News Pouch: 3 March 2017






OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks

WHO: Situation updates - Avian influenza - 27 Feb
WHO Global Influenza Updates - 20 Feb
WHO: FluNet Summary - 20 Feb
Monthly Risk Assessments - Influenza at the Human-Animal Interface - 14 Feb  
FAO: H7N9 situation - update - 22 Feb
FAO - H5N8 HPAI Global situation update - 28 Feb


WHO | Recommended composition of influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2017-2018 northern hemisphere influenza season

WHO, 2 March

Recommended composition of influenza virus vaccines for use in the 2017-2018 northern hemisphere influenza season. 2 March 2017. It is recommended that ...

WHO swaps H1N1 for 2017-18 flu vaccine, recommends 2 new H7N9 viruses
CIDRAP, 2 March
The new H1N1 strain mirrors the change the WHO made last September for the Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine.

H5N8 strikes more birds in 3 European countries
CIDRAP, 2 March
Three European countries—Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Poland—reported more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza outbreaks in wild birds and poultry, according to the latest reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

As bird flu spreads, US concludes its vaccine doesn’t provide adequate protection
Stat, 1 March
With human infections from a bird flu virus surging in China, US officials charged with preparing the country for influenza pandemics have been assessing the state of an emergency stockpile of vaccines against that strain. The conclusion: The stored H7N9 vaccine doesn’t adequately protect against a new branch of this virus family, and a new vaccine is needed.

UN sees bird flu changes but calls risk of people spread low
Washington Post, 1 March
The World Health Organization says it has noticed changes in the bird flu virus now spreading in China, but says the risk of the disease spreading easily between people remains low. The genetic mutations have been seen from birds and infected people, but because flu viruses change constantly, experts aren’t exactly sure how significant the differences may be.

Vigilance required as bird flu cases surge, WHO says
Humanosphere, 2 March
A recent surge of bird flu infections in humans this season has alarmed scientists and public health officials. Although the risk of sustained transmission between ...

Medical experts urge action after H7N9 virus shows resistance to Tamiflu
South China Morning Post, 1 March
Medical experts have called for a swift investigation into the possibility that a mutation of the H7N9 bird flu virus in China was becoming resistant to a drug commonly used to treat infected people. Two patients in Guangdong province with the new and more virulent strain of the virus have shown signs of failing to respond to Tamiflu, the Nanfang Daily reported this week, citing Zhong Nanshan, an expert in respiratory diseases.

Uganda: Govt Monitoring Reported Bird Flu Cases in East, Western Uganda, 3 March
Two more districts Budaka and Kisoro are under surveillance following reports of suspected cases of avian influenza. Scientists in the ministry of agriculture ...



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



CDC study estimates 20-fold increase in certain types of birth defects in pregnancies with possible Zika infection compared with pre-Zika years

CDC, 2 March

The proportion of Zika-affected pregnancies with birth defects is approximately 20-fold higher compared with the proportion of pregnancies seen in 2013-2014, ...

Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014
CDC MMWR, 2 March

Zika virus infection causes serious brain abnormalities; however, the birth defects observed are not unique to congenital Zika virus infection, and the full range of ...

Amid internal dysfunction, can WHO help Vietnam defeat Zika?
Asian Correspondent, 1 March
The gap between the current healthcare capacity and what Vietnam would need to handle a crisis means the country, like many other developing nations, will have to rely on the World Health Organisation (WHO), which offers support to national health authorities as one of its primary missions — for help.


US study shows Zika-type birth defects rise 20-fold
CIDRAP, 2 March
The incidence type of birth defects seen with congenital Zika infections in the United States rose 20 times higher than it was before the virus started circulating in the Americas region, researchers reported today in the latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Scientists report varied Zika infection in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes
CIDRAP, 1 March
In a surprise finding, Zika researchers found that the African strain of the virus was more infectious than the Asian strain—which is responsible for the current outbreak in the Americas—and only Aedes aegypti mosquitoes from the Dominican Republic and not those from the United States or Brazil transmitted the Asian strain. Feb 28 Emerging Infectious Diseases study



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

Saudi Arabia reports MERS in teen girl
CIDRAP, 2 March
After several days' trouble with its Web site, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today posted a Feb 28 update that detailed a MERS-CoV case involving a teenager in Az Zulfi in the center of the country.

Four new MERS cases recorded this week after a lull
Arab News, 2 March
The Ministry of Health reported four new cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) this week. The Command and ...


Malaria co-infection led to greater Ebola mortality, study says
CIDRAP, 1 March
According to a new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Ebola patients co-infected with malaria were more likely to face increased mortality rates. The study was based on observations made at three Ebola treatment centers in Sierra Leone in 2014 and 2015.

Open Science Prize Goes to Tracking Viral Outbreaks
American Council on Science and Health, 28 Feb
Even from this one piece of data, we can see that the Ebola viruses that are infecting people in Sierra Leone are, for the most part, similar in genetic ...

Ebola nurse Salome Karwah died after hospital neglect, husband says ...
BBC, 1 March

Liberian nurse Salome Karwah was one of those named as Time magazine's person of the year in 2014 for her frontline work against Ebola. She died in ...


Cholera on the rise in famine-hit South Sudan
Al Jazeera, 1 March
Cholera cases are on the rise in South Sudan, as tens of thousands of people flee famine and conflict. Aid organisations say more than 100 people have died from the disease in the past six months. And health workers say they're facing difficulties getting access to those who are sick. Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan reports from Leer.

Cholera and tuberculosis medical supplies airlifted to Yemen
WHO, March 2017
A plane carrying 8 metric tonnes of cholera kits and tuberculosis medicines provided by WHO and the Global Fund has landed in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a. The cholera kits include anti-diarrhoeal treatment for 12 000 people, laboratory equipment, and rapid diagnostics tests.

Disaster risk reduction critical to Haiti recovery
UNISDR via ReliefWeb, 3 March
The Americas region meets next week to discuss the best way forward to reduce disaster losses as a new Post Disaster Needs Analysis demonstrates the full impact of Hurricane Matthew.

Epidemiological Update - Yellow Fever in Americas - 2 March 2017
PAHO, 2 March
Since epidemiological week (EW) 1 to EW 7 of 2017, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and the Plurinational State of Bolivia, have reported suspected and confirmed yellow fever cases.


Kenya’s leading role in ‘One Health’ strategies controlling diseases transmitted between animals and people
ILRI, 3 March
Seven in 10 diseases that affect humans are zoonotic [can be transmitted from animals]. In the list are Aids, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

See also:
Kenya tackles growing threat of deadly animal viruses transmitted to humans,
Business Daily (Kenya), 2 March 2017

Livestock and human health - ILRI report 2015 - 2016
One Health approaches—based on the interdependence of human, animal and environmental
health—help tackle zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance..