Date: Wed, 27 Mar 2019 16:01:47 +0100

Tehran, March 27, 2019 (AFP) - President Hassan Rouhani travelled to flood-hit zones of Iran for the first time Wednesday after nine days of heavy rains that have inundated most of the country and killed 43 people.   The authorities have been struggling to cope with flooding since March 19 following extreme rainfall which at times was equivalent to half of the average annual levels within 24 hours.   The disaster, which one government minister blamed on climate change, struck in the middle of Iranian New Year break, with many relief workers away on leave and millions of holidaymakers the roads.   "When suddenly 25 out of 31, and on some days all provinces are struck (by flooding), this may be an unprecedented phenomenon," Rouhani said in Tehran, quoted by the government's website.

Rouhani then flew to the northeastern province of Golestan where the floods first struck on March 19 and have since killed at least 10 people, according to the latest official death tolls.   Speaking at a crisis management meeting in Golestan aired live on state television, Rouhani responded to criticsm that he was late to visit the disaster-hit zone.   "I had planned to come in the first days, but ultimately due to considerations it was decided the first vice-president would travel here," he said.   The deluge spread rapidly from the north to the west and south of the country on March 25 before hitting the centre of Iran as the weather front moved eastwards.

- Day of mourning -
A day of mourning has been declared for Thursday in the southern city of Shiraz, the worst-hit area where the flooding claimed the lives of 19 people and injured more than 100.   The latest toll included six people who drowned when a boat full of rescuers and victims overturned in the northeastern Gomishan region in Golestan province.   "Another body has been found but we have not yet recovered it," local emergency services head Alireza Kamalgharibi said, adding that search and rescue operations would continue as it was unclear how many people had been on board the boat.

Another four people were killed in the western provinces of Kogiluyeh-Va-Boyerahmad and Lorestan, said Morteza Salimi, head of the Iranian Red Crescent's search and rescue organisation.   One death was also reported in each of Khuzestan, Kermanshah and Semnan provinces.   "More than 43,000 people were rescued and nearly 27,000 were provided with emergency accommodation," Salimi said, quoted by Tasnim news agency, adding rescue operations had been carried out in 30 provinces.   Officials estimate the flooding caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to homes, farms and infrastructure.   The authorities have sent out emergency warnings to the public on mobile phones while state television has aired safety tips, including on how to leave cars stuck in floods.

In Tehran, sandbags have been placed at the entrances to underground stations while in Isfahan people were evacuated over fears the banks of the Zayandeh Rood river would burst.   The skies have mostly cleared up for now but Iran's meteorological service has warned of more heavy showers from Saturday.   Such a widespread flood threat is unprecedented in arid Iran, which until 2018 was dealing with decades of drought.   "Climate change is forcing itself on our country," Energy Minister Reza Ardekanian, who is in charge of dams and water supply, said on Monday.   "These unprecedented floods in our country are because of climate change worldwide," he added.
Date: Sun 4 Nov 2018
Source: Tehran Times [edited]
<https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/429225/WHO-lauds-Iran-for-nearing-total-eradiction-of-malaria>

Dr Pedro L Alonso, director of WHO Global Malaria Programme applauded Iran's remarkable development in elimination of malaria in his meeting with the Iranian deputy health minister Alireza Raeisi.

The 2 met on the sidelines of the 1st WHO Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health on [30 Oct-1 Nov 2018] in Geneva, ISNA [Iranian Students' News Agency] reported on [Fri 2 Nov 2018].

According to WHO 2017 malaria report, Alonso said, the incidence rate of malaria in Iran has decreased significantly from 12 000 people in 2000 to 57 in 2017.

The Iranian official said that malaria is mainly transmitted from other countries, especially Pakistan.

Getting close to total elimination of malaria and substantial reduction in tuberculosis, he added, are among the outcomes of healthcare reform plan, which has led to major improvements in health condition in Iran.

The 2 officials also discussed setting up a 3-party committee between Iran, Pakistan, and WHO to prevent malaria from being transmitted into Iran and to control the disease's dissemination.

According to the World Malaria Report 2017, Iran is targeting elimination by 2020. Trends in Iran have declined from 1847 to 81 cases between 2010 and 2016. The report presents a comprehensive state of play in global progress in the fight against malaria.
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[The 2017 WHO World Malaria Report can be found at <https://www.who.int/malaria/publications/world-malaria-report-2017/report/en/>. It is indeed an important achievement, but as pointed out, continuous introduction of new cases from Pakistan is a challenge and may result in limited local transmission. - ProMED Mod.EP]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of Iran:
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/128>]
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 14:14:31 +0100

Tehran, Oct 29, 2018 (AFP) - Iran's health ministry said Monday a total of 84 people have died and nearly 1,000 been poisoned from consuming bootleg alcohol over the past six weeks, ISNA news agency reported.   Despite tough penalties against alcohol consumption since the Islamic revolution of 1979, the use of smuggled or bootleg liquor remains widespread.

Multiple cases of poisoning by a deadly batch of moonshine were first reported in late September and have spread across the country.    Iraj Harirchi, spokesman for the health ministry, said 959 people had been treated for poisoning, describing the wave of cases as "very unusual", according to the semi-official agency ISNA.   As well as 84 deaths, 305 have been treated for kidney damage and 27 suffered eye damage, he added.

Harirchi said the main cause was the use of toxic methanol in place of the ethanol found in properly distilled spirits.   "Some have been arrested in this regard and people should know that even alcohol packed and sealed in foreign packages can easily be fake," Harirchi said.   The most poisoning cases were reported in Alborz province north of Tehran and Hormozgan on the south coast.   Only members of state-recognised religious minorities have the right to produce or purchase alcoholic drinks in Iran.   Those who break Iran's alcohol laws can be fined, lashed or jailed, but bootleg liquor is widely available through illegal dealers.
Date: Thu 11 Oct 2018
Source: Tehran Times [summ., edited]
<https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/428356/Rabies-incurs-42m-on-Iran-each-year>

Rabies, an infectious viral disease spread to people through animal bites, imposes a health economic burden amounting to IRR 1.8 trillion (about USD 42 million) on the country annually, head of zoonotic diseases department at the Ministry of Health has said.

Zoonotic means infectious diseases that are spread between animals and people.  "Over the past year, more than 180 000 individuals have suffered a significant animal bite throughout the country," ISNA quoted Behzad Amiri as saying.

Bites by stray dogs accounted for 90 percent of the cases reported last year, and 40 percent of individuals bitten were children under 15 years, Amiri lamented. "Despite the high number of animal bites, the number of people infected by rabies or deaths related to the disease in the country is less than 10 persons per year. Of course, even less than 10 cases are unacceptable, and we will work along with the World Health Organization to zero the human rabies caused by dog biting by the end of 2030," he added.

There are more than 700 rabies treatment-and-prevention centres in the country, Amiri said, adding, if a person has been bitten by an animal, he or she will refer to these centres and undergo preventive measures, which is why the rate of rabies in the country is very low.

Amiri further explained that plans are being implemented in the country to prevent the disease; when a person refers to a treatment center due to an animal's bite, the person will receive an anti-rabies vaccine; in cases of the animal not being available, we are obliged to complete the vaccination cycle (4 doses of vaccine and anti-rabies serum) for the individual.

"The total cost incurred for both anti-rabies vaccine and anti-rabies serum is reported to be about IRR 10 million (nearly USD 240) per patient, and with 180 000 people bitten by infected animals last year [2017], it cost us some IRR 1.8 trillion (about USD 42 million) for treatment of the patients," he explained, adding that vaccination and equine rabies immunoglobulin are free of charge in Iran.

Amiri went on to note that to eradicate rabies in the country, a stray dog's bites must be avoided, adding, in this regard, a legislation or act to control stray dog's population is required.

In the past, wild or domestic animal bites were more likely to occur in rural areas, but this is already happening in the cities due to the growing population of stray dogs in urban areas, he concluded.
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[The theme of the recent World Rabies Day, 28 Sep 2018, was "Rabies: Share the message. Save a life." It focused on rabies endemic countries to increase community awareness of the disease and its prevention. The above posting, and in particular the items from Malawi and Vietnam, illuminate the difficulties on the road to achieving the set goal of global canine rabies eradication by 2030. - ProMED Mod.AS]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail maps:
Malawi: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/176>
Israel: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/90>
Vietnam: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/152>
Iran: <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/128>]
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2018 14:40:27 +0200

Tehran, Sept 29, 2018 (AFP) - At least 22 people have died in Iran in three separate incidents of poisoning by adulterated bootleg alcohol, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Saturday.   Despite tough penalties in force for alcohol consumption since the Islamic revolution of 1979, the consumption of smuggled or bootleg liquor remains widespread.    Cheap moonshine is sometimes adulterated with toxic methanol in place of ethanol, the alcohol found in properly distilled spirits.

The largest number of deaths was reported in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, where 16 people died according to ISNA.   "The number of people hospitalised due to alcohol poisoning has reached 168 so far," it quoted provincial medical school spokeswoman Fatemeh Norouzian as saying.    "Sixteen of them unfortunately lost their lives and eight are in critical condition."   Bandar Abbas police chief, Esmail Mashayekh, told ISNA that a married couple had been arrested on suspicion of producing the liquor while the suspected distributor was also detained.

ISNA reported three deaths in a separate incident in the northern province of Alborz.   "Twenty-five people have been poisoned in the last 72 hours, three of whom have already died," it quoted provincial emergency medical services chief Mehrdad Babayi as saying.   Babayi said 17 people remained in hospital, some of whom were not out of danger.

In North Khorasan province in the northeast, 25 people were treated for poisoning in the past 10 days of whom three died, police chief Alireza Mazaheri told the official IRNA news agency.   Khorasan police raided an underground distillery suspected of producing the adulterated liquor and made 31 arrests on Friday night, IRNA reported.   Those who break Iran's alcohol laws can be fined, lashed or jailed.    Only members of state-recognised religious minorities have the right to produce or purchase alcoholic drinks.
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