New Camel-linked MERS case in Saudi ArabiaOn Sep 17 the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one new MERS-CoV case, involving a Saudi man from Riyadh who had contact with camels.The 50-year-old man is in stable condition after presenting with symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus). The MOH said the patient had direct contact with camels, a known risk factor for contracting the respiratory virus.Late last week, meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) released details of 8 cases of MERS-CoV reported by Saudi Arabia between Jul 20 and Aug 18. Direct or indirect contact with camels is cited in 3 cases, contact with a sick patient is noted in 1 case, and sources are still unknown for the remaining 4 cases. One of the patients died, on Jul 20.Two cases were from Jubail city, in a 58-year-old man who had a history of drinking camel’s milk and in his 52-year-old female caregiver. The man is on mechanical ventilation, while the woman remains in stable condition in home isolation.Saudi Arabia’s MERS case count since 2012 has now reached 1,453, including 610 deaths. Four patients are still being treated, according to the MOH.Sep 17 MOH report Sep 16 WHO report Report: 57% case-fatality rate in children with EbolaA new study in Emerging Infectious Diseases shows children infected with Ebola virus disease (EVD) aged 2 to 12 years old suffered a 57% case-fatality rate. The numbers come from a retrospective cohort study of 282 children infected with the hemorrhagic fever in Sierra Leone.Researchers said more than half (55%) the deaths took place while the children were being treated in 1 of 11 Ebola holding units. Fever was the most common symptom present in the children (99%), followed by fatigue and loss of appetite (80%; 79%). Unexplained bleeding occurred in only 1% of patients.Forty-four percent of children presented with diarrhea, which was associated with death. Younger children were also more likely to die, and the median time until death was only 3 days after admission.The vast majority of children (78%) had household contact with someone infected with Ebola virus.This is the largest cohort study completed on children with Ebola. But the authors warned that there was an “apparent lack of association between death and potentially modifiable factors that could alter outcome after infection,” the authors said. “This lack of association calls for urgent prioritization of interventions targeted to prevent EVD in children. Children have been neglected thus far in EVD vaccine development, and this knowledge gap should be addressed.”Sep 15 Emerg Infect Dis study PAHO reports about 2,000 new chikungunya casesThe Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) late last week reported 1,989 new chikungunya cases in the Americas, after 2 weeks of reporting cases below 1,000. The new cases raise the 2016 total to 255,009.Almost all the new cases are from Panama, which had 1,788 new cases in the past month after reporting only 10 before, to bring its total this year to 1,798 cases.The previous weekly PAHO updates included 290 and 510 new cases, respectively. PAHO lowered the chikungunya-related death count by 1, to 53. Many countries have not reported on the disease for weeks.The outbreak began in December 2013 on St. Martin in the Caribbean, with the first-ever cases in the Americas. Since then the region has logged 2,134,976 suspected, confirmed, and imported cases, according to PAHO statistics.Sep 16 PAHO update Global Fund raises billions to battle malaria, AIDS, and TBThe Global Fund announced that donors had pledged $12.9 billion in an effort to end epidemics of malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis (TB) by 2030. The announcement of the donations came at the launch of the Global Fund’s fifth replenishment conference on Sep 17.The event was held in Montreal and hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called on the world’s youth to help eradicate international disease. “We can end these epidemics for good, if we accelerate our efforts and continue to bring in new partners,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.The conference raised $1 billion more than the last replenishment conference, held in 2013. The United States was the biggest donor, pledging $4.3 billion, or one third of the total funding. In addition to nations, private citizens donated $250 million, meant to be used in the next 3 years to fight malaria, AIDS, and TB.The Global Fund began in 2002, and, as of Sep 1 the organization said its efforts have led to 20 million saved lives around the world. The new donations are projected to save 8 million lives and prevent 300 million infections.Sep 17 Global Fund press release Booster for meningococcal vaccines proves safe, effectiveA new study in Vaccine suggests that a booster dose of the quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccines (MenACWY, or Menactra) helps lift the vaccine’s antibody activity in people 4 to 6 years post-vaccination. The study, which was conducted by Menactra manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, also demonstrated the booster’s safety.MenACWY is a common and effective vaccine, but reduced bactericidal antibody titers to types C and Y of the disease have been described 5 years after initial vaccination. In this study, participants who’d completed vaccination 4 to 6 years earlier received a single 0.5-mL booster dose of MenACWY-D (the four strains plus diphtheria.Researchers measured antibody titers at day 6 and day 28 post-booster. Titers greater than 1:4 have been ruled to confer immunity against meningococcal disease.On day 0, 38.7% to 68.5% of participants had a titer of 1:8. By day 6 post-booster, 98.2% to 99.1% of participants had a titer greater than 1:8. By day 28, 99% of participants reached this threshold.There were no serious adverse events associated with the booster. Injection-site pain was described by about 60% of patients. The pain usually resolved in 1 to 3 days. Sep 15 Vaccine study
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1 of 2 Making a difference in the lives of the children in their care is what Belmor Primary School believes in as they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. The Hanover Park school started out in 1979 with over a thousand pupils bused in from all over Cape Town who were only Afrikaans-speaking. Back then, the school was known as the Hanover Park 5 school – an Afrikaans-medium school which at the time had two shifts; one in the morning and another in the afternoon. It was headed by principal Fred Carolus, followed by Henry Pretorious, then Shaheen Galant, and now Carol Poole who took over the leadership in 2008. Ms Poole described the school as a family unit which focused on pupils’ holistic development by not only focusing on good grades, but also instilling life-long values in pupils. She said it was senseless to produce a pupil with brilliant marks, but no values.The school is now a dual language one, with English and Afrikaans both being first languages. Children enjoy extramural activities such as soccer, athletics, marching and drilling, chess, netball, arts and culture, drama and dance, and music, on Wednesdays. The school also participates in the annual GROWSmart competition, hosted by the Western Cape Education Department, which focuses on literacy, maths, science, story writing, and debating, and this year and last year the stories of three pupils were published in the competition’s storybook. The school also walked away as the winners of the literacy competition in 2008.Ms Poole said that every day has its own challenges but they take it one day at a time. She said the school’s mission is to give pupils the best education that they can despite the difficult circumstances. She said it was important for the school to give pupils a platform to grow and become the best versions of themselves while preparing them for high school and tertiary education and the community out there.“We are producing good pupils who are doing well at tertiary institutions and entering into top careers. We are proud of them for their hard work and our ultimate goal is to produce well-rounded pupils who are ready to serve our community and country, said Ms Poole.She said some of the challenges at the school remain insufficient parent participation and the growing ratio of pupils to teachers, which made teaching in the classroom a bit more difficult.To combat low literacy levels, the school will be offering literacy workshops to parents and pupils next year. With the mantra “Enter to learn, Leave to serve”, and the motto by “Light and Labour”, Ms Poole said the school’s aim was to keep succeeding both academically and through growth within pupils. “Although we face challenges we can still grow and become knowledgeable and become great things. Teachers and pupils create a family ethos at the school and as teachers we must set an example for our pupils,” said Ms Poole.She said what kept her motivated was her passion for teaching and her hope to inspire others. Looking back, she thought of a funny memory when children were bused into school and there was one bus known as the “Joburg” bus. This made her wonder from where the children were coming but it was actually a bus from Philippi where the driver picked up children from a shop named “the Joburg shop”.“It was so funny because they had told me that children were coming from far and I wondered where these children were coming from only to find out that it was from Philippi and not (the actual) Joburg,” she said.One of the school’s greatest achievements was when four of their Grade 6 pupils were chosen to attend the Oprah Winfrey School. They matriculated in 2012. Ms Poole said she was very proud of the school’s achievement as they had worked hard to get where they are. She said the school’s goal was only to become better. Beverley Philander, a Grade 1 teacher who has been teaching at the school since 1979, said she was proud of the school’s achievements and was excited about its future. “We are a family at Belmor Primary School and my pupils and colleagues are the ones who keep me going. “Their love and friendliness bring me back every time and even if I am absent for just one day I miss the school.”The school celebrated its 40th anniversary with a supper at The Barons Estate on Wednesday October 23 with parents, friends, staff, and previous staff members.Lionel Daries, chairperson of Belmor Primary’s school governing body, said the school has remained in a good condition despite 40 years of existence.“I feel quite proud to be part of the school. Belmore has always been known as the best school in Hanover Park. I’ve been a part of the school for 10 years now and my grandchildren attend the school now. I am happy to be a part of the Belmor family,” he said. Pictured in front of Belmor Primary School, from left, are, Beverley Philander, Lionel Daries, and principal Carol Poole.
Related TopicsCanton ChargeCavsClevelandCleveland CavaliersIsaiah ThomasLebron JamesNBANBA G LeagueTyronn Lue CLEVELAND– Isaiah Thomas is nearing a return to the court.The Cavaliers announced via press release that Thomas has been assigned to the Canton Charge. According to the release, Thomas’ assignment is for him to “officially participate in the Charge full-team practice, slated for today.”The practice will occur at the Cavs’ practice facility in Independence. Last week, head coach Tyronn Lue said that Thomas would likely get in some practice time with the G-League affiliate, but he was unsure if that meant Charge players coming to the Cavs’ facility, or Thomas going to Canton.On Wednesday, Thomas told Tom Withers of the Associated Press that he could play as early as next week, and that he expected to play five-on-five in the coming days.“When that time comes to where I’ll be out there, I’m sure everybody is going to know and I’ll be out there playing the way I’ve always played,” Thomas said as he hosted a children’s holiday party Wednesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “I’m just trying to get as close as 100 percent as possible and to be out there to be special. Not just to be out there and be another body. However long that takes — it might be next week, it might be a week after that. We don’t know and we’re really not trying to put a date on it because it just depends on how my recovery is.“I’m ramping up my workouts, but at the same time it’s how I feel the next day, and it’s getting lighter and lighter, which is a good sign.”Thomas was part of the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. He has not played since the 2016-17 Eastern Conference Finals due to a torn labrum in his hip. Last season, Thomas averaged 28.9 points, 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.“His attitude is getting worse and worse because he’s getting closer and closer,” LeBron James said with a chuckle when asked about Thomas. “When you get closer and closer to something you love and you want, your attitude actually gets worse.”Without Thomas, however, the Cavs offense has been flourishing. They currently boast a 111.7 offensive rating, good for third best in the league. When Thomas comes back, the Cavs will have plenty to figure out when it comes to how he fits into the offense and what wider adjustments will need to be made. James said that as players they have not had that conversation yet, and stressed that it is up to that coaches.“Whenever he’s ready to go we’ll be ready,” James said. ‘But he’s never had a timetable here. When he’s ready to go and the training staff gives him the OK and the docs give him the OK, it will be an exciting time for our team.” Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers the Cavs for SB Nation’s Fear The Sword. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42 Ashley Bastock