Health Security Digest

  • The Big Read: As temperatures and urbanisation increase, fight against dengue will only get tougher

    25 June 2019 - Channel News Asia

    Cynthia Choo

    “Dengue always felt like a ‘it will happen to someone else but not me’ kind of thing, so it was a huge shock to find out that I had this virus,” said Ms Poh, a communications executive.' The experiences of Ms Poh and Mr Toh reflect just how enigmatic dengue fever can be — almost impossible to trace and at times, tricky to diagnose, and hard to guard against. The dengue virus also has four known strains or stereotypes. While infection with one strain appears to provide immunity against that one stereotype, evidence points towards increased risk of severe symptoms upon subsequent infections by the other three strains. The existence of these strains is one reason why dengue continues to be a perennial problem, especially in places like Singapore, whose tropical climate — abundant rainfall, high humidity and temperatures — creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. Despite stepped-up inspections and having a predictive model to help forecast dengue incidence, our national pre-emptive response to impending dengue outbreaks appears to have limited effectiveness.

  • Frontiers

    Bovine Tuberculosis—International Perspectives on Epidemiology and Management

    25 June 2019 - Frontiers

    Andrew W. Byrne, Adrian R. Allen, Daniel J. O'Brien and Michele A. Miller

    Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) remains a prominent zoonotic pathogen on the world stage, with significant impacts on animal and human health, and economic well-being.Modeling approaches were used to gain insights and make inferences on a number of different problems in bTB management.The use of genetic selection to improve animal health has emerged from recent advances in genomics and their application to epidemiological data. Resistance to bTB is a heritable trait in cattle, and provides an additional tool by which the disease can be controlled. Genomic methods are revolutionizing traditional molecular epidemiological approaches to disease source attribution, principally due to their much superior resolution. Application to bTB infectious systems promises to improve our knowledge of transmission dynamics. In multi-host epidemics, control or eradication of bTB in domestic hosts is often unachievable if disease control in wildlife reservoir populations is not simultaneously implemented. Vaccination with BCG has been shown to reduce disease in humans caused by M. tuberculosis, and Palmer and Thacker have also recently shown its potential for wildlife as well as the diagnostic regent variation, host physiological and immunological status can affect the performance of diagnostic tests. The “human component” of bTB epidemiology and control was highlighted in a number of papers relating to societal values and ethics of bTB control, as well as human zoonotic risk.Although bTB is a global disease, it can be neglected in smaller nations. Borja et al. describe findings of bTB in Fiji in “A Retrospective Study on Bovine Tuberculosis in Cattle on Fiji: Study Findings and Stakeholder Responses.”

  • Science Daily

    Habitat loss linked to global emergence of infectious diseases

    24 June 2019 - Science Daily

    Auburn University

    Auburn University researchers have published a new hypothesis that could provide the foundation for new scientific studies looking into the association of habitat loss and the global emergence of infectious diseases. Globally, scientists believe habitat loss is associated with emerging infectious diseases, or EIDs, spreading from wildlife to humans, such as Ebola, West Nile virus, SARS, Marburg virus and others. The Auburn team developed a new hypothesis, the coevolution effect, which is rooted in ecology and evolutionary biology, to explain the underlying mechanisms that drive this association. "We provide a testable hypothesis that we hope other researchers will try to test with their data, as we will be doing," Schwartz said. "Through our hypothesis, we propose that as humans alter the landscape through habitat loss, forest fragments act as islands, and the wildlife hosts and disease-causing microbes that live within them undergo rapid diversification," Zohdy said.

  • ABC RN

    Biosecurity and germ warfare

    24 June 2019 - ABC

    Dr Norman Swan

    Dr Michael Osterholm was among the first to describe toxic shock syndrome — and also analysed one of the earliest descriptions of infection during warfare. He's currently serving as US Science Envoy on Global Health Security, working to ensure cooperation across countries when it comes to combating infectious disease. He reflects on the current biosecurity landscape, the possibilities for low-tech labs to engineer germs for warfare, and the history of bacterial infection.

  • The Hindu

    ICMR scientists identify new biomarker for malaria

    24 June 2019 - The Hindu Business Line

    Dr. Aditi Jain

    Detection of malaria infection could become more accurate soon. A team of researchers from Indian Council of Medical Research’s Jabalpur-based National Institute of Research in Tribal Health (NIRTH) has identified a genetic sequence in the body of malaria parasite that promises to help develop a more sensitive diagnostic test for the disease. An enzyme called glutamate dehydrogenase could offer a solution. “Our study provides scientific evidence for the conserved nature of glutamate dehydrogenase sequences in Indian isolates which can be used as a potential biomarker for diagnosis of malaria,” said Dr. Praveen Kumar Bharti, leader of the research team.


    The inappropriate use of antibiotics in hospitalized dengue virus-infected children with presumed concurrent bacterial infection in teaching and private hospitals in Bandung, Indonesia

    21 June 2019 - PLOS

    Via CIDRAP - Riyadi Adrizain et al.,

    Dengue virus infection (DVI) among children is a leading cause of hospitalization in endemic areas. Hospitalized patients are at risk of receiving unnecessary antibiotics. A retrospective medical review analysis study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence, indication, and choice of antibiotics given to hospitalized patients less than 15 years of age with DVI in two different hospital settings (teaching and private hospitals) in the Municipality of Bandung. Epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory data were obtained using a pre-tested standardized questionnaire from patients’ medical records admitted from January 1 to December 31, 2015. The use of antibiotics in private hospitals was inappropriate in most cases while the use of antibiotics in the teaching hospital was more accountable. This study indicated that interventions, such as the implementation of the antibiotics stewardship program, are needed especially in private hospitals to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics.

  • Health Dept takes aim at dengue sources

    15 June 2019 - Bangkok Post

    Apinya Wipatayotin

    Owners of properties who fail to get rid of mosquito larvae might face jail terms of up to three years and/or have to pay a fine of up to 25,000 baht, according to Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health. In a bid to control the disease, the Ministry of Public Health and another eight agencies yesterday signed an environmental management pact for mosquito control, which will become effective in 2019-2023.

  • Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

    Oceania representatives build public health emergency response capability

    13 June 2019 - Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

    Humanitarian public health and disaster response professionals located throughout the Oceania region gathered at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, for the Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies (HHAE) course, June 3-14. HHAE is a two-week course developed by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and James Cook University’s College of Health of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences to improve the management of public health emergencies during a humanitarian crises.

  • Influenza update - 343

    10 June 2019 - WHO

    In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza detections increased overall. The 2019 influenza season appeared to have started earlier than previous years in Australia, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominated in Oceania and South Africa.Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominated in South America. In Southern Asia and South East Asia, influenza activity was low overall, with exception of Bangladesh and Cambodia, respectively. For more information on influenza transmission zones, see the link below:

  • Relief Web

    Dengue 3 Outbreak, Palau, December 2018 – May 2019 - Report Date: May 28, 2019

    29 May 2019 - Relief Web

    The Ministry of Health activated its emergency response team on December 7, 2018. The team has been tasked with raising community awareness of the outbreak and dengue prevention measures, conducting disease surveillance and reporting, strengthening mosquito control measures, and ensuring adequate resources are available to combat the outbreak. Between May 20 26, 2019, there were 9 new cases reported . This brings the total from December 1, 2018 to May 26, 2019 to 196 cases.


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