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Today's Headlines: June 12, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases 

Kenyan Official Says Five Dead in Reemergence of Rift Valley Fever ( Reuters) Five people in Kenya have died of the Rift Valley Fever disease in the past week, a health official said on Monday, in the first reports of the disease since an outbreak killed more than 200 people a decade ago. The highly contagious disease is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes or close contact with contaminated animals' blood or organs, according to the WHO.  Go to article

Whooping Cough Cases Rise and Fall Cyclically in Southern California; Here's What Parents Need to Know ( The Orange County Register) Four years ago, California was in the grips of an outbreak of pertussis, the contagious disease also known as whooping cough because of the "whoop" sound characterizing the deep breathing that follows violent coughing attacks. Given the cyclical nature of the disease--outbreaks tend to occur every three to 5 years--epidemiologists in the Southern California region have anticipated another surge right about now. Go to article

Polio Re-Emerges in Venezuela Nearly 30 Years After Eradication ( CNN) A child has been diagnosed with polio in Venezuela, where the infectious viral disease has been eradicated since 1989, according to the Pan American Health Organization, a regional apparatus of the WHO. The Western Hemisphere has been certified polio-free since 1994. Go to article

Measles--Brazil ( WHO) In Brazil, there is an ongoing measles outbreak. From 1 January through 23 May 2018, there were 995 reported cases (Amazonas State, n=611, and Roraima State n=384). Of these cases, 114 have been laboratory confirmed (30 in Amazonas and 84 in Roraima), including 2 deaths. Eighty-three cases were discarded and 798 remain under investigation. Go to article

DRC Notes 14 More Suspected Ebola Cases, New Death ( CIDRAP) Over the past few days, 14 more suspected cases have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo Ebola outbreak, and one more patient has died from the disease, according to one of the top WHO officials leading the response. Go to article

Pandoravirus: Giant Viruses Invent Their Own Genes ( CNRS) Three new members have been added to the Pandoravirus family. Researchers offer an explanation to their puzzling giant genomes with many orphan genes: pandoviruses appear to be factories for new genes--and therefore new functions. From freaks of nature to evolutionary innovators, giant viruses continue to shake branches on the tree of life! Go to article

Domestic Preparedness & Response

FEMA Funds on Their Way to Ohio... Eventually ( Emergency Management) Director of the Scioto County, Ohio, Emergency Management Agency Kim Carver said this week there is federal disaster relief money headed to Southern Ohio. It's arrival just may take longer than expected, she added. Go to article

Global Health Security

WHO Certifies Paraguay Malaria-Free ( WHO) The WHO today certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria, the 1st country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973. "It gives me great pleasure today to certify that Paraguay is officially free of malaria," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General, in a recorded statement. "Success stories like Paraguay's show what is possible. If malaria can be eliminated in one country, it can be eliminated in all countries." Go to article

Ebola Virus Disease--Operational Readiness and Preparedness in Nine Countries Neighboring the Democratic Republic of the Congo ( WHO) Following the notification of an Ebola virus disease outbreak in Equateur Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 5 May 2018, WHO conducted a formal rapid risk assessment which determined that the public risk is high at the regional level. Go to article

Medicine & Public Health

Matching the Right Medicine to Treat Flu is Still a Challenge ( Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Coming off the heels of one of the worst flu seasons on record--locally and nationally--is a federal report that shows doctors are still overprescribing antibiotics to treat the flu. Simply put: That's the wrong medicine--it doesn't work on the virus. Go to article

Crucial Test of Ebola Vaccine Raises Hopes, Doubts in Congo ( AP News) Irene Mboyo Mola spent 11 days caring for her husband as he died of Ebola in a hospital where she said nurses were too scared to get close. She helped him to the bathroom, picked up his feverish body when he lost his balance, and reinserted an IV that fell out of his bleeding arm. Go to article

Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets for Malaria Control in Myanmar and Nigeria: Lessons from the Past, Tools for the Future ( Global Health: Science and Practice) While having saved many lives over the past decade, continued dependence on mass distribution of free long-lasting insecticidal nets is not sufficient and may not be sustainable. Programs must be enabled with flexible policy and technical options to place LLINs within a larger context of multisectoral partnerships and integrated vector management, avoid what happened tin the DDT era, where there was overreliance implementing a uniform solution to a complex problem. Go to article

Science & Technology

A Serious New Hurdle for CRISPR: Edited Cells Might Cause Cancer, Two Studies Find ( STAT News) Editing cells' genomes with CRISPR-Cas9 might increase the risk that the altered cells, intended to treat disease, will trigger cancer, 2 studies published on Monday warn--a potential game-changer for the companies developing CRISPR-based therapies. Go to article

Turning Blood Samples into Neurons Takes Just 4 Proteins ( Futurity) Researchers have discovered how to convert human immune cells in blood directly into functional neurons in the laboratory in about 3 weeks with the addition of just 4 proteins. The dramatic transformation doesn't require the cells to first enter a state called pluripotency but instead occurs through a more direct process called transdifferentiation. Go to article

Smallpox Treatment Nears FDA Approval After Years of Development, Collaboration ( in-Pharma Technologist) SIGA is slated to receive FDA approval for the world's first antiviral drug to treat smallpox--a milestone not reached in isolation, but in collaboration with several CROs, government agencies, and others. Go to article

Speedy Ebola Tests Help Contain Africa's Latest Outbreak (Nature) Health workers fighting the Ebola epidemic that swept West Africa several years ago waited days, even a week, for the results of laboratory tests to detect the deadly virus. But in an Ebola outbreak that began in early April in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this waiting time has shrunk to hours--thanks to a genetic test that was developed in response to the 2014-2016 West African epidemic. Go to article

Engineered Resistance to Zika Virus in Transgenic Ae. Aegypti Expressing a Polycistronic Cluster of Synthetic miRNAs (BioRxiv) Recent Zika virus outbreaks have highlighted the necessity for development of novel vector control strategies to combat arboviral transmission, including genetic versions of the sterile insect technique, artificial infection with Wolbachia to reduce population size and/or vectoring competency, and gene drive based methods. Here, we describe the development of mosquitoes synthetically engineered to impede vector competence to ZIKV. Go to article

Other 21st Century Threats

Airstrike Reportedly Hits Doctors Without Borders Facility in Yemen ( npr) A Saudi-led airstrike blasted off the roof and pulverized walls of a cholera treatment center in Yemen, but no one was hurt, according to an international aid group, even as civil war has led to widespread outbreaks of the disease. Go to article

The Latest: US Commits to 'Security Guarantees' for NKorea ( AP News) A joint declaration signed by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says the US has committed to providing "security guarantees" to the North. The document signed at the end of the pair's historic summit in Singapore on Tuesday also says Kim "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." Go to article

Full Test of the US-North Korea Agreement Signed by Trump, Kim ( NBC News) President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted a comprehensive in-depth and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Go to article

Global DNA Sequencing Market Estimated to Grow at CAGR of +19% by 2023: Focusing on Top Companies like Roche, Macrogen, BGI, WuXi AppTec, DAAN GENE, Novo Gene, Berry Genomics, Biomarker, Majorbio ( Biotechnology News) The global DNA sequencing market is projected to achieve an impressive growth rate on the back of its extensive usage in a number of applications and ease of adoption with the emergence of innovative technologies in the field. A DNA sequencing Android app named GelApp 2.0 has been recently introduced with a 56.0% greater band detection accuracy for proteins and 36.0% for DNA than its original version. Go to article


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Preparedness Pulsepoints: June 12, 2018
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