Friday, January 31, 2014

Philippines on watch for infectious disease outbreaks

IRIN: Health officials are on alert to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in areas stricken by Typhoon Haiyan.

“During this time of year, we can expect heavy rains and stagnant water from floods to become a cause for a possible increase in dengue cases,” said Julie Hall, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Philippines.

In a recent report by WHO and the Philippine Department of Health (DOH), there were 84 dengue cases reported between 1 and 18 January. The cases were registered in the city of Ormoc, in Leyte Province in central Philippines, one of the areas worst hit by the category 5 typhoon, which killed more than 6,200 people. Almost 1,800 people are still missing.

“We have been issuing rapid-testing kits where we can test for dengue even without laboratory facilities,” said Hall, who noted that the reports did not come as a surprise, as diagnostics have become more readily available.

The local government and DOH are working together to clear debris left by the storm and clean out potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes....

A devastated townscape in Tacloban aftter Haiyan, shot by DFID - UK Department for International Development, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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