Health officials in Africa are investigating two separate outbreaks of unknown illness, a small one in Niger that has killed nearly a third of patients and a larger one in Tanzania in which no deaths have been reported so far, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said today.Deadly outbreak in NigerIn Niger, the outbreak as of the middle of October had sickened 23 patients in two villages in Tera District, located in the country’s Tillaberi Region. The area is located in far southwestern Niger, not far from the Burkina Faso and Mali borders. Seven deaths have been reported, according to the WHO report.Symptoms included fever, dysphagia, nosebleeds, vomiting, neck pain, submandibular lymphadenopathy, and ulceronecrotic tonsil lesions. However, none of the patients had a pseudomembrane at the back of the throat, which is a hallmark feature of diphtheria. Also, nosebleed, which occurred in five patients, isn’t a common diphtheria symptom.Throat swabs from five patients were negative for diphtheria, and blood tests from two patients were negative for mononucleosis. These tests were done at the Centre for Medical and Health Research (CERMES), a Pasteur Institute lab that operates under Niger’s public health ministry.Given the unusual symptoms, negative lab tests for diphtheria, and high case-fatality rate, further investigations are needed to determine the outbreak’s scope, source, and risk of further spread, the WHO said. The office said the WHO is assisting Niger’s health ministry investigators and has deployed an epidemiologist to provide technical support in coordinating the work.Almost 800 cases in TanzaniaMeanwhile, Tanzania’s health ministry is investigating an unknown disease in Kasulu district, located in the northwestern part of the country not far from the Burundi border. Since late August, 794 illnesses have been reported, none of them fatal, according to a separate WHO outbreak report.The main symptoms are fever, headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain, but tests for dengue fever conducted on some of the patients were negative. The WHO said more tests are under way to determine the cause of the outbreak and that health officials are weighing several possibilities, including dengue fever, yellow fever, and hepatitis A or E.In response to the outbreak, health officials have intensified health education about environmental hygiene and sanitation and have strengthened surveillance and lab analysis of samples, according to the report.Monitoring challengesSharon Sanders, editor-in-chief of the infectious disease message board FluTrackers, told CIDRAP News that the group’s volunteers follow developments in the two countries, but added that Africa is a challenging area to monitor, because the news coming out of the region is sparse. She said malaria and cholera seem to be chronic in the area over the past months, and health officials in Niger recently detected the country’s first diphtheria cases in 7 years.She said it’s not unusual to see news stories about “unknown” diseases appear in the African media, which are usually resolved in a few weeks after global health groups arrive to assist with testing. However, Sanders said it is unusual for a WHO division to report an unknown disease outbreak.”We are going to carefully watch this,” Sanders said, adding that reports of nasal bleeding in the Niger outbreak patients are worrying and that she would like to know if bleeding is a feature in any of the Tanzanian cases.See also:Nov 20 WHO Africa regional office Niger outbreak noticeNov 20 WHO Africa regional office Tanzania outbreak notice
The number of new Ebola cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone declined a bit last week, with much of the disease activity centered in the two capital cities for the second week in a row, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its weekly epidemiologic update today.Tests confirmed 26 Ebola cases among the two countries, 22 in Guinea and 4 in Sierra Leone. The total is down from 30 reported the previous week, but progress against the disease has been stagnant over the past several weeks, hovering around 25 to 30 cases. Officials, however, said they saw more hopeful signs in contact tracing.No new cases were reported in Liberia.Overall, the total in the three countries has reached 27,705 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases, including 11,269 deaths, according to the WHO.Urban shift in Guinea, Sierra LeoneFifteen of last week’s 26 confirmed cases came from Conakry and Freetown. Over the past few weeks the pattern has shifted away from districts in the western parts of each country to the capitals. For example, previous recent hot spots—Boke district in Guinea and Kambia in Sierra Leone—haven’t reported any cases for 18 and 9 days, respectively.Conakry’s cases were all in registered contacts from two transmission chains, and two involved healthcare workers. Other parts of Guinea that reported cases were Coyah, which had its first 2 cases since April, and Forecariah district, which confirmed 7 cases, only 1 of them from an unknown source.One of Freetown’s two cases was in a healthcare worker whose illness was detected while he or she was in a voluntary quarantine facility. The city’s other case-patient had advanced disease, no known address, and the source of infection isn’t known. Sierra Leone’s other two cases were in Port Loko and were both linked to a transmission chain involving an infected woman who died during childbirth in the middle of June.Overall, only 2 of this week’s 26 cases were from unknown transmission chains, a sign that contact tracing and case investigation continue to improve.A total of three healthcare worker Ebola infections were reported last week, bringing the outbreak total to 879, including 510 deaths.Monitoring 56 in LiberiaOf the 6 infections that were detected in Liberia since Jun 29, 2 patients died, 2 have been discharged from the hospital, and 2 are still in observation in an Ebola treatment center, the WHO said. As of yesterday, 56 contacts were still being monitored.The cluster’s origin is still under investigation, but recent genetic sequencing tests pointed more toward reemergence from an Ebola survivor than an importation from Guinea or Sierra Leone.Elsewhere, Italy was declared free of the virus on Jul 20, 42 days after the country’s first and only patient tested negative and was discharged from the hospital. He is a nurse who got sick in May after serving in Sierra Leone.See also:Jul 22 WHO situation update
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Federal-Mogul announced that José Maria Alapont has agreed to remain as president and CEO through March 2013 and will continue as a member of the board of directors. AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Alapont joined Federal-Mogul in 2005 and is credited, in conjunction with Carl Icahn, with guiding the company to exit from difficult bankruptcy proceedings in the United States and United Kingdom. Under his leadership, the company has implemented its strategy of sustainable global profitable growth, restructured its global manufacturing and engineering network to better serve its diverse customer base and continued to invest in differentiating technologies to enhance fuel economy, reduce emissions and improve vehicle safety. Federal-Mogul has become a leading, world-class, diversified, global company based on technology, innovation and competitive cost. “I am pleased to stay with the company to continue to develop our strategy of sustainable global profitable growth and look forward to working with our Chairman Carl Icahn and the rest of the board of directors, the management team and all the men and women of Federal-Mogul to keep satisfying our customers and shareholders,” said Alapont. Carl Icahn stated that he is delighted that Jose Maria Alapont has agreed to remain with the company for another three years. Icahn further stated that he is “looking forward to continuing to work with Jose Maria.” Alapont joined the company as president, CEO and a member of the board of directors in March 2005. He served as chairman of the board of directors from 2005 to 2007. He has more than 35 years of global leadership experience in both vehicle manufacturers and suppliers with business and operations responsibilities in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. Alapont, between 2003 and 2005, was chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of IVECO, the commercial vehicle company of the Fiat Group. Advertisement He served in various key executive positions at Delphi Corp., a global automotive supplier, from 1997 to 2003. He began at Delphi as executive director of international operations. In 1999, Alapont was named president of Delphi Europe, Middle East and Africa and a vice president of Delphi Corp. and also became a member of the Delphi Strategy Board, the company’s top policy-making group. In 2003, Alapont was named president of Delphi’s international operations, and vice president of sales and marketing. Alapont, from 1990 to 1997, served in several executive roles and was a member of the strategy board at Valeo, a global automotive supplier. He started at Valeo as managing director of engine cooling systems, Spain. In 1991, Alapont was named executive director of Valeo’s worldwide heavy-duty engine cooling operations. He became group vice president of Valeo’s worldwide clutch and transmission components division in 1992. He was named group vice president of the company’s worldwide lighting systems division in 1996. Alapont began and developed his automotive career from 1974 to 1989 at Ford Motor Co., and over the course of 15 years, starting at Ford of Spain, progressed through different management and executive positions in quality, testing and validation, manufacturing and purchasing positions at Ford of Europe. Advertisement A native of Spain, Alapont earned degrees in industrial engineering from the Technical School of Valencia in Spain and in philology from the University of Valencia in Spain.
Bandelier National Monument closes Visitor Center, Ranger led programs and all group campsites at Juniper and Ponderosa campgrounds to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus. Courtesy/BNMBANDELIER News:Bandelier National Monument closed the Visitor Center and Ranger led programs Tuesday to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19 novel coronavirus.Beginning immediately and until further notice, Bandelier has closed all group campsites at Juniper and Ponderosa campgrounds. Bandelier also has suspended all park and camp entrance fees until further notice.These actions have been taken based on the best available medical advice to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people and to promote social distancing. WNPA (Western National Parks Association) at Bandelier also is closed. This will remain in effect until further notice. The health and safety of the WNPA staff, partners and that of the general public is a priority. While outdoor spaces, like park trails, are believed to be safer than indoor spaces, visitors are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.htmlPrevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDCThere is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Visit www.cdc.gov.The National Park Service is actively monitoring developments related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and it is consulting with relevant federal, state and local authorities, including the CDC, to get the most up to date information needed to protect the health of our visitors, volunteers, and employees. For more information about the park in general, visit www.nps.gov/band or call the Visitor Center at 505.672.3861, ext. 0.
A Maersk shipping container has washed ashore near Axmouth.The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) was informed that a number of containers were lost from a Maersk cargo ship as it crossed the northern stretches of the Bay of Biscay in stormy conditions on Friday 14 February.Most of the containers were empty and are believed to have sunk approximately 75 nautical miles south west of Lands End in French waters. The MCA’s aerial surveillance aircraft has been searching UK waters, and ships passing through the English Channel have been warned and asked to report any sightings.Simon Porter, MCA Counter Pollution and Salvage Officer, says: “We have been carrying out extensive searches over the last four days and spotted three containers, one of which has since come ashore and the other two are mid-Channel. We are now working closely with Maersk to ensure they recover their containers, which are their property.“The Beer Coastguard Rescue Team, police and council officials are currently on scene at Axmouth beach and the container has been cordoned off.“The public is reminded that all wreck material found in the UK has to be reported to the MCA’s Receiver of Wreck by completing a form on our website.“Those who don’t declare items are breaking the law and could find themselves facing hefty fines and paying the owner twice the value of the item recovered.”[mappress]MCA, February 24, 2014
Nicholas Longford, Chair, Resolution James Carter (see  Gazette, 17 December, 9) misrepresents Resolution as opposing government plans to extend family reporting. In fact, Resolution is fully supportive of greater openness and transparency in the family courts. Our problem with the government’s proposals is that they pave the way, without proper parliamentary scrutiny, towards the automatic publication of sensitive personal information (medical or psychiatric reports, for example). Such measures are unlikely to be in the interests of the children and families concerned. Parliament should carefully consider the need to protect individuals and the respective benefits to society before making such a change.
Magic circle outfit Allen & Overy has been rewarded for rapid worldwide expansion with a jump in income – but has warned there are difficult times ahead. The firm, headquartered in London, today announced half-year turnover of £582m, up 11% on this time last year. The results show an improvement on the 7% increase reported for the 2010/11 financial year and reflect a six-month period when new offices were opened in Washington, Casablanca and Jakarta. These markets, along with Australia, France and Germany, have formed the basis for the strong performance. Wim Dejonghe, managing partner, said: ‘We have delivered a healthy performance in the first half of the year, however with the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the US credit rating downgrade, we expect the second half to be slow. Our strategy of expansion into emerging and high-growth markets is paying off and we will keep investing in them. ‘The office opening in Casablanca makes us the first law firm of our kind to set up in Africa, broadening our reach in yet further markets.’ The firm now employs more than 5,000 staff, including around 500 partners, working in 39 offices worldwide – 11 of which have opened in the last three years.
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Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Get your free guest access SIGN UP TODAY Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN