Army Public Health Weekly Update, 04 December 2020

Date Published: 12/4/2020
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​The Army Public Health Update is a collection of articles taken from public sources to offer awareness of current health issues and the media coverage given to them. The articles do not necessarily represent U.S. Army Medical Command opinions, views, policy, or guidance, and should not be construed or interpreted as being endorsed by the U.S. Army Medical Command.

The Army Public Health Weekly Update does not analyze the information as to its strategic or tactical impact on the U.S. Army and is not a medical intelligence product. Medical intelligence is available from the National Center for Medical Intelligence External Link . 

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Table of Contents


    Army-specific Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

    Get all the Army-specific information and communication resources related to COVID-19 from the Army Public Health Center. APHC

    Defense Department's annual housing satisfaction survey begins soon

    30 November- W. Jordan Gillis, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment and the Defense Department's chief housing officer, is inviting DOD housing residents to participate in the department's annual housing satisfaction survey, which is scheduled to launch in December. Each year, DOD, working through the military departments, surveys current residents of government-owned, government-leased, or privatized family housing and current residents of privatized unaccompanied housing. The goal is to obtain feedback regarding their living experience. Survey participation is voluntary, and Gillis encourages residents to share their views about their current housing, resident services and community amenities. According to Gillis, "Resident feedback is important to help the department improve the quality of housing and customer care available to residents." A link to the survey* will be sent via email to each household by one of the two third-party consulting firms administering the feedback collection, tabulation and analysis on the department's behalf. Only one person per address will receive the invitation email. All respondent information will be kept confidential. It will not be linked to the overall feedback results shared with DOD or the results that DOD shares with privatized housing companies or other stakeholders. The survey results will help inform plans for near-term and future improvements to housing, resident services and community amenities. Gillis emphasized the importance of getting the perspectives of service members and families so the department can provide them with a better quality of life through improved housing and community services. Army.Mil External Link


    Army now testing recruits for sickle cell trait

    30 November- The Army has started testing recruits for sickle cell trait, or SCT, to identify at-risk Soldiers, as the service plans to screen all Soldiers within a year, according to a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command medical officer. Earlier this month, the screening push kicked off to both give Army leaders an idea of how SCT has impacted the ranks, and to help Soldiers combat the lifelong ailment, said Maj. Sean Donohue, command surgeon at TRADOC's Center for Initial Military Training. "On the enlisted side, recruits [at basic combat training] are now tested as part of their initial screening exam," Donohue said. The SCT tests are grouped in "with a variety of other blood samples as part of initial processing." Since Nov. 2, roughly 2% of recruits have been diagnosed with the blood disorder, he said, a number on par with the national average. Having SCT is not a deal-breaker for military service, or any military occupational specialty, Donohue stressed. Instead, the diagnosis is the first step in giving Soldiers the care and support they need.  If a recruit's bloodwork is marked for carrying SCT, the next step would be meeting with a health care provider, he said. From there, they would receive additional counseling to educate them on the condition. By discovering SCT early on, it could help Army officials better distinguish "the difference between someone who may look like they have a heat-related injury from someone who has [SCT]," he said. Along with testing, TRADOC officials are producing preventative health training materials. "We've been doing this at our Drill Sergeant Academy, in particular, and educating them on what exertional collapse related to sickle cell looks like," Donohue said. External Link

    COVID-19: Violence at home and not enough help in military and veteran communities

    30 November- COVID-19 is killing people in a lot of ancillary ways. For veterans it harkens back to the rapid shutdown of VA facilities starting in March. Both women and men suffered unintended consequences. Every department in the largest health care system in the nation had to reinvent patient care. Surgeries that could wait were cancelled, dental care all but disappeared and mental health care scaled back to virtually nothing while the department figured out therapy ala phone or computer. Many veterans who had never sought PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or couples counseling found themselves in need of therapy. All group therapy halted – which also ended the in-person friendships developed by many attending group sessions. Lacking, or limited psychological and psychiatric care, and no access to most social workers have created a twofold rolling disaster: increased suicides and escalating domestic (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV). When people were told to stay home, every community support system knew there would be major problems and lower rates of people calling because they couldn't safely reach out for help. When lock-in orders were lifted after the first round of COVID, the rate of calls surged. Those in precarious situations  are terrified. Others are stuck. They won't or can't call for help because they've lost their jobs, have children and shelters are notoriously overflowing in colder months – and dangerous because social distancing is virtually impossible. No money. No place to go. Limited help. Resignation to the dilemma. Suicides. The VA needs more funds to provide as well as hotels and shelter for women, men and children impacted by the constantly changing circumstances dealt by COVID-19. External Link

    Garrison Council focuses on Soldier readiness, resiliency

    30 November- It's one thing for Soldiers and family members to be told people are the military's number one priority; it's another to experience it first-hand. That's the purpose of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's Commander's Ready and Resilient Council (CR2C), part of an Army-wide initiative to help Soldiers deal with health, housing, finances, and other issues so they can focus on their jobs and be physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for whatever comes their way. "We are looking at the whole Soldier, to make them as mission ready as possible," said Community Ready and Resilient Integration Specialist Michelle Irwin with the garrison's Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP). Each garrison runs their CR2C program similarly, but at Rheinland-Pfalz, Irwin said they decided to go a step further by taking a more grass-roots approach and talking to the people affected. "The company commanders and first sergeants know their Soldiers and the particular issues they face," she said. So in June 2019, the garrison's ASAP organizers began holding quarterly breakfast meetings with company-level leadership. Meetings initially focused on general risks, but over time they centered on problems Soldiers are currently having in the units. "Now it's more Soldier-driven, based on what's going on and not a random 'this is the risk of the month,'" she said. "It's very much tailored to the folks who are here now." She said there's also a strong emphasis on identifying potential issues ahead of time. "The only way you know is by asking the questions," Irwin said. "'What do you guys find more difficult, picking a green nutritional food or making a budget?' I always say we spend time figuring out what issues are there before things go wrong." Also present at the meetings are the leaders of three working groups: physical and emotional fitness, social and family fitness, and spiritual and ethical fitness. The working groups consist of representatives for housing, legal, finance, childcare, healthcare, and many more. If a unit says they have a high number of Soldiers struggling to pass their PT test, for example, the relevant working groups will brainstorm different ways to address that issue and provide resources to assist. External Link

    Joint Pacific Best Medics Picked

    30 November- After three days of tough competition under unusual conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Health Command-Pacific here named the winners of its Joint Pacific Best Medic Competition on Nov. 19. The winners were announced during RHC-P's fall commander's symposium, which was being held virtually due to the pandemic. Sgt. Justin Akers, a medic assigned to U.S. Army Medical Activity-Japan, finished at the top of the pack. Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Baxter and Staff Sgt. Isreal Rivera, both assigned to Desmond T. Doss Army Health Clinic at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, took second and third place, respectively. Holding the competition in Hawaii was prevented this year by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, RHC-P used a virtual format, where competitors completed Best Medic tasks individually, supervised by one or two other Soldiers to allow for social distancing and preventive medicine measures. Each of the nine competitors faced the same tasks: the Army Combat Fitness Test, a written test and essay, weapons qualification, and a 12-mile road march in full field gear, with weapon. "It feels great to have represented MEDDAC-Japan at this level," Akers said. "I have been training for various events for months now, but I started working on training for the Best Medic events in mid-October." Akers, 23, a Surprise, Arizona, native who's been in the Army five years, said he had the easiest time with the ACFT, since it's "been a pet project of mine for months now," but the road march was the hardest. External Link

    Partnerships to help prevent Veteran suicides

    30 November- Community leaders across southern New England met virtually to form stronger relationships to prevent Veteran suicides in their region and to discuss outreach strategies for Veterans who are struggling. Embracing VA's #BeThere campaign, VA New England Healthcare System recently hosted an online conference called "#BeThere for Service Members, Veterans and Families: Strengthening Our Communities." Among the more than 250 attendees were librarians, gun shop owners, educators, social workers, medical professionals, directors of Veteran services and leaders of the faith-based community. VA speakers reminded the group that you do not have to be a mental health professional to save a life and that suicide prevention is a total team effort. "We know that VA can't do this alone," said Ryan Lilly, VA New England Healthcare System director, in remarks to open the conference. "It's really going to take every entity, every individual, and every organization that interacts with Veterans on a routine basis to help us get there." This year, participants noted that today's restrictions have added stress to Veterans already feeling the weight of readjustment to civilian life from deployments and economic challenges.  While the public often focuses on the number of younger Veterans who commit suicide, participants reviewed statistics that show the suicide rate for elderly Veterans is higher than that of non-Veterans of the same age. Presenters discussed strategies for how communities can connect with Veterans using technology and to find creative ways to reach out and provide support. There are things every person can do every day, like calling a friend or checking in with a neighbor. Such simple practices are particularly strong preventive factors for suicide during the pandemic because they help people feel less alone, said several speakers. Fears associated with the coronavirus have intensified PTSD, overall anxiety and depression as well as suicidal thoughts for many Veterans. Many Veterans also feel that they should be able to solve a crisis in their life on their own and therefore are often reluctant to seek help. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs External Link


    Brain trauma: Combined treatment improves cell connectivity in important memory center of the brain

    27 November- A new lab-based study finds that repetitive mild brain trauma causes a moderate loss of connection between nerve cells in an area of the brain that is critical for memory and cognitive performance. The researchers also detected a major improvement in cell connectivity by using two compounds that have individually been shown to improve the health of brain cells in lab models of neurodegenerative disorders. The results appeared in the journal Brain Research in July 2020. Dr. Bruce Citron, a molecular biologist who worked at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Florida at the time, led the study. He is now at the VA New Jersey Health Care System. His postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Whitney Ratliff, carried out the experiments and analyzed the data.  Understanding that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the signature wound from the post-9-11 conflicts, and that one of the top symptoms of TBI is memory loss, the researchers focused their lab tests on the hippocampus, an important memory center in the brain. "Despite the widespread impact of TBI, we do not have an effective treatment to prevent or reduce long-term damage following an injury," says Ratliff, who is now a health research scientist at the Bay Pines VA. "Our goal with this study was to target the biological processes that occur in the brain following injury to improve the health of nerve cells and reduce further injury caused by secondary processes like inflammation." The study results complemented a previous behavioral analysis by Ratliff and Citron. They observed memory loss in mice with lab-induced repetitive mild TBIs – even months after the last injury – that signaled major changes in neurons (nerve cells) in the hippocampus. "The shape of the neurons was altered in such a way that would make them less connected and less able to communicate with other neurons," Ratliff says. Neurons, the primary units of the brain and nervous system, are responsible for receiving sensory input from the external world, processing and storing information, and transmitting signals through the brain. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs External Link

    Covid-19: Lung damage 'identified' in study

    30 November- A study of 10 patients at Oxford University used a novel scanning technique to identify damage not picked up by conventional scans. It uses a gas called xenon during MRI scans to create images of lung damage. Lung experts said a test that could spot long-term damage would make a huge difference to Covid patients. The xenon technique sees patients inhale the gas during a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Prof Fergus Gleeson, who is leading the work, tried out his scanning technique on 10 patients aged between 19 and 69. Eight of them had persistent shortness of breath and tiredness three months after being ill with coronavirus, even though none of them had been admitted to intensive care or required ventilation, and conventional scans had found no problems in their lungs. The scans showed signs of lung damage - by highlighting areas where air is not flowing easily into the blood - in the eight who reported breathlessness. BBC News External Link

    COVID-19 vaccine misinformation continues with smaller livestreaming anti-vaccine groups

    30 November- After Facebook banned various large anti-vaccination pages and groups, a new research shows that current campaigns against COVID-19 vaccine come from smaller, stronger-connected groups in the social media network. George Washington University physicist Neil Johnson who studies online extremism said the current scenarios that we are seeing with COVID are fruits of what is already in the system, which primed by the end of 2019.While these groups may be smaller in number, their members are better linked and have stronger views against vaccines. Health officials have been warned already about the significance of public acceptance to ensure that there is enough number of people who will be immunized as hundreds of vaccines are being developed to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. While experts say there is no exact threshold for number of people required to receive the vaccines to prevent the spread of the virus, it is suggested to reach at 60% of the population. However, the public has mixed reactions about the vaccines as a YouGov poll showed that only 42% of Americans agree to getting a shot once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. According to a study published in journal Nature in May by a research team led by Johnson, public hesitation over the vaccine is caused by anti-vaccination movement, which publicized stronger as well as more emotive and diverse information. These groups spread their messages even outside their groups, so they could reach bigger audience, although online anti-vaccination groups are smaller than pro groups. Tech Times External Link

    Fauci asks Americans to prepare to get vaccinated as states plan for distribution

    1 December- As the US prepares for the first round of vaccinations to tackle Covid-19, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called on the public to "be part of the solution" and get vaccinated once it is available. "Say, 'I'm not going to be one of the people that's going to be a steppingstone for the virus to go to somebody else. I'm going to be a dead end to the virus,'" Fauci told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday. The virus has been spreading quickly, and November set records 20 times for the number of coronavirus hospitalizations, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the most recent Monday with 96,039. All the while Johns Hopkins University data reports that the US has reached more than 13.5 million total cases and 268,045 deaths. And the impacts of Thanksgiving travel still won't be felt for weeks, health experts say. CNN External Link

    Google's DeepMind AI solves a 50-Year-old riddle, new treatments for cancer may soon be possible

    1 December- For the past 50 years, scientists have been baffled by one of the biggest riddles in science and health known as the "protein folding" problem, but now, through Google's DeepMind Artificial Intelligence, we might soon find the cure for various diseases, including cancer. In a research paper that was published in June 2008 in the scientific journal "Annu Rev Biophys," authors Ken Dill, Banu Ozkan, Scott Shell, and Thomas Weikl wrote that the protein folding problem is "the question of how a protein's amino acid sequence dictates its three-dimensional atomic structure." The problem first emerged in the 1960s, and since then, scientists have been challenged by the mystery of life's building blocks. Nevertheless, the AI built by the Google-owned, London-based company DeepMind has finally cracked the riddle, enabling scientists to predict the 3D shape a protein will take based on its amino-acid sequence. Tech Times External Link

    Hepatitis B vaccine candidate seeks FDA authorization

    1 December- VBI Vaccines Inc. announced the submission of a Biologics License Application to the U.S. FDA seeking approval of the Company's 3-antigen prophylactic hepatitis B vaccine candidate, Sci-B-Vac, for the prevention of infection caused by all known subtypes of the hepatitis B virus in adults. The company previously announced the submission of the Marketing Authorization Application to the European Medicines Agency on November 23, 2020, and the Company expects to submit regulatory approval applications to the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare products, Regulatory Agency and to Health Canada by the end of the first quarter of 2021. Jeff Baxter, President & CEO, stated in a press release: "In the U.S., hepatitis B infection persists as a public health threat, with increased rates of acute infection in recent years and estimates of up to 2.2 million chronically-infected individuals throughout the country. Precision Vaccinations External Link

    Lyme disease guidelines released: Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment

    30 November- New evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease have been developed by a multidisciplinary panel led by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Academy of Neurology, and the American College of Rheumatology. Representatives from an additional 12 medical specialties and patients also served on the panel. The guidelines provide practical recommendations for clinicians treating patients with Lyme disease, including, but not limited to, primary care physicians, infectious diseases specialists, emergency physicians, internists, pediatricians, family physicians, neurologists, rheumatologists, cardiologists, and dermatologists. These recommendations aim to serve as a meaningful resource for the safe, effective, evidence-based care of people with Lyme disease. They address clinical questions related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Lyme disease; complications from neurologic, cardiac, and rheumatic symptoms; disease expression commonly seen in Eurasia; and complications from coinfection with other tick-borne pathogens. The guidelines include 43 recommendations related to diagnostic testing, including testing scenarios (such as for certain neurologic, psychologic, behavioral, cardiac, and rheumatologic syndromes); detailed recommendations about Lyme carditis; and a discussion of "chronic Lyme disease." Outbreak News Today External Link 

    Vegans, non-meat eaters at increased risk for bone fractures: study

    26 November- Those who do not eat meat, especially vegans, are possibly at an increased risk for suffering bone fractures, per the findings of a new study. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford and published in BMC Medicine found that people who don't eat meat, especially vegans, "had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, particularly hip fractures." To reach these conclusions, the researchers studied some 54,858 people with an average age of 50. The participants, which were studied between 1993 and 2001, were categorized into four different groups: meat eaters (29,380), fish eaters (8,037), vegetarians (15,499) and vegans (1,982). Participants filled out questionnaires that involved questions about their diet, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, dietary supplement use, and more. They were monitored for an average of 17.6 years. During that time period, more than 3,900 fractures were reported. Fox News External Link


    CDC: Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    Key Updates for Week 47, ending November 21, 2020: Seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains lower than usual for this time of year.

    Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations: The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in select counties in the Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states and Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. FluSurv-NET estimated hospitalization rates will be updated weekly starting later this season.

    Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality: No influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during week 47. CDC External Link

    WHO Influenza Update

    23 November 2020, based on data up to 08 November 2020:

    - The current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced to varying extents health seeking behaviors, staffing/routines in sentinel sites, as well as testing priorities and capacities in Member States. The various hygiene and physical distancing measures implemented by Member States to reduce SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission have likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission.

    - Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.

    - In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity remained below inter-seasonal levels, though sporadic detections of influenza A and B viruses were reported in some countries.

    - In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity was reported at inter-seasonal level.

    - In the Caribbean and Central American countries, influenza activity of predominately B/Victoria viruses was reported in Haiti in recent weeks. Severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) activity, likely due to COVID-19, decreased in most reporting countries.

    - In tropical South America, there were no influenza detections across reporting countries.

    - In tropical Africa, influenza activity was reported in some countries of Western Africa.

    - In Southern Asia, influenza detections continued to be reported in Afghanistan and India.

    - In South East Asia, influenza detections of predominately influenza A(H3N2) continued to be reported in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR), Thailand and Viet Nam.

    - Worldwide, of the very low numbers of detections reported, seasonal influenza A(H3N2) viruses accounted for the majority of detections. WHO External Link


    FDA posts recall for spinach already under recall in Canada for Salmonella

    30 November- A Canadian company is now recalling baby spinach in the United States after having launched a recall in Canada because a positive lab test showed the fresh produce could be contaminated with Salmonella. Vegpro International of Sherrington of Quebec, Canada, distributed the recalled Fresh Attitude brand fresh baby spinach in Eastern Canada and the Northeast United States, according to a company recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration. The six U.S. states involved are New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  The recalled spinach has best-by dates through Dec. 5, so there is concern that consumers may have packages of the product in their homes. Consumers should not consume the recalled products according to the recall notice. No illnesses had been reported as of the posting of the recall notices. Food Safety News External Link

    German authorities investigate E. coli infections involving daycare centers

    1 December- More than 20 E. coli infections are being investigated in a German municipality. Four day care centers in the Lützow-Lübstorf district are affected by the outbreak of E. coli O26. Lützow-Lübstorf is in Nordwestmecklenburg, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are often referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Authorities initially reported 18 patients but that had risen to 25 by the end of this past week. They warned further testing is ongoing so more cases are expected. Those sick include children and their relatives as well as a couple of day care center employees. The majority of those affected have mild or no symptoms, but there are also some cases of severe diarrhea. Currently, there have not been any hospitalizations and no patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Testing of products and in the premises of a food processing company that supplies the daycare centers was negative. Officials believe the pathogen did not enter the centers via food prepared by the company, but through other means, which are being investigated. Food Safety News External Link


    Light therapy lamps can ease seasonal depression: Here's what you need to know

    18 November- For some people, the beginning of winter signals more than a change in weather. The shorter, darker days trigger a noticeable shift in their mood and behavior, causing what's known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. And this winter, the onset of SAD may be exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Cases are surging nationwide again, prompting another round of restrictions and shutdown measures in some places. "Folks are noticing [seasonal depression] a lot more because of trying to maintain their social distancing and quarantine and follow the rules related to stay-at-home," said Dorothy Sit, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. Seasonal affective disorder, which recurs annually, is a form of clinical depression and has the same symptoms. These can include feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and in extreme cases, thoughts of suicide or death. But experts say there is a simple and effective treatment: light therapy, delivered via specially designed lamps. "It can be transformational," said Norman Rosenthal, who led the team of researchers that first described SAD in the 1980s and helped develop light therapy as a treatment option. "When it really works, it can make you feel so much better. It's amazing. Your energy comes back, your mood improves, your view of life improves." Here's what you need to know about light therapy and the lamps used to deliver it. The Washington Post External Link


    World malaria report: Africa still accounts for bulk of cases and deaths

    30 November- Today, the World Health Organization released the World malaria report 2020, which provides a detailed analysis of progress against the mosquito-borne disease. Here are some of the trends in burden: Globally, there were an estimated 229 million malaria cases in 2019 in 87 malaria endemic countries, declining from 238 million in 2000. Twenty-nine countries accounted for 95% of malaria cases globally. Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), Mozambique (4%) and Niger (3%) accounted for about 51% of all cases globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) African Region, with an estimated 215 million cases in 2019, accounted for about 94% of cases. India contributed to the largest absolute reductions in the WHO South-East Asia Region, from about 20 million cases in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019. Sri Lanka was certified malaria free in 2015, and Timor-Leste reported zero malaria cases in 2018 and 2019. Globally, malaria deaths have reduced steadily over the period 2000–2019, from 736,000 in 2000 to 409,000 in 2019. The percentage of total malaria deaths among children aged under 5 years was 84% in 2000 and 67% in 2019. About 95% of malaria deaths globally were in 31 countries. Nigeria (23%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), the United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Mozambique (4%), Niger (4%) and Burkina Faso (4%) accounted for about 51% of all malaria deaths globally in 2019. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Polio update: More wild poliovirus, circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus; vaccination drives

    30 November- Afghanistan reported two additional wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases in Hilmand province, bringing the total to 56 in 2020 to date. The number of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) across countries in Africa and Asia and the Middle East rose by some 69 cases last week. This includes 24 cVDPV2 cases in Afghanistan, 21 cVDPV2 cases in Pakistan, four cVDPV2 cases in Burkina Faso, 16 cVDPV2 cases in Côte d'Ivoire, two cVDPV2 cases in Niger, seven cVDPV2 cases in South Sudan, two cVDPV2 cases in Sudan, one cVDPV2 case in Somalia and two cVDPV1 cases in Yemen. Vaccination drives are occurring in a number of these areas. Pakistan on Monday launched a vaccination drive against polio to cover the immunity gap caused by COVID-19 pandemic related disruptions to the program aimed at eradicating the disease. The five-day immunization drive, the third such national campaign so far in 2020, will see over 39 million children under the age of five vaccinated. In Afghanistan, the ministry of public health launched the vaccination for more than 9.9 million children across the country. Finally in Yemen, 5.5 million children under five is the goal to be vaccinated next week. Outbreak News Today External Link


    England reports H5N8 avian influenza case in North Yorkshire, 6th recent case

    29 November- The UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) reported today on a H5N8 avian influenza strain in rearing turkeys at a premises near Northallerton, Hambleton, North Yorkshire Saturday. All 10,500 birds at the farm will be humanely culled to limit the spread of the disease. A 3km and 10km Temporary Control Zone has been put in place around the infected site to limit the risk of the disease spreading. Public Health England (PHE) advises that the risk to public health from the virus is very low and the Food Standards Agency advises that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat. Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: Bird keepers should remain alert for any signs of disease, report suspected disease immediately and ensure they are maintaining good biosecurity on their premises. Outbreak News Today External Link


    China reports H5N8 avian influenza in swans in Shanxi province

    29 November- China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced Friday (computer translated) of an outbreak of H5N8 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild swans in Pinglu County, Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province. The outbreak occurred at the Sanwan Whooper Swan Scenic Area, Pinglu County, Yuncheng City. There are more than 4,000 wild swans living in this area, with 2 sick and 2 dead. After the outbreak, the local area immediately activated an emergency response mechanism, carried out emergency response work, and disinfected the surrounding environment. All sick and dead swans were treated harmlessly. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Philippines reports 21 new HIV cases every day: Health officials

    1 December- The Philippines has one of the fastest-growing HIV epidemics in the world and country public health officials say that the 21 new HIV cases diagnosed every day means that the country is facing a public health threat which needs the continuing cooperation and collaboration of all local communities, civil society organizations, key populations at risk and the whole of government. The Philippines had for many years a low level HIV epidemic. From 1984 to 2006, there was a slow but steady increase. However in recent years, the number of new cases detected per year has increased dramatically. According to the DOH HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP), there are now a total of 81,169 HIV and AIDS cases reported from January 1984 to October 2020. In October 2020, there were a total of 735 confirmed HIV-positive individuals. Ninety-six percent (704) of whom were male. Among the total 81,169 diagnosed cases from January 1984 to October 2020, 94% (76,216) were male and more than half (51%, 41,163) were 25-34 years old at the time of diagnosis. Moreover, among the 81,169 cases, the regions with the most number of reported cases were NCR with 30,622 cases (38%), CALABARZON with 12,467 (15%), Central Luzon with 8,005 (10%), Central Visayas with 6,827 (8%), and Davao Region with 4,477 (6%). Outbreak News Today External Link


    U.S.: Los Angeles- COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to accelerate at alarming speed, Garcetti announces travel form

    25 November- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has confirmed 51 new deaths and 3,692 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. This is the highest number of deaths reported since September 9. COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to accelerate at alarming speed. There are 1,575 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 26% of these people are in the ICU. Just two weeks ago, there were 888 people with COVID-19 hospitalized. The increases in cases and hospitalizations must slow to avoid overwhelming our hospitals and healthcare staff, and save lives, officials said. DPH says everyone should stay home as much as possible and limit going out to what is essential for the next two to three weeks to slow the surging cases and save lives. Staying home as much as possible, always wearing face covering securely over your nose and mouth when out and avoiding being near anyone not in your household are the simple actions that slow the spread of COVID-19. Given the huge surge in cases nationwide, we strongly recommend that you only celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with people from your household and that you not gather with people from outside your household, even outdoors. Please don't plan, host or attend holiday gatherings for multiple households. Instead connect virtually together. In addition, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced yesterday that all travelers entering the City from another state or country will be required to fill out an online form to acknowledge and spread awareness of California's recommended 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Starting Wednesday, passengers arriving at LAX and Van Nuys Airport will see signs and messages reminding them to fill out the required form. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Bolivia reports 3rd measles case of 2020

    29 November- In a follow-up on the measles situation in the Region of the Americas, Bolivia is reporting a third case of measles in the Santa Cruz region. The director of the Departmental Health Service (Headquarters) of Santa Cruz, Marcelo Ríos, reported this Saturday at a press conference that the third case involves a one-year-four-month-old boy who was treated last week in a health in that region. The boy had symptoms such as fever and dehydration, for which they performed different tests to define the diagnosis and on Friday the laboratory results confirmed that it is measles, according to Ríos. "It is the third case in the country after twenty years of having the disease under control," said the director. In addition, there are three suspected cases, prompting health authorities to began searches in neighborhoods of that city. This Saturday the registration began in at least 242 blocks to detect possible cases and also to vaccinate children who have not yet done so, for this there are at least 10,000 doses, said the director. Outbreak News Today External Link