News Pouch: 10 May 2017





OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks



Preparing for the next influenza pandemic
WHO, May 2017
This year the World Health Assembly will receive the first review of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework – an agreement helping to prepare the world for the next influenza pandemic by ensuring that all countries, whether rich or poor, have access to influenza vaccines.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China
WHO, 9 May 2017
On 30 April 2017, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) notified WHO of 18 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in mainland China.

CIDRAP Avian Flu Scan - 9 May
Study finds H7N8 infection dynamics different for turkeys
A series of tests with low-pathogenic and highly pathogenic strains of H7N8 avian flu involved in Indiana poultry farm outbreaks in 2016 found that turkeys are highly susceptible and show different symptoms than infected chickens do. Researchers from the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory reported their findings in PLoS One.

China reports more high-path H7N9 outbreaks in poultry
In the latest avian flu outbreak developments, China reported more highly pathogenic H7N9 detections at live-poultry markets and farms, and Bulgaria reported one more H5N8 outbreak in wild birds, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Near Real-Time Surveillance for Guillain-Barre Syndrome After Influenza Vaccination Among the Medicare Population, 2010/11 to 2013/14
Vaccine, May 2017
GBS is a serious acute demyelinating disease that causes weakness and paralysis. The FDA began collaborating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop near real-time vaccine safety surveillance capabilities in 2006 and has been monitoring for the risk of GBS...

Avian influenza returns to the UK
Wattagnet, 8 May

Hardly had previously imposed control measures been relaxed in the United Kingdom (UK), and two new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) ...

Avian Influenza Found in Mexico
KTIC-8 May
The World Organization for Animal Health reports that highly contagious H7N3 avian influenza was confirmed Thursday at a farm in west-central Mexico.



CDC Zika Interim Response Plan
CDC, 5 May
This CDC Zika Interim Response Plan replaces previous versions posted on July 31, 2016, September 30, 2016, and October 21, 2016. Building on lessons learned in 2016 and feedback from state and local health partners, CDC has revised this document to be more streamlined, added links to existing guidance on CDC’s website, and updated critical guidance.

Zika Virus-like Particle (VLP) Based Vaccine
PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases, 8 May
The newly emerged mosquito-borne Zika virus poses a major public challenge due to its ability to cause significant birth defects and neurological disorders. The impact of sexual transmission is unclear but raises further concerns about virus dissemination. No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available, thus the development of a safe and effective vaccine is paramount.

Mosquito-borne viruses like Zika may be spread at lower temperatures, potentially expanding impact
EurekAlert, 9 May
TAMPA, Fla. (May 9, 2017) -- Transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, such as Zika, occur at lower temperatures than previously thought, a recently released ...

Studying Zika
Harvard Magazine, 8 May
To understand the outbreak of a disease like Zika, and ultimately to fight it, researchers must work on multiple levels. There are questions of molecules and chemical processes: how does the virus infect a cell, and what components provoke an immune ...


Zika antibody discovery may lead to new vaccine
Firstpost, 8 May
Washington: Scientists have identified a potent weapon against Zika virus - an antibody in the blood of infected people that may lead to a new vaccine against the disease. In blood samples taken from patients in Mexico and Brazil, scientists found ...



- WHO MERS-CoV Disease Outbreak News full archive here 
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia and Qatar - 27 April
- WHO: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) maps and epicurves - May 2017
- Saudi Arabia MOH Statistics 
- FAO’s MERS-CoV monthly update


MERS study indicates mild cases might be missed
A new analysis of blood samples from people sickened in South Korea's MERS-CoV outbreak showed variable antibody response, including undetectable antibodies in mild cases, which might complicate seroprevalence studies and convalescent serum treatment.

MERS-CoV Antibody Responses 1 Year After Symptom Onset, South Korea, 2015
Emerging Infectious Diseases, 8 May
We investigated the kinetics of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus neutralizing and spike protein antibody titers over the course of 1 year in 11 patients who were confirmed by reverse transcription PCR to have been infected during the outbreak in South Korea in 2015. Robust antibody responses were detected in all survivors who had severe disease; responses remained detectable, albeit with some waning, for less than1 year.

New case of MERS reported in Riyadh
On May 6 the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new confirmed case of MERS-CoV in Riyadh.


Evaluation of UNICEF’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa 2014–2015
ReliefWeb, March 2017
Through much of 2014 and into 2015, the international community witnessed an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in parts of West Africa that was unprecedented in scale, severity and complexity. The toll in illness and death was severe: more than 28,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died. Some 16,000 children lost parents or caregivers to Ebola.

Big Data strategies to address Ebola
Medical Xpress, 8 May
IBM announced its researchers have used big data analytics to assess the impact of infected animal carriers, or an animal reservoir, in the spread of the Ebola ...

Liberia: Meningitis Not Ebola, 10 May
AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity


No More Epidemics
No More Epidemics thought leadership from campaign staff and influential guest authors.
  • Are We Prepared to Help Low-Resource Populations Mitigate a Severe Pandemic?
  • Global Priorities to Achieve the Global Health Security Agenda
  • The Joint External Evaluation Tool and the Role of Law: Simple Fixes at the One-Year Mark
  • Biosafety and the Global Health Security Agenda
  • Public Health Emergency Operations Centers: Creating More Resilient Communities
  • Measuring and Motivating Global Health Security: Lessons From Taiwan
  • Leveraging Synergies to Improve Epidemic Preparedness


Hundreds of suspected cholera cases in Yemen: MSF
Yahoo News, 7 May
At least 570 suspected cases of cholera have surfaced in war-torn Yemen in the past three weeks, sparking fears of a potential epidemic, Doctors Without Borders said Sunday.

Texas A&M International University System (TAMIU), 2017
The threat posed by pandemics grows alongside increased globalization and technological innovation. Distant cultures can now be connected in a day’s time, and international trade links global health and economic prosperity. This report details nine priority areas and accompanying action items that will help to address current pandemic response problems. Developing centralized leadership; coordinating existing agencies and departments; reforming...

Meningitis suspected in Liberia's mystery illness outbreak
Liberian official says meningitis is the possible cause of puzzling cases.

See also:
Liberian mystery disease may be solved

Science, 8 May
The outbreak—which so far has sickened 30 people and killed 13—may have highlighted its legacy: a disease-monitoring system put in place after Ebola. Although the public health response was far from flawless, it rapidly stilled Ebola fears and now points to a different disease: meningitis.

PAHO reports more than 900 new chikungunya cases
Countries in the Americas reported 907 new chikungunya cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noted late last week, another week that saw no report from Brazil, which has accounted for the most cases by far this year and last year. May 5 PAHO update

Cholera Cases Down 60% in Haiti
Outbreak News Today, 8 May
The number of cholera cases reported in Haiti through Apr. 8 this year is down significantly compared to the same periods in 2015 and 2016, according to a new report from the Pan American Health Organization.

Who Is Responsible for the Health Care of Refugees?
Lancet, 6 May
We share in this Correspondence our reflections from our involvement in a medical mission in Greece, and highlight the need for global collaboration to improve health care for refugees.


Can Saving Animals Prevent the Next Deadly Pandemic?
Smithsonian, 5 May
A global disease monitoring network is banking on the idea that healthier wildlife means healthier humans. Researchers now believe that fruit bats were the origin of this zoonotic disease—which refers to any disease that makes the jump from animals to humans (or vice versa), and includes around 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases.