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News Scan for Sep 08, 2021

News Scan for Sep 08, 2021

CDC and AmeriCorps announce new public health partnership

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today announced the creation of Public Health AmeriCorps through a partnership with the federal agency for volunteering and national service, AmeriCorps. The new program will help recruit, develop, and train new public health leaders.

“The experience and networks AmeriCorps brings to this partnership provide a valuable opportunity to engage communities around the United States, including many people who may have never considered a deeply fulfilling career in public health,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, in an AmeriCorps news release. “This program is a critical component of CDC’s effort to develop a strong, diverse workforce to face the public health challenges of the future.”

The collaboration is funded by $400 million from the American Rescue Plan, which will support 5,000 AmeriCorps positions over the next 5 years. The CDC said the money is part of a larger $7 billion investment in the public health workforce announced by the Biden-Harris Administration.

 Applications to join the program are being accepted now through Nov 8. AmeriCorps members work in more than 40,000 locations across the country, and many are already working on pandemic response.

“This is an exciting new partnership that builds upon the expertise, best practices, and lessons learned from both existing AmeriCorps and CDC programs to support communities and also provide much-needed surge capacity for state and local public health agencies that continue to bear the burden of caring for a nation in crisis,” said Mal Coles, acting CEO at AmeriCorps, in the release.
Sep 8 AmeriCorps press release

H5N6 avian flu sickens another person in China

China reported another H5N6 avian flu case, marking its 18th case of the year, according to an update today from the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The patient is a 48-year-old woman from Guangxi province in southern China who had been exposed to live domestic poultry before her symptoms began on Aug 25. She was admitted to the hospital on Aug 29 and is listed in serious condition.

Since 2014, China has reported 42 human H5N6 cases—often known to be severe or fatal. The virus is known to circulate in poultry, mainly in Asia. So far, China and Laos are the only countries that have reported human cases.

China’s last H5N6 case, a 55-year-old man was also from Guangxi province and had contact with poultry before he became ill.
Sep 8 CHP statement
Aug 23 CIDRAP News scan on previous case

Deadly meningitis outbreak strikes DR Congo province

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported a meningitis outbreak in the northeastern province of Tshopo, where 269 suspected cases have been reported so far, 129 of them fatal, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said in a statement today.

Tests conducted by the Pasteur Institute in Paris confirmed Neisseria meningitidis, a bacterium known to trigger large epidemics.

DRC health officials, with support from the WHO, have deployed an emergency team, and crisis response centers have been set up in the city of Banalia, the outbreak epicenter, and in Kisangani, the provincial capital. The WHO has also sent medical supplies and will send more experts and resources.

So far, 100 patients are being treated in homes and in Banalia’s health centers.

Tshopo province is part of Africa’s “meningitis belt,” which includes 26 nations across the continent that have battled recurrent outbreaks. In 2016, a massive meningitis vaccine campaign in Tshopo reached more than 1.6 million people ages 1 to 26, the group at most risk for the disease.

The WHO said the DRC has battled several meningitis outbreaks in the past, including one in Tshopo’s capital in 2009 that sickened 214 people and resulted in 14 deaths.
Sep 8 WHO statement

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