Journal NewsPouch - 13 October 2015


  • Ebola 
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)
  • Avian Influenza  
  • Emergencies and Disasters 
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Vaccines
  • Zoonoses and Animal Diseases



Prognostic Analysis of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease

PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases, Sept 2015

The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. However, factors affecting the survival of the disease remain unclear. Here, we investigated the prognostic factors of Ebola virus disease through various statistical models.

Delayed Disease Progression in Cynomolgus Macaques Infected with Ebola Virus Makona Strain 

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

In late 2013, the largest documented outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever started in Guinea and has since spread to neighboring countries, resulting in almost 27,000 cases and >11,000 deaths in humans. In March 2014, Ebola virus (EBOV) was identified as the causative agent. This study compares the pathogenesis of a new EBOV strain, Makona, which was isolated in Guinea in 2014 with the prototype strain from the 1976 EBOV outbreak in the former Zaire...

Decreased Ebola Transmission after Rapid Response to Outbreaks in Remote Areas, Liberia, 2014 

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

We measured the reproduction number before and after interventions were implemented to reduce Ebola transmission in 9 outbreaks in Liberia during 2014. We evaluated risk factors for secondary cases and the association between patient admission to an Ebola treatment unit (ETU) and survival.

Utility of Oral Swab Sampling for Ebola Virus Detection in Guinea Pig Model

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

To determine the utility of oral swabs for diagnosing infection with Ebola virus, we used a guinea pig model and obtained daily antemortem and postmortem swab samples. According to quantitative reverse transcription PCR analysis, the diagnostic value was poor for antemortem swab samples but excellent for postmortem samples.

Mobile laboratories for Ebola and other pathogens

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

Mobile laboratories located in areas where Ebola virus disease was spreading dramatically during the recent outbreak in parts of west Africa drastically reduced the time between collection of biological specimens and return of results, making them much more effective than central laboratories located far from the patients.

Is there a way out for the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Western Africa?

Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, Sept 2015

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, primarily affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, has exceeded all previous Ebola outbreaks in the number of cases and in international response. Although infections only occur frequently in Western Africa, the virus has the potential to spread globally and is classified as a category A pathogen that could be misused as a bioterrorism agent. This review aims (i) to discuss the latest data to aid our current recommendations for the prevention and control of the Ebola virus infection, (ii) to review its pathophysiology as well as offering insights on the most current data available about Ebola vaccine progress and potential use.


Knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome among Umrah and Hajj pilgrims in Samsun, Turkey, 2015

Eurosurveillance, September 2015

We performed a questionnaire study to determine knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) among people intending to participate in the Hajj or Umrah Muslim pilgrimages. Of the 381 respondents aged between 17 and 85 years, 55% had never heard of MERS, while only one in three knew that it is a respiratory disease. Approximately half were insufficiently informed about protective measures. Prospective pilgrims do not seem prepared to take such precautions.

Presence of antibodies but no evidence for circulation of MERS-CoV in dromedaries on the Canary Islands, 2015

Eurosurveillance, September 2015

In 2012, a new betacoronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), was identified in humans. Several studies confirmed dromedary camels to be a potential reservoir and a source for human infection. Camels located on the Canary Islands were included in those studies and ca 10% of them were positive for MERS-CoV-specific antibodies. However, these findings could not be correctly interpreted because epidemiological information was not provided. Thus, further investigations were necessary to clarify these results.

MERS—an uncertain future

The Lancet, October 2015

MERS cases have been recorded in 26 countries, but all can be traced back to the Middle East as the source of infection. Most cases—1223 with 520 deaths—have occurred in Saudi Arabia, with a case fatality rate of about 43%. At the time of writing (early September), Saudi Arabia is reporting new cases every day. South Korea contributes the next highest number of cases—186 with 36 fatal—with no new cases since July.  

Differences in the seasonality of MERS-CoV and influenza in the Middle East

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, September 2015

We found that the first two major waves of weekly laboratory confirmations of MERS-CoV cases closely followed after the seasonal epidemic waves of influenza A in the Middle East. This finding is important to reveal the mechanisms under the seasonality of MERS-CoV in Middle East.

Probable transmission chains of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and the multiple generations of secondary infection in South Korea

International Journal of Infectious Diseases, September 2015

As of July 14, 2015, 185 confirmed cases of MERS have been reported in the Korean outbreak. Three generations of secondary infection, with over half belonging to the second generation, could be delineated. Hospital infection was found to be the most important cause of virus transmission, affecting largely non-healthcare workers (154/184). Healthcare switching has probably accounted for the emergence of multiple generations of secondary infection. Fomite transmission may explain a significant proportion of the infections occurring in the absence of direct contact with infected cases.


Wild Bird Surveillance For HPAI H5 In North America

Virology Journal, Sept 2015

Along with a lot of other writers who have been following the arrival of HPAI H5 into North America these past 10 months, I’ve been forced to use the word `Presumably ’ a lot. As in, ` The HPAI H5 virus arrived in North American last fall, presumably carried in from Asia by migratory birds.... 

Early Characterization of the Severity and Transmissibility of Pandemic Influenza Using Clinical Episode Data from Multiple Populations

PLOS: Computational Biology, Sept 2015

The potential rapid availability of large-scale clinical episode data during the next influenza pandemic suggests an opportunity for increasing the speed with which novel respiratory pathogens can be characterized

Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Infection in 2 Travelers Returning from China to Canada, January 2015

Emerging Infectious Diseases, January 2016

In January 2015, British Columbia, Canada, reported avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infection in 2 travelers returning from China who sought outpatient care for typical influenza-like illness. There was no further spread, but serosurvey findings showed broad population susceptibility to H7N9 virus. Travel history and timely notification are critical to emerging pathogen detection and response. 

Effect of Live Poultry Market Closure on Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Activity in Guangzhou, China, 2014 

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

We assessed the effect of closing live poultry markets in China on influenza A(H7N9) virus detection and viability. Intensive sampling was carried out before, during, and after a 2-week citywide market closure; the markets were cleaned and disinfected at the beginning of the closure period. Swab samples were collected at different sites within the markets and tested for H7N9 by real-time reverse transcription PCR and culture.

Increased Number of Human Cases of Influenza Virus A(H5N1) Infection, Egypt, 2014–15

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Dec 2015

During November 2014–April 2015, a total of 165 case-patients with influenza virus A(H5N1) infection, including 6 clusters and 51 deaths, were identified in Egypt. Among infected persons, 99% reported poultry exposure: 19% to ill poultry and 35% to dead poultry. Only 1 person reported wearing personal protective equipment while working with poultry.

Human infection and environmental contamination with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in Zhejiang Province, China

BMC Public Health, Sept 2015

A surveillance program for H7N9 virus has been conducted in all 90 counties in Zhejiang since March 2013. All H7N9 cases were reported by hospitals through the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention. Sampling sites for environment specimens were randomly selected by a multi-stage sampling strategy. 


Psychological distress and the perception of radiation risks: the Fukushima health management survey

WHO Bulletin, Sept 2015

We analysed cross-sectional data from a survey of evacuees conducted in 2012. Psychological distress was classified as present or absent based on the K6 scale. Respondents recorded their views about the health risks of exposure to ionizing radiation, including immediate, delayed and genetic (inherited) health effects, on a four-point Likert scale.  

Data collection tools for maternal and child health in humanitarian emergencies: a systematic review

WHO Bulletin, Sept 2015

We systematically searched MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge and POPLINE databases for studies published between January 2000 and June 2014. We also searched the websites of organizations active in humanitarian emergencies. We included studies reporting the development or use of data collection tools concerning the health of women and children in humanitarian emergencies. 

A contrast study of the traumatic condition between the wounded in 5.12 Wenchuan earthquake and 4.25 Nepal earthquake

Chinese Journal of Traumatology, Sept 2015

The clinical data of the wounded respectively in 5.12 Wenchuan earthquake and 4.25 Nepal earthquake rescued by Chengdu Military General Hospital were retrospectively analyzed. Then a contrast study between the wounded was conducted in terms of age, sex, injury mechanisms, traumatic conditions, complications and prognosis.

Improving mental health care in humanitarian emergencies

WHO Bulletin, Oct 2015

The mental health needs of people af- fected by emergencies are significant, but often overlooked by health-care providers.1 The world is facing an un- precedented number of humanitarian emergencies arising from conflict and disasters. In 2014, nearly 60 million people were forcibly displaced due to conflict, the highest number on record.


Antibiotics, copayments, and antimicrobial resistance: investment matters

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

Antibiotics are unequivocally one of the greatest innovations in medicine, but the threat of resistance is approaching a tipping point. In Europe alone, health care and productivity costs are estimated at more than €1·5 billion per year,1 with costs in the USA estimated at US$55 billion.2 Accurate data from low-income and middle-income settings are insufficient.3,4 With only two new classes of antibiotics developed since the 1970s, the possibility of a world without antibiotics is a global concern.

Out-of-pocket health expenditures and antimicrobial resistance in low-income and middle-income countries: an economic analysis

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

The decreasing effectiveness of antimicrobial agents is a growing global public health concern. Low-income and middle-income countries are vulnerable to the loss of antimicrobial efficacy because of their high burden of infectious disease and the cost of treating resistant organisms. We aimed to assess if copayments in the public sector promoted the development of antibiotic resistance by inducing patients to purchase treatment from less well regulated private providers.


Evaluating Ebola vaccine trials: insights from simulation

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

Jolanta Piszczek and Eric Parlow outlined expected benefits of a stepped-wedge cluster trial (SWCT) design, with specific reference to the Sierra Leone Trial to Introduce a Vaccine against Ebola (STRIVE). STRIVE, however, is not an SWCT, but a phased-rollout trial in which randomisation to immediate or delayed vaccination groups occurs at the individual level (a randomised clinical trial [RCT]) within trial clusters

The effect of dose on the safety and immunogenicity of the VSV Ebola candidate vaccine: a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 1/2 trial

The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

Safe and effective vaccines against Ebola could prevent or control outbreaks. The safe use of replication-competent vaccines requires a careful dose-selection process. We report the first safety and immunogenicity results in volunteers...

MERS Vaccine Candidate Offers Promise, but Questions Remain

EBioMedicine, September 2015

Despite several years of study, understanding of MERS-CoV infection has been limited by a variety of factors including difficulty accessing samples, limited autopsy data, and the lack of robust animal models of disease (Zumla et al., 2015). However, a number of reports have provided both insights and....

Neuraminidase: Another Piece of the Influenza Vaccine Puzzle

Oxford JID, Oct 2015

The hunt for immune correlates of vaccine-mediated protection from influenza is by no means a recent endeavor. The most recognized unit for such a correlate, a hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay titer of ≥40, is derived from studies published in 1972 [1].


Database of host-pathogen and related species interactions, and their global distribution

Scientific Data, 15 Sept

Two datasets were extracted from the database, focussing on species interactions and species distribution, based on evidence published between 1950–2012. The quality of their evidence was checked and verified against well-known, alternative, datasets of pathogens infecting humans, domestic animals and wild mammals. The presented datasets provide a valuable resource for researchers of infectious diseases of humans and animals, including zoonoses.  

Influenza Virus Surveillance in Coordinated Swine Production Systems, United States

Emerging Infectious Diseases, Oct 2015

To clarify the epidemiology of influenza A viruses in coordinated swine production systems to which no animals from outside the system are introduced, we conducted virologic surveillance during September 2012–September 2013. Animal age, geographic location, and farm type were found to affect the prevalence of these viruses. 

This could be the start of something big—20 years since the identification of bats as the natural host of Hendra virus

One Health, December 2015

Hendra virus was first described in 1994 in Australia, causally associated with a cluster of fatal equine and human cases at a thoroughbred racing stable in the Brisbane suburb of Hendra. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the identification of pteropid bats (flying-foxes) as the natural host of the virus, and it is timely to reflect on a pivotal meeting of an eclectic group of scientists in that process. They included animal and public health experts, environmental scientists, veterinary and horse industry representatives, and wildlife experts.