News Pouch: 16 February 2017







OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks

WHO: Situation updates - Avian influenza
WHO Global Influenza Updates - 6 Feb
WHO: FluNet Summary - 6 Feb
Monthly Risk Assessments - Influenza at the Human-Animal Interface - 16 Jan  
FAO: H7N9 situation - update - 24 Jan
FAO - H5N8 HPAI Global situation update - 15 Feb NEW


FAO H5N8 HPAI - Global situation update
FAO, 15 Feb
Situation: H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) 2016 virus in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East with pandemic potential. Confirmed Countries: ...

Czech Republic reports first H5N5 outbreak, as H5N8 turns up in Cameroon
CIDRAP, 15 Feb
H5N5 struck wild birds wintering at a Czech Republic zoo, as H5N8 was detected in an outbreak at a peacock farm in Cameroon, the third African country to report the virus.


China adds two more cases to H7N9 total
CIDRAP, 15 Feb
China reported two more H7N9 avian influenza cases, including the season's second case detected in Beijing, according to official sources and state media.

See also:

China Bird Flu Deaths Surge in What Could Be the Worst Season Ever
Reuters, 15 Feb
As many as 79 people died from H7N9 bird flu in China last month, the government said, stoking worries that the spread of the virus this season could be the worst on record.

Effect of Mass Paediatric Influenza Vaccination on Existing Influenza Vaccination Programmes in England and Wales: A Modelling and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis
The Lancet Public Health, 10 Jan
For this cost-effectiveness analysis, we used a transmission model of seasonal influenza calibrated to 14 seasons of weekly consultation and virology data in England and Wales.

Early immune responses and development of pathogenesis of avian infectious bronchitis viruses with different virulence profiles
PLOS, 15 Feb

Avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) primarily replicates in epithelial cells of the upper respiratory tract of chickens, inducing both morphological and immune modulatory changes. However, the association between the local immune responses induced by IBV and the mechanisms of pathogenesis has not yet been completely elucidated.




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



Study reveals more on Zika persistence in body fluids
CIDRAP, 15 Feb
Researchers who monitored Zika virus persistence in different body fluids in a group of newly infected patients from Puerto Rico found that viral RNA lingers in blood longer than dengue and other flaviviruses and that for men, Zika RNA usually cleared from semen after about 3 months. Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Puerto Rico published their findings yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Does Zika virus infection affect mosquito response to repellents?
Nature, 16 Feb

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people travelling to or living in areas with Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreaks or epidemics adopt prophylactic ...


Zika Can Persist in Semen for 3 Months
Medscape, 15 Feb
SEATTLE — Zika RNA can linger in semen for up to 3 months, but clears from vaginal fluid almost immediately, according to interim results from the first ...


Zika persists in semen, but viral shedding stops in most cases in a few months
STAT, 15 Feb
new study suggests at least half of men who have been infected with Zika will emit traces of the virus in their semen 1, but in most cases that viral shedding stops after about three months. The research, conducted in Puerto Rico 2, found that 56 ...



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 - Jan 2017
Saudi Arabia MOH Statistics 
FAO’s MERS-CoV monthly update


Buraidah MERS outbreak over

Gulf in the media, 15 Feb

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported three new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases over the weekend and two deaths, while the World Health Organization (WHO) released details on 17 cases of MERS, noting that a small healthcare-associated outbreak in Buraidah was officially over.



The Mission to Stop Ebola: Lessons for UN Crisis Response
ReliefWeb, 15 Feb
The Ebola epidemic of 2014–2016 was a fastmoving, multidimensional emergency that pre - sented unprecedented challenges for the multi - lateral system.


An empirical analysis of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Nature, 16 Feb

The data for the Ebola outbreak that occurred in 2014–2016 in three countries of West Africa are analysed within a common framework. The analysis is made ...

Post-Ebola reforms deserve support
The BMJ, 15 Feb
We agree with Moon and colleagues1—most of the 11 000 Ebola deaths in west Africa could have been prevented had the world been much better prepared.


For Ebola patients, a few signs mean treatment's needed
Science News, 16 Feb
“It can be very difficult to avoid bias when choosing which Ebola patient should be given extra care when you have limited time and resources,” Hartley says.


Link between deforestation and ebola a lesson in habitat, 16 Feb
"[The 2014 strain of] ebola in humans appeared to come out of nowhere, but we'd been thinking about this because we'd found antibody evidence of this virus in ...

Ebola Study Shows How 'Superspreaders' Can Prolong An Outbreak
Huffington Post, 16 Feb
Disease “superspreaders” may have played a major role in the spread of the Ebola virus during the 2014 outbreak in West Africa, according to a new statistical ...


Congo declares end to worst yellow fever epidemic in decades
Reuters, 15 Feb
Democratic Republic of Congo's worst yellow fever outbreak in decades has ended two months after Angola declared its epidemic to be over, following a massive U.N.-backed vaccine campaign, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The Amount of Sea Ice missing from the Arctic this winter is Roughly Twice the Size of France 
UN Dispatch, 14 Feb
Something is very wrong on our planet’s poles. Temperatures soared in the Arctic over the weekend as the storm system that brought snow and freezing rain to the US’s east coast this week pushed warm air into the Arctic. Scientists are alarmed because it’s the third time temperatures have seen a far-above-average bump during a winter that has already been relatively balmy.

Haiti radio drama teaches people how to stay alive during disasters
PreventionWeb, 13 Feb
A popular UN-backed radio drama series is teaching people in Haiti how to stay alive when disasters hit, the producer of the show, Christina Guerin, has said. While Haiti was still recovering from a devastating earthquake that ravaged the island nation in 2010, Hurricane Matthew caused further deadly destruction in October last year.

Flood-prevention steps discovered lacking at 10 nuclear power plants
PreventionWeb, 9 Feb
The NRA told the power companies last November to inspect reactor buildings and on other important equipment after some 6.5 tons of rainwater entered the No. 2 reactor building at Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika plant in September 2016.

Recovery postponed: The long-term plight of people displaced by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation disaster
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), 2017
This document discusses how almost six years after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, despite the overall good recovery progress, some areas have lagged behind and 134,000 evacuees continue to live in displacement. Prolonged and protracted displacement has had profound and disproportionate impacts on the more vulnerable members of society, particularly older people. 

Yellow fever vaccination recommendations for International Travellers related to current situation in Brazil
WHO, 14 Feb
As of 13 February 2017, yellow fever virus transmission continues to expand towards the Atlantic coast of Brazil in areas not deemed to be at risk for yellow fever transmission prior to the revised risk assessment published by WHO in the Disease Outbreak News of 27 January 2017, and...

Removing the Viral Threat: Two Months to Stop Pandemic X From Taking Hold
DARPA, 6 Feb
DARPA is now launching the Pandemic Prevention Platform (P3) program, aimed at developing that foundational work into an entire system capable of halting the spread of any viral disease outbreak before it can escalate to pandemic status.

How to Manage Global Catastrophic Risk
Brookings, 15 Feb
On February 15, Governance Studies at Brookings will host an event to discuss the management of global catastrophic risk. For decades, international organizations such as the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank have helped national, regional, and global leaders tackle these challenges. However, many believe that new approaches and fresh thinking are needed in the global governance arena.

Southern Africa: Regional Emergency Meeting for emerging pests and diseases kicks ...

FAO via Reliefweb, 15 Feb

The region is also on alert for a possible outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza that has already been confirmed in Egypt, Nigeria and Uganda.