News Pouch: 2 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.
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Wishing you useful reading!
- Spotlight: Ebola Outbreak Situation
- Updates and News on Outbreaks
- Priority Infectious Diseases
- One Health
- Biodiversity and ecosystem
- Food Security and Safety
- Health in Emergencies and Disasters
- Health and Climate Change
- Urban Health
- Migration Health
- Global Health
- Contact us
African ministers adopt regional strategy to manage health emergenciesStrengthening disease management.
At a WHO meeting in Congo-Brazzaville this week, African health ministers adopted a new regional disease outbreak strategy, with an emphasis on cross-border cooperation.https://www.devex.com/news/african-ministers-adopt-regional-strategy-to-manage-health-emergencies-95524
Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal- Volume 25, Number 10—October 2019
Burundi and Sudan, which share a border with Ebola-hit DRC, are among the list of countries scoring low on epidemic preparedness, according to an independent analysis. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/countries-bordering-ebola-hit-drc-among-least-prepared-fight
Microbes at war
Lefamulin approval was supported by two phase 3 trials involving moxifloxacin.
NIAID awards $2.2 million for broadly protective flu patch vaccine candidate
The NIAID funding will help launch the phase 1 trail of MIMIX.
Aug 19 Vaxess press release
WHO: Influenza Vaccine Response During The Start Of A Pandemic
We have often talked about the importance of NPIs (Nonpharmaceutical Interventions) like flu hygiene, school closures, and social distancing in the opening months of any pandemic because the creation, mass production, and distribution of an emergency vaccine is a difficult, uncertain, and time consuming endeavor.
Identification of influenza urban transmission patterns by geographical, epidemiological and whole genome sequencing data: protocol for an observational study
The H5N8 HPAI Global Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health
South Africa reported H5N8 HPAI in ostriches and Egyptian Geese;
Updated maps on H5N8 and H5Nx HPAI events worldwide;
1 relevant publication;
Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)
Africa Ministers agree on an aggressive plan to control mosquitoes and other vectors causing diseases
The region accounts for 90% of the global burden of malaria, for instance, and reports 130 000 cases and 500 deaths of yellow fever annually. In addition, 24 000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis (caused by sand fly bites), and, on average, 19 000 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis are reported from the region annually. The increase in diseases is partly attributed to the impacts of climate change that have helped expand the environments favourable to the vectors. Compounding the situation, the previous package of approaches to prevention and elimination for vector-borne diseases did not prioritize vector-control interventions, largely due to human resource, technical and infrastructural capacity gaps in vector surveillance and research. To address these challenges, Health Ministers at RC69 yesterday discussed the increasing threat of vector-borne diseases and adopted the Framework for the Implementation of the Global Vector Control Response in the WHO African Region.
Is it still too soon to assign an end date for malaria?
Even with the scale-up of current tools to fight malaria, Africa will still have about 11 million people infected with the disease by 2050, according to a report published Friday by the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication.
FDA gives fast-track designation to Zika vaccine
Moderna, Inc., also of Cambridge, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted "Fast Track" designation for its investigational Zika vaccine, mRNA-1893, currently being evaluated in a phase 1 study in healthy adults.
Aug 19 Moderna press release
Can a new Lyme disease vaccine overcome a history of distrust and failure?
Even though summer may be winding down, concerns about Lyme disease are not abating. Researchers are developing a vaccine and another preventive method called pre-exposure prophylaxis. There are several vaccines available for dogs, but bringing one to market for humans has been a difficult road, since the first and only Lyme vaccine was pulled from the market in 2002 due to low demand, potential side effects, and vaccine mistrust. So is the world ready for a new Lyme vaccine? Mistrust is still an issue, but demand may be higher now. Even though some 30,000 cases of Lyme are reported to the CDC every year, the agency estimates that the true number may be 10 times more.
STAT’s Brittany Flaherty has more here.
ASF Asia Update for 29 August from FAO/EMPRES - Animal Health.
* Lao PDR reported additional 76 ASF outbreaks; ASF has spread to 15 out of its 18 Provinces/city.
* China reported an ASF outbreak in Yunnan Province.
* Russian Federation reported 7 ASF outbreaks on backyard/village type farming near the border with Heilongjiang Province, China.
Transmissibility of MERS-CoV Infection in Closed Setting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 2015
A new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
- Seven new human cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, including 1 fatality;
- Updated map of MERS-CoV livestock field surveys;
- Updated map of global distribution of human cases;
- Updated epidemiological timeline (by exposure source);
- Two new relevant publications;
- Project updates by Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Jordan;
Measles: Four European nations lose eradication status
The disease is no longer considered eradicated in Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and the UK.
Forecasted Size of Measles Outbreaks Associated With Vaccination Exemptions for Schoolchildren
A small dip in vaccination rates could lead to large measles outbreaks
Just a 5% decrease in measles vaccination rates in Texas could spark up to a 4,000% jump in the size of an outbreak, according to a new modeling study.
The Dr. Lawrence H. and Roberta Cohn Forums
The Measles Outbreak: Why Vaccines Matter
Presented jointly with PRI’s The World & WGBH
Live webcast will stream on Thursday, September 12, 2019
Noon-1pm ET. An on-demand video will be posted.
Questions for the panelists: email@example.com
Three years after the last case of wild poliovirus was detected in Africa, a WHO commission will evaluate whether the virus has actually been eradicated across the continent.
Africa polio eradication on brink
Global HIV Treatment — Turning Headwinds to Tailwinds
How close are we to a ‘workable’ HIV vaccine?
Animal activists are on the wrong side of the fight against AIDS
Global burden of latent multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: trends and estimates based on mathematical modelling
TB rates among U.S. children have declined by almost half, but disparities persist
Rates of tuberculosis have declined by almost half in U.S. children, according to a new analysis.
Zoonoses Articles in the September 2019 Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal
Rinderpest, smallpox, and the imperative of destruction
Biodiversity and Ecosystem
The oft-cited headline that 1 million species are threatened with
extinction has been criticized by some as being inflated. If anything, the estimate was conservative. So how did IPBES calculate this? Expert Andy Purvis explains in 13 short video clips:
‘Extinction crisis’ pushes countries to agree stronger protection for global wildlife
At-risk wildlife that is facing a “growing extinction crisis” received a boost on Wednesday, as countries wrapped up a marathon meeting in Geneva, by agreeing to increased protection measures and more sustainable trade in animals and plants across the globe.
What Exactly Is Deforestation Doing to Our Planet?
Negotiating legally-binding agreement to provide future generations with a ‘healthy, resilient and productive ocean’
‘Invisible’ crisis of water quality threatens human and environmental well-being: World Bank report
More research into microplastics and a crackdown on plastic pollution urgently needed
France's Macron to push for charter on biodiversity at G7 summit
Food Safety and Security
Progress in pest prevention offers hope for Africa’s food security
The WHO has developed the draft target products profiles (TPPs)
The global increase in antimicrobial resistance is limiting available treatment options for many bacterial infections, and the current clinical pipeline for new antibacterial agents is not sufficient to cover future public health needs. The WHO is therefore developing target products profiles (TPPs) for needed antibacterial agents, providing the public health perspective to funders and developers on the performance and operational characteristics desired of new needed therapeutic products.
For the second year, WHO is supporting the Innovate4AMR online student design challenge seeking innovative, creative solutions to address the issues of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This competition is organized by ReAct, Johns Hopkins IDEA (Innovation+Design Enabling Access) Initiative and the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA); in partnership with WHO; and supported by the South Centre.
Applications close 16 September.
To mark WAAW 2019 the WHO Headquarters is developing the first ever WHO augmented reality app on AMR and we want you to be a part of it!
WHO Headquarters is currently looking for partners in to help launch this educational app on AMR during World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2019.
Read the concept note (below) and help us spread global awareness and increase education on AMR.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guideline for the Prevention of Surgical Site Infection, 2017
Quick fix for care, productivity, hygiene and inequality: reframing the entrenched problem of antibiotic overuse
Knowing antimicrobial resistance in practice: a multi-country qualitative study with human and animal healthcare professionals
AMR awareness was high among human and animal healthcare professionals. This awareness of AMR did not translate into reduced prescribing and dispensing; rather, it linked to the ready use of next-line antibiotics. Contextual factors that influenced prescribing and dispensing included antibiotic accessibility and affordability; lack of local antibiotic sensitivity information; concerns over hygiene and sanitation; and interaction with medical representatives.
Antibiotic pollution initiative
Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella spread
- Infection-linked pancreatic scopes
- Oral antibiotic for skin infections
- Resistant enterococci in Germany
The Zoonotic and Emerging Diseases Group, based jointly at the University of Liverpool and the International Livestock Research Institute, released an educational video about AMR created primarily for an East African audience. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9yZ9bQSILY&feature=youtu.be
PLOS Latest Research
Emergencies and Disasters
Week 35: 26 August - 01 September 2019
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 63 events in the region. This week's edition covers key new and ongoing events, including:
- Ebola virus disease in Uganda
- Rift Valley fever in Central African Republic
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria.
Three challenges for the African Union’s new humanitarian agency
A new institution to take charge of humanitarian policy and response in Africa will face three tough challenges at its birth in October: providing sufficient resources, defining a clear division of labour with existing organisations, and ensuring international aid agencies step back. The African Union wants African nations, multi-country alliances, or African NGOs to lead humanitarian coordination and response by 2025, with the new African Humanitarian Agency (AfHA) replacing the current leadership provided by UN agencies and other organisations.
Bahamas: Shelter and clean water priorities in wake of “catastrophic” hurricane
Hurricane Dorian - Bahamas Situation Report 1 – period covered: September 1 - 2, 2019
Florida Governor Declares State of Emergency as Hurricane Dorian Gains Force Hurricane Dorian is "expected to become a major hurricane on Friday," according to the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds at 5 a.m. ET Thursday were 85 mph - a Category 1 hurricane - with higher gusts, according to the center's most recent update. Dorian was about 150 miles north northwest of Puerto Rico, moving about 13 mph toward the northwest.
Floods in north India: A man-made disaster
Relentless sequence of disasters in Asia-Pacific ‘sign of things to come’, cautions UN regional body
One year after Genoa tragedy: Are Europe’s bridges any safer?
Twenty-two life-saving aid programs in Yemen are in danger of shutting down in the next two months if donors do not deliver on their funding pledges.
Association between earthquake experience and depression 37 years after the Tangshan earthquake: a cross-sectional study
Biochemistry in a Conflict Zone
Yemeni biochemist Eqbal Dauqan conducted research while bombs dropped during the country’s 2015 civil war. In 2018, she won a tenure-track position at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. Alongside her research into natural antioxidants, she mentors junior scientists whose personal and political circumstances impede their professional development.
July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. And that’s just one of several worrying records broken last month, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. July came hot on the heels of the warmest June on record. And the extra heat has helped to shrink Arctic sea-ice levels by nearly 20% — another record.
Nature | 6 min read
The air conditioning trap: how cold air is heating the world
Human Health on an Ailing Planet — Historical Perspectives on Our Future
Inasmuch as history ever teaches a straightforward lesson, the message of this particular history may be that more evidence alone will not compel action in a nonrational policy sphere. We believe that the current imperative for climate action requires physicians to mobilize politically as they have before, again becoming fierce advocates for major social and economic change. A truly ethical relationship with the planet that we inhabit so precariously, and with the generations who will follow, demands nothing less.
Combating EPA Rollbacks — Health Care’s Response to a Retreat on Climate
The EPA is now working to weaken fuel-efficiency standards for cars, relax rules on methane emissions, stop regulating mercury emissions, and implement other changes related to power plants that all lead to increased air pollution. Such efforts deprecate climate science and advance the interests of the fossil-fuel industries while exacerbating harm to human health.
Ambient Particulate Air Pollution and Daily Mortality in 652 Cities
Data show independent associations between short-term exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 and daily all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality in more than 600 cities across the globe. These data reinforce the evidence of a link between mortality and PM concentration established in regional and local studies.
Why the Amazon Rainforest Fires Could Be Disastrous for Climate Change
Humans, More than Drought, Are Fueling the Amazon’s Flames
From his office in Greenbelt, Maryland, Doug Morton can see the Amazon burning. He watches images from NASA satellites that circle the tropics four times a day, their cameras pointed at the trees below to produce images from visible light, infrared, and thermal data.
Brazil's indigenous people swear to fight for Amazon 'to last drop of blood'
Building resilience of health systems in Asian LDCs to climate change
This project supports six Asian least developed countries (LDCs) – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, and Timor-Leste – to strengthen capacity of their health systems to adapt to the impacts of climate change. In particular, the project aims to strengthen institutional capacity to improve health sector planning and effective decision-making to ultimately develop climate resilient health systems.
IPCC report on climate change and land
The Climate Crisis — Health and Care Delivery
A new Trump administration rule
would allow the U.S. to detain indefinitely
families who cross the border illegally, abolishing a 20-day limit.
The regulation, which must be approved by a federal judge, would also let the White House set standards for conditions at centers. It is expected to be immediately challenged in court. Above, migrant families at a bus station last year after being released by immigration authorities in McAllen, Tex.
The overhaul issued today would reverse protections set under the Flores settlement in 1997. Here’s how they came to be
Can Physicians Work in US Immigration Detention Facilities While Upholding Their Hippocratic Oath?
The modern successor to the Hippocratic oath, called the Declaration of Geneva, was updated and approved by the World Medical Association in 2017. The pledge states that “The health and well-being of my patient will be my first consideration” and “I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat.” Can a physician work in US immigration detention facilities while upholding this pledge?https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2749507
Mumps outbreaks in migrant detention facilities detailed in new report
A new report details the first outbreaks of mumps in U.S. migrant detention centers. Nearly 900 cases have been reported in facilities since September 2018. A Texas center had the first cases, followed by 56 other locations across 18 states — translating to nearly 1 in 5 of all Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. Most cases were in adult migrants, with a small fraction of facility staff affected. In response, ICE’s health services arm provided more than 25,000 doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. As of last week, the outbreaks are ongoing in 15 facilities across seven states. In the U.S. overall, some 16,000 mumps cases have been reported since 2015, often in close quarters because the disease is highly contagious.
Helping African Families Heal with IOM's Migrant Deaths and Disappearances
Improving Health Access for Displaced Women and Girls in Iraq
Immigrant Health: Anchoring Public Health Practice in a Justice Framework
Included, but Deportable: A New Public Health Approach to Policies That Criminalize and Integrate Immigrants
Road to UHC.
Governments will address universal health coverage during a high-level meeting at the U.N. in September. So far, the proposed agreement appears to fall flat of concrete financing commitments, civil society experts say.https://www.devex.com/news/uhc-high-level-meeting-unlikely-to-be-transformative-moment-cso-experts-say-95430
The Swiss government announced on Wednesday $102 million in contributions to UNAIDS
and the Global Fund to fight against infectious diseases.
Dry Toilets: An Approach to Provide Safe Sanitation and Sustainable Sewage Treatment?
A case study in Haiti demonstrates how dry toilet systems could secure appropriate sanitation and hygiene for communities while advancing sustainable management and treatment of waste.
Nearly $320 billion is spent a year on water and sanitation subsidies. How does it help?
Subsidies can be powerful tools in delivering water and sanitation when they are designed to be smart, targeted, and effectively implemented. New World Bank research shows that governments across the world are pouring money into water and sanitation subsidies but all too often that funding doesn’t flow to those who need it most.
Press Release | Infographic | Q & A | Podcast
Vaccine alliance in US$7.4bn funding push
No-deal Brexit threatens flu vaccine supply, doctors warn
WHO launches global registry on human genome editing
A WHO expert advisory committee has approved the first phase of a new global registry to track research on human genome editing. The 18-member committee also announced an online consultation on the governance of genome editing
WHO joins coalition to promote open access to research articles
The WHO is joining a coalition that works to ensure open access to research articles. The partnership, launched last September by several charities and country funding organizations, wants to make publicly and privately funded research easily available through open access journals or made immediately available on other platforms. But getting research journals on board — many of which put articles behind a paywall and rely on the associated fees for a means of income — will remain a challenge. With yesterday’s announcement, the WHO also became the first of the UN agencies to throw its hat into the fight for open access research. “By joining this coalition, we believe we can accelerate progress towards universal free access to health research,” WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said in a statement.