Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

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Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby toucana on July 16th, 2019, 1:08 pm 

As the world anxiously monitors the outbreak of Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo, health officials note that a measles outbreak declared last month in the country has killed more people—mostly children—and faster

https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/07/measles-is-killing-more-people-in-the-drc-than-ebola-and-faster/

Since January 2019, officials have recorded over 100,000 measles cases in the DRC, mostly in children, and nearly 2,000 have died. The figures surpass those of the latest Ebola outbreak in the country, which has tallied not quite 2,500 cases and 1,665 deaths since August 2018. The totals were noted by World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a speech today, July 15, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.

"Frankly, I am embarrassed to talk only about Ebola," Dr. Tedros said (he goes by his first name). He gave the speech in response to two new developments in the Ebola outbreak. That is that two Ebola responders were murdered in their home in the DRC city of Beni and that officials on Sunday had identified the first case of Ebola in Goma, a DRC city of over one million at the border with Rwanda.

So far, the Ebola outbreak has largely stayed in DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces, which sit on the eastern side of the country and border South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda. The measles outbreak, on the other hand, has spanned at least 23 of the country's 26 provinces. The health ministry declared an outbreak on June 10 and noted a 700% spike in the case count over the count in the first half of last year.

"And yet it gets little international attention," Dr. Tedro noted, adding that malaria also kills more than 50,000 people each year in the DRC.
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Re: Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby doogles on July 16th, 2019, 4:57 pm 

Interesting statistics Toucana.

It wasn't the figures for Ebola or for Measles that caught my eye, but the 50,000 deaths each year from Malaria.

Could that be a misprint?
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Re: Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby doogles on July 16th, 2019, 5:06 pm 

Actually I just did a quick search and found another figure for 435,000 deaths worldwide from Malaria in 2017.

Are these deaths so commonplace that they don't make the news any more?
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Re: Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby toucana on July 16th, 2019, 5:58 pm 

Some while ago I recall once reading that Americans spend more on medicines to treat the ticks and fleas of their household pets than they do on providing medicines to fight malaria on a global basis - and pet fleas don't even survive on human hosts or transmit malaria.

I went looking online to see if I could find the reference, but came across a more up to date article printed just a fortnight ago here in The Telegraph:-

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/02/drugs-used-treat-family-pet-could-prevent-spread-malaria/

It references a study led by scientists at the California Institute for Biomedical Research (Calibr), which found that a veterinary drug called isoxazolines kills mosquitoes and sandflies when they feed on the blood of those who have taken the drug.

Apparently, this drug would not act as a vaccine, as a treated person would still be able to contract the insect-borne disease. Instead, the mosquito that bites the person who has taken the drug would be killed before they could transmit the disease to other people.

The article goes on to say:-
In 2016, an estimated 216 million people contracted malaria worldwide and 445,000 people died - mostly children under the age of five in Africa. Zika virus is now prevalent in 90 countries.

I did find another article which claims
This year alone, pet spending in the U.S. is estimated to exceed $72 billion, which is more than the combined GDP of the 39 poorest countries in the world.

https://theconversation.com/americans-spend-70-billion-on-pets-and-that-money-could-do-more-good-102467
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Re: Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby TheVat on July 17th, 2019, 11:29 am 

Americans have spent more on their pets than on helping homeless people for a long time. American society tends to foster loneliness, so people put high value on companion animals. (and Americans favor dogs, which take considerably more food and medical care than other pet species) People suffering in distant third world countries is a remote abstraction for most people, so the value of those lives isn't even on their radar. And the homeless tend to be seen as responsible for their situation ("they're drunks" or "they're crazy people who would refuse our help, so it's pointless to bother..."), in a set of mythologies that people spread as a sop to their guilt at doing nothing.

Regarding measles, I think it has its own mythology, which derives from the way measles was experienced by my generation. i.e. as a relatively benign childhood nuisance that keeps you home from school a few days. In countries where environment, healthcare deficits, and nutrition can mean weakened immune systems, children are far more vulnerable to diseases that we don't think of as too serious.
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Re: Measles is killing more people in DRC than Ebola

Postby doogles on July 18th, 2019, 3:13 am 

Although it's slightly off topic, I'd like to add to TheVat's claim that "American society tends to foster loneliness, so people put high value on companion animals. (and Americans favor dogs, which take considerably more food and medical care than other pet species)", by saying that the same situation seems to exist in Australia. Loneliness rates as the most common reason for people phoning Lifeline.
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