News Pouch: 1 March 2017






OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks

WHO: Situation updates - Avian influenza - 27 Feb
WHO Global Influenza Updates - 20 Feb
WHO: FluNet Summary - 20 Feb
Monthly Risk Assessments - Influenza at the Human-Animal Interface - 14 Feb  
FAO: H7N9 situation - update - 22 Feb
FAO - H5N8 HPAI Global situation update - 15 Feb

Hungary, Romania report more H5N8 as Korea details H5N6 virus
CIDRAP, 28 Feb
H5N8 has now been confirmed in 40 countries, and South Korean scientists shared genetic findings from a recent H5N6 isolate.

How China Can Stop the World's Next Pandemic
JapanTimes, 27 Feb
The deadliest outbreak of H7N9 bird flu since its discovery in 2013 is sweeping across China. It's caused at least 100 deaths and has been detected in half the country's provinces. So far, the virus seems to be spreading only between birds and the humans who slaughter them for food. But the potential for human-to-human transmission--the trigger for a full-blown pandemic--can't be ruled out...

ESA: Epidemiological Update On H5N8/H5N5
Avian Flu Diary, 28 Feb

Throughout this winter's remarkable avian flu epizootic in Europe, three entities have provided us with the most detailed accounts and summaries; The UK's ...

TAIPEI: Nation's first bird flu death: CDC
Taipei Times, 28 Feb
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the nation's first human fatality from the H7N9 avian influenza virus. The CDC yesterday said a Taiwanese ...



WHO Zika Situation Report - 2 Feb
- 9 Feb 
WHO: Quarterly update of the Strategic Response Plan 28 October 2016



US Federal ethics panel rejects proposal for human Zika challenge study
CIDRAP, 28 Feb
A federal ethics committee that reviewed a research proposal to experimentally infect humans with Zika virus to help gauge the best approach to a vaccine has rejected the application, according to a report posted last week and first reported today by Stat.

See also:
Ethics panel blocks proposed Zika vaccine research
STAT, 28 Feb
A federally appointed ethics panel has rejected an application from a team of scientists to deliberately infect people with the Zika virus, a decision that threatens to further slow the search for an effective vaccine.

Lessons Learned at the Epicenter of Brazil's Congenital Zika Epidemic: Evidence from 87 Confirmed Cases
Clinical Infectious Diseases, 24 Feb
Congenital Zika virus infection has stimulated great international concern. A prospective case series of 87 infants with laboratory-confirmed congenital Zika syndrome at the epicenter of the Brazilian Zika epidemic in Pernambuco state is presented.

Ethical Considerations for Zika Virus Human Challenge Trials--Report & Recommendations, February 2017 (PDF)
NIH, Feb 2017
Zika virus is an emerging infectious disease that was first identified in 1947, and that has more recently become a major public health threat around the world. Zika virus has recently been shown to cause devastating neurological damage in infants and serious complications in adults in some cases, and may have other effects that have not yet been identified or definitively linked to the virus.

Risk of microcephaly after Zika virus infection in Brazil, 2015 to 2016 (PDF)
WHO Bulletin, March 2017
A large variation in the estimated risk of microcephaly was found in Brazil. Research is needed into possible effect modifiers, reliable measures of Zika virus infection and clear endpoints for congenital malformations.



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

Three new cases of MERS reported in Saudi Arabia
CIDRAP, 28 Feb
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) announced three new cases of MERS-CoV yesterday, and two involved direct contact with camels.


Sierra Leone study finds asymptomatic Ebola infections uncommon
CIDRAP, 28 Feb
Asymptomatic Ebola infections are uncommon even in highly exposed people and aren't likely to play a role in herd immunity, according to a seroprevalence study in Sierra Leone that used a new oral fluid immunoglobulin G test. A team led by researchers from Sierra Leone and Public Health England reported its findings yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Asymptomatic infection and unrecognised Ebola virus disease in Ebola-affected households in Sierra Leone: a cross-sectional study using a new non-invasive assay for antibodies to Ebola virus
The Lancet, 27 Feb
The frequency of asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus is unclear: previous estimates vary and there is no standard test. Asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus could contribute to population immunity, reducing spread. If people with asymptomatic infection are infectious it could explain re-emergences of Ebola virus disease (EVD) without known contact.

A Woman Survives Ebola but Not Pregnancy in Africa
Scientific American, 28 Feb
By the time she was 26, Salome Karwah had defied death at least three times. She had survived the longest, deadliest Ebola epidemic in history, which swept across west Africa recently, killing more than 11,000 people including her mother, father and uncle.


Somali’s president declares ‘national disaster’ over drought
Businessday, 1 March
Mogadishu — Somali’s newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Tuesday declared a "national disaster" due to severe drought which aid agencies say has left 3-million people in crisis.

WHO steps up medical preparations in response to West Mosul operations [EN/AR]
WHO via ReliefWeb, 28 Feb
As military operations in West Mosul, Iraq begin, the World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up its response in support of the Ministry of Health to meet the urgent health needs of 750,000 west Mosul residents who are expected to require trauma care and basic health services.

Joint Cholera Initiative for Southern Africa (JCISA) Sub-regional up-date on Cholera; 2017 – Week 8
ReliefWeb, 26 Feb
The Joint Cholera Initiative for Southern Africa (JCISA) is a multi-agency technical partnership bringing together WHO, UNICEF, UNOCHA and OXFAM supporting national governments with the primary goal being to “strengthen regional capacity and collaboration in order to ensure more timely, integrated and effective technical support to countries

UN health agency lists antibiotic-resistant bacteria which pose human threat
UN News, 27 Feb
The United Nations health agency today published its first-ever catalogue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest threat to human health. The list of priority pathogens consisting of 12 families of bacteria was drawn up to guide and promote research and development (R&D) of new antibiotics, as part of the World Health Organization (WHO)'s efforts to address growing global resistance to antimicrobial medicines.


Validating information on vaccine safety
WHO, 1 Mar
When parents and caregivers need credible information about vaccines for their children, they often look to the internet first. In recent years, however, a number of websites have been publishing unbalanced and misleading information on vaccine safety. In response, a network of validated vaccine safety websites, called Vaccine Safety Net, has been created to provide accurate and trustworthy information about vaccines.