News Pouch: 19 April 2017





OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks


Nations pare back avian flu efforts, but tough new steps in France
CIDRAP, 18 April
Farmers in France's foie gras region will halt production for 6 weeks.


China is in the midst of by far its largest H7N9 wave, with cases last week passing the 600 mark. Illnesses showed an unusual spike in December and peaked during January and February.

Beijing CDC - Now Reporting 10 H7N9 Cases in 5th Epidemic Wave
Avian Flu Diary, 17 April
Even though Hong Kong's CHP reported Beijing with only 6 H7N9 cases a couple of hours ago, we have a weekly epidemiological report from Beijing's CDC showing a total of 10 cases this winter.

Stockpiling Ventilators for Influenza Pandemics
Emerging Infectious Diseases, June 2017
In preparing for influenza pandemics, public health agencies stockpile critical medical resources. Determining appropriate quantities and locations for such resources can be challenging, given the considerable uncertainty in the timing and severity of future pandemics.

Nigeria: FCT laments loss of 1.5m birds to avian flu influenza
He said: “In January, 2016, the agriculture secretariat was hit by an outbreak of the deadly avian flu influenza. The disease later spread to many parts of the FCT, ...

Niger reports first H5N8 outbreak; high-path viruses hit other nations
CIDRAP, 14 April
Niger reported its first highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza outbreak, the fourth African nation to detect the virus, and four European countries reported more ...



WHO Zika Situation Report - 10 Mar
- 10 Mar 



‘They’re just hiding’: Experts say Puerto Rico may be underreporting Zika-affected births
Stat, 18 April
The number of babies born in Puerto Rico with microcephaly and other birth defects caused by the Zika virus appears to be unexpectedly low — so low that experts are beginning to question whether the actual count is being significantly underreported by authorities on the island.

Enhanced Epilepsy Surveillance and Awareness in the Age of Zika
Jama Network, 17 April
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, through sexual activity without a condom, and probably through blood transfusion and exposure to other bodily fluids...

Zika virus can trigger epilepsy
CBS News, 18 April
Beyond its known links to birth defects and other problems, the Zika virus may also trigger cases of epilepsy in infants, warn experts from the U.S. Centers for ...


Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya Toolkit: Adaptation for Adaptation for Latin America and the Caribbean
IFRC via ReliefWeb, 18 April
The Americas Regional Office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), through its Zika Response Team, has adapted ...



- WHO MERS-CoV Disease Outbreak News full archive here 
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia - 3 April
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Qatar - 4 April
- WHO: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) maps and epicurves - April 2017
- Saudi Arabia MOH Statistics 
- FAO’s MERS-CoV monthly update


Qatar MOH: Second MERS Case Of 2017
Avian Flu Diary, 18 April
For the second time in less than a month, and for the 20th time since the virus was first identified in 2012, Qatar's MOH has announced new MERS infection.

Hospital Outbreaks of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Daejeon, South Korea, 2015
Emerging Infectious Diseases, June 2017
A few respiratory viruses constitute emerging threats to global health security; among them are Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which has caused outbreaks in Saudi Arabia. The major MERS outbreaks that occurred during 2012-2015 have been in or near the Arabian Peninsula. However, information on the epidemiologic features of MERS is insufficient, especially for different environmental and cultural settings.

Researchers identify potential risk factors for MERS-CoV
Healio, 13 Apr 2017
“A recent MERS-CoV WHO consultation on public health goals and global research activities called upon researchers to address knowledge gaps related to, ...


Ebola Virus Imported from Guinea to Senegal, 2014
Emerging Infectious Diseases, June 2017
In March 2014, the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea. In August 2014, a case caused by virus imported from Guinea occurred in Senegal, most likely resulting from nonsecure funerals and travel. Preparedness and surveillance in Senegal probably prevented secondary cases. 

Report highlights Ebola research hurdles, recommends steps
CIDRAP, 12 April
Armed with $460 million, it announced that its initial focus is developing vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Lassa, ...

CDC/WHO Ebola recommendations may put sewer workers at risk
Healio, 19 April
Researchers suggest that guidelines endorsed by the CDC and WHO for the safe disposal of liquid waste from patients with Ebola virus disease may not be ...


New Findings May Inform Ebola Treatment
Contagionlive, 18 April
Although there is still no cure for infection with the Ebola virus, the disease that spread through West Africa in 2014-2015 and caused a worldwide, media-fueled ...


Measuring the safety, efficacy of a vaccine against Ebola virus disease
Science Daily, 18 April
The 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic affected several countries in West Africa, leading to the death of more than 11'000 people. Although this epidemic of Ebolavirus ...

Liberia: 'Ebola Threats Still Exist', 13 April
A three-day international health conference on post Ebola virus disease in the sub-region has ended in Monrovia with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf indicating ...


PAHO: Epidemiological Update Yellow Fever - 17 April
Since epidemiological week (EW) 1 to EW 15 of 2017, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and Suriname have reported suspected and confirmed yellow fever cases.

Yellow Fever in Brazil
CDC, 13 April
The Brazilian Ministry of Health has reported an ongoing outbreak of yellow fever. The first cases were reported in the State of Minas Gerais in December 2016, but confirmed cases have since been reported in the neighboring states of Espirito Santo, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro (not Rio de Janeiro City). Cases have occurred mainly in rural areas, with most cases being reported from Minas Gerais state. Some cases have resulted in death.

See also:

Brazil's Response to a Huge Yellow Fever Outbreak: Kill the Monkey's
Washington Post, 15 April
A yellow fever outbreak is tearing through Brazil leaving thousands dead in its wake — thousands of monkeys, that is. The epidemic, the worst Brazil has seen in decades, has killed more than 200 people so far. But it's also threatening to wipe out some of the country’s most endangered primates. Not only are monkeys susceptible to yellow fever, but local residents have begun pre-emptively killing monkeys, incorrectly assuming that they help spread the disease.

Update: chikungunya cases in Pakistan, 13 April 2017
WHO, 13 April
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination of Pakistan has informed WHO of new figures for chikungunya cases reported in the country.
Between 19 December 2016 and 30 March 2017, a total of 1018 suspected cases of chikungunya have been reported in various districts in Karachi. No deaths have been reported so far.

PAHO: More cases in Brazil lead to another big jump in chikungunya
CIDRAP, 17 April
Brazil, reporting thousands of new chikungunya cases, almost single-handedly produced another big jump in cases in the Americas for the second straight week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported late last week.

Cholera Returns to Southern Vietnam in an Outbreak Associated with Consuming Unsafe Water Through Iced Tea: A Matched Case-Control Study
PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases, 13 April
After more than a decade of steadily declining notifications, the number of reported cholera cases has recently increased in Vietnam. We conducted a matched case-control study to investigate transmission of cholera during an outbreak in Ben Tre, southern Vietnam, and to explore the associated risk factors.

Disaster Preparedness in Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Pediatrics, April 2017
Disasters disproportionally affect vulnerable, technology-dependent people, including preterm and critically ill newborn infants. It is important for health care providers to be aware of and prepared for the potential consequences of disasters for the NICU. Neonatal intensive care personnel can provide specialized expertise for their hospital, community, and regional emergency preparedness plans and can help develop institutional surge capacity for mass critical care, including equipment, medications, personnel, and facility resources.

Humans on the Verge of Causing Earth's Fastest Climate Change in 50m Years
The Guardian, 17 April
A new study published in Nature Communications looks at changes in solar activity and carbon dioxide levels over the past 420 million years. The authors found that on our current path, by mid-century humans will be causing the fastest climate change in approximately 50 million years, and if we burn all available fossil fuels, we'll cause the fastest change in the entire 420 million year record.