News Scan for Jan 28, 2015

Private-public pandemic prep
MERS case in Riyadh
Foodborne outbreaks in Europe

World Bank president airs new private-public pandemic preparedness plan

The world is "dangerously unpreprepared" for future pandemics, and a private-public sector proposal that includes a pandemic facility and insurance coverage could help countries across the globe mitigate the risk, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said today in a speech at Georgetown University.

Kim said insurance companies, governments, multilateral organizations, corporations, and international donors could work together to build a system, which the World Bank and partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have been working on for the past several months, according to a press release today from the World Bank. It said the idea of developing a "pandemic facility" was also raised in informal discussions at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He told the group that the short-term goal in the Ebola outbreak is to get to zero cases, but the world needs to also prepare for an infectious disease outbreak that could be worse than the one West Africa is experiencing.

Kim said he expects that a proposal will be presented over the next months to leaders of both developed and developing countries and that it would probably involve a constellation of bonds and insurance instruments. He added that a pandemic facility would be similar to a homeowners insurance policy.

Like a homeowner adding smoke detectors to lower an individual premium, private and public groups could work together to help prepare for future pandemics—such as by building stronger health systems or improving supply chains—that would lower the "premium" for all groups. He added that the greatest benefit would be that market mechanisms would help foster improvements in preparedness for future disease outbreaks.
Jan 27 World Bank press release


Saudi Arabia reports new MERS case and recovery in Riyadh

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported one MERS case yesterday and one recovery today, both in residents of Riyadh, bringing the country's MERS case total to 843.

The new case-patient is an 80-year old man with an underlying medical condition who is in critical condition. He has no history of animal exposure and was not exposed to MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patients in clinical or community settings. The man is not a healthcare worker, the MOH said.

Today, the MOH reported the recovery of a 77-year-old man from Riyadh. The man had an underlying medical condition and is not a healthcare worker.

Four MERS-CoV cases remain active in Saudi Arabia, 475 people have recovered, and 364 have died.
Jan 28 MOH
Jan 27 MOH

Listeriosis and E coli rates rise, Salmonella cases decline in Europe

Cases of foodborne illness from Listeria increased in Europe between 2012 and 2013, while Salmonella cases have decreased, according to a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report issued today.

In 2013, 1,763 listeriosis cases were reported in Europe, representing an increase of 8.6% from 2012 numbers, continuing an upward trend observed over the last 5 years. The ECDC said that most listeriosis cases reported in 2013 were severe and invasive. Cases of verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli also increased by 5.9%, with 6,043 reported.

The number of campylobacteriosis cases stabilized, but with 214,779 cases reported, the infection remains the most commonly reported foodborne illness in Europe. Cases of illness related to Salmonella have declined steadily over the past 8 years, likely due to the implementation of stringent poultry control measures, the ECDC said. The 82,694 cases of salmonellosis reported in 2013 represent a 7.9% decrease from 2012 numbers.

Yersiniosis cases dropped by 2.8% in 2013. Foodborne Yersinia infections, contracted mainly via contaminated pork products, were responsible for 6,471 cases of illness in Europe.

Case numbers for zoonotic diseases were fairly low overall. In 2013, zoonoses in Europe responsible for human illness included Echinococcus infections (811 cases), Q fever (648 cases), brucellosis(357 cases), tularemia (279 cases), West Nile virus infection (250 cases), trichinosis (217 cases), Mycobacterium bovis tuberculosis (134 cases), and rabies (1 case).

During 2013, 5,196 outbreaks of foodborne disease were reported in Europe. The most commonly implicated foods were eggs and egg products, mixed foods, and fish and fish products.
Jan 28 ECDC press release
Jan 28 ECDC report

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