May 16, 2017

Public Health & Healthcare Preparedness
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.
Often called "the voice of CDC," the MMWR  series is the agency's primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, reliable, authoritative, accurate, objective, and useful public health information and recommendations.  (CDC, 5/12/17)
Tuberculosis Innovations and Health Systems Strengthening in the Philippines.
This Request for Information is to inform interested parties of another tuberculosis (TB) activity that is being designed to help the Philippines reduce and eliminate TB. The intent is to also seek statements from capable organizations (i.e., nongovernmental organizations, universities, consortium, for-profit) that are implementing or have implemented TB projects/programs and may be interested to partner with USAID in achieving the goals of this future TB activity.  (, 5/12/17)
CDC Finalizes Vaccine Recommendation for Adults Traveling to Areas with Cholera.
The vaccine, brand name Vaxchora, is a single-dose, live oral cholera vaccine and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016 for prevention of cholera caused by serogroup O1. It is approved for use in adults 18 through 64 years old and is the only FDA-approved cholera vaccine in the United States.  (CDC, 5/11/17)
Enterococci May Have Evolved Antimicrobial Resistance Millions of Years Ago.
Enterococci bacteria are the bane of hospitals, causing thousands of multidrug-resistant infections in patients each year. Now, researchers have traced evidence of the bacteria's evolutionary history back 425 million years and theorize that the same traits that allow the bacteria to thrive in hospitals likely emerged when they were carried onto land in the guts of the world's first terrestrial animals.  (NIAID, 5/11/17)

Avian Influenza: USDA Has Taken Actions to Reduce Risks but Needs a Plan to Evaluate Its Efforts.
The US Department of Agriculture has taken actions to address lessons learned from its responses to the outbreaks, such as encouraging states to form response teams. However, it does not have a plan to evaluate the effectiveness its efforts.  (GAO, 5/11/17)
Global Health and the Future Role of the United States.
ith support from a broad array of federal agencies, foundations, and private partners, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened an ad hoc committee to identify global health priorities in light of current and emerging global health threats and challenges.  (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 5/10/18)
Statement from USAID Acting Administrator Wade Warren on President Trump's Intent to Nominate Mark Andrew Green as USAID Administrator.
A leader in development and humanitarian assistance, Mark's extensive experience in everything from global disease prevention to private sector engagement will serve the American people well as he directs USAID's efforts to advance US security and prosperity and end extreme poverty.  (USAID, 5/10/17)

The Link between Mental and Behavioral Health and National Health Security: 3 Key Planning Considerations.
Community health resilience is the cornerstone of national health security. Public health and healthcare systems can use their assets to improve a community's mental, behavioral, and social health to withstand, adapt to, and recover from disasters and incidents that have negative health effects.  (ASPR, 5/10/17)
A Faster, Less Costly Test Detects Foodborne Toxin.
Agricultural Research Service scientists have developed a new test that's faster, more sensitive and less expensive than current tests in detecting a major foodborne toxin. (USDA, 5/10/17)
Nerve Agents and Certain Insecticides (Organophosphorus and/or Carbamate) Countermeasures.
Using his authority under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services is issuing this declaration for medical countermeasures against nerve agents and organophosphorus insecticides that result in organophosphorus poisoning and carbamate insecticides that result in carbamate poisoning.  (Federal Register, 5/10/17)
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Race for a Zika Vaccine.
When the Zika virus emerged as a global threat, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) drew on its deep expertise in protecting soldiers against malaria, Ebola and other flaviviruses, to develop the ZPIV vaccine in just six months.  (Global Biodefense, 5/9/17)
Prolonged IgM Antibody Response in People Infected with Zika Virus: Implications for Interpreting Serologic Testing Results for Pregnant Women.
For asymptomatic pregnant women living in or frequently traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission, Zika virus nucleic acid test (NAT) testing at least once per trimester should be considered, in addition to IgM testing as previously recommended.  (CDC, 5/5/17)
USDA Offers $6 Million for Antimicrobial Resistance Research.
The US Department of Agriculture yesterday announced the availability of $6 million for research on antimicrobial resistance in agriculture, including how resistance develops and spreads and how to combat it.  (CIDRAP, 5/3/17)
Countering Public Health Threats.
In addition to approving obiltoxaximab to neutralize Bacillus anthracis toxins, the FDA also expanded the indication for an anthrax vaccine to include postexposure prophylaxis when used with recommended antimicrobial therapy to combat disease resulting from B. anthracis contact.  (JAMA, 5/2/17)
Highly Pathogenic Infectious Disease Exercise Planning for Frontline Facilities.
The National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) and ASPR's Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE) are partnering on a series of webinars. The next webinar will focus on exercise planning for Frontline Facilities - acute care hospitals and other emergency care settings, such as urgent care clinics and critical access hospitals - that have not been designated as an Ebola Treatment Center or Assessment Hospital. Frontline Facilities have the possibility of encountering a patient suspected of infection with Ebola virus or another highly pathogenic infectious disease. The webinar will take place on May 24, 2017, 2-3 PM EST. Registration is required.  (ASPR, 5/17)
Emerging and Infectious Disease Preparedness Simulation Training.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have established the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC) to increase the competency of healthcare and public health workers and the capability of healthcare facilities to deliver safe, efficient, and effective Ebola patient care. NETECT will be offering a course on healthcare preparedness in New York City on June 5-6, 2017. Registration is required.  (ASPR, 5/17)
Information Sharing Topic Collection.
These resources highlight guidance and lessons learned on information sharing that can help emergency health planners identify stakeholders to incorporate into the information flow, develop rules and elements for sharing, and exchange information to ensure a common operating picture. This Topic Collection concentrates on the information shared, and not on the actual "hardware" or physical elements of the information sharing systems.  (ASPR, 5/17)

Homeland Security & Disaster Preparedness
Taking Down Terrorists in Court.
Zainab Ahmad is an Assistant United States Attorney with the Eastern District of New York. Since the September 11th attacks, EDNY has become an aggressive prosecutor of terrorism, securing more convictions than any other US Attorney's office. Ahmad's specialty is counterterrorism, her subspecialty "extraterritorial" cases, which means that she spends a great deal of time overseas, negotiating with foreign officials, interviewing witnesses, often in prison, and combing the ground for evidence in terror-related crimes against Americans.  (New Yorker, 5/15/17)
State Department Clears India's $75M CBRN Protective Equipment Purchase Request.
India has received clearance from the State Department to buy chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense support equipment from the US government under a potential $75 million foreign military sales agreement.  (ExecutiveBiz, 5/12/17)

Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.
 In his statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, 
Daniel R. Coats, Director of National Intelligence, identifies genome editing, cyber threats, and weapons of mass destruction as key threats (among others) to US national security. (US Senate Select Intelligence Committee, 5/11/17)


See also: US Spy Agencies Wimp Out on Science of Climate Change, but Still Say it's a Security Threat (Science, 5/11/17)


Presidential Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.
The President will hold heads of executive departments and agencies (agency heads) accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their enterprises. In addition, because risk management decisions made by agency heads can affect the risk to the executive branch as a whole, and to national security, it is also the policy of the United States to manage cybersecurity risk as an executive branch enterprise.  (The White House, 5/11/17)

Arctic Nations May Confront US on Climate Change.
Diplomats from eight Arctic nations are facing a standoff today over the Trump administration's efforts to downplay the importance of climate change in an Arctic Council ministerial statement marking the end of the United States' two-year council chairmanship.  (Scientific American, 5/10/17)

Fentanyl Can Sicken First Responders. Here's a Possible Solution.
NIST researchers demonstrate screening techniques that can help prevent accidental exposure to synthetic opioids.  (NIST, 5/9/17)

FEMA Hopes to Speed Disaster Response with Baton Rouge Contingent of Home-Based "Reservists."
Baton Rouge will serve as the test site for a program designed to convert hundreds of temporary FEMA workers into reservists - creating a ready-made response team prepared to tackle any future disasters in this area.  (The Advocate, 5/5/17)

Radiological & Nuclear Disaster Preparedness
Hanford Site Emergency Terminated.
Most Hanford Site workers will be on a normal work schedule on Thursday, May 11. Before allowing uncontrolled access to the area where the partial tunnel collapse occurred, officials plan to take additional near-term actions to ensure the safety of the workforce and the public.  (Department of Energy, 5/10/17)

Science & Technology Policy
Community for Engineering Biology Research.
Applicants with academic or non-profit organizations who have advanced knowledge about synthetic biological systems are eligible to apply.  (, 5/12/17)
Trump's Expected Pick for Top USDA Scientist is Not a Scientist.
Sam Clovis likely to be named undersecretary of the USDA department that manages research on everything from climate change to nutrition. Clovis is best known for hosting a conservative talk radio show in his native Iowa and, after mounting an unsuccessful run for Senate in 2014, becoming a fiery pro-Trump advocate on television.  (ProPublica, 5/12/17)
The Real Threat to Our Government is Tech Illiteracy.
Digital illiteracy at every level of government endangers the security of the nation and the functioning of democracy. It takes a multi-pronged, concerted approach, with smart internal policies, federal legislation, tech savvy diplomats, and a willingness to realize information security is a critical skill for the defense of the nation-all of which is incredibly difficult to achieve even when a government is functioning well.  (Wired, 5/11/17)
Meet Scott Gottlieb, MD, Commissioner of Food and Drugs.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb was sworn in as the 23rd Commissioner of Food and Drugs on May 11, 2017. Dr. Gottlieb is a physician, medical policy expert, and public health advocate who previously served as the FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs and before that, as a senior advisor to the FDA Commissioner.  (FDA, 5/11/17)
CRISPR Makes it Clear: the US Needs a Biology Strategy, and Fast.
CRISPR, which allows scientists to edit precise positions on DNA using a bacterial enzyme, is already transforming cancer treatment, preventing the spread of disease, and solving global famine. Its trajectory necessarily involves government agencies and commissions, our elected officials, and the courts-and none of them are prepared for what's coming.  (Wired, 5/11/17)
DTRA Seeks Innovations for Indexing Pathogen Repositories Worldwide.
Recent advancements in text based natural language processing (NLP) and visual analytics offer the potential to automate the collection, perform link analysis, and summarize the presentation of data associated with biological events; thus, dramatically reducing the time required to identify and analyze new biological facilities and enabling a more rapid response for the warfighter. (Global Biodefense, 5/8/17)
Trump's Proposed NIH Funding Cut Not Discussed at White House Biotech Meeting.
Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, chaired a meeting at the White House on Monday that many research advocates viewed as a chance to oppose the $5.8 billion cut President Trump has proposed for the agency next year.  (STAT News, 5/8/17)
This Week's Hearings
Future of Emergency Alerting. US House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. 5/17/17, 10:15 AM. Rayburn 2123.  More

Examining Initiatives to Advance Public Health. US House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. 5/17/17, 10:15 AM. Rayburn 2123.  More

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