March 14, 2017

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
CDC Identifies Potential Risk of Zika Virus Transmission Since June 15, 2016.
analysis has led to CDC identifying that since June 15, 2016, there has been a potential increased Zika risk for residents in Broward and Palm Beach counties because of local travel to areas of active transmission in Florida and challenges associated with defining sources of exposure.  (CDC, 3/13/17)
CDC Adds 4 Countries to Interim Travel Guidance Related to Zika Virus.
CDC is working with other public health officials to monitor for ongoing spread of Zika virus. Today, CDC posted a Zika virus travel notice for Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives and Solomon Islands.  (CDC, 3/10/17)
Increase in Human Infections with Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus During the Fifth Epidemic - China, October 2016-February 2017.
CDC analysis of 74 hemagglutinin (HA) gene sequences from A(H7N9) virus samples collected from infected persons or live bird market environments during the fifth epidemic, which are available in the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) database (4,5), indicates that A(H7N9) viruses have diverged into two distinct genetic lineages.  (CDC, 3/10/17)
Bernie Sanders: Trump Should Avoid a Bad Zika Deal.
The Trump Administration, through the Army, is on the brink of making a bad deal, giving a French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, the exclusive license to patents and thus a monopoly to sell a vaccine against the Zika virus. If Mr. Trump allows this deal, Sanofi will be able to charge whatever astronomical price it wants for its vaccine.  (New York Times, 3/10/17)
CDC's Public Health Grand Rounds Presents: Emerging Tickborne Diseases.
The webinar will take place on March 21, 2017 at 1 PM EST.  (CDC, 3/10/17)
GOP Health Bill Would Cut CDC's $1B Disease Fighting Fund.
A proposal to replace the Obama health care law would cut out a pillar of funding for the nation's lead public health agency, and experts say that would likely curtail programs across the country to prevent problems like lead poisoning and hospital infections.  (AP News, 3/10/17)
NIH-Funded Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group Details Progress, Challenges.
In June 2013, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided $2 million in funding to establish an Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group to develop, prioritize and implement a clinical research agenda to address the growing public health threat of antibiotic resistance. A new series of articles appearing in the March 15th issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases details the group's progress and outlines its ongoing and future efforts.  (NIAID, 3/9/17)
"Tactical Science" New Strategy for US Food Safety.
The challenges of food security have not gone unnoticed by USDA's Sonny Ramaswamy, the director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, who, in a recent conference, shared his vision for the security and safety of America's food supply, which he says is under continuous threat from numerous foreign, emerging, and endemic pests, diseases, and toxic elements, such as contaminants.  (Southwest Farm Press, 3/9/17)
Plague Vaccine Granted Orphan Drug Designation from FDA.
 DynPort Vaccine Company LLC i
s developing the recombinant rF1V plague vaccine on behalf of the US Department of Defense (DoD). The vaccine will be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis to combat infection with Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague.   (Outbreak News Today, 3/8/17)
Building A Little More Community Resilience Every Day.
Every day, in communities across the country, local health departments are working to strengthen national health security.  Many of the day-to-day activities of public health make communities healthier and more resilient in the face of a disaster.  (ASPR, 3/8/17)
Yellow Fever - Once Again on the Radar Screen in the Americas.
 Drs. Catherine Paules and Anthony S. Fauci explain how 
the ongoing yellow fever outbreak is affecting areas in close proximity to major urban centers where yellow fever vaccine is not routinely administered.  (New England Journal of Medicine, 3/8/17)

Strengthening Global Health Security: A 17-Year Partnership.
On February 24, the European Commission hosted the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Global Health Security Initiative in Brussels, Belgium. Ministers of health and delegations from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, along with leaders from the European Commission and the World Health Organization came together to continue their work on strengthening global health security.  (ASPR, 3/8/17)
CDC: Outbreak of North American Avian Influenza A(H7N9) in Poultry Poses Low Risk to People.
CDC is working closely with USDA APHIS and the Tennessee Department of Health to minimize any human health risk posed by the avian influenza outbreak in Lincoln County, Tennessee. This includes implementing a protocol to monitor the health of poultry workers exposed to commercial poultry involved in the  USDA/APHIS-confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A (H7N9) outbreak.  (CDC, 3/8/17)

See also:
Use of Blood Donor Screening Data to Estimate Zika Virus Incidence, Puerto Rico, April-August 2016.
Using data from screening of blood donations collected by the 2 largest blood centers in Puerto Rico during April 3-August 12, 2016, and assuming a 9.9-day duration of viremia, CDC researchers estimated that 469,321 persons in Puerto Rico were infected during this period, for an estimated cumulative incidence of 12.9%.  (Emerging Infectious Diseases, 3/6/17)
With Some Biological Threats Mitigated, BARDA Shifts Focus to Combat Highly Pathogenic Viruses, Chemical Agents.
Since its creation in 2006, the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority has taken a lead role in helping to procure an arsenal of medical countermeasures that the agency says should serve as a deterrent to anthrax, smallpox and botulism being weaponized in a future biological attack.  (Homeland Preparedness News, 3/6/17)
Behind the Scenes: Development of New Medical Countermeasure Resource.
In late January, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control Division of State and Local Readiness convened over 60 medical countermeasure (MCM) experts across the local, state, and federal levels to gather feedback about a new MCM Operational Resource Guide.  (NACCHO, 3/6/17)
Accomplishing CDC's Mission with Investments from the Prevention & Public Health Fund, FY 2010-FY 2016.
Since its inception in FY 2010, funding appropriated to CDC from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) has become integral to CDC program operations.  (CDC, 3/17)
CDC Evaluation Fellowship Program.
The CDC Evaluation Fellowship Program aims to expand the capacity of CDC programs to conduct evaluation and increase its usefulness and impact. Applications are due April 14, 2017.  (CDC, 3/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Coast Guard, TSA Cuts Would Help Pay for Trump's Wall.
The proposed budget cuts for the Coast Guard, TSA and FEMA would be 'devastating' and undermine the fight against terrorism, smuggling and illegal immigration, critics say.  (Politico, 3/7/17)
DHS to Host Webinars on National Cyber Incident Response Plan.
This past January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Cyber Incident Response Plan (NCIRP). This is an essential component of DHS's mission to strengthen the security and resilience of the Nation by working to improve the ability of all to manage cyber incidents.  Please join them for one of the four webinar sessions hosted on the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) at 3:00 p.m. (EST) on March 27-30, 2017.  (NACCHO, 3/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
DARPA Successfully Tests Radiation Detectors in Nation's Capital.
DARPA's SIGMA program -- whose goal is to prevent attacks involving radiological "dirty bombs" and other nuclear threats -- concluded its biggest and longest test deployment of vehicle-mounted radiation detectors in Washington, DC, in February.  (Armed With Science, 3/9/17)
Radioactive Sources: Opportunities Exist for Federal Agencies to Strengthen Transportation Security.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security work to secure high risk radioactive sources during ground transport. After the 9/11 attacks, these agencies have collaborated to strengthen the security of these sources.  However, GAO found that NRC does not inspect motor carriers (such as large trucks) for compliance with its security requirements, and it doesn't collect data on all shipments (GAO, 3/9/17)
NNSA Hosts "Super" Workshop for Nations Preparing for Major Public Events.
NNSA trains foreign emergency managers and security teams in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to develop capabilities needed to keep major public events safe from radiological or nuclear threats.  As part of that mission, NNSA and IAEA hosted training for 13 partner nations at Super Bowl LI in Houston in January (NNSA, 3/9/17)

Science & Technology Policy
Trump Picks Scott Gottlieb to Serve as FDA Commissioner.
Gottlieb served in several senior positions at the FDA during the George W. Bush administration. He has talked extensively about how to lower the cost of prescription drugs by modernizing the agency's approval process and speeding cheaper generic competitors to market.  (Bloomberg Politics, 3/10/17)

House Republicans Would Let Employers Demand Workers' Genetic Test Results.
Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a "workplace wellness" program.  (STAT News, 3/10/17)

DARPA Wants To Create A "Soldier Cell" To Fight Biological Weapon Attacks. 
There really is no remedy against a biological weapon attack, but Johns Hopkins University researchers hope the four-year, $5.7 million grant DARPA recently awarded them will change that. The aim is for the researchers to create a biocontrol system able to deploy single-cell fighters that will hunt down specific pathogens and destroy their lethality.  (Jalopnik, 3/9/17)
Federal Regulatory Agencies Need to Prepare for Greater Quantity and Range of Biotechnology Products.
A profusion of biotechnology products is expected over the next five to 10 years, and the number and diversity of new products has the potential to overwhelm the US regulatory system, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 3/9/17)

Data Check: US Government Share of Basic Research Funding Falls Below 50%.
For the first time in the post-World War II era, the federal government no longer funds a majority of the basic research carried out in the United States.  (Science, 3/9/17)
Women are Leading the Way in HIV Research.
Drs. Linda-Gail Bekker and Anthony S. Fauci describe how women women are advancing research on the front lines as scientists in laboratories and clinics and as leaders of large, international clinical trial efforts.  (STAT News, 3/8/17)
This Week's Hearings
Reinvestment and Rehabilitation of Our Nation's Safe Drinking Water Delivery Systems. US House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment. 3/16/17, 10:15 AM. Rayburn 2322.  More

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