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CDC Reports Pneumonia, Influenza Mortality Rate Hits Epidemic Threshold

CLICK HERE - CDC - FLUVIEW - Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Weekly US Map: Influenza Summary Update

CLICK HERE - CDC - Situation Update: Summary of Weekly FluView Report

CLICK HERE - CDC - Past Weekly Surveillance Reports

healio.com - February 10, 2017

The mortality rate for pneumonia and influenza in the United States was slightly above the epidemic threshold during the week ending Jan. 7, according to CDC’s FluView.

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NIH Workshop Identifies Complex Health Problems Among Zika-Affected Infants

           

Credit: NICHD/NIH

CLICK HERE - JAMA Pediatrics - Bridging Knowledge Gaps to Understand How Zika Virus Exposure and Infection Affect Child Development

nih.gov - scienmag.com - February 20, 2017

Children exposed to Zika virus in the womb may face complex health and developmental problems as they grow older, according to discussions at a National Institutes of Health workshop. A summary of the proceedings, authored by researchers from NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is available in the latest issue of JAMA Pediatrics.

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UTMB Scientists Uncover How Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly

           

utmb.edu - February 16, 2017

The findings are key to unraveling the mysteries of why the Zika virus causes birth defects

CLICK HERE - Stem Cell Reports - Differential Responses of Human Fetal Brain Neural Stem Cells to Zika Virus Infection

GALVESTON, Texas –A multidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered the mechanisms that the Zika virus uses to alter brain development. These findings are detailed in Stem Cell Reports . . .

. . . Since a normal brain develops from simple cells called stem cells that are able to develop into any one of various kinds of cells, the UTMB team deduced that microcephaly is most likely linked with abnormal function of these cells . . .

. . . The researchers established a method of investigating how Zika alters the production, survival and maturation of brain stem cells using cells donated from three human fetal brains. They focused on the impact of the Asian lineage Zika virus that was involved in the first outbreak in North America in late 2015.

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The Mission to Stop Ebola: Lessons for UN Crisis Response

CLICK HERE - International Peace Institute - The Mission to Stop Ebola: Lessons for UN Crisis Response (28 page .PDF report)

reliefweb.int - February 15, 2017
ADAM LUPEL AND MICHAEL SNYDER

Executive Summary

The Ebola epidemic of 2014–2016 was a fastmoving, multidimensional emergency that pre - sented unprecedented challenges for the multi - lateral system. In response to the outbreak, which was spreading exponentially in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon established the UN’s first-ever emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER). UNMEER was mandated by the UN General Assembly in September 2014 to scale up and coordinate the activities of the UN presence on the ground working to stop the outbreak, which eventually claimed over 11,000 lives.

This report asks: Was UNMEER needed? Was it properly structured? Did it deliver? And what broader lessons can be learned from the experience of UNMEER for UN crisis response?

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Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise

       

Once called the "Dutchmen" because of their large noses and large bellies, proboscis monkeys live only in Borneo. Ecosystems that have a lot of diverse animals, like this monkey, also tend to have a lot of diverse viruses.  Charles Ryan

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh - February 14, 2017

The next troubling outbreak could come from a rain forest . . . And a big reason why: all the crazy animals that live here.

. . . Wild animals are now refugees. They have no home. So they come live in our backyards. They pee on our crops. Share our parks and playgrounds. Giving their viruses a chance to jump into us and make us sick.

"So it's really the human impact on the environment that's causing these viruses to jump into people," Olival says.

And cause an outbreak? I ask. Or a pandemic, says Olival.

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Miami Doctors Publish Study of First Locally-Acquired Zika Transmission

This is a rash on patient's stomach.
Credit: The New England Journal of Medicine

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

sciencedaily.com - January 12, 2017

Source: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Summary: Following the recent Zika outbreak in Miami-Dade County, a multidisciplinary team of physicians has published a case study describing in detail the nation's first locally-transmitted case of Zika.

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CLICK HERE - NEJM - Cutaneous Eruption in a U.S. Woman with Locally Acquired Zika Virus Infection

 

 

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We Are Grossly Unprepared for Major Outbreaks

submitted by Alicia Juarrero

           

CLICK HERE - The BMJ - Post-Ebola reforms: ample analysis, inadequate action

CLICK HERE - Post-Ebola reforms: ample analysis, inadequate action (8 page .PDF report)

globalbiodefense.com - January 26, 2017

The world remains “grossly underprepared” for outbreaks of infectious disease, which are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades, warn a team of international experts in The BMJ.

They reviewed reports on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and say better preparedness and a faster, more coordinated response could have prevented most of the 11,000 deaths directly attributed to Ebola and also the broader economic, social, and health crises that ensued.

. . . a research team, led by Suerie Moon at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, synthesized seven major post-Ebola reports and laid out the key problems and recommendations they highlighted.

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First Zika Infection in a Pregnant Texas Resident Who Did Not Travel Outside the State

dshs.texas.gov - January 25-31, 2017

Texas has identified the first instance of a laboratory-confirmed Zika infection in a pregnant Texas resident who did not travel outside the state. The woman, a resident of Bexar County, traveled to Brownsville in November, around the time six Brownsville residents acquired cases of Zika virus disease from mosquitoes there. She did not get sick and was tested for Zika during regular prenatal care. Because the infection was not transmitted in Bexar County, it does not represent an increased risk of Zika there.

The infection could have been transmitted by mosquitoes or through sexual contact with a partner who was infected. DSHS urges everyone, especially pregnant women, to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites when visiting Brownsville and other parts of the state where mosquito activity continues throughout the winter months. Pregnant women should also protect themselves against sexual transmission from partners who travel to those areas by avoiding sexual contact or using condoms for the duration of the pregnancy.

CLICK HERE - First Zika Infection in a Pregnant Texas Resident Who Did Not Travel Outside the State

CLICK HERE - Texas DSHS - Zika in Texas

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Donors and Drug Makers Offer $500 Million to Control Global Epidemics

           

A child born with microcephaly caused by the Zika virus, during an evaluation at Fundação Altino Ventura in Recife, Brazil. A group of prominent donors announced Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control. Credit Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

nytimes.com - by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. - January 18, 2017

Stung by the lack of vaccines to fight the West African Ebola epidemic, a group of prominent donors announced Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership to stop epidemics before they spiral out of control.

The partnership, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, will initially develop and stockpile vaccines against three known viral threats, and also push the development of technology to brew large amounts of vaccine quickly when new threats, like the Zika virus, arise.

With enough money and scientific progress, the strategy could bring a drastic change in the way the world tackles pandemics.

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El Niño and Global Warming Blamed for Zika Spread

           

A female Aedes albopictus mosquito feeding on a human host. Credit: James Gathany CDC

CLICK HERE - STUDY - PNAS - Global risk model for vector-borne transmission of Zika virus reveals the role of El Niño 2015

scientificamerican.com - by Kavya Balaraman - December 21, 2016

Mosquito-borne diseases like Zika can be extremely sensitive to climatic changes

The combination of climate change and last year’s El Niño phenomenon likely created the perfect playground for the Zika virus to spread rapidly across South America, a new study finds.

Both the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that carry it have been present in different parts of the world for a while. But several factors, including specific climatic conditions, could have catapulted the disease to public health emergency status, according to researchers from the University of Liverpool.

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