News Pouch 8 May 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 8 May 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

    On a knife edge’: Ebola outbreak threatens to escalate as violence rises

    Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, Interim Recommendations on Vaccination Against Ebola Virus Disease 
    Over the last four weeks, the Ebola outbreak in the Eastern Provinces of the DRC has deteriorated with a large increase in the number of cases. A major factor in this rise is an increase in critical security incidents that have dramatically affected the ability to identify, follow up and vaccinate contacts successfully. This context challenges the implementation of ring vaccination based on the identification of contacts and contacts of contacts, as recommended by SAGE in April 2017 and confirmed by SAGE during its April 2019 meeting. Further, a potential vaccine shortage may manifest in case the outbreak expands further and/or is prolonged.
    Go to article

    With rising cases and dwindling stockpiles, WHO suggests alternative Ebola vaccination strategies
    Changes that broaden the reach of the vaccines reflect persistent insecurity problems, feedback from experts, and input from Ebola-hit communities.
    More »

    ‘The World Has Never Seen Anything Like This’: WHO Chief on Battling Ebola in a War Zone
    The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is distraught. The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to worsen, and his front-line responders are under attack.
    Go to article

    Cliches Can Kill in Congo
    The Democratic Republic of the Congo is currently facing the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history—at least 931 people have died since August 2018. This is Congo’s 10th confrontation with the deadly virus but the first to defy all efforts to curb it. It’s not just that many of the people who have been infected have opted to stay at home rather than to seek care at treatment facilities, fearing stigmatization. It’s also that the Ebola response has been met with resistance and treatment centers have repeatedly come under attack.
    Go to article

    Ebola Responders in Congo Confront Fake News and Social Media Chatter
    When the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo more than eight months ago, rumour and distrust spread just as quickly as the disease. Amid the scramble to contain the outbreak, social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp have provided a platform for all types of messages – true or otherwise.
    Go to article
    Understanding Long-Term Effects of Ebola Virus Disease
    Human survivors of Ebola virus disease are more likely than uninfected controls to develop memory loss, uveitis, and other abnormal conditions, and Ebola virus remains in semen much longer than previously thought.
    Go to article

    Ebola situation worsening in DR Congo, amidst growing ‘funding gap’ UN health agency warns

    WHO: ‘Notable Escalation’ of Violence in DRC Ebola Outbreak
    Both community resistance and violent attacks are on the rise in hot spots such as Katwa and Butembo, the WHO said, and a perceived lull in cases only reflects that surveillance activity has been interrupted due to ongoing security threats.
    Go to article
    Why Health Workers in the Ebola Hot Zone are Threatening to Strike
    The doctors and nurses who work in the heart of the Ebola outbreak zone in Democratic Republic of the Congo say they've had enough. For weeks they've been subjected to threats of violence and even actual assaults. On Wednesday they gave the government an ultimatum: Improve security within one week or we'll go on strike.
    Go to article

    DR Congo arrests 11 over murder of doctor fighting Ebola

    Who pays the hidden price for Congo’s conflict-free minerals?
    ‘Because we depend on the diggers, if they don’t find revenues, we also suffer.’
    A US rule requires companies to disclose if the extraction of minerals they use helps to fund conflict. Sounds like a good thing, right? But what if it causes miners to lose their livelihoods and does little to end conflict? Check out our two-part multimedia investigation from 2017, which exposes the real cost of the well-intentioned regulation.

    The Ebola outbreak in Congo is getting worse
    Attacks on health workers are making it difficult to contain the virus

    Beni: Three Health Facilities Close in Vuhovi Following Mai-Mai Threats
    Three health facilities in the Vuhovi health zone, in the Bashu chiefdom in Beni territory (North Kivu), have been closed for nearly a month. These structures had to retreat after the many threats of the Mai-Mai militia in this region.
    Go to article

    Institutional Trust and Misinformation in the Response to the 2018-19 Ebola Outbreak in North Kivu, DR Congo: A Population-based Survey
    The current outbreak of Ebola in eastern DR Congo, beginning in 2018, emerged in a complex and violent political and security environment. Community-level prevention and outbreak control measures appear to be dependent on public trust in relevant authorities and information, but little scholarship has explored these issues. We aimed to investigate the role of trust and misinformation on individual preventive behaviours during an outbreak of Ebola virus disease.
    Go to article

    International Partners Meet in Kampala to Discuss Ebola Preparedness and Response
    Serologic Prevalence of Ebola Virus in Equatorial Africa

    Priority Diseases

    Transparency in IHR Emergency Committee Decision Making: The Case for Reform 
    The current outbreak of EVD in DRC is the second largest in history. Only the 2014–2016 West African EVD outbreak has exceed it. The current outbreak is characterised by community mistrust, opposition to vaccination and treatment, and ongoing conflict in the region. The combination of these factors has meant that, despite the best efforts of the WHO, the DRC government and aid agencies in the region, cases and deaths continue to grow on a weekly basis.
    Go to article

    Beyond the Biocontainment Unit: Improving Pathogen Preparedness for Health Workers Prior to the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, only a handful of hospitals in the US had specialized units to care for patients with highly infectious emerging diseases. The outbreak, though, brought forth the advent of the special pathogens units and regional treatment networks through the tiered hospital approach that the US Department of Health and Human Services helped create and fund through the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
    Go to article

    Why Researchers in Rochester Are Testing a New Smallpox Vaccine
    For 40 years, generations of parents have not had to be concerned with the disease. It is the only disease eradicated by vaccine. Yet, testing will soon be underway in Rochester on a new vaccine to replace outdated and potentially dangerous stockpiles. "Stockpiles of a similar, live virus have been kept in storage," explained Dr. Matthew Davis of Rochester Clinical Research.
    Go to article

    Arctic an Unexpected Hotspot for Viral Diversity
    Gregory et al. performed a global survey of the ecological diversity of viruses in the oceans. They identified 195,728 viral populations, greatly exceeding the 15,280 identified in a previous ocean survey. These viral communities sorted into five distinct ecological zones — the Arctic, Antarctic, bathypelagic, temperate and tropical epipelagic, and mesopelagic.
    Go to article
    See also: Marine DNA Viral Macro- and Microdiversity from Pole to Pole
    Microbes drive most ecosystems and are modulated by viruses that impact their lifespan, gene flow, and metabolic outputs. However, ecosystem-level impacts of viral community diversity remain difficult to assess due to classification issues and few reference genomes.
    Go to article

    Unbiased Assessment of Disease Surveillance Utilities: A Prospect Theory Application We contribute a new methodological approach to the ongoing efforts towards evaluating public health surveillance. Specifically, we apply a descriptive framework, grounded in prospect theory (PT), for the evaluation of decisions on disease surveillance deployment. We focus on two attributes of any surveillance system: timeliness, and false positive rate (FPR). Go to article

    Consequences of Pathogen Lists: Why Some Diseases May Continue to Plague Us
    Where are we today in being ready for pandemic threats? Since 2014, we have had two major Ebola virus disease outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo—one still ongoing—and a Marburg disease outbreak in Uganda. Yet, there remains no licensed therapeutic medication for either pathogen. There was also a large plague outbreak in Madagascar that persisted despite the existence of a simple, known, therapeutic agent. What, then, are we doing wrong?
    Go to article
    WHO biweekly global influenza update
    The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS is also available at:

    Successes and Failures of the Live-Attenuated Influenza Vaccine: Can We Do Better?
    LAIV is offered to children across the world, however, its effectiveness significantly varies between studies. Here, we propose a mechanistic explanation to understand these differences. We further propose a way to select the LAIV strain that would have a higher chance of being protective.
    Go to article

    Impact of Influenza Vaccination on Healthcare Utilization – A Systematic Review Although a vaccine-preventable disease, influenza causes approximately 3–5 million cases of severe illness and about 290,000–650,000 deaths worldwide, which occur primarily among people 65 years and older. Nonetheless, prevention of influenza and its complications rely mainly on vaccination. We aimed to systematically evaluate influenza vaccine effectiveness at reducing healthcare utilization in older adults, defined as the reduction of outpatient visits, ILI and influenza hospitalizations, utilization of antibiotics and cardiovascular events by vaccination status during the influenza season.
    Go to article

    H5 outbreaks strike again in Nepal, Taiwan, and Mexico
    Nepal, Taiwan, and Mexico all reported highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks involving different strains, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
    Apr 27 OIE report on H5N1 in Nepal
    Apr 26 OIE report on H5N2 in Taiwan
    Apr 27 OIE report on H7N3 in Mexico

    Estimating Risk to Responders Exposed to Avian Influenza A H5 and H7 Viruses in Poultry, United States, 2014–2017
    View Abstract  

    ILI drops, but CDC records 5 more pediatric deaths
    For the first time since November, the level of flulike illness fell below the national baseline.
    More »

    High viral loads linked to fatal H5N1 cases
    A new study in Clinical Infectious Diseases uses nasal and fecal samples to estimate viral loads in human patients with avian influenza H5N1, finding that higher viral loads are linked to fatal cases. The study was based in Indonesia. Since 2005, Indonesia has recorded 200 human infections with clade 2.1 highly pathogenic avian influenza A/H5N1 virus, and the cases have a high case-fatality rate of 84%.
    Feces and blood had the highest concentrations of H5N1 RNA, and higher viral loads correlated with fatal cases. Genes that conferred resistance to antivirals were also more prevalent in fatal cases.
    Apr 26 Clin Infect Dis study

    Malaria was common across half the world – since then it has been eliminated in many regions

    Humans, macaques, and malaria parasites in a shared and changing landscape

    New CDC Guidance Recommends Artesunate as First-Line Treatment for Severe Malaria

    Tracking spending on malaria by source in 106 countries, 2000–16: an economic modelling study

    Environmental risk factors and exposure to the zoonotic malaria parasite Plasmodium knowlesi across northern Sabah, Malaysia: a population-based cross-sectional survey
    Genomic Surveillance is a Key Weapon in the Fight Against Malaria 
    The World Health Organization recently proposed a new 10+1 initiative for malaria control and elimination that targets 10 of the African countries (plus India) that host 70 percent of global cases.
    Go to article
    Effort Explores Mosquito Disease transmission Prevention
    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency officials are touting the benefits of ReVector, a new program from the agency’s Biological Technologies Office, in combating mosquito disease transmission.
    Go to article

    Dengue cases up in the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia
    Dengue Researcher Faces Charges in Vaccine Fiasco
    A prominent pediatrician and medical researcher in the Philippines has been indicted over the failed—and many say premature—introduction of Dengvaxia, a vaccine against dengue that was yanked from the Philippine market in 2017 because of safety issues. If convicted of accusations leveled at her by the national Department of Justice, Rose Capeding, 63, former head of the dengue department of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine here, could face up to 48 years in prison.
    Go to article
    Nipah Virus Sequences from Humans and Bats during Nipah Outbreak, Kerala, India, 2018 PDF Version[PDF - 1.40 MB - 4 pages]
    View Abstract
    Infections among Contacts of Patients with Nipah Virus, India
    Lassa and Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses, Mali
    Epidemiological Characteristics of an Urban Plague Epidemic in Madagascar, August-November, 2017: An Outbreak Report
    Madagascar accounts for 75% of global plague cases reported to WHO, with an annual incidence of 200-700 suspected cases (mainly bubonic plague). In 2017, a pneumonic plague epidemic of unusual size occurred. The extent of this epidemic provides a unique opportunity to better understand the epidemiology of pneumonic plagues, particularly in urban settings.
    Go to article
    Plague Deaths: Quarantine Lifted After Couple Die of Bubonic Plague
    A quarantine imposed in Mongolia after two people died from the bubonic plague has been lifted, allowing a number of tourists to leave the area. The Mongolian couple contracted the illness after eating the raw meat of a marmot, a type of rodent.
    Go to article
    Living with Plague: Lessons from the Soviet Union’s Antiplague System  
    We argue for the allocation of sufficient resources to maintain ongoing local surveillance, education, and targeted control measures; to incorporate novel technologies selectively; and to use ecological research to inform developing landscape-based models for transmission interruption. We conclude that living with emergent and reemergent zoonotic diseases—switching to control—opens wider possibilities for interrupting spillover while preserving natural ecosystems, encouraging adaptation to local conditions, and using technological tools judiciously and in a cost-effective way.
    Go to article

    When plague came to San Francisco
    The story of the race to stop a plague epidemic in San Francisco that broke out in 1900 is a rich history of epidemiology, political wrangling and scientific denialism, writes medical historian Tilli Tansey. She reviews a pacy and gripping new book that makes “for sober reading in a world where Ebola clinics are being torched and anti-vaccination movements threaten a resurgence” in preventable diseases.
    Nature | 5 min read

    Current Epidemiological Status of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in the World from 1.1.2017 to 17.1.2018: A Cross-sectional Study
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is considered to be responsible for a new viral epidemic and an emergent threat to global health security. This study describes the current epidemiological status of MERS-CoV in the world.
    Go to article

    Risk Factors for MERS-CoV Seropositivity among Animal Market and Slaughterhouse Workers, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2014–2017

    Genetic Characterization of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, South Korea, 2018
    Misguided Doctors and Bad Information Are Fueling the Return of Measles
    Today, we shouldn’t be seeing any cases. The vaccine is widely available to all, regardless of ability to pay for it. And yet, this year has brought a major outbreak of measles, largely because of a scientifically unfounded fear of vaccinations in some communities. Of the 764 people so far infected, the great majority were unvaccinated. California reported 40 cases, many from unvaccinated travelers returning with the infection.
    Go to article
    See also: Germany Vaccination: Fines Plan as Measles Cases Rise
    Parents in Germany who fail to seek medical advice on vaccinating their children could face fines of up to €2,500 (£2,175; $2,800). Health Minister Hermann Gröhe said it was necessary to tighten the law because of a measles epidemic. 
    Go to article

    Measles case count in the U.S. tops 700 this year, as health officials urge vaccinations
    Amid Measles Fears, More Than 200 Students and Staff at LA Universities Are Quarantined
    Trying to stop a measles outbreak from spreading, health officials announced Thursday that more than 200 students and staff members at UCLA and Cal State LA who have been exposed to measles are being asked to stay home. The five people diagnosed with measles so far in LA County this year include a UCLA student and a Cal State LA student. Concerned about the quick spread of disease on busy college campuses, health officials have ordered that students and staff exposed to measles who cannot show they have been vaccinated be quarantined until further notice.
    Go to article
    Caribbean Nation of St. Lucia Quarantines Cruise Ship Over Measles Case
    The Caribbean nation of St. Lucia has imposed a quarantine on a visiting cruise ship, barring any passengers or crew from leaving the boat while in port, after a case of measles was diagnosed on board, the island’s chief medical officer said.
    Go to article
    Recurrent Cholera Outbreaks, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2008–2017

    Polio endgame strategy includes tech, new vaccines

    Infographic: Bold steps to end polio
    Polio Vaccinator Is Shot and Killed in Pakistan  
    Two gunmen on motorcycle shot and killed a polio vaccinator in the southwestern Pakistani city of Chaman on Thursday, bringing the death toll among vaccinators working in the country’s anti-polio drive to at least three this week, officials said.
    Go to article

    Pakistan Polio vaccinations halted after killings amid panic over sterilisation conspiracy theories

    Five countries report new polio cases
    Multiple countries reporting ongoing polio activity reported new cases this week, including wild poliovirus infections in Afghanistan and Pakistan and vaccine-derived polio cases and positive contacts in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Somalia, according to the latest weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
    Apr 26 GPEI weekly update

    One Health  

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

    Biodiversity and Ecosystem

    IPBES7 and Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    The 7th Plenary Session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) runs from April 29 through May 4, 2019 in Paris, France. A Future Earth delegation is attending. The week-long meeting will conclude on May 6 with the release of the first Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services since 2005, including contributions from experts in the Future Earth community. Follow #IPBES7 @IPBES and @FutureEarth on Twitter for live updates.
    Webcasts of the week’s events are also available on the IPBES website. 
    Live and recorded webcasts >>
    Biodiversity loss is a development issue. A rapid review of the evidence 
    From genes to micro-organisms to top predators and even whole ecosystems, we depend on biodiversity for everything from clean air and water to medicines and secure food supplies. Yet human activities are destroying biodiversity around 1,000 times faster than natural ‘background’ rates. This global biodiversity crisis is hitting the poorest communities first and hardest, because they can ill-afford to ‘buy in’ biodiversity’s previously-free goods and services (and are already bearing the brunt of climate change). So why does the development community often ignore biodiversity loss? This paper unpicks misunderstandings and sets out the evidence that biodiversity loss is much more than an environmental problem – it is an urgent development challenge.
    This issue paper is a revised and peer-reviewed follow-up to a paper of the same name published via this link in November 2018. 
    Biodiversity loss, development crisis? 
    Biodiversity — the variety of life on Earth — is being lost at increasing and alarming rates. To date, this has been treated as an environmental problem. Yet the so-called biodiversity crisis is also a development crisis. Biodiversity loss threatens to undermine hard-won development gains, including in health, resilience, food security and GDP earnings. Poor people are particularly dependent on biodiversity — both to meet day-to-day livelihood needs and to enhance resilience to climate change and other threats. So they are hardest hit by its loss, especially when coupled with climate change. In 2020, the international community will agree a new 10-year strategy for biodiversity management. Ensuring this works for both biodiversity and for people requires much more coordinated thinking and action than has happened to date. It is time for the development community to step up to this challenge and engage in the debate.

    World's forests 'in emergency room' after years of losses
    The world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover last year - the equivalent of 30 football pitches a minute - researchers said on Thursday, warning the planet's health was at stake.

    Emperor penguins flee unsteady ice after ‘unprecedented’ failure to breed

    Communicating the health of the planet and its links to human health

    Pollution and our oceans

    Palm oil development leaves Liberians poorer, says winner of 'Green Nobel'
    Food Security and Safety

    Transforming food systems to deliver healthy, sustainable diets—the view from the world's science academies

    Will fish be part of future healthy and sustainable diets?

    Spread of deadly pig virus in China hastens vaccine research
    The virus is not harmful to humans, but is taking a huge economic toll on the pork industry.

    Sticky proteins could protect crops more safely than chemical pesticides

    Here’s how precision agriculture could help farmers reduce fertilizer use
    A creative use of satellite data reveals that there are areas of farmland in America's cornbelt that consistently produce low yields. Pinpointing these plots could help farmers streamline their fertilizer application, by limiting the amount that's showered over unproductive lands.
    Read More

    USA: Excessive rainfall as damaging to corn yield as extreme heat, drought


    Enhancing access to information for women in pastoral areas

    Building the business case for smallholder poultry development (part 1): Taking stock of ACGG ‘1’
    OIE report. “Use of antibiotics to promote growth in food animals down”.
    The use of antimicrobials for growth promotion in food animals worldwide is down, and more nations are reporting specific data on the use of the drugs in livestock, according to the World Organization for Animal Health’s (OIE’s) third annual report on antimicrobial agents in animals.

    Antibiotic resistance in conflict settings: lessons learned in the Middle East

    The Antibiotics Business Is Broken—But There's a Fix

    UN report calls for urgent action against antimicrobial resistance
    Emphasizing a One Health approach, the report calls on UN member states to accelerate national response plans to the AMR crisis, increase and encourage investment in development of new antibiotics and programs to combat drug resistance, collaborate with civil society groups and other stakeholders, and strengthen accountability and global governance.
    More »
    Apr 29 IACG report
    Apr 29 WHO press release

    Study: Antibiotics in older women may increase heart disease risk
    Extended antibiotic use after the age of 40 may be linked to increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
    More »
    Advancing Planetary Health in Australia: focus on emerging infections and antimicrobial resistance

    Value of hospital antimicrobial stewardship programs [ASPs]: a systematic review

    Effectiveness of interventions involving pharmacists on antibiotic prescribing by general practitioners: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    Fixing a ‘Market Failure’: To Develop New Antibiotics, Upend the Incentive Structure, Experts Urge  
    Superbugs, and our dwindling arsenal of drugs that can successfully combat them, are a serious public health concern. The private sector, however, is largely unwilling to take on the financial risk of developing new drugs that could help. Those treatments bring little if any profit.
    Go to article
    The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences special open-access issue on AMR from food animal production:

    International Network for AMR Social Science
    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 was initially created to coordinate academic input from social scientists for the Global AMR R&D Hub.

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Apr 26, 2019

    • Outpatient antibiotic decline in Denmark
    • Inappropriate empiric therapy in Spain

    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Apr 30, 2019

    • Rapid test for optimal antibiotics
    • CARB-X funding rounds
    • CRE infection outcomes
    • Reduced antibiotics for bacteruria

    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for May 07, 2019

    • Candida auris death rate
    • Shorter antibiotic course for UTI

    More »

    Emergencies and Disasters

    Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin, Week 18: 29 April - 5 May 2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 67 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:

    • Cyclone Kenneth in Comoros and Mozambique
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso
    • Humanitarian crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    Week 18: 29 April - 5 May 2019

    WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 17: 22 - 28 April 2019
     The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 68 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key ongoing events, including:

    • Cyclone Kenneth in Comoros and Mozambique
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Measles in Nigeria
    • Humanitarian crisis in Mali.

    India launches mass evacuation, warns tourists, as cyclone bears down on east coast

    Cyclone leaves trail of destruction across Mozambique

    Chernobyl nuclear disaster-affected areas spring to life, 33 years on

    Disaster Exposure and Mental Health Among Puerto Rican Youths After Hurricane Maria

    Indonesia floods, landslides kill at least 29
    Children coping after a disaster
    Mental health plays an important role in physical health, school performance, behavior, and long-term quality of life. Therefore, it is important to keep children physically and mentally safe during and after a disaster. CDC has developed a Ready Wrigley book in English and Spanish to help your child cope after a disaster.

    Impromptu study reveals impact of cash transfers in conflict setting
    see the paper here:

    Trauma care and development assistance: opportunities to reduce the burden of injury and strengthen health systems

    Priority setting in a context of insecurity, epidemiological transition and low financial risk protection, Afghanistan

    Climate Change

    Caribbean action plan on health and climate change

    Air pollution levels could impact on heatwaves

    Stop denying the risks of air pollution
    Efforts in the United States and other countries to dismantle air-quality regulations do a disservice to the more than 90% of the world’s population that breathes dangerously polluted air, argues a Nature editorial. “Now is not the time to undermine efforts to clean air — it is time to strengthen them,” says Nature.
    Nature | 3 min read

    Global, national, and urban burdens of paediatric asthma incidence attributable to ambient NO2 pollution: estimates from global datasets
    Globally, we estimated that 4·0 million new paediatric asthma cases could be attributable to NO2 pollution annually; 64% of these occur in urban centres. This burden accounts for 13% of global incidence. Efforts to reduce NO2 exposure could help prevent a substantial portion of new paediatric asthma cases in both developed and developing countries, and especially in urban areas. Traffic emissions should be a target for exposure-mitigation strategies. The adequacy of the WHO guideline for ambient NO2 concentrations might need to be revisited.
    Climate Change and Health in Small Island Developing States: Regional Plan of Action for SIDS in the African and South East Asian Regions

    Global warming may boost economic inequality

    Cold comfort: Countries get help to cool down in a warming world
    Demand for cooling systems is set to rocket globally, largely driven by growing populations, urbanisation and rising income levels in developing countries, it said, as climate change also pushes up demand. By 2050, energy use for cooling is projected to triple, while in hotter countries such as India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia it could grow five-fold, experts say

    Plan to drill in Alaskan wildlife refuge downplays climate impact, U.S. agency argues

    Man-made crisis: toxic masculinity drives climate change, say UK artists
    Women and girls account for 80 percent of those displaced and their vulnerabilities are exposed during climate disasters, UN says

    Advice from the Arctic: 4 key development challenges facing the far north

    The climate change frontline: farmers and forest communities

    Urban Health

    Sustainable Cities and Towns
    Calling all European cities, regions and civil society organisations - Do you want to win 10,000 EUR and be recognised as a leader of sustainable urban transformation in Europe? Then apply for the 2019 Transformative Action Award today! Application deadline: 31 July.
    3 reasons why you should apply!

    1. Win 10,000 EUR to help initiate further transformative actions in your city or region.
    2. Gain recognition as a leader of sustainable urban transformation in Europe
    3. Receive free entry and a presentation at the 9th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Townstaking place in Mannheim (Germany) from 30 September – 2 October 2020.

    To endorse the Basque Declaration, and enter a Transformative Action to the competition, visit the Sustainable Cities Platform.

    Rockefeller grants its name and $30M to new resilience center
    The center aims to “enhance the resilience of 1 billion people by 2030” — in partnership with organizations likely to include major insurance companies, consulting firms, municipal governments, and NGOs.

    Annual Meeting of the WHO European National Healthy Cities Networks

    29–31 May 2019, Lisbon, Portugal
    The meeting has 4 key objectives:

    1. to undertake a situation analysis of the national networks in the European Region in the context of the strategic objectives, goals and implementation framework for national networks in Phase VII;
    2. to identify examples of good practice and ways of strengthening synergy and coherence between networks and national counterparts as part of Phase VII implementation;
    3. to share examples of good practice and lessons learned, as well as discuss ways to strengthen the scientific and technical support to national networks;
    4. to discuss the creation of an action plan and accountability and indicator framework for national networks by using exercises designed to deliver leadership training.

    For more information, please contact

    Migration Health

    Audience Responses to Migration Stories: Research Component of Voices of African Migrants
    This report was commissioned to examine the nature and quality of media stories produced by journalists supported by the Voices of African Migrants website pilot programme in 3 of 4 migration "hubs" in Africa, also exploring how local audiences interpreted and responded to those stories. The research methodology had an ethnographic component. One finding: An emphasis on "voice" in this context can inadvertently lead to an under-interrogation of systemic and structural issues. Best practices for the media are offered.
    Assessing the Impact of Artistic and Cultural Activities on the Health and Well-being of Forcibly Displaced People Using Participatory Action Research
    This study developed a participatory action research (PAR) method for assessing the impact of arts interventions developed by the Helen Bamber Foundation (HBF) for forcibly displaced people. PAR was found to be particularly appropriate for refugees/asylum seekers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health issues in that their involvement as co-researchers countered client isolation and built social capital

    Global Health

    WHO Issues Guidance on Promoting Equitable Access to Safe Drinking Water

    Vaccine Platforms: State of the Field and Looming Challenges
    The prospect of severe infectious diseases with pandemic potential has triggered significant interest in developing the capacity to rapidly accelerate the development and manufacturing scale-up of medical countermeasures (MCMs) against such threats. Among MCMs, arguably the highest impact interventions involve vaccines. Vaccines can be used in various ways to dampen or extinguish an outbreak—and ultimately to prevent such outbreaks from occurring in the first place.
    Go to article

    Vaccine hesitancy

    Will splashy philanthropy cause the biosecurity field to focus on the wrong risks?
    Last October an international team of scientists and lawyers raised alarms about a new US Defense Department program aimed at using insects to rapidly spread modified genes into crops. Called Insect Allies, the program is ostensibly aimed at enhancing US agriculture and improving responses to national emergencies. Critics pointed out the scientific knowledge to be gained from Insect Allies was limited. Moreover, the Defense Department had not addressed how to overcome major practical and regulatory impediments to realizing the projected benefits, raising concerns that Insect Allies could be perceived as an effort to develop biological agents and delivery mechanisms for hostile purposes, a breach of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

    Europe- Participatory approaches to reaching the SDGs - Policy briefings (2019)

    A year of #MeToo has done little to change medicine for female physicians




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