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Response Guidelines on Immunization

Equine Encephelitis in the Event of Disasters

Equine encephalitides are viral zoonoses that occur episodically and cause outbreaks in equines and, less frequently, in humans. The ethiological agents are viruses belonging to the genus Alphavirus in the Togaviridae family. Infection is maintained in natural foci between wild reservoirs anD mosquitoes.  Three viruses are important: Western equine (WEE), eastern equine (EEE) and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis (VEE).  A fourth member, Higlands J virus, occurs in the eastern United States, primarily in Florida.

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Prevention of Measles Outbreaks Among Displaced Persons

Despite the great progress made in the Americas in reducing measles incidence, measles continues to circulate in certain parts of the Americas and in most other countries of the world. The recent public health emergency in Central America has resulted in many displaced persons, especially in Honduras and Nicaragua.

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Safe Handling of Single-Use Syringes

Most immunization programs in the Region use single-use disposable plastic syringes for administering vaccinations. During natural disasters, such as the one caused by "Mitch", all health personal (international volunteers and national staff) should make sure that PAHO/WHO guidelines are followed to assure safe use of disposable injection equipment and that the proper equipment for collection and disposal of contaminated syringes and needles is available. This is especially true when the standard operating procedures cannot be followed because either the collection of medical waste has been disrupted or the facilities for properly destroying used syringes are not available. PAHO/WHO recommends the following guidelines:

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