spread of SARS as soon as possible and minimize its impact on APEC. Our strategy to win the battle of SARS contains several measures that shall be implemented immediately and in the medium to longer terms.”
The following items are measures that we have agreed to implement
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