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Today's Headlines: August 10, 2018

Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

Ebola Virus Disease--Democratic Republic of the Congo ( WHO) On 1 August 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province, in the eastern part of the country. North Kivu is among the most populated provinces in the country, shares borders with Uganda and Rwanda, and experiences conflict and insecurity, with over one million internally displaced people and migration of refugees to neighbouring countries. Go to article

See Also: Democratic Republic of Congo (North Kivu) Cases, Vaccine, Security, Burial, Genome ( ProMED Mail) The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease dated Tue 7 Aug 2018: A total of 44 cases of haemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, of which 17 confirmed and 27 probable; 47 suspected cases are under investigation; 1 new case confirmed to Beni. Go to article

NCDC Confirms Nine New Cases of Lassa Fever, Two Deaths ( The Guardian) The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) yesterday confirmed 9 new cases of Lassa fever epidemic with 2 deaths, in 1 week, including the first confirmed case in Enugu State since beginning of outbreak. The NCDC, however, blamed the persistent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country on poor environmental sanitation conditions observed in high burden communities. Go to article

San Luis Obispo County Confirms 2 H1N2v Infections ( Avian Flu Diary) Five days ago we learned that San Luis Obispo Public Health Were Investigating Suspected Swine Variant Flu Cases linked to recent attendance of the California Mid-State fair. This announcement came just a week after a similar report out of Michigan. Go to article

Global Health Security

Yellow Fever in Africa and the Americas, 2017 ( WHO) In 2017, there were major yellow fever outbreaks in Brazil and Nigeria. These outbreaks were not marked by the rapid urban spread seen in 2016 in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yet they illustrate the increased risk of YF and urban outbreaks with international spread. Go to article

UNICEF Chief 'Horrified' at Air Strike that Hit School Bus in Northern Yemen ( H5N1) The Head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has strongly condemned the airstrike against a school bus in northern Yemen on Thursday, which according to news reports has killed more than two dozen children.  Go to article

Medicine & Public Health

Systemic Analysis of Monoclonal Antibodies Against Ebola Virus GP Defines Features that Contribute to Protection ( Cell) Antibodies are promising post-exposure therapies against emerging viruses, but which antibody features and in vitro assays best forecast protection are unclear. Our international consortium systematically evaluated antibodies against EBOV using multidisciplinary assays.  Go to article

A Role for Fc Function in Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibody-Mediated Protection Against Ebola Virus ( Cell Host & Microbe) The recent EBOV epidemic highlighted the need for effective vaccines and therapeutics to limit and prevent outbreaks. Host antibodies against EBOV are critical for controlling disease, and recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can protect from infection. However, antibodies mediate an array of antiviral functions including neutralization as well as engagement of Fc-domain receptors on immune cells, resulting in phagocytosis or NK cell-mediated killing of infected cells. Thus, to understand the antibody features mediating EBOV protection, we examined specific Fc features associated with protection using a library of EBOV-specific mAbs. Go to article

Transmission of Influenza A in a Student Office Based on Realistic Person-to-Person Contact and Surface Touch Behaviour ( International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health) Influenza A viruses result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide each year. In this study, influenza A transmission in a graduate student office is simulated via long-range airborne, fomite, and close contact routes based on real data from more than 3500 person-to-person contacts and 127,000 surface touches obtained by video-camera. Go to article

Science & Technology

An Amplicon-Based Sequencing Framework for Accurately Measuring Intrahost Virus Diversity Using PrimalSeq and iVar ( bioRxiv) How viruses evolves within hosts can dictate infection outcomes; however, accurately reconstructing this process is challenging from samples with low virus concentrations. We evaluated our highly multiplexed amplicon approach--PrimalSeq--to enrich for viral RNA and demonstrate how virus concentration, sequencing coverage depth, primer mismatches, and technical replicates influence the accuracy of measuring intrahost virus diversity. Using this data, we developed an open source experimental protocol and computational tool (iVar; for using PrimalSeq to measure intrahost virus diversity using Illumina and compared the results to Oxford Nanopore sequencing.  Go to article


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