News Pouch: 13 December 2019
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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies
News Pouch: 13 December 2019
Welcome to this issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on health emergencies preparedness and response, tagged by thematic area.
Please send your feedback, articles and reports, or questions you would like to share to Dr. Chadia Wannous via email email@example.com
Wishing you useful reading!
- Spotlight: Ebola Outbreak Situation
Updates and News on Outbreaks
Priority Infectious Diseases
- VBD, and more
- Priority Infectious Diseases
- Biodiversity and ecosystem
- Food Security and Safety
- Health in Emergencies and Disasters
- Health and Climate Change
- Urban Health
- Migration Health
- Global Health
- Contact us
External Situation Report 71: 10 December 2019
In the past 21 days (18 November to 8 December 2019), 28 confirmed cases were reported from 14 of the 71 health areas within four neighbouring active health zones in North Kivu and Ituri provinces: Mabalako (43%, n=12), Mandima (25%, n=7), Beni (25%, n=7), and Oicha (7%, n=2). The majority of the cases (93%, n=26) are linked to known chains of transmission. More than half (54%; n=15) of the cases over the last 21 days have epidemiological links to a funeral in Lwemba Health Area.
As of 8 December 2019, a total of 3324 EVD cases were reported, including 3206 confirmed and 118 probable cases, of which 2209 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 66%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (1873) were female, 28% (939) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (164) were healthcare workers.
click here to download the complete situation report
More Ebola cases noted as conflict still hinders response
After 2 new attacks, Doctors Without Borders pulls its staff from Biakato.
Ebola responders face deadly attacks. We must step up security in DRC
Entering the city of Goma as night fell, I saw the red lava glowing atop nearby Mount Nyiragongo – an ominous reminder of the insecurity hovering over the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s volatile east.
Congo Authorities Say Ebola Survivor Falls Ill Second Time
Johnson & Johnson Announces Commitment to Support Republic of Rwanda's Preparedness Against Ebola Outbreak
Up to 200,000 Regimens of Janssen's Investigational Ebola Vaccine to be Supplied to Rwanda for Use in Border Region near Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Exposure to Ebola Virus and Risk for Infection with Malaria Parasites, Rural Gabon
Major outbreaks of infections with Ebola virus, such as the 2014–2016 West Africa epidemic and the ongoing 2018–2019 outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, pose several obvious and immediate threats to public health. Less obvious, but as concerning for public health, is the possibility that Ebola virus might also interact with common cocirculating infectious agents at both the population and within-host (individual) levels.
Rwanda launches voluntary Ebola vaccination campaign
A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics.
Although several experimental therapeutics for Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been developed, the safety and efficacy of the most promising therapies need to be assessed in the context of a randomized, controlled trial. The researchers conducted a trial of four investigational therapies for EVD in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an outbreak began in August 2018.
Ebola Outbreak Sparks Disease Surveillance Transformation in Sierra Leone
In 2014, tragedy struck a remote area in Sierra Leone, after an Ebola outbreak crossed over from neighboring Guinea. Due to gaps in the disease surveillance systems, the Ebola virus continued to spread throughout Sierra Leone and into neighboring West African countries. … Today, Sierra Leone is the first country in the World Health Organization (WHO) African region to fully transform its national disease surveillance system from paper-based to a health facility-level, web-based electronic platform.
HHS Invests in Modernizing U.S. Manufacturing Capacity for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a six-year, $226 million contract today to increase capacity to produce recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States. The contract is in accordance with the Sept. 19 presidential executive order to enhance national security and the public health by modernizing influenza vaccines and technologies.
WHO biweekly global influenza update
The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS
What blocks bird flu in human cells?
Normally, bird flu viruses do not spread easily from person to person. But if this does happen, it could trigger a pandemic. Researchers from the MDC and RKI have now explained in the journal Nature Communications what makes the leap from animals to humans less likely.
Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)
Gavi approves more funding for malaria vaccine pilot program
At its board meeting this week, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, approved $11.6 million more in funding to support the roll-out of the RTS,S malaria vaccine from 2021 to 2023.
Dec 5 Gavi press release
Scientist identify new marker for insecticide resistance in malaria mosquitoes
Using genetically modified Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes from their earlier work to identify potential resistance-gene culprits, the researchers identified three genes that were associated with resistance by their overproduction in the insects. The investigators concluded that the genes can serve as markers for insecticide resistance, and the genetically modified mosquitoes can be used to test new insecticides for use in next-generation bed nets.
Dec 4 PNAS abstract
Dec 5 LSTM press release
How to build a better malaria vaccine
The first vaccine against malaria, RTS,S, offers protection that was once thought by some to be impossible. But the vaccine offers only a partial shield against the shape-shifting parasitic disease: over the four years of the vaccine’s phase III trial, it prevented around 30% of serious cases. Scientists are working on a wide variety of alternatives that they hope will save even more lives.
Nature | 12 min read
This article is part of Nature Outlook: Vaccines, an editorially independent supplement produced with financial support from GSK.
New statistical modeling study helps forecast dengue fever risks in Vietnam
Mosquitoes bring ‘mystery illness’ to the mountain villages of Nepal
Rising temperatures linked to outbreaks of dengue fever high in the Kathmandu Valley, experts say
Insurance claims for Lyme disease care increased nearly 120%
A new white paper from Fair Health found that insurance claims — for a health care service or procedure — related to Lyme disease increased nearly 120% between 2007 and 2018.
Animal Exposure and Human Plague, United States, 1970–2017.
Since 1970, >50% of patients with plague in the United States had interactions with animals that might have led to infection. Among patients with pneumonic plague, nearly all had animal exposure. Improved understanding of the varied ways in which animal contact might increase risk for infection could enhance prevention messages.
Cost-Effectiveness of Prophylactic Zika Virus Vaccine in the Americas.
The researchers evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a Zika vaccine candidate, assuming a protection efficacy of 60%–90%, for 18 countries in the Americas affected by the 2015–2017 Zika virus outbreaks. Encapsulating the demographics of these countries in an agent-based model, their results show that vaccinating women of reproductive age would be very cost-effective for sufficiently low vaccination costs per recipient, depending on the country-specific Zika attack rate.
Health officials confirm 3 yellow fever cases in Mali, Ivory Coast
The Ministry of Health in Mali has confirmed three cases of yellow fever in that country and Ivory Coasst as of Dec 3, according to a post late last week on ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Dec 5 ProMed Mail post
Health experts warn of emerging threat of Nipah virus
A deadly virus called Nipah carried by bats has already caused human outbreaks across South and South East Asia and has “serious epidemic potential”, global health and infectious disease specialists said on Monday.
ASF Asia Update for 12 December from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
* Indonesia announced the first confirmation of ASF in the country, in North Sumatra Province.
* China reported ASF virus detection in wild pigs in Shaanxi Province.
* The Republic of Korea reported additional 6 wild pig ASF cases in Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do within fenced areas.
China makes progress toward measles elimination
According to a study today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), China has made progress towards measles elimination in recent years, with incidence declining from 31 per million in 2015 to 2.8 in 2018. Only one measles-associated death was reported in 2018, with no deaths this year.
China recorded 1,839 measles cases during the first half of 2019, with 52.5% of cases in children ages 8 months to 14 years.
Dec 7 MMWR report
Samoa measles deaths rise to 70; DRC outbreak ramps up
With 112 new cases in the past 24 hours, Samoa's outbreak has grown to 4,693 cases.
Kids traveling abroad often forgo measles vaccine, study finds
Nearly 60% of kids didn't get the MMR vaccine before departing, revealing missed opportunities.
Large cholera vaccine campaign launches in Bangladesh
A 3-week-long cholera vaccine campaign began yesterday in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, which aims to reach more than 635,000 Rohingya refugees and others, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a news release yesterday.
Dec 9 WHO press release
Polio cases reported in Afghanistan, Angola
Afghanistan has one new case of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), and Angola recorded 16 new cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) according to the latest weekly report from the Global Polio Eradication Intuitive (GPEI).
Dec 4 GPEI report
Update on the global polio situation and implications for the EU/EEA
WHO said Romania and two neighboring countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ukraine) remain at high risk of a sustained polio outbreak because of insufficient vaccine coverage, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned today.
Dec 6 ECDC news story
A Polio case in Malaysia
A 3-month-old boy tested positive for polio in Malaysia, making it the first confirmed case of the virus in the country in 27 years.
World AIDS day 2019 highlighted how “communities make the difference”
Half of all women with HIV are diagnosed late in Europe
Many women in the WHO European Region, particularly those in their 40s, are diagnosed at a late stage of HIV infection when their immune system is already starting to fail. They are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed late than younger women. According to data for 2018 released today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, women accounted for one-third of the 141 000 new HIV diagnoses in the Region, indicating that this population needs more attention in Europe's prevention and testing efforts
European Testing Week 2019
Improving Prevention, Treatment, and Care Services for HIV, TB, and Other Infectious Diseases in Target Populations in the Dominican Republic under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The following Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) seeks to build upon and enhance activities to achieve the goal of HIV epidemic control in the target population of individuals of Haitian descent (IHD) in the Dominican Republic through implementing the best and most appropriate interventions across the treatment cascade. In support of the 95-95-95 goals in high burden geographical areas, activities under this NOFO will include the implementation of key strategies for improving comprehensive services to reach, test, treat, and retain hard-to-reach populations.
Reports: Tuberculosis R&D funding still falling short
Global funding has reached an all-time high but falls far short of what's needed to eliminate TB.
The 6th World One Health Congress- Call for Abstracts
It will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, from 14 to 18 June 2020. The congress will be co-organized by the One Health Platform, the University of Edinburgh, Africa CDC and the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance.
The Call for abstracts is now open! Deadline for submissions January 15, 2020. Go to the Conference Tool website to apply now. Or you can download the full list here.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Marine life, fisheries increasingly threatened as the ocean loses oxygen – IUCN report
The loss of oxygen from the world’s ocean is increasingly threatening fish species and disrupting ecosystems, a new IUCN report warns. Ocean oxygen loss, driven by climate change and nutrient pollution, is a growing menace to fisheries and species such as tuna, marlin and sharks, according to the report released today at the UN Climate Change conference in Madrid.https://www.iucn.org/news/marine-and-polar/201912/marine-life-fisheries-increasingly-threatened-ocean-loses-oxygen-iucn-report
1.9 billion people at risk from mountain water shortages, study shows
Rising demand and climate crisis threaten entire mountain ecosystem, say scientists
'This place used to be green': the brutal impact of oil in the Niger Delta
In Bayelsa and elsewhere, communities have faced an environmental catastrophe. About 40 million litres of oil are spilled every year across the Niger Delta, according to the Rise for Bayelsa campaign. Air, land and water have all been contaminated, with studies reporting devastating effects on residents’ health and livelihoods. Vast areas of the state’s waterways and mangrove swamps – one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa – have been destroyed or put at risk. Farmland has been cloaked in oil, contaminating crops and exposing people to high levels of heavy metals such as chromium, lead and mercury. Separate research, cited by the interim report of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission, has found that pollution is placing communities at heightened risk of kidney damage, as well as diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Campaigners report increased cases of diarrhoea and child malnutrition.
How would biodiversity look if we counted non-native animals?
When non-native animals are included in biodiversity counts, new possibilities for conservation may emerge.
World Soil Day Initiatives Highlight Links between Soil, Ecosystems and Health
The 2019 edition of World Soil Day took place under the theme, ‘Stop Soil Erosion, Save our Future!’
FAO Methodology Assesses Vulnerability of Forests and their People to Climate Change
Food Safety and Security
Here’s how much more food the world could produce if we limit warming to 2 degrees
New research shows that by 2100, almost all of humanity will be affected in some way by declining food production - unless we start mitigating now.
CGIAR Map Rates Country's Food System Sustainability
Alternative meat can sustain food systems
Along with its commitment to combat climate change, the fluctuating pork prices, dwindling pork stock, and the developing alternative meat industry have given China a great opportunity to reduce, perhaps halve, its meat consumption and thus reduce its greenhouse gasf (GHG) emissions. After all, livestock account for more than 14% of total global GHG emissions.
Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food: Proceedings of a Workshop—in Brief
On August 7–8, 2019, the Food Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine hosted a public workshop in Washington, DC, to review the status of current and emerging knowledge about innovations for modern food systems and the extent to which they are or could be designed to optimize environmental, health, social, and economic outcomes. The 1.5-day workshop included sessions that explored production and processing, logistics and distribution, marketing and food value chains, data and analytics, access and affordability, and case studies in food system evolution from the federal government and private sector.
Food system collapse
Food security is uncertain under future climate change, but is there a threat of food system collapse? Now research assesses the probability of weather hazards occurring at the same time in the world’s major breadbaskets and reveals that the weather-related component of this risk could be increasing.
More complex food production, distribution systems a hazard for food safety
Has the European Region embraced the One Health approach in the fight against antimicrobial resistance?
WASH in health care facilities: Practical steps to achieve universal access to quality care
The WHO and UNICEF Practical steps to achieve universal access to quality care report is now available in French and Russian. The report provides details on eight actions that coun¬tries, facilities and communities can take to improve the WASH services in health care facilities. Illustrated examples detail how steps, such as establishing national plans and targets, improving infrastructure and maintenance and engaging communities, were triggered, imple¬mented and sustained. The report is intended as a companion document to the WHO/UNICEF WASH in health care facilities: Global baseline report 2019.
The report will soon be available in Arabic and Spanish as well.
Antibiotic prescribing without documented indication in ambulatory care clinics: national cross sectional study
FDA details rising sales of antibiotics for meat production
Sales of medically important antibiotics for food animals rose 9% from 2017 to 2018.
- European priority pathogen surveillance
- US hospital stewardship
- Outpatient stewardship in VA clinics
- Hospital stewardship and reduced AMR
- Penicillin allergy evaluation
- Cefdinir antibiotic stewardship target
- MCR colistin resistance in 2 nations
WHO AFRO - Outbreaks and Emergencies Bulletin - Week 49/2019
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 63 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
- Measles in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Lassa fever in Liberia
- Humanitarian crisis in Burkina Faso.
Five people dead and eight missing after New Zealand volcanic eruption
Questions arise as to why tourists were on White Island after scientists noted volcanic activity
Why New Zealand’s volcano eruption was hard to predict
Despite close monitoring of the New Zealand White Island volcano, whose eruption killed a number of people on Monday, geologists say that nothing they observed could have immediately predicted the eruption. But some researchers suggest that the volcano’s highly unpredictable nature means it’s never entirely safe to visit. White Island has been in a state of near-continuous eruption, with numerous, mostly small, explosions since 2011. The volcano is unusual because its crater sits close to sea level, so seawater can seep into cracks and fissures and become superheated. As the cracks become clogged with debris and precipitated minerals, the only way to release the pressure is in an explosion — andthat’s difficult to predict.
Nature | 4 min read
Cutting air pollution ‘can prevent deaths within weeks’
Asthma and heart attacks fall rapidly and babies born healthier, review finds
read the paper here https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/06/cutting-air-pollution-can-prevent-deaths-within-weeks
Record rise in attacks on healthcare workers leaves 'millions at risk' – UN
Increase in violent conflict combined with effects of climate crisis make outlook bleak for world’s poorest people, says report
UN chief urges emergency fund support as one of the ‘most effective investments’ in humanitarian action
The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), is “one of the most effective investments you can make in humanitarian action”, Secretary-General, António Guterres told a high-level pledging event at UN Headquarters in New York on Monday
Fragile states need more donor flexibility to improve nutrition
South Sudan: Heavy Flooding Causes Extreme Destruction and Ongoing Displacement
Implications of the California Wildfires for Health, Communities, and Preparedness: Proceedings of a Workshop
California and other wildfire-prone western states have experienced a substantial increase in the number and intensity of wildfires in recent years. On June 4–5, 2019, four different entities within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies; the Roundtable on Population Health Improvement; the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity; and the Roundtable on Environmental Health Services, Research, and Medicine—held a workshop at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the University of California, Davis. The 2 day public workshop explored the population health, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and health equity consequences of increasingly strong and numerous wildfires, particularly in California.
COP25 climate summit: what happened during the first week?
Activists were left frustrated by the lack of urgency inside negotiating rooms in Madrid
The Climate Change Performance Index 2020
Published annually since 2005, the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool for tracking the climate protection performance of 57 countries and the EU. It aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law
The law legally commits it to reaching cutting emissions 70% below 1990 levels by 2030, achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and delivering climate action on the international stage - including climate finance.
The report here
Climate change already damaging children’s health, says new Lancet report
Space budget boost puts Europe in lead to monitor carbon from space
One of the most overlooked consequences of climate change? Our mental health
Pregnant women have a higher risk of delivering early on unseasonably hot days
Gene-based hack for epidemiology
Epidemiologists have long been frustrated by observations that link environmental exposures and health.Mendelian randomization offers a simple way to detangle correlation from causation by relying on gene variants that mimic environmental factors. Do selenium supplements protect against prostate cancer, for example? Find men who are genetically predisposed to have high selenium levels and see whether they get less prostate cancer than others. The problem is, critics argue, that not all Mendelian randomization studies are sound.
Nature | 11 min read
Simplifying Greenhouse Gas Calculations Using the CLEER Tool
The Clean Energy Emission Reduction (CLEER) tool is a calculator that helps users to estimate and report greenhouse gas emissions reduced or avoided from clean energy activities.
A European Green Deal
Striving to be the first climate-neutral continent
Supported by investments in green technologies, sustainable solutions and new businesses, the Green Deal can be a new EU growth strategy. Involvement and commitment of the public and of all stakeholders is crucial to its success.
ISO 37123:2019: Sustainable cities and communities — Indicators for resilient cities
The first standard in this series – ISO 37120 Sustainable Development in Communities—Indicators for city services and quality of life – has quickly become the international reference point for sustainable city indicators. While ISO 37120 contains a number of indicators of relevance to a city’s resilience planning and assessment, ISO/TC268/WG2 experts and city representatives have identified the need for additional indicators for resilient cities, reflected here in ISO 37123 as well as the need for additional indicators for Smart Cities developed in ISO 37122.
Building climate adaptation and resilience of the urban poor in South Asia
The Global Resilience Partnership captured the work of Mahila Housing Trust, one of 10 challenge winners of the Global Resilience Challenge, to build the resilience capacities of over 25,000 low-income families living in slums and informal settlements across seven South Asian cities.
Bosnia's 'Inhumane' Conditions Put Thousands of Migrants in Camps at Risk
A Record Number of African Migrants Arrive at US-Mexico Border
The U.K. continues to fund "apartheid-like" camps for Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state
This is despite the U.N.'s policy of holding support — except for life-saving aid — to said camps until Myanmar grants greater freedom of movement to minorities.
“Voluntary migration” of Marshall Islanders to the U.S. in recent decades is an example of migration as a coping strategy in an era of climate change.
Climate change triggers widespread Pakistan migration
Extreme weather patterns, shrinking agriculture, lingering dry spells forced millions to migrate
Climate Change and Human Mobility: An Overview of Patterns and Climate Policy
Refugees and people displaced within countries due to conflict are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather,
Universal Health Coverage will ‘drive progress’ on 2030 Development Agenda
Last September world leaders at the United Nations endorsed an ambitious political declaration on universal health coverage, “reaffirming that health is a human right”, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday in his message for International Universal Health Coverage Day.
Keeping the promise to the women who will deliver universal health coverage
A comprehensive assessment of universal health coverage in 111 countries: a retrospective observational study
Progress towards UHC can be tracked using an index that captures both service coverage and financial protection. Although per-capita income is a good predictor of a country's UHC index score, some countries perform better than others in the same income group or even in the income group above their own. Strong UHC performance is correlated with the share of a country's health budget that is channelled through government and social health insurance schemes.
PAHO UHC Day Campaign
On December 12th, PAHO will be kicking off UHC Day with an event of their own. PAHO/WHO is supporting the campaign as part of its ongoing efforts to advanced universal access to health and universal health coverage in collaboration with its member countries in the Americas.
The theme is Universal Health: for Everyone, Everywhere with the Compact 30.30.30: PHC campaign.
- A concerted effort to eliminate access barriers by at least 30%
- Increasing public spending on health to at least 6% of GDP, with 30% of these resources invested in the first level of care.
- These efforts will catalyze the transformation necessary to achieve universal health and the SDGs by 2030.
Join the live streamed event Thursday December 12th, 10:00 to 11:30 p.m. (EST, Washington DC Time)
Opinion: Achieving UHC with fourth industrial revolution technology
Health care leaders operating at all points along the continuum of care understand that UHC by 2030 will require them to do a lot more with the same amount of resources. Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR, technology, enables more efficient, effective management and implementation of health resources and interventions — this is where much of its application to achieving UHC by 2030 can be seen today.
US could get access to UK health data, experts warn
The US wants “free flow of data,” including health data, as part of any trade deal with the UK after Brexit, leaked negotiation documents have shown.
New inequalities, new measures.
Many countries have achieved high human development rankings since 1990, but these averages only tell a fragmented story. The "2019 Human Development Report" from UNDP says the causes of inequality have evolved, and now the way development progress is measured must follow suit.
read the report here http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr2019.pdf
Value Proposition and Innovative Models for Multi-Sectoral Engagement in Global Health: Proceedings of a Workshop
Coordinated multi-sectoral responses that leverage the expertise and resources of the public and private sectors offer a promising model for addressing global health challenges. These models are increasing in use; however, the motivations, incentives, and needs for different sectors to engage in them are not always well understood. To analyze these concepts and issues and to deepen understanding of them, the Forum on Public–Private Partnerships for Global Health and Safety (PPP Forum) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a 2-day workshop on November 15 and 16, 2018. During the workshop, participants explored value proposition for different sectors that engage in global health— including industry, government, philanthropy, and civil society—and innovative models for multi-sectoral collaboration.
Corruption in global health: the open secret
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