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Today's Headlines: August 8, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Circulating Vaccine-derived Poliovirus Type 2 - Nigeria ( WHO) On 5 June 2018, a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 outbreak was confirmed in Sokoto State, Nigeria. From 30 January through 23 May 2018, ten environmental samples collected from two collection sites all tested positive for genetically-related VDPV2 viruses. No associated cases of acute flaccid paralysis have been detected with this cVDPV2. Go to article

One Dead as Lassa Fever Returns to Nigeria ( H5N1) There is a new outbreak of Lassa fever in southern Nigeria which has claimed at least one life in Enugu state The government of Enugu has announced the emergence of a fresh Lassa fever outbreak in Enugu State. Go to article

Nipah Virus - India ( WHO) As of 17 July 2018, a total of 19 Nipah virus (NiV) cases, including 17 deaths, were reported from Kerala State: 18 of the cases were laboratory-confirmed and the deceased index case was suspected to have NiV but could not be tested. The outbreak was localized to two districts in Kerala State: Kozhikode and Malappuram. No new cases or deaths have been reported since 1 June 2018 and, as of 30 July, human-to-human transmission of NiV has been contained in Kerala State. Go to article

Democratic Republic of Congo: Ebola Virus Disease - External Situation Report 1 ( Relief Web) On 1 August 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo notified WHO of a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province, in the eastern part of the country. The event was initially reported by the North Kivu Provincial Health authority on 28 July 2018 when a cluster of 26 cases of acute haemorrhagic fever, including 20 deaths (mostly in the community), occurred in Mabalako Health Zone during mid-late July 2018. Go to article


Global Health Security

The 2016-2017 Chikungunya Outbreak in Karachi ( PLOS Currents Outbreaks) Chikungunya is an incipient disease, caused by Chikungunya virus that belongs to genus alphavirus of the family Togaviridae. In this study, during an outbreak of CHKV in Dec 2016 in Karachi, Pakistan, samples were collected from patients presenting with fever, tiredness and pain in muscles and joints. Total 126 sera were tested for the presence of Chikungunya infection through ELISA and Real-time Reverse Transcriptase PCR assay. Go to article

UN Taps Chile's Bachelet to Be Human Rights Chief: Diplomats ( Reuters) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has chosen former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to be the world body's new human rights chief, diplomats said on Wednesday. Bachelet's appointment now needs to be approved by the 193-member UN General Assembly. She would replace Jordan's outspoken Zeid Raad al-Hussein, who is stepping down at the end of the month after one four-year term in the job, which is based in Geneva. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Choices in Vaccine Trial Design in Epidemics of Emerging Infections ( PLOS Medicine) The 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic highlighted variations in the design of randomized trials to evaluate investigational vaccines in an emergency setting. Here, we summarize scientific, ethical, and feasibility considerations relevant to different trial designs. Go to article

An Evaluation of Global Hazard Communication with Ethical Considerations ( PLOS Currents Disasters) Despite the large number of hazards occurring every year, it is often only the most catastrophic and rapidly occurring hazards that are covered in detail by major news outlets. This can result in an under-reporting of smaller or slowly evolving hazards such as drought. Furthermore, the type or country in which the hazard occurs may have a bearing on whether it receives media coverage. The Public Health England global weekly hazards bulletin is designed to inform subscribers of hazards occurring in the world in a given week regardless of location or type of natural hazard. Go to article

Zika Viruses of Both African and Asian Lineages Cause Fetal Harm in a Vertical Transmission Model ( bioRxiv) Congenital Zika virus infection was first linked to birth defects during the American outbreak. It has been proposed that mutations unique to the Asian/American-genotype explain, at least in part, the ability of Asian/American ZIKV to cause congenital Zika syndrome. Recent studies identified mutations in ZIKV infecting humans that arose coincident with the outbreak in French Polynesia and were stably maintained during subsequent spread to the Americas. Go to article

1 in 7 Kids Exposed to Zika in Utero Suffers Defects, Delays ( CIDRAP) One in seven children born of a Zika-affected pregnancy could develop neurologic or cognitive disabilities likely connected to prenatal exposure to the flavivirus, according to the largest study yet conducted on children born in US territories to mothers who had Zika in pregnancy. Go to article


Science & Technology

The Ghost of Influenza Past and the Hunt for a Universal Vaccine ( Nature) Knowledge of imprinting could help virologists to develop more-effective seasonal vaccines that could counteract circulating strains for several years, and a long-sought universal flu vaccine that could protect people for life against entirely new - and potentially pandemic-provoking - subtypes of flu. Imprinting seems to offer some immunity to flu strains related to the first infection. Go to article

See Also: Potent Protection Against H5N1 and H7N9 Influenza via Childhood Hemagglutinin Imprinting ( Science) Two zoonotic influenza A viruses of global concern, H5N1 and H7N9, exhibit unexplained differences in age distribution of human cases. Using data from all known human cases of these viruses, we show that an individual's first IAV infection confers lifelong protection against severe disease from novel hemagglutinin subtypes in the same phylogenetic group. Statistical modeling shows that protective HA imprinting is the crucial explanatory factor, and it provides 75% protection against severe infection and 80% protection against death for both H5N1 and H7N9. Go to article

Why Stealthy Viruses Are Making You Ill ( BBC News) It had been thought viruses were all lone wolves, each on a solo campaign of infection. Instead they can form "packs" of up to 40 viruses and surround themselves with a fatty sphere that makes them invisible to our body's defences. The team at the US National Institutes of Health say their findings rewrite the textbooks of infection. Go to article

See Also: Vesicle-cloaked Virus Clusters Are Optimal Units for Inter-organismal Viral Transmission ( Cell Host & Microbe) In enteric viral infections, such as those with rotavirus and norovirus, individual viral particles shed in stool are considered the optimal units of fecal-oral transmission. We reveal that rotaviruses and noroviruses are also shed in stool as viral clusters enclosed within vesicles that deliver a high inoculum to the receiving host. Cultured cells non-lytically release rotaviruses and noroviruses inside extracellular vesicles. Go to article


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