Lancet – Vulnerability to snakebite envenoming: a global mapping of hotspots
“Snakebite envenoming is a frequently overlooked cause of mortality and morbidity. Data for snake ecology and existing snakebite interventions are scarce, limiting accurate burden estimation initiatives. Low global awareness stunts new interventions, adequate health resources, and available health care. Therefore, we aimed to synthesise currently available data to identify the most vulnerable populations at risk of snakebite, and where additional data to manage this global problem are needed….”
“We provide a map showing the ranges of 278 snake species globally. Although about 6·85 billion people worldwide live within range of areas inhabited by snakes, about 146·70 million live within remote areas lacking quality health-care provisioning. Comparing opposite ends of the HAQ Index, 272·91 million individuals (65·25%) of the population within the lowest decile are at risk of exposure to any snake for which no effective therapy exists compared with 519·46 million individuals (27·79%) within the highest HAQ Index decile, showing a disproportionate coverage in reported antivenom availability. Antivenoms were available for 119 (43%) of 278 snake species evaluated by WHO, while globally 750·19 million (10·95%) of those living within snake ranges live more than 1 h from population centres. In total, we identify about 92·66 million people living within these vulnerable geographies, including many sub-Saharan countries, Indonesia, and other parts of southeast Asia….”
Read also the accompanying Comment in the Lancet – Addressing the global challenge of snake envenoming.
“ Joshua Longbottom and colleagues1 highlight once again that snake envenoming is a major health issue affecting remote and rural regions of the tropics. They use information about venomous snake distribution, health-care access, and availability of antivenom to identify the most vulnerable populations to snakebite….”
Lancet (Editorial) – Indonesia disavows “unity in diversity”
“A new report by Human Rights Watch, published on July 1, lays bare Indonesia’s “crackdown” on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to live free from intimidation and discrimination… … Intolerance and the behaviour of the country’s police force have exacerbated an existing HIV crisis.”
Scidev.Net – Call for global coalition against malaria
Short report on last week’s conference in Australia. “The inaugural Malaria World Congress (2—5 July) in Melbourne has called on the global community to work unitedly to enhance political and financial support to combat the debilitating disease.”
Highlights: “WHO says controlling malaria costs a minimum of US$6.5 billion annually; Investment against malaria has plateaued, with US$2.7 billion spent in 2016; Donor countries must meet commitments to multilateral groups fighting malaria [like the Global fund for example].”
CNN – Australian experiment wipes out over 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes
“In an experiment with global implications, Australian scientists have successfully wiped out more than 80% of disease-carrying mosquitoes in trial locations across north Queensland. The experiment, conducted by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and James Cook University (JCU), targeted Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread deadly diseases such as dengue fever and Zika….”
Nature – Controversial CRISPR ‘gene drives’ tested in mammals for the first time
“A controversial technology capable of altering the genomes of entire species has been applied to mammals for the first time. In an article posted1 on the bioRxiv preprint server on 4 July, researchers describe developing ‘gene drives’ — which could be used to eradicate problematic animal populations — in lab mice using the CRISPR gene-editing technique. Gene drives ensure that chosen mutations are passed on to nearly all an animal’s offspring. They have already been created in mosquitoes in the lab, as a potential malaria-control strategy. Researchers have raised the possibility that the technology could help to kill off invasive rats, mice and other rodent pests. But the latest study dashes hopes of that happening any time soon, say scientists. The technique worked inconsistently in lab mice, and myriad technological hurdles remain before researchers could even consider releasing the tool in the wild….”
Lancet Respiratory Medicine – Effect of bedaquiline on mortality in South African patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis: a retrospective cohort study
New study on the effect of bedaquiline on mortality in tuberculosis.
“A retrospective cohort study finds that bedaquiline-based treatment regimens were associated with a large reduction in mortality in patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis, compared with the standard regimen.”
See also CIDRAP for coverage – South African TB study finds lower death rate with bedaquiline “In a study that could have an impact on the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB), a team of South African researchers report that the novel TB drug bedaquiline was associated with a significant reduction in mortality for patients with multidrug-resistant (MDR), rifampicin-resistant, and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains of the infection.”
CSIS (resource) – Building Global Health Capacity Through Polio Eradication
“…While preventing an estimated 16 million polio infections, the GPEI has at the same time developed networks of disease surveillance, laboratories, and vaccine-delivery systems providing needed public health infrastructure in the countries most at risk of disease outbreaks. In addition, it has provided training to thousands of health workers who are improving a range of disease prevention activities in their home countries. Public health officials at the country, regional, and global levels are now taking stock of the valuable “assets” created by the polio program. They are calculating how polio-funded networks and new staff currently are contributing to public health systems and how to expand and sustain them into the future to help improve health in low-resource countries and advance global health security. … “
“… This website contributes to that process by exploring public health interventions for which the U.S. government provided significant backing, either financially or through technical support. Each section examines an individual asset, explaining what it is, how it is contributing to polio eradication and to addressing other health issues, and what some of the challenges are to their continuation. Overall, the site will highlight the formidable leadership and support CDC and USAID have offered toward eradication. It also will illustrate how polio assets already are aiding countries in preventing, detecting, and responding to disease outbreaks and what would be needed for them to be sustained into the future….”
For more detail, see:
BMJ Global Health – Risk factors and risk factor cascades for communicable disease outbreaks in complex humanitarian emergencies: a qualitative systematic review
C C Hammer, Paul Hunter et al ; https://gh.bmj.com/content/3/4/e000647?cpetoc
“Communicable diseases are a major concern during complex humanitarian emergencies (CHEs). Descriptions of risk factors for outbreaks are often non-specific and not easily generalisable to similar situations. This review attempts to capture relevant evidence and explore whether it is possible to better generalise the role of risk factors and risk factor cascades these factors may form….”
Science Daily – Ebola survivors suffer from severe neurological problems
“Researchers have shed new light on the psychiatric and neurological problems that Ebola survivors can suffer from, and call for more specialist support for the most severely affected patients.” Based on a new study by Liverpool researchers.
In other Ebola news, check out also (MSF) – “Congolese health workers have shown an amazing commitment to fighting Ebola”.
And a quick link:
“A Queensland scientist has developed the first ever live vaccine against hookworm, a parasitic disease that causes anaemia in children and pregnant women in many developing countries. Fifteen Queenslanders are taking part in the world-first human trial of the live hookworm vaccine, which is underway in Q-Pharm Pty Ltd at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute….”