News Scan for Jun 17, 2013

Angola dengue threat
Polio worker deaths
Cambodia malaria drop
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CDC Angola dengue warning covers threat to travelers

The United States and other countries are seeing a rise in lab-confirmed dengue cases in people who have traveled to Luanda, Angola's capital, and health providers should be aware that the disease in Africa is endemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today.

So far at least 91 cases have been reported from Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States, according to a report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Luanda is an international travel destination because of its connection to the oil industry. The CDC said Angola's disease surveillance system has gaps, but so far the country's health ministry has reported 517 suspected cases, all from Luanda province. One death has been reported, but the CDC said that figure could be subject to underreporting.

CDC testing of 49 specimens revealed dengue type 1, and phylogenetic evidence suggests the disease has been circulating since 1968 and is endemic in Angola, as in most other parts of Africa, according to the report.

The agency said three other African countries have reported dengue outbreaks so far this year: Seychelles, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Public health messaging in Angola has focused on recognizing dengue symptoms, especially severe ones, and minimizing mosquito breeding sites.
Jun 17 MMWR report


Attackers kill two more polio vaccinators in Pakistan

Two male polio vaccination workers were killed yesterday during immunization activities in Pakistan's Swabi district, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported today.

The two were shot by gunmen, and so far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the report. Swabi district, where an attack on a team of charity workers occurred on Jan 1, is in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, located in the northwestern part of the country bordering the tribal areas.

At least 17 polio workers and 4 security escorts have been killed in attacks on polio vaccinators this year, the BBC said.
Jun 17 BBC report


Cambodia reports dramatic drop in malaria infections

Cambodian health officials are reporting a hefty drop in malaria cases in the first 5 months of the year, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported today.

The Cambodia-based National Center for Malaria said the 13,700 cases reported so far this year represents a 60% drop in cases compared with the same period last year. So far only 4 deaths from the disease have been reported, compared with 27 at this point in 2012.

Dr Char Meng Chuor, who heads the center, attributed the decline to a massive mosquito net distribution program last year, along with an awareness campaign.
Jun 17 Xinhua story

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