EMS

Apple Sets up iPhones to Relay Location for 9-1-1 Calls

JEMS - News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:45

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is trying to drag the U.S.'s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century.

If it lives up to Apple's promise, the iPhone's next operating system will automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information pinpointing the location of 911 calls to about 6,300 emergency response centers in the U.S.

Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today's increasingly sophisticated smartphones.

An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the U.S. this year will come from mobile phones, most of which are capable of precisely tracking where their users are.

Emergency calling centers, however, don't get that detailed location information from mobile 911 calls. Instead, they get the location of the cellular tower transmitting the call, and must rely on other methods to figure out where the caller is.

That can take up precious time and often isn't very accurate, especially when calls come from inside a building. Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller's location.

Apple's upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a New York startup. The approach developed by Apple and RapidSOS sends location data from an iPhone to a "clearinghouse" accessible to emergency calling centers. Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple.

Individual call centers will each have to embrace the technology required to communicate with the RapidSOS clearinghouse. Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software.

Apple expects calling centers for large metropolitan areas to upgrade more quickly than those in rural areas.

Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple's new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard. "This is going to save a lot of lives," said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University. He said he hopes other phone makers will follow Apple's lead.

Categories: EMS

QinFlow's Warrior Blood and IV Fluid Warmer Outperformed Competition in an Independent Study

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 21:10

Plano TX – An independent study carried out by researchers affiliated with Rambam Medical Center (Haifa, Israel), Technion Institute of Technology (Haifa, Israel), Israel Defense Forces (Tel Aviv, Israel), and University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, USA), concluded that QinFlow Warrior (Quality in Flow, Tel-Aviv, Israel) outperforms the Belmont Buddy Lite (Belmont Instrument Corporation, Billerica, Massachusetts, USA), Carefusion enFlow (CareFusion Corporation, San Diego, California, USA), and Estill Medical Thermal Angel (Estill Medical Technologies, Dallas, Texas, USA).

The warming performance of the devices was measured at two fluid incoming temperatures (10 and 20 degrees Celsius) and three flow rates (50, 100, and 200 mL/min).

The researchers reported that they “found significant differences between the fluid warmers”. They concluded that “the Warrior provides the best warming performance at high infusion rates, as well as low input temperatures, and was able to warm the largest volumes in these conditions”. They also concluded that “the use of the Buddy Lite should be limited to moderate input temperature and low flow rates" and that "the use of the Thermal Angel is limited to low volumes due to battery capacity and low output temperature at extreme conditions”. The researchers recommended that due to the significant differences between the devices, “clinicians should be aware of the limitations of each device to best match it to the planned clinical use”.

“We are very proud with the conclusions of the research”, said Ariel Katz, CEO QinFlow Inc. “The Warrior’s superior performance is derived from its underlying state-of-the-art, highly efficient and patent protected warming technology, which allows it to safely warm near-freeze fluids and blood products to body temperature extremely fast, even at high flow rates, thus allowing first responders, critical care transport teams, and emergency care professionals within the hospitals to focus on what they do best – saving lives”, he added.

Categories: EMS

Paramedic Chiefs of Canada hold National Leadership Summit 2018 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 17:08

The Paramedic Chiefs of Canada and their colleagues from across the country gathered in Edmonton, Alberta, June 13-15 to set the stage for the future direction of paramedic systems in Canada.

The leadership summit, hosted by Alberta Health Services, focused on key areas such as: systematic improvement, leadership capacity, mental health in the first responder community and leadership competencies developing the paramedic of the future.

Thursday's opening keynote was presented by football legend Michael “Pinball” Clemons, founder of the Pinball Clemons Foundation, an organization that empowers youth through education by bringing them from the margins to the mainstream, helping youths to become gainfully employed in careers they desire.

Clemons was an amazing speaker and one of the most honored and successful football players in North America history – even though he was only 5’5” tall!

His inspirational keynote to the EMS leaders focused on three key areas:  
1. Building trust and relationships;
2. Bonding with our personnel and our customers; and
3. Lifting our personnel and their spirits at all times

He presented many “pearls” for EMS managers and crews:

  • Information isn't bad or good, it's how you use it that's important.
  • You are positive because you make the choice to be.
  • When you are positive it takes you where you want to be.
  • When we change behavior, we are consciously competent.
  • Our people are challenged enough in the field; we don't need to add unnecessary challenges or stress to them.
  • Neutral is apathy! You can do everything right at work but not talk to anyone else that you pass or not let anyone onto a highway interchange or not thank people for what they do.
  • You must find the best in people.
  • EMS personnel are special because we run toward danger. 
  • We have to have broad vision because we have a lot of tough stuff to deal with. 
  • We don't win every game, but we must play with the same focus and intensity all the time ("To save 20 lives, we may have to lose 2")
  • Your best is always good enough, but your best should get better. We must challenge our people to get better.
  • Be the champion of the champions; an advocate for the safety of your staff and make sure they are protected.

After lunch, Chris McIntosh, the senior advisor for psychological health and safety with Alberta EMS, gave a presentation on paramedic psychological health in Alberta. He outlined the Alberta Health System's employee health and welfare initiative, which was developed after an on-duty suicide in January 2015. Deeply affected by this suicide and realizing that a formalized program was needed for all Alberta staff, the Alberta Heath System began a formal training process that stresses the importance of having family members involved to assist staff in recognizing and managing stress. He respectfully compared family members to “canaries in a coal mine;" they are often the first to sense and see signs of stress and suicide early in its development.

Categories: EMS

EMS Asia Kicks Off EMS Clinical Competition

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 12:04

A group of 10 teams from across Asia will converge at EMS Asia 2018 to participate in a clinical competition that tests each team's ability to handle a variety of patients and conditions often encountered in the prehosptial setting.

Teams arrived at this year's EMS Asia conference location in Davao City, Philippines, from across the Asian continent.

Last held in Seoul, South Korea in 2016, this is the fifth Asian EMS Conference, an event that seeks to unite the continent's various EMS systems to share research and education in an effort to move forward advancements in prehospital care in a forum allowing for open communication and collaboration. (JEMS partners with the Asian EMS Conference in an international effort to share information, ideas and best practices.)

The first two teams to arrive, around noon today, were both from Malaysia, with other teams traveling from hundreds of miles away throughout the early evening. As teams arrived, each team leader met with the EMS competition chair and organizing committee members to ensure a smooth competiition flow for tomorrow's preliminary competition, where only the top teams will be selected to move on to the final round held on Tuesday, June 19.

In the final round, the team that best navigates through poroviding patient care during a mass casualty incident will be awarded with a trophy, cash prize and bragging rights for winning the first continent-wide EMS clinical competition.

Below is the list of teams (in no particular order) that are participating in the EMS Asia 2018 Clinical Competition:
1. Malaysia 1
2. Malaysia 2
3. Taiwan 1
4. Taiwan 2
5. Thailand 1
6. Thailand 2
7. Davao Central 911 team 1
8. Davao Central 911 team 2
9. Singapore Civil Defense Force

Categories: EMS

Riders Plunge 34 Feet, 6 Injured in Florida Roller Coaster Derail

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 10:27

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Two roller coaster riders fell 34 feet (10 meters) when their car derailed and was left dangling from the track, and firefighters used ladders to pull eight others to safety high above the Daytona Beach Boardwalk.

In this Thursday, June 14, 2018 photo a Daytona Beach Fire Department ladder is extended over a roller coaster that derailed in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Lola Gomez /The Daytona Beach News-Journal via AP)

"The front car which was holding four passengers completely came off the tracks," said Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton.

Two of the four fell from the Sand Blaster ride Thursday night and suffered traumatic injuries, while "the other two were still in the car dangling," she said.

Fire department photos show the red car hanging at an odd, perpendicular angle, with another car jammed behind it.

This photo provided by the Daytona Beach Fire department shows emergency crews working on a roller coaster car that derailed at the Daytona Beach Boardwalk on Thursday, June 14, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Two passengers fell 34 feet (10 meters) to the ground and authorities had to pull eight others to safety. The accident is under investigation according Daytona Beach Fire spokeswoman Sasha Staton. (Daytona Beach Fire department via AP)

In videos posted on social media by witnesses, two people can be seen dangling from the car's seats and metal scaffolding beneath the track. Bystanders gathered under the passengers, stretching out their hands to assure them that help was coming.

"Two people done fell out and clanked their head on the ground," one witness said in one of the videos posted by WKMG-TV .

Categories: EMS

Philips Acquires Remote Diagnostic Technologies and Modularized Monitor Technology

JEMS - News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 16:50

Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced that it has acquired Remote Diagnostic Technologies (RDT), a UK-based leading innovator of advanced solutions for the pre-hospital market providing monitoring, cardiac therapy and data management. RDT’s portfolio of comprehensive connected emergency care solutions will complement Philips’ Therapeutic Care business and strengthen its leadership position in the EUR 1.4 billion resuscitation and emergency care market. Moreover, RDT will strengthen Philips’ ability to innovate, drive digital transformation in healthcare, and enter new markets. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Philips already offers a range of proven monitoring and therapeutic products and solutions to help emergency medical services, hospitals and lay responders accelerate the delivery of care at the scene. This offering includes automated external defibrillators (AEDs), advanced life support monitors, and data management solutions. RDT will complement this with a product range for ambulance and emergency responders, which includes Tempus ALS, a modularized monitor and defibrillator that offers premium functionality in a smaller, lighter and more flexible package. RDT also offers highly robust, yet lightweight monitors equipped with telecommunication capabilities for various emergency responders.

“We are committed to investing in and expanding our resuscitation and emergency care offering, and with the acquisition of RDT we can boost our capabilities and portfolio in this vital area of healthcare," said Arman Voskerchyan, Business Leader for Therapeutic Care at Philips. "With its focus on the pre-hospital market, RDT’s portfolio of emergency care solutions will enable Philips to grow its presence in this market, as we further build our health technology portfolio and extend the range of connected, data-driven solutions we offer to our customers.”

Categories: EMS

Inside EMS: Should EMS providers be able to diagnose patients?

FR1 and EMS Podcasts - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 15:14
Inside EMS: Should EMS providers be able to diagnose patients? by FR1 and EMS1 Podcasts
Categories: EMS, Podcasts

Dawn of a New Era for JEMS: It's About 'Time'

JEMS - News - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 07:00

Today, our industry is heavily data and technology driven, with CAD systems and EPCRs almost universally used. Emergency care practices are more dynamic than ever, with critical advances in patient care occurring more frequently than a monthly print publication can possibly allow.

Because technology and the Web have advanced to a point that it is both instantaneous and reliable, we feel that we can better serve the EMS community by focusing our efforts on delivering JEMS content via our website www.JEMS.com and other digital platforms to allow for a more timely – and frequent – publication.

So we’ve decided to advance with the times and discontinue printing JEMS in its traditional monthly magazine format, effective with our June 2018 issue, and use our web platform and mobile technology to get information to you sooner with our new digital approach.

When I started at JEMS 23 years ago (in 1995), the Internet was in its infancy, having been introduced in 1991. It was a new phenomenon. It was clunky in its infancy and many thought it was just for national security purposes. Boy were they wrong.

Back in 1995, JEMS received almost all of its articles and queries via the mail. We used to have to laboriously transfer written articles and documents to text to place in the magazine. Even though we had a Web page in the mid-1990s, it was not easy to upload documents and videos. JEMS and all of our newsletters were only available in print and it took weeks for international subscribers to get JEMS via the mail.

PowerPoint came on the scene in 1987 and changed the way educators presented information to their audience. In 1995, I fondly remember JEMS Publisher Jim Page having more than 200 slides spread out in our conference room, holding them up to the light and laboriously sorting them before placing them carefully into a slide tray.

I did the same thing. It was a pain in the butt to do. We had to lug multiple slide trays to conferences and each conference had to have compatible projectors that our slide trays fit on. Jim and I, and probably many of you, reluctantly moved over to PowerPoint and it changed our lives, and the quality of our presentations, dramatically.

Categories: EMS

9-1-1 Call Reveals Efforts to Resuscitate Olympic Skiier's Daughter

JEMS - News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 19:57

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman frantically asks an emergency dispatcher to coach her on how to perform CPR during a 911 call as she and others desperately struggle in vain to save the life of Olympic skier Bode Miller's daughter after the toddler fell into a swimming pool.

"Yes, hurry. HURRY," the woman shouts at the beginning of the call released Tuesday.

Asked by a male dispatcher what the emergency is, she tells him a 19-month-old girl fell into a backyard pool, is not breathing and has no pulse.

"We don't know," the woman, who sounds near tears, replies when asked how long the girl was in the water.

"Are you doing CPR or do you need me to coach you through it?," he asks.

"Coach me through it, please," she replies.

Neither her voice nor others heard on the call are identified.

"I have a small pulse. I have a small pulse," a man says urgently at one point.

"I need an oxygen machine here. Like now," he adds.

"Ok. They're coming as fast as they can," the dispatcher replies as he continues to give instructions.

"Come on, Emmy. Come on baby girl," the woman pleads.

As the minutes tick off, the man swears as he asks where the ambulance is.

"They're on their way. They've been on their way for several minutes. Ok? They're just about there, they' right there on the street," he says shortly before emergency sirens are heard.

Paramedics continued to try to revive the girl as they rushed her to the hospital, said Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority, which released the 911 call.

There have been 13 drownings in Orange County so far this year, according to statistics released Tuesday by the agency. Three involved children under 5 while other victims were 15 or older.

The fire authority reposted its rules for staying safe in the water on its Facebook page Tuesday. Among them are always having adult supervision at pools where children are present, keeping pools behind a barricade that includes a locked gate and knowing CPR.

Categories: EMS

The National Registry of EMTs Appoints Bill Seifarth as New Executive Director

JEMS - News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 18:19

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The National Registry of EMTs (National Registry) and its Board of Directors today announced Bill Seifarth as the organization’s new executive director. An industry veteran, Seifarth brings more than 20 years of experience to the position, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS) leadership at both the State and Federal levels, along with a background of managing several comprehensive certification programs.

“Bill truly has a unique combination of experience and talent, making him the ideal individual to serve as the National Registry’s fifth executive director,” said Dr. Robert Swor, chair of the National Registry Board of Directors. “We are pleased to welcome Bill and look forward to having someone with his passion, genial temperament, and knowledge to help further our goal of providing National Registry Certification for every EMS provider in the country.”

Seifarth will assume full executive director responsibilities on August 24 as Drew Dawson completes his exceptional service leading the National Registry as interim executive director. Over the next few months, Dawson and Seifarth will work closely together to ensure a seamless transition of leadership for the organization.

“I have long admired Bill’s professionalism, work ethic and knowledge of EMS,” said Dawson, “and I cannot think of anyone better suited for leading the National Registry’s mission alongside the Board of Directors. I am confident leaving this fine organization in his capable hands.”

A Nationally Registered paramedic, Seifarth’s two decades of career experience includes numerous executive leadership positions across EMS and healthcare. Most recently, he oversaw certifications for two different councils of sonographers and physicians at Inteleos, a global, non-profit healthcare certification organization. Prior to this, he held multiple management roles in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Health Affairs, helping to systematize its complex EMS system.

Categories: EMS

Pulsara Expands to Provide A Comprehensive Communication Solution for Entire Regions

JEMS - News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 17:05

BOZEMAN, MT — June 4, 2018 — Recently, Pulsara announced the latest version of the Platform, which includes real-time consultation between specialists, transfer functionality, and streaming video. With these added features, Pulsara is continuing down the path of helping our partners improve patient outcomes and minimize medical errors due to miscommunication.

“This iteration of Pulsara is a turning point for the company,” said James Woodson, Board Certified Emergency Physician and CEO of Pulsara. “Simplifying the jobs of clinicians and allowing for increased efficiency and optimized patient care has always been Pulsara’s goal. With the added features of Consult/Transfer and live Video we hope to streamline the communication process even further.”

Early versions of the transfer feature shaved an average of 60 minutes off of facility transfer times. With this enhanced product, Pulsara provides total transparency across entities, allowing the whole regional team to be on the same page. This vastly improves speed of sending and accepting transfers, resulting in faster time to treatment.

“The fundamental power of the Pulsara platform enables massive improvements for transferred patients by sharing limited patient data across healthcare entities and providing an ability to easily and quickly alert people and teams within a region of a transfer,” said Erich Hannan, Chief Technology Officer. “This provides total transparency to all team members regarding which people and teams have responded and acknowledged the patient.

Pulsara is the only COMPLETE communication tool - no need for multiple products that specialize in communicating during just one portion of the patient journey.

“Pulsara is focused on streamlining the communication process throughout the entire patient journey. Prehospital alerting to the emergency department is critical, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle,” Said Kris Kaull, Critical Care Flight Paramedic and Chief Marketing Officer. “To build an entire system, the product needs to cross traditional barriers and include multiple EMS agencies and multiple facilities in the region.”

Categories: EMS

4 Tenn. Paramedics Possibly Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide

JEMS - News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:16

MANCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — Four paramedics working at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival have been hospitalized for possible carbon monoxide poisoning.

Coffee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lucky Knott tells news outlets it appears the exhaust of a generator used to power the recreational vehicle they were staying in was blocked. One of the paramedics woke up Monday and was able to get help.

Three were airlifted to hospitals, while the fourth was taken to an area hospital. Their names and conditions haven't been released.

Knott says the paramedics are not employed by Coffee County's emergency medical services.

The sheriff's office says at least 37 Bonnaroo attendees had been hospitalized as of Monday morning. The festival recorded a fatality on its second day, when 32-year-old Michael Donivan Craddock Jr. was found dead in his car.

Photo WSMV

Categories: EMS

Puerto Rico Issues New Data on Hurricane Maria Deaths

EMS-1 Major Incidents - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 00:49

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Eight days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Efrain Perez felt a pain in his chest.

Doctors near his small town sent him to Puerto Rico's main hospital for emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm. But when the ambulance pulled into the parking lot in the capital, San Juan, after a more than two-hour drive, a doctor ran out to stop it.

"He said, 'Don't bring him in here, I can't care for him. I don't have power. I don't have water. I don't have an anesthesiologist,'" Perez's daughter, Nerybelle, recalled.

The 95-year-old Perez died as the ambulance drove him back to southwestern Puerto Rico but he is not included in the island's official hurricane death toll of 64 people, a figure at the center of a growing legal and political fight over the response to the Category 4 storm that hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.

Facing at least three lawsuits demanding more data on the death toll, Puerto Rico's government released new information on Tuesday that added detail to the growing consensus that hundreds or even thousands of people died as an indirect result of the storm.

According to the new data, there were 1,427 more deaths from September to December 2017 than the average for the same time period over the previous four years. Additionally, September and October had the highest number of deaths of any months since at least 2013. But the statistics don't indicate whether the storm and its aftermath contributed to the additional deaths.

The Puerto Rican government says it believes more than 64 people died as a result of the storm but it will not raise its official toll until George Washington University completes a study of the data being carried out on behalf of the U.S. territory.

The issue is clouded by the fact that the federal government and U.S. states and territories have no uniform definition of what constitutes a storm-related death. The National Hurricane Center counts only deaths directly caused by a storm, like a person killed by a falling tree. It does not count indirect deaths, like someone whose medical equipment fails in a blackout.

Categories: EMS

Puerto Rico Issues New Data on Hurricane Maria Deaths

JEMS - News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 00:49

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Eight days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Efrain Perez felt a pain in his chest.

Doctors near his small town sent him to Puerto Rico's main hospital for emergency surgery for an aortic aneurysm. But when the ambulance pulled into the parking lot in the capital, San Juan, after a more than two-hour drive, a doctor ran out to stop it.

"He said, 'Don't bring him in here, I can't care for him. I don't have power. I don't have water. I don't have an anesthesiologist,'" Perez's daughter, Nerybelle, recalled.

The 95-year-old Perez died as the ambulance drove him back to southwestern Puerto Rico but he is not included in the island's official hurricane death toll of 64 people, a figure at the center of a growing legal and political fight over the response to the Category 4 storm that hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017.

Facing at least three lawsuits demanding more data on the death toll, Puerto Rico's government released new information on Tuesday that added detail to the growing consensus that hundreds or even thousands of people died as an indirect result of the storm.

According to the new data, there were 1,427 more deaths from September to December 2017 than the average for the same time period over the previous four years. Additionally, September and October had the highest number of deaths of any months since at least 2013. But the statistics don't indicate whether the storm and its aftermath contributed to the additional deaths.

The Puerto Rican government says it believes more than 64 people died as a result of the storm but it will not raise its official toll until George Washington University completes a study of the data being carried out on behalf of the U.S. territory.

The issue is clouded by the fact that the federal government and U.S. states and territories have no uniform definition of what constitutes a storm-related death. The National Hurricane Center counts only deaths directly caused by a storm, like a person killed by a falling tree. It does not count indirect deaths, like someone whose medical equipment fails in a blackout.

Categories: EMS

Shoals Ambulance Hires Tommy Widmer as General Manager of Alabama

JEMS - News - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:18

Shoals Ambulance today announced that Tommy Widmer has joined the company as general manager of Alabama overseeing operations in Northwest Alabama and the greater Birmingham area.

“Tommy has strong entrepreneurial roots that will match well with our company’s growth model,” said MidSouth Regional President Bobby Peardon. “Shoals Ambulance’s employees, customers and patients will benefit from his experience in growing an ambulance company from scratch by developing strong, trusted relationships and anticipating and exceeding community needs. Under his leadership, I am confident that Shoals Ambulance will continue to serve with excellence and be well-positioned to extend that service to additional communities and customers.”

An EMS entrepreneur, Widmer founded Rapid Response EMS in 2004 in the Detroit Metro area. He grew the company from one ambulance and less than 15 employees to a nationally-accredited company with a fleet of more than 50 vehicles and 250 EMS personnel.

Through his skill at developing lasting relationships, Widmer secured contracts with municipalities, hospitals and health care facilities throughout the metro area. One example of innovative partnerships is the creation of Pulse EMS in 2012. Pulse EMS was his second ambulance startup in collaboration with Garden City Hospital. Through the new hospital-based service, Pulse EMS provides BLS, ALS and critical care transport designed to take patient transports to the next level with improved efficiency and effectiveness to the community.

In 2015, Widmer sold the company to Falck USA and continued to serve as CEO of Rapid Response and Pulse EMS. Widmer has family roots in Alabama, and in 2018, he decided to move south and joins the Priority Ambulance family of companies heading its Shoals Ambulance operations in Northwest and Central Alabama.

“I feel blessed, excited and honored to be joining the talented team locally at Shoals Ambulance and throughout the Priority Ambulance family of companies,” said Widmer. “I am looking toward a promising future, continuing to build on the firm foundation started by the strong people in Alabama.”

Categories: EMS

WHO Reports 'Strong progress' in Calming Congo Ebola Outbreak

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 20:25

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — "Strong progress" has been made in calming Congo's deadly Ebola outbreak in a city of 1.2 million and in the rural outpost where the epidemic was declared one month ago, the World Health Organization said Friday, but now the focus turns to "some of the most remote territory on Earth."

Health officials expressed cautious optimism as the pace of new cases has slowed. Congo's health ministry late Thursday announced a new confirmed Ebola case, bringing the total to 38, including 13 deaths.

The new case is in the remote Iboko health zone in Congo's northwest. Health workers also have been chasing contacts of those infected in Mbandaka city, a provincial capital on the heavily traveled Congo River, and in Bikoro town where the outbreak was declared.

While Ebola's spread to a major city has complicated efforts to track all contacts of those infected, the presence of the virus in Iboko poses another world of problems.

The forested terrain is so rough that even four-wheel-drive vehicles can't reach the area, which has no electricity, WHO's emergency response chief Peter Salama told reporters in Geneva. Motorcycles are only now arriving and health workers are sleeping 15 to 20 people to a tent.

"This is a major logistical and boots-on-the-ground epidemiological endeavor now," Salama said, adding that work there will go on for weeks.

WHO has vaccinated more than 1,000 people over the past two weeks in all areas of the outbreak, including health workers who are at high risk. The virus spreads via bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead.

"There's been very strong progress in the outbreak response, particularly in relation to two of three sites," Salama said. "Phase one, to protect urban centers and towns, has gone well and we can be cautiously optimistic."

He warned, however, that experts are not in a position to document all chains of transmission of the virus, so "there may still yet be unknown chains out there and there may still be surprises in this outbreak."

Categories: EMS

Flu Season Was One of the Deadliest for U.S. Children

JEMS - News - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 12:35

NEW YORK (AP) — Flu killed more U.S. children in the past year than during any other regular flu season in recent history.

Health officials on Friday said they've received reports of 172 pediatric flu deaths since October. An average season sees about 110.

There were more deaths in 2009-2010, when a rare flu pandemic occurred involving a new strain. More than 300 children died that season.

The past flu season wasn't a pandemic, but it was an unusually long and intense one. It was driven by a kind of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths, particularly young children and the elderly.

Making a bad year worse, the flu vaccine didn't work very well.

Categories: EMS

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