Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    Controversial Avian Influenza (H5N1) Research Released

    Posted by admin on Jun 25, 2012 1:15:42 PM

    After months of deliberation, a controversial study from the Netherlands examining how the H5N1 virus - also known as avian influenza or bird flu, could be genetically altered and transmitted by mammals as an airborne pathogen was published last week. The paper was completed in 2011, but because of widespread concerns that bioterrorists could use this information to engineer a weapon, the findings were not published until now.

    Avian flu affects several types of birds, including farmed poultry (chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks). Bird flu can also be transmitted from livestock to wild birds and also to pet birds, and vice-versa. The virus spreads through infected birds, via their saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and feed.

    The first avian influenza virus to infect humans occurred in Hong Kong in 1997 and was linked to infected chickens.

    Human cases of H5N1 have since been reported in Asia, Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Pacific, and the near East.  Since 2003, nearly 60% of the 606 cases of human infection of H5N1 reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) worldwide, have resulted in death.

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    Topics: flu, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), H5N1, influenza, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disea, National Institute of Health, Netherlands, pandemic, Science journal, vaccine, virus, Anthony Fauci, avian flu, avian influenza, bird flu, Bruce Alberts, Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Su, Global Health Blog, Infectious Disease, World Health Organization (WHO)

    Botswana and Human Resources for Health – an Ongoing Dilemma

    Posted by Amit Chandra on May 7, 2012 3:42:04 PM

    This is the first in a two-part blog series from Tarascon Publishing Author, Matthew Dasco, MD, MSc.

    Part 1:

    The world’s burden of disease and human resources for health are not well aligned.  While sub-Saharan Africa has 24% of the world’s disease burden, it only has 3% of the world’s healthcare workers.  On the other end, the Americas region has 10% of the world’s disease burden but 37% of its health workers.

    The Joint Learning Initiative (JLI) has calculated that the minimum number of health care workers (doctors, nurses, and midwives) in a population to achieve and 80% coverage rate of skilled birth attendance and measles vaccination is 2.5 per 1000 – countries with fewer than this number run a very high risk of not achieving the health-related millennium development goals (JLI, 2004).  57 countries in the world have been designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as in this state of “crisis” with regards to human resources for health, which translates to a global shortage of roughly 2.4 million health workers (WHO, 2006).

    (Chart from Kerry, 2011)

    My first contact with the disparity between disease burden and human resources for health occurred while I was attending on the internal medicine wards at Princess Marina Hospital (PMH) in Gaborone, BotswanaPMH is the largest of two public sector tertiary care referral hospitals in the country.  In our department, there were six general medicine teams, an oncology service, and a nephrology service – each was assigned an internal medicine specialist.  The department consisted of two Cubans (a pulmonologist and a nephrologist), a Chinese generalist, an Indian generalist, a German oncologist, an Egyptian cardiologist, and a smattering of Americans working through university partnerships.  I found it odd that there were only two Batswana internal medicine specialists working there – they were among a very small number that had received specialty training abroad and returned to their home country to practice.

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    Topics: HIV, Tarascon Publishing, UNAIDS, Authors, Joint Learning Initiative (JLI), Princess Marina Hospital (PMH), world's disease burden, Botswana, Global Health Blog, health care workers, Matthew Dacso, World Health Organization (WHO)

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