Statement of the Twentieth IHR Emergency Committee
The twentieth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened by the Director General on 19 February 2019 at WHO headquarters with members, advisers and invited Member States attending via teleconference, supported by the WHO secretariat. The Committee unanimously agreed that the risk of international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and recommended the extension of Temporary Recommendations for a further three months.
Exposing Anopheles mosquitoes to antimalarials blocks Plasmodium parasite transmission
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Bites of Anopheles mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium falciparum parasites that cause malaria, which kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. In an effort to combat growing insecticide resistance, researchers writing in Nature yesterday said exposing mosquitoes to the malaria drug atovaquone (ATQ) killed the parasite in the mosquitoes.
Cuban healthcare offers many lessons for global health security
When we think of epidemics, we tend not to think of Cuba. Yet, Cuba has an exemplary track record when it comes to health security – that is, the prevention and control of infectious-disease threats. It eradicated polio, malaria, tetanus, and measles, as well as bring the first country in the world to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Japan strengthens global health security
The Government of Japan has provided a new contribution of US$ 22 million to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) - the single largest contribution to the fund since its founding in 2015. In 2018 the CFE provided US$ 37.5 million for responses to 28 health emergencies, with most allocations released within 24 hours. For example, CFE support helped WHO immediately send teams to respond to 2 Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; assist government efforts to stop the largest Lassa fever outbreak on record in Nigeria; and provide support for the earthquake response in Papua New Guinea.
FDA, CDC, and CMS launch task force to help facilitate rapid availability of diagnostic tests during public health emergencies
The Tri-Agency Task Force for Emergency Diagnostics (TTFED) is a cooperative effort by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a process to collaborate on future emergency diagnostic response needs. During emergencies, the TTFED will convene quickly to provide timely recommendations to clinical and public health laboratories for rapid implementation of in vitro diagnostic assays authorized for use under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process.
International quality improvement projects receive grant to improve antimicrobial stewardship in Asia-Pacific region
The Joint Commission, working with Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change (IGLC), has selected six international quality improvement projects to receive funding as part of a two-year grant to improve antimicrobial stewardship in the Asia-Pacific region. Antimicrobial resistance is a serious social and economic problem across the globe that threatens the ability to treat common infectious diseases, and can result in illness, disability and death. Stewardship can help prevent the development of multidrug-resistant organisms and reduce unnecessary drug use and costs.
Type 2 dengue case recorded in Wallis and Futuna
A first case of type 2 dengue has been identified in Wallis and Futuna. The health authorities said the victim was infected by a mosquito which is present in the territory. They have called on the public to be vigilant to contain the outbreak.
Editorial: Epidemiology and Control of Notifiable Animal Diseases
Julio Alvarez et al.,
There are a number of criteria by which an animal disease is classified as notifiable; the most important are typically related with its potential to spread internationally, as well as its impact on the health of domestic livestock, wildlife and, not the least, on human health. The ability to prevent or respond adequately to the novel introduction of a notifiable disease into a herd, region or country, to control its spread and eventually accomplish its eradication requires the availability of adequate diagnostic tests for a preferably early detection of infected animals, an adequate knowledge on its epidemiology including the potential routes of transmission within or between herds and, ideally, the existence of vaccines to avoid disease dissemination. This research topic includes a variety of articles focusing on different aspects of surveillance, control, and eradication of diseases of critical importance for livestock.
Japan scientists win backing for work on potential Nipah vaccine
A global coalition set up to fight emerging epidemics has struck a $31 million deal with scientists at Japan’s University of Tokyo to speed up work on a vaccine against a brain-damaging disease caused by the Nipah virus. Nipah is on the World Health Organization’s research and development “priority pathogen” list alongside Ebola, Zika, MERS, Lassa and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
Human error in high-biocontainment labs: a likely pandemic threat
Incidents causing potential exposures to pathogens occur frequently in the high security laboratories often known by their acronyms, BSL3 (Biosafety Level 3) and BSL4. Lab incidents that lead to undetected or unreported laboratory-acquired infections can lead to the release of a disease into the community outside the lab; lab workers with such infections will leave work carrying the pathogen with them. If the agent involved were a potential pandemic pathogen, such a community release could lead to a worldwide pandemic with many fatalities.