News Pouch: 3 July 2017






WHO Ebola Situation report: 30 June 2017 NEW


WHO declares an end to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
WHO, 2 July 2017
WHO declared the end of the most recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "With the end of this epidemic, DRC has once again proved to the world that we can control the very deadly Ebola virus if we respond early in a coordinated and efficient way,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

Congo declares Ebola outbreak over after four deaths
Reuters, 1 July
Congo declares Ebola outbreak over after four deaths ... at midnight, the end of the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever of the Ebola virus in DRC," Ilunga said.


Wet PPE allows more Ebola virus penetration than dry, study finds
CIDRAP, 30 June
A study yesterday in Scientific Reports found that water-saturated personal protective equipment (PPE) allowed Ebola virus to penetrate the material 33% of the time, compared with 5% for dry PPE. The study sought to explain how healthcare workers wearing PPE during West Africa's 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak contracted the deadly virus.

See also:

Challenge of Liquid Stressed Protective Materials and Environmental Persistence of Ebola Virus
Scientific Reports, 29 June
After the largest Ebola virus outbreak in history, experts have attempted to answer how the Zaire ebolavirus species emerged in West Africa and caused chains of human-to-human transmission. The widespread and untimely infection of Health Care Workers (HCW) in the affected countries accelerated spread of the virus within the community.

Health Sector Resilience Checklist for High-Consequence Infectious Diseases - Informed by the Domestic US Ebola Response
CDC, 2017
The purpose of this project was to develop an evidence-informed checklist that outlines action steps for medical and public health authorities, in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and private industry, to assess and strengthen the resilience of their community's health sector in the face of Ebola Virus Disease or other high consequence infectious diseases. 


OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks



Six more H7N9 avian flu cases reported in China
CIDRAP, 30 June
China reported six more H7N9 avian flu infections this week, down from 10 reported last week but showing further signs of ongoing virus circulation during the summer months when few or no human cases are typically recorded.

Flu vaccine effectiveness study in kids finds modest, consistent benefit
CIDRAP, 30 June
A study in children tested for flu over three seasons at a New Orleans hospital found modest but consistent flu vaccine effectiveness, that a switch from the inactivated trivalent to quadrivalent (four-strain) formulation didn't seem to help or hurt effectiveness...

Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated cell culture-derived H7N9 influenza vaccine in healthy adults: A phase I/II, prospective, randomized, open-label trial
Vaccine, 28 June
Of the 200 randomized subjects, 193 (96.5%) received 2 doses of the study vaccine and were included in the intention-to-treat analysis for safety, and 190 (95%) were included in the per-protocol analysis for immunogenicity.

Update: Influenza Activity in the United States During the 2016-17 Season and Composition of the 2017-18 Influenza Vaccine
MMWR, 30 June
During the 2016-17 influenza season (October 2, 2016-May 20, 2017) in the US, influenza activity was moderate. Activity remained low through November, increased during December, and peaked in February nationally, although there were regional differences in the timing of influenza activity. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominated through mid-March and were predominant overall for the season...

France confirms case of H5N8 bird flu near Belgium border
Xinhua, 30 June
France confirms case of H5N8 bird flu near Belgium border ... 600,000 ducks in its southwest region of Les Landes to prevent avian influenza contamination.



Evaluation of 5 Commercially Available Zika Virus Immunoassays
CDC EID, 30 June
Because of global spread of Zika virus, accurate and high-throughput diagnostic immunoassays are needed. We compared the sensitivity and specificity of 5 commercially available Zika virus serologic assays to the recommended protocol of Zika virus IgM-capture ELISA and plaque-reduction neutralization tests. Most commercial immunoassays showed low sensitivity, which can be increased.

Designing Anti-Zika Virus Peptides Derived from Predicted Human-Zika Virus Protein-Protein Interactions
bioRxiv, 29 June
The production of anti-Zika virus therapeutics has become increasingly important as the propagation of the devastating virus continues largely unchecked. Notably, a causal relationship between ZIKV infection and neurodevelopmental abnormalities has been widely reported, yet a specific mechanism underlying impaired neurological development has not been identified.

We Need Other Options to Fight Zika
TIME, 30 June
Zika, in particular, is here to stay as a highly dangerous warm-weather pest. The Zika virus can be detrimental to fetal development, which is why Congress ...





Broad-spectrum Antiviral GS-5734 Inhibits Both Epidemic and Zoonotic Coronaviruses
Science Translational Medicine, 28 June
Emerging viral infections are difficult to control because heterogeneous members periodically cycle in and out of humans and zoonotic hosts, complicating the development of specific antiviral therapies and vaccines. Coronaviruses have a proclivity to spread rapidly into new host species causing severe disease. Severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV successively emerged, causing severe epidemic respiratory disease in immunologically naïve human populations throughout the globe.


Confronting the Pandemic Threat
The Aspen Institute, 29 June
MERS in 2012. Ebola in 2014. Zika in 2015. Yellow Fever in 2016. The number, pace, and seriousness of infectious disease threats are accelerating due globalization, economic development, climate change, and more. Thus far in the 21st century, the world has avoided a catastrophic pandemic that could quickly take hundreds of thousands of lives. But is the world ready for such an event? Is the US?

How the World Can Prepare for the Next Pandemic
The Atlantic, 30 June
If it feels like there have been more and more outbreaks of strange, viral diseases in recent years, it’s not just you. Like K-pop, Brexit, and the presidency of Donald Trump, the increased frequency of pandemics is one of the unforeseen results of globalization.

Cholera Vaccine Faces Major Test in War-torn Yemen
Science, 28 June
Imagine a poor, war-ravaged country the size of Spain where more than 20 million people are threatened by a deadly disease that's spreading fast from city to city. You have 1 million doses of a vaccine at your disposal. Who would you try to protect? That's the question facing public health experts and international groups fighting an explosive cholera outbreak in Yemen.

400 tonnes of life-saving health supplies arrive in Yemen
WHO, 2 July
Twenty ambulances, 100 cholera kits, hospital equipment and 128 000 bags of intravenous fluids – these are just some of the supplies which arrived in Hodeida, Yemen, Friday, as part of a 403-tonne shipment sent by the WHO. An additional 10 ambulances were delivered through the Port of Aden 3 weeks ago with 10 more due to arrive in coming weeks.

Link between air pollution and premature death strengthened
Harvard Chan, 28 June
A new study of 60 million Americans shows that long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of premature death, even at levels below current national standards. Listen to a podcast featuring study authors Francesca Dominici and Qian Di.


Dr Tedros takes office as WHO Director-General
WHO, 1 July
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus takes office as Director-General of the World Health Organization, succeeding Dr Margaret Chan, who has held office since 1 January 2007. The Director-General is WHO's chief technical and administrative officer and oversees the policy for the Organization's international health work.


The 2017 edition of International Migration Outlook, the 41st edition, analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-member countries.