News Pouch: 13 September 2017



Journal examines 15 years of public health emergency preparedness
CIDRAP, 12 Sept
Declaring that the terrorist attacks of September 2001 "forever altered" the understanding of disaster preparedness in the United States, the American Journal of Public Health has published a special issue focusing on public health emergency preparedness efforts over the past 15 years.

Articles include:

AJPH, 11 Sept
The United States has made significant progress in preparing for disasters and advancing public health infrastructure. To enable continued advancement, federal funding commitments must be sustained.

From Anthrax to Zika: Fifteen Years of Public Health Emergency Preparedness

Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management From Preparedness to Response and Recovery: Introduction and Contents of the Volume

Public Health Disasters: Be Prepared

The Evolution of Public Health Emergency Management as a Field of Practice

A Conceptual Framework for the Evaluation of Emergency Risk Communications




OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks



WHO | Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China

WHO, 13 Sept

On 18 August 2017, the NHFPC reported one laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in China. The case-patient was a ...

H7N9 Avian Flu Continues to Spread, Worsen in China
Medscape, 12 Sept
Notably, during the fifth epidemic, some Asian H7N9 strains acquired mutations that turned them from low-pathogenic to high-pathogenic strains. Twenty-seven patients were infected with high-pathogenic avian influenza strains that had acquired mutations.

Study signals association between flu vaccine, miscarriage
CIDRAP, 13 Sept
Women who had received 2 straight H1N1-containing vaccines had a much higher rate of miscarriage.

Performance of inhaled flu vaccine confounds experts
CIDRAP, 11 Sept
Why the live-attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), FluMist, performed poorly in America during the 2015-16 flu season but well in Canada, Finland, and the United Kingdom continues to stump flu experts.

2015 Pandemic Influenza Readiness Assessment Among US Public Health Emergency Preparedness Awardees
AJPH, 11 Sept
Objectives. To assess how US Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) awardees plan to respond to an influenza pandemic with vaccination.

Five distinct reassortants of H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza A viruses affected Japan during the winter of 2016–2017
Virology, 9 Sept
To elucidate the evolutionary pathway, we sequenced the entire genomes of 89 H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) isolated in Japan during winter 2016–2017 and 117 AIV/HPAIVs isolated in Japan and Russia.


Can You Track the Ebola Funding from Pledge to Delivery?
The Politics of Poverty, 11 Sept
For aid transparency information to be useful, we need not just information on funding, but also needs to include information about where the funds are used and what they intend to deliver.

Development of risk reduction behavioral counseling for Ebola virus disease survivors enrolled in the Sierra Leone Ebola Virus Persistence Study, 2015-2016
PLOS, 11 Sept
The 2014–2016 West Africa Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic was large and widespread, affecting thousands of people across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

We describe knowledge and attitude towards Ebola and Marburg virus outbreaks in two affected communities in Uganda to inform future outbreak responses and help in the design of health education and communication messages.




A unique case of human Zika virus infection in association with severe liver injury and coagulation disorders
Nature, 12 Sept

Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused major concern globally due to its rapid dissemination and close association with microcephaly in children and Gullian-Barr ...


Persistence of Zika virus in conjunctival fluid of convalescence patients
Nature, 11 Sept

A widespread epidemic of Zika fever, caused by Zika virus (ZIKAV) has spread throughout the Pacific islands, the Americas and Southeast Asia.

New Portable, Cost-effective Agile R100 Detects Zika Viral Protein with High Sensitivity and Specificity
Erie News NOW, 12 Sept
Nanomedical Diagnostics, a cutting-edge life science company pioneering graphene biosensors that accelerate pharmaceutical and biotherapeutics development, announces a new publication in Biosensors and Bioelectronics demonstrating detection of Zika viral antigen using the label-free Agile R100 biosensor.

Zika Spread: Rubio Asks HHS to Prepare for Spread After Irma
CBS12, 9 Sept
As part of a letter writing campaign to Federal agencies, Florida Senator Marco Rubio asked the US Department of Health and Human Services to prepare for a possible spread of Zika in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida.





Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Oman
WHO, 12 Sept
On 30 August 2017, the national IHR focal point of Oman reported one case of Middle East respiratory syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The last report of MERS-CoV from Oman was on 29 November 2016.


MERS mortality linked to age, illness severity, hospital infection
CIDRAP, 12 Sept
Advanced age, severe illness, and hospital-acquired infections top the list of predictors of mortality for MERS patients measured at 3 days, 30 days, and 45 days after initial diagnosis, according to a study yesterday in BMC Infectious Diseases.

See also:
The predictors of 3- and 30-day mortality in 660 MERS-CoV patients
BMC Infectious Diseases, 11 Sept
Several factors were identified that could influence mortality outcomes at 3 days and 30 days, including age (elderly), non-healthcare workers, severity of illness, and hospital-acquired infections. The findings can serve as a guide for healthcare practitioners by appropriately identifying and managing potential patients at high risk of death.


WHO: Over 500 Dead as Congo Cholera Epidemic Spreads
VOA, 10 Sept
More than 500 people have died so far in a cholera epidemic that is sweeping the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization said.  Outbreaks of the water-borne disease occur regularly in Congo, mainly due to poor sanitation and a lack of access to clean drinking water. But this year's epidemic, which has already hit at least 10 urban areas including the capital Kinshasa, is particularly worrying as it comes as about 1.4 million people have been displaced by violence in the central Kasai region.

Florida Keys Facing Potential 'Humanitarian Crisis' in Irma Aftermath
Guardian, 11 Sept
Florida governor Rick Scott reported a scene of devastation in the Keys, the low-lying island chain to the south of the mainland, after an aerial tour at lunchtime. "The water is not working, the sewer is not working, and there's no electricity, so it's very tough," he told reporters. He said he had seen boats carried into homes, mobile home parks destroyed and major damage to even the sturdiest buildings.

Officials report new chikungunya cases in Americas, Italy, Pakistan, India
CIDRAP, 12 Sept
Chikungunya totals in the Americas have grown by more than 600 cases, according to the latest update from the Pan American Health Association (PAHO), while Italy reported locally transmitted cases for the first time since 2015, and Pakistan and India noted more infections.

Referral Challenge Hits Bid to Contain Cholera in Nigeria's Northeast
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 12 Sept
Efforts to contain a cholera outbreak that has struck more than 1,000 people in refugee camps in northeast Nigeria are being hampered because people are failing to report suspected cases to authorities, a United Nations official said.

Anthrax Outbreak Reported in Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan
Outbreak News Today, 10 Sept
Officials in Kyrgyzstan are reporting an anthrax outbreak in the At-Bashinsky district of the Naryn region in eastern Kyrgyzstan, according to a local media account. Currently, three people are in the hospital, another 15 are under medical supervision.

Hurricane Health Toll: Texas Doctor Uses Lessons from Katrina
Scientific American, 7 Sept
As Dr. Ruth Berggren digests the calamity affecting her new home state of Texas, she admits to some PTSD. In 2005, she was an infectious-disease doctor at the nearly 3,000-bed Charity Hospital in New Orleans, one of a small number of physicians left managing patients and performing triage in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Disaster Debris Management : Requirements, Challenges, and Federal Agency Roles
CRS, 6 Sept
Every year, communities in the United States are affected by disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, wildfires, and winter storms. After a disaster, when a region turns its attention to rebuilding, one of the greatest challenges often involve s properly managing disaster - related debris.


Former CDC director Tom Frieden to launch new global health initiative

Statnews, 12 Sept

Tom Frieden is tired of the lack of progress in reducing the global burden of cardiovascular disease and of infectious disease outbreaks.