March 7, 2017

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Trump Has Set the US Up to Botch a Global Health Crisis.
"America has long been unprepared for a dangerous pandemic," Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar under President Obama, told Vox, "but the risks are especially high under President Trump."  (Vox, 3/4/17)
Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection - Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013-2014.
To better understand the impact of birth defects resulting from Zika virus infection, the CDC surveillance case definition established in 2016 for birth defects potentially related to Zika virus infection was retrospectively applied to population-based birth defects surveillance data collected during 2013-2014 in three areas before the introduction of Zika virus (the pre-Zika years) into the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas.  (MMWR, 3/3/17)

Connecting Your Faith-Based Organization with the Community: 5 Projects That Help Build Health Security.
Your faith-based organization probably already sponsors a number of programs that focus on the health of people in your community, but did you know that making sure the people in your neighborhood can stay healthy before, during, or after a disaster is critical to achieving national health security?  (ASPR, 3/3/17)
Response to a Large Polio Outbreak in a Setting of Conflict - Middle East, 2013-2015.
A polio outbreak occurred in the Middle East, beginning in Syria in 2013 with subsequent spread to Iraq. The outbreak occurred 2 years after the onset of the Syrian civil war, resulted in 38 cases, and was the first time WPV was detected in Syria in approximately a decade.  (MMWR, 3/3/17)
Agro-Terrorism Threats To Nation's Food Supply Addressed In House, Senate Bills.
The legislation comes at a time when authorities have repeatedly warned that public health preparedness nationwide is in serious disarray. The Securing our Agriculture and Food Act was introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA), Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY), and Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).  (Homeland Security Today, 3/2/17)
CDC, FDA, and States Investigating Multistate E. coli Outbreak.
CDC, FDA, and several states are investigating an outbreak of 12 illnesses of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7 reported from several states.  (CDC, 3/2/17)
Tribal Emergency Preparedness Law.
As sovereign nations, tribes have inherent authority to protect the public health and welfare of their citizens. Thus, in the context of emergency preparedness, tribes have the authority to engage in preparedness and response activities using methods most appropriate for their communities.  (CDC, 3/2/17)
Mutual Recognition Promises New Framework for Pharmaceutical Inspections for United States and European Union.
The United States and the European Union (EU) completed an exchange of letters to amend the Pharmaceutical Annex to the 1998 US-EU Mutual Recognition Agreement. Under this agreement, US and EU regulators will be able to utilize each other's good manufacturing practice inspections of pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.  (FDA, 3/2/17)
Antibiotics: FDA Has Encouraged Development, but Needs to Clarify the Role of Draft Guidance and Develop Qualified Infectious Disease Product Guidance.
FDA has encouraged drug companies to develop new antibiotics through incentives, such as expediting its review of these drug applications. However, GAO found that drug companies needed more information on how to use these incentives-and recommended that the FDA provide this guidance.  (GAO, 3/2/17)
Trump Sheds Little Light on Food Safety Plans; Names Advisers.
With the announcement Monday that Ray Starling will be part of the National Economic Council, the president gave Jim Gorny reason to hope that the new administration is trying to become better informed on key issues.  (Food Safety News, 3/1/17)
US Says Bird Flu Vaccine Doesn't Provide Adequate Protection.
Rick Bright, who heads the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, said the H7N9 vaccine in the stockpile would not fend off a new family of these viruses that has emerged in China, known as the eastern or Yangtze River Delta lineage of the viruses.  (STAT News, 3/1/17)
Integrating Advanced Molecular Technologies into Public Health.
 CDC researchers describe how t
he Advanced Molecular Detection initiative has allowed CDC to provide leadership and coordination in integrating new technologies into routine practice throughout the US public health laboratory system.  (Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 3/17)
Open Science Prize Announces Epidemic Tracking Tool as Grand Prize Winner.
A prototype online platform that uses real-time visualization and viral genome data to track the spread of global pathogens such as Zika and Ebola is the grand prize winner of the Open Science Prize. The international team competition is an initiative by the National Institutes of Health, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  (NIH, 2/28/17)
50 Years of Keeping Bugs at Bay: Inside the CDC's Quarantine Program.
Today the CDC's quarantine program operates 20 stations strategically placed around the country - at airports, land borders, and seaports.  (STAT News, 2/28/17)
After Scare, Air Hoses at CDC Germ Lab are Found to be Safe.
On Feb. 13, the CDC learned that the air hoses, which had been in use since 2005, had not been designed or tested for breathing safety. The potential worry was that the hose material might emit chemicals into the air supply that were unsafe to breathe. About 100 workers had used the equipment.  (New York Times, 2/28/17)
CDC Stockpile Trainer Helps Other Countries Improve Supply Chain Preparedness.
As a senior training advisor for the CDC Strategic National Stockpile, Tom Jackson helps responders in other countries figure out how to make their supply chains work in any type of public health crisis. This includes conducting medical supply chain workshops in developing countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda and Cameroon.  (Global Biodefense, 2/28/17)
Vector Control Assessment in Zika Virus Priority Jurisdictions.
NACCHO, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), has released a summary of findings evaluating vector control capacity across ten Zika Virus (ZIKV) priority jurisdictions.  (NACCHO, 2/27/17)
Worse than Tuskegee.
The syphilis experiments in Guatemala were in the news because then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had issued a public apology to the government of Guatemala for violating its citizens' human rights. Then-President Barack Obama asked the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to commence a report investigating how these horrifying experiments came to be.  (Slate, 2/26/17)
Broad Agency Announcement.
To help develop solutions to complex regulatory science challenges, FDA funds medical countermeasure (MCM)-related research through intramural and extramural research grants. Extramural MCM regulatory science is primarily funded through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for research and development to support regulatory science and innovation, under area 7: Facilitate Development of Medical Countermeasures to Protect Against Threats to US and Global Health and Security. The current BAA announcement was posted on February 23, 2017, and will remain open until further notice.  (FedBizOpps, 2/23/17)
Countering Violent Extremism Through Public Health Practice: Proceedings of a Workshop.
To explore the application of health approaches in community-level strategies to countering violent extremism and radicalization, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a public workshop in September 2016.  (National Academies, 2/17)
2016 Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Strategy and Implementation Plan.
coordinates the development, acquisition, stockpiling, and use of medical products that are needed to effectively respond to a variety of high-consequence public health emergencies, whether naturally occurring or intentional.  (ASPR, 2/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
If Disaster Strikes, How Is DOD Prepared to Help?
DOD can provide support to civil authorities, when requested, for a wide range of emergencies, including wildfires; earthquakes; chemical, biological, and cyber incidents; and pandemic diseases.  (GAO, 2/28/17)
Why FEMA Needs a New Administrator, Now.
"FEMA is not the place for on-the-job-training," former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told a House Homeland Security Committee's Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications Subcommittee hearing on Feb. 28.  (FCW, 2/28/17)
IARPA Director Jason Matheny Advances Tech Tools for US Espionage.
In the decade since IARPA launched, it has become best known for its research programs in quantum computing and machine learning. Its biggest recent increase in investment, though, has been in biosecurity.  (Taylor & Francis, 2/22/17)
A Century Of Wildland Fire Research: Contributions To Long-term Approaches For Wildland Fire Management.
Wildland fire management has become even more difficult because of increasingly dry conditions in some areas of the country and the expansion of the urban-wildland interface, among other factors. Within the federal government, for example, more than 50% of the Forest Service's annual budget was dedicated to wildland fire in 2015, up from 16% in 1995. The workshop will take place on March 27, 2017.   (National Academies Division on Earth & Life Studies, 3/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
DARPA Tests Dirty-Bomb Hunting Ambulances.
A Pentagon research program aiming to detect "dirty bombs" and nuclear threats recently outfitted fire and emergency medical services ambulances with radiological detectors they used to draw out a map of radiation levels in the city. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity's nuclear threat detection program, called SIGMA, wrapped up testing last month.  (Defense One, 3/3/17)
NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation's Nuclear Plants.
Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 83 fully met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected by the NRC using the normal "baseline" inspection program.  (NRC, 3/3/17)
NNSA Partners with Argentina on Nuclear Forensics Workshop.
The workshop is part of an ongoing effort with Argentina initiated in 2016 to create a national-level nuclear forensics network of scientists, law enforcement officials, national security experts, and emergency planners that will strengthen global nuclear security.  (NNSA, 3/2/17)

Science & Technology Policy
Trump Calls the FDA "Slow and Burdensome," But it's Faster Than Ever.
Trump's attacks have infuriated former and current agency officials who say they are unfair and misguided. They point out that reviews for new prescription drugs have sharply accelerated in recent decades. Today, the FDA routinely beats other regulators around the world and sometimes even gets heat for moving too quickly to green-light products.  (Washington Post, 3/2/17)
How Bioinformatics Tools are Bringing Genetic Analysis to the Masses.
Patrick Chain, who led the development of EDGE software at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, says that EDGE was created to try to square the rapidly growing availability of low-cost DNA sequencers with the relative paucity of know-how required to make sense of the data.   (Nature, 2/28/17)
This Week's Hearings


There are no hearings scheduled for this week.


Quick Links

About Preparedness Pulsepoints
Not a subscriber?  
Sign up now  

Questions or Comments?

Contact the Pulsepoints Editor 

Stay up-to-date
Subscribe to Health Security Headlines
Subscribe to
Clinicians' Biosecurity News
Connect with us
Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube
Visit Us on the Web
 Clincians' Biosecurity News