NEWS SCAN: Congo yellow fever, HPV in older women, Nigeria polio strategy

Dec 13, 2012

Republic of Congo yellow fever case triggers vaccine campaign
The Republic of Congo's health ministry is launching an emergency yellow fever vaccination campaign in one of the country's districts following the recent confirmation of an infection that occurred in October, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday in a statement. The yellow fever case is the Republic of Congo's first since 2009 when a single case was detected, a finding that also spurred a mass vaccination campaign. The new case was detected during national yellow fever surveillance. The vaccination campaign begins next week and will target 35,000 people in three districts of Ewo district, which is located in the country's Cuvette-Ouest region.
Dec 12 WHO update

HPV may lie dormant for years before reappearing, US study says
Human papillomavirus (HPV) may persist in women at undetectable levels starting a year or two after infection, then re-emerge at higher levels many years later, according to a study today in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. HPV infections that appear in women at or after menopause, therefore, may represent infections from many years prior, according to the authors, scientists from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Md. They studied 843 women aged 35 to 60 who received routine cervical cancer screening from 2008 to 2011. Although HPV prevalence was higher among women who reported a new sexual partner within 6 months prior to study enrollment, less than 3% of women fit that criterion. In contrast, nearly 90% of HPV cases were in women who had more than one lifetime sexual partner, and 77% were in women who had five or more partners. The authors write that women who had their first sexual experience during or after the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s have a significantly higher risk of HPV infection than women who who became sexually active before 1965, likely because of more lifetime sexual partners. "Reactivation risk may increase around age 50 years and contribute to a larger fraction of HPV detection at older ages, compared with new acquisition," they wrote.
Dec 12 J Infect Dis abstract
Dec 12 J Infect Dis editorial on the study
Dec 13 press release on the study

Nigeria outlines steps to curb polio
A health official from Nigeria yesterday detailed the country's strategy for interrupting wild poliovirus (WPV) transmission by 2013, according to a statement from the WHO Regional Office for Africa. Dr Mahmud Mustafa Subaru, with Nigeria's National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, said in a presentation at an immunization conference in Tanzania that the plan includes improving supplemental immunization activity campaigns, strengthening acute flaccid paralysis surveillance, and routinely immunizing children. He added that the improved SIA campaigns will target missed children and settlements with outreach to nomadic populations. The campaigns will make more use of WHO and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) staff and will be better managed with the introduction of an accountability dashboard to track key indicators, he said. Mahmud said the most critical element is political commitment at the highest level, from Nigeria's president to traditional leaders. Officials from global health groups recently raised concerns about the rising number of polio cases in northern Nigeria, and Nigeria is the only one of three polio-endemic countries to record more cases this year than in 2011.
Dec 12 WHO Regional Office for Africa statement

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