Saudi funding aims to boost national antimicrobial resistance plans
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced yesterday that it has received more than $21 million from Saudi Arabia to support implementation of national antimicrobial resistance (AMR) action plans in several low- and middle-income countries.
The WHO says it will use the $21.6 million voluntary contribution to provide technical support to seven countries—Egypt, Ethiopia, Jordan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Sudan—to help them implement action plans based on their specific needs. The agency will focus on helping the countries build capacity for multisectoral governance, AMR awareness, surveillance, laboratory detection, antimicrobial stewardship, infection prevention and control, and monitoring and evaluation.
In addition, the support will enable the WHO to appoint a dedicated senior AMR technical advisor in each of the countries' WHO country office. Lessons learned from the seven countries will be used to update and scale the approach globally
"Having a bigger pool of flexible funds has allowed us to advance our work innovatively and provide the much-needed support to WHO country offices to ensure impact in low- and middle-income countries," WHO Assistant Director-General, Hanan Balkhy, MD, said in a press release. "This funding model allows WHO to be strategic and agile in efforts to address antimicrobial resistance—a threat to each of WHO's Triple Billion Targets—and to drive public health impact in countries."
Dec 9 WHO press release
US flu continues slow rise, affecting wider age range
US flu activity continued its slow rise last week, and though outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) reached the national baseline of 2.5%, circulation of other respiratory viruses is likely playing a contributing role, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today in its latest weekly update.
Clinical and public health labs continue to report increased numbers of positive flu tests, almost all of them the H3N2 strain. Though most of the early activity was focused on those ages 5 to 24, the proportion of illnesses in older age-groups has risen in recent weeks.
H3N2 is known to cause more severe illness in older people, and seasonal flu vaccines typically don't protect as well against H3N2 compared with other strains.
New Mexico is the only state reporting high ILI activity, which reflects outpatient visits. Six states—New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, and Kansas—reported moderate activity, up from two the previous week.
So far, no child flu deaths have been reported in the 2021-22 flu season.
Dec 10 CDC FluView report
Four countries report polio cases, including wild poliovirus in Afghanistan
Three countries—Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Nigeria—reported more polio cases this week, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest weekly update. Also, the WHO yesterday announced circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 cases in Yemen, the country's first since 2016.
Afghanistan reported a wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case, which involves a patient from Kunduz province. The illness is only the country's fourth of the year.
In Africa, Cameroon reported one cVDPV2 case, affecting a patient from Extreme Nord province and raising its total for the year to three. Nigeria reported 18 more cVDPV2 cases in 7 states, boosting its 2021 total to 289, a large increase compared with the 20 cases the country reported in 2020.
Meanwhile, the WHO said in an outbreak announcement that Yemen in late November reported two cVDPV2 detections. One is in a 9-year-old girl from Taiz governorate in the country's southwest who experienced acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) on Aug 30. The other involves a 2-year-old girl from Marib governorate, northeast of Sana'a whose AFP began on Sep 1. Neither girl was vaccinated.
The WHO said though the cases are about 267 miles apart, the viruses are genetically linked. Yemen has been experiencing a cVDPV1 outbreak over the past 3 years, but the new cVDPV2 cases are its first since 2016.
The WHO said the country has vaccine gaps and security issues, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating immunization efforts. It said the risk of international spread is high.
Dec 9 GPEI weekly update
Dec 9 WHO statement