News Scan for Aug 07, 2013

UN and cholera in Haiti
H5N1 in Vietnam
Flu in older Latin Americans
CDC resource for travelers

Yale report calls on UN to compensate Haiti for cholera epidemic

A report from the Yale University Law School says the United Nations is legally and morally obligated to compensate Haiti for the cholera epidemic caused by UN peacekeepers.

Previous studies have concluded that cholera was introduced into Haiti in 2010 by UN peacekeeping troops from Nepal. The Yale report, "Peacekeeping Without Responsibility," is the first comprehensive analysis of the cause of the epidemic, which has killed more than 8,000 people and sickened more than 600,000, according to a Yale Law School press release.

The report involved more than a year of research on the epidemiologic and legal issues raised by the epidemic, including consultations with victims, human rights advocates, attorneys, journalists, aid workers, doctors, and government officials, the release said.

The document recommends that the UN set up a claims commission and provide a public apology, direct aid to victims, infrastructure support, and adequate funding for preventing and treating cholera. It also says the UN should reform the waste management practices of its peacekeepers.

The report was issued by Yale Law School's Transnational Development Clinic and the Global Health Justice Partnership, a project of the law school and the Yale School of Public Health, in collaboration with the Haitian Environmental Law Association.
Aug 6 Yale Law School press release
Aug 24, 2011, CIDRAP News story on cause of Haiti's epidemic


H5N1 hits Vietnamese quail farms

Quail-breeding farms in Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta have been hit with a new wave of H5N1 avian influenza, with more than 26,000 birds destroyed in the past month, according to a Vietnamese news story today.

Because the virus is likely to spread to other domestic-bred birds, the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has issued an urgent request to local agencies there to check quail farms and take preventive measures, says the story in Saigon Giai Phong, a newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Regulations in the country require that birds with H5N1 be destroyed and that other domestic birds in their locale be vaccinated. The story says an intensive vaccination campaign will be undertaken once the H5N1 vaccine used for chickens and ducks is tested in quail.
Aug 7 Saigon Gia Phong article


PAHO seeks better efforts to protect older Latin Americans from flu

A special report in the Pan American Health Organization's (PAHO's) journal calls for better influenza surveillance and continued vaccination of elderly people in Latin America to reduce the disproportionate burden of flu in this age-group, PAHO announced this week.

The report, "Influenza among the elderly in the Americas: A consensus statement," assesses the state of influenza surveillance, vaccination, prevention, and treatment among the elderly in Latin America, using information from over 200 studies and an expert panel, PAHO said. It was published in the Pan American Journal of Public Health.

PAHO noted that 90% of seasonal flu deaths are in those 65 and older. The report calls for better surveillance to help authorities measure the impact of the illness and to identify areas for improvement. It concludes that influenza vaccination is critical to preventing complications in older adults and should continue, despite evidence that the elderly have a decreased immunologic response to vaccination.

The report encourages the use of diagnostic tests in patients who are frail, immunosuppressed, or hospitalized, those who have comorbidities, and patients who have severe flu-like symptoms out of season.
Aug 5 PAHO statement with link to report


New edition of 'Yellow Book' released by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the 2014 edition of what a CDC press release calls "the ultimate guide for healthy international travel."

Titled CDC Health Information for International Travel and nicknamed "the Yellow Book," the health guide is updated every 2 years by over 200 experts to reflect the" latest official CDC health recommendations to keep international travelers healthy and safe," the release says.

Enhancements to the new edition include information for people who will be living for extended periods in areas with malaria; expanded information on popular tourist destinations such as Jamaica, Thailand, Vietnam, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia; new sections on Escherichia coli infection, salmonellosis, fascioliasis, and hand, foot, and mouth disease; and updated disease-risk maps.

The book is available in hard copy, online, and through a new mobile app.
Aug 6 CDC press release


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