News Pouch 15 April 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 15 April 2019


  • Spotlight: Ebola
  • 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 stops short of declaring Ebola crisis a global health emergency
    WHO Asks Panel to Weigh Whether Ebola Outbreak Is Global Emergency
    With new case numbers rising at an alarming rate, the World Health Organization said Wednesday it will again look at whether the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should be declared a global health emergency.
    Go to article

    The world’s second-worst outbreak of Ebola is underway in Congo. Where is the concern?

    Congo Ebola outbreak "far from contained," U.S. aid chief says
    The Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has killed more than 600 people

    Ebola cases climb to 1,168 as more health workers infected
    DRC officials report 14 new cases and the community death of a health worker.
    More »
    See also:
    Apr 9 DRC report
    Apr 9 WHO African regional office update

    WHO AFRO - Situation Report - Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in DRC - Sitrep 36 (2019)
    As of 7 April 2019, 1154 EVD cases, including 1088 confirmed and 66 probable cases, were reported. A total of 731 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 63%), including 665 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the1154 confirmed and probable cases with reported age and sex, 57% (662) were female, and 29% (331) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 85, including 30 deaths, with three new health workers among the newly confirmed cases in Katwa and one in Musienene.

    Social science research projects for the Ebola response in the DRC and neighbouring countries

    Eye care for Ebola survivors

    In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, local ophthalmologists are learning to provide specialized care to Ebola survivors.

    Shifting the Paradigm — Applying Universal Standards of Care to Ebola Virus Disease
    As the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 10th outbreak of Ebola virus disease rages in this resource-limited, war-torn region, advances in the delivery of supportive care and the introduction of investigational therapies provide a glimmer of hope amid the mounting infections. In the absence of effective therapies or vaccines, EVD outbreak response has centered around the most basic of public health principles — identification and isolation of patients with suspected and confirmed EVD and tracking of all the contacts of the confirmed patients, who are then rapidly isolated if they show signs of disease.
    Go to article



    Priority Diseases

    The Scary Shortage of Infectious-Disease Doctors

    Disease X and other unknowns
    J.I.D. Supplement: 100 Years of Fighting Pandemic Influenza 1918/19–2018/19
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases has just published an influenza-specific supplemental issue, featuring 15 articles, 5 of which are either free or open-access.
    Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health
    Age-Specific Differences in the Dynamics of Protective Immunity to Influenza
    Influenza A viruses evolve rapidly to escape host immunity, causing reinfection. The form and duration of protection after each influenza virus infection are poorly understood. We quantify the dynamics of protective immunity by fitting individual-level mechanistic models to longitudinal serology from children and adults. We find that most protection in children but not adults correlates with antibody titers to the hemagglutinin surface protein.
    Go to article

    What next in the fight against Lassa fever?
    Fifty years since Lassa fever was first identified in Nigeria, the country is grappling with yet another outbreak, now set to be the worst on record, with 72 deaths confirmed in the first six weeks of the year — albeit in part because of improved disease reporting, according to the government

    Europe at risk from spread of tropical insect-borne diseases
    Scientists warn of danger from dengue fever in hotter, wetter climate in northern latitudes

    Risk Factors for MERS-CoV Seropositivity among Animal Market and Slaughterhouse Workers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2014-2017 (Emerging Infectious Diseases) Camel contact is a recognized risk factor for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection. Because specific camel exposures associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity are not fully understood, we investigated worker–camel interactions and MERS-CoV seroprevalence. We assessed worker seroprevalence in 2 slaughterhouses and 1 live-animal market in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, during 2014-2017 and administered an epidemiologic survey in 2016 and 2017. During 2014-2017, we sampled 100-235 workers, and 6%-19% were seropositive for MERS-CoV at each sampling round.
    Go to article


    China’s African Swine Fever Epidemic Drives up Inflation in March
    China’s consumer price inflation rose sharply in March, as the country struggles to contain the impact of an African swine fever epidemic that has sent pork prices soaring. Consumer price inflation rose 2.3 per cent year-on-year, a large increase on February’s figure, when consumer prices rose by 1.5 per cent.
    Go to article
    ASF Asia Update for 12 April from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.    


    Drug resistant strains could become the dominant form of TB in Europe: it’s time to end TB

    WHO Europe/ECDC joint press release: Every hour 30 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in the European Region. It’s time to make TB a disease of the past

    Novel Method for Rapid Detection of Spatiotemporal HIV Clusters Potentially Warranting Intervention
    Rapid detection of increases in HIV transmission enables targeted outbreak response efforts to reduce the number of new infections. We analyzed US HIV surveillance data and identified spatiotemporal clusters of diagnoses. This systematic method can help target timely investigations and preventive interventions for maximum public health benefit.
    Go to article
    STI & HIV 2019 World Congress
    The STI & HIV 2019 World Congress to be held July 14 – 17, 2019 at the Vancouver Convention Centre East Building, in Vancouver, Canada.
    This Congress represents the joint meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research (ISSTDR) and the International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI). This biennial meeting is one of the largest international meetings on sexually transmitted infections, drawing delegates from around the world.

    New York City orders mandatory vaccines for some amid measles outbreak

    But 40,000+ cases of AFP in India must mean polio is thriving, right? No.


    A 102-year-old cholera bacterium reveals its secrets
    Researchers have sequenced a strain of cholera bacterium collected during the First World War and thought to be the oldest publicly available strain in existence. Revived after more than 100 years in storage, the live microbe offers insights into how the cholera microbe attacks and clues to its antibiotic resistance.
    Nature Research Highlights | 1 min read
    Reference: Proceedings of the Royal Society B paper
    Get more of Nature’s Research Highlights: short picks from the latest papers.

    One Health  

    A chance to implement One Health in the Middle East and north Africa

    Royal Veterinary College, U London, funds One Health translational research programme to fight infectious diseases
    October, 2018. The programme adopts a ‘one health’ approach to the development of new vaccines, diagnostic tools and mathematical models to combat infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

    American Public Health Association Annual Meeting with One Health Sessions and posters and Continuing Education for Veterinarians/Veterinary staff
    November 2-6, 2019 


    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    UN Biodiversity Convention Launches Action Agenda Online Platform
    The Action Agenda platform aims to provide a repository of actions taken for nature by all sectors of society in order to ensure that the post-2020 global biodiversity framework debuts “with the full commitment and engagement” of the global community.
    The online platform will enable the mapping of biodiversity efforts around the world, estimate impact, and help to identify key gaps.

    The Great Barrier Reef’s corals are struggling to recover fast enough
    Climate change is making ocean heat waves worse—a reality that increases the chances for mass bleaching and puts young coral in jeopardy.

    Ecuador's hunter-gatherers in court over oil drilling in Amazon
    Nordic Countries Call for Ocean Plastic Treaty

    Mapping Europe's invasive alien species

    Environmental Footprint: New chemical toxicity indicators

    ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse – and rethink’ how you’re using plastic
    Naturalist Sir David Attenborough laid out in dramatic, visual terms the challenges facing our ocean, then joining World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva for a fireside chat on the need to address marine pollution.

    The scandal of calling plantations ‘forest restoration’ is putting climate targets at risk

    Recording of event
    From Source to Sea: Innovative Ways to Tackle Marine Pollution
    April 11, 2019 | 14:30 to 16:00 ET, 18:30 to 20:00 GMT

    Online Course: Biodiversity Finance
    This free, seven-week MOOC will provide you with the tools to assess the policy, institutional, and economic context for biodiversity finance; conduct a financial needs assessment to achieve a country’s biodiversity goals; and develop a biodiversity finance plan that identifies the most suitable finance solutions. This course will teach you how to develop financially sound and politically feasible biodiversity finance plans. The course is aimed at conservation planning and biodiversity finance practitioners and policymakers, but is open to anyone.

    Food Security and Safety
    Poor rainfall threatens food security in Greater Horn of Africa

    One Health Hub explores how to meet growing demand for safe poultry meat and eggs in Asia
    Researchers from Asia, Australia, Europe and the UK have begun work on an ambitious five-year project, the UKRI GCRF One Health Poultry Hub , exploring the public health risks associated with poultry intensification in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Working with local, regional and global stakeholders, they will study how intensification increases risk of infectious diseases, including those with pandemic potential, as well as antimicrobial resistance. They will also explore why certain processes and behaviours are risky, and when and where to test interventions for disease control to meet the growing demand for safe, low-cost poultry meat and eggs driven by population growth.

    Ethiopian farmers struggle to scratch a living in warming highlands


    A global hub for antimicrobial resistance is taking shape
    Conceived during Germany's 2017 Group of 20 presidency, a new hub for efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance is now taking shape in the country's capital, Berlin. The hub was launched at last year's World Health Assembly, although activities only got underway toward the end of 2018. The secretariat is focusing first on creating a dashboard to document research and development efforts already underway, while it works to set future priorities.

    Launch of  International Network for AMR Social Science (INAMRSS)
    The International Network for AMR Social Science (INAMRSS) is an open consortium of international academic centers focused on social science research and policy on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It functions as a network of networks, fostering international research collaboration by tying together research leaders from diverse regional, national, and international AMR research centers.

    Resistant microbes commonly found on hospital privacy curtains
    MDRO contamination rates ranged from 11.9% to 28.5% across 6 facilities.
    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Apr 11, 2019

    • Macrolide-resistant Mycoplasma
    • MRSA rapid tests
    • Penicillin allergy mislabeling

    More »

    Call for individual consultants
    The WHO Dept of Essential Medicines and Health Products (EMP) is calling for an individual consultant to support the Innovation, Access and Use (IAU) team in the implementation of the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance strategic objective four, to optimize the use of antimicrobials. The work will involve supporting the development of training materials and delivering training workshops on antimicrobial stewardship (national, hospital and/or community) in low-and middle-income countries based on WHO tools and materials. Proposals are due no later than Apr 23

    Emergencies and Disasters

    First ever recorded tornado in Nepal
    A deadly storm that tore through Nepal almost two weeks ago was the country’s first ever recorded tornado. A team identified the extremely rare event in southeast Nepal without the aid of typical tornado-detecting instruments, instead relying on satellite images, analysis of social-media posts and a visit to the affected area.
    Nature | 4 min read

    Powerful, 'abnormal' rains lash Rio de Janeiro, at least six dead
    Brazil's second largest city has declared a state of emergency after the storm

    Cyclone Idai's death toll over 1,000, hundreds of thousands displaced
    The World Bank estimates the affected countries will need over $2 billion to recover
    Mozambique’s Beira city ‘returning to life’, elsewhere UN teams assess damage, deliver assistance 
    Nearly one month after Cyclone Idai slammed into the southeast African coast, the streets of Mozambique’s busy port city of Beira are “returning to life” as the search for survivors continues throughout neighbouring Zimbabwe, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.

    Combating cholera in Mozambique

    World Bank puts Mozambique's economic losses from Cyclone Idai at up to $773 million

    UN loss and damage mechanism needs reboot to protect climate victims
    The body should consider innovative financing solutions that can repair the soaring costs of climate change and address global inequality

    Pandemic preparedness and response in fragile, conflict and violence (FCV) situations
    This brief discusses pandemic preparedness in fragile contexts or situations of conflict and violence. Robust pandemic preparedness and response is an urgent need necessary to address vulnerability and to prevent, detect and respond to an outbreak in FCV situations. It contributes to universal health security, protecting all people from threats to their health, and should be integrated in broader efforts to strengthen health systems and make them...

    IASC, Protocol for the Control of Infectious Disease Events. Humanitarian System-Wide Scale-Up Activation, 2019

    The latest Asian Development Outlook 2019
    ADB’s flagship economic publication, has just been released. The theme of this year’s ADO is strengthening disaster resilience. The chapter dedicated to this topic includes a look at how natural hazards put the region’s prosperity at risk and what investments are needed to improve disaster resilience.
    To download the full report or highlights:
    Recent Significant Disasters in the Asia and Pacific Region

    Health Systems: Emergency-care Systems
    The Sixtieth World Health Assembly, having considered the report on health systems: emergency-care systems. Recalling resolutions WHA56.24 on implementing the recommendations of the World report on violence and health and WHA57.10 on road safety and health, which respectively noted that violence was a leading worldwide public health problem and that road-traffic injuries caused extensive and serious public-health problems.
    Go to article

    China blast highlights need to continuously improve industrial and chemical safety – solutions exist

    ASEAN risk monitor and disaster management review (ARMOR)
    The ASEAN Risk Monitor and Disaster Management Review (ARMOR) is important for several reasons. Firstly, until this point there has been no authoritative publication that provides risk profile information specifically regarding the ASEAN region. Secondly, with an ever-growing body of accumulated knowledge and information on disaster in the region, there is an urgent need to provide critical analysis and synthesis that can inform policy making and...

    Climate Change

    Killing Fields: Air Pollution from Corn Production Tied to Higher Mortality
    Air pollution from U.S. corn production, mainly ammonia emissions from fertilizer use, results in 4,300 premature deaths every year.
    Read More

    Noncommunicable diseases and air pollution

    Drought is not just about water. It affects air pollution, too

    Striking a balance: managing El Niño and La Niña in Lao PDR’s agriculture
    This report’s purpose is to help Lao policy makers and stakeholders prepare for future El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. It does this by providing information on ENSO’s poverty, economic, and agricultural impacts in Lao PDR and outlining ways forward. The report finds that ENSO’s impacts vary from region to region and harm Lao PDR’s people, economy, and agricultural sector.

    Urban Health

    The trouble with the urban farming ‘revolution’
    Rooftop agriculture and vertical farms are touted as the way of the future. But one case study on commercial farms in New York City sheds doubt on urban agriculture's actual success.
    Read More

    "Sustainable urbanization in Southeast Asia and beyond: Challenges of population growth, land use change, and environmental health"

    Singapore makes room for allotment gardens as urban farming takes root

    Migration Health

    UN’s Grandi slams ‘toxic language of politics’ aimed at refugees, migrants
    In a heartfelt briefing to the Security Council on Tuesday, Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has said that, during his three and a half decades as an international civil servant, he has “never seen such toxicity, such poisonous language in politics, media and social media,” directed towards refugees, migrants and foreigners.

    The real border crisis is occurring in medical and emergency clinics
    The real border crisis is what hospitals near the southern border see every day. It manifests as broken bones, lost appendages, and severe dehydration. It is the thousands of people marooned in ICE detention centers. It is the families seeking asylum who are met with violence. It is the people who have vanished on both sides of the border. It is the thousands who have died on their journeys to seek better lives in the United States.

    Global Health

    Mapping Vaccination Coverage to Explore the Effects of Delivery Mechanisms and Inform Vaccination Strategies
    The success of vaccination programs depends largely on the mechanisms used in vaccine delivery. National immunization programs offer childhood vaccines through fixed and outreach services within the health system and often, additional supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) are undertaken to fill gaps and boost coverage. Here, we map predicted coverage at 1 × 1 km spatial resolution in five low- and middle-income countries to identify areas that are under-vaccinated via each delivery method using Demographic and Health Surveys data.
    Go to article

    Physician-moms still take on the majority of housework
    Physicians who are mothers still take on the majority of housework, according to a new studythat suggests domestic responsibilities may contribute to some doctors’ job dissatisfaction. Almost all the roughly 1,700 physician-mothers who were surveyed were married or had a partner, but a majority of them said they were solely responsible for routine child care plans and shopping for children’s clothes. The survey also found that for physician-moms in “procedural” specialties — including surgeons, anesthesiologists, and OB-GYNs — those who reported being in charge of five or more chores at home were more likely to desire a career change than those who were in charge of fewer tasks.

    Women in Medicine Summit: An Evolution of Empowerment
    September 20-21, 2019 | Chicago, IL, USA
    Barriers have existed for female physicians since the first woman was accepted into medical school. In 2016, nearly 46% of medical school graduates were women, yet women physicians remain underrepresented in leadership roles, both in and out of academia. The focus of this summit is to identify barriers women physicians face in the medical field and create action plans that can be executed at both the local and national level.
    Registration | Call for Awards | Call for Abstracts

    Partnership Statement: Advancing Implementation Research and Delivery
    The Global Financing Facility, World Bank, USAID and partners are creating an alliance to advance the use of implementation research and delivery science to address global health challenges. Please consider joining this effort. Further information is in the following link.

    Improving Access to Affordable Vaccines for Middle-income Countries in the African Region
    Despite the remarkable power of immunization reducing morbidity and mortality due to vaccine preventable diseases, one in five African children still does not receive all the basic, necessary vaccines. This is particularly true of the 10 middle-income countries in the WHO African Region, where data demonstrates that immunization coverage is decreasing.
    Go to article

    Afghan Taliban bans WHO and Red Cross work amid vaccination drive

    World Bank pandemic facility 'an embarrassing mistake,' says former chief economist




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