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WHO: Tuberculosis Cases Rise For The First Time In Years

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The number of people infected with tuberculosis, including the kind resistant to drugs, rose globally for the first time in years, according to a report Thursday by the World Health Organization.

The U.N. health agency said more than 10 million people worldwide were sickened by tuberculosis in 2021, a 4.5% rise from the year before. About 1.6 million people died, it said. WHO said about 450,000 cases involved people infected with drug-resistant TB, 3% more than in 2020.

Dr. Mel Spigelman, president of the non-profit TB Alliance, said more than a decade of progress was lost when COVID-19 emerged in 2020.

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“Despite gains in areas like preventative therapy, we are still behind in just about every pledge and goal regarding TB,” Spigelman said.

WHO also blamed COVID-19 for much of the rise in TB, saying the pandemic “continues to have a damaging impact on access to TB diagnosis and treatment.” It said progress made before 2019 has since “slowed, stalled or reversed.”

With fewer people being diagnosed with the highly infectious disease, more patients unknowingly spread tuberculosis to others in outbreaks that may not have been spotted in countries with weak health systems.

WHO reported that the number of people newly identified with TB fell from 7 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.

WHO also said COVID-19 restrictions, including lockdowns and physical distancing protocols, also hampered TB treatment services and may have prompted some people to skip going to health facilities for fear of catching coronavirus. Officials added that the downturn in the global economy was also a factor, saying that about half of all TB patients and their families face “catastrophic total costs” due to their treatment. WHO called for more countries to cover all TB diagnosis and treatment expenses.

After COVID-19, TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease. It is caused by bacteria that typically affects the lungs. The germs are mostly spread from person to person in the air, such as when an infected individual coughs or sneezes.

TB mostly affects adults, particularly those who are malnourished or have other conditions like HIV; more than 95% of cases are in developing countries.

According to the WHO report, only one in three people with drug-resistant TB are receiving treatment.

“Drug-resistant TB is curable, but alarmingly, cases are on the rise for the first time in years,” said Dr. Hannah Spencer, who is with Doctors Without Borders in South Africa. “It’s urgent that shorter, safer and more effective treatments are scaled up now.”

Spencer called for lowering the prices of TB treatment so a complete treatment course costs no more than $500.

WHO also said ongoing conflicts in eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East have worsened the options for patients seeking TB diagnosis and treatment.

Ukraine had one of the world’s worst TB epidemics even before Russia invaded the country in February. Health experts fear the inability of patients to get treated could fuel the rise of more drug-resistant TB across the region.

While TB patients displaced by the war can seek care in Ukraine, the country has seen a shortage of key medicines and authorities face challenges in keeping track of patients.

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HIV/AIDS progress in Brazil – newsus.cgtn.com

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03:08

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December 1 is World AIDS Day,  a time to raise awareness and show support for those living with AIDS or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Treatment of HIV/AIDS has come a long way since the first cases became public in the 1980s.

And Brazil is one country that led the way; its pioneering programs to identify and treat patients recognized the world over.

In recent years, however, the country’s progress has shown to be slipping.

For more, check out our exclusive content on CGTN Now and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The China Report.

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Ask the Doctors | Early RSV season primarily impacts infants – Eureka Times-Standard

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Dear Doctors: What can I do to protect my baby from RSV? What are the symptoms? People are talking about a “tripledemic,” and it has my husband and me worried. We’re both vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19, and we are being super careful when we’re out and about. What else can we do?

Dear Reader: RSV is short for respiratory syncytial virus. It’s a common winter virus that can affect people of any age. In most cases, RSV infection causes mild symptoms similar to the common cold. However, infants and children younger than 2, whose immune systems are still developing, are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill.

RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia in infants and young children in the United States. It is also the leading cause of bronchiolitis in that age group. That’s a lung infection in which the smallest airways become inflamed and swollen, and an increase in mucus production impedes air flow into and out of the lungs.

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This year, as with the flu, RSV season has arrived early. Hospitals throughout the U.S. are reporting a surge of serious infections among infants and younger children.

The virus enters the body through the airways and the mucous membranes. It can remain viable on hard surfaces — such as a doorknob, night table or dinnerware — for several hours. It can also persist on softer surfaces, such as a tissue or the skin. Someone can become infected by breathing in the viral particles that remain airborne following a cough or a sneeze, or by touching their mouth, nose or eyes after direct contact with contaminated droplets.

Someone who is sick with RSV typically remains contagious for between four and eight days. However, due to their still-developing immune systems, it’s possible for infants to continue to spread the virus for several weeks, even after symptoms of the disease have abated. There is no vaccine for this virus, and no targeted treatments. Prevention relies on the same precautions you use to avoid any respiratory illness. That is, keep your baby away from people who are ill, avoid close contact with people outside your home and be vigilant about hand hygiene.

Symptoms of RSV arise between three and six days after infection. They can include a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, fever, a decrease in appetite and lung congestion that can cause wheezing. These symptoms tend to be progressive, arriving in stages as the body mounts its attack against the virus. But in very young patients, the first, and sometimes only noticeable, symptoms of RSV can be increased fussiness, a decrease in activity and difficulty breathing.

Treatment for RSV consists of managing symptoms. The specific avenue of care depends on a child’s age, general health and symptoms. In infants, treating RSV includes a focus on adequate hydration and remaining alert for any signs of problems with breathing. The majority of RSV infections run their course in a week to 10 days. Parents of younger infants should check with their pediatricians for guidance on treatment, particularly medications. If your child has difficulty breathing, isn’t drinking enough fluids or has worsening symptoms, call your health care provider right away.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an internist and associate professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Elizabeth Ko, M.D., is an internist and assistant professor of medicine at UCLA Health. Send your questions to askthedoctors@mednet.ucla.edu, or write: Ask the Doctors, c/o UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1955, Los Angeles, CA, 90024. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to Palm Beach County – WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm

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PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The largest piece of community folk art in the world, a tribute to victims of AIDS, is on display in Palm Beach County.

Now through Dec. 15, three different panels of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, often known as the AIDS Quilt, will be on display at three different Palm Beach County Public Library locations.

The quilt is a giant tribute to the lives of people who have died due to AIDS or AIDS-related causes.

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The quilt weighs around 54 tons and was started in the 1980s during the early years of the AIDS pandemic.

Three different panels of the AIDS Quilt will be on display at three different Palm Beach County Public Library locations through Dec. 15.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is comprised of nearly 50,000 panels containing 91,000 names of the men, women and children who lost their lives to the immune system disease.

The blocks, which make up the panels, are stitched by individuals in communities across the nation, including one librarian right in Palm Beach County.

Katrina Brockway, a librarian at the Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library, said she feels it brings tragedy a bit closer to home.

Katrina Brockway, librarian at the Hagen Ranch Road Branch Library discusses the AIDS Quilt visit
Librarian Katrina Brockway explains the impact of seeing the AIDS Quilt in person.

“It becomes so much more personal when you see these quilt panels and all of these people who were loved and didn’t have the same opportunity to escape this,” Brockway said. “So you can remember them, what they went through, and what their loved ones have gone through.”

Visitors can see the quilt panels during normal library hours at the library’s main branch on Summit Boulevard at the Jupiter branch and at the west Boca Raton branch.

Click here for the library’s hours and more information on upcoming AIDS events at the library.

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