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Today's Headlines: September 12, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

PHE Confirms 2nd Imported Case of Monkeypox from Nigeria (Avian Flu Diary) Last Saturday the UK'S PHE (Public Health England) announced that country's first imported case of Monkeypox in a traveler from Nigeria. Although Nigeria saw its first outbreak of Monkeypox in 38 years last fall, the last outbreak update posted by their CDC was in February of this year. Today the PHE is announcing their second imported case, which somewhat surprisingly has no known epidemiological link in the UK to the first case. Go to article

See also: Nigerian CDC Statement Regarding Monkeypox Cases in the UK ( Avian Flu Diary) Among the things we learn is that since their outbreak began a year ago, 262 suspected cases have been detected. This represents an increase of 34 cases since last February's report, suggesting low levels of the virus continue to circulate in Nigeria. While they don't appear to be aware of any recent surge in cases, they report they are working closely with the UK's PHE. Go to article

Gov't Struggling to Find People in Contact with MERS Patients ( Korea Times) Government efforts to contain the further spread of MERS are facing a roadblock, as it is struggling to locate people who came into contact with a patient confirmed with the disease over the weekend. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuesday, the patient, 61, who took a 3-week business trip to Kuwait, was confirmed to have been infected with MERS-CoV, Saturday, a day after he arrived in Korea on Emirates Airline flight EK 322. Passengers aboard the plane included 115 foreigners. Go to article

Polio Outbreak in Papua New Guinea Reaches Capital Port Moresby ( The Guardian) An outbreak of polio in Papua New Guinea has reached Port Moresby, with the first case in the nation's capital prompting an emergency vaccination campaign. A six-year-old boy from the capital's Five Mile settlement was confirmed as infected after laboratory tests were conducted in Australia. Go to article

Democratic Republic of Congo: Ebola Virus Disease--External Situation Report 6 ( WHO) The EVD outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to evolve. However, the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners have made progress in response to the outbreak. Recent trends suggest that control measures are working; however, these trends must be interpreted with caution. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

FDA Urged to Take Stronger Action to Protect Medical Devices from Hacking ( STAT+: subscription required) Rapid advances in technology have been a boon to the medical device industry. They've also sparked growing concern that those devices can be hacked. Devices from hospital-room infusion pumps to pacemakers use wireless internet and network connectivity. Researchers and hackers have shown that networked devices--including some approved by the FDA--can be vulnerable to threats. Got to article


Global Health Security

China's Small Farmers Pose Huge Challenge in Swine Fever Battle ( Reuters) Even after 14 outbreaks of African swine fever across China in just over a month, pig farmer Wang Wu does not believe the threat to his livelihood is real. "I heard about the African swine fever thing. But then people said it was just rumor. It was fake news," said Wang, who raises about 60 pigs in a village near Harbin, capital of China's northeastern Heilongjiang province. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

Long-Term Effectiveness of One and Two Doses of a Killed, Bivalent, Whole-Cell Oral Cholera Vaccine in Haiti: An Extended Case-Control Study ( Lancet) No study of long-term protection following killed oral cholera vaccination has been done outside of the historically cholera-endemic areas of south Asia, or has examined protection after a single-dose vaccination regimen. To address this, we examined the duration of protection of the standard two-dose regimen and an incomplete regimen of one dose up to 4 years after vaccination in Haiti. Go to article

Flu Vaccine Protection Starts to Wane Within Weeks ( CIDRAP) Though the CDC recommends administration of the flu vaccine by the end of October, a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases suggests that vaccine effectiveness may begin dropping within weeks of administration, adding more evidence of waning protection over the course of a single flu season. Go to article

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Molecular Characterization, Evolution, and Epidemiology ( Clinical Microbiology Reviews) Staphylococcus aureus, a major human pathogen, has a collection of virulence factors and the ability to acquire resistance to most antibiotics. This ability is further augmented by constant emergence of new clones, making S. aureus a "superbug." Clinical use of methicillin has led to the appearance of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The past few decades have witnessed the existence of new MRSA clones. Unlike traditional MRSA residing in hospitals, the new clones can invade community settings and infect people without predisposing risk factors. This evolution continues with the buildup of the MRSA reservoir in companion and food animals. This review focuses on imparting a better understanding of MRSA evolution and its molecular characterization and epidemiology. Go to article


Science & Technology

Structural Basis of Pan-Ebolavirus Neutralization by a Human Antibody Against a Conserved, Yet Cryptic Epitope ( mBio) Only one naturally occurring human antibody has been described thus far that is capable of potently neutralizing all five ebolaviruses. Here we present two crystal structures of this rare, pan-ebolavirus neutralizing human antibody in complex with Ebola virus and Bundibugyo virus glycoproteins, respectively. Go to article

Structural Characterization of Pan-Ebolavirus Antibody 6D6 Targeting the Fusion Peptide of the Surface Glycoprotein ( The Journal of Infectious Diseases) Ebola virus infection causes severe disease in humans and represents a global health threat. Candidates for immunotherapeutics and vaccines have shown promise in clinical trials, though they are ineffective against other members of the Ebolavirus genus which also cause periodic, lethal outbreaks. Here, we present a crystal structure of a pan-ebolavirus antibody, 6D6, as well as single particle electron microscopy reconstructions of 6D6 in complex with Ebola and Bundibugyo virus glycoproteins. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

Hurricane Florence Charges Toward Carolinas with "Potential for Unbelievable Damage" ( Washington Post) Category 4 Hurricane Florence is less than 48 hours away from making landfall on the Southeast coast with catastrophic impacts, from damaging winds to flash flooding to widespread power outages. The storm's surge, the rise in sea water above normally dry land at the coast, could be over 9 feet at peak. Hurricane-force winds will bring down trees and damage homes and businesses. Like Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Florence is expected to slow significantly when it reaches the coast, allowing the storm to dump a catastrophic amount of rain in the Carolinas. Go to article


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Clinicians' Biosecurity News, September 12, 2018
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Early Vaccinations and Waning Immunity Create Dilemma for Flu Season. We recently published a report in Clinical Infectious Diseases summarizing 11 studies published since 2013 that describe rates of waning immunity in a single season among individuals vaccinated against seasonal influenza using the traditional inactivated vaccine.1 These studies, though variable in their approaches, reach the important conclusion that vaccine effectiveness diminishes more rapidly than expected, particularly against influenza A/H3N2 and B subtypes. For example, in a study by Kissling et al, vaccine effectiveness for A/H3N2 declined to 0% as early as 93 days post-vaccination, while Ferdinands et al found that vaccine effectiveness for A/H3N2 declined 7% each month post-vaccination.2,3 These studies raise the concern that early recipients of the vaccine could become vulnerable to influenza during peak months of flu activity; the findings merit a vaccine policy discussion regarding optimal timing of vaccination.  Read Now


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