News Pouch: 3 May 2017





OIE reports on ongoing outbreaks



Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – China
WHO, 1 May
On 21 April 2017, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China (NHFPC) notified WHO of 28 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in mainland China.

WHO Influenza update - 288
WHO, 1 May
Influenza activity in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere continued to decrease. Influenza activity remained low in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere. Worldwide, influenza A(H3N2) and B viruses were predominant, with an increased proportion of influenza B viruses detected in recent weeks.

CIDRAP Flu Scan - 1 May
  • H5N1 strikes Vietnam again as European H5N8 detections continue
  • Influenza activity decreasing in US, Europe


Evaluation of the influenza sentinel surveillance system in Madagascar, 2009–2014
WHO Bulletin, May 2017
The influenza surveillance system in Madagascar performed well and provided reliable and timely data for public health interventions. Given its flexibility and overall moderate cost, this system may become a useful platform for syndromic and laboratory-based surveillance in other low-resource settings.

Veterinarian in NYC contracts avian influenza from cat
Healio, 2 May
A veterinarian in New York City was the first person in the United States to contract an avian influenza A virus from a cat, according to researchers.



Postmortem findings on 7 Zika infants show microcephaly, other issues
In a study yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases, results of postmortem examinations of seven babies born in Ceara, Brazil, highlight microcephaly and other major defects. The babies were likely exposed to Zika virus through their mothers during the first trimester of pregnancy in early 2015.

Postmortem Findings for 7 Neonates with Congenital Zika Virus Infection
CDC EID, 1 May
Postmortem examination of 7 neonates with congenital Zika virus infection in Brazil revealed microcephaly, ventriculomegaly, dystrophic calcifications, and severe cortical neuronal depletion in all and arthrogryposis in 6. Other findings were leptomeningeal and brain parenchymal inflammation and pulmonary hypoplasia and lymphocytic infiltration in liver and lungs. Findings confirmed virus neurotropism and multiple organ infection.

Feud erupted between CDC, Puerto Rico over reporting of Zika cases, document shows
STAT, 1 May
US health officials have privately expressed deep concern that Puerto Rico is downplaying the extent of its Zika problem and have struggled to get a grasp on the issue because of a protracted and ugly dispute with health officials in the territory, according to a document obtained by STAT.


Knowledge and Prevention Practices Among US Pregnant Immigrants from Zika Virus Outbreak Areas
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 1 May
We administered an anonymous survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and prevention practices related to the Zika virus among pregnant women residing in Texas. Multivariate logistic regression models controlling for age, race/ethnicity, education, and number of years in the US assessed differences between women born in outbreak areas (N = 390) versus those born in the US (N = 249).

Clues to Zika Damage Might Lie in Cases of Twins
New York Times, 1 May
João Lucas was born with microcephaly and other serious problems, the result of his mother being bitten by a Zika infected mosquito during pregnancy. But the ...

What Can the Ebola Outbreak Teach Us About Managing Zika?, 2 May
“Ebola is kind of an exemplary disease [for the management of Zika]. Ebola, again like Zika, came out from the darkness of the forest and emerged close to a ...



- WHO MERS-CoV Disease Outbreak News full archive here 
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia and Qatar - 27 April
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia - 24 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


Saudi MERS case linked to camel exposure
Over the weekend the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) said there was a new case of MERS-CoV diagnosed in a man who had contact with camels in the weeks prior to illness.


Study Details Day-To-Day Immune Response of Ebola Patient ..., 28 April
John Kash, researcher from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, with his colleagues, carefully tracked changes in gene expression that occurred in a 34-year-old health care worker exposed to Ebola virus in Sierra Leone who was evacuated to the National Institutes of Health seven days after presenting with symptoms of disease.

Integrating clinical research into epidemic response: The Ebola experience
National Academies Press (NAP), 2017
The 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic in western Africa was the longest and most deadly Ebola epidemic in history, resulting in 28,616 cases and 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Ebola virus has been known since 1976, when two separate outbreaks were identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) and South Sudan (then Sudan). However, because all Ebola outbreaks prior to that in West Africa in 2014–2015 were relatively...

Opinion: Who should lead WHO (Pt. 3 of 3)? Dr. David Nabarro, “a frontline clinician and global health leader”
PLoS Blogs,1 May
... successive Secretaries-General's have turned to him to lead the UN's responses to diseases such as malaria, Avian Influenza, and most recently Ebola.


Second Monrovia death reported in unexplained Liberia illness cluster
Health officials in Liberia have reported a second death in Monrovia linked to an unexplained illness cluster in people who attended the funeral of a religious leader in Greenville, located about 4 hours' drive south of the country's capital in Sinoe County, according to local media reports.

See also: Liberia illness cluster grows as officials await toxicology results CIDRAP, 1 May
Analysis of 3 urine specimens finds no common pattern.

Chikungunya outbreak in Americas grows by 825 cases
Countries in the Americas reported 825 new chikungunya cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported on Apr 28, pushing the total for the year over 30,000.

IASC common monitoring and evaluation framework for MHPSS programmes in emergency settings
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), 2017
This document provides guidance in the assessment, research, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programmes in emergency settings. Although designed specifically for emergency contexts (including protracted crises), the framework may also be applicable for the transition phases from emergency to development (including disaster risk reduction initiatives). The framework assumes familiarity...

Thousands of Lives at Risk As Gaza Public Hospitals Face Fuel and Electricity Crisis
WHO, 27 April
Increasing power cuts and shortages of fuel are creating an impending crisis for Gaza's 14 public hospitals, threatening the closure of essential health services which would leave thousands of people without access to life-saving health care. The health system's fuel reserves are sufficient for only a few more days. If a solution is not found, Gaza's 14 public hospitals will be forced to partially or completely close essential services.

How Has Infectious Disease Incidence in China Changed Since the 2003 SARS Outbreak?, 1 May

In the first study to assess long-term infectious disease trends since the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the country, which garnered massive global attention, researchers from Zhejiang University have identified 55 million cases of infectious diseases in mainland China, and more than 130,000 fatalities resulting from them, just for the 10-year period between 2004 and 2013.

Moving away from emergency intervention to managing droughts in Ethiopia
Reliefweb, 3 May
The World Bank has added $100 million to the Productive Safety Net Program, which most beneficiaries prefer to emergency aid as it is dependable, predictable and regular.