News Pouch, 23 February 2019


Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 23 February 2019


  • Spotlight: Ebola
  • Updates and News on main Outbreaks
    • Priority Infectious Diseases
      • Influenza
      •  VBD, and more
  • One Health
    • Biodiverstiy and Ecosystem
    • AMR
    • Health in Emergencies and Disasters
    • Climate Change
    • Migration Health
    • Global Health
    • Contact us




    Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo: Disease outbreak news, 21 February 2019


    More Ebola in DRC as nurse's murder halts efforts in Vuhovi


    Ebola returns to Beni—survivor transmission suspected

    The new Beni case is among 6 reported today, bringing the outbreak total to 859 cases.

    More »


    SAGE Interim Recommendations on Vaccination against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

    ·      The Ring + approach would be unlikely to provide added benefit over existing strategies and is therefore not recommended.

    ·      The Committee welcomes and supports the recent recommendation of the ethics committee of DRC to authorize the vaccination of pregnant women in outbreak affected areas using the currently recommended vaccination strategies with the live-replicating rVSV-ZEBOV-GP vaccine with informed consent and in compliance with GCP.

    ·      SAGE acknowledges the decision of the ethics committee of DRC to also proceed with vaccination of lactating women and children under 1 year of age given the ongoing outbreak and population risk.


    Pregnant, Lactating Women, Infants In DRC To Be Offered Ebola Vaccine In Policy Reversal


    Bold leadership crucial for Ebola eradication, says ECA’s Biha’s-biha


    Strategic Response Plan for the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in the Provinces of North Kivu and Iture (February - July 2019)


    Zambia Steps Up Ebola Screening at Border with DRC

    Zambian health authorities have intensified Ebola screening among travelers in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a senior official said Monday. 

    Go to article


    Early Transmission and Case Fatality of Ebola Virus at the Index Site of the 2013-16 West African Ebola Outbreak: A Cross-Sectional Seroprevalence Survey

    To date, epidemiological studies at the index site of the 2013-16 west African Ebola outbreak in Meliandou, Guinea, have been restricted in their scope. We aimed to determine the occurrence of previously undocumented Ebola virus disease cases and infections, and to reconstruct transmission events.

    Go to article


    Priority Diseases


    Importance of Diagnostics in Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness

    Diagnostics are fundamental for successful outbreak containment. In this supplement, 'Diagnostic preparedness for WHO Blueprint pathogens', we describe specific diagnostic challenges presented by selected priority pathogens most likely to cause future epidemics.

    Go to article 


    Vaccines Don't Work Against Some Viruses. CRISPR Might One Day Fix That

    Vaccines are risky or ineffective in people with compromised immune systems, they don't even exist for several viral diseases, and flu vaccines, in particular, often fail in the elderly. All of which gave scientists in half a dozen labs the same idea: Rescue one of the oldest biotechnologies with one of the newest - CRISPR1. 

    Go to article


    Classify Viruses - the Gain Is Worth the Pain

    Earth probably harbours a million times more virus particles than there are stars in the observable Universe. These viruses could hold solutions to many of humanity's current problems. Phage therapy could someday be used to treat diseases caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, for instance. Enzymes encoded by new viruses could help researchers to develop pharmaceuticals. Or viruses that kill algal cells could be used to control harmful blooms.

    Go to article


    How to count a trillion viruses

    Earth probably harbours trillions of viruses — but we’ve only formally described 4,958 of them. To potentially harness the power of viruses for good, we need to get to work on classifying the rest, argues virologist Jens Kuhn. “It’s daunting of course. It sounds crazy at the moment,” but we have the technology, he says in this week’s Nature podcast. Also in this episode, we hear that researchers are making atlases of every cell in mouse embryos.



    A Dangerous Duo of Common Fungi Prompts Immune Woes

    A single species of fungus that lives in the human gut affects the immune response to a wide range of fungal microorganisms - including airborne aspergillus spores, which can cause lung inflammation in vulnerable people.

    Go to article



    CDC: Flu activity reaches new seasonal high

    Hospitalization rates are up, and 7 new deaths in kids are reported, raising the season total to 41.

    More »



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


    Epidemic Models of Contact Tracing: Systematic Review of Transmission Studies of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

    The emergence and reemergence of coronavirus epidemics sparked renewed concerns from global epidemiology researchers and public health administrators. Mathematical models that represented how contact tracing and follow-up may control Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome transmissions were developed for evaluating different infection control interventions, estimating likely number of infections as well as facilitating understanding of their likely epidemiology.

    Go to article


    Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Environment Closes Wadi Aldwasir Camel Market over MERS

    The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has quickly closed the camel market in Wadi Al-Dawasar, the largest camel market in the Gulf, following the continued presence of human infections from the Middle East respiratory syndrome.

    Go to article 


    Global Status of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Dromedary Camels: A Systematic Review

    Dromedary camels have been shown to be the main reservoir for human Middle East respiratory syndrome infections. This systematic review aims to compile and analyse all published data on MERS-coronavirus in the global camel population to provide an overview of current knowledge on the distribution, spread and risk factors of infections in dromedary camels.

    Go to article 



    Treatment Outcomes in Global Systematic Review and Patient Meta-Analysis of Children with Extensively Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis




    Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in High-security Lab Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned. For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

    Go to article



    Why Nigeria is battling to control disease outbreaks like Lassa fever


    Faster, Better, Cheaper: The Rise of CRISPR in Disease Detection 

    An epidemic of Lassa fever in Nigeria that has killed 69 people this year is on track to be the worst ever recorded anywhere. Now, in the hope of reducing deaths from Lassa in years to come, researchers in Nigeria are trying out a new diagnostic test based on the gene-editing tool CRISPR. 

    Go to article


    Study of Brazil Favela Stricken by Zika Shows Dengue May Protect Against Virus

    Scientists studying the 2015 Zika outbreak in Brazil have discovered that people previously exposed to dengue may have been protected from the virus.

    Go to article




    Estimating Cholera Incidence with Cross-sectional Serology

    The development of new approaches to cholera control relies on an accurate understanding of cholera epidemiology. However, most information on cholera incidence lacks laboratory confirmation and instead relies on surveillance systems reporting medically attended acute watery diarrhea. If recent infections could be identified using serological markers, cross-sectional serosurveys would offer an alternative approach to measuring incidence.

    Go to article


    Oral Immunization with a Probiotic Cholera Vaccine Induces Broad Protective Immunity Against Vibrio Cholerae Colonization and Disease in Mice

    We recently developed a new live-attenuated OCV candidate derived from a Vibrio cholerae strain isolated during the 2010 Haiti cholera epidemic. Here, we orally immunized adult germ-free female mice to test the immunogenicity of HaitiV.

    Go to article 



    Madagascar and the Philippines are grappling with major measles outbreaks

    More than 900 people have died in a massive measles outbreak in Madagascar that started in September. The WHO reports that there have been more than 68,000 cases of measles, fueled by low vaccination rates across the island. Madagascar officials have launched a sweeping effort to vaccinate people and keep tabs on cases to prevent the spread of measles. Meanwhile, health officials in the Philippines are grappling with a measles outbreak that has killed more than 130 people and sickened more than 8,000 others. &


    Estimates of case-fatality ratios of measles in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and modelling analysis



    What will it take to end fatalities from measles?


    Community informants yield results in surveillance for suspected polio in hard-to-reach areas


    Polio this week as of 20 February 2019


    Poliomyelitis Update: Afghanistan

    One new polio case is just confirmed in southern Kandahar province, days after nationwide campaign against the crippling disease kicked off on Mon 18 Feb 2019. A 60-month-old boy from Ghorak district is infected by the poliovirus. This is the 2nd case reported in 2019, highlighting the ongoing risks of polio and the need for continued immunization, health officials said.

    Go to article




    Q Fever Fact Sheets Available in Six Languages


    ASF situation in Asia update


    Vietnam Confirms First African Swine Fever Cases on Three Farms

    African swine fever has been detected on three farms in Vietnam, authorities said on Tuesday, the first confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease in the Southeast Asia country.

    Go to article


    China Reports First African Swine Fever Outbreak in Guangxi Region  

    China said on Tuesday it had confirmed the first outbreak of African swine fever in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in the country's south, as the highly contagious disease spreads through the world's largest hog herd. 

    Go to article



    African Swine Fever Could Cause EU Rift

    African swine fever has become a major concern for the European Union's veterinary authorities. Widespread in wild boars in central Europe, it is almost always fatal and could devastate the EU's swine industry.

    Go to article


    Biodiversity and Ecosystem

    The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture

    The report addresses the sustainable use, development and conservation of Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture (BFA) worldwide, which is taken to include the diversity of animals, plants and micro-organisms at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels that sustain structures, functions and processes in and around production systems and provide food and non-food agricultural products.


    Why is protecting biodiversity in Africa important?

    Because climate change alone can cause the loss of over half of African bird and mammal species, trigger a 20-30% decline in lake productivity, and a significant loss of plant species.


    India's top court orders eviction of more than 1 million forest dwellers


    Where you live affects your health


    Mystery Disease Killing Beech Trees

    Scientists say the disease, known as Beech Leaf Disease, has been recorded in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and parts of Ontario in Canada. They say the cause of the tree killer needs to be identified in order to halt the spread. It is expected to spread widely if the deadly pathogen becomes established in the wider environment.

    Go to article




    CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub


    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Feb 22, 2019

    ·       Antibiotic Rx for skin infections

    ·       MCR-1, MCR-3 hybrid E coli

    More »


    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Feb 21, 2019

    ·       XDR gonorrhea clone

    • New metallo-beta-lactamase

    ·       Fast track for pneumonia antibiotic

    More »


    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Feb 20, 2019

    ·       Nursing home UTI stewardship

    • Triclosan-induced antibiotic tolerance

    ·       Staph clindamycin resistance

    More »



    International Conference on One Health Antimicrobial Resistance

    ICOHAR 2019 is supported by the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious diseases (ESCMID) and organized by the ESCMID Study Group for Veterinary Microbiology (ESGVM). As part of its mission, ESGVM promotes One Health by facilitating joint research and training collaborations between medical and veterinary microbiologists within areas of common interests, namely zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance.

    Date 16-18 April 2019 in Utrecht, Netherlands




    Advice on Assistance and Protection Provided by the Scientific Advisory Board of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons: Part 1. On Medical Care and Treatment of Injuries from Nerve Agents

    The Scientific Advisory Board of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has provided advice on assistance and protection in relation to the Chemical Weapons Convention. In this, the first of several papers describing the SAB's work on this topic, we describe advice given in response to questions from the OPCW Director-General in 2013 and 2014 on the status of available medical countermeasures and treatments to organophosphorus nerve agents.

    Go to article


    New HHS-Sponsored Research Provides New Tool and Updated Guidance on Mass Chemical Decontamination

    More than a million first responders and emergency managers in the United States now have a science-based chemical decontamination decision tool and updated guidance on how best to decontaminate a massive number of people after chemical exposure. The decision-support tool and guidance, as well as the scientific studies on which they are based, were completed under a contract between the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

    Go to article


    Public Health Emergency Risk Communication and Social Media Reactions to an Errant Warning of a Ballistic Missile Threat — Hawaii, January 2018


    National Disaster Medical System: Bringing More Than Teams of Professional Medical Providers

    We are constantly training and identifying gaps within the preparedness and response framework to better mobilize when the inevitable ultimately occurs. NDMS has identified three pillars to expand the service's capabilities and provide a robust response anytime, anywhere.

    Go to article



    Climate Change


    The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition, and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission report



    WHO Report Highlights Knowledge Gaps in Climate and Health Research

    The synthesis highlights three main messages: the greater the warming, the greater the risks to health overall; important health gains result from actions to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels; and the speed of reducing emissions will affect the level of adaptation ambition required. The report outlines the existing knowledge gaps regarding risks to health and well-being in the context of a 1.5°C temperature rise, including, for example, limited understanding of co-benefits and trade-offs when reducing short-lived climate forcers, such as better health outcomes and improved agricultural productivity.


    Security Council debates how climate disasters threaten international peace and security

    On 25 January 2019, the UN Security Council held an open debate to discuss the security implications of climate-related disaster events. The meeting, initiated by the Dominican Republic, underscored the global nature of climate-related disasters. The debate marks the beginning of a year in which climate security ranks high on the UN's agenda. adelphi's experts were present and provide insights on the debate.


    UK Food Security and Climate Change

    This primer explains the current situation concerning the United Kingdom's food supply and how this is likely to change in the medium and long term as a result of climate change. It discusses likely threats to UK food security emerging from a range of potential warming scenarios and the current policy debate on how to address them effectively.


    The countdown is on for the 2019 #OnePlanetSummit

    On March 14, the third edition of One Planet Summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya to help accelerate and focus attention on climate investments in line with the Paris Agreement. The main themes will focus on promoting renewable energy, fostering resilience and adaptation, and protecting biodiversity in Africa.

    As one of the organizers of One Planet Summit, the World Bank is producing a series of stories to highlight its support of Africa’s climate agenda. The first story and video has a special focus on protecting Africa’s biodiversity. Check it at:

    For more information on the full campaign:



    Call for papers: International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power

    The 2019 International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power, will be held in Vienna, from 7 - 11 October (

    Interested contributors have until 28 April 2019 to submit contributions for the conference (

    Get in touch with the scientific organizers at:





    Less than 5 percent of refugees needing new homes resettled in 2018 -UN


    Guidance on Data Integration for Measuring Migration,

    The UN Economic Commission for Europe published a guide to help policy makers and statisticians use data from different sources to better understand migration flows and characteristics. It highlights the far-reaching influence of migration on societies, and emphasizes the necessity of accessing accurate data on migrants to inform policy making.


    Climate migration hotspots in Mexico and Central America  

    In some areas of the world, including Central America, rising sea levels and declining agricultural productivity due to climate change are expected to trigger major migratory flows, especially within countries. The role of policy-makers is it to promote local solutions while engaging in regional cooperation for a preventative approach.



    Event: High-level Debate on International Migration and Development

    Date: 27 February 2019
    location: New York City, US





    Global health


    Militaries and global health: peace, conflict, and disaster response


    Law enforcement and public health: recognition and enhancement of joined-up solutions



    Harnessing synergies at the interface of public health and the security sector



    Facebook, Facing Lawmaker Questions, Says It May Remove Anti-vaccine Recommendations

    Facebook Inc., under pressure to reduce harmful, misleading and fake content, said it is exploring removing anti-vaccine information from software systems that recommend other things to read on its social network.

    Go to article


    Opinion: It's time to challenge the status quo in picking the World Bank president


    Challenging the status quo in global health


    Spending on health increase faster than rest of global economy,

    More global spending on health, but people are still paying too much


    More talk than action: gender and ethnic diversity in leading public health universities

    The study of 15 highest ranked social sciences and public health universities in the world revealed that clear gender and ethnic disparities remain at the most senior academic positions, despite numerous diversity policies and action plans reported. In all universities, representation of women declined between middle and senior academic levels, despite women outnumbering men at the junior level. Ethnic-minority women might have a magnified disadvantage.


    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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