Bi-weekly News Pouch: 14 March 2017





OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks



The Bird Flu Death Toll in China Increased to 161

Apex Tribune, 14 Mar
Even when the Chinese disease control specialists announced the public to pay attention to the dangerous virus, people still managed to contract the bird flu strain. Japan and South Korea are also fighting against their own avian influenza outbreaks ...

China: CHP notified of human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Mainland
CHP, 10 Mar
The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 10) received notification from the National Health and Family Planning Commission that 22 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including three deaths, were recorded from March 3 to 9. The CHP strongly urges the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

H5N8 strikes Nepal for first time; Vietnam reports H5N1, H5N6
CIDRAP, 13 Mar
Nepal's livestock department recently reported the country's first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu, which stuck a commercial farm, as several countries in Europe reported more detections, including the already hard-hit southwestern section of France. In related developments, Vietnam reported more outbreaks from two other highly pathogenic strains: H5N1 and H5N6.

CDC says US flu season has likely peaked
CIDRAP, 10 Mar
Though fewer states report high flu activity, the CDC confirms 8 new flu deaths in kids.

Increase in Human Infections with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus During the Fifth Epidemic--China, October 2016-February 2017
CDC MMWR, 10 Mar
During the ongoing fifth epidemic (beginning October 1, 2016),* 460 human infections with A(H7N9) virus have been reported, including 453 in mainland China, six associated with travel to mainland China from Hong Kong (four cases), Macao (one) and Taiwan (one), and one in an asymptomatic poultry worker in Macao.

Letter to the editor: Just a coincidence? Two severe human cases due to swine influenza (SIV) A(H1N1)v in Europe, October 2016
Authors’ reply: Two severe human cases due to swine influenza A (H1N1)v in October 2016 in Europe were chronologic coincident yet distinct events



WHO Zika Situation Report - 2 Feb
- 10 Mar NEW


CDC expands Zika travel advisory as WHO updates risk levels
CIDRAP, 10 Mar
In Zika developments today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added four more countries—Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, and Solomon Islands—to its travel guidance for the disease, and the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a new classification system for identifying countries at risk.


Feds warn of Zika threat to sperm donations in 3 Florida counties
CIDRAP, 13 Mar
A more in-depth analysis of locally acquired Zika cases in Florida led the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today to warn of a potentially increased risk to residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties, especially as it relates to donated semen, which can harbor the virus for as long as 3 months.

For Brazil's Zika Families, a Life of Struggle and Scares
New York Times, 12 Mar
For families of Zika babies, however, the disastrous effects are only deepening. That is especially true in the impoverished cities and villages of northeastern Brazil, where the connection between the mysterious virus and infants born with tiny misshapen heads was first detected and where hundreds of families are struggling to give these babies the best lives possible.

Zika Virus Impacts Cardiovascular Health
The Cardiology Advisor, 13 Mar
Zika may have detrimental effects on the heart in some patients infected with the virus, according to research being presented at the ...



- WHO MERS-CoV Disease Outbreak News full archive here 
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia - 10 Mar NEW
- WHO: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) maps and epicurves - March 2017 NEW
- Saudi Arabia MOH Statistics 
- FAO’s MERS-CoV monthly update


Seven Saudi MERS cases reported, 6 tied to suspected hospital outbreak
CIDRAP, 13 Mar
Over the past few days Saudi Arabia reported seven new MERS-CoV infections, including six that appear to be linked to a hospital outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir in the south central part of the country.



Ebola vaccine trial for great apes shows promise, 13 Mar
In March 2014, West Africa became ground zero for the largest Ebola outbreak in history. Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea experienced thousands of cases of ...

Spatiotemporal Fluctuations and Triggers of Ebola Virus Spillover
Emerging Infectious Diseases, March 2017
Because the natural reservoir of Ebola virus remains unclear and disease outbreaks in humans have occurred only sporadically over a large region, forecasting when and where Ebola spillovers are most likely to occur constitutes a continuing and urgent public health challenge.


Social and Behavior Change Communication for Emergency Preparedness Implementation Kit
ReliefWeb, 13 Mar
During emergencies, coordinated, clear and credible communication aids in minimizing resulting health, social and economic costs. However, the uncertainty that characterizes emergencies typically fuels fear and panic among communities, and spreads misconceptions and rumors that affect people’s ability to appropriately respond to the emergency.

A literature review on community and institutional preparedness synergies
ECDC, Feb 2017
This technical report highlights the importance of involving communities in all the phases of emergency preparedness, focusing on the factors that can enable or hinder the work of communities and institutions together to improve emergency preparedness. Recent public health emergencies, most notably Ebola, have shown the potential of community engagement as a resource that can either help or hinder institutional responses to emergencies. This outbreak...

Rio de Janeiro state to vaccinate population against yellow fever
AP, 11 Mar
Rio de Janeiro state plans to vaccinate its entire population against yellow fever as a precaution amid Brazil's largest outbreak of the disease in years. The Health Ministry has confirmed more than 300 cases of yellow fever so far during Brazil's summer rainy season. Over 100 of them died. Much of Brazil is considered at risk for the mosquito-borne disease and people in those areas are supposed to be vaccinated.

PAHO reports 600 new chikungunya cases
CIDRAP, 13 Mar
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the past 2 weeks added 606 confirmed, suspected, and imported chikungunya cases to its total, bringing the case count for 2017 so far to 5,153.  PAHO update

Feature-Disaster Response Goes Digital--But Not for All
Reuters, 9 Mar
At a conference on resilience in New Orleans this week, technology companies outlined the increasingly sophisticated tools they are offering--on an altruistic basis--to help people cope better when disasters strike.


Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), 2016
This publication discusses climate change as a major challenge facing public health. The study explores how national-level public health adaptation is occurring in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, examines the roles of national governments in public health adaptation, and appraises three key governance dimensions of national-level health adaptation. Findings suggest that national governments are primarily addressing...