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Today's Headlines: January 12, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - Malaysia ( WHO) The case, a 55 year old male who resides in Malaysia, traveled as a member of a pilgrimage group to KSA from 13-23 December 2017. The case reported a history of exposure to dromedary camels (drinking unpasteurized camel milk and direct contact with a camel) while visiting a camel farm in Riyadh on 20 December 2017. The case developed symptoms on 24 December, was treated and hospitalized in Malaysia. Currently the case is asymptomatic and in hospital. Go to article

Flu Widespread in the US: CDC Update Scheduled Friday ( Outbreak News Today) While we all wait to hear the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's update on the widespread flu activity in the US Friday morning, several states have made public announcements for their residents concerning their situation. Go to article

Brucellosis Outbreak: 21 Confirmed and Dozens of Suspected Cases ( Outbreak News Today) In a follow-up on the brucellosis outbreak reported in students and teachers from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the National University of Asuncion, the Institute of Tropical Medicine has confirmed 21 cases to date, according to a Ultima Hora report (computer translated). In addition, 76 suspected cases have recently been reported after clinical consultation with patients presenting with some symptoms. Go to article

West Nile Virus and Other Nationally Notifiable Arboviral Diseases - United States, 2016 ( MMWR) Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are transmitted to humans primarily through the bites of infected mosquitoes and ticks. West Nile virus is the leading cause of domestically acquired arboviral disease in the continental US. Other arboviruses, including La Crosse, Powassan, Jamestown Canyon, St. Louis encephalitis, and eastern equine encephalitis viruses, cause sporadic cases of disease and occasional outbreaks. Go to article


Domestic Preparedness & Response

La Ruta De Maria: A Journey Along the Path of the Hurricane ( CNN) Three months after Hurricane Maria, a CNN investigation shows tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have applied for temporary roofs but still have not received them. Go to article


Global Health Security

Anti-Yellow Fever Campaign to Vaccinate 19 Million in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia (Folha De S. Paulo) In an attempt to contain the proliferation of the yellow fever virus in Brazil, starting in February, approximately 19.7 million people are expected to get vaccinated against the disease in the states of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. The timetable and the campaign's new strategy, which will contemplate 75 municipalities, were released by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday (the 9th). The goal is to avoid the proliferation of the disease in areas that hadn't yet recommended taking the yellow fever vaccine. Go to article

Here's Why Global Health Suffers in a Fractured World ( World Economic Forum) The world is today more fractured than at any time since the Cold War, with a new fortress narrative now emerging. But is it really possible for countries to reap the benefits of globalization and shun the responsibilities that come with a globalized economy, while avoiding the consequences of doing so? Go to article

Communicating Risk in Public Health Emergencies -- A WHO Guideline for Emergency Risk Communication (ERC) Policy and Practice ( WHO) Recent public health emergencies, such as the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa (2014-2015), the emergence of the Zika virus syndrome in 2015-2016 and multi-country yellow fever outbreaks in Africa in 2016, have highlighted major challenges and gaps in how risk is communicated during epidemics and other health emergencies. Go to article

A Bangladeshi Prescription for Cholera ( Project Syndicate) Despite having the expertise to keep cholera in check, the world is losing the battle to contain the disease, especially in regions where conflict persists. Countries like Bangladesh, which have vast experience confronting cholera and other waterborne illnesses, can play a leading role. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Philippines Exhumes Bodies of Two Children in Dengue Vaccine Probe ( Reuters) A Philippine government agency on Thursday exhumed the bodies of two children whose parents suspect they died of dengue after receiving a new vaccine against the disease, although its maker said it was not known to have caused any deaths in the country. Go to article

Recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of a Third Dose of Mumps Virus-Containing Vaccine in Persons at Increased Risk for Mumps During an Outbreak ( MMWR) A substantial increase in the number of mumps outbreaks and outbreak-associated cases has occurred in the US since late 2015. To address this public health problem, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviewed the available evidence and determined that a third dose of measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is safe and effective at preventing mumps. Go to article


Science & Technology

mRNA Vaccines - a New Era in Vaccinology ( Nature Reviews) mRNA vaccines represent a promising alternative to conventional vaccine approaches because of their high potency, capacity for rapid development and potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration. However, their application has until recently been restricted by the instability and inefficient in vivo delivery of mRNA. Go to article

Y Combinator Is Launching a Biotech Track ( Tech Crunch) Y Combinator is pulling the curtains off of a new experiment, YC Bio. The idea is to fund early-stage life-sciences companies that are still in the lab phase, YC President Sam Altman wrote on the YC blog today. YC Bio's first area of focus will be on healthspan and age-related disease. Go to article

A Universal Flu Shot May Be Nearing Reality ( Science News) One of the planet's deadliest viruses makes an annual pass through the US with little fanfare. It rarely generates flashy headlines or news footage of health workers in hazmat suits. There's no sudden panic when a sick person shows up coughing and feverish in an emergency room. Yet before next spring, this season's lethal germ will probably have infected millions of Americans, killing tens of thousands. Still, it's often referred to as just the flu. Go to article

The Bright Side of Synthetic Biology and Crispr ( Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) Long-standing fears surrounding synthetic biology have recently been rekindled by the discovery of the gene-editing technique Crispr. As with previous advances in biology, Crispr is sometimes characterized as a blueprint for bioweapons development or bioterrorism, and it has elicited calls for increased control and regulation of science. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

A Radical New Scheme to Prevent Catastrophic Sea-level Rise ( Atlantic) Geo-engineering, its most enthusiastic advocates will tell you, isn't only possible. It's already happening. We know, they say, because we're doing it-we just call it global warming. As humanity dumps billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere every year, we've engineered a different climate system: one that is hotter, wetter, and more unwieldy than what people have lived in since the dawn of agriculture. Go to article

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