Tag Archives: World Health Organization

Current Event Cat of the Day: Measles Mania

Measles WHO

Another year, another series of measles outbreaks. The World Health Organization say they are “taken aback” by more than 22,000 cases in 2014 and the first months of this year and countries must step up their measles vaccinations.

“When we consider that over the past two decades we have seen a reduction of 96% in the number of measles cases in the European region, and that we are just a step away from eliminating the disease, we are taken aback by these numbers,” Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe, said.

“We must collectively respond, without further delay, to close immunization gaps.”

“It is unacceptable that, after the last 50 years’ efforts to make safe and effective vaccines available, measles continues to cost lives, money and time.”

The measles comeback is largely due to a growing number of parents who are refusing to vaccinate their children (thanks Jenny McCarthy) or are facing barriers in getting the immunizations they need. Considering measles is one of the most contagious diseases known to man and can be easily spread through coughing and sneezing, this isn’t very good. In fact, measles had the ability to turn Disneyland from the happiest place on earth into measles ground zero after hundreds of people were exposed to the virus.

U.S. health officials announced Monday that the country has had 154 measles cases thus far in 2015 – which isn’t great considering they declared measles to be eliminated in 2000 after years of vaccination efforts.

But measles mania isn’t just a North American problem. Over in Europe, an 18-month-old child in Berlin who had not been vaccinated against measles died of the virus this week. Berlin has seen more than 600 cases since a measles outbreak began in October, prompting a nationwide debate about whether immunizations should be made mandatory.

To sum up, VACCINATE YOUR CHILDREN – unless, of course, you don’t want them to develop autism.

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UN Official: Better to Put Down the Fork and Pick Up a Cigarette

Food Tax Cigarette

According to an investigator with the United Nations, unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to global health than cigarettes and governments should move fast to tax harmful food products.

Olivier de Schutter, special rapporteur on right to food, told the World Health Organization’s annual summit that governments should launch negotiations on a global pact to tackle the obesity epidemic.

“Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed,” he said.

Two years ago, in another report to the rights council, de Schutter called for similar action, encouraging governments to tax unhealthy products, regulate fats and sugars, crack down on advertising for junk food, and rethink agricultural subsidies that make unhealthy food cheaper. But apparently nothing happened and people just kept eating.

“It has been two years since my report on nutrition and the right to food, and ten years since the World Health Organization (WHO) launched its Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health,” he said. “Yet obesity continues to advance—and diabetes, heart disease and other health complications along with it. The warning signs are not being heard.”

Will anything change this time around? Probably not, but Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are on WHO’s side, calling for greater regulation of the food industry. The two organizations said governments around the world should impose compulsory rules for the food and drink industry, similar to tobacco regulations. These rules could include pictures on food packaging of damage caused by obesity (similar to those on cigarette packets), reducing the levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food, improving food served in hospitals and schools, imposing stricter advertising controls, and educating the public about healthy eating.

Apparently global deaths due to obesity and general fatness rose from 2.6 million in 2005 to 3.4 million in 2010. Still, are fatty foods really worse than cigarettes? Just think of that awful stale cigarette smell… then again, a 500lbs man with Taco Bell gas probably smells just as bad. Verdict: it’s a tie.

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