News Pouch: 18 October 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 18 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

Wishing you useful reading!

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


    Ebola Outbreak Situation

    WHO Ebola Situation Report 15 October 2019
    Ebola gold rush
    The story of DRC's Ebola outbreak has focused on how misinformation and mistrust have hindered the response. The direst unintended consequences of the international lack of concern around the “Ebola Economy” could well be the exacerbation of the persistence and spread of the disease. Local dynamics, in all their complexity, matter. All the while, Ebola both takes lives and makes fortunes in eastern Congo.
    WHO: Insecure Ebola hot spots pose resurgence risk elsewhere
    In its weekly detailed analysis of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said another week of low case numbers is promising, but it worries that the remaining hot spots are in insecure areas that could seed new infections to other health zones where transmission has ended.

    Why Japan imported Ebola ahead of the 2020 Olympics
    The deadly virus is one of five that have been brought to a secure laboratory.

    Priority Diseases

    Post-Exposure Effects of Vaccines on Infectious Diseases
    Many available vaccines have demonstrated post-exposure effectiveness, but no published systematic reviews have synthesized these findings. We searched the PubMed database for clinical trials and observational human studies concerning the post-exposure vaccination effects, targeting infections with an FDA-licensed vaccine plus dengue, hepatitis E, malaria, and tick borne encephalitis, which have licensed vaccines outside of the U.S.
    Dynamic interactions of influenza viruses in Hong Kong during 1998-2018
    Influenza epidemics cause substantial morbidity and mortality every year worldwide. Currently, two influenza A subtypes, A(H1N1) and A(H3N2), and type B viruses co-circulate in humans and infection with one type/subtype could provide cross-protection against the others.
    WHO influenza at the human-animal interface monthly risk assessment
    Seasonal Influenza and Avian Influenza A(H5N1) Virus Surveillance among Inpatients and Outpatients, East Jakarta, Indonesia, 2011–2014
    Seasonal influenza contributes substantially to acute respiratory disease in Indonesia and across the world. Influenza virus causes ≈3–5 million cases of severe illness and ≈291,000–646,000 respiratory deaths each year globally, most occurring in lower-income countries.
    Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)

    Rapid risk assessment: Zika virus disease in Var department, France
    On 1 October 2019, a case of locally acquired Zika virus (ZIKV) disease in France (Hyères city, Var department) was laboratory confirmed. To date, and based on ECDC’s epidemiological assessment, the probability of ongoing vector-borne local transmission in Hyères (and surrounding areas) is considered very low because current evidence does not indicate the existence of a more extensive cluster of ZIKV cases. As temperatures are progressively decreasing during autumn, the environmental conditions are currently not favourable for sustained transmission.

    ASF Asia Update for 17 October from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
    * In the Republic of Korea, a total of 14 outbreaks in domestic pigs and 9 cases in wild boars has been confirmed near DMZ within one month.
    * China reported another outbreak in Gansu Province, and seized infected meat on an expressway in Guangxi Province.
    * China released statistics for the month of September, showing -41.1% decrease in the number of live pigs over the same period last year.             

    African Swine Fever – Asia: South Korea, Domestic, Wild, Spread, International Impact African swine fever (ASF), a deadly contagious disease infecting hogs and having no known cure or vaccine, is spreading rapidly in East Asia. The ASF outbreak that has trickled from North to South Korea is akin to an "apocalypse", according to Ahn Chan-il, leader of World Institute for North Korea Studies and a former North Korean service member.

    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    • Ten new human cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, including one fatality;
    • Updated epidemiological timeline (by exposure source);
    • Two new relevant publications;
    • Project updates by Egypt, Ethiopia, and Kenya;

    Polio returns to the Philippines

    7 million people receive record levels of lifesaving TB treatment but 3 million still miss out
    WHO's Global Tuberculosis Report, released today, highlights that a record 7 million people received life-saving treatment for TB in 2018. However, around 3 million of people with TB are still not getting the care they need.

    One Health  

    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    Disasters and ecosystems: Resilience in a changing climate
    Disasters kill people, destroy infrastructure, damage ecosystems and undermine development, and could increase in frequency due to climate change. There is a need for increased awareness on the latest advances in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA). A significant advancement is a better understanding of ecosystem-based approaches for reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change.
    Invest in Nature: Uncovering the Hidden Value of Biodiversity
    The world is suffering a historic loss of biodiversity, threatening nature’s ability to supply nutritious food, clean air and water, sustain livelihoods, regulate climate and to act as a buffer against extreme weather.
    Sign Up for a Reminder
    Extreme winter leads to an Arctic reproductive collapse
    Unprecedented snowfall stymied breeding for birds and other creatures in northeast Greenland last year. For the first time in more than two decades of yearly observations, researchers have recorded an almost complete reproductive failure across the entire food web.

    Nuclear waste? These microbes might help with the cleanup
    Bacteria discovered in a Mexican lake accumulate two radioactive isotopes in their cells.
    Food Safety and Security
    2019 Global hunger index the challenge of hunger and climate change
    The 2019 Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows that while the world has made gradual progress in reducing hunger on a global scale since 2000, this progress has been uneven. Hunger persists in many countries, and in some instances progress is even being reversed. The GHI highlights where more action is most needed. Global Hunger Is Moving from Serious to Moderate With a 2019 GHI score of 20.0, the level of hunger and undernutrition worldwide is on the cusp...
    Obesity rates soar due to dramatic global diet shift, says UN food agency
    Eating food high in starch, sugar, fats and salt; combined with a sedentary lifestyle, is a recipe for soaring global obesity rates, even in countries where many still suffer from hunger. On World Food Day, which falls on Wednesday, the UN’s food agency, FAO, is calling for action to make healthy, sustainable diets affordable and accessible for all.
    Food security in small islands
    As nations at the front line of climate change, small island developing states need better tools to ensure sustainable nutrition for the future.
    Global effect of extreme weather on nutrient supply.
    Globally, all micronutrient supplies had a modest negative percentage change during the year of an extreme weather event; of these effects, those that reached an α=0·05 significance level included calcium, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, with nutrient supply changes ranging from −0·40 to −1·73% of the average supply. The effect of an extreme weather event was especially magnified among landlocked developing countries and low-income food deficit countries, with significant nutrient supply changes ranging from −1·61 to −7·57% of the average supply. Furthermore, the observed nutrient supply deficits in landlocked developing countries constituted a large percentage (ranging from 1·95 to 39·19%) of what a healthy child's sufficient average dietary intake should be.

    Nigerian farmers embrace technology to combat food insecurity
    With food insecurity on the rise in Nigeria, smallholder farmers are turning to new technologies to improve food production and marketability, writes Kemi Falodun.

    The impact of routine childhood immunisation with higher-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines on antimicrobial-resistant pneumococcal diseases and carriage: a systematic literature review
    A governance framework that offers guidance on AMR National Action Plans.
    The second revision of the World Veterinary Association (WVA) list of guidelines for responsible use of antimicrobials in Animal Health
    The list includes now 120 guidelines, action plans and promotional material on prudent use of antimicrobials, covering large number of countries, languages, veterinary aspects and animal species.The WVA will continuously update this list, so if you see any information lacking, any mistakes or you would like to add guidelines to this list, please inform the WVA secretariat at
    Overview of technologies for the treatment of infectious and sharp waste from health care facilities
    This new document from WHO describes criteria for selecting technologies for improved health care waste management in health care facilities – something which is fundamental to wider efforts to provide safe and quality health care for all. For each technology, details on the requirements for installation, capacity for treating waste, effects on the environment and health, and advantages and disadvantages are described.
    USAID's Water Currents newsletter compiles recent studies on the connections between AMR and sanitation.
    Critical Importance of a One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Resistance.
    This article advocates for a comprehensive One Health research agenda to address AMR that incorporates human, animal, environmental, ecosystem, and wildlife perspectives and identifies key priorities for research.

    Webinar: Innovation in point-of-care diagnostics for sepsis and bloodstream infections from GARDP. Tue, Nov 26, 2019 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM CET. Information here:
    Accepting manuscript submissions:
    BioMed Central is accepting manuscript submissions to a cross-journal series on "Health Policy and the Management of Antimicrobial Resistance in LMICs [low- and middle-income countries]."
    Public discussion. Establishment of a One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance as recommended by the United Nations ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance.
    The Tripartite Organizations are engaging with Members States and partners through web-based discussions and relevant events, with the objective to obtain feedback and refine the terms of reference of the One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance before finalization. The deadline for providing feedback is 8 November 2019.
    More information here:
    send your feedback to:
    CDC launches new handwashing campaign
    CDC has launched Life is Better with Clean Hands, a new national handwashing campaign encouraging adults to make clean hands a healthy habit at home and on the go. Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to avoid getting sick, especially for anyone who comes in contact with animals. Animals – including pets – can sometimes carry germs that can make people sick, even if they look clean and healthy. 
    For more information, a campaign promotion toolkit, free posters, and other resources, visit the CDC Handwashing website.

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Oct 16, 2019

    • FDA review of antibiotic candidate
    • Antibiotic prescribing in EDs

    More »

    Emergencies and Disasters

    Impacts of environmental and socio-economic factors on emergence and epidemic potential of Ebola in Africa
    We develop modelling methods that capture elements of each of these factors, topredict the risk of Ebola virus disease (EVD) across time and space. Our modelling results match previously observed outbreak patterns with high accuracy, and suggest further out-breaks could occur across most of West and Central Africa. Trends in the underlying driversof EVD risk suggest a 1.75 to 3.2-fold increase in the endemic rate of animal-human viral spill-overs in Africa by 2070, given current modes of healthcare intervention. Future global change scenarios with higher human population growth and lower rates of socio-economic devel-opment yield a fourfold higher likelihood of epidemics occurring as a result of spill-over events.

    How pandemics shaped society
    In his new book, historian Frank Snowden argues that infectious diseases have shaped social evolution no less powerfully than have wars, revolutions and economic crises. Reviewer Laura Spinney notes that we still seem to be repeating many of the mistakes that triggered or exacerbated epidemics in the past.
    Nature | 5 min read
    Evidence for sharp increase in the economic damages of extreme natural disasters
    Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Does this translate into increased economic damages? To date, empirical assessments of damage trends have been inconclusive. Our study demonstrates a temporal increase in extreme damages, after controlling for a number of factors.
    Terror Group Plans Suicide Attacks with Abrin Bombs
    Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, or JAD, an Islamic State-affiliated terror group based in Indonesia, has been making bombs using not only high-explosive materials but also poisonous ingredients, according to police statements following a series of arrests of the group's members.
    Are we doing enough about biosecurity? Looking to tech and one another for how to protect human health and prosperity in the bioeconomy
    Since its inception, synthetic biology has inspired new promises but caused some to fear the threat of potential new dangers. Discussions about both the potential benefits and the potential harms of synthetic biology are constantly fed and expanded by the stream of new capabilities and applications it enables.
    Cause-specific mortality and natural disasters: The urgent need for change. Working Paper
    Through a comprehensive analysis of mortality data, this paper shows that global disaster-attributed mortality is significantly underestimated.  Introduction The global threat from natural hazard disasters is accelerating, driven by the earth’s deteriorating natural ecosystems, damaged physical environment, rapid urbanisation and population growth.
    Overcoming Message Resistance
    One of the great challenges in public health is overcoming message resistance. During public health emergencies, community leaders and emergency responders share advice with affected communities to help reduce harm or even save lives. People often receive and understand these messages but still don’t take the recommended actions. This webinar from CDC’s Emergency Partners Information Connection draws upon communication science, behavioral science, and the experiences of emergency responders to share best practices for overcoming message resistance.
    When: October 23, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET
    click the link below to join the webinar:
    More information on this webinar, previous EPIC webinars, and information on continuing education can be found on the EPIC Webinar website.

    Climate Change

    Assessing the health effects of extreme temperatures and the development of adaptation strategies to climate change in the Asia-Pacific region
    The health effects of extreme temperatures are the most significant source of weather-related public health problems. They are also the most direct and well-understood impact of climate change on human health. This project aims to: quantify the total mortality burden attributable to non-optimum ambient temperature in China, Vietnam, Thailand and Bangladesh; examine whether temperature-related health risks varied according to individual and community...

    The hard truths of climate change — by the numbers
    A set of troubling charts shows how little progress nations have made toward limiting greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Electric vehicles could benefit health more than climate
    The health benefits from reduced air pollution due to an increasing share of EVs in China outweigh the climate benefits.
    Read More

    The carbon footprint of the Chinese health-care system: an environmentally extended input–output and structural path analysis study
    China has a much smaller health-care carbon footprint per capita than developed countries, such as the USA and Australia. However, its carbon emissions per unit of health expenditure are relatively high because of the expenditure structure and the carbon intensity of the country's entire economy. The results suggest the need for a nationwide carbon-efficient target for health care and use of low-carbon alternatives in making supply chain choices to achieve reductions in the carbon footprint.

    Urban Health

    Simmering inequity: a city’s worst heat hits low-income residents
    The burden of the ‘urban heat-island’ effect falls most heavily on economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
    Refining intra-urban population mapping in sub-Saharan Africa: from land cover to land use
    Unlocking the potential for transformative climate adaptation in cities
    Cities are increasingly integrating climate adaptation priorities into development policies and plans. However, there remains a gap in understanding how incremental urban adaptation solutions can lead to more transformative change over the long term. Transformative adaptation reorients urban climate actions around addressing entrenched equity and climate justice challenges.
    City resilience program: Program brief: Catalyzing urban resilience
    This City Resilience Program (CRP) is driven by the belief that a resilient future for our cities is possible. CRP aims to empower cities to pursue comprehensive investment programs to strengthen resilience, and to access a broad range of financing options. Strengthening urban resilience is a complicated process. CRP works to effectively bring in the broad set of World Bank Group’s sectoral expertise to help cities integrate climate and risk...
    Policy brief: The role of green infrastructure in managing urban flood
    There is increasing recognition of the potential of natural ecosystems to provide valuable services to urban areas. These ecosystem services may include flood control, water purification, slope stabilization, and erosion prevention. In addition, ecosystems may help to reduce urban temperatures, providing cooling and shade; as well as providing cultural and recreational amenities for nearby urban residents. Economic studies in other countries have...
    Building Sustainable Asian & Pacific Cities - a New Report
    Building the cities of 2030, 2050 and 2100 sustainably enough to meet the changing needs of the future will require new ways of thinking and working. The Future of Asian and Pacific Cities Report makes the case for four priorities and four approaches to realize a sustainable urban future in Asia and the Pacific.
    Download the report.

    Migration Health

    Forced Movement of Migrants in Bosnia Sparks Warning of Humanitarian Emergency
    A joint UN Bosnia Country Team statement released late yesterday noted “significant safety and health risks at Vucjak; the location falls well short of international humanitarian standards.”
    Marshallese perspectives on migration in the context of climate change
    The Marshall Islands is a nation of widely dispersed, low-lying coral atolls and islands, and with climate change causing sea levels to rise and shifting weather patterns, the Marshall Islands is faced with flooding, heat stress and drought. The Marshall Islands Climate and Migration Project studies the multicausal nature of Marshallese migration, as well as its impact on migrants themselves and communities in the Marshall Islands.

    Global Health

    Financing Global Common Goods for Health: When the World is a Country
    This paper examines the global functions of the international health enterprise in five further sections. Section 2presents a taxonomy of global functions. Section 3 summarizes some of the key value propositions of investing in global functions (because the value of investing in CGH is discussed in detail elsewhere in this series, our summary is brief and focuses on global CGH). Next, in Section 4, the paper examines recent funding flows to global functions and the large estimated funding gap. Given that existing financing mechanisms have not closed the gap, Section 5proposes a suite of options for directing additional funding to global functions and discusses the overall governance of such funding.
    Unlocking the potential of vaccines built on messenger RNA
    The technology could help to boost immunity against cancer, influenza and much more.
    Brad Kremer had waited months to receive an experimental cancer vaccine called BNT122, during which time the melanoma on his skin had spread to his liver and spine. But within weeks of his first injection in March, Kremer could see that the vaccine was working. The coin-sized melanoma spots that popped up from his skin were now flat discolourations measuring millimetres across.

    Universal Health Coverage Passes Key Global Milestone

    WHO welcomes Inter-Parliamentary Union Resolution on UHC

    Policy initiatives for health and the bioeconomy
    This document presents twelve policy initiatives supporting health and the bioeconomy from different OECD countries. The initiatives reviewed include: i) funding for public health centres that translate biomedical research into clinical research and care; ii) cross-border DOI:

    Boosting inclusivity in the Nobels
    Nature contacted three of the world’s largest international scientific networks that include academies of science in developing countries and asked if they had been invited to nominate people for the Nobel prizes. All three said no. The finding hints at one reason why the Nobels in chemistry, medicine and physics continually fail to acknowledge the achievements of diverse scientists, argues a Nature editorial. It’s time to open up the prize’s nomination process and its archives to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
    Nature | 4 min read



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