News Pouch 10 June 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 10 June 2019


  • Spotlight: Ebola situation
  • Spotlight: World Environment Day
  • 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

    External Situation Report- 6 June 2019

    WHO details some strides in Ebola response
    The agency highlights earlier case-contact registration and a drastically lower rate of healthcare-related disease spread.
    More »

    No 'Reset' with Ebola Outbreak, WHO Official Says
    Today leaders from the World Health Organization said the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo remains contained to a small geographic area, but that does not mean the virus is retreating.
    Go to article
    See Also: Large Ebola Outbreaks New Normal, Says WHO
    The world is entering "a new phase" where big outbreaks of deadly diseases like Ebola are a "new normal", the World Health Organization has warned.
    Go to article

    New violence in Beni, DRC, as Ebola lab targeted
    Seventeen new infections and 11 new fatalities raise outbreak totals to 2,025 cases and 1,357 deaths.
    More »

    An Urgent Mystery: Who's Attacking Ebola Responders In Congo — And Why?
    Since late February there's been a dramatic surge in violent – and sometimes deadly — attacks against Ebola response teams.
    Go to article
    Islamic State Claims Deadly Attack in East Congo's Ebola Zone
    Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a deadly overnight attack in an area of eastern Congo hit by an Ebola epidemic, although its account of the violence differed from local reports.
    Go to article

    Ebola cases pass 2,000
    The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has doubled in just over two months, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “I’m profoundly worried,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general, told Nature in May. Despite continuous outreach, many people remain suspicious of Ebola responders — who are often not from the region — and a small proportion assaults health workers. “The number of cases increases with the frequency of attacks,” says Ghebreyesus.
    Nature | 3 min read

    An Experimental Ebola Cure May Also Protect Against Nipah Virus
    African green monkeys survived infection with the Nipah virus after they received remdesivir. The virus, a pandemic threat carried by bats, has killed dozens of people in Asia.

    A short history of an Ebola vaccine

    World Environment Day

    World Environment Day 5 June 2019
    This year the theme for #WorldEnvironmentDay is "Air Pollution". Learn more about its causes and consequences, and how we can#BeatAirPollution together
    Air pollution causes a host of other problems, including illness and lower IQs. It doesn’t just impact human health and economic growth. Many of the pollutants also cause global warming.
    Air pollution is preventable, but we need everyone on board – from individuals and organizations to private companies and governments. If you have an event planned, register it here for global visibility under World Environment Day or read on to get involved.
    Practical Guides
    Often we want to do the right thing, but don’t know where to begin. Our toolkits provide a how-to guide on solutions to air pollution, allowing you to pick and choose what is right for you. Whether you are a business, a government, school or individual, download our toolkits and find out how to #BeatAirPollution.
    On World Environment Day, Springer Nature shares a Selection of Top Pollution Research

    Priority Diseases

    Benefits and Costs of Animal Virulence for Microbes
    Is the capacity for virulence a benefit, a debit, or neutral for microbes? This topic has received relatively little attention in studies of animal microbial pathogenesis, although it is an important area of investigation in the field of plant microbial pathogenesis .
    Go to article

    Ebola, HIV, Spanish Flu, SARS — the 20th Century’s Deadliest Hits
    Some of the scenes in Mark Honigsbaum’s “The Pandemic Century” were so vivid they had me drafting movie treatments in my head. Midway through the book, I was picturing a doctor climbing the front steps of a rowhouse in Annapolis, Md., in the winter of 1930.
    Go to article
    A new H7N9 Disease Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    • No new outbreaks in birds reported;
    • No new human cases reported;
    • 5 new relevant publications;

    New influenza surveillance outputs available on WHO website
    Upgraded information on the WHO Global Influenza Programme’s influenza surveillance outputs is now available online
    Read full article

    Monthly risk assessment on influenza at the human-animal interface

    Improved country preparedness through implementation of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework partnership contribution, 2018, (page xxviii)

    Officials confirm avian flu outbreaks in Mexico, South Africa
    Highly pathogenic avian flu has struck poultry in Mexico and a commercial ostrich farm in South Africa, according to new World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reports posted this week.
    Jun 6 OIE report on H7N3 in Mexico
    Jun 4 OIE report on H5N8 in South Africa

    Equine Influenza Virus—A Neglected, Reemergent Disease Threat

    Influenza surveillance in Middle East, North, East and South Africa: Report of the 8th MENA Influenza Stakeholders Network

    A Snapshot of Influenza Surveillance, Vaccine Recommendations, and Vaccine Access, Drivers, and Barriers in Selected Middle Eastern and North African Countries

    Novel Correlates of Protection Against Pandemic H1N1 Influenza A Virus Infection Influenza viruses remain a severe threat to human health, causing up to 650,000 deaths annually.
    Go to article

    Pandemic influenza preparedness (PIP) framework: Progress challenges in improving influenza preparedness response capacities in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 2014–2017
    ASF Asia Update for 6 June from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.
    * China reported ASF outbreak in Guizhou Province.
    * Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China confirmed ASF in an imported pig showing clinical signs.
    * In Viet Nam, ASF was reported in more southern provinces for the first time.

    Science-Based Wildlife Disease Response
    In 2007, the current outbreak of African swine fever, which severely affects wild boar populations and pigs, reached the Caucasus region. Since then, the virus has spread into eastern Europe and some places in central and western Europe (Such as Belgium) Through wild boar, domestic pigs, and human activities.
    Go to article

    African Swine Fever Is Spreading Fast and Eliminating It Will Take Decades

    'No Way to Stop It': Millions of Pigs Culled Across Asia as Swine Fever Spreads
    South-east Asia is battling to contain the spread of highly contagious African swine fever, known as “pig Ebola”, which has already led to the culling of millions of pigs in China and Vietnam.
    Go to article
    Nipah Virus - India (02): (Kerala) Ministry Press Release
    The Union Minister of Health and Family, Dr. Harsh Vardhan is closely monitoring the situation arising out of reported cases of Nipah virus in Kerala.
    Go to article

    Using Big Data to Monitor the Introduction and Spread of Chikungunya, Europe, 2017

    West Nile and Usutu Virus Infections and Challenges to Blood Safety in the European Union

    Epidemiologic and Clinical Features of Lassa Fever Outbreak in Nigeria, January 1–May 6, 2018

    Joint Estimation of Relative Risk for Dengue and Zika Infections, Colombia, 2015–2016
    Dengue Fever: An Emerging Disease in Oman Requiring Urgent Public Health Interventions

    Enhancement of Risk for Lyme Disease by Landscape Connectivity, New York, New York, USA

    Advances in diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for Nipah virus

    India fears new outbreak of lethal Nipah virus
    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Oman: Current Situation and Going Forward
    US Measles Cases Top Record, Putting Elimination Status at Risk 
    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that 971 cases of measles have been reported this year, topping the 1994 modern-record level, and it warned that if a pair of large outbreaks in and around New York City continue over the summer and fall, the US could lose its measles elimination status.
    Go to article
    Measles Cases Surpass 1,000 in the US, CDC Says
    The number of measles cases reported in the US this year has reached 1,001, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday.
    Go to article
    Mandatory Measles Vaccination in New York City — Reflections on a Bold Experiment Though a vaccine has been available for more than 50 years, measles has recently reemerged as a public health threat in the US. Outbreaks have arisen where vaccination rates have waned, and local governments have responded.
    Go to article

    Investigational drug for resistant TB gets favorable FDA committee vote
    According to a news release from TB Alliance, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee voted yesterday that there is substantial evidence of the effectiveness and sufficient evidence of the safety of pretomanid as part of a combination treatment for adults with extensively drug-resistant (XDR), multidrug-resistant (MDR), or treatment-intolerant or nonresponsive TB. The oral regimen, known as BPaL, also includes bedaquiline and linezolid.
    The FDA is expected to make a final decision on regulatory approval in August.
    Jun 6 TB Alliance press release
    CDC: 80% of new HIV infections linked to people not in care
    People who do not know they have HIV account for 38% of transmissions, while 43% of infections are attributed to people who know they are positive but are not in treatment.
    Hundreds of Children in Pakistan Have Been Infected with HIV. Used Needles Could Be to Blame.
    Health authorities here are scrambling to control an HIV outbreak in the country’s south after the virus was diagnosed in about 700 people, most of them children, in recent weeks.
    Go to article

    WHO calls for point-of-care diagnostics for STIs

    More than 1 million new STI cases daily, WHO finds 
    There are more than 1 million new cases of curable STIs every day, according to new WHO data. Across four diseases — chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis — this translates to nearly 380 million cases globally every year.

    Four new polio cases recorded in 3 countries
    Three countries recorded four new polio cases total, according to a weekly update today from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).
    Afghanistan has a new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case, Pakistan has two WPV1 cases, and Niger has one circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) case.
    In addition to the new cases, officials recorded several environmental detections this week, according to the GPEI, including 16 positive WPV1 samples collected in Pakistan and one cVDPV2 sample in Nigeria. The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday also confirmed a positive cVDPV2 sample detected in a hospital in Cameroon on May 23. The sample is linked to the outbreak in Nigeria. "This event highlights the risk of renewed international spread of cVDPV2 from Nigeria and the rest of the Lake Chad region, given the large-scale population movement; subnational immunity and surveillance gaps across the Lake Chad region," the WHO said.
    Jun 7 GPEI update
    Jun 6 WHO report

    Maintaining the Momentum Against Cholera
    The world still has a great deal of work to do to eliminate cholera from the Global South, as the ongoing outbreak in Yemen shows. But significant progress is being made, and, in 2018, global health organizations set a new record in the delivery of oral cholera vaccines to many of the world's most vulnerable countries.
    Go to article

    FDA approves storage change for Emergent's oral cholera vaccine
    The step allows storage of the vaccine to shift from frozen to refrigerated at 2°C to 8°C (35.6°F to 46.4°F). In a statement, the company also said the FDA's approval allows the transfer of bulk drug substance manufacturing from Emergent's product development facility in San Diego to its manufacturing facility in Bern, Switzerland. It also covers labeling changes related to the two developments.
    Jun 4 Emergent BioSolutions press release

    One Health  

    Gender inequalities across farming systems: Insights from the Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    In a “world-first” move, France is set to ban retailers from destroying unsold non-food items. The ban, which would apply to products such as clothes, cosmetics and electrical items, would force companies to either recycle the goods or donate them to charity. Some €650 million worth of unsold consumer products are currently thrown away or destroyed in France each year, according to the prime minister’s office. In 2016, France became the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food.

    Satellite data shows Amazon deforestation rising under Brazil's Bolsonaro

    One million animal and plant species threatened with extinction
     Landmark IPBES report documents dangerous decline in biodiversity
    Nature is declining globally at an unprecedented rate in human history, with around one million species at risk of extinction and grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), released at its 7th plenary meeting in Paris, France on 6th May.

    Horizon Scanning Tool
    Supporting decision-making to reduce the risk of invasive species and their impact on the environment.
    The Horizon Scanning Tool is a decision support aid that helps you identify and categorize species that might enter a particular country from another country.
    The tool uses CABI data to generate a list of species that are absent from your selected ‘area at risk’ but present in ‘source countries’ i.e. countries with similar climates to your ‘area at risk’, neighbouring or selected trading countries, or countries where there are major transport links.

    Nature-based solutions for urban climate change adaptation: Linking science, policy, and practice communities for evidence-based decision-making
    Nature-based solutions offer an exciting prospect for resilience building and advancing urban planning to address complex urban challenges simultaneously. This article formulates through a coproduction process in workshops held during the first IPCC Cities and Climate Science Conference in Edmonton, Canada, in March 2018, a series of synthesis statements on the role, potential, and research gaps of nature-based solutions for climate adaptation and...
    Food Safety and Security
    A one health perspective on dairy production and dairy food safety  

    World Food Safety Day—Watch why safe food matters are life-and-death matters to poor people worldwide

    UN introduces World Food Safety Day
    Today marks the UN’s first World Food Safety Day. Every year, some 10% of people around the world get sick with a foodborne illness, leading to more than 400,000 deaths. Low- and middle-income countries also lose roughly $95 billion due to lost productivity from sickness. Children are especially vulnerable: Those aged 5 and under account for 40% of the cases worldwide and more than 25% of all deaths from consuming contaminated food. As part of today’s event — which will recur on June 7 yearly — the UN tasked the Food and Agriculture Organization and the WHO with leading efforts to promote food safety. The organizations created a guide to help ensure food safety, including calling on suppliers to safely transport food.

    New EU-wide survey comes out on first World Food Safety Day

    Dietary supplements linked with severe health events in children, young adults

    The Challenge Fund Round 4

    Innovating to Reduce Agriculture and Food Security Risks in Southern Africa
    No Time to Wait: Securing the Future of Drug-Resistant Infections
    Baseline Data on Antimicrobial Use by Beef Feedlots and Swine Operations from USDA

    Special Issue:Antimicrobial Resistance from Food Animal Production

    Anthropological and socioeconomic factors contributing to global antimicrobial resistance: a univariate and multivariable analysis
    Understanding of the factors driving global antimicrobial resistance is limited. We analysed antimicrobial resistance and antibiotic consumption worldwide versus many potential contributing factors. Reduction of antibiotic consumption will not be sufficient to control antimicrobial resistance because contagion—the spread of resistant strains and resistance genes—seems to  factor. Improving sanitation, increasing access to clean water, and ensuring good governance, as well as increasing public health-care expenditure and better regulating the private health sector are all necessary to reduce global antimicrobial resistance.
    Calls for proposals
    Wellcome has issued a call for proposals for research that investigates the impact of vaccines on antibiotic use and/or antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Proposal outlines are due on Sep 6, and full applications are due by Sep 12.

    Emergencies and Disasters

    Special Feature: Making humanitarian action work for women and girls

    Removing Barriers and Closing Gaps: Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Rohingya Refugees and Host Communities

    Hurricane-Associated Mold Exposures Among Patients at Risk for Invasive Mold Infections After Hurricane Harvey — Houston, Texas, 2017

    French security forces harass and intimidate people helping migrants in northern France in an attempt "to curtail acts of solidarity," according to an Amnesty International report. [France24]
    Global Emergency Response Coalition aims to streamline awareness efforts, attract new donors
    Eight of the largest humanitarian aid NGOs have joined together as the Global Emergency Response Coalition, a group that will raise awareness and funds in the United States for crises around the world.
    The Coalition includes CARE, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Plan International USA, Save the Children, and World Vision.

    Armed Conflicts and Antimicrobial Resistance: A Deadly Convergence
    Armed conflicts occur primarily in low- and middle-income countries, which already face tremendous challenges with regards to antimicrobial resistance surveillance and control, such as the lack of functioning microbiology laboratories, the dearth of antibiotic stewardship and infection prevention and control programmes, and unregulated biohazard control.
    Go to article

    How Decision Makers Can Use Quantitative Approaches to Guide Outbreak Responses Decision makers are responsible for directing staffing, logistics, selecting public health interventions, communicating to professionals and the public, planning future response needs, and establishing strategic and tactical priorities along with their funding requirements. Decision makers need to rapidly synthesize data from different experts across multiple disciplines, bridge data gaps and translate epidemiological analysis into an operational set of decisions for disease control.
    Go to article

    Climate Change

    Climate crisis and antibiotic use could 'sink' fish farming industry – report
    Investors’ network warns of serious risk to aquaculture from global heating as well as over-reliance on medicines

    Opinion: Gender equality is central to achieving UHC and climate mitigation

    Environmental health inequalities in Europe: Second assessment report
    The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe
    In this landmark report, the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) focuses on the consequences of climate change for human health in Europe and the benefits of acting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to stabilise the climate. EASAC is the voice of independent science advice, mobilising Europe’s leading scientists from 27 national science academies to guide EU policy for the benefit of society.

    Building resilience to climate change: Pilot evaluation of the impact of India’s first heat action plan on all-cause mortality
    Ahmedabad implemented South Asia’s first heat action plan (HAP) after a 2010 heatwave. This study evaluates the HAP’s impact on all-cause mortality in 2014–2015 relative to a 2007–2010 baseline. The authors analyzed daily maximum temperature (Tmax)-mortality relationships before and after HAP.

    Urban Health

    City trees reduce daytime heat. To curb sweltering nights, planners must minimise pavements
    Planting trees is generally thought to be a good strategy for mitigating the urban heat island effect, the tendency for cities to be several degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas. But scientists haven’t been able to say just how much tree cover cities need in order to counteract the increase in urban temperature from pavement and concrete.

    Urban-scale framework for assessing the resilience of buildings informed by a delphi expert consultation
    The integration of resilience in disaster management is an emerging field as evidenced by an abundant literature. While resilience has been widely explored in several domains, its application demands the consideration of the entire ecosystem and its lifecycle, including disaster stressors and consequences, recovery process, and ultimately the prevention phase. In this paper, a qualitative characterization of...!

    Migration Health

    The surprising ways in which global migration can actually contribute to sustainable development
    The world is now witnessing unprecedented numbers of people forced from their homes. Over 68.5 million people had been displaced by 2018, with over 22 million crossing international borders and becoming classified as refugees. And displaced people represent but a small fraction of global migration – in 2017 nearly 260 million individuals lived outside their country of birth.
    Read more.

    ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths
    Member states should face punitive action over deaths in Mediterranean, say lawyers

    Why Rohingya women risk dangerous home births in Bangladesh’s refugee camps

    Libya’s migrants and refugees with tuberculosis ‘left to die’ in detention centres

    Strategy and action plan for refugee and migrant health in the WHO European Region.

    Migration health knowledge management (MiHKMa).

    Global Health

    The Lancet: Gender norms and health series
    The Lancet has issued a five-part series looking at the influence of gender inequalities and norms on health — and how inequality can be mitigated through health systems, policies, programs, and research.  

    Gender parity in infectious diseases

    U.S still using pesticides banned elsewhere in the world
    Many pesticides that are banned in the EU, China, and Brazil are still being used widely in the U.S., according to a new study. Of the 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides used by the U.S. in 2016, some 322 million pounds were of pesticides banned in the EU. Of the 500 pesticides approved in the U.S., 17 are banned or being phased out in Brazil, and 11 are banned or on their way out in China. In fact, the U.S. has been using more of some of the pesticides banned in at least two of the countries. One reason why the U.S. may be lagging behind is that the U.S. almost exclusively relies on voluntary cancellations by pesticide makers, according to the study, while regulators in the EU, China, and Brazil are responsible for removing harmful pesticides.

    Global Health Spending and Development Assistance for Health
    In 2015, member states of the United Nations adopted the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which included 17 global goals that targeted economic and social development. Goal 3, “to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” targets specifically marked progress in universal health coverage; improved access to safe, effective, and affordable medicines; and the end of the HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis epidemics by 2030.
    Go to article




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