Feb 1, 2011
UK issues CBRN decontamination guidance
The UK government has published updated guidance on decontaminating buildings, infrastructure, and outdoor environments after intentional or accidental chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) material exposure. The 50-page document, produced by the UK's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), updates 2004 guidance and is available on its Web site. In the executive summary, DEFRA said the guidance applies to a range of institutions, from governments to private businesses, and is meant to present a starting point for planning and response. It recommends how to coordinate responsibilities with different groups and offers advice on how to set priorities during decontamination actions. An appendix contains useful tools such as a quick guide for accessing remediation services, a decontamination planning checklist, and an algorithm that describes the decontamination process.
WHO: Yellow fever vaccine gets high coverage rate
A recent emergency yellow fever vaccination drive focusing on four Ivory Coast districts achieved a high coverage rate, reaching 88% of the targeted population, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today. It said the campaign conducted from Jan 21 to 28 vaccinated 700,000 people. A field survey the day after the campaign confirmed the coverage findings, the WHO said. Focus areas were Katiola and Beoumi districts in the central part of the country and Seguela and Monkono in the north. The Ivory Coast notified the WHO about the outbreak in early January. So far, 12 cases have been confirmed and there are 79 suspected cases, including 35 deaths. The Ivory Coast is the second African country to experience a yellow fever outbreak in recent months, following one in October in Uganda, its first in nearly four decades.
Feb 1 WHO press release
UK, Gates Foundation pledge to increase support for polio eradication
The British government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently pledged major increases in their support for the campaign to eradicate polio. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to double his government's funding, from 20 million to 40 million pounds for each of the next 2 years, enough to vaccinate another 45 million children, according to a joint press release from the foundation and the UK. Bill Gates announced that the foundation would commit another $102 million to the polio eradication drive, the statement said. The British pledge of support is subject to two conditions, according to the statement: that it is met by an increased commitment by countries to strengthen routine polio immunization and that it sparks increased support from other donors. Specifically, the statement said the UK will increase its support by $1 for every $5 pledged by others from now through the end of 2012. The statement said polio cases have been reduced by 99% in the past 20 years, but a dozen countries are still battling the disease.
Jan 28 Gates Foundation statement