Bi-weekly News Pouch: 21 March 2017





OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks


'Constant surveillance' needed to tackle resurgent outbreak of avian influenza
UN News Centre, 17 Mar
The H7N9 strain of avian influenza, first detected in China four years ago, has experienced resurgence since December 2016, the Food and Agriculture ...


Veterinary groups address H7N9 poultry risk in China
CIDRAP, 20 Mar
Two key animal health groups recently weighed in on recent H7N9 avian flu developments and possible consequences of the detection of highly pathogenic viruses in China, warning that concerted efforts are needed to eliminate the disease in poultry and share the latest information.

See also:

CIDRAP Flu Scan 20 Mar

  • Low-path H7N9 confirmed in one of Alabama's outbreaks
  • China's fifth wave H7N9 total climbs by 21
  • US flu continues to decline, but 5 new paediatric deaths reported


Reinforcing control efforts amid outbreak of avian influenza in China
FAO, 18 Mar

A resurgent outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza that can be lethal for humans underscores the need for robust and rapid detection and response systems ...

Malaysian state declares H5N1 avian flu emergency
Anadolu Agency, 20 Mar
A northeast Malaysian state has declared an emergency following an outbreak of H5N1, a highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The move by Kelantan state's ...


Influenza in the US and Avian Influenza Infections Rise in China
Infectious Disease Special Issue, 20 Mar
Influenza activity in the United States has decreased but remained elevated, according to the CDC. The agency has tested more than 600,000 specimens since Oct. 2, 2016, of which 85,381 were positive; 81.5% were influenza A and 18.5% were influenza B.

Reassortment of Influenza A Viruses in Wild Birds in Alaska before H5 Clade Outbreaks
CDC EID, April 2017
Sampling of mallards in Alaska during September 2014–April 2015 identified low pathogenic avian influenza A virus (subtypes H5N2 and H1N1) that shared ancestry with highly pathogenic reassortant H5N2 and H5N1 viruses.

The immune correlates of protection for an avian influenza H5N1 vaccine in the ferret model using oil-in-water adjuvants
Nature, 17 Mar

Viruses (AIV) are a significant threat to the human population, especially the H5N1 and H7N9 avian influenza viruses.




WHO Zika Situation Report - 10 Mar
- 10 Mar 



Zika virus could affect Canadians travelling south this winter

The Guardian, 20 Mar
The Zika virus in Canadian travellers retuning from countries in the Caribbean or Central America is more common and more severe than observed in previous reports, says a recent study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal published earlier this ...

Combating Infectious Diseases: The Zika Virus – Analysis
Eurasia Review, 18 Mar
This is a transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus, which is a member of the family Flaviviridae. Virus particles are 40 nm in diameter, with an outer envelope, and an inner dense core. Photo Credit: CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith, Wikipedia Commons.



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


Saudi MOH: 2 new MERS cases, 3 deaths
CIDRAP, 20 Mar
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported two new cases of MERS and three deaths in previously reported patients in recent days. Both of the new cases were linked to camel contact.

Ahead of Print -Domestic Pig Unlikely Reservoir for MERS-CoV
CDC EID, 17 Mar

We tested the suitability of the domestic pig as a model for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. Inoculation did not cause disease, but a low level of virus replication, shedding, and seroconversion were observed. Pigs do not recapitulate human MERS-CoV and are unlikely to constitute a reservoir in nature.


Infodemiology in the Battle Against Ebola: Mining the Web for Public Health Surveillance
GlocalData, 12 March
Internet data, especially search engine queries and social media postings, have shown promise in contributing to syndromic surveillance for several communicable diseases, including Ebola. Much has been written about the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, “lessons learned” have often focused on operational reasons why health systems faltered and why the humanitarian response came late, often taking donors and international aid agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to task for mishandling the crisis.

Doctor admits misleading over Ebola
BBC, 20 Mar

A doctor has admitted she misled other medics about the health of a colleague returning to the UK from West Africa with Ebola in 2014. Dr Hannah Ryan told a ...

'Inferno' brings insight and humanity to Ebola outbreak
The Washington Post, 20 Mar

“Inferno” is Hatch's exploration of Ebola's origins and spread throughout ... From here Hatch takes readers back, explaining the science of Ebola along with the ...


Three years after Ebola outbreak declared in Guinea, survivors still suffer
Reuters, 17 Mar

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Three years after the world's worst recorded Ebola outbreak was first declared in Guinea, hundreds of survivors who ...


Mental health in emergencies
WHO, Updated March 2017
During and after emergencies, people are more likely to suffer from a range of mental health problems. Some people develop new mental disorders after an emergency, while others experience psychological distress. Those with pre-existing mental disorders often need more help than before.

WHO: Yellow fever – Brazil - Disease outbreak news
WHO, 20 Mar
Updates on yellow fever vaccination recommendations for international travellers related to the current situation in Brazil

Brazil Yellow Fever Update: Health Ministry Acquires 12 Million Vaccine Doses
Outbreak News Today, 18 Mar
The Brazil Ministry of Health announced Friday they have acquired 12 million yellow fever vaccine doses in an effort to strengthen vaccination in affected areas.  Of this total, 8.46 million were produced by Fiocruz/BioManguinhos (subordinated to the Ministry) and another 3.5 million will be sent by the International Coordination Group.


PAHO reports 7,000 new chikungunya cases, mostly in Brazil
CIDRAP, 20 Mar
Three weeks' worth of new data from Brazil helped boost the chikungunya total in the Americas this year by 7,091 cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noted in an update late last week. PAHO update 17 Mar

How to Prepare for a Pandemic
NPR, 17 Mar
No matter how you slice it, outbreaks are becoming more common. Overseas, there's been Ebola, Zika and yellow fever. And here at home, we're seeing a surge in tick-borne diseases, with Lyme leading the way.


The revised US refugee ban, health, and security
The Lancet, 10 March
President Trump issued a revised travel and refugee ban on March 6, 2017, in the wake of judicial orders preventing implementation of his previous ban.1,2 The new order discontinues the bar on entry into the USA for permanent residents, reduces from seven to six the number...

The World Is Completely Unprepared for a Global Pandemic
Harvard Business Review, 15 Mar
In 2003 a doctor with SARS unknowingly infected several guests while staying at a Hong Kong hotel, and overnight the virus reached across the globe. China is currently battling a bird flu that kills nearly half of the people infected. If Ebola, which transmits through fluids, were spread by air, or if Zika, which has reached over 50 countries, were as deadly as Ebola, we would be facing an unprecedented catastrophe.