New Pouch: 12 August 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 12 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

    WHO External Situation Report 53: 6 August 2019
    As of 4 August 2019, a total of 2763 EVD cases were reported, including 2669 confirmed and 94 probable cases, of which 1849 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases with reported sex and age, 57% (1562) were female, and 28% (787) were children aged less than 18 years. Cases continue to be reported among health workers, with the cumulative number infected rising to 149 (5% of all confirmed and probable cases). 1 August 2019 marked one year since the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared the Ebola outbreak. UN partners reaffirmed our collective commitment to the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and called for solidarity to end the outbreak.

    WHO says no new Ebola cases in Goma, vaccinates over 1,300


    Three Congolese doctors arrested in connection with WHO official's death

    Imaging an Outbreak — Ultrasound in an Ebola Treatment Unit

    'Vaccine war' disrupts Ebola response
    GSK grants exclusive technology license for clinical-stage Ebola vaccines to Sabin Vaccine Institute

    DRC Ebola impact getting worse for children
    Four times as many children died from Ebola in the past 6 months compared with the previous 6 months.
    More »

    Projections of epidemic transmission and estimation of vaccination impact during an ongoing Ebola virus disease outbreak in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as of Feb. 25, 2019
    As of February 25, 2019, 875 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in North Kivu and Ituri Provinces, Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the beginning of October 2018, the outbreak has largely shifted into regions in which active armed conflict has occurred, and in which EVD cases and their contacts have been difficult for health workers to reach. We used available data on the current outbreak, with case-count time series from prior outbreaks, to project the short-term and long-term course of the outbreak.

    Ebola veteran warns virus could become entrenched in DRC if outbreak response does not improve

    Safety Concerns Halt Research Involving Ebola and Anthrax at Army Institute
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a cease and desist order last month because the institute did not have “sufficient systems in place to decontaminate wastewater” from its high-security labs, according to a statement from the institute.

    Priority Diseases

    Lawmakers seek probe of controversial bioweapons defense system
    The Trump administration’s attempt to deploy a scientifically disputed system called BioDetection21 for detecting airborne anthrax or other infectious agents in terrorist attacks is facing increased scrutiny from a bipartisan group of House members.
    BioDetection 21 relies on so-called trigger devices that use fluorescent light to identify potentially dangerous biological agents in the air. Once the devices triggered a warning, officials would use handheld equipment to confirm or dispel fears that a biological attack had occurred.
    Free online course from LSHTM
    Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle Income Countries
    Understand disease outbreaks and learn how to prepare for them with this course for people working in or studying global health.

    Pandemic influenza preparedness in WHO Member States – Report of a Member State Survey
    Influenza pandemics are unpredictable but reoccurring events that can have serious consequences for human health and socio-economic well-being worldwide. Advanced planning and preparedness are critical to mitigate the risk and impact of an influenza pandemic.
    WHO biweekly global influenza update
    The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS

    A new H7N9 Disease Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    • No new outbreaks in birds reported;
    • No new human cases reported;
    • 4 new relevant publications;
    Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)

    Burundi malaria outbreak at epidemic levels as half of population infected

    World Health Organization records 1,800 malaria deaths since start of year, almost equalling number of lives claimed by Ebola in DRC
    Philippines declares dengue epidemic as deaths surge
    The Philippines has declared a "national dengue epidemic" after at least 622 people lost their lives from the mosquito-borne disease this year. At least 146,000 cases were recorded from January to 20 July - a 98% increase on the same period last year - the health department said.
    Kineta receives more Wellcome Trust support for Lassa drug trials
    Wellcome Trust awarded Kineta up to $7.2 million in 2016 to support the development of the Lassa fever treatment. In the phase 1a study, 48 volunteers across six cohorts received either a single oral dose of placebo or LHF-535 across six dose levels, ranging from .03 to 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Researchers found that the drug was safe and well tolerated, with the frequency of adverse events similar to placebo. The phase 1b trails is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2019.
    Aug 6 Kineta press release
    Linking Water Quality to Aedes aegypti and Zika in Flood-Prone Neighborhoods
    » Abstract   » Full text HTML   » Full text PDF

    ASF Asia Update for 8 August from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.
    * China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs called a nationwide teleconference, stressed the importance of continued ASF prevention and control.
    * The number of newly affected communes per week declined in Viet Nam.
    * Unconfirmed information about death of pigs in Myanmar have been circulated by media.        

    MERS analysis highlights concerns over healthcare spread
    Middle East healthcare-related outbreaks are occurring more often but are typically small.
    More »

    A Review of Zoonotic Pathogens of Dromedary Camels

    » Abstract   » Full text HTML   » Full text PDF

    Modelling the importation risk of measles during the Hajj
    A major resurgence of measles has occurred in the past 2 years. Measles is one of the most contagious diseases, with a reproduction number of around 20. Although a very effective vaccine against measles is available, vaccine coverage is low in an increasing number of countries, including many Muslim countries. The concern is that measles could be introduced via pilgrims to the Hajj and subsequently spread rapidly as a result of the overcrowded situation of the Hajj rituals.

    Health Care Autonomy of Women Living with HIV


    One Health  

    Tracking the Flow of Funds in Global Health Security

    Gender Analysis for One Health: Theoretical Perspectives and Recommendations for Practice
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem
    Climate Change and Land
    An IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems- Summary for Policymakers
    This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is structured in four parts: A) People, land and climate in a warming world; B) Adaptation and mitigation response options; C) Enabling response options; and D) Action in the near-term
     Full report

    New Zealand- New biodiversity strategy a roadmap to reversing the trend

    Brazilian institute head fired after clashing with nation’s president over deforestation data
    According to the latest DETER numbers, approximately 4500 square kilometers of forest were cleared in the first 7 months of this year, since the beginning of Bolsonaro’s administration—60% more than in the same period in 2018.
    Desertification: A serious threat to southern Europe lands
    Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania. These are the EU countries that will be particularly affected by desertification and therefore, more likely to lose natural resources in the coming years. The increases in temperatures, droughts, and less precipitation has made southern Europe vulnerable to problems such as “lower food production, soil infertility, decreases in the land’s natural resilience, and reduced water quality” as the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has pointed out in its report "Combating desertification in the EU."
    Traded forest tree seeds pose great risk of introducing harmful pests
    Non-native insect pests and fungal pathogens present one of the major threats to trees and forest ecosystems globally, with the potential to cause significant ecological changes and economic losses.

    Coexistence isn’t just about science and self-interest. It’s about stories, too.
    In parts of northern India, leopards thrive—not because they're protected, but because people regard them as fellow persons, allowing a culture of coexistence to flourish.
    Read More

    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
    Food Safety and Security

    Mekong River at its lowest in 100 years, threatening food supply

    A combination of drought and controversial upstream water politics is setting up Southeast Asia for potential disaster.

    High cost of healthy food to blame for malnutrition

    Toxic mercury in fish rising with climate change and overfishing

    Bangladesh floods to slash 400,000 T from rice harvest

    PLOS Channel- Latest Research

    Two tales: Worldwide distribution of Central Asian (CAS) versus ancestral East-African Indian (EAI) lineages of Mycobacterium tuberculosis underlines a remarkable cleavage for phylogeographical, epidemiological and demographical characteristics
    CRISPR-cas system: biological function in microbes and its use to treat antimicrobial resistant pathogens
    The antibiotic resistance of Helicobacter pylori to five antibiotics and influencing factors in an area of China with a high risk of gastric cancer
    The burden of antimicrobial resistance at tertiary care hospital, southern Ethiopia: a three years’ retrospective study
    Antimicrobial resistance – moving forward?
    Antibiotic resistance and molecular characterization of bacteremia Escherichia coli isolates from newborns in the United States
    Human antibody repertoire frequently includes antibodies to a bacterial biofilm associated protein
    Enhancement of disease resistance, growth potential, and photosynthesis in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) by inoculation with an endophytic actinobacterium,Streptomyces thermocarboxydus strain BPSAC147
    Deletion of the major Escherichia coli multidrug transporter AcrB reveals transporter plasticity and redundancy in bacterial cells
    Antibiotic drug-resistance as a complex system driven by socio-economic growth and antibiotic misuse
    Clinical pattern of antibiotic overuse and misuse in primary healthcare hospitals in the southwest of China
    “Without antibiotics, I cannot treat”: A qualitative study of antibiotic use in Paschim Bardhaman district of West Bengal, India
    Can clinical prediction models assess antibiotic need in childhood pneumonia? A validation study in paediatric emergency care
    Novel antibiotics effective against gram-positive and -negative multi-resistant bacteria with limited resistance
    Quantifying uncertainty about future antimicrobial resistance: Comparing structured expert judgment and statistical forecasting methods
    Drug resistance from preferred antiretroviral regimens for HIV infection in South Africa: A modeling study
    Reduced user fees for antibiotics under age 5 in Hungary: Effect on antibiotic use and imbalances in the implementation
    How prepared are we for cross-border outbreaks? An exploratory analysis of cross-border response networks for outbreaks of multidrug resistant microorganisms in the Netherlands and Germany

    US poultry data show big reductions in key antibiotics

    The report shows a substantial drop in the use of nearly all medically important antibiotics from 2013 to 2017.
    More »

    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Aug 08, 2019

    • Surgical antibiotic prophylaxis
    • MDR bacteria in urban rats

    More »

    Emergencies and Disasters

    WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 31/2019
    29 July - 4 August 2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 72 events in the region. This week’s edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
    • Measles in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Humanitarian crisis in Northeast Nigeria
    • Measles in Central African Republic.
    Pre-positioning life-saving supplies to improve disaster preparedness
    UNFPA aims to ensure that, during emergencies, the specific needs of women and girls in the Asia–Pacific region are met by governments, United Nations agencies and key stakeholders. One of the ways it seeks to improve this is through a regional initiative that supports the timely distribution of essential supplies by trained partners. Since 2015, the UNFPA Asia–Pacific Regional Office has managed a flagship Regional Prepositioning Initiative,...

    A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises
    U.S. nurses may not be ready for nuclear emergencies
    read the report here:
    Effective use of dose projection tools in preparedness for emergencies
    Nearly two years after Maria, philanthropy still flows to Puerto Rico
    18 nations join forces in major disaster response exercise

    Preparing for the Inevitable: Monitoring Drought and Other Natural Disasters with GADAS
    it is critical for humantarian aid organizations to have access to timely and accurate data and tools to quickly assess drought and flooding conditions and track situational changes quickly. One powerful tool that enables this is USDA/FAS' Global Agricultural and Disaster Assessment System (GADAS). GADAS is a free, web-based desktop GIS platform that provides users with access to a vast array of high temporal, real-time data streams from various climate and weather sources including the Pacific Disaster Center, satellite imagery and remotely-sensed political, irrigation and water, elevation and much more data that enables users to quickly assess and monitor conditions on the ground, highlight regional risk posed by natural disasters and spatially model potential disaster impacts.
    Principles on investment and financing for water-related disaster risk reduction
    The High-level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP), the network to mobilize political will for combating water-related disasters, has developed the “Principles on Investment and Financing for Water-related Disaster Risk Reduction,” acknowledged by the High-Level Panel on Water. The Principles are in coherence with the Sendai Framework, the Paris Agreement, the New Urban Agenda, as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,...
    UN boosts humanitarian appeal to help tackle Zimbabwe’s ‘worst-ever’ hunger crisis
    “Yesterday the humanitarian community launched an urgent appeal for funds to respond to the country's very difficult humanitarian situation”, World Food Programme (WFP) Spokesperson Herve Verhoosel told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday. “WFP is set to increase aid, especially for drought-affected residents, but also to build community capacity to respond to climate shocks”.

    In Fragile States, Disease Outbreaks Don’t Stay Local for Long
    U.S. health aid can also promote stability, mitigate extremism, and avoid costly longer-term military interventions.

    Climate Change
    Population and the Environment — Time for Another Contraception Revolution

    Cancelled races, fainting players: Climate change turns up heat on sports
    As the planet heats up, competing in - or even watching - many outdoor sports is becoming increasingly challenging

    Cameroon conflict turns climate-stressed farmers into 'food beggars'

    Human contribution to the July 2019 heatwave in Western Europe

    European warm-season temperature and hydroclimate since 850 CE
    The long-term relationship between temperature and hydroclimate has remained uncertain due to the short length of instrumental measurements and inconsistent results from climate model simulations. This lack of understanding is particularly critical with regard to projected drought and flood risks. Here, the authors assess warm-season co-variability patterns between temperature and hydroclimate over Europe back to 850 CE using instrumental measurements,...

    Urban Health

    News analysis: Italians may be forced to reconsider city planning as summers get hotter

    USA: Researchers develop novel process to study how trees affect building temperatures, air flow in extreme heat

    A new course: Managing drought and downpours in the Santiago Metropolitan Region
    In the past decade, climate change has brought record-breaking heat, flooding, drought, and forest fires to central Chile. And the problems are only getting worse—especially when it comes to water. Extreme heat coupled with declining precipitation rates in the past two decades have resulted in a chronic water deficit in the Metropolitan Region (MR). By 2070, the Maipo River Basin, a critical engine of the MR’s regional economy, is expected...

    Positive impact of green infrastructure for stormwater
    Read The Study Here:
    Water-smart green roofs and plazas make a splash in Rotterdam

    Migration Health

    ‘€1 million’ fines for rescue boats prompts UN concern for future sea operations

    Global Health

    Criteria for Selecting the Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2030

    The health and well-being of all people and communities are essential to a thriving, equitable society. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health has charged the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to convene an ad hoc committee to assist in the development of Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) for Healthy People 2030. In its first report, the committee discusses the background materials relevant to the charge and makes recommendations regarding the criteria for selecting LHIs.

    Preparing the next generation of global public health experts

    Drone Fleet Transports Vaccines to Immunize Children in Remote Health Facilities
    in the Democratic Republic of Congo
    A collaboration including the Ministry of Health, VillageReach and Swoop Aero, and with funding by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, has vaccinated the first children receiving vaccines by drone in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    Passports and privilege: access denied
    Researchers from Africa and Asia were three and four times more likely, respectively, to experience visa-related challenges for short-term research visits than their European and North American counterparts. The UK visa application process is opaque. The APPG report identifies six specific challenges faced by African visa applicants, including practical and logistical barriers, inconsistent decision making, lack of procedural fairness, financial discrimination, gender and racial bias, and lack of accountability or right of appeal.



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    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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