News Pouch: 13 October 2019
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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies
News Pouch: 13 October 2019
Welcome to this issue of the newsletter where we highlight key latest news and literature relevant to health emergencies preparedness and response research and policy, tagged by thematic area.
We appreciate receiving your reports, articles and studies to share widely within our network. Please contact Chadia Wannous via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you useful reading!
- Spotlight: Ebola Outbreak Situation
Updates and News on Outbreaks
Priority Infectious Diseases
- VBD, and more
- Priority Infectious Diseases
- Biodiversity and ecosystem
- Food Security and Safety
- Health in Emergencies and Disasters
- Health and Climate Change
- Urban Health
- Migration Health
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External Situation Report 62: 08 October 2019
As of 4 October 2019, 1000 people have survived EVD in this outbreak. Of the approximately 1555 confirmed cases admitted to Ebola treatment centers, 1000 of them, or nearly two thirds, have survived. The reintegration of survivors into community can create opportunities to discuss their experiences and strengthen the participation of local communities in the response. Many survivors are working within the response, and are an important part of caring for the sick and reaching out to communities. A programme is in place to monitor survivor health and support them in the year after they leave care.
Under Pillar 1 of the Strategic Response Plan, the estimated funding requirement for all partners for the period July to December 2019 is US$ 287 million, including US$ 120-140 million for WHO. As of 8 October 2019, US$ 60.4 million has been received by WHO, with additional funds committed or pledged. Further resources are needed to fund the response through to December 2019 and into Q1 2020.
Under Pillar 5 Regional Preparedness, the funding requirement for all partners is US$ 66 milllion, of which WHO requires US$ 21 million. As of 8 October 2019, WHO has received US$ 1.6 million. While some additional pledges are in the pipeline, increased funding for preparedness in neighbouring countries is urgently needed. WHO is appealing to donors to provide generous support. A summary of funding received by WHO since the start of this outbreak can be found here.
click here to download the complete situation report (PDF).
WHO: Ebola outbreak 'back to where it began'
Only 27 health zones are now reporting cases, down from 207 during the peak of the outbreak.
WHO notes Ebola shift to rural areas, posing new challenges
Also, global health officials note tha
t 1,000 people in the DRC have now recovered from the disease.
UN highlights milestone of 1,000 Ebola survivors in DR Congo amid complex environment of conflict and mistrust
One thousand people have survived the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC): a testament to the strong leadership of the Congolese health authorities combined with the tireless efforts of thousands of local health workers and partners, United Nations agencies said on Friday.
Ebola in Tanzania? A question on global governance for infectious diseases
Last week, the U.S. government warned travelers of “probable Ebola” in Tanzania, even as the Tanzanian government and the World Health Organization engage in discussion after the latter’s public accusation of the government’s refusal to share information on suspected Ebola cases in the country.
Response resumes following security problems in DRC Ebola hot spot
Also, tomorrow the WHO's Ebola emergency committee will meet to discuss the latest outbreak developments.
For second day in a row, only 1 new Ebola case recorded in DRC
Today the World Health Organization's (WHO's) online Ebola dashboard shows 1 new case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which raises the outbreak total to 3,206 cases, including 2,143 deaths. A total of 441 suspected cases are still under investigation
WHO Ebola dashboard
Oct 7 CMRE report
Oct 7 WHO African regional office update
Evaluation of Infection Prevention and Control Readiness at Frontline Health Care Facilities in High-Risk Districts Bordering Ebola Virus Disease–Affected Areas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — Uganda, 2018
The 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak demonstrated the importance of strengthening infection prevention and control (IPC) capacity at frontline health care facilities to prevent health care–associated transmission.
IPC assessments were performed in four frontline health care facilities in Uganda shortly after an Ebola outbreak in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo was recognized. Recommendations were made to address identified gaps in screening, isolation, and notification practices. Ebola preparedness should include a focus on ensuring that general health care facilities have the capacity to rapidly identify suspected Ebola cases and refer patients for treatment to protect patients, staff members, and visitors.
Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility: struggling to deliver on its innovative promise
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa in 2014-16 exposed many flaws in the global response to infectious disease.12 In particular, it highlighted the gap between countries’ commitments for outbreak preparedness, detection, and response, as required under the International Health Regulations, and their actual ability to respond when needed.
FDA allows marketing of first rapid diagnostic test for detecting Ebola virus antigens Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allowed marketing of a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) to detect Ebola virus antigens (proteins) in human blood from certain living individuals and samples from certain recently deceased individuals suspected to have died from Ebola (cadaveric oral fluid).
Researchers decode the immune response to Ebola vaccine
Following the dramatic Ebola epidemic in West Africa from 2013 to 2016, viral infections have spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 2018. Since then, more than 2,100 deaths have been reported and the number of victims and new infections increases daily. To contain the epidemic, the recombinant vaccine rVSV-ZEBOV is used. This vaccine combines attenuated vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSV) with the envelope protein of the Zaire Ebolavirus (ZEBOV).
Increases and decreases in marine disease reports in an era of global change
Outbreaks of marine infectious diseases have caused widespread mass mortalities, but the lack of baseline data has precluded evaluating whether disease is increasing or decreasing in the ocean. We use an established literature proxy method from Ward and Lafferty to analyse a 44-year global record of normalized disease reports from 1970 to 2013.
Two studies demonstrate flu vaccine protection against serious outcomes
Two studies presented today at IDWeek in Washington, DC, demonstrate good protection for the flu vaccine against hospitalization for influenza and other serious outcomes, including death.
Oct 4 IDWeek abstract of pediatric study
Oct 4 IDWeek abstract of adult study
Oct 4 IDWeek news release
Anti-influenza immune plasma for the treatment of patients with severe influenza A: a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 trial
Infection with influenza virus causes substantial morbidity and mortality globally, although antiviral treatments are available. Previous studies have suggested that anti-influenza immune plasma could be beneficial as treatment, but they were not designed as randomised, blinded, placebo-controlled trials. Therefore, we aimed to prospectively evaluate the clinical efficacy of high-titre immune plasma compared with standard low-titre plasma to improve outcomes in patients with severe influenza A infection.
CDC counters worries about off-target flu vaccine
Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)
A systematic review and evaluation of Zika virus forecasting and prediction research during a public health emergency of international concern
Epidemic forecasting and prediction tools have the potential to provide actionable information in the midst of emerging epidemics. While numerous predictive studies were published during the 2016–2017 Zika Virus (ZIKV) pandemic, it remains unknown how timely, reproducible, and actionable the information produced by these studies was.
Zika known for abnormal small heads ‘found in Africa’
It is the first time Zika linked to abnormal heads of newborns has been found in Africa.
Zika Virus Infection — After the Pandemic
Zika virus (ZIKV) was discovered in Africa in 1947 and was first detected in Asia in 1966, yet its potential effect on public health was not recognized until the virus caused outbreaks in the Pacific from 2007 to 2015 and began spreading throughout the Americas in 2015.
Malaria mosquitoes travel long-distance
Mosquitoes capable of carrying the malaria parasite can travel hundreds of kilometres a night by hitching a ride on the wind. Researchers in the Sahel region of Africa used sticky nets raised on helium balloons to capture mosquitoes flying as high as 290 metres above the ground. Travelling at that height means that the insects could be borne by the breeze up to 296 kilometres a night — much fartherway more than had been believed. The finding reveals how mosquito populations mysteriously reappear in the Sahel and could have significant repercussions for efforts to eradicate malaria from large areas.
Science | 3 min read
Go deeper with the expert perspective in the Nature News & Views article.
Reference: Nature paper
Use of artesunate-pyronaridine for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria
WHO: Yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria connected to game reserve
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) update yesterday, Nigeria is battling a new yellow fever outbreak involving 231 suspected cases near the Yankari game reserve in Alkaleri.
Oct 8 WHO update
Dengue fever: Space-based early warning system spreads from Vietnam to six more South-East Asian countries
The ground-breaking software, Dengue forecasting Model Satellite-based System, or D-MOSS for short, combines satellite data with weather forecasts and a hydrological model to predict dengue epidemics up to six months in advance.
ASF Asia Update for 10 October from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
* The Republic of Korea has introduced a Buffer Zone to control ASF.
* Lao People’s Democratic Republic reported 47 outbreaks in 11 provinces/city occurred between 10 August and 2 October.
* In the Philippines, ASF outbreak confirmed in Pampanga Province (on Luzon Island).
ASF Asia Update for 10 October from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
China’s hog herd may drop by 55% due to fatal swine fever, says Rabobank
China’s hog herd fell by half in the first eight months of 2019 due to a devastating outbreak of African swine fever and will likely shrink by 55% by the end of the year, analysts at Rabobank said on Wednesday.
ASF response planning goes from tabletop to real world
Over the last year, pork industry members across the country have sat around tables talking through response exercises if African swine fever ever should ever break in the United States. Last week 14 of the top swine-producing states were given the opportunity to test drive their crisis response plans and to see if they could effectively respond to and mitigate an ASF outbreak.
Risk of African swine fever virus introduction into the United States through smuggling of pork in air passenger luggage
African swine fever causes substantial economic losses in the swine industry in affected countries. Traditionally confined to Africa with only occasional incursions into other regions, ASF began spreading into Caucasian countries and Eastern Europe in 2007, followed by Western Europe and Asia in 2018.
CDC: Close-knit, vaccine-reluctant communities stoked measles
Median age of patients is just 6, with 89% unvaccinated.
Study shows 69% global pertussis vaccine coverage
For the first time in history, more than half the children in the world are protected against rubella ("German measles"), but gaps remain, according to a study today in the Weekly Epidemiological Record.
Oct 4 Wkly Epidemiol Rec report
Oct 4 WHO press release
Progress Toward Rubella and Congenital Rubella Syndrome Control and Elimination — Worldwide, 2000–2018
As measles deaths in the Democratic Republic of the Congo top 4,000, UNICEF rushes medical kits to health centers and vaccinates thousands more children
UNICEF is vaccinating thousands more children against measles and rushing life-saving medicines to health centers across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as deaths from the world’s largest measles outbreak top 4,000.
More cholera seen in Sudan outbreak
Officials in Sudan's Blue Nile state have recorded 32 more suspected cases of cholera in an ongoing outbreak in Blue Nile State, according to the latest update from the WHO today.
From Aug 28 to Oct 8, officials have noted 247 suspected cholera cases, including 8 deaths (case-fatality rate of 3.2%).
Oct 9 WHO update
Amid more polio cases, WHO says disease is still public health emergency
The World Health Organization said yesterday that ongoing transmission of wild poliovirus in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as a rash of new vaccine-derived cases in Africa and Asia, means polio is still a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Oct 3 WHO statement
Oct 3 GPEI report
Lessons Learned from the CORE Group Polio Project and Their Relevance for Other Global Health Priorities
the past two decades, the CORE Group Polio Project (CGPP) has coordinated the engagement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in some of the hardest-to-reach and most resistant communities in 11 countries where polio transmission has persisted.† In 2018 alone, the CGPP programs trained more than 20,000 volunteers and health workers, reached almost six million people, and supported the vaccination of more than two million children.
WHO in Africa offers small research grants on the innovative use of GIS towards polio eradication
The Polio Eradication Programme in the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa is seeking applications for research grants ranging from US$8000 to US$12 000 to fund projects on the innovative use of geographic information systems (GIS) and other technologies for polio eradication and other public health uses.
Recent levels and trends in HIV incidence rates among adolescent girls and young women in ten high-prevalence African countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis
HIV incidence rates in adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa
The global acceleration of the AIDS response over the past decade, particularly increased access to antiretrovirals for HIV treatment, has resulted in declining HIV incidence in many regions of the world and a 33% reduction in AIDS-related deaths between 2010 and 2018. Despite these gains, a substantial global HIV burden still remains, with 38 million people living with HIV and 1·7 million diagnosed with new HIV infections in 2018
Ahead of the Global Fund replenishment conference, MSF has unveiled how a funding shortfall is threatening progress to eliminate TB and HIV. HIV funding in low- and middle-income countries dropped by almost $1 billion in 2018, and the TB funding gap reached $3.5 billion
Emerging Use of CRISPR Technology — Chasing the Elusive HIV Cure
FDA Approves Second Drug to Prevent HIV Infection as Part of Ongoing Efforts to End the HIV Epidemic.
The US Food and Drug Administration today approved Descovy (emtricitabine 200 mg and tenofovir alafenamide 25 mg) in at-risk adults and adolescents weighing at least 35kg for HIV-1 pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of HIV-1 infection from sex, excluding those who have receptive vaginal sex.
Digital Health Support in Treatment for Tuberculosis
EcoHealth Alliance Part of a Consortium Awarded USAID Contract To Build Global Capacity for One Health
Biodiversity and Ecosystem
The next frontier of ecosystem restoration: the deep sea
The deep seas are truly Earth’s last frontier, faraway worlds of alien beauty of which only an infinitesimal fraction have been explored—and it’s time to start thinking about how to restore them.
Food Safety and Security
What we eat matters: to change climate crisis, we need to reshape the food system
The key to food security in Africa lies in the treasure trove of global crop biodiversity
The clues to preserving food security in sub-Saharan Africa might lie in crops grown in distant parts of the planet.
Universal health coverage: an opportunity to address antimicrobial resistance?
Researchers highlight serious side effects of unneeded dental antibiotics
Study finds a 3.8% incidence of serious adverse events—and the findings are conservative.
How quickly engineered viruses could fight drug-resistant bacteria
Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages are known to kill bacteria. But because there are so many of them and each of the viruses can only infect very specific bacterial strains, finding and optimizing the right phage cocktail to fight a bacterial disease can be time-consuming and costly.
UK report cites lack of progress on AMR Review steps
The threat has not received "the exceptional policy action many consider necessary," experts say.
Response plan to control and manage the threat of multi- and extensively drug-resistant gonorrhoea in Europe
Gonorrhoea is the second most notified sexually transmitted infection in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) after chlamydia.
ECDC, CDC warn of extensively drug-resistant typhoid in Pakistan
Several countries around the world have reported an uptick of extensively drug-resistant (XDR) typhoid fever, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a news release today.
Oct 9 ECDC news release
Sep 30 CDC alert
Papers highlight challenges, solutions in developing antibiotics
Experts underscore "pull" incentives to boost profits.
- Urinary antigen testing for pneumonia
- C diff testing guidelines challenged
- XDR Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Post-hospital antibiotic use
- Resistant gonorrhea response plan
- Price cut demand for MDR-TB drug
- ICU infections in Europe
The health workforce department of WHO will conduct a webinar event on Thursday, 17 October 2019 from 1400 to 1500 hours (Geneva time) to launch the document: Health workers’ education and training on antimicrobial resistance: curricula guide. This tool has been developed jointly with Public Health England (PHE) and is part of measures to address the first objective of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance. If interested, please copy and paste the following link on your browser to join the meeting at the above date and time.
WebEx access link: https://bit.ly/35iVrrB
Week 40: 30 September - 6 October 2019
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 71 events in the region. This week's edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Humanitarian crisis in Niger
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic
- Cholera in Burundi.
One killed in Japan as typhoon approaches, over a million advised to evacuate
Life for the Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camp
Power Shutoffs Can’t Save California From Wildfire Hell
On Wednesday and Thursday, high seasonal winds will tear through California, drying out vegetation and fanning wildfires. The conditions could easily spell a devastating, deadly conflagration. In preparation, early Wednesday morning the utility PG&E—whose equipment sparked last year’s Camp Fire, which killed 86 people and destroyed the town of Paradise—will begin preemptively shutting off power to a staggering 800,000 customers.
Maternal and reproductive health (MRH) services during the 2013 eruption of Mount Sinabung: A qualitative case study from Indonesia
Maternal and reproductive health (MRH) needs are particularly heightened during disasters, affecting the long-term maternal morbidity and mortality. This single case study, drawing on the 2013 eruption of Mount Sinabung, Indonesia, aimed to investigate the experiences of pregnant women and the perspectives of community leaders on the accessibility and the provision of MRH services during the emergency response phase.
Ground-breaking clean air protocol to guard human health and the planet, enters into force
European and North American countries will take a major stride in cleaning up the atmosphere through the implementation of an amended legally binding treaty to limit the amount of emissions polluting the air.
How to enhance NDCs, reduce air pollution and improve human health
Richer nations urged to boost protection against wild weather as losses jump
Climate change and health in Washington
Climate change is altering seasonal patterns in Washington, making hot days hotter, and increasing the severity of extreme events. As a result, Washingtonians face a variety of increasing health problems such as more heat-related illnesses, breathing and heart troubles, food and water contamination, traumatic injuries, mental health challenges, and exposure to infectious diseases.
Estimating the health‐related costs of 10 climate‐sensitive U.S. events during 2012
Climate change threatens human health, but there remains a lack of evidence on the economic toll of climate‐sensitive public health impacts. We characterize human mortality and morbidity costs associated with 10 climate‐sensitive case study events spanning 11 US states in 2012: wildfires in Colorado and Washington, ozone air pollution in Nevada, extreme heat in Wisconsin, infectious disease outbreaks of tick‐borne Lyme disease in Michigan and...
Italian university rectors for health and environment: the U4ALL initiative
World Habitat Day
Waste can have a devastating effect on public health, the environment, and the climate, but cutting-edge innovation and technology can provide improved, cheaper solutions to the challenge, and help cities and communities to see waste as a business opportunity. This was the message marking World Habitat Day, on Monday, with a focus on waste management.
C40 World Mayors Summit
The C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen will build a global coalition of leading cities, businesses and citizens that rallies around the radical and ambitious climate action our planet needs. The Summit will showcase examples of how cities are already delivering on their strong commitments and accelerate the bold climate solutions needed for a sustainable, healthier, resilient and inclusive future.
35 Cities Unite To Clean The Air Their Citizens Breathe, Protecting The Health Of Millions
Austin, Athens, Lisbon, and Venice join a group of 30 global cities in reaching major climate milestone.
30 of the world’s largest cities, representing 58 million citizens, have announced that their greenhouse gas emissions have peaked and are now going down fast. The world’s leading scientists tell us that emissions must peak by 2020 and decline rapidly in order to prevent climate catastrophe. Leading cities like Austin, Athens, Lisbon, and Venice have already achieved this vital milestone, demonstrating to the rest of the world that a rapid and equitable low-carbon transition is possible.
Asia Pacific Analysis: Living in Asia’s unliveable cities
- Asia’s poorly regulated urban growth impacts economy and environment
- Pressure grows on public spaces, transportation, garbage disposal, air pollution
- Self-contained, self-sufficient urban communities can help solve urban chaos
Towards the end of making Asia Pacific cities liveable, the Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF-7) is organising a conference 15–17 October in Penang, Malaysia with the theme ‘The Future of Asia and Pacific Cities: Transformative Pathways to Achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The conference is aimed at providing insights into “future-proofed urbanisation solutions” with the help of leaders and policymakers from national and local governments, the private sector, researchers and civil society to find answers to the problems of urban living.
Safety in a Conflict Zone: Migrant Women in Yemen Find Shelter with IOM's Foster Families
Migrant Deaths in Mediterranean This Year Top 1,000
Fatalities from a shipwreck Monday off Italy's Lampedusa pushed this year's Mediterranean Sea death toll to 1,071.
New Zealand announced on Friday that it will remove policy that restricts refugees from the Middle East and Africa, and raise the allocation from those regions to 15% of the resettlement quota.
Immigrants will be denied visas if they cannot prove they have health insurance or the ability to pay for medical care, the Trump administration said.
President Trump issued a proclamation, effective Nov. 3, ordering consular officers to deny visas to immigrants seeking to live in the United States unless they “will be covered by approved health insurance” or can prove that they have “the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”
Read More »
Scientists concerned over US plans to collect DNA data from immigrants
A US government plan to routinely collect DNA data from immigrants in federal custody is sparking concerns among scientists about privacy and discrimination.
Bioethicists question US DNA-print plan
A US government plan to routinely collect DNA data from people held in immigration detention centres is sparking concerns among bioethicists about privacy and discrimination. More than 40,000 people are currently being held in such centres across the country, and the plan would potentially see all their DNA profiles added to an FBI database alongside those gathered from people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes. Because family members share DNA, the government’s plan also has implications for immigrants’ relatives, including US citizens.
Nature | 5 min read
Responding to a Mumps Outbreak Impacting Immigrants and Low–English-Proficiency Populations
To examine outbreak response–associated costs, lessons learned, and challenges encountered during a local health department's response to a mumps outbreak.
And the Nobel goes to ...
This year’s Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology went to a trio of scientists who discovered how cells respond to changing levels of oxygen, uncovering pathways that have led to potential treatments for cancer and other diseases. The three laureates are: Dr. William Kaelin Jr. of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Sir Peter Ratcliffe of University of Oxford, and Dr. Gregg Semenza of Johns Hopkins University. Their research described the mechanisms that help cells adapt to the availability of oxygen — which is needed for cells to convert food into energy — and how they influence gene expression.
Read more here.
Univ. of Washington spinout Icosavax raises $51M to fight viruses with computer-designed vaccines
Seattle-based biotech startup Icosavax today scored $51 million in funding to create vaccines from artificial viruses. The Series A financing was led by Qiming Venture Partners USA along with Adams Street Partners, Sanofi Ventures and NanoDimension.
Work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’, Guterres warns Member States, amidst ‘record-level’ cash crisis
Facing ‘Cash-Flow Crisis,’ the U.N. Cuts Hiring, Heating, Escalators and the A.C.
The organization said it was quickly running out of cash largely because a number of countries, chiefly the United States, have not paid all their annual assessments.
No new hiring, after-hours meetings or late-night receptions at the United Nations headquarters. No more optional travel. No new furniture or replacement computers unless absolutely necessary.
Global Fund Donors Pledge US$14 Billion in Fight to End Epidemics
Guide posts for investment in primary health care: projected resource needs within a SDG model for 67 low- and middle-income countries
Primary health care (PHC) is a driving force for advancing towards universal health coverage (UHC). An estimated additional US$200–328 billion per year is required for the various measures of PHC from 2020 to 2030. For measure 1, an additional $32 is needed per capita across the countries. Needs are greatest in low-income countries where PHC spending per capita needs to increase from $25 to $65. Overall health workforces would need to increase from 5·6 workers per 1000 population to 6·7 per 1000 population, delivering an average of 5·9 outpatient visits per capita per year. Increasing coverage of PHC interventions would avert an estimated 60·1 million deaths and increase average life expectancy by 3·7 years. By 2030, these incremental PHC costs would be about 3·3% of projected gross domestic product (GDP; median 1·7%, range 0·1–20·2). In a business-as-usual financing scenario, 25 of 67 countries will have funding gaps in 2030. If funding for PHC was increased by 1–2% of GDP across all countries, as few as 16 countries would see a funding gap by 2030.
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