News Pouch, 18 April 2019


Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 18 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 AFRO - Situation Report - Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in DRC - Sitrep 37 (2019)
    As of 14 April 2019, a total of 1264 EVD cases, including 1198 confirmed and 66 probable cases, were reported. A total of 814 deaths were reported (overall case fatality ratio 64%), including 748 deaths among confirmed cases. Of the 1264 confirmed and probable cases with reported age and sex, 56% (712) were female, and 28% (355) were children aged less than 18 years. The number of healthcare workers affected has risen to 89, including 32 deaths, with four new health workers confirmed in the last week; all from community health centres within hotspot areas.

    Congo’s leader sets Ebola outbreak end date after 800 deaths

    Your Cell Phone Is Spreading Ebola
    A deadly outbreak in Congo has become a global emergency because of a raging conflict over valuable minerals. One set of actions, however, can and should be taken immediately by the Trump administration, the U.N. Security Council, the G-20, and international trade offices in countries with significant mobile phone and laptop production and manufacturing facilities. It concerns the vast mineral riches in the soils of North Kivu, sales of which finance weapons purchases for all of the rival forces in the region and constitute a key incentive behind the ongoing violence.

    The emergency that's not an emergency
    Despite a recent spike in cases, the World Health Organization has said that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t reach the threshold of an international public-health emergency. Armed conflict and mistrust of Ebola responders among local populations are hampering efforts to curb the spread of the disease, which has infected more than 1,200 people so far in the latest outbreak. “We need all the help we can get — too many people are dying,” says Guillaume Le Duc of international aid group ALIMA.
    Nature | 3 min read
    “Mapping social sciences research for the Ebola response in Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring countries”.

    Studies find Ebola gene differences in recent DRC outbreaks
    Today in the latest outbreak health officials in the DRC reported 9 more cases and 7 more deaths.
    More »

    Ebola survivors comfort sick and frightened in Congo outbreak
    More than 800 people, including at least 248 under the age of 18, have died since the outbreak began in August 2018.

    2018 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo: a retrospective genomic characterisation

    What’s keeping scientists from vanquishing Ebola?
    More than 40 years after it was identified, the Ebola virus continues to defy drugs, treatment plans—and experts’ best efforts to solve its mysteries.

    2018 Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Retrospective Genomic Characterisation
    The 2018 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, began on May 8, and was declared over on July 24; it resulted in 54 documented cases and 33 deaths. We did a retrospective genomic characterisation of the outbreak and assessed potential therapeutic agents and vaccine (medical countermeasures).
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    Priority Diseases

    Where will world’s next killer diseases come from?
    Influenza at the human-animal interface monthly risk assessment
    The WHO biweekly global influenza update
    The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS

    Malaria vaccine offering 100% protection faces first large field trialA malaria vaccine that can provide up to 100% protection against the disease will be tested in a large clinical trial for the first time. In lab studies, the vaccine, called PfSPZ, has proved to be the most effective one developed for malaria so far, giving healthy volunteers complete protection. Early next year, it will be tested in 2,100 people on the island of Bioko, off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, to see how it fares in real-world conditions.
    Nature | 2 min read

    The world’s deadliest shapeshifter
    It’s Mosquito Week again on the Gates Notes. In this post I write about how the malaria parasite changes shape to foil your immune system. I’ve also written about ingenious new genetic techniques for fighting mosquitoes and maps that could help us defeat malaria.

    These maps could point the way to stopping malaria

    Test-tube mosquitoes might help us beat malaria
    European Experts Sound Alarm as Mosquito - And Tick - Borne Diseases Set to Flourish in Warmer Climate
    New research presented at this year's European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (13-16 April) shows that the geographical range of vector-borne diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is expanding rapidly.
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    Using healthcare-seeking behaviour to estimate the number of Nipah outbreaks missed by hospital-based surveillance in Bangladesh
    Our findings suggest hospital-based surveillance missed nearly half of all Nipah outbreaks. This analytical method allowed us to estimate the underlying burden of disease, which is important for emerging diseases where healthcare access may be limited.
    Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chagas Disease  
    Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, constitutes a substantial public health concern due to its high morbidity and mortality rates among people typically in low-income populations who often do not have access to timely medical diagnosis and treatment. There are also high economic and social costs generated by the disease. Despite successful and sustained vector control policies and screening of blood and organs for donation, more than 6 million people still live with Chagas disease in the Americas, most of them unaware of their infection.
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    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    China urges large pig farms to test for African swine fever

    Every hour 30 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in the European Region.

    Assessing tuberculosis control priorities in high-burden settings: a modelling approach

    Now is the time for shorter all-oral regimens for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis

    Unaware he had measles, a man traveled from N.Y. to Michigan, infecting 39 people

    New Measles Surveillance Data for 2019  
    New measles surveillance data is now available on the WHO website. This preliminary data is based on country reports submitted to WHO at the end of every month. Please note these are not official numbers as countries are still reporting cases to WHO. Through WHO and UNICEF’s joint reporting channels, official numbers are made available annually for the previous year in July. Current estimates for total cases and deaths are released in November.
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    Cholera 101: Why This Ancient Disease Is Making Headlines In 2019

    One Health  

    Biodiversity and Ecosystem

    Earlier springtime disrupts insect and bird lives—and it’s worse than expected

    Behavior Change for Nature Conservation

    When the Glaciers Disappear, Those Species Will Go Extinct’

    Activity Report of International Workshop "How Can Asia Manage Air Pollution and Climate Change? From Understanding Impacts to Implementing Solutions"
    Recent research, including a high profile UN report, has shown that the multiple benefits of managing air pollution and climate change could improve health and well-being in Asia. However there is still a gap between research that focuses on understanding air pollution and climate change impacts, and experiences with implementing solutions to these problems.

    Heritage site or home? Indigenous Thais fight for right to forest

    IPBES Regional Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    recorded a number of webinars presenting the key findings of the Methodological Assessment of Scenarios and Models and the four Regional Assessments of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The webinars, presented by the Assessment co-chairs, are aimed at policymakers, practitioners, civil society organisations, students and everyone else interested in learning about the Assessments' findings. They have been created to familiarise audiences with the Assessment Reports and stimulate interest in accessing the Summaries for Policymakers (SPMs) and the full Assessment Reports.

    The recordings of all webinars in the series are made available as a learning resource on the IPBES website:

    Food Security and Safety
    Agriculture practices delivering food security and climate change mitigation
    this short feature of five specific, scalable agriculture practices employed by farmers that increase productivity or profits and contribute to climate change mitigation.

    Climate risks in Food for Peace geographies: Kenya
    This profile provides an overview of climate risks in Kenya, including how climate change will potentially impact three key sectoral areas in northern Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs): agriculture and livelihoods; health and nutrition; and water resources. The brief also includes an overview of economic, social and ecological characteristics in USAID Food for Peace program area livelihood zones, as well as historical weather trends and...
    Free FAO e-learning on national GHG inventory for land use
    The course gives a general introduction to greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting as well as an overview of the processes behind the production of GHG emissions from the land use sector. It provides guidance for calculating GHG emissions using the IPCC default method and emissions factors (Tier 1), and contains complementary exercises and questions.
    It can be particularly useful for staff in national agencies to strengthen institutional and technical capacities.
    Click here<> for more information about the course.
    Follow this link to start learning:

    Expanding livestock production in Asia and Africa key to environmental as well as human welfare gains

    How AI can monitor industrial livestock farms for environmental compliance
    Researchers have developed a new algorithm that can rapidly identify industrial farms in satellite imagery. This could save huge amounts of time and resources, allowing regulators to focus on monitoring farms instead of trying to find them on a map.
    Read More

    Report highlights lack of access to antibiotics
    Barriers in many countries limit treatment options and prevent people from getting the antibiotics they need.
    More »

    CDC Says Nearly 600 Cases of Deadly Drug-Resistant Fungus Reported
    The CDC has confirmed hundreds of cases of a deadly multidrug-resistant fungus nationwide. The CDC has confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in 12 states over the past few years, most of them in Chicago, New Jersey and the New York City area. The fungus is a yeast infection with a one-in-three mortality rate in cases where the infection reaches the heart, blood or brain, according to the CDC.
    Go to article

    Broken Drug Markets in Infectious Diseases: Opportunities Outside the Private Sector?  A subset of anti-infective drugs are increasingly unavailable for patients in the United States due to pricing or withdrawal from the market. Timely market solutions are needed. We assert that solutions to ensure access to some essential anti-infective agents lie outside capital markets and that public-private partnerships may be the most viable solution.
    Go to article

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Apr 16, 2019

    • Antibiotic prescribing and outcomes
    • Hotel-related superbug colonization

    More »


    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Apr 15, 2019

    • AMR and climate change
    • MDR pathogens in petting zoos
    • Drug-resistant bloodstream infections
    • MDRO on patients' hands
    • Europe-Duke joint venture

    More »

    Emergencies and Disasters

    WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 15/2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 67 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:

    • Humanitarian crises in South Sudan
    • Humanitarian crises in North East Nigeria
    • Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Cholera outbreak in Kenya
    • Measles outbreak in Madagascar.

    500 000 people to be vaccinated agains cholera in Chimanimani and Chipinge, Zimbabwe
    An oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign targeting nearly 500 000 people began on Tuesday, 16 April 2019, in Zimbabwe in the two districts most affected by cyclone Idai. During the campaign all residents of Chimanimani and Chipinge districts aged 12 months and older will receive the vaccine to protect them against cholera.
    Read the story

    Cyclone Idai exposes the gap of disaster risk relief financing in Africa

    Cyclone Idai is over – but its health effects will be felt for a long time

    Two years since world's largest outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea and cholera, Yemen witnessing another sharp increase in reported cases with number of deaths continuing to increase

    Disease detection in a box – a high-tech solution for emergency settings
    Exploring the challenges and opportunities around reproductive health in disasters in Belkuchi Upazila, Bangladesh
    The world is facing stronger and longer disasters, protracted complex emergencies, conflicts and epidemics. These crises can expose weaknesses in health systems, with particularly serious consequences for women and girls in need of reproductive health care. To improve the quality and availability of post‑abortion care during a flood, the University of Leicester and International Planned Parenthood Federation South Asia Region, in collaboration with...
    Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018: “secondary” perils on the frontline
    This report provides an overview of the losses and damages caused by natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2018. Total economic losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters were USD 165 billion. Insurance covered USD 85 billion, the fourth highest one-year aggregate industry payout ever. Man-made disaster-related insurance claims were close to USD 9 billion, up from USD 7 billion in 2017.

    IAEA holds exercise to test international capabilities for assistance in the event of nuclear or radiological emergencies

    Mining dam disasters: lessons from the past for reducing current and future risks

    Climate Change

    Simultaneous heatwaves caused by anthropogenic climate change
    Without the climate change caused by human activity, simultaneous heatwaves would not have hit such a large area as they did last summer.

    New climate models predict a warming surge

    Public perceptions of the health risks of extreme heat across US states, counties, and neighborhoods 
    find that U.S. population perceptions of risk to extreme heat events are particularly low among the elderly, despite their increased vulnerability to the health effects of heat.

    NO2 increases the risk for childhood asthma: a global concern

    Global, national, and urban burdens of paediatric asthma incidence attributable to ambient NO2 pollution: estimates from global datasets

    1.5 degree lifestyles

    Towards reliable extreme weather and climate event attribution

    New Satellite Photos Show Climate Change Is Sweeping Europe
    Swedish forest fires, retreating glaciers and arid cropland attest to a new reality. ­

    Emerging lessons for mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation: Strategic entry points and processes
    A new report developed by GIZ highlights success factors and 7 practical entry points for mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) into policies and planning, based on 16 case studies from Mexico, Peru, South Africa, Philippines and Viet Nam

    Urban Health

    Video: Can Cities Take the Lead on Climate Change?
    Can municipal governments, and the world's growing urban citizenry, lead the way in tackling climate change? Mandy Ikert from C40 offers insights and real-world examples from cities around the globe.

    Rapid urbanisation increasing pressure on rural water supplies globally

    Migration Health

    Challenges for immigrant health in the USA—the road to crisis

    How Trump’s border crisis is driven by climate change

    US Midwest floods prompting workers to migrate to safer ground
    Deadly floods that bear the fingerprints of climate change are prompting an exodus of workers from the U.S. Midwest, the world's biggest professional social network, LinkedIn, said on Wednesday. The website, on which millions of U.S. workers maintain profiles, said data showed a spike in members changing their work location from areas flooded last month to cities in the Southwest and on the West Coast.

    Global Health

    What’s driving the rise of the anti-vaxxers?
    With the World Health Organization listing “vaccine hesitancy” among the ten greatest threats to global health in 2019, unfounded fears are endangering health.

    How Can We Increase Trust in Vaccines?  
    India’s victory over polio stands in contrast to the recent and alarming outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases we are now seeing around the world. From the United States to the Philippines, mistrust – fueled by rumors and misinformation about vaccines – has often been a driver of these deadly and avoidable outbreaks.
    Go to article

    WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions
    To support governments in monitoring and coordination of digital investments in their country, WHO has developed the Digital Health Atlas, an online global repository where implementers can register their digital health activities. WHO has also established innovative partnerships with the ITU, such as the BeHe@lthy, BeMobile initiative for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, as well as efforts for building digital health capacity through the WHO Regional Office for Africa. 
    Over the years, WHO has released a number of resources to strengthen digital health research and implementation, including themHealth Assessment and Planning for Scale (MAPS) toolkit, a handbook for Monitoring and Evaluation of Digital Health, and mechanisms to harness digital health to end TB.

     Artificial Intelligence in Global Health: A Brave New World
    This report outlines an aspirational yet pragmatic framework for better coordination for AI investment between donors, governments, and the private sector, while harnessing a futuristic vision—the digitisation of global health. Because the cost-effectiveness of these AI solutions has yet to be validated, the call for investments feels somewhat premature. Traditionally, the global health community is a late adopter of new technologies. Hence, it is imperative that they have an integral and active role in the dialogue early on. As this report rightfully stipulates, technology will get there, but will the world follow?
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