News Scan for Jan 21, 2014

Spike in Caribbean chikungunya cases
Pakistani polio workers killed

Caribbean chikungunya outbreak reaches 485 cases

The number of confirmed or probable cases of chikungunya—a mosquito-borne disease that, aside from imported cases, had not been seen in the Caribbean until just last month—on St. Martin and nearby islands has spiked to 485, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in an update yesterday.

That number represents 200 new cases since the ECDC's previous update, on Jan 10. The French side of St. Martin now has 294 confirmed or probable cases, up from 201 on Jan 10. The Dutch side remains at 2 confirmed cases.

In addition, Martinique has 127 confirmed or probable cases, St. Barthelemy 31, Guadeloupe 27, Jost Van Dyke 3, and French Guiana 1, according to the ECDC.

"The [chikungunya] naive population, the presence of an effective [mosquito] vector in the region and the movement of people in and between islands are factors that make it likely that the outbreak will continue to spread geographically and increase in numbers," the ECDC said.
Jan 20 ECDC update
Jan 10 CIDRAP News scan on previous update


Polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan again marred by violence

Three more health workers giving polio vaccinations to children in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, were killed and two were injured yesterday, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. The attack represents a continuation of violence that has been plagued the vaccination campaign in the country for months.

The attackers, wearing helmets and riding motorbikes, opened fire on vaccination teams in two separate incidents yesterday. The vaccination campaign was suspended in the affected area of the city and police were deployed.

Militant groups in Pakistan, including the Taliban, consider the vaccine campaigns as covers for espionage and as a means of sterilizing young Pakistanis.

The World Health Organization (WHO) only days ago said that the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar holds the world's largest reservoir of endemic polio viruses. Unlike Afghanistan and Nigeria, the only other countries in the world in which polio remains endemic, Pakistan saw an increase in cases in 2013, from 58 in 2012 to 91.
Jan 21 AFP story
Jan 17 CIDRAP New scan about WHO statement

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