News Pouch: 13 September 2019

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

News Pouch: 13 September 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 AFRO - Situation Report - Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak in DRC - Sitrep 57 (2019)
    As of 8 September 2019, a total of 3081 EVD cases were reported, including 2970 confirmed and 111 probable cases, of which 2070 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases with reported sex and age, 58% (1782) were female, and 28% (871) were children aged less than 18 years. 5% (157) of reported cases were healthcare workers. Under Pillar 1 of the current Strategic Response Plan, the estimated funding requirement for all partners for the period July to December 2019 is US$ 287 million, including US$ 120-140 million for WHO. As of 10 September 2019, US$ 54.9 million have been received by WHO, with further funds committed or pledged. Currently available funds will close the financing gap up until the end of September 2019. Further resources are needed to fund the response through to December 2019, and WHO is appealing to donors to provide generous support. A summary of funding received by WHO since the start of this outbreak can be foundhere.
    click here to download the complete situation report (PDF).

    Exclusive: Behind the front lines of the Ebola wars
    How the World Health Organization is battling bullets, politics and a deadly virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    From fighting Ebola to ending TB: stretched health systems need new partners

    With Ebola cases rising, officials launch new infection control steps
    People often turn first to local clinics, which aren't as prepared to detect the virus.
    More »
    WHO and partners to help the Government boost health facility defences against Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    To strengthen health practitioners’ proficiency in preventing the spread of Ebola virus disease in health facilities, the Commission for Prevention and Biosecurity of the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) launched on 5 September a guideline and training package on infection prevention and control that targets at least 3 000 nurses, doctors and other health care workers.
    Could Measles virus and Ebola virus be working together in the DRC?
    Measles, resulting from measles virus (MeV) infection can cause immune suppression and “immune amnesia”. MeV infection most often affects non-immune children but can occur in any age group.

    Azar, other top Trump officials to travel to DRC to assess Ebola crisis
    Attacks on Ebola Response
    2018 Attacks on Ebola Response Dataset
    Dataset contains verified submissions from our partner agencies and publicly-reported data for events affecting the delivery of health care in the DRC in 2018.
    Report of July-Aug 2019

    Insecurity Insight announces the launch of a new project: Attacks on Ebola Response for organisations and health providers working on health care in the DRC
    This project is funded by the H2H Fund which is supported by UK aid from the UK government and will run from September to the end of November 2019.

    Nigeria: "Hand Washing Died When Nigeria Became Ebola Free"

    Ebola survivors face increased risk of death in the first year after hospital discharge
    Mortality rates in Ebola survivors after hospital discharge could be five times higher compared with the general population. Findings could help guide current and future survivors’ programmes.
    Read More →
    Using drones to reach remote communities with vaccines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Priority Diseases

    The Biomedicine Threat  
    Biomedical advances in recent decades have been hugely beneficial – most of all for the world’s poor, whose life expectancy has increased dramatically. But the future looks more dangerous. Although continued innovation will further improve people’s lives, it will also give rise to new threats, and sharpen some ethical dilemmas concerning human life itself.

    Public Health England 'hot on the trail' of Disease X
    At the launch of its first ever strategy on infectious diseases on Wednesday, Public Health England (PHE) revealed that 12 "novel" infections and viruses have been identified in the UK in the last 10 years. The diseases include tularemia, a life-threatening infection found in the US that is spread by rabbits and rodents; Crimean-Congo haemmorhagic fever, an Ebola-type illness that is prevalent in Africa and is spread by ticks; and monkeypox, a rare virus which is similar to human smallpox, three cases of which were identified in the UK last year.

    A new Sub-Saharan Africa HPAI Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health

    • Two newly reported H5N8 outbreaks in South Africa
    • Project updates by Ethiopia and Côte d'Ivoire
    • Two new relevant publications
    Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)

    Malaria eradication within a generation: ambitious, achievable, and necessary
    Since 2000, a surge of global progress has occurred, facilitated by the roll-out of new technologies and the substantial growth in political and financial commitment by countries, regions, and their global partners. Annual domestic and international spending on malaria increased from roughly US$1·5 billion in 2000 to $4·3 billion in 2016. Simultaneously, the number of countries with endemic malaria dropped from 106 to 86, the worldwide annual incidence rate of malaria declined by 36%, and the annual death rate declined by 60%.
    The Lancet Commission lays the out the necessary steps, including an even greater financial outlay, strengthening malaria programmes and global leadership, and acceleration of research and development, to eradicate malaria within a generation.

    Plan to wipe out malaria comes with hefty price tag

    Ancestral clans of malaria parasites in each region of Africa share drug resistance genes
    Led by MRC Unit the Gambia at LSHTM, this study could pave the way for improved understanding of infections and new intervention approaches for elimination of malaria.
    Read more →
    Another Tool to Fight Mosquito-borne Diseases
    DPDM is working with the University of Notre Dame and other consortium partners on a 5-year Unitaid-funded effort in western Kenya to determine the efficacy of a spatial repellent product in preventing mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya. The program will include two clinical trials for malaria -- one in Kenya and one in Mali – and a trial for dengue prevention in Sri Lanka, as well as studies among displaced populations in Mali and in refugee settings in Uganda. CDC is working with the University of Notre Dame and the Kenya Medical Research Institute to implement the trial in western Kenya.

    Estimating the burden of dengue and the impact of release of wMel Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes in Indonesia: a modelling study
    A dengue epidemic in Nepal
    The worst the country has seen, has already claimed six lives and has put more than 8,000 in hospitals.
    [Joe Wallen, The Telegraph]

    Yellow fever outbreak prompts vaccination campaign in 3 Nigerian states
    Sep 7 WHO AFRO press release
    Sep 6 NCDC statement
    Summit proceedings: Biomedical countermeasure development for emerging vector-borne viral diseases 
    Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are an expanding global threat to public health, security, and economies. Increasing populations, urbanization, deforestation, climate change, anti-vaccination movements, war, and international travel are some of the contributing factors to this trend.
    ASF Asia Update for 12 September from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
    * The Philippines announced the first ASF outbreaks in the country.
    * China officially posted a various policies to stabilize and upgrade pig production on the Government websites.
    * The number of newly affected communes per week slightly increased in Viet Nam after experiencing heavy rain and flood.             

    CDC reports 7 new measles cases, 1,241 total
    Sep 9 CDC update
    Sep 6 FDA statement
    In international measles developments, an outbreak in New Zealand
    Since the first of the year has grown to 1,131 cases, according to an update today from the country's health ministry. Of the total, 944 are in the Auckland region. On Aug 30 the health ministry took steps to establish an incident management team to coordinate the response to the Auckland outbreak.
    Sep 9 New Zealand health ministry measles update
    Why The Measles Surge Could Open The Door To A Host Of Other Diseases
    With measles making a comeback in many upper-income countries including the United States and still rampant in some poorer nations such as Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar, a leading measles expert is warning of a danger beyond the spread of the disease itself: There's mounting evidence that when a person is infected with measles, the virus also wipes out the immune system's memory of how to fight off all sorts of other life-threatening infections – ranging from gastro-intestinal bugs that cause diarrhea to respiratory viruses that trigger pneumonia.

    Global oral cholera vaccine use, 2013–2018
    Vaccination is a key intervention to prevent and control cholera in conjunction with water, sanitation and hygiene activities. An oral cholera vaccine (OCV) stockpile was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2013.
    HIV drug resistance report 2019, WHO.
    Trends of latent MDR tuberculosis across the globe.

    Management of drug-resistant tuberculosis

    Challenges and controversies in childhood tuberculosis

    Tuberculosis needs accelerated and continued attention

    One Health  

    Can registers for animal studies reduce bias?
    Millions of mice and rats are used in research each year. But one-third to one-half of animal experiments are never published, and of those that are, many are conducted too poorly to be reliable. Advocates for better animal research and reproducibility are promoting a strategy established in other fields to counter publication bias, improve investigations and increase transparency: study registries.
    Nature | 6 min read
    'Livestock Innovations for Greater Economic Good'
    Innovations are making livestock livelihoods & economies: Equitable as well as sustainable Safe as well as profitable Humane as well as efficient

    Harnessing livestock innovations for greater economic good

    U.S. EPA to eliminate all mammal testing by 2035
    Biodiversity and Ecosystem

    A first National Inventory of Future Glacier Lakes: implications for water and risk management in Peru

    Critically Endangered Species May Go Extinct as Land Degrades
    Species with depleting populations could be casualties of desertification.

    €100 million German insect protection plan
    Spurred by research that raised alarm all over the world, Germany has pledged €100 million (US$111 million) to protect insects. A 2017 study found that flying-insect biomass fell by 76%over 27 years in wildlife reserves in western Germany. The money will go to protecting habitats, decreasing light pollution and developing a nationwide insect monitoring network. The country also plans to phase out all use of the weed killer glyphosate.
    Science | 5 min read
    Reference: PLoS ONE paper

    Invasive raccoons expected to thrive under climate change
    Predicted range expansion of 17-18% by 2050
    The North American raccoon has made its way across the globe over the past several centuries through the pet trade and demand for its fur. After reaching the Caribbean in the 1700s, the raccoon proceeded to spread through Japan, central Asia and Europe in the latter half of the 20th century. Now a team of researchers at Sorbonne Université have used mathematical modelling to predict a range expansion of around 17-18% by 2050.
    *Source: Environmental Impact
    The Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification
    Strategies for operationalizing nature-based solutions in the private sector
    Nature-based solutions (NBS) have the potential to address pressing engineering needs while restoring natural landscapes. NBS – sometimes called natural infrastructure and green infrastructure – incorporate the natural environment that mimic or work in concert with natural processes to provide clean water, clean air, flood, fire and drought risk reduction, and other benefits.
    Training course
    NASA's Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET) 3-part series
    It will focus on on the use of NASA Earth observations for habitat monitoring, specifically for freshwater fish and other species.
    Course Dates: September 17, 24, and October 1, 2019.
    Times: 10:00-11:00 or 18:00-19:00 EDT (UTC-4)
    Learning Objectives: By the end of this training, attendees will understand the limitations of using remote sensing for freshwater habitats, find data and models that can be used in their landscape genetics and habitat monitoring work, see how remote sensing can be used for habitat restoration, ecological assessments, and climate change assessments relating to freshwater systems, be able to use the Riverscape Analysis Project decision support system, and be familiar with the Freshwater Health Index
    Course Format: Three, one-hour parts that include lectures, demonstrations, and question & answer sessions. 
    Registration Information: 

    Food Safety and Security
    A ‘caloric calculus’ with big consequences—healthy foods are expensive in poor countries, unhealthy foods cheap in rich countries—New IFPRI paper

    The high price of healthy food … and the low price of unhealthy food

    The role WASH programming plays in tackling malnutrition

    Food insecurity in early life could affect overall health and development

    The Water Footprint of Diets: A Global Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

    Latin American subways 'highest antimicrobial resistance'
    An international team of 600 researchers took 3,741 samples from the railings, ticket machines and walls of underground stations, to create an “atlas” of urban microorganism communities. Scientists identified 4,424 known species, of which 1,145 were found in more than 70 per cent of the samples. Sixty-one were found in more than 95 per cent of samples and are not part of the normal human microbiota from skin and airways, nor of the soil. Furthermore, the research found that more than 50 per cent of the collected genetic samples couldn’t be identified, so there are microorganisms not known or defined by science. The prevalence of RAM genes found there was between 10 and 20 times higher than cities in other regions. The study also showed that the nature of RAM and the distribution of genes varies from city to city
    read the study here

    'Microbiome scar' from prolonged antibiotics noted in preemies
    Dangerous microbes are gaining a foothold.
    More »
    Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Sep 06, 2019

    • Resistance rates and income
    • Assessing national stewardship programs

    More »


    Emergencies and Disasters

    WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 36/2019: 02 - 08 September 2019
    The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 68 events in the region. This week's edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:

    • Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in Ghana
    • Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso
    • Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic.

    Bahamas evacuees forced off boat headed to Florida over US visa demands
    A sudden change in U.S. policy, which allowed Bahamians to enter the U.S. without a visa, prevented more than 130 people from fleeing the Hurricane Dorian devastation via ferry to Florida.

    2,500 unaccounted for in hurricane-hit Bahamas: official
    How warm oceans supercharge deadly hurricanes
    It's challenging to link any one storm to climate change, but warming trends have scientists concerned.
    Confronting catastrophic disasters with 21st century technologies  
    The unfolding tragedy in the Bahamas demonstrates that the 21st century will be marked by increasingly frequent, often catastrophic disasters of unprecedented scope and scale. Yet again, the unprecedented challenges of disaster management are being met with mostly conventional, labor-intensive, costly, and often inadequately slow response efforts.
    Nuclear testing has ‘disastrous consequences’ for people and planet, General Assembly told
    Events commemorating the recent International Day against Nuclear Tests serve as an “important and stark reminder…of the disastrous consequences of nuclear testing on human health and the environment”, a top UN official told the General Assembly on Monday.
    Humanitarian Agencies Assist Rohingya Camps, Host Community as Monsoon Rains Hit
    Read more

    Millions of children in conflicts need psychological help
    There are 420 million children living in conflict zones, among which 24 million are in need of psychological help due to trauma, according to Save the Children.
    Reducing the risk of mining disasters in BC: How financial assurance can help
    Mining has important economic benefits for British Columbia, but it also comes with environmental risks. This paper argues that requiring “financial assurance” from mining companies can reduce the risk of disaster. Legislated financial assurance requirements oblige companies to commit funds against their environmental risks. Instruments can include bonds, insurance, or industry funds.

    Canada Tries a Forceful Message for Flood Victims: Live Someplace Else

    Climate Change

    Adapt now: A global call for leadership on climate resilience
    The report explores how to transform key economic systems, making them more resilient and productive.

    • Without adaptation, climate change may depress growth in global agriculture yields up to 30 percent by 2050. The 500 million small farms around the world will be most affected.
    • The number of people who may lack sufficient water, at least one month per year, will soar from 3.6 billion today to more than 5 billion by 2050.
    • Rising seas and greater storm surges could force hundreds of millions of people in coastal cities from their homes, with a total cost to coastal urban areas of more than $1 trillion each year by 2050.
    • Climate change could push more than 100 million people within developing countries below the poverty line by 2030. The costs of climate change on people and the economy are clear. The toll on human life is irrefutable. The question is how will the world respond: Will we delay and pay more or plan ahead and prosper?

    Nearly 1,500 deaths linked to French heat waves

    Asia’s investments in coal at odds with Paris goals to cut global warming

    • Over 80 per cent of new coal investments are in the Asia Pacific region
    • Renewables like solar energy not keeping up with demand for coal in Asia

    China, India and the Southeast Asian region were leading in coal investments, he said, adding that 40 per cent of the region’s existing energy supply comes from coal.

    Malaysia shuts 400 schools as haze spreads

    Healthcare sector is a major contributor to the climate crisis
    The report provides the most comprehensive global analysis of health care’s contribution to climate change to date. Specifically, the report:

    1. Provides a global estimate of health care’s greenhouse gas emissions, as well as provide 43 country estimates broken down by Scopes 1, 2, and 3.
    2. Examines how energy, food, anesthetic gases, and transportation contribute to health care’s global climate footprint.
    3. Identifies opportunities for further research and methodological development that would support the sector in its efforts to understand and address its climate footprint.
    4. Outlines a series of international, national and subnational policy recommendations for health care climate action.

    The report makes the case for a transformation of the health care sector that aligns it with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees celsius. "Places of healing should be leading the way, not contributing to the burden of disease,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization.

    Download the full report

    Urban Health

    CODE RED: Baltimore's Climate Divide
    Urban heat islands vividly illustrate the price humans will pay in the world’s growing climate crisis. With an abundance of concrete and little shade, they get hotter faster and stay hotter longer. And the people who live there are often sicker, poorer and less able to protect themselves. Rising temperatures in these neighborhoods will mean more trips to the hospital for heart, kidney and lung ailments. Drugs to treat mental illness and diabetes won’t work as well. Pregnant women will give birth to children with more medical problems. Solutions exist. But growing more trees, repairing the frayed social fabric of a neighborhood or rebuilding streets and sidewalks to reflect heat are expensive — and take time. For cities like Baltimore, the clock is ticking.
    How LA plans to be 1.6°C cooler by 2050
    Asia: Sinking cities
    Rising sea levels caused by climate change, coupled with land subsidence, are an urgent challenge across Asia. Of the 10 major cities most threatened by rising ocean levels, seven are in Asia. Topping the list is Jakarta, which has seen changes of up to 3 metres in some areas in the past three decades (the figure is a combination of the increase in sea level plus the rate of land subsidence). If current trends continue, Jakarta will be the first to remind us of Atlantis.
    Moving Indonesia’s capital city won’t fix Jakarta’s problems and will increase fire risk in Borneo
    Resilience public policy and implementation in California: Strategies for building statewide resilience
    This document presents an overview of the state of resilience policy in California. California is a national leader in resilience public policy, practice, and investment. As the four California 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) municipal partners - Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles - pivot from assessment to implementation, 100RC is considering what ongoing investments in these cities might look like, and how to best align these future...

    International study confirms links between exposure to urban pollution and mortality
    Using data from more than 650 cities, this multi-country analysis found an increased risk of mortality in the short-term after exposures to even small concentrations of urban air pollution.
    Read More →

    Migration Health

    Over 7,400 Migrant Deaths on African Routes since 2014, IOM Data Reveal
    Read more

    IOM Campaign on Climate Change and Migration
    Earth, Wind, Water or Fire: Together, we can #FindAWay
    Four stories, from three continents, about the two biggest challenges of our time — Climate Change and Migration.

    Family-based Care Supports, Protects Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Europe
    How Guinea's Humble Pineapple Helps Curb Irregular Migration
    Read more
    Inside Lampedusa, Front Line of Europe’s Migration Emergency
    Read more
    The Supreme Court backed a Trump policy requiring migrants to be denied asylum in another country before applying in the U.S.
    A federal appeals court had largely blocked the new policy, but the justices allowed it to go into effect while legal challenges move forward. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
    Read More »
    Sustained Animus toward Latino Immigrants — Deadly Consequences for Children and Families
    Leak suggests UN agency self-censors on climate crisis after US pressure
    The U.S. puts pressure on IOM to ensure documents for U.S.-funded programs do not clash with the current administration's "political sensitivities," including climate change and migration, leaked communications reveal. Sensitivities include the climate crisis, sustainable development goals, the global compact for migration and “anything that seems at odds with the administration’s take on US domestic/foreign issues”, the official wrote in the email.

    Global Health

    How snakebites became an invisible health crisis in Congo
    Monitoring progress on universal health coverage and the health-related sustainable development goals in the South-East Asia Region: 2019 update
    Global Vaccination Summit
    12 September 2019 in Brussels, Belgium
    This high-level one-day event aims to bring together around 400 people, including political leaders, high-level representatives from the UN and other international organizations, health ministries, leading academics, scientists and health professionals, the private sector, social media influencers, and NGOs.
    The goal is to propel global action against vaccine preventable diseases and against the spread of vaccine misinformation. It will demonstrate EU leadership for vaccination, boost political commitment towards eliminating vaccine preventable diseases and engage political leaders and leaders from scientific, medical, industry, philanthropic, digital media and civil society.

    Health providers urged to help to eradicate modern slavery
    According to Anti-Slavery International, modern slavery is a broad term that encompasses numerous forms including servitude and human trafficking, forced labour, and debt bondage. Millions of people are victims. A study by the ILO and the Walk Free Foundation on Global Estimates of Modern Slavery found that, on any given day in 2016, an estimated 40 million people were victims of modern slavery, including 25 million people in forced labour and 15 million people in forced marriage. A quarter of the victims were children.
    The burden of modern slavery is closely tied to gender, with women and girls accounting for 71% of victims of modern slavery. A study of 142 countries by the Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that most trafficked women (83%) and girls (72%) were trafficked for sexual exploitation. By contrast, 82% of men were trafficked for forced labour.




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