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COVID-19 kills 40 people in Afghanistan in one week

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(Last Updated On: March 8, 2022)

Forty people have died from COVID-19 in Afghanistan in the past week, authorities said on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Public Health, however, said that the peak of the current wave of COVID-19 has passed in Afghanistan and that infections and deaths are declining.

According the ministry’s data, 59 people died due to coronavirus in the second week of February.

Javed Hazhir, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said that 500 people recovered in the first week of February, 2,600 in the second week, 2,400 in the third week and 3,773 in the last week of the month.

He said that Afghanistan does not have the equipment to detect the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

According to the official, the World Health Organization had pledged to deliver the equipment to detect the Omicron variant in late January, however, it has not fulfilled its promise.

“We shared with them the problems and the consequences. They make so many promises in the media, but in practice, unfortunately, there has been no major assistance to address the problems,” Hazhir said.

Meanwhile, medical staff at Afghan-Japan hospital, one of the main hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, said that the number of patients has declined in the last couple of weeks.

According to them, most of the patients have Omicron variant symptoms.

Ebadullah Ebadi, a doctor at the hospital, also warned that they will face serious problems if international donors stop funding the facility.

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Italy kicks off vaccination campaign against monkeypox

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

Italy launched its vaccination campaign against monkeypox on Monday, as case numbers increased at a time when health authorities are reporting vaccine shortages worldwide, Reuters reported.

Italy has reported 545 cases of monkeypox, according to the health ministry. Its vaccination campaign started more than a month after other countries that have seen higher numbers of cases, including the United States, Britain and Spain.

The first doses will be given at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, the hospital said in a statement.

The vaccine used will be Jynneos (MVA-BN), a smallpox vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic and approved by the European Medicines Agency for protection against monkeypox, the hospital said.

On Thursday, vaccinations will also begin in Italy’s financial capital, Milan.

Monkeypox is spread chiefly by close contact, causes pus-filled sores and flu-like symptoms, and is rarely fatal. There have now been 26,500 cases worldwide outside the countries where it usually spreads, according to a Reuters tracker.

In July, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”, its highest alert level.

The first case in Italy was recorded on May 20, 2022. There are no current plans for mass vaccinations.

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Cholera infects over 400 in quake-hit Spera district of Khost

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(Last Updated On: August 7, 2022)

More than 400 people have been infected with cholera over the last 10 days in Spera district of Khost province, the site of a deadly earthquake that struck six weeks ago, officials said on Sunday.

Mohammad Nabi Zadran, head of a mobile health team in Khost, said that eight people have died of cholera in Spera district, including five children and three adults.

Most of those infected are women and children. Officials said cholera is reported also in Gyan and Barmal districts of Paktika province.

“They should assist us. Foreign countries should assist us as we are suffering,” said Abdullah Noor, a resident of Spera district.

Health officials said that efforts are ongoing to control the spread of the disease.

Fazl Karim, Khost’s health director, said that a total of 40 mobile health teams were deployed to fight the cholera outbreak.

The UN agency for children also said this week that after the recent earthquake there is an increased risk of an outbreak of diseases like cholera in Spera district in Khost.

“Thanks to the support from USAID, we have been able to provide safe drinking water to 1,500 of the most vulnerable families,” UNICEF said on Twitter.

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Dengue fever outbreak confirmed in Afghanistan: WHO

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(Last Updated On: August 6, 2022)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that a new wave of dengue fever has been confirmed in Afghanistan with a total of 64 cases being reported between June 12 and July 30 in eastern Nangarhar province.

No deaths have been reported so far from the disease. Of the 64 reported cases, 47 (73.4%) were female, and all were over 5 years of age.

“Afghanistan is already battling a mix of complex humanitarian emergencies because of the ongoing conflict, recurrent natural disasters and disease outbreaks,” said Dr Luo Dapeng, WHO
Representative in Afghanistan.

“Although the reported number of dengue cases can still be managed, we need to take urgent action to prevent further spread and minimize its impact on the country’s health system and on the limited number of health workers.”

WHO said it is leading the response to the ongoing dengue outbreak by providing technical support to the activities of health authorities and partners. WHO has distributed 2000 dengue fever rapid diagnostic tests, and 7020 Gravitraps for vector surveillance and vector control activities in highly-affected districts in the province.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease with potentially severe public health impact.

Prevention is the most effective approach to reducing the risk of dengue infection, as there is no specific treatment for the disease.

Outbreaks of dengue fever have emerged sporadically in Afghanistan. The first outbreak was reported in 2019 in east Afghanistan with only 15 cases. By September 2021, the disease had resurfaced, infecting 775 people and killing one person.

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