Welcome to Amayeza Information Centre

We are an independant medicine information centre that aims to provide reliable, accurate, objective, and up-to-date information on medicine to pharmacists and other health care professionals across South Africa.

The word “Amayeza” means “Medicine” in the Xhosa language.

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Important notice:
Please take note that our drug information service is only available to subscribers to Amayeza.  This has been in effect from 1st April 2013.  In order to benefit from our medicine information service, you will need to subscribe to us.

For more information regarding subscribing to Amayeza, click here Alternatively, you may contact us on 011 475 2994 for further information.  Kindly take note of our new contact details

RABIES ALERT 

Two cases of human rabies cases in KwaZulu-Natal Province and Limpopo Province respectively, have been confirmed this year. In  South  Africa  (as  in  the  rest  of  Africa),  infected  dogs  are  the  major  source  of  human  rabies  cases.

Although Gauteng Province is supposed to be a rabies non-endemic area, in the week of 20 April 2015, rabies was laboratory confirmed as the cause of  illness in a dog resident  in  Helderkruin    (Roodepoort    area), Gauteng  Province.  To date, there has been another report of rabies in a dog in Mindalore, a suburb in Krugersdorp.

Animal  rabies  vaccination  campaigns  in  and  around  the  Roodepoort  area  are  ongoing  and  pet owners are encouraged to take their pets to the  nearest  veterinary  clinic  to  ensure  that  they  are  vaccinated    accordingly.  It is very important for pet-owners to ensure their dogs are fully vaccinated against rabies. Control  of  rabies  in  dogs  is  therefore  a  critical  intervention  in  preventing rabies  in  humans, and  vaccination  of  dogs  is  more  cost effective  overall compared to other preventive   interventions.

Reference: The National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

2015 – Flu season

The ‘flu season is almost upon us. The influenza vaccine has been made available in the past week. This is later than in previous years where influenza vaccine has been available from health facilities and pharmacies as early as March. The reason for the delay in influenza vaccine availability is as follows. There has been change (drift) in influenza viruses circulating during the 2014 influenza season, therefore the influenza strains included in the 2015/2016 influenza vaccines had to be changed from the strains used in previous years. This change in strains has resulted in delays in manufacturing and quality control of the 2015 southern hemisphere vaccine globally. This has led to a delay in delivery and availability of the vaccine.

The delay in vaccine availability does not mean that it will be too late to give the vaccine. It does mean however, that once vaccine is available, health workers are should alert their patients of vaccine availability and encourage them to come in for vaccination.
Groups recommended for influenza vaccination include:

  1. Pregnant women irrespective of stage of pregnancy, or postpartum (within 2 weeks after delivery)
  2. Persons (adults or children) who are at high risk for influenza and its complications because of underlying medical conditions and who are receiving regular medical care for conditions such as chronic pulmonary (including tuberculosis) and cardiac diseases, chronic renal diseases, diabetes mellitus and similar metabolic disorders, individuals who are immunosuppressed (including HIV infected persons with CD4 counts >100 cells/μl), and individuals who are morbidly obese (body mass index ≥40 kg/m2)
  3. Healthcare workers
  4. Residents of old-age homes and chronic care and rehabilitation institutions
  5. Persons over the age of 65 years
  6. Children aged 6 months – 59 months
  7. Persons aged 6 months to ≤18 years on long-term aspirin therapy
  8. Adults and children who are family contacts of high-risk cases
  9. Any persons wishing to minimise the risk of influenza acquisition, especially in industrial settings, where large-scale absenteeism could cause significant economic losses.

It is important to remember that it takes about two weeks from time of vaccination for a protective antibody response to develop, therefore individuals for whom influenza vaccination is recommended should be encouraged to access the vaccine as soon as it is available.

Reference: The National Institute for Communicable Disease

EBOLA OUTBREAK – USEFUL INFORMATION

Ebola Virus Disease PDF Download
Ebola virus disease Previously known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.Caused by a virus (filovirus).The disease is severe and often fatal in humans and primates (such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees).
Outbreaks Sporadic outbreaks have occurred since 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Congo and Gabon.Current (2014) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
Transmission Spread via direct contact with contaminated blood or secretions of an infected person or animal (dead or alive), and indirectly via contact with objects (such as needles, clothing and bedding) contaminated with infectious secretions.Does not spread through the air and cannot be transmitted by mosquitoes.
High risk groups Healthcare workers, family members or friends in close contact with infected people.Hunters/other persons who may come into contact with infected animals.
Incubation period Symptoms start 2 to 21 days (average 8-10 days) after exposure.
Symptoms Fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, weakness, headache, joint and muscle aches, rash, sore throat, chest pains, red eyes, hiccups, difficulty in breathing and swallowing, impaired kidney and liver function as well as bleeding inside and outside of the body.
Treatment Treatment is typically supportive
Prevention There is no vaccine available to prevent the disease
Travellers Travellers to endemic areas, under normal circumstances, are at low risk but they should adhere to preventative measures and seek medical attention if any related symptoms appear and mention their travel history to the doctor before the consultation.
Preventative measures During an outbreak, strict measures must be taken to prevent the disease from spreading, especially in high risk groups:

  • Isolate Ebola patients from contact with unprotected persons.
  • Avoid contact with blood or other bodily secretions from an infected person or animal (dead or alive).
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing when in contact with an infected person or animal.
  • Avoid contact with objects (needles, syringes, other instruments, soiled clothing or bedding) that may be contaminated.
  • Sterilise and disinfect all equipment.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and clean water.
  • Adhere to safe water and food practices – cook animal products thoroughly and avoid eating raw meat (‘bush meat”) from infected animals.
  • Avoid having unprotected sexual intercourse with patients for up to seven weeks after they have recovered from the disease.
  • Bury people who died from Ebola promptly and safely.
  • Samples taken from suspected human or animal cases should be handled by trained laboratory staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories under maximum biological containment conditions.

References

About Ebola hemorrhagic Fever. CDC [homepage on the internet]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html.

  1. Ebola Virus Disease: Frequently asked Questions. National Institute for communicable diseases. Available from: http://www.nicd.ac.za/?page=alerts&id=5&rid=359
  2. National health services. Available from www.travax.co.za
  3. Ebola virus disease. WHO. Fact sheep No 103. Last updated April 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Useful links:

Health_Awareness_Days_2015

Please click on the link below to view and download the 2015 Childhood immunisation schedule:

2015 Vaccine Schedule PDF

Disease Notification System

South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) Publications:

The following two publications related to travel medicines and vaccines are available via the SASTM website.

Beyond Childhood Vaccination

http://www.sastm.org.za/sastm_publication.php?id=34

A Guide to the Practice of Travel Medicine

http://www.sastm.org.za/sastm_publication.php?id=32

Last updated: 4 June 2015

 

 

Data Privacy Statement

Amayeza Information Services stores any personal information to enable us to address the enquiry, or other such matters that have been raised, and to document our response.  The information will be retained in a secure server and will only be used for this purpose, unless required for legal proceedings.  If reporting an adverse event, the information provided will be used in order to meet regulatory requirements in relation to the safety of medicines.  In accordance with applicable law, you may have a right to access and correct your information.  If you would prefer that Amayeza does not store your personal data, please let us know.

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