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In Memoriam

It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Donald Ainslee Henderson, MD, MPH, our distinguished colleague and friend at the UPMC Center for Health Security. Dr. Henderson died on August 19 in Baltimore, Maryland. We invite DA's friends and colleagues to share their memories of DA in the comment section of the Bifurcated Needle blog. Read now
 
Today's Headlines: August 24, 2016
 
Zika Virus

First Local Zika Case Detected Outside of South Florida (CIDRAP) Florida's governor today announced 5 more locally acquired Zika cases, 1 of them in Pinellas County, the state's 1st non-travel-related case reported outside of South Florida. Go to article

Non-Travel Zika Cases Could Hit 400 By Summer's End (News 4 Jax) Nearly 400 non travel-related Zika infections will occur in Florida before the end of the summer, according to new projections by biostatisticians at the University of Florida and other institutions. Go to article

HHS Moves to Accelerate Zika Vaccine Development (JAMA) The US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is funding the accelerated development of a Zika vaccine through 1 of its Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. Go to article

A Full-Length Infectious cDNA Clone of Zika Virus from the 2015 Epidemic in Brazil as a Genetic Platform for Studies of Virus-Host Interactions and Vaccine Development (mBio) An arthropod-borne virus, Zika virus, has recently emerged as a major human pathogen. Associated with complications during perinatal development and Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, ZIKV raises new challenges for understanding the molecular determinants of flavivirus pathogenesis. Go to article

Zika Images Show 'Worst Brain Infections that Doctors Will Ever See' (goats and soda) A series of medical images published Tuesday offer the most complete picture, so far, of how the Zika virus can damage the brain of a fetus. Go to article

HHS Awards $7 Million to OraSure to Speed Development of Zika Diagnostic Test (HHS) The US Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response today announced a $7 million contract with Orasure Technologies, Inc. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to further the development of a Zika virus test that potentially can provide results in about 30 minutes at a doctor's office. The agreement is the 1st point-of-care Zika test ASPR has sponsored. Go to article

Miami-Dade County Stops Anti-Zika Aerial Pesticide Spraying on Weekdays (Miami New Times) Earlier this month, a Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control plane buzzed over New Times' Wynwood office building around 11:15 am, wafting the organic, larva-killing bacterial pesticide Bti over the neighborhood. A nearby worker noticed a reporter taking photos and chimed in. Go to article

In Florida Keys, Some Worry About 'Science and Government' More than Zika (New York Times) To live here, along this chain of tiny islands, a place vulnerable to hurricanes and steeped in the lore of piracy and smuggling, requires a blend of carefree eccentricity and go-it-alone grit. Go to article

Differential Cell Line Susceptibility to the Emerging Zika Virus: Implications for Disease Pathogenesis, Non-Vector-Borne Human Transmission and Animal Reservoirs (Emerging Microbes & Infections) Zika virus is unique among human-pathogenic flaviviruses by its association with congenital anomalies and trans-placental and sexual human-to-human transmission. Go to article

With Congress Deadlocked, Clinton Proposes New Fund that Could Be Used for Zika Response (Washington Post) With Congress still deadlocked over an emergency spending bill to help combat the Zika virus, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday proposed creating a special fund that would enable health officials to respond more quickly to similar episodes in the future. Go to article


Biological Agents & Infectious Diseases

More MERS in Saudi Arabia as Antibody Therapies Get Funding (CIDRAP) After 5 days with no new illnesses, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health reported a new case of MERS-CoV today, continuing a stretch of sporadic detections. Go to article


Domestic Preparedness & Response

Getting POTUS into a Disaster Area is Trickier than it Seems (Wired) Donald Trump went to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sunday to tour the area devastated by floods. On Monday, Hillary Clinton said she wouldn't visit so that "the presence of a political campaign won't disrupt the response." And on Tuesday, President Obama arrived. Go to article


Government Affairs & National Security

FEMA Seeks to Move Construction Away from Flood Zones (Emergency Management) Proposed rules would require federally funded construction to take place on higher ground, farther from floodplain areas. Go to article


Global Health Security

Strong Earthquake Hits Italy, with Reports of Buildings Collapsing (H5N1) An earthquake recorded at magnitude 6.2 has struck central Italy, with reports of extensive damage, people trapped and blackouts near the epicentre. Go to article

Mortality, Morbidity and Health-Seeking Behaviour During the Ebola Epidemic 2014-2015 in Monrovia Results from a Mobile Phone Survey (PLOS: Neglected Tropical Diseases) Between March 2014 and July 2015 at least 10,500 Ebola cases including more than 4,800 deaths occurred in Liberia, the majority in Monrovia. However, official numbers may have underestimated the size of the outbreak. Go to article


Medicine & Public Health

New Strategy Holds Promise for Detecting Bacterial Infections in Newborns (NIH) Researchers supported by the NIH have shown that it's possible to diagnose a bacterial infection from a small sample of blood--based on the immune system's response to the bacteria--in infants with fevers who are 2 months of age or younger. Go to article


Science & Technology

Characterization of H7N2 Avian Influenza Virus in Wild Birds and Pikas in Qinghair-Tibet Plateau Area (Nature) Qinghai Lake is a major migrating bird breeding site that has experienced several recent highly pathogenic avian influenza virus epizootics. Go to article

Breakthrough Anthrax, Ricin and Ebola Bio-Threat Detection Technology for Mail Room Screening Featured at MailCom 2016 (prweb) Baltimore bio tech firm, PathSensors, Inc., announced that it will be leading a presentation on the Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields bio-threat detection technology at the MailCom 2016 Convention. Go to article

US Gets Serious about Portable Nuke-Detector Prototypes (Defense One) Homeland Security spends $20M to develop devices to find bombs being transported in ships, on metro systems, or in public places. Go to article

Mapping of Ebolavirus Neutralization by Monoclonal Antibodies in the ZMapp Cocktail Using Cryo-Electron Tomography and Studies of Cellular Entry (Journal of Virology) ZMapp, a cocktail of 3 monoclonal antibodies against the ebolavirus glycoprotein, shows promise for combatting outbreaks of EBOV, as occurred in West Africa in 2014. Go to article


Other 21st Century Threats

US and Europe Say Assad May Have Kept Some Chemical Weapons (Foreign Policy: subscription required) Damascus promised to destroy its entire arsenal, but the world's chemical weapons watchdog suggests Assad may have squirreled some away. Go to article

Nuclear Waste Accident 2 Years Ago May Cost More Than $2 Billion to Clean Up (arsTechnica) The Los Angeles Times is estimating that an explosion that occurred at a New Mexico nuclear waste dumping facility in 2014 could cost upwards of $2 billion to clean up. Go to article

Pharma Pollution an 'Ignored' Cause of Antibiotic Resistance (in-Pharma Technologist) Pollution in pharma supply chains is contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance, says a new report. Go to article
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