For global health reporters watching for the next COVID-19 story, health officials warn that all eyes should remain on Africa, where COVID-19 could spread uncontrollably.
Though the surge of COVID-19 cases that occurred in South Africa earlier in 2021 has somewhat eased, there is potential for new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter Africa via visitors other hotspots, such as India, and quickly overwhelm already weakened health systems in many African countries.
“A lot of countries actually assume that the worst is over because (they think) the African population for some reason is different, (that) it is a young population (or there were) prior infections or something (that) might have protected them innately … but Africa is not out of the woods yet,” University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medicine Dawd Siraj, M.D. said during a May 12 Infectious Diseases Society of America briefing on global health and COVID-19. “Look at India; everyone assumed India had dodged a bullet and now look at what is happening. My fear is that the worst is yet to come” in Africa. Continue reading
While malaria isn’t a current threat to most people living in mainland U.S., scientists highlighted their concern about the disease’s spread within urban African communities in the July 2019 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emerging Infectious Diseases publication.
This matters because the number of malaria cases could explode if it spreads to Africa cities, and the disease, in turn, would spread globally. Continue reading
CDC/ John Saindon
Recent violent attacks on Medicines San Frontieres (MSF) Ebola treatment centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo raise the prospect that the outbreak could grow even larger and more dangerous.
On Feb. 24, MSF’s Ebola treatment center in Katwa was attacked and unknown assailants set another on fire in Butemo on Feb. 26. Both centers were located in the hotspots of the ongoing outbreak, which began mid-2018. Continue reading
Photo: ninaraCrescent Island Game Park in Kenya’s Rift Valley.
Could another seemingly obscure mosquito-borne disease that formerly existed mostly in Africa spread around the globe like the Zika virus?
Scientists say climate change increases that risk. With warming temperatures, mosquitoes carrying diseases are more abundant and are spreading to farther regions of the world. For journalists looking for stories about climate change and public health, infectious disease is a rich area for exploration. Continue reading
While the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo was declared over by the World Health Organization in late July, Peter Halfmann, University of Wisconsin Influenza Research Institute associate professor and Ebola researcher, says journalists should keep covering the story in terms of its long-term impact on survivors. Continue reading