Tag Archives: world health organization

Social media resources can help keep you on top of coronavirus crisis

Photo: DIFD via Flickr

The World Health Organization today declared 2019-nCoV a public health emergency of international concern. This is the sixth such designation since 2009; earlier emergencies included the swine flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014 and 2019, polio in 2014 and Zika in 2016.

For ongoing and up-to-date coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak, check out this Twitter list curated by Bara Vaida, AHCJ’s core topic leader on infectious diseases. Continue reading

Influenza virus in China remains potential pandemic threat

Photo: Connie via Flickr

A strain of an influenza virus now circulating in China remains a potential pandemic threat while many gaps remain in preparing for such an event, a group of global health experts at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) warned last month.

The virus spreading in China, called H7N9 (flu virus names reflect their protein makeup) first emerged among poultry workers in 2013 and has sickened 1,567 people and killed 615. Continue reading

Citing WHO data, writer gives thanks for health gains

Photo: Amanda Mills/U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Photo: Amanda Mills/U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

This holiday season, Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post turned away from politics to acknowledge some important recent health gains. Among them: declining poverty and violence, increasing reading among youth and life expectancy.

Rubin, a columnist who writes the conservative Post blog “Right Turn,” said those gains – all linked in some way to health – deserve to be celebrated. Continue reading

A world of vaccine requirements in one database

The country that requires its citizens to be vaccinated with the highest number of distinct antigens (Italy, 26) just happens to completely surround one of the countries that requires the fewest (San Marino, 5), a fact which is probably useless for anything other than demonstrating how nifty and flexible the World Health Organization’s vaccine database is.

Their interface isn’t ideal, but you can get all the data in spreadsheet form as well, and from there it’s easy to import into your favorite database software. In addition to antigen and country, the database also includes information on the recommended vaccine schedule and, when applicable, the parts of the country where each vaccine is required.


It’s an interesting way to put the American vaccine debate, and global public health efforts, in context. The numbers are a little misleading — some antigens seem very similar, or used only in small areas — but the broad strokes are still enlightening. The Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine, for the record, is a reasonably effective tuberculosis vaccine.


(Hat tip to Madison Park at CNN’s health blog)

U.S. turned a ‘blind eye’ to organ trafficking

ProPublica’s Emily Witt has attempted to figure out how the live-donor organ trafficking scheme exposed in the recent massive New Jersey corruption bust could operate under the radar for more than a decade.

The secret, Witt finds, is a system that obscured lax enforcement and doctor-patient confidentiality and papered over with a thin facade of manufactured emotional connection between donor and recipient. Witt also looks at just how prevalent organ trafficking is in the United States and consults with an expert who says she notified feds about the New Jersey racket years before it was finally exposed as part of the larger corruption probe.