News Pouch 14 June 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 14 June 2019


  • Spotlight: Ebola situation in DRC and Uganda
  • Updates and News on main Outbreaks
    • Priority Infectious Diseases
      • Influenza
      •  VBD, and more
  • One Health
    • Biodiversity and ecosystem
    • Food Security and Safety
    • AMR
    • Health in Emergencies and Disasters
    • Climate Change
    • Urban Health
    • Migration Health
    • Global Health
    • Contact us


    Ebola Outbreak Situation

    WHO External Situation Report 45: 12 June 2019
    Ebola in Uganda

    On 11 June 2019, the Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Kasese District, at the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The index case in this outbreak is a 5-year old boy who fell ill after a visit to Mabalako Health Zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo to attend the burial of his grand-father, a confirmed EVD case, who died in the community on 1 June 2019. The boy and his mother re-entered Uganda (where they reside) through the Bwera Border on 10 June 2019 and presented to Kagando hospital (the same day) with a bleeding diathesis (nose bleeding, vomiting blood, blood in stool and urine) in addition to other symptoms, which included muscle pain, headache, fatigue and abdominal pain. Because of a high index of suspicion of a viral haemorrhagic disease, the case-patient was immediately referred to Bwera Hospital, where a designated Ebola treatment centre (ETC) has been established as part of EVD preparedness. Blood specimens were obtained and transported to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on 10 June 2019. Test results released by UVRI on 11 June 2019 showed that the sample was positive for Ebola Zaire on the first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) run. Additionally, the sample was positive on Ebola rapid diagnostic testing. A third confirmatory test (using EboZai NP primers and probe) was also positive for Ebola Zaire. The Uganda Minister of Health and the WHO Representative in Uganda, in a joint press conference held at 9:00 pm on 11 June 2019, formally declared the EVD outbreak. The child died in the early hours of 12 June 2019.

    Two family relations to the index case (the mother and a sibling) developed symptoms and were isolated in Bwera ETC on 11 June 2019. Blood specimens collected and shipped to the UVRI on 11 June 2019 tested positive for EVD on 12 June 2019. Another suspected case has been admitted to the ETC and the test result is pending. A total of eight contacts have been identified and are being closely monitored.

    The Ugandan Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have deployed a multisectoral rapid response team to the affected district. Further update on this event will be provided as information comes in.
    Ebola in Democratic Republic of the Congo

    In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the EVD outbreak continues to show a decrease in the number of new cases, with 54 new confirmed cases reported in the past week, compared to 88 cases reported per week during the last two weeks. While a relatively lower incidence of new cases continues to be seen some hotspots such as Katwa, Beni and Kalunguta health zones, elsewhere the situation appears more tenuous. Active transmission is ongoing in communities within 11 health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces.

    In the 21 days between 20 May to 10 June 2019, 68 health areas within 11 health zones reported new cases, representing 10% of the 664 health areas within North Kivu and Ituri provinces. During this period, a total of 218 confirmed cases were reported, the majority of which were from the health zones of Mabalako (29%, n=64), Butembo (22%, n=47), Katwa (16%, n=35), Mandima (11%, n=24) and Beni (8.2%, n=18). One new confirmed case was reported from Rwampara Health Zone following a prolonged period since the last reported case. This latest case was linked to a confirmed case within Beni Health Zone.

    As of 10 June 2019, a total of 2071 EVD cases, including 1977 confirmed and 94 probable cases, were reported. A total of 1396 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 67%), including 1302 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the 2062 confirmed and probable cases with known age and sex, 58% (1187) were female, and 29% (598) were children aged less than 18 years. Cases continue to rise among health workers, with the cumulative number infected rising to 115 (6% of total cases).
    Please click here to download the complete situation report (PDF).

    Uganda confirms first Ebola case outside outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo

    Boy dies of Ebola in Uganda in first cross-border case from current Congo outbreak
    Second Ebola patient dies in Uganda, two others in intensive care
    Uganda has banned public gatherings in the Kasese district where the patients are being treated. The World Health Organization (WHO) is bringing in 3,500 additional vaccines and will begin vaccinating more people on Friday.The WHO has said it will reconvene an emergency committee on Friday to decide whether the outbreak is an international public health emergency and how to manage it.

    CDC Activates Emergency Operations Center for Ebola Outbreak in Eastern DRC

    Ebola, community engagement, and saving loved ones
    Ebola Vaccine for Pregnant Women: One Step Closer but Still More to Go  
    In the midst of a deadly epidemic like Ebola, who should get an experimental vaccine that provides protection against the disease 97.5% of the time?
    Go to article

    Measles kills 1,500 in Congo: Epidemic declared as health workers struggle to contain Ebola and cholera

    Priority Diseases

    The biweekly global influenza update from WHO

    The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS

    The last pandemic was a ‘quiet killer.’ Ten years after swine flu, no one can predict the next one

    CDC Summary of Progress since H1N1 pandemic 2009

    A new reassortant clade H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus causing recent outbreaks in ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys in Bangladesh.
    OIE Passes African Swine Fever Global Resolution
    African swine fever continues to leave its mark on the global swine industry. A resolution regarding ASF was passed at the World Organization for Animal Health annual meeting last week in Paris.
    Go to article
    African Swine Fever Reaches Saigon
    The incurable pig disease was detected at a farm in the outlying District 9, HCMC Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Tuesday. Nguyen Phuoc Trung, the department’s director, said the farm's owner fed the pigs with leftover food at restaurants, suggesting that could be a cause of the infection.
    Go to article
    China Reports New African Swine Fever Outbreak in Guizhou Province
    China’s southern province of Guizhou has confirmed a new outbreak of African swine fever in Duyun city, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in a statement on Tuesday.
    Go to article

    Dengue- Inter-outbreak stability reflects the size of the susceptible pool and forecasts magnitudes of seasonal epidemics

    Dengue and Zika Virus Diagnostic Testing for Patients with a Clinically Compatible Illness and Risk for Infection with Both Viruses

    Daily HIV prevention pill urged for healthy people at risk

    Successful treatment of HIV eliminates sexual transmission

    What's behind PEPFAR's funding cut threats?
    As it wraps up its latest funding round, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is prepared to introduce unprecedented cuts to country programs in sub-Saharan Africa, designed to spur domestic policy changes and programmatic improvements.
    But observers warn that if enacted, the cuts could undermine advances those countries have made against the HIV epidemic, particularly among marginalized communities who struggle to access health services.

    One Health  

    Trends in Human Rabies Deaths and Exposures — United States, 1938–2018

    CDC: Bats pose biggest rabies threat in US
    New report finds that 70% of all fatal human rabies infections were caused by bats.
    More »
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem

    Agrobiodiversity Index Report 2019: Risk and Resilience

    Research on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA): A reference guide
    This guide is intended to assist researchers in developing a plan or proposal for a research study on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA). The objective is to strengthen the understanding of core concepts, provide an analysis of current and prevailing knowledge gaps and research needs for EbA, with an insight into where potential research should be focused for future knowledge generation

    Healthy ocean, healthy public says new report
    Call for Paper
    to celebrate the birth of the new journal Research in Ecology (RE), Bilingual
    Publishing CO. is pleased to announce that all submitted papers for the first 2 issues
    of RE will be waived of Article Processing Charges.
    Manuscripts prepared in Microsoft Word (preferred) can be submitted to the Editorial
    Office online at or send as an
    e-mail attachment to the Managing editor (
    Food Safety and Security

    Food Safety a ‘Major Public Health Issue,’ Says UF/IFAS Professor Ahead of First-Ever World Food Safety Day

    It’s time to elevate food safety on the development agenda

    Why food safety in Africa’s informal markets must be driven by consumers

    Q&A: Serve the farmer first, says 2019 World Food Prize winner

    National livestock sector policies and planning under a changing global economy

    Africa’s Animal Genetic Resources – The Wealth Within

    Variations in Antibiotic use across India – Multicentre study through Global Point Prevalence Survey.
    evaluate a point-prevalence survey of antimicrobial prescribing conducted in 16 Indian hospitals from October to December 2017, finding that 57.4% of 1,750 patients were receiving at least one antimicrobial and that indications and post-prescription review were infrequently documented.

    Warning of ‘Pig Zero’: One Drugmaker’s Push to Sell More Antibiotics
    Overuse of antibiotics in livestock has given rise to drug-resistant germs. Drugmakers say they want to be part of the solution. But a recent campaign urged farmers to administer the drugs to healthy animals daily.

    Shallow returns? ESG risks and opportunities in aquaculture
    The Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return initiative released a report on issues and opportunities that may affect global aquaculture between now and 2050, with antibiotic use in the Asian seafood market identified as one of the top issues.

    Government policy interventions to reduce human antimicrobial use: A systematic review and evidence map
    Growing political attention to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) offers a rare opportunity for achieving meaningful action. Many governments have developed national AMR action plans, but most have not yet implemented policy interventions to reduce antimicrobial overuse. A systematic evidence map can support governments in making evidence-informed decisions about implementing programs to reduce AMR, by identifying, describing, and assessing the full range of evaluated government policy options to reduce antimicrobial use in humans.

    Tech solutions to fight fake medicines

    GSK Partners with CRISPR Pioneer Doudna to Search for New Drugs  
    The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday that it would team up with some of the nation’s most prominent CRISPR researchers to use the gene-editing technology in a search for new medicines, establishing a new lab in San Francisco and spending up to $67 million over five years.
    Go to article

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Jun 13, 2019

    • Antibiotic stewardship in Canada
    • Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas

    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Jun 11, 2019

    • Solithromycin failure vs gonorrhea
    • Amoxicillin Rx and resistance

    More »

    Free online course
    On Jun 17, the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy will release a FREE online course on "The Role of Vaccines in Preventing Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance,"

    Free webinars

    1.     New FREE webinar on scary gonorrhea! Please join CIDRAP-ASP next Tuesday, June 18, at 10:00 a.m. CDT for a webinar on "Addressing Untreatable Gonorrhea: Resistance-Guided Therapy,"

    1. The next WASH in Healthcare Facilities Initiative webinar, entitled "Back to Basics: Practical Steps for Countries to Ensure Universal Access to WASH in HCF" This webinar will take place on Wednesday, June 26th at 9:00am EDT.  Click here to see the event in your time zone.  

    Register here for this webinar

    Emergencies and Disasters

    WHO/AFRO Week 23: 03 - 09 June 2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 72 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:

    • Malaria in Burundi
    • Measles in Comoros Islands
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic.

    More than 1 in 5 people in conflict areas experience mental health issues
    New estimates from the WHO find that some 22% of people in conflict areas around the world suffer from a mental health problem.

    India heatwave deaths rise to 36, poorest workers worst hit
    Drought expert says heatwave is the worst ever with 23 states expected to be impacted

    Africa drought leaves 45 million in need
    ‘We need to recognise the seasons are changing and we need to adapt.’
    All told, more than 45 million people will struggle to find enough food across 14 countries in 2019, many feeling the compounded effects of years of drought. In 2017 – a year in which the UN labelled the crisis the worst in decades – some 38 million people were in need.

    China flood death toll hits 61, 350,000 evacuated

    Cyclone Vayu spares Indian west coast a direct hit, to skirt coast

    Cyclones Idai and Kenneth: International partners pledge support for reconstruction and resilience building for Mozambique
    Mozambique needs US$3.2 billion for post-cyclone recovery and reconstruction. At the international pledging conference in Beira, donors pledged US$1.2 billion for the initial recovery phase.
    Learn more.

    USA: Researchers identify connection between more frequent, intense heat events and deaths in Las Vegas
    The number of heat wave episodes increased, while their duration decreased. The number of heat-related deaths was also found to increase, with 2016 having the highest number of heat-related deaths. For the period, 437 heat-related deaths were registered in Las Vegas. The most vulnerable subpopulation was people over 50 years old, for which 76% of the heat-related deaths were associated with preexisting heart disease.

    Increasing mitigation ambition to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal avoids substantial heat-related mortality in U.S. cities
    Current greenhouse gas mitigation ambition is consistent with ~3°C global mean warming above preindustrial levels. There is a clear need to strengthen mitigation ambition to stabilize the climate at the Paris Agreement goal of warming of less than 2°C. We specify the differences in city-level heat-related mortality between the 3°C trajectory and warming of 2° and 1.5°C. Focusing on 15 U.S. cities where reliable climate and health data are available, we show that ratcheting up mitigation ambition to achieve the 2°C threshold could avoid between 70 and 1980 annual heat-related deaths per city during extreme events (30-year return period). Achieving the 1.5°C threshold could avoid between 110 and 2720 annual heat-related deaths. Population changes and adaptation investments would alter these numbers. Our results provide compelling evidence for the heat-related health benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5°C in the United States.
    Extreme heat to hit one third of the African urban population
    More than 150 large African cities across 43 countries and project the number of people that will be exposed to dangerous heat conditions. Our projections suggest that this number will be 20 to 52 times higher at the end of the 21st century than currently. Large cities in Western and Central Africa appear to be particularly at risk, whereas cities in Southern Africa will remain relatively unscathed. We also show that a restrained urban demographic growth could lead to a 50% reduction in the number of people exposed to dangerous heat conditions. Population and urbanization policies should be part of the wide range of urban climate adaptation options in order to minimize future exposure to extreme heat.

    Risk communication strategies for the very worst of cases
    In 2017-18, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security conducted a multiphase research project to help inform the development of a strategic approach for communicating about global catastrophic biological risks (GCbRs). In brief, a GCbR is defined as a biological development that could adversely affect the human species as a whole or radically change the course of human civilization

    The challenges of consolidation of a drought-related disaster risk warning system to Brazil
    In Brazil, droughts are widespread and recurrent in the semiarid region, mainly due to its water vulnerability. Approximately 28 million people live in the region, which concentrates the highest proportion of people living in poverty in Brazil. If drought occurs intensively and extensively in densely populated areas, it can result in disaster when local capacities are insufficient to avoid significant damage.

    AI technology improves critical crack detection in nuclear reactors, bridges, buildings,-bridges,-buildings.html
    Mass Casualty Incident Response Toolkit
    In the New York region, MCIs occur frequently, with the majority of these incidents producing only a few patients. However, MCIs that result in large numbers of patients, including critical patients with life-threatening injuries, have the potential to quickly overwhelm area hospitals.
    Go to article

    Climate Change

    Every breath you take -The staggering, true cost of air pollution

    WMO Congress approves urban and health plans

    Climate change seen posing threat to global peace in next 10 years

    U.S. Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds
    Using and moving troops and weapons accounted for about 70% of its energy consumption

    Climate lessons from past disasters
    Palaeoscientists and archaeologists are scouring history for ways to survive the climate crisis. They hope their findings will spur evidence-based plans to adapt, instead of giving up hope. “We have an incredible treasure trove archive of human experience dealing with sea level change. We ought to be tapping into that,” says archaeologist Ken Sassaman.
    Vice | 20 min read

    Urban Health

    Is the urban water and sanitation sector frozen in time?

    Call for Contributions

    Transforming city and health futures: the use of science and imagination
    The Special Issue explores the field and techniques of futures thinking in relation to cities and health. At this early stage we see the Special Issue as having three main sections:
    For the first section articles, we invite the submission of think pieces on long-termism and futures thinking in different fields but always with a focus on cities and health.
    These articles might explore the art and science of futures studies and foresight, the nature and meaning of planning and design in contemporary political and social settings and contexts, the role of imagination in urban innovation to improve health and equity, and the interrelationship between futures literacy, practice, policy and governance.
    For the second section, we invite contributions about practices that create new forms of knowledge, build futures literacy, and activate knowledge exchange.
    Call for papers closes 30 June 2019

    Migration Health

    How can we improve the vaccination of underimmunized migrants in Europe?

    Global Health

    Gender norms and health: insights from global survey data

    Pharma blockchains AI for drug development

    Collaboration between France and WHO to realize the vision of the WHO Academy




    Knowledge sharing

    We welcome receiving your reports, articles and studies to share widely within our network.
    Please contact Dr. Chadia Wannous via email at 

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