News Pouch: 2 December 2019
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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies
News Pouch: 2 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 69: 26 November 2019
Violence and civil unrest in the week have led to the suspension of Ebola response activities in some areas of Beni, Butembo, and Oicha health zones. On 26 November 2019, some response personnel were temporarily relocated from Beni, though most remain in place to continue responding. The immediate focus will be on maintaining the safety and welfare of response personnel while preserving essential response activities in these places.
The disruptions to the response and lack of access to Ebola-affected communities is threatening to reverse recent progress. As seen previously during this outbreak, such disruptions limit contact tracing, surveillance, and vaccination efforts, and they often result in increased transmission.
In the past 21 days (from 4 to 24 November 2019), 12 health areas and four health zones have reported cases. During this period, a total of 28 confirmed cases were reported, with the majority reported from Mabalako (54%; n=15 cases) and Beni (32%; n=9). There have been no new confirmed cases in Nyakunde Health Zone for 42 days.
As of 24 November 2019, a total of 3303 EVD cases, including 3185 confirmed and 118 probable cases have been reported, of which 2199 cases died (overall case fatality ratio 67%). Of the total confirmed and probable cases, 56% (1862) were female, 28% (935) were children aged less than 18 years, and 5% (163) were healthcare workers.
click here to download the complete situation report (PDF).
Violence in DR Congo Ebola hotspot leaves people ‘caught in crossfire’
Attacks on communities in an Ebola outbreak hotspot in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have sparked a humanitarian crisis and threatened aid distribution, the UN said on Friday, amid reports of serious civil unrest.
Dead and injured following attacks on Ebola responders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
WHO, UNICEF evacuates staff in DRC amid growing unrest
With 1 new case confirmed today, the Ebola outbreak has grown to 3,304 infections, including 2,198 fatal ones.
Violence hampering efforts to contain Ebola
Ebola cases are likely to rise in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) because a surge in violence is hampering efforts to contain the virus. The World Health Organization has temporarily evacuated one-third of its 120 staff from the city of Beni. Over the past three weeks, an armed group called the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) has terrorized residents of Beni and nearby areas with machetes and knives — at least 77 people have been killed. The current Ebola outbreak has killed nearly 2,200 people in the eastern DRC since August 2018.
Nature | 3 min read
Lessons Learned in 40 Years of Fighting Ebola Outbreaks
Chaos, fear, poor coordination, limited resources, unintentional neo-colonialism, violence against healthcare workers, getting the right interventions to the right people, poor community engagement—these were some of the challenges noted Thursday at TropMed19 by an all-star panel of Ebola experts reflecting on lessons learned from their frontline experience spanning more than 40 years of outbreak response.
Two Ebola treatments yield ‘substantial decrease’ in mortality, landmark trial shows
Two treatments based on Ebola antibodies led to a survival rate of about 65% in treated patients, compared to 33% in the outbreak overall.
This lab on wheels could be a game-changer during the next Ebola outbreak, scientists say
WHO biweekly global influenza update www.who.int/influenza/surveillance_monitoring/updates/latest_update_GIP_surveillance/
The latest FluNet summary of lab-confirmed data from GISRS www.who.int/influenza/gisrs_laboratory/updates/summaryreport
The first edition of a new Global AIV with Zoonotic Potential Situation Update from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health
- 12 new outbreaks reported across Eastern Asia and Central America
- Updated map of the global situation of AIV with zoonotic potential in the current wave
- 23 new relevant publications
Accurate influenza forecasts using type-specific incidence data for small geographical units
Influenza incidence forecasting is used to facilitate better health system planning and could potentially be used to allow at-risk individuals to modify their behavior. For example, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) runs an annual competition to forecast influenza-like illness (ILI) at the regional and national levels in the US, based on a standard discretized incidence scale.
Swine fever raises fears of bird flu pandemic
Pork meat shortages caused by swine fever can spur backyard poultry farming and trigger another bird flu pandemic.
Low 2018/19 vaccine effectiveness against influenza A(H3N2) among 15–64-year-olds in Europe: exploration by birth cohort
Influenza imprinting in childhood and the influence on vaccine response later in life
Impact of influenza vaccination programmes among the elderly population on primary care, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands: 2015/16 to 2017/18 influenza seasons
Oseltamivir is effective against 1918 influenza virus infection of macaques but vulnerable to escape
View at mBio
Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD)
Emergence of Lyme disease as a social problem: analysis of discourse using the media content
Vector-borne transmission of Zika virus in Europe, southern France, August 2019
Mosquitoes armed with bacteria beat back dengue virus
Dengue infection in Pakistan: not an isolated problem
Unprecedented rise in dengue outbreaks in Bangladesh
Worldwide surge in dengue
ASF Asia Update for 28 November from FAO/EMPRES – Animal Health.
* The Republic of Korea reported additional 4 wild pig case in Gyeonggi-do and Gangwon-do.
* China’s Central-South Zone starts implementing new measures on live pig and pork product transportation.
Innovative WHO HIV testing recommendations aim to expand treatment coverage
WHO has issued new recommendations to help countries reach the 8.1 million people living with HIV who are yet to be diagnosed, and who are therefore unable to obtain lifesaving treatment. Today, 3 in 4 of all people with HIV live in the African Region.
HIV among women in the WHO European Region – epidemiological trends and predictors of late diagnosis, 2009-2018
WHO releases new guidance on treating drug-resistant tuberculosis in children and adolescents
WHO/Europe has released an expert opinion on managing drug-resistant tuberculosis in children and adolescents, supported by a commentary in the Lancet.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis is particularly dangerous, and many young people suffering with the disease are undiagnosed. It is estimated that in the WHO European Region, 2000 children under the age of 15 with TB remain undiagnosed each year, a figure that is believed to be higher in the 15–19 years age group.
The guidance is evidence-based and provides updates on recent scientific evidence, as well as region-specific clinical and public health recommendations on tackling DR-TB in children and adolescents.
The Convergence of Infectious Diseases and Noncommunicable Diseases: Proceedings of a Workshop
While there has been growing recognition of the convergence of infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases, the two fields continue to remain siloed in many aspects. Getting a better understanding of this connection and bridging cross-sector collaborations would advance progress to effectively respond to these diseases and to ultimately reduce the public health impact and burden of the convergence from the local to global levels. On June 11 and June 12, 2019, the Forum on Microbial Threats held a 1.5-day public workshop at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City.
One Health as a moral dilemma: Towards a socially responsible zoonotic disease control
An experimental test of community‐based strategies for mitigating human–wildlife conflict around protected areas
Concepts and Experiences in Framing, Integration and Evaluation of One Health and EcoHealth
Operationalizing One Health Employing Social-Ecological Systems Theory: Lessons From the Greater Mekong Sub-region
The Global Burden of (How we Manage) Animal Disease: Learning Lessons from Southern Africa
Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment
An experimental test of community‐based strategies for mitigating human–wildlife conflict around protected areas
Systems Thinking in Practice: Participatory Modeling as a Foundation for Integrated Approaches to Health
Beyond One Health—Zoological Medicine in the Anthropocene
Ecology and conservation: contributions to One Health
Call for Papers
New Frontiers Research Topic e-book in
Frontiers in Veterinary Science and Frontiers in Public Health, Integrated Approaches to Health Call for manuscripts focused on generating One Health/EcoHealth knowledge and practice and reports of case studies that apply the Network for Evaluation of One Health (NEOH) methodology in order to highlight strengths, weaknesses and added value of One Health based on practical examples in a variety of contexts.
December 18, 2019
One Health Social Sciences Action Team Meeting
10:00 – 11:30 am Eastern
The One Health Commission's One Health Social Sciences (OHSS) Initiative is taking the next step to further its mission of streng-thening the global network of scientists and practitioners inte-grating One Health and social science concepts and methods in research and practice. If you are interested in this expanding arena of One Health approaches, please join in this online meeting with colleagues from across the world working on similar issues.
Free but you must register to receive your unique login to join the meeting.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem
“The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril.”
Evidence is mounting that abrupt and irreversible shifts in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are more likely than was thought. At worst, a global cascade of these tipping points could lead to a new, less habitable, ‘hothouse’ climate state. Seven climate scientists look at the evidence for tipping points, explore the effects and urge an emergency response.
Nature | 10 min read
Ensuring enough water for ecosystems
SDG Indicator 6.4.2 for which FAO is the custodian agency is presently the only indicator across the SDGs that explicitly considers the vital role of environmental water in ensuring sustainable water use. FAO has produced guidelines for a minimum standard method for global reporting ’Incorporating environmental flows into water stress indicator 6.4.2 which were published in January 2019, and aim at supporting countries in the process of producing data and information on environmental flows. .
+ Read the guidelines
Deforestation is leading to more infectious diseases in humans
As more and more forest is cleared around the world, scientists fear that the next deadly pandemic could emerge from what lives within them.
Development, Environmental Degradation, and Disease Spread in the Brazilian Amazon:
discuss the impact of Amazonian development on human health – specifically on vector-borne disease risk – and outline policy actions that could mitigate these negative health impacts.
Shoring up Asia's mega deltas
Asian mega deltas are home to more than 400 million people and serve as biodiversity hotspots. They are, however, facing severe challenges such as shrinking and sinking, due to climate change and unsustainable development.
Community land rights: An untapped solution to secure climate, biodiversity, and development goals
One-third of African tropical plant species could go extinct
Emissions and Health Impacts from Global Shipping Embodied in US-China Bilateral Trade
Global shipping activity emits 938 million tons of CO2 annually. Liu et al. (2019) use a mixed-method approach to evaluate satellite-observed vessel activities, their shipping emissions, and these impacts on human health – projecting that US-China bilateral trade is responsible for 2.5% of global shipping CO2 emissions and 4.8% of global premature deaths caused by related air pollution.
Extended: Open call for proposals on SDG Labs on Biodiversity
Closes: 8 December 2019
Open call for proposals on SDG Labs on Biodiversity has been extended until 8 December. Researchers, innovators and change-makers are invited to propose SDG Labs on Biodiversity-based solution to sustainability challenges for the International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS) 2020 held in Kunming, China in October 2020. The conference will precede the CBD-COP15 as a means of catalyzing transdisciplinary discussions on biodiversity.
To apply for SDG Labs, visit the conference website.
Food Safety and Security
Satellite ‘surveillance’ reveals which sustainable farming methods work—and which don’t
Sustainable intensification has become a buzzword in agriculture, covering a fleet of new farming methods, interventions, and technologies that are designed to scale up farming at the lowest-possible environmental cost. But one catch is that it’s difficult to measure how effective these methods really are across large areas of farmland. The new study, however, provides some convincing evidence that some interventions really are worth their salt.
Zimbabwe facing man-made starvation, says UN expert
Man-made starvation is “slowly making its way into Zimbabwe” and most households in the country are unable to obtain enough food to meet their basic needs, Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, declared on Thursday.
Climate change impacts and responses in small-scale irrigation systems in West Africa. Case studies in Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali and the Niger
The West and Central Africa region is particularly threatened by climate change and weather-related shocks, due in part to its high dependence on rainfed agriculture. Small-scale irrigation is very promising for the region as it can support rural food security, poverty alleviation and adaptation to climate change. Improving the resilience of small-scale irrigation systems to climate change-related shocks should be therefore an essential The West and Central Africa region part of any effective irrigation investment plan.
+ Read more
+ Read the publication
WaPOR, FAO's tool that monitors carbon sequestration by vegetation is now enriched with new data
WaPOR, FAO’s portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open access of Remotely sensed derived data, is now enriched with high resolution data (30m) for an area around Lamego, in central Mozambique. The area was selected for its relevance to assess the impact of extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent as a result of global warming. Mozambique was devastated by cyclone Idai in March 2019 and remote sensing data can help assessing the longer term impact and recovery efforts. WaPOR, in addition to monitoring water consumption through evapotranspiration and other key variables related to water and agriculture, provides seamless monitoring of carbon uptake by vegetation in near-real time, from 2009 to date.
+ Visit the WaPOR online portal
+ For more information on WaPOR, visit the WaPOR websit
Multiple Health and Environmental Impacts of Foods
investigate the health and environmental impacts of 15 different food groups, finding that the same foods associated with improved adult health – particularly lower incidences of non-communicable disease – also contribute less to environmental degradation.
Lack of Sustainable Cooling Threatens Safety, Health and Food Security of Hundreds of Millions
Brian Dean reviews the recommendations from a new SEforALL report, including a call for countries to develop comprehensive national cooling plans.
CDC: Medical devices key source of antibiotic-resistant infections
Resistance is more prevalent in bacterial infections tied to devices like catheters and ventilators compared with surgical infections.
A chink in the armour of drug-resistant MRSA
Biochemists have found a compound that lowers the defences of drug-resistant strains of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus — the leading cause of infections worldwide. Researchers screened around 45,000 candidates before alighting on MAC-545496, which shows promise against MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) in lab tests. Rather than acting as an antibiotic itself, MAC-545496 makes MRSA more vulnerable to attack by the immune system, and weakens its resistance to existing drugs.
Forbes | 5 min read
Reference: Nature Chemical Biology paper
Dangerous bacteria communicate to avoid antibiotics
Researchers have found a new survival mechanism for a commonly known type of bacteria. It can send out warning signals and thus make sure that other bacteria escape 'dangers' such as antibiotics. The researchers hope that the new knowledge can be utilized to make antibiotic treatment more effective.
- Rapid susceptibility test
- Vegetarians harboring superbugs
- Fidaxomicin against C diff in kids
Medical facilities coping well in Albania following earthquake
Floods across Europe affect thousands: Public health advice on flooding
WHO has published advice for anyone affected by flooding, including measures to take before, during and after a flood to help contain health hazards.
WHO-AFRO Emergencies: Week 47: 18 - 24 November 2019
The WHO Health Emergencies Programme is currently monitoring 61 events in the region. This week’s main articles cover key new and ongoing events, including:
- Lassa fever in Sierra Leone
- Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cholera in Ethiopia
- Humanitarian crisis in Mali.
The tip of the iceberg: why 99% of humanitarian resources in crises are ignored
At the global level, our research estimates that international humanitarian assistance comprises as little as 1% of resource flows to countries affected by humanitarian crises. These other resources cover a wide range, including monetary and in-kind help raised by crisis-affected individuals and communities themselves, remittances sent by family members abroad, local and national government resources and other informal aid, including volunteering, philanthropy and faith-based giving, as well as climate finance and development assistance.
Guide to climate change and mental health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) publishes a guide explaining how global environmental change matters to your child's mental health and explains steps that one can take to keep their child healthy in a changing climate.
Special Issue 'Hospital Outdoor and Indoor Environmental Impact: Control Measures'
Health and climate change: making the link matter
COP25: UN climate change conference, 5 things you need to know
Climate change is happening—the world is already 1.1°C warmer than it was at the onset of the industrial revolution, and it is already having a significant impact on the world, and on people’s lives. And if current trends persist, then global temperatures can be expected to rise by 3.4 to 3.9°C this century, which would bring wide-ranging and destructive climate impacts.
Is the world ready to end the coal era and embrace clean energy?
Access to electricity has transformed the world, helping countries to develop their economies, and lifting millions out of poverty. However, this success has come at a great cost: the energy sector, heavily reliant on fossil fuels, is responsible for some 40 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions – one of the so-called greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the Earth – and almost two-thirds of these emissions come from coal.
NOAA finds 2019 can be the Earth's second-hottest year
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new report that shows 2019 can be the planet's second or third warmest year since modern temperature data collection has started in 1880. The report says there is about an 85 percent chance that this year is likely to be the second warmest year.
How the fossil fuel “production gap” hinders climate goals
The new Production Gap Report — produced by SEI, IISD, ODI, CICERO, Climate Analytics and the UN Environment Programme — shows that the world is on track to produce 120% more fossil fuels than can be burned under 1.5°C warming. Specifically, countries’ current plans and projections for fossil fuel production would lead, in 2030, to the emission of 39 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of carbon dioxide (GtCO2). That is 13 GtCO2, or 53%, more than would be consistent with a 2°C pathway. It is 120% or 21 GtCO2 greater than fossil fuel production levels consistent with a 1.5°C pathway. This gap grows even wider by 2040, when production levels reach 110% and 210% higher than those consistent with the 2°C and 1.5°C pathways.
Business leaders urge EU to increase 2030 target to at least 55%
Members of the European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) - including Unilever, Coca Cola European Partners, Interface and Signify - are supporting a significant increase in the EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target for 2030 in order to remain in line with climate neutrality by 2050.
Read the full briefing here.
Angela Merkel criticises EIB decision to ban gas lending
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she didn’t find it “right” for the bank to end lending to natural gas projects by the end of 2021. Germany backed the EIB’s decision to end funding for fossil fuels projects just two weeks ago.Hours before, Von der Leyen – a Merkel ally – praised the EIB’s progress in becoming “a climate bank”.
European Union climate investment lags behind US and China
The European Investment Bank warned the EU needs to make a “tremendous effort” to develop a comprehensive climate strategy as green investments lag behind the US and China.
The EU Environmental Foresight System - Final report of 2018-19 annual cycle: emerging issues at the environment-social interface
The EU foresight system for the systematic identification of emerging environmental issues (FORENV) was established in 2017 responding to the need for improved understanding of emerging environmental and climate risks, set out in the 7th Environmental Action Programme. Through a collaborative process, combining expert knowledge and desk based research, each year FORENV identifies, characterises and communicates 10 priority emerging issues and their associated risks and opportunities for Europe’s environment and environmental policy.
Climate change impacts on socioeconomic damages from weather‑related events in China
China is vulnerable to climate change impacts, and this study investigates the potential socioeconomic damages to China from weather-related events under future climate conditions. A two-part model incorporating a hierarchical Bayesian approach is employed to explore the effects of climate on human damage (the share of affected people in a total population) and economic damage (the share of economic losses in gross domestic product).
5G wireless threatens weather forecasts
Meteorologists are worried about a ruling last week that means 5G signals could muddy the radio frequencies used to gather crucial weather and climate data. To give companies a leg up as they implement the new super-fast wireless technology, regulators will allow eight years of slightly relaxed standards for how much noise from 5G signals is allowed to leak into neighbouring frequencies. Water vapour in the atmosphere naturally produces a weak signal near 24 gigahertz, which satellites use to measure humidity and which sits perilously close to the bands designated for the 5G roll-out.
Nature | 4 min read
JAMA Network Open - Call for papers on Climate Change and Health
The global health open access journal JAMA Network Open is calling for papers on the health outcomes and risks associated with climate change. Their interest in this topic is broad; submissions may include both indirect and direct health outcomes mediated by climate change that affect other organisms, the food supply, and the degradation of the natural environment. Manuscripts will undergo peer review, including statistical review, after you submit by March 1, 2020.
CityRAP tool - City resilience: Action planning tool
CityRAP Tool is DiMSUR’s flagship product. It is a tool used for training city managers and municipal technicians in small to intermediate sized cities in sub-Saharan Africa. CityRAP enables communities to understand and plan actions aimed at reducing risk and building resilience through the development of a Resilience Framework for Action.
Exploring trade-offs among the multiple benefits of green-blue-grey infrastructure for urban flood mitigation
Climate change is presenting one of the main challenges to the planet. In parallel, all regions of the world are projected to urbanise further. Consequently, sustainable development challenges will be increasingly concentrated in cities. A resulting impact is the increment of expected urban flood risk in many areas around the globe.
Monitoring and evaluating climate adaptation activities: A reference guide for city managers
Cities are leading the way in committing to ambitious climate adaptation goals and implementing strategies to reduce climate risks. However, these commitments to adaptation action often face challenges in documenting changes in resilience of urban systems and populations.
Resilient cities, resilient lives learning from the 100RC Network
In the six years since the creation of 100 Resilient Cities, more than 70 cities have published Resilience Strategies containing over 3,000 initiatives. To date, more than US$25 billion has been catalyzed by 100RC member cities toward the resilience agenda, and the world’s leading development financial institutions are building resilience criteria into how large-scale infrastructure projects are funded.
Greener, longer life: More trees reduce premature deaths in cities
City dwellers tend to live longer if they are in leafy neighborhoods, according to a study published on Wednesday that linked green areas to lower rates of premature death.
UNU-IAS and Partners Launch Asia-Pacific Mayors Academy
A new initiative will create and support a network of local leaders who are committed to sustainable urban development throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
World Migration Report 2020 Launched
Read more | Watch here
Download Report | Infographics
Climate Change a Clear Driver of African Migration: IOM
270 Million Migrants Sent Home a Staggering USD 689 billion in 2018
Tuberculosis testing and migrant health
The case for mandatory vaccination
In terms of improving public health, vaccination is second only to providing clean drinking water. Yet vaccination rates are falling in high-income countries where the toll of disease is less visible — motivating some regions to impose mandatory vaccination. Public-health experts examine the evidence and find that investing in information campaigns and making access easier can inspire higher vaccination rates without compulsion.
Nature | 10 min read
This article is part of Nature Outlook: Vaccines, an editorially independent supplement produced with financial support from GSK.
State of Health in the EU: shift to prevention and primary care is the most important trend across countries
The European Commission published the reports that depict the profile of health systems in 30 countries. Country Health Profiles are being issued with the Companion Report that shows some of the biggest trends in the transformation of the healthcare systems and draws key conclusions from the Profiles.
The new State of Health in the EU
The State of Health in the EU aims at making health system information, expertise and best practices easily accessible to policymakers and policy influencers. The Country Health Profiles are designed to be a one-stop-shop for knowledge and information on a country’s health system, put into the perspective of a cross-EU comparison. Meanwhile, the Companion Report, published alongside the Country Health Profiles, showcases some of the biggest trends in the transformation of health systems.
Africa should set its own health-research agenda
For more than 20 years, Francisca Mutapi led a programme in Zimbabwe on human schistosomiasis. The experience gave her first-hand knowledge of how inequitable partnerships that task African scientists as data gatherers for Western research agendas are unlikely to make a difference to the African health problems that really matter. Local experts — not rich donors — must design and control studies, argues Mutapi.
Nature | 4 min read
On World Toilet Day, UN Highlights Plight of Sanitation Workers
A joint agency report finds that sanitation workers face high occupational health risks, weak legal protections, financial insecurity, and social stigma.
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