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Today's Headlines: February 12, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Olympics Norovirus Outbreak Rises to 177 ( Outbreak News Today) South Korea health officials have reported an additional 38 confirmed norovirus cases since our last report Saturday, bringing the outbreak total to 177. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control, 68 of the 177 have been released from quarantine in full health and have returned to work. Go to article

Flu-like Illness in US Reaches 2009 Pandemic Levels ( CIDRAP) The latest FluView surveillance numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that outpatient influenza-like illness activity has now reached 7.7% of all clinic visits, which matches the highest level during the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic. Go to article

More on Recent Reports of Saudi MERS-CoV Activity ( Avian Flu Diary) Yesterday, in Saudi MOH: Mismatching MERS Reports, we looked at the missing and mismatched daily MERS-CoV reports from the Saudi MOH since late January. As of today (Feb 12th) - since January 29th - only 2 days (no cases) have been reported on the English language report, while 3 days (1 case) have been reported on the Arabic side. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

The Next Pandemic Will Come Sooner or Later. The CDC Needs Money to Prepare. ( Washington Post) At the time of the Ebola crisis, Congress approved a one-time, five-year emergency supplemental spending package, of which $600 million was sent to the CDC to help countries prevent infectious-disease threats from turning into epidemics. Anticipating that that money will run out in October 2019, the CDC has begun notifying country directors to begin planning withdrawal from 39 of 49 countries. Go to article


Global Health Security

India, Thailand and Other Southeastern Asian Countries Meet to Speed up Measles Elimination ( Outbreak News Today) Last summer, the World Health Organization reported that Bhutan and Maldives achieved a important goal ahead of time-the elimination of measles. However, in the WHO South-East Asia Region, some 5 million children miss their measles vaccination every year, which prompted six countries in the region-Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand-to share their immunization challenges and lessons learnt for accelerating efforts to eliminate measles and control rubella by the year 2020. Go to article

MSF in Syria: Situation in the Northwest Is Quickly Going from Very Bad to Worse ( H5N1) Yesterday a health centre in Mishmishan in northwestern Syria's Idlib region was hit by an airstrike. This is another step towards disaster in this troubled zone. Once again, this bombing is completely outrageous and cannot be tolerated. It is a sad but undeniable fact that civilian areas - specifically healthcare facilities - are being hit in northwestern Syria, and the strikes, despite their regularity during the seven years long conflict, are currently at an intensity that should be a landmark, another wake-up call. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Strategies to Manage Influenza, Shared by a NYS Health System - Webconference ( HANYS) Hospitals statewide are reviewing and putting in place strategies to minimize impacts of this year's flu season on patient care and operations. HANYS will hold a webinar featuring NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H), which has conducted extensive work in this area. During the webinar, H+H will share unique ways it leverages data sources, findings from a recent visit to a hospital that has set up triage tents, results from efforts to increase staff influenza immunization, and more. Go to article


Science & Technology

Safety Blunders Expose Lab Staff to Potentially Lethal Diseases in UK ( The Guardian) Safety breaches at UK labs that handle harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi have spread infections to staff and exposed others to potentially lethal diseases, the Guardian has learned. The Health and Safety Executive has investigated a series of mistakes over the past two years that led to scientists falling ill at specialist labs run by hospitals, private companies, and even Public Health England, the government agency which exists to protect and improve the nation's health and wellbeing. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

Assad Is Still Using Chemical Weapons in Syria ( The Atlantic) UN investigators are looking into reports the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on at least two rebel-held towns in recent days. The reports mark at least the sixth time the regime of President Bashar Assad has used such weapons against civilian population centers. Go to article

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