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.

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

CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

SEPTEMBER AWARENESS – MALARIA AND MENINGOCOCCAL SEASON

Spring is in the air…but that’s not all.  The change in season brings with it the dawn of the malaria and meningococcal season

Malaria

The winter season is finally behind us and we look forward to sunny days and warmer nights.  During the spring and summer season, many people spend more time travelling outdoors.  Important to note is the dawn of the malaria season as well.  Malaria is a deadly disease; each year otherwise healthy travellers die from malaria because of missed diagnosis, delays in treatment, or incorrect treatment. Malaria is particularly serious in young children and pregnant women, and both these groups should be discouraged from travelling to high risk areas. The diagnosis and treatment of malaria constitute a medical emergency. The malaria risk map is an essential guide for practitioners to refer patients on the recommendation for chemoprophylactic and/or non-chemoprophylactic measures.  You can view the updated malaria risk map as well as preventable measures on the following link: http://www.amayeza-info.co.za/?page_id=496

 

Meningococcal disease

In South Africa, meningococcal disease is endemic  and cases occur year-round, but with seasonal  peaks in winter and early spring.  The meningococcal season  is upon us and an  increase in cases may be expected this year.  Doctors and healthcare professionals should have a high index of suspicion for meningococcal disease in patients who present with  an acute febrile illness and nonspecific early signs  and symptoms.  The disease typically has a rapid  progression and should be managed as a medical  emergency in order to reduce morbidity and  mortality.  The sooner the treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery without serious complications.

Signs of meningococcal meningitis:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiffness of the neck and/or legs
  • Drowsiness and tiredness
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Eyes sensitive to light
  • Confusion, or difficulty to concentrate
  • Skin rash
  • Seizures (common in children)

All cases of suspected and/or confirmed  meningococcal disease (meningitis and sepsis) should be notified telephonically to the Department of Health within 24 hours.

 

 

 

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

  1. About Ebola hemorrhagic Fever. CDC [homepage on the internet]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html.
  2. Ebola Virus Disease: Frequently asked Questions. National Institute for communicable diseases. Available from: http://www.nicd.ac.za/?page=alerts&id=5&rid=359
  3. National health services. Available from www.travax.co.za
  4. 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

Vaccination schedule for South Africa

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: 10 September 2014

 

 

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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