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Tom Inglesby, MD

 

Last week, Houston-area hospitals displayed great resiliency as they faced catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey's relentless rains over several days. However, some vital hospital services - understandably - experienced significant disruptions. Read now

Today's Headlines: September 11, 2017

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Anthrax Outbreak Reported in Naryn Region, Kyrgyzstan ( Outbreak News Today) Officials in Kyrgyzstan are reporting an anthrax outbreak in the At-Bashinsky district of the Naryn region in eastern Kyrgyzstan, according to a local media account. Currently, three people are in the hospital, another 15 are under medical supervision. Go to article

Connecticut, Massachusetts Report 1st Human West Nile Virus Cases of 2017 ( Outbreak News Today) hrough Sept. 5, 37 state have reported human West Nile virus cases in 2017. Now we can add two more as two northeastern states report their first cases of the year. The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Friday that a resident of New Haven has tested positive for WNV infection. Go to article

Nigeria: Cholera Outbreak in Borno State, Containment Efforts Intensified ( Outbreak News Today) With more than 1000 suspected and confirmed cases of cholera including 30 deaths in Borno state as of 07 Sept 2017, World Health Organization has intensified its response efforts to contain the outbreak in Muna internally displaced persons camp in Maiduguri, Jere, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas. Go to article


Domestic Preparedness & Response

Zika Spread: Rubio Asks HHS to Prepare for Spread After Irma ( CBS 12.com) As part of a letter writing campaign to Federal agencies, Florida Senator Marco Rubio asked the US Department of Health and Human Services to prepare for a possible spread of Zika in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

CEPI Announces Call for Proposals to Innovate Vaccines ( Devex) With a call for proposals on Tuesday, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations aims to shorten the usually long time it takes to develop vaccines for emerging diseases. This call, open to a range of companies, foundations and research and development institutions, asks for ideas for "new approaches to vaccine development" that will "support the development of rapid response platforms for vaccine development, a core part of CEPI's mission," Richard Hatchett, the CEO of CEPI told Devex. Go to article


Global Health Security

Infectious Mosquitoes Are Turning up in New Regions ( New York Times) A mounting number of citations on a popular disease-tracking website suggests that mosquitoes may be moving into new ecological niches with greater frequency. The website, ProMED mail, has carried more than a dozen such reports since June, all involving mosquito species known to transmit human diseases. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

High Levels of Carcinogen Found in Houston Area After Harvey ( New York Times) High levels of the carcinogen benzene were detected in a Houston neighborhood close to a Valero Energy refinery, local health officials said Tuesday, heightening concerns over potentially hazardous leaks from oil and gas industry sites damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Go to article

Hurricane Health Toll: Texas Doctor Uses Lessons from Katrina ( Scientific American) As Dr. Ruth Berggren digests the calamity affecting her new home state of Texas, she admits to some PTSD. In 2005, she was an infectious-disease doctor at the nearly 3,000-bed Charity Hospital in New Orleans, one of a small number of physicians left managing patients and performing triage in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Go to article

The Health 202: Mosquitoes, Carbon Monoxide and Chemicals Are Big Post-Irma Health Concerns ( Washington Post) Long after the waters have receded, Americans will be grappling with the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which broke records and ruined lives as they wreaked havoc on the US and the Caribbean. Many of those effects will be health-related. State and federal health authorities have warned residents to be on the lookout for mold in their homes, strange rashes on their bodies, stray jagged items in standing water that can lead to infected wounds, and depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as those affected try to stitch their lives back together. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

9/11: Finding Answers in Ashes 16 Years Later ( New York Times) An inscription on the lobby wall greets visitors in Latin at the offices of the New York City medical examiner. It is an adage familiar to places where autopsies are performed. Reasonably translated, it says: "Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. This is the place where death rejoices to help the living." Another saying, borrowed from the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 31, might also work were it to be put on that wall: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." That, too, is what the medical examiner's office is about. Rarely has it been called upon to speak up as relentlessly as it has for those whose voices were silenced at the World Trade Center 16 years ago. Go to article

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