New Pouch: 5 August 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 5 August 2019

Welcome to this issue of the newsletter where we highlight key latest news and literature relevant to health emergencies preparedness and response research and policy, tagged by thematic area.

We appreciate receiving your reports, articles and studies to share widely within our network. Please contact Chadia Wannous via email at

Wishing you useful reading!

  • Spotlight: Ebola Outbreak Situation
  • Updates and News on Outbreaks
    • Priority Infectious Diseases
      • Influenza
      •  VBD, and more
  • One Health
    • Biodiversity and ecosystem
    • Food Security and Safety
    • AMR
    • Health in Emergencies and Disasters
    • Health and Climate Change
    • Urban Health
    • Migration Health
    • Global Health
    • Contact us

    Ebola Outbreak Situation

    Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

    At 1-year mark, we mourn the lives lost, and call for solidarity
    Joint statement by heads of agencies on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Ebola outbreak 1 year anniversary, 3rd case in Goma

    Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: 1 year on
    Ebola outbreak in DRC: crisis update July 2019 MSF

    Ebola in DRC: One year into the outbreak

    DRC sees cases surge as Ebola outbreak hits 1-year mark

    Ebola Outbreak In Congo Enters Year 2. Is An End In Sight?

    The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - Press conference (1 August 2019)

    Rwanda shuts border with DR Congo to stop spread of virus

    WHO recommendations for international traffic related to the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Millions in DRC face lethal mix of virus, violence, and inadequate healthcare - Oxfam

    Ebola outbreak fails to trigger World Bank pandemic bonds
    Key element of bond payout has not been activated despite 1,700 deaths in DRC

    USAID fact sheet- 29 July 2019

    Rwandan hospitals conduct Ebola simulation drills to prevent outbreak

    Mixing it with the Motards: understanding the needs and concerns of crucial community communicators

    Ebola reports show more health workers infected
    Daily outbreak updates from the health ministry resumed, which also detailed contact tracing in Goma where local transmission recently began.
    More »
    See also:
    Jul 31 DRC update
    Aug 1 DRC update
    WHO Ebola dashboard
    Aug 2 Associated Press story
    Aug 2 WHO disease outbreak news
    Uganda starts Ebola vaccine trial among healthcare and frontline workers
    UK Public Health Rapid Support Team deploys more experts to support Ebola outbreak response

    Case fatality ratio estimates for the 2013 – 2016 West African Ebola epidemic: application of Boosted Regression Trees for imputation

    The accuracy and precision of the naïve CFR remain limited because 44% of survival outcomes were unreported. The adjusted CFR estimates for the 2013-2016 West African epidemic were 82.8% overall and 89.1%, 65.6% and 79.2% for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, respectively. We found that district, hospitalisation status, age, case classification and quarter explained 93.6% of the variance in the naïve CFR.

    Priority Diseases


    WHO biweekly global influenza update

    The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS

    Estimated incubation period and serial interval for human-to-human influenza A(H7N9) virus transmission
    View at Emerg Infect Dis

    Narcolepsy and pandemic influenza vaccination
    View at Pediatr Infect Dis J

    Trivalent influenza vaccination randomized control trial of pregnant women and adverse fetal outcomes
    View at Vaccine

    The partnership for influenza vaccine introduction (PIVI): supporting influenza vaccine program development in low and middle-income countries through public-private partnerships
    View at Vaccine
    Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)

    The Global Vector Hub
    The Global Vector Hub aims to transform the way vector control and vector research communities operate and communicate, by providing a platform for sharing and disseminating data and information on vectors through - A database and integrated map,Research tools, guidelines and training packages, Discussion forums. And Network of Networks

    Out of date before it’s published
    The outbreak of the Zika virus in 2015 caused a surge in research on the virus — and the desperate need for a systematic review of the evidence. But, by the time the first such review was published eight months later, it was already out of date — another 1,400 relevant papers had come out. Scientists including epidemiologist Nicola Low, who led the Zika review, describe how a constantly updated “living systematic review” can get on top of fast-moving fields.
    Nature Index | 5 min read

    Bangladesh struggles to control the worst dengue outbreak in its history
    Extraordinary increase in West Nile virus cases and first confirmed human Usutu virus infection in Hungary, 2018

    Malaria vaccination and rebound malaria

    Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: test early with ROTEM?

    Lessons learned from the investigation and response of Lassa fever outbreak, Margibi County, Liberia, 2018
    View at BMC Infect Dis

    Protection from lethal Lassa disease can be achieved both before and after virus exposure by administration of single-cycle replicating Lassa virus replicon particles
    View at J Infect Dis
    ASF Asia Update for 2 August from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.
    * It has been one year by tomorrow since the first ASF outbreak was reported in Liaoning Province, China on 3 August 2018.
    * China detected ASF virus in pigs being transported by vehicles into Liaoning Province where the last outbreak was reported in October 2018.
    * China reported additional ASF outbreak in Jingzhou City, Hubei Province. An outbreak was reported in Huanggang City, also in Hubei Province, last month.

    Modelling the importation risk of measles during the Hajj


    Leading UNAIDS: a once-in-a-generation challenge?
    4. ANALYSIS: Domestic financial contributions to HIV, TB and malaria programs remain low in Global Fund ‘high-impact’ Asian countries
    A new analysis by Aidspan found that in ‘high-impact’ Asian countries, domestic contributions to the HIV, TB and malaria responses remain low, particularly for malaria. Domestic resources accounted for 64% of the total available funding for HIV, 55% for TB and 46% for malaria, in the 2015-2017 implementation period. The share of domestic resources rose, in the 2018-2020 period, to 81% for HIV, 63% for TB and 65% for malaria. Despite this increase, the countries still face huge gaps in funding in the current 2018-2020 period.
    FEATURE: IAS 2019 conference on HIV science reveals hopeful new treatment and prevention approaches
    The International AIDS Society’s bi-annual conference on HIV science, held this year in Mexico City on 21-24 July, unveiled a number of pioneering clinical advances, including implantable, long-lasting pre-exposure prophylaxis, the potential for four-day-a-week antiretroviral treatment being as effective as everyday treatment in patients who are already virally suppressed, and clarification on the safety of using antiretroviral dolutegravir during pregnancy.

    Alarming surge in drug-resistant HIV uncovered
    The drug-resistant form of the virus has been detected at unacceptable levels across Africa, Asia and the Americas.

    HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis: ongoing challenges and new opportunities

    ‘Mosaic’ HIV vaccine trial set to begin
    An experimental HIV vaccine that promises the longest-lasting protection so far will start a late-stage clinical trial later this year. More than 100 HIV vaccines have been tested in people in the past three decades, but only one has demonstrated any kind of protection, which waned within a year. One of the biggest challenges is the huge diversity of HIV strains circulating in the world. The new vaccine contains a disabled common-cold virus that carries synthetic HIV genes and proteins based on lots of strains from around the globe.
    Nature | 4 min read
    Prevention of tuberculosis in household members: estimates of children eligible for treatment
    Abstract [HTML] ¦ Article [HTML] ¦ Article pdf

    A new point-of-care test to diagnose tuberculosis

    One Health  

    Rinderpest, smallpox, and the imperative of destruction

    Crimean–Congo haemorrhagic fever: test early with ROTEM?

    Emergence of human monkeypox in west Africa
    The Doctoral Programme 
    The One Health EJP is funding a total of 17 PhD projects! This is 5 more than originally anticipated. Congratulations to all!
    visit our website.
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    Streaming videos comes at a cost to the environment.
    French think tank Shift Project says video-on-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube account for 60% of all emissions from digital technologies – and on a par with the greenhouse gas output of nations such as Bangladesh and Nigeria. The digital industry (smartphones, computers, TVs, data centres) emits 4% of the world’s greenhouse gases, twice the pollution from airlines. And it's only going to get worse: the streaming video market is expected to double to $72.8 billion by 2023.
    Here’s what people are saying.

    Ethiopia 'breaks' tree-planting record to tackle climate change
    The aim is to plant a total of four billion indigenous trees.
    Murder of Brazilian indigenous leader a ‘worrying symptom’ of land invasion

    164 land defenders murdered in 2018, Global Witness reports

    Even more evidence that big animals help fight the climate crisis
    As scientists learn more about the importance of animals to nature’s carbon-sequestering capabilities, they’ve come to understand that extinctions and extirpations are climate issues.
    Read More

    Deforestation Supply Chains
    Much of the deforestation of tropical rainforests around the world is being caused by agricultural expansion, mainly to grow soy & palm oil and to clear land to graze cows for beef. The Trase  Explore the Supply Chain map is a simple interactive tool which allows you to view the supply chains of a number of agricultural commodities from South American countries to the rest of the world.

    Iraq races to save last of Middle East's forests from burning
    Firefighters and police are up against illegal loggers, border guards—and ISIS.
    Many people don’t know what biodiversity means
    Since being adopted by scientists in the mid-1980s, the word ‘biodiversity’ has become a default term for describing nature and its significance. We’re in the midst of a biodiversity crisis; biodiversity loss threatens human well-being; citizen scientists monitor their local biodiversity; and so on. The word is so ubiquitous that its comprehension by the public is taken for granted—yet a great many people don’t even know what it means.

    Call for participation
    Biodiversity and Climate Change
    Climate change and other human pressures on ecosystems increasingly present challenges for conservation researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and society at large. Debate about how to manage biodiversity under climate change is influenced strongly by individual preferences of experts, yet there is little published about their preferences. This survey seeks to fill a critical gap in our understanding, contributing to discussion and debate about how to manage ecosystems in the Anthropocene.
    Food Safety and Security

    29 incremental changes that could transform our food system
    Making a series of incremental, achievable changes worldwide could free up almost a quarter of the land devoted to agriculture.
    Read More
    Food sovereignty is Africa’s only solution to climate chaos
    Read the full report at
    Foodborne Disease
    Domestic kitchen microbiological contamination and self-reported food hygiene practices of older adult consumers
    View at J Food Prot
    YouTube as a source of information on food poisoning
    View at BMC Public Health
    Moving away from population-based case-control studies during outbreak investigations
    View at J Food Prot
    Game meat consumption and foodborne illness in Japan: a web-based questionnaire survey
    View at J Food Prot

    Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance - new guide on using antibiotic prescribing data
    The Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance – co-chaired by the Commission’s Director for public health John F. Ryan with his US counterpart Larry Kerr, is a collaboration between the USA, Canada, Norway and the European Union to combat antimicrobial resistance.
    Targets for the reduction of antibiotic use in humans in the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) partner countries
    CIDRAP Antimicrobial Stewardship Project Newsletter – Jul 25, 2019

    Emergencies and Disasters

    WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 30/2019
    Week 30: 22 - 28 July 2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 74 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
    • Cholera in Chad
    • Humanitarian crisis in South Sudan
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Dengue fever in Côte d'Ivoire.

    ECHO daily update 5 Aug 2019

    Drought and conflict leave 8.7 million people hungry in Somalia and South Sudan

    One-in-five suffers mental health condition in conflict zones, new UN figures reveal
    NEW CRP: Effective use of dose projection tools in the preparedness and response to nuclear and radiological emergencies
    Uncontrolled chemical releases: A silent, growing threat
    Get ready for new forms of extreme weather: hurricanes plus heat waves
    Most discussion of climate change and extreme weather focuses on how existing weather hazards such as heat waves, floods, and droughts are likely to become more frequent and intense. But climate change could also spark the emergence of new forms of extreme weather that are especially difficult to prepare for because we’ve never seen them before.

    Climate Change
    11 countries had hottest-ever days this year
    The United Kingdom joined Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and six others in recording its highest-ever temperature during a continent-wide heatwave on 25 July. That makes 11 countries so far this year that have smashed heat records, reports New Scientist(no countries have recorded their coldest-ever temperatures this year). Climate scientists have estimated that the climate crisis made the intense European heatwave at least five times more likely than without global warming, so even these extreme records might not stand for long.
    New Scientist | 3 min read

    Greenland Lost 217 Billion Tons of Ice Last Month
    Risk assessment strategies for early detection and prediction of infectious disease outbreaks associated with climate change

    Stopping the Gaps in Epidemic Preparedness

    Impact of recent and future climate change on vector‐borne diseases
    The review highlights significant regional changes in vector and pathogen distribution reported in temperate, peri-Arctic, Arctic, and tropical highland regions during recent decades, changes that have been anticipated by scientists worldwide. Further future changes are likely if we fail to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Many key factors affect the spread and severity of human diseases, including mobility of people, animals, and goods; control measures in place; availability of effective drugs; quality of public health services; human behavior; and political stability and conflicts. With drug and insecticide resistance on the rise, significant funding and research efforts must to be maintained to continue the battle against existing and emerging diseases, particularly those that are vector borne.

    Systemic resilience to cross‐border infectious disease threat events in Europe
    principal component analysis which confirmed a 20% decrease in risk of IDTE for every 10% increase in the core capacity score (95% CI: 0.73, 0.88). Globally (EU excluded), a 10% increase in the mean of all IHR core capacities combined was associated with a 14% decrease (p = 0.077) in cross‐border IDTE incidence.

    More arboviral disease outbreaks in continental Europe due to the warming climate?
    Arboviral diseases are a global public health threat increasingly affecting Europe. The West Nile virus infections largely associated with Culex spp. mosquitoes for example occurred uncharacteristically early in 2018 and were particularly severe in Europe, with over 2000 human cases, almost seven times that of the previous years.1,2 In addition to this record-breaking outbreak, the threat of further autochthonous outbreaks is increasing as a result of more frequent importations of dengue and chikungunya via travellers into Europe during the past decade. Dengue and chikungunya are both transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictusmosquitoes, both of which have undergone widespread global expansion due to increased global trade and travel
    Using Earth observation images to inform risk assessment and mapping of climate change-related infectious diseases

    Climate Change and Infectious Livestock Diseases: The Case of Rift Valley Fever and Tick-Borne Diseases

    Scientists’ warning to humanity: microorganisms and climate change

    Sensitivity of large dengue epidemics in Ecuador to long-lead predictions of El Niño

    Effects of historic and projected climate change on the range and impacts of an emerging wildlife disease
    Climate Change, Human Health, and Social Stability: Addressing Interlinkages

    Enabling local public health adaptation to climate change

    Linking research-for-development and community needs in the climate-smart livestock systems project

    Urban Health


    Levels and Determinants of Urban Mortality: A Focus on Cities of Latin America
    September 4, 2019, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    The Drexel Urban Health Collaborative’s SALURBAL Project is convening this pre-symposium event to discuss challenges and opportunities in characterizing and studying the determinants of urban mortality with a special focus on the Latin American context. The first panel will feature presentations and moderated discussion from experts in the field and the second panel will present preliminary results from the SALURBAL Project. 
    Register for the event

    First Latin American and Caribbean Urban Health Workshop
    26-28 September, San Salvador, El Salvador
    The workshop aims to 1- Contribute to the establishment of urban health as a priority in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2- Facilitate the exchange of knowledge in the field of urban health among the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as countries in other regions of the world. 3- To connect Latin America to the global Urban Health Network.


    Migration Health

    What we learned in the “Report on the health of refugees and migrants in the WHO European Region" (2018)- No public health without refugee and migrant health
    Satisfaction with mental health treatment among patients with a non-Western migrant background: a survey in a Danish specialized outpatient mental health clinic
    Resilience and protective factors among refugee children post-migration to high-income countries: a systematic review

    Maternal and perinatal outcomes of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in Europe: a systematic review 
     Of 4652 peer-reviewed articles and 145 grey literature sources screened, 11 were included from 4 European countries. Several studies reported adverse outcomes including higher maternal mortality (AS), severe acute maternal morbidity (AS), preterm birth (UM) and low birthweight (UM). Risk of bias was generally acceptable, although the limited number and quality of some studies preclude definite conclusions.
    Increasing childhood vaccination coverage of the refugee and migrant population in Greece through the European programme PHILOS, April 2017 to April 2018

    Global patterns of mortality in international migrants: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    The study showed that international migrants have a mortality advantage compared with general populations, and that this advantage persisted across the majority of ICD-10 disease categories. The mortality advantage identified will be representative of international migrants in high-income countries who are studying, working, or have joined family members in these countries. However, our results might not reflect the health outcomes of more marginalised groups in low-income and middle-income countries because little data were available for these groups, highlighting an important gap in existing research. Our results present an opportunity to reframe the public discourse on international migration and health in high-income countries.

    Climate change impact on migration, travel, travel destinations and the tourism industry

    How the media contributed to the migrant crisis
    Increasing childhood vaccination coverage of the refugee and migrant population in Greece through the European programme PHILOS, April 2017 to April 2018
    The incidence of LD is about threefold higher than previously estimated, and people are at risk throughout the UK. These results should lead to increased awareness of the need for preventive measures.

    Climate Change and Migration Crises in Oceania


    Knowledge sharing

    We welcome receiving your reports, articles and studies to share widely within our network.
    Please contact Chadia Wannous via email at 

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