Army Public Health Weekly Update-19 February 2021

Date Published: 2/19/2021
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​The Army Public Health Update is a collection of articles taken from public sources to offer awareness of current health issues and the media coverage given to them. The articles do not necessarily represent U.S. Army Medical Command opinions, views, policy, or guidance, and should not be construed or interpreted as being endorsed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.
 The Army Public Health Weekly Update does not analyze the information as to its strategic or tactical impact on the U.S. Army and is not a medical intelligence product. Medical intelligence is available from the National Center for Medical Intelligence External Link.

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Table of Contents

    ANNOUNCMENTS 

    COVID-19: Guidance for Installation Risk Reduction

    The following framework will assist Commanders' decision making regarding installation risk reduction actions for their local COVID-19 operating environments. Installations must balance the priority of Force readiness with actions necessary to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 on installations and within their communities. Selection and implementation of mitigation actions should be guided by the local circumstances of COVID-19 transmission. Commanders will need to apply appropriate health protection measures in varying degrees to balance risks and consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to installations and communities. APHC

    U.S. MILITARY

    Army looking at ways to 'account for biological differences' with new fitness test

    13 February- Army officials are evaluating a version of the stalled Army Combat Fitness Test that would account for biological differences between men and women, according to Training and Doctrine Command. The ACFT officially became the Army's test of record in October, but Congress mandated a pause on further implementation pending an independent study to determine how it will impact deployed soldiers, recruiting and retention. Changing elements of the test might also satisfy lawmakers who worried late last year about the disproportionately high failure rates among women. One proposal is that the ACFT could score soldiers on a service wide percentile, separated by gender, Task and Purpose first reported Thursday. TRADOC spokeswoman Lt. Col. Margaret Kageleiry said that so far the ACFT is remaining gender-neutral, but the Army "is looking at means to apply those scores based on gender to account for biological differences." "We are addressing these concerns in coordination with Army senior leaders, Congress, and with those it impacts the most, our American Soldiers," Kageleiry added in an email. Soldiers are currently expected to train for the ACFT, but scores won't count against them until a much later date. Army Times External Link

    Proactive communication remains paramount during COVID-19 pandemic

    16 February- Crisis and innovation seem intricately linked throughout history, perhaps most notably in the field of health care. Combat medicine has led to incredible life-saving breakthroughs—from tourniquets and the use of whole blood to triage, to advanced medical evacuation, and the use of data in patient care. Our nation's most recent crisis is no exception. This pandemic has spurred incredible progress in research, virtual health, video teleconferencing technology and the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma to help those battling the COVID-19 disease. Microsoft TEAMS, Zoom and contract tracing weren't household names prior to the pandemic.  As communicators, we would be remiss if we didn't also take this opportunity to seek out more effective, innovative ways to disseminate information based on the best practices of the past nine months. The pandemic is a fast-moving train, without much down time for reflection, but it's important to take a pause and determine what is working, what is not, and how to adjust course. Health.mil External Link

    Proper fitting surgical masks ensure patient, provider safety

    16 February- An Army enlisted dental specialist assigned to the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic is doing her part to ensure the safety of her clinic's staff and patients. Army Sgt. Diatou Gueye, a 68E dental specialist assigned to the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic, recently completed a fast paced training and certification process in the proper fitting and wear of N95 masks. Her efforts will ensure all personnel assigned to the clinic are wearing protective masks correctly. "Sgt. Gueye's training was essential to our continued daily mission requirements to serve patients and maintain safety standards," said Maj. (Dr.) Katherine Darling Lund, officer in charge of the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic. According to Army dental leaders, patient safety and health is their number one priority. "Personal protective equipment is critical to the Vilseck Dental Clinic mission and in maintaining the highest level of safety for all clinic staff and our beneficiaries," Darling Lund said. "A breakdown in proper PPE halts our clinic operations. Sgt. Gueye's training was essential to our continued daily mission requirements to serve patients and maintain safety." Gueye was the only Soldier from the Vilseck Dental Clinic to undergo the training and receive certification, and she was one of only two Soldiers from the Bavaria Dental Activity to complete the course, so far. "The N95 mask certification training was very detail oriented," said Sgt. Gueye. "The installation industrial hygienist conducted the training and certification. We went through an eight-hour class that explained the functions and importance of the N95 mask; especially the importance of obtaining a medical clearance to wear the N95 mask." Army dental clinics don't always receive the exact same products with each shipment and delivery, so it's important to have someone trained on the variety of masks available. Army.mil External Link

    Task Force Spartan hosts first bilateral exercise since advent of COVID-19

    12 February- Soldiers from the United States' Task Force Spartan and the United Arab Emirates Land Forces gathered from Jan. 24 to Feb. 6, 2021, at Al Hamra Training Center in the United Arab Emirates for Iron Union 14, the first bilateral training exercise between the forces since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This recurring exercise, designed to strengthen military-to-military relationships, allowed the forces to train how they might address regional security challenges. However, due to COVID-19, this year's event came with its own challenges. "It's been an interesting process," said Capt. Ryan McGovern, the brigade planner for 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, who had played a large role in planning this exercise. "I think the real challenge is being able to accomplish this in light of the COVID conditions. This is really the first bilateral maneuver exercise that ARCENT is doing under COVID conditions. Our mitigation measures have been effective. It's a good indicator that the maneuver brigade supporting Task Force Spartan can conduct further exercises with bilateral partners both here in UAE and across the region." The UAE is a significant partner for the U.S. within the region, and exercises such as Iron Union demonstrate a commitment by all participating nations to promoting regional stability. Army.mil External Link

    White troops, especially women, tend to have more mental health concerns, report finds

    15 February- While civilians and troops have similar behavioral health concerns across racial, ethnic, gender and sexual-orientation groups, a recent RAND study found that white service members are more likely to have behavioral health troubles than their non-white counterparts, the opposite of what civilian research shows. The DoD-sponsored study sought to compare the behavioral health of minority service members to the majority, as well as compare any disparities to civilian groups, at a time when the Defense Department is reviewing a host of policies to actively support diversity and an inclusive culture.
    "Whereas the U.S. military has recognized the behavioral health needs of service members in general, the specific needs of racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual minority groups are not well understood," according to the report. What they found is that while minority groups across military and civilian communities have similar challenges when it comes to mental health concerns, researchers found that the military has some "reverse disparities," as the authors termed them.
    "... where racial/ethnic minority groups have a lower prevalence of behavioral health risks relative to their majority peers," they wrote. "For example, among non-Hispanic blacks, we found a reverse disparity for prevalence of suicidal ideation, hazardous drinking, binge drinking, current cigarette use, daily cigarette use, and smokeless tobacco use. Non-Hispanic blacks report engaging in these behaviors significantly less than their non-Hispanic white peers, and we were unable to explain these reverse disparities with the sociocultural environmental factors that were included in our models. We found similar reverse disparities for Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians compared with non-Hispanic whites." Military Times External Link

    GLOBAL

    Covid-19 demonstrated the need for online therapy

    10 February- A lot of things about 2020 were unpredictable. However, once it was clear that the Covid-19 pandemic would lead to restrictions on movement, and self-isolation for some, it was all too predictable that we would see a mental health crisis. Back in December, a The New York Times contributor labelled it as the unseen "Fourth Wave" in the pandemic. The article lamented, among other things, that then-President-elect Joe Biden did not have any mental health experts on his much-celebrated Covid-19 task force. A big miss, given that mental health is one of the big issues the country will have to deal with if and when normality returns. But the Times' piece also pointed to something encouraging: Namely, that therapists were very quick to switch to online back in the early spring. The ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) reported this as early as April 1st. Mental health professionals of all types were offering their services online, and not a moment too soon. One study showed that there was a 124% rise in searches for online counselling year on year in June 2020. Of course, a burgeoning industry for online therapy services already existed before the pandemic, and it's something that was predicted to expand long before we heard of Covid-19. In fact, the idea of telepsychology has existed in some form for a couple of decades, even if it meant simply picking up the phone. But it was in the 2010s that we saw the first real move to online therapy. Back in 2017, the APA (American Psychological Association) called it a "growing wave". The benefits for the patients are clear, as it provides ease of access, and therapists, too, have a chance to expand their business by reaching a larger pool of clients. Tech Times External Link

    Covid: 'No evidence' schools spread lots of coronavirus

    15 February- Schools do not appear to play a big role in spreading coronavirus, say UK researchers who have studied teacher and pupil absences during the pandemic. The University of Warwick team looked at sick days taken because of Covid during the autumn 2020 term in schools across England. Absences matched infection rates in the wider community, with no evidence schools were a major driver of cases. The prime minister is yet to announce plans for reopening schools. English schools will not return before 8 March, Boris Johnson has said. The Northern Ireland Executive is also yet to decide if some or all pupils can return on 8 March. But in Scotland and Wales the youngest primary-school pupils are due to return on 22 February. BBC External Link

    Hospitals still ration medical N95 masks as stockpiles swell

    16 February- Mike Bowen's warehouse outside Fort Worth, Texas, was piled high with cases of medical-grade N95 face masks. His company, Prestige Ameritech, can churn out 1 million masks every four days, but he doesn't have orders for nearly that many. So he recently got approval from the government to export them. "I'm drowning in these respirators," Bowen said. On the same day 1000 miles (1,600 kilometers) north, Mary Turner, a COVID-19 intensive care nurse at a hospital outside Minneapolis, strapped on the one disposable N-95 respirator allotted for her entire shift. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Turner would have thrown out her mask and grabbed a new one after each patient to prevent the spread of disease. But on this day, she'll wear that mask from one infected person to the next because N95s — they filter out 95% of infectious particles — have supposedly been in short supply since last March. Fox News External Link

    Johnson & Johnson has only a few million COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock as likely launch nears

    17 February- Johnson & Johnson has only a few million doses of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in its inventory even as likely U.S. regulatory authorization is only a few weeks away, White House officials said on Wednesday. J&J remains committed to providing 100 million doses by June but deliveries are likely to be "back-end loaded" as J&J works with the U.S. government to boost supply, Jeffrey Zients, the White House's COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a press call. "Across the last few weeks we've learned that there is not a big inventory of Johnson and Johnson. There's a few million doses that we'll start with," Zients said. J&J said in a statement it intends to immediately begin distributing doses upon U.S. authorization and expects to supply 100 million doses to the United States in the first half of 2021. The United States has been struggling to hasten its vaccine rollout because of a limited supply of doses. Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have promised to deliver 200 million doses of their two-dose vaccines by the end of March but so far fewer than 72 million doses have been shipped around the U.S. and around 55 million shots have been given. The U.S. paid J&J $1 billion in August to help fund the development of its vaccine in exchange for a guarantee of 100 million doses and an option to buy 200 million more. It also provided J&J with $456 million in March. Reuters External Link

    'These numbers are people': How Covid-19 death data honors lives lost

    15 February- On April 16, Angelina Proia was one of thousands of people tuned in to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's daily Covid-19 briefing. That day early in the pandemic, the news was encouraging; graphs flashed across the screen showing hospitalizations were down, along with ICU admissions, there were fewer deaths than the days before, and the message was "we can control the beast." But for Proia, it couldn't get worse. That morning, she lost her dad, Richard Proia, a fun-loving, kind-hearted and otherwise healthy 66-year-old, to Covid-19. She wanted to see those numbers cross her screen, though, because she knew her dad was part of them. She wanted his loss to be acknowledged and her experience to be validated. "It was a small comfort to me to see the leader of my state show deference to the virus that killed my dad," Proia said. "It made me feel less alone." Proia was looking for leadership when she turned to Cuomo back in April. Many people around her deny that Covid is real, questioning the validity of tests and other reported facts, she said. "But I have my state leader affirming and validating that my dad was a Covid loss and taking it into account when he makes his decisions," she said. "By acknowledging my father's loss through the numbers, I know he's sorry for my family and takes it seriously." By April 16, about 37,000 people in the US had lost their lives to Covid-19. Now, the death toll is approaching half a million. In the past week alone, more than two people died of Covid-19 every minute. CNN External Link

    Vaccinated COVID-19 patients appear less contagious; arthritis drug in spotlight

    12 February- The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus...People who get a COVID-19 vaccine can still become infected with the novel coronavirus, although they are likely to be protected against severe illness, and a new study suggests they also may be less contagious. At a large Israeli health maintenance organization where 650,000 members received the two-dose vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, researchers identified 2,897 patients who later tested positive for COVID-19. The amounts of virus on swab samples from the nose and throat were reduced four-fold for infections occurring at least 12 days after the first dose of vaccine compared to what is typically seen in unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, the research team from Maccabi Health Services and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology found. Viral loads are known to be linked with contagiousness and disease severity. But this study was not a randomized trial and it did not look at patients' viral loads over time, nor the rates at which their contacts became infected, which would be the most direct evidence of whether a vaccine reduces virus transmission. Still, the authors concluded in a paper posted on Monday on the medical website medRxiv ahead of peer review, "These reduced viral loads hint to lower infectiousness, further contributing to vaccine impact on virus spread." Reuters External Link

    INFLUENZA

    WHO Influenza Update

    15 February 2021, based on data up to 31 January 2021:

    - The current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced to varying extents health seeking behaviors, staffing/routines in sentinel sites, as well as testing priorities and capacities in Member States. The various hygiene and physical distancing measures implemented by Member States to reduce SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission have likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission.

    - Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.

    - In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained below baseline, though sporadic detections of influenza A and B viruses were reported in some countries.

    - In the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity was reported at inter-seasonal level.

    - In the Caribbean and Central American countries, no influenza detections were reported. Severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) activity increased in some reporting country.

    - In tropical South America, there were no influenza detections reported in this period.

    - In tropical Africa, influenza activity continued to be reported in Western Africa.

    - In Southern Asia, sporadic influenza detections were reported across reporting countries.

    - In South East Asia, influenza detections were reported in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR).

    - Worldwide, influenza B detections accounted for the majority of the very low numbers of detections reported. WHO External Link

    VETERINARY/FOOD SAFETY

    Orca Specialty Foods' salmon recalled because of listeria concerns

    11 February- British Columbia-based Orca Specialty Foods Ltd. is recalling One Ocean brand Sliced Smoked Wild Sockeye Salmon because government testing showed Listeria monocytogenes contamination.  Consumers should check to see if they have the recalled product in their home. The recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased, according to the recall notice posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)...Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure. Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. Pregnant women, the elderly, young children and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth. Food Safety News External Link

    Salmonella sickens 30 in Finland

    14 February- At least 30 people have fallen ill after eating at a restaurant in Finland during the end of January. An investigation by public health officials in the town of Kokkola, also known as Karleby, found Salmonella was behind the illnesses. The first infection was recorded on Jan. 27 and no patients have been reported since Jan. 29. The most common symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. Sigrid's restaurant carried out cleaning and extensive disinfection after the suspicion of an outbreak was raised. Operations at the eatery are continuing as normal. Frozen product suspected Initially, no Salmonella was found in food and surface samples. Additional samples were taken in the restaurant, from staff and of the food. Preliminary results show the suspected source of infection is a frozen product for use in commercial kitchens. Findings will be confirmed later in February after further investigations are completed. Sales of the implicated product have been suspended in the country, according to officials. Food Safety News External Link

    WELLNESS

    How much exercise do you need for better heart health?

    17 February- If you want a healthy heart, the more you exercise, the better, according to an encouraging new study of the links between physical activity and cardiovascular disease. It finds that people who often exercise and stay active are much less likely to develop heart disease than people who rarely move, whether that exercise consists of a few minutes a day of jogging or multiple hours a week of walking. The large-scale study, which relied on objective data about exercise from more than 90,000 adults, bolsters the growing evidence that any almost amount of physical activity seems to be good for cardiovascular health, with no apparent upper limit to the benefits. For generations, of course, we have known that active people tend to have strong hearts. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Jeremy Morris, a British epidemiologist, famously found that British bus conductors, who spent their days strolling aisles and climbing steps on the double-decker vehicles, were about half as likely to have a heart attack as the buses' drivers, who sat all day. Since then, countless epidemiological studies have uncovered similar links between physical activity and cardiovascular problems. In most, greater amounts of physical activity aligned closely with less risk of heart disease. In other words, people who moved a lot tended also to be people with sound hearts and arteries. The New York Times External Link 

    USAFRICOM

    Ebola outbreak declared in Guinea, 4th case confirmed in DRC

    14 February- In a follow-up on a report yesterday on a possible Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the west African nation of Guinea, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today that Guinea health officials declared an outbreak of Ebola in the rural community of Gouéké in N'Zerekore prefecture after three Ebola cases were confirmed by the national laboratory, marking the first time the disease has been reported in the country since an outbreak ended in 2016. Initial investigations found that a nurse from the local health facility died on the 28 January 2021. Following her burial, six people who attended the funeral reported Ebola-like symptoms and two of them have died, while the other four have been hospitalized–so far a total of seven (7) cases (4 men and 3 women) with three (3) deaths (2 women and a man) reported. "It's a huge concern to see the resurgence of Ebola in Guinea, a country which has already suffered so much from the disease. However, banking on the expertise and experience built during the previous outbreak, health teams in Guinea are on the move to quickly trace the path of the virus and curb further infections," said Dr.Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. "WHO is supporting the authorities to set up testing, contact-tracing and treatment structures and to bring the overall response to full speed." On Sunday, Feb. 14, the Minister of Health called for an emergency meeting and put in place a swift emergency response measures, in consultation with different stakeholders, including partners. The public health measures put in place include: activation of different intersectoral coordination and emergency response units; further investigation and contact tracing; isolation of suspected cases; and social mobilization and community engagement. The Government is working on to get EVD vaccines from different parties. During the 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak, there were 28,000 cases, including 11,000 deaths.  The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USCENTCOM

    Covid-19: Vaccine as good in 'real world' as in trial in Israel

    15 February- More data from Israel's vaccination programme is suggesting the Pfizer jab prevents 94% of symptomatic infections. This indicates the vaccine is performing just as well in a larger population as it did in the clinical trials. It is proving highly effective at preventing illness and severe disease among all age groups, according to public health doctor Prof Hagai Levine. "High vaccination coverage of the most susceptible groups" was key, he said. Israel's largest health fund Clalit looked at positive tests in 600,000 vaccinated people and the same number of unvaccinated people, matched by age and health status. It found 94% fewer infections among the vaccinated group. This was based on test results in people's medical records, usually taken if they had symptoms or were a close contact of someone who had tested positive. And the vaccine prevented almost all cases of serious illness. This pattern was the same in all age groups - including the over-70s, who may have been under-represented in clinical trials. The data has not yet been formally published. BBC External Link

    USEUCOM

    Norway: 1st AstraZeneca vaccines arrive Sunday

    7 February- On Sunday night, Norwegian health officials report receiving  the first delivery of vaccines from Astra Zeneca, The shipment included 21,600 vaccine doses. Officials say first doses will be given to healthcare professionals under 65 years of age. "These vaccines will be given to people in Norway under the age of 65, as so far no such good effect of this vaccine has been documented for those over the age of 65", says Geir Bukholm. In February, a total delivery from Astra Zeneca is expected to be just under 200,000 doses, and in March we expect about 250,000 doses. The number for March has not yet been confirmed by AstraZeneca. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USINDOPACOM

    Leptospirosis cases up in Fiji with 5 deaths recorded

    15 February- The Fiji Ministry of Health & Medical Services has established "Clinical Teams" of Specialists in addition to the many Public Health workers performing outreach programs in Sigatoka, Rakiraki, Navosa, Nadarivatu, Nabouwalu, and Savusavu. The teams will facilitate community awareness and public health measures to reduce the risk of the spread of Leptospirosis, Typhoid, and Dengue (LTD's) and will further ensure that community screening remains the priority for early diagnosis and treatment of LTD's and any other undiagnosed medical problems. The recent natural disasters have escalated the surge in communicable diseases such as LTD's in various sub-divisions and every effort is made to contain further spread of the diseases. The current trends according to baseline thresholds for each disease indicates that:

    1. Leptospirosis is above the expected level for this time of the year throughout the nation,
    2. Dengue is below expected levels nationally except in Levuka. There is a risk of a rise in cases, especially in the North, once the rainfall slows down and there is an increase in stagnant water pooling
    3. Typhoid is below the expected level- except for some clusters in Wainikoro and Naduri medical areas in the North.

    The Ministry has recorded 160 Leptospirosis cases nationally with an Incidence Rate of 18.0/100,000 population and 5 confirmed deaths while 335 confirmed Dengue Fever cases with an Incidence Rate of 23.6/100,000 population and 1 confirmed death. Similarly, we have 53 Typhoid cases nationwide with an Incidence Rate of 5.9/100,000 population and 1 confirmed death. The Ministry strongly advises people to be mindful of the sources of these diseases and adhere to the advisories issued for the prevention of LTD's. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Philippines report 19 additional B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant cases

    15 February- The Philippines Department of Health (DOH), along with the University of the Philippines-Philippine Genome Center (UP-PGC), and the UP-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) confirm the detection of nineteen (19) additional COVID-19 cases positive for the B.1.1.7 variant (UK variant). This brings the total B.1.1.7 variant cases in the country to 44. No other variants of concern were detected. Three cases are from Davao Region, two from CALABARZON, eight are Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF) and six cases are currently being verified if these are local cases or Returning Overseas Filipinos. To date, the Philippines has reported a total of more than 550,000 COVID-19 cases, including 11,500 deaths. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USNORTHCOM

    U.S.: Florida- Rabies alerts issued in Flagler and Marion counties

    13 February- The Florida Department of Health in Flagler County issued a rabies alert for Bunnell and the Korona community in response to a raccoon that tested positive on February 9 after attacking a dog. The recent rabies alert is for 60 days. The center of the alert is near Old Cemetery Road in Korona, an unincorporated community north northeast of Favoretta on US 1 and south of Bunnell. The last rabies alert the Flagler Health Department issued was in February 2010. Outbreak News Today External Link

    USSOUTHCOM

    Hantavirus: Argentina reports 5 cases in Salta since beginning of 2021

    13 February- In a follow-up on a report at the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Public Health reports that 5 positive cases of hantavirus infection were registered in Salta province, since the beginning of 2021. Of the total number of people affected by the virus, there was one death. The infected people reside in Oran, Colonia Santa Rosa, General Mosconi and Hipólito Yrigoyen. Three of the patients are female and two are male. The Ministry of Public Health especially recommends that the population living in rural areas keep their homes and vacant lots clean, in order to avoid the presence of rodents, which are those that transmit hantavirus, as well as block holes in doors, walls and pipes, where they can enter. Hantavirus infection is a serious acute viral disease, which is transmitted by voles, through their saliva, feces and urine and for which there is no vaccine. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Saint Lucia dengue fever outbreak 2020

    16 February- In a follow-up on the dengue fever outbreak in Saint Lucia, the Ministry of Health and Wellness reported a total of 1,816 dengue cases (1,316 confirmed, 500 suspect), including 3 deaths attributed to Dengue infection. Currently the hospitalization rate is at 20 percent. The Districts with the highest number of cases include Gros Islet, Castries, Vieux Fort, Castries B, Micoud, andDennery. Both Dengue serotypes 2 and 3 continue to be prevalent in confirmed cases. On 26 August 2020, St. Lucia's Ministry of Health and Wellness declared an outbreak of dengue fever. September was the peak month with 32% of new cases, followed by October with 28%. November and December reported fewer cases (9% and 2% respectively) suggesting a decline and a move toward the end of the epidemic curve. Outbreak News Today External Link