The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation
What's new in risk and disease control?
Infection control aide-mémoires
Further to the last issue of the IHR Bulletin (30 September 2008, No. 4), the following three infection control aides-mémoires are now also available in French:
- Early recognition, reporting and infection control management of acute respiratory diseases of potential international concern /
- Epidemic- and pandemic-prone acute respiratory diseases - Infection prevention and control in health care
- Infection control recommendations for avian influenza in health-care facilities
INFOSAN Advisory Group meeting 10-12 December 2008, Geneva, Switzerland
INFOSAN is advised on its strategic functions by an external advisory group comprised of experts from national food safety authorities from across the globe. From 10 -12 December, the group met to discuss the development of interfaces between INFOSAN and other relevant networks and the role of INFOSAN in additional capacity building activities in collaboration in partners. The group also finalized the INFOSAN strategic plan.
WHO Global Salm-Surv update
In November, the capacity programme WHO Global Salm-Surv, published its second newsletter in an effort to keep its members informed and engaged. The issue highlights a number of international training activities, among which the first joint training course with PulseNet International in May 2008 in Argentina, a success story from Nigeria and updates on all WHO Global Salm-Surv activities. The newsletters are available at:
Since 2000, the programme has held more than 55 international training courses in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian for over 1000 microbiologists and epidemiologists from more than 120 countries.
Melamine contamination event
During September the purposeful illegal addition of melamine to raw milk to inflate the apparent protein content was identified in China. The contaminated raw milk was subsequently used in infant formula and related dairy products and has also been identified in animal feed. WHO's Department of Food Safety, Zoonoses and Foodborne Diseases, through the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN) has been closely monitoring the melamine contamination event since it first became public on 11 September 2008. Through efficient interaction with China's INFOSAN Emergency Contact Point within the Ministry of Health, the network has been updating Member States regularly on this event. Likewise, INFOSAN has provided Chinese authorities in several Ministries with technical updates and advice. To date, INFOSAN Emergency has sent 12 alerts on melamine to its entire network and four alerts to specific countries. To keep all stakeholders continuously updated and informed, a protected web site under INFOSAN targeting food safety authorities is also available, supplemented by an additional web site for the general public. Thus far this incident has affected more than 54 000 infants and young children in China, including four deaths. More information is available at:
Tuberculosis and air travel: Guidelines for prevention and control, 3rd edition
The latest edition of the tuberculosis air travel guidelines, developed in close collaboration with the IHR Coordination department, addresses current public health risks that may arise from the potential transmission of TB during air travel, and new approaches to international collaboration. This edition builds on the 2006 edition and adds to it by providing: (i) greater clarity in the definition of infectious index cases; (ii) procedures for the follow-up of contacts of infectious cases; and (iii) a more detailed definition of the roles and responsibilities of the agencies. These guidelines are available on line at:
Investigation of yellow fever epidemics in Africa – Field guide
This field guide is targeted towards health professionals working at the central and peripheral levels (physicians, health workers and decision-makers) who may have to handle cases of yellow fever in Africa. Its main objective is to help standardize investigations of yellow fever epidemics. At the national level, this should improve management of epidemics and at the international level, facilitate comparative analyses of outbreaks of this disease. The guide is available in English and French: