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Ann Med Surg (Lond) ; 82: 104613, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2031103


Introduction: Measles, one of the most common infections in the world, accounts for more than over 100.000 deaths every year. Measles outbreaks are still ravaging the African continent, and the 2010 Measles outbreak in Zimbabwe is one to be noted, where more than 7754 infections and 517 deaths were reported, ultimately leading to the UN initiation of the vaccination program. COVID-19 could have been delaying the vaccination process in Africa. This article aims to shed the light on the current Measles outbreak in Zimbabwe and how global health organizations are taking measures to fight off this outbreak. Methodology: Data was collected from online databases PubMed, Science Direct, and the Lancet, as well as news and conferences and press releases on the current measles outbreak. All articles and news related to the measles outbreak in Zimbabwe were taken into consideration. Results: A measles outbreak was reported earlier in August of 2022, with more than 2000 confirmed cases out of which 157 were reported dead. Since the outbreak this year, cases of measles in Zimbabwe have been rapidly growing. The government in Zimbabwe started a massive vaccination campaign for children in and near the areas where the outbreak is present. Traditional and faith leaders are involved in the campaigns to encourage the public to volunteer to be vaccinated. Conclusion: Efforts to control the measles outbreak in Zimbabwe are being mitigated by the government as well as the WHO and other global health organizations. With many people refusing the vaccination, this outbreak might not see an end, and more cases, as well as deaths, will increase by the end of the year.

Blood ; 138(19):4936-4936, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1989741


With the rise of social media use during the COVID-19 pandemic, impressions from online content can affect behavioral changes resulting in exacerbating disparities in care. Thus, there exists a need to utilize social media platforms, like Twitter, to help augment preparedness, especially at the intersection between oncology and COVID-19, where tweets could help hint at potential biomolecular interactions. To address this, a study was developed to assess relationship and ontologies on the interaction between hematological malignancies and COVID-19 on Twitter. Ontologies are groupings of terms and related identifiers, such as genes, for general search terms, such as “Blood Cancer”, were found utilizing the Human Phenotype Ontology. These were combined with the term “COVID-19” and used as search terms for Twitter's Standard Search API. The resulting tweets were cross-checked to assess if they included any of the other terms or genes related to the starting ontologies to then determine how many terms or genes each tweet was associated with. Once the most associated tweets to the ontologies were found, the genes related to those ontologies were utilized to find biological structures within the AlphaFold EMBL database, before being used in binding using HEX Docking software's shape based binding tool in 3D. Finally, Root Mean Square (RMS) Deviations were performed between the top 2000 conformations for each bound structure to determine if the binding was statistically significant. Results showed strong clustering of top tweets around keyword combinations. In the case of the starting entry, “Blood COVID-19”, the ontologies that were found were linked to 45 terms that each had 100 or more tweets linked to them (Figure 1a). One such term of significance was Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which was linked to the gene BRCA1. The biological significance of the molecular interaction between BRCA1 and SARS CoV-2 was determined using the predicted protein structure from the AlphaFold-EMBL database for BRCA1 and the RCSB Protein Bank structure for the SARS CoV-2 spike (PDB# 6VSB), which can be found in Figure 1b. This interaction was found to be significant based on the average RMS Deviation of 82.97 Angstroms that ranged across the top 2000 conformation. Each model had an average RMS of 85.05 Angstroms between BRCA1 and the COVID-19 spike, with binding occurring on the spike's carbohydrate recognition domain within its S1 segment that is typically used for cell entry. Thus, human phenotype ontology was effective in classifying tweets to specific biomolecular interactions. Therefore, this approach could be utilized to proactively influence treatment designs for blood cancer patients infected with COVID-19, as well as in other areas where medical illnesses are already well defined by ontologies or other literature data. Forward looking, future studies will help to ensure that terms that are not well characterized by ontologies can still be utilized in this type of analysis by employing de  novo ontology production methods. Figure 1 Disclosures No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Ann Med Surg (Lond) ; 80: 104197, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1926187


The Coronavirus Disease - 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has put additional strain on Africa's fragile healthcare systems and has impacted the rise of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Currently, there is a rise in cases of Monkeypox Disease, a zoonotic viral disease caused by the Monkeypox virus, which was first documented in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most of the clinical symptoms of Monkeypox resemble that of smallpox, whose virus also belongs to the same genus. Initial symptoms include headache, fever, and fatigue, followed by lymphadenopathy and a rash. This study aims to provide more insight into Monkeypox by exposing its current burden and efforts to combat it amidst COVID-19 in Africa. Since Monkeypox disease is re-emerging and is less contagious than COVID-19, prevention and treatment are much more manageable. Still, African countries face several crucial challenges in responding to the Monkeypox in times of the covid-19 pandemic. These include lack of a well-functioning surveillance system for early detection of the disease, lack of awareness and knowledge of the monkeypox disease across the general population, lack of healthcare facilities already burdened by COVID-19 cases, and shortage of trained healthcare professionals. On the other hand, one significant factor contributing to the minimized risk in Africa was the smallpox vaccination done before 1980. However, a declining cross-protective immunity is seen in those inoculated with the smallpox vaccine and the ever-increasing risk to the unvaccinated population. Thus, focusing on vaccination and disease surveillance operations and diligent monitoring, as well as cross-border collaborations with international sectors, including One Health, FOA, OIE, and WHO is critical to achieving the ultimate eradication of monkeypox in Africa.

Afr J Emerg Med ; 12(2): 117-120, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706220


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions have suffered globally and as a result, attention and resources for other diseases, such as Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), has declined. Despite a significantly lower incidence rate compared to COVID-19, CCHF has a considerably higher mortality rate at approximately 30%. Both diseases share symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, sore throat, however they have different modes of transmission, mortality rates, and incubation periods. Public health professionals have faced several challenges when attempting to prevent and control the spread of both diseases and despite their differences, many of the prevention methods remain the same. These include increasing public awareness regarding avoiding contact with infected individuals and animals, training healthcare professionals in emergency and preparedness for disease outbreaks and increasing the investment in medical supplies and treatment to control the spread of both diseases.