News Scan for Dec 04, 2013

Another UCSB meningitis case
$12 billion for Global Fund

Fourth UCSB student sickened in meningitis outbreak

Testing has confirmed that a fourth undergraduate student has been infected in a meningococcal disease outbreak involving the less common serogroup B at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), according to a Dec 2 statement from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (SBCPHD). All four students were sickened within 3 weeks in November.

The health department said one of the cases resulted in a permanent disability. That student is an 18-year-old freshman lacrosse player who is hospitalized in San Diego after his feet were amputated due to severe sepsis, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday.

Outbreak response steps have so far included providing antibiotics to more than 500 close contacts of the four students, distributing information on the disease to UCSB students and staff, raising awareness among the state's health providers, and staying in close contact with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The SBCPHD also said it is making more intensive efforts this week to identify people in the students' social networks for supervised antibiotic prophylaxis, and it said campus social events, such as parties sponsored by Greek organizations, are being suspended to curb disease transmission.

A similar outbreak from serogroup B meningococcal disease has sickened eight students at Princeton University, which will host an immunization campaign targeted to the strain starting Dec 9. The outbreak strain is not covered in US meningococcal vaccines, and federal health officials have approved the use of an imported vaccine and the plan to vaccinate those in certain risk groups at Princeton. Officials don't believe the two outbreaks are related.
Dec 2 SBCPHD press release
Dec 3 AP story
Nov 27 CIDRAP News story "CDC clears Princeton's meningococcal vaccine campaign"


UN: $12 billion in pledges to Global Fund reflect worldwide solidarity

Pledges to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria for the next 3 years have increased sharply, to $12 billion, over the last 3-year commitment period, says a news item from the United Nations. The previous funding period, covering 2010 to 2013, saw funding commitments of $9.2 billion.

The new pledges "are a demonstration of global solidarity and trust to move towards ending the three diseases," said Michel Sidibe, executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, speaking on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the fourth replenishment meeting for the Global Fund, held in Washington, DC.

Sidibe noted that the impressive results against AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria to date remain fragile because of such factors as the increase in drug-resistant TB but that the work financed by the Global Fund "remains a lifeline for millions." The UN story says that shared responsibility worldwide has grown, as illustrated by the fact that domestic spending on HIV in 2012 amounted to about 53% of total HIV resources.

The United States has made a commitment to the Global Fund of up to $5 billion for the 2013-16 period.
Dec 3 UN News Service story
Dec 3 CIDRAP News scan on US commitment

In related news, a partnership was announced today between the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and the Global Fund to aid in preventing harm from fake medicines worldwide.

A news release from IFPMA says that although such medicines likely account for only 1% of medication market value in high-income countries, that figure rises to 10% globally, and up to a third of malaria medicines in Africa may be counterfeit.

The partnership will build on Fight the Fakes, a public service campaign launched last month to encourage organizations and individuals to spread the word about these drugs. IFPMA Director General Eduardo Pisani said that sale of counterfeit drugs "poses a public health risk that can lead to treatment failure, antibiotic resistance, extended illness, disability, and even death."
Dec 4 IPFMA press release
Fight the Fakes Web site

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