By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, May 19, 2022 – Fifty one new COVID19 cases were recorded in the Turks and Caicos in the second week of May according to the most recent COVID-19 dashboard. The number of active cases on the islands now stands at 20 as there were 63 new recoveries.
The 51 positive results came from a pool of 141 PCR tests, a positivity rate of 36 percent, 29 of the 51 cases detected were in Providenciales, 21 were in Grand Turk and one was in North Caicos.
It’s a steep rise for Grand Turk who registered only 12 cases over the last four weeks. It’s also a sharp rise from a relatively low March and April.
There were72 new infections from 678 tests, a positivity rate of 10 percent in total in April and 47 new infections from 779 tests, a positivity rate of 6 percent in March. So far, in only the first two weeks of May, there have been 96 new infections from 266 PCR tests.
The Health Ministry reassured residents that, “The Public Health team continued to implement aggressive contact tracing and control measures in relation to all active cases.”
Women 30x more likely for UTIs; Learn More
By Dana Malcolm
January 25, 2023 – Itchy, uncomfortable and often painful Urinary Tract Infections affects millions of people yearly, the vast majority of them women. In fact ‘UTIs will likely affect almost half the female population at least once in their lives and women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. Also, as many as 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months’ the US Office on Women’s Health explains.
Caused by germs that get into the bladder, UTIs can happen in any part of the large urinary system including the kidneys; ureters; bladder; and urethra, but are most common in the bladder. They are easy to cure with proper antibiotics but can be serious if left untreated. Knowing how to identify a UTI and getting quick and effective treatment can save women and girls a lot of pain. The UK National Health Agency lists the symptoms as
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- blood in your pee
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
What many people may not know is that these painful symptoms can affect young children as well, if your baby is generally unwell, has a high temperature, wets the bed or themselves and refuses to eat you may want to ask your doctor to take a look as these are symptoms of UTIs in children.
A quick visit to your doctor and a round of antibiotics will usually clear up the infection and any recurring ones but avoiding UTIs completely may be the best bet for all. UTIs are caused when bacteria often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract the CDC says. The agency also lists a myriad risk factors that can cause this including poor hygiene in older adults with catheters or young children who are potty training causing bacteria to spread. Other risk factors include: Sexual activity; Changes in the bacteria that live inside the vagina, or vaginal flora. (For example, menopause or the use of spermicides can cause these bacterial changes.); Pregnancy; and Structural problems in the urinary tract, such as an enlarged prostate.
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in having the common medical condition a UTI, while painful, is easy to treat, make use of the treatment options available to you and don’t ignore the symptoms in the hope that they will disappear as this could make the problem worse.
Haiti’s death toll from cholera continues to climb; Cases shoot past 21,000
By Sherrica Thompson
#Haiti, January 25, 2023 – The cholera situation in Haiti has worsened, with the country recording 496 deaths in nearly four months after the resurgence of cholera was reported on October 2 of last year.
In a statement released on Thursday, January 19, the Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) Department of Epidemiology revealed that the country has already registered 25,182 suspected cases and 21,407 hospitalized cases, 73 of which are new.
The Ministry noted that the average age of those infected is 19 years and the most affected age group is 1 to 4 years old, with 374 confirmed cases of 5005 suspected cases.
In addition, the department in the west, where Port-au-Prince is located and where more than one-third of the population lives, was pointed highlighted as the most affected area, with 1,155 confirmed cases for 16,408 suspected cases.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned that the world is suffering unprecedented cholera outbreaks in countries affected by climate disasters and other crises.
Vaccines to prevent the disease have also become “extremely scarce.”
US to consider annual COVID vaccination
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, January 25, 2023 – In a matter of days, the United States is going to make a decision on whether or not they will make Covid-19 vaccinations an annual recommendation.
In an effort to reduce vaccine mistakes and increase compliance from the public the best way to administer COVID shots going forward is via a single vaccine shot for primary and booster doses according to a proposal from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA said despite the fact that the fact that bivalent vaccines were proven to work, getting shots into arms was proving difficult with the agency citing “implementation complexities”.
In addition healthcare workers have made mistakes administering the vaccine owing to the number of different vial presentations and booster uptake is low all these issues are expected to be fixed or improved with the simplification of the vaccine composition.
The vaccine will have to be periodically updated to handle new variants but if the FDA gets its way gone will be the era of multiple boosters. In fact the COVID shot will be more like the flu shot in how it is administered. Regulators will also vote on whether all shots should target the same variants. Of this is approved regulators would decide the most concerning variant in summer giving vaccine makers a chance to change the formulation in time for winter.
“Review of the totality of the available evidence on prior exposure to and vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 suggests that, moving forward, most individuals may only need to receive one dose of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine to restore protective immunity for a period of time. Two doses of an approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to induce the expected protective immunity”
The Agency explained that though it was not completely the same the data observed in long term effectiveness of COVID shots was similar to that observed with annual influenza vaccination cementing their proposal.
The proposal will be considered this Thursday at the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
Even as yearly shots are considered, the US is holding fast to its vaccine mandate for entry.
This is despite most other countries relaxing the rules months prior. The vax rule came into effect during the initial onset of Omicron in November 2021. Prior to that only a negative test was needed. The measure was set to expire on January 9th but was quickly extended to April 10 this year.
The WHO has advised that travel bans and restrictions “do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress and safety measures such as masking, testing, isolation/quarantine, and vaccination should be based on risk assessments.
The country lengthened their vax mandate and activated more stringent entry measures, particularly for travellers from the China region, as new and elusive COVID sub-variants are emerging and infection rates are increasing.
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