News Scan for Jan 17, 2020

New DRC Ebola cases
More polio in 7 countries
Millennials forgo flu vaccine
US animal import database

One new Ebola case reported in DRC

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO's) online Ebola dashboard, officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) tracked one new case of Ebola today, raising the outbreak total to 3,411, including 2,236 fatalities.

A total of 516 suspected cases are still under investigation, and 119 cases are now deemed probable infections.

The DRC's Ebola technical committee (CMRE) said in a report that three cases recorded yesterday were from Beni.

The CMRE also updated vaccination numbers: As of yesterday, 5,861 people have been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson's Ebola vaccine, and 267,456 with Merck's rVSV-ZEBOV.
WHO Ebola dashboard
Jan 16 CMRE report


Pakistan, African nations, Philippines report more polio cases

Seven countries have reported more polio cases, according to the latest weekly update today from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Pakistan reported seven more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases, which were from Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. The report didn't list the paralysis onsets, but said the illnesses lift the country's total for 2019 to 135—compared with 12 in 2018. The GPEI said it has also received advance notification of six new circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases in Pakistan.

Five African countries reported more cVDPV2 cases: Angola (2), Benin (1), Central African Republic (2), Ghana (1), and Togo (1). The cases in Benin, Ghana, and Togo are linked to the outbreak in Nigeria's Jigwa state.

Finally, the Philippines reported 2 more cVDPV2 cases, bringing its total for 2019 to 11. Both are from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Minado provinces.
Jan 17 GPEI weekly report


Survey: Millennials least likely to get flu vaccine

A new survey commissioned by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) shows the millennials, adults in their 30s and 20s, were the least likely to get a flu shot, and more likely to agree with anti-vaccine statements than other age groups.

The survey aimed to investigate the impact of myths and misconceptions about the flu among adults ages 25 to 73, and showed more than 80% of Americans incorrectly answered at least one in a series of questions about the flu. Roughly one-third of the survey participants got all questions wrong. The survey was conducted among 1,000 participants between November 27 and December 9, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey.

The survey also found African-Americans were more likely to agree with anti-vaccine rhetoric, and men were less likely than women to get the flu shot for themselves, or their children.

"It is very alarming to see how people are being influenced by the anti-vax movement," said Alexa Mieses, MD, a family physician in Durham, NC, in a press release. "Whether they are young adults or African Americans, we need to make sure that these communities are educated about the importance of vaccines and that they understand the source of the rhetoric they're hearing."

Fifty-five percent of millennials surveyed said they have not gotten a flu shot, with 33% saying they do not intend to. Sixty-one percent of millennials surveyed said they at least partially agreed with some of the anti-vaccine rhetoric. To compare, only 42% of baby boomers said they agreed with any anti-vaccine statements.
Jan 16 AAFP press release


More than 3 billion animals imported into US from 2000 to 2014

EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit working at the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health, published a 15-year database on US animal imports, which shows the United States imported more than 3.2 billion live animals between 2000 and 2014.

The report was published in Scientific Data. This is the first time the legally mandated reports of imported animals have been published in full.

"Wildlife trade not only threatens biodiversity, but can also introduce invasive species and potentially harmful pathogens to new populations," EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, PhD, said in a press release. "Pathogens as significant as Ebola and monkeypox viruses have entered the U.S. this way and wildlife trade has been linked to global pandemics like bird flu and SARS."

EcoHealth said the database will help scientists understand global wildlife trade networks. According to EcoHealth, the most common reasons for importation listed within the given 15-year period were the pet trade, scientific research, and the fashion industry.
Jan 16 EcoHealth Alliance press release
Jan 16 Scientific Data study

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