Army Public Health Weekly Update, 31 July 2020

Date Published: 7/31/2020
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​NOTICE: There will be no Army Public Health Weekly Update next week. Publication will resume on 14 August 2020.

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


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    DoD base schools extend deadline to enroll in virtual learning

    28 July- Department of Defense Education Activity parents have two additional days to decide whether to send their children to school in person next month or enroll them in virtual learning for at least a semester. DoDEA has extended the deadline for signing students up for virtual learning to July 30. The option is being made available to any student concerned about the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those with health vulnerabilities, according to DoDEA officials. The DoD is planning for all students to begin school in their local classrooms between Aug. 17 and Sept. 1, depending on location. Schools will open contingent on the force health protection status of local installations. Under Health Protection Conditions Alpha and Bravo, students will report to their schools. Under HPCON Charlie or higher, school buildings will be closed and students will receive instruction from their teachers remotely. When the school year starts, students in traditional classrooms can expect schools to be frequently cleaned and sanitized, according to DoDEA guidance, and desks are to be placed at least six feet apart, if an installation is under HPCON Bravo. External Link

    DVBIC eye-tracking tech may help service members with concussions

    28 July- An innovative technology, known as the Fusion Brain Assessment System, tracks eye movements in individuals and shows promise as an objective measure to diagnose and manage service members with concussions, and enhance force readiness, according to ongoing studies by researchers from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC). Diagnosing a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, usually relies on a screening tool, such as the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE 2), used by the Department of Defense. These types of tools have a strong subjective element based on patient recall of past traumatic events. By contrast, the Fusion technology is more objective by assessing eye reaction time that is often slower or more erratic for those who have experienced brain trauma. More than 400,000 active-duty service members have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000, according to figures from DVBIC. "Through this program of research, we've developed and validated novel methods using eye tracking and measuring electrical brain signals to objectively measure effects of TBI on service members' cognitive, sensory and motor abilities," said Mark Ettenhofer, a neuropsychologist at DVBIC's Naval Medical Center San Diego research site in California, and one of the technology's principal developers. DVBIC is the DoD's traumatic brain injury center of excellence and a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate. External Link

    Groundbreaking "Stop the Bleed" implementation at BAMC

    28 July- Stop the Bleed trauma kits were recently installed at several sites across Joint Base San Antonio Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Brooke Army Medical Center is installing Stop the Bleed kits throughout the hospital to be used in the event of an active shooter or other scenario involving traumatic blood loss. The kits, which contain items such as a tourniquet and trauma dressing, are part of the Stop the Bleed campaign, an initiative to aid an injured person in the event of uncontrolled bleeding. The kits will be installed at BAMC and the five outlying clinics (Schertz, Westover Hills, Camp Bullis, Moreno clinic, and McWethy Troop Medical Clinic), the Akeroyd Blood Donor Center, the four Soldier Recovery Units, as well as a few more locations. At BAMC and its outlying clinics, the initiative will work by mounting large kits on walls near automated external defibrillators machines. The large kits will each contain five or eight smaller kits with the necessary equipment to stop uncontrolled bleeding. Each of the small kits will be strapped onto the inside wall of the large kits and will be easily detachable for grab-and-go purposes in the event of an active shooter or other emergencies. The small kits can be used to assist multiple people as each kit will have the same materials - a tourniquet, trauma dressing, compressed gauze, gloves, trauma shears, polyvinyl chloride bleeding control patch, and simple instructions. External Link

    Military to leverage new biotech fields to gain an edge

    24 July- Agencies throughout the Defense Department are investing in biotechnologies and working initiatives to harness nature's processes to better support warfighters. Biotech is an engineering discipline that uses living systems to create a wide range of products, said Michelle Rozo, assistant director for biotechnology at the office of the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. "We can use that technology to produce an enormous range of things from food and medicines to textiles and fuels," she said. It will have a large impact on the defense sector, Rozo said during the Biotechnology for Materiel and Defense Symposium. "The same core competencies that can unlock products and capabilities [have] the potential to transform military systems and mission spaces." The need to develop new and more advanced biotech is identified as a modernization priority in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which focuses on great power competition with advanced adversaries China and Russia. It is a "disruptive technology that will change warfighting and provide dominant capabilities to the department across multiple domains," Rozo said during the webinar hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association. Although the Pentagon has been developing biotech for years, it historically invested in medical and chemical biology projects. National Defense External Link

    More military bases increase health protections due to virus

    27 July- The U.S. military has increased health protection requirements in at least 21 bases in recent weeks, particularly across Texas and Florida, as the COVID-19 rate continues to spike among service members, more than doubling in the last month. The escalating numbers mirror the increase in coronavirus cases in the general public across the country, where more than 4 million people have contracted the virus, and more than 144,000 have died. The military, however, still has a dramatically low death rate, losing three service members — including just one active-duty — out of nearly 23,000 virus cases so far. The moves to higher alert levels at the defense installations are somewhat limited because the military as a whole has been much slower to loosen pandemic restrictions than cities and states around the country, particularly sections of the South and West facing record infection levels. That more cautious approach has endured despite President Donald Trump repeatedly urging businesses to reopen and the country to get back to normal to ease economic woes. Trump has also pressed for schools to go back to in-person classes in the fall, threatening to link federal funding to reopening's. That plan has little support in Congress, and has been widely opposed by parents and teachers. "I find that each base does things a little bit different, and they've adapted very carefully," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said when he traveled to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri this week. The base is home to the B-2 bomber fleet, and Esper's trip was part of an effort to check on how the military's strategic nuclear forces are coping with the pandemic. Defense leaders say the recent spike has not affected the military's ability to train or respond when needed. It will, however, affect decisions on whether Defense Department schools will have in-person classes or not. Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon's chief spokesman, told reporters this week that bases at the most restrictive levels will likely have virtual learning. Military Times External Link 

    Service members with HIV challenge military restrictions on deploying

    24 July- Service members living with HIV will be in court in early August. They're suing the military for discrimination over a longstanding policy that prohibits them from deploying or commissioning as officers. Medical advancements in HIV treatment have transformed the condition from what some considered a death sentence in decades past to one that allows many people to live healthy lives with a once-daily pill. A military study published in April found 99 percent of service members with HIV were able to suppress the virus to undetectable levels within a year of regular treatment. Sgt. Nick Harrison, 43, is one of those people. For him, it's the military policy about HIV, not the virus, that's making him suffer. "I'm kind of the prime textbook example of why this policy is ludicrous," he said. After serving more than a decade in the Army National Guard including multiple deployments as an infantryman, Harrison went to law school and accepted a job offer with the D.C. Guard's Judge Advocate General Corps.  As part of the application process, he took a physical exam at Walter Reed military hospital and his results placed him at the highest level of medical readiness. But around the same time Harrison got some bad news: because he tested positive for HIV about a year prior, he was denied the position. Officials said giving him the job would have violated the military's ban on people with HIV becoming officers. "It seems moving me over to a courtroom and letting me practice law would probably be the best use of my skills, probably in the best interest of the Army, but because they have this sort of outdated policy they say, 'No, we don't make any exceptions for HIV, you're just sort of stuck there.'" said Harrison, who filed a lawsuit against the military in 2018 after spending years exhausting all the channels of appeal within the military. WUSF External Link 


    Alzheimer's: 'Promising' blood test for early stage of disease

    29 July- A blood test could spot Alzheimer's disease at the earliest stage and years before symptoms appear, studies in the US and Sweden suggest. The test looks for tiny amounts of a protein which is elevated in people with the illness. Investigators found measuring this protein, p-tau217, could predict Alzheimer's dementia with 96% accuracy. Experts say that with more research, it could be developed into a test doctors could offer to patients. Currently, Alzheimer's is diagnosed using a combination of memory tests and brain scans, once symptoms have already appeared. The idea of a dementia blood test is not new, but these two latest studies give the clearest indication yet that a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease could be used to diagnose people at a much earlier stage. Early diagnosis is important because it could offer more opportunities to treat the diseased. Dr. Rosa Sancho, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, explained that previous clinical trials of drugs had failed because the patients enrolled in them were too far advanced in their illness, and by that time it was "too late". She said: "There's already too much build-up of damaging proteins in their brain." Alzheimer's damages the memory and other cognitive abilities by destroying connections between nerve cells in the brain. BBC News External Link

    Collecting convalescent plasma to knock out COVID-19

    27 July- The world is searching for a treatment, a cure and a prevention for COVID-19. One piece of that puzzle may be tapped via the sap of human life – blood. At Madigan Army Medical Center, and 14 other Department of Defense facilities, those who have recovered from COVID-19 can donate the liquid part of their blood – the plasma – in an effort to apply it to use as a treatment for those battling the disease now. On a recent visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery made a special stop at the Armed Services Blood Bank Center - Pacific Northwest to talk to the staff about convalescent plasma and the DoD's effort to collect 10,000 units by Sept. 30. "We are doing this across the DoD, across the Military Health System," said McCaffery. "This is an all in effort, we are counting down to the end of September to get those ten thousand units." During his tour of the facility, McCaffery was escorted by Maj. Juan Guzman, the chief of the ASBBC-PNW, and informed on the center's operations by a number of staff.  Capt. Zachary Albright, the center's officer-in-charge, met McCaffery at the door and walked him right to the temperature scanner Navy Hospital man Edward Yelland, a lab technician, had ready for McCaffery's forehead. This measure was just one of the non-pharmaceutical interventions the center has in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. With the exception of the short amount of time McCaffery and Guzman filmed a public service announcement for the plasma collection effort, everyone on the premises wore a face covering; while filming, social distancing was observed. Albright had the center's impressive blood product collection numbers at the ready and offered an overview of operations before Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Cook, the medical director for Transfusion Services, gave McCaffery a blast of chilly air from the center's deep freezers. According to the National Institutes of Health, in order to retain viability, plasma must be frozen at subzero temperatures. External Link

    Coronavirus may still linger in recovered patients' hearts for months without any symptoms

    29 July- COVID-19 is still lingering in the hearts of the recovered patients for months without developing any symptoms, according to medical experts. According to NBC News' latest report, the novel coronavirus may still have lasting effects on the heart health of the patients, which may go undetected, leading people to assume that they have recovered from the deadly disease. The Journal JAMA published two studies on July 28, revealing the viral disease can stay inside the heart for months, even without producing symptoms. The published report stated that 100 coronavirus patients from the University Hospital Frankfurt COVID-19 Registry were included in the first study. Most of the infected individuals were healthy adults age 40 and 50 years old. Many of the patients, who seemed to have fully recovered from the viral disease, had MRIs of their hearts two to three months after they were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Tech Times External Link

    Coronavirus: Obesity increases risks from Covid-19, experts say

    25 July- Being obese or overweight puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, experts say after examining existing studies.
    The review of evidence by Public Health England found excess weight put people at greater risk of needing hospital admission or intensive care.
    And the risk grew substantially as weight increased. The release comes ahead of an expected government announcement of new measures to curb obesity.
    Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said the current evidence was clear, that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, as well as from many other life-threatening diseases. "Losing weight can bring huge benefits for health - and may also help protect against the health risks of Covid-19," she said. "The case for action on obesity has never been stronger." The UK has one of the highest levels of obesity in Europe. Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, with similar figures in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. BBC News External Link

    Flu vaccine significantly lowers risk of heart attack, stroke among high-risk groups, researchers find

    27 July- The flu vaccine significantly lowered the risk of heart attacks, strokes and some other cardiovascular conditions for people at high risk, researchers reported Monday. Yet these high-risk adults are less likely to get the vaccine than others, the researchers told an American Heart Association meeting. Adults over 50 who got flu vaccines during a hospitalization had a 28% lower risk of a heart attack the following year. They also had a 47% lower risk of a mini stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), 85% lower risk of cardiac arrest and 73% lower risk of overall death. The researchers looked at the rate at which the flu vaccine was administered to hospital patients who are at high risk for flu and its complications. This includes people over the age of 50, HIV/AIDS patients, people in nursing homes and those who are obese.  Only 168,325 patients were vaccinated during hospitalization out of more than 7 million high-risk patients hospitalized, based on the 2014 National Inpatient Sample, the largest database of US hospitals. About 1.8% of hospitalized adults over the age of 50 were likely to be vaccinated during hospitalization compared to 15% of the general population, according to researchers. Vaccination rates were also lower for the other high-risk groups. "The results we found are staggering. It's hard to ignore the positive effect the flu vaccine can have on serious cardiac complications," said Roshni Mandania, a medical student at Texas Tech University who led the study team. "These groups should have the highest vaccination rates because they are the most at risk," Mandania added in a statement. "However, our findings show the opposite: flu vaccinations are under-utilized." These preliminary findings only looked at immunization in the hospital setting, and it's possible some patients received the flu vaccine in outpatient care, according to the researchers. CNN External Link

    Harvested antibodies now being tested as a prevention tool against COVID-19

    29 July- If you're bitten or scratched by an animal with rabies, your doctor can give you a shot to prevent the virus from taking hold in you and causing an infection. The same concept is now being put to the test for the coronavirus. Most people who get sick with COVID-19 produce antibodies in their blood that seem to protect them from reinfection. A study is now underway to see whether an infusion of those antibodies can protect someone who has been exposed to the virus and is at high risk of infection. One of the first volunteers for this study is a physician who treats transplant patients at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Jonathan Orens had a close brush with the coronavirus involving not his work, but his family. His daughter from Los Angeles wanted to come home to be near her sister, who was about to give birth to her first baby. Orens says the traveling daughter was careful about protecting her health in Los Angeles and did everything she could think of to stay safe on her flight to Baltimore. "She wore a mask, she wore gloves, she had sanitizer, she had wipes," he says. "The load on the plane was relatively small." They chose the Fourth of July as a travel day, knowing that even fewer people were likely to be traveling that day. "We actually bought the two seats in the row to keep her away from everybody else." She wore masks through the airports and in the car ride back to her parents' house. Once there, she kept her distance from them. Just to be sure, about a week after she arrived, she and her parents went for coronavirus testing. Though she had no symptoms, "she was positive," Orens says. "And fortunately my wife and I were negative." But they were still at high risk of contracting the disease, given the close contact with their daughter. NPR External Link

    Little evidence that mass transit poses a risk of coronavirus outbreaks

    28 July- In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben Fried made a difficult decision: He stopped riding New York City's subway system. He was not alone. Ridership on the city's notoriously packed commuter trains dropped 92% in mid-April, when New York emerged as an epicenter of the global health crisis. For Fried, the decision was especially tough because he serves as communications director for Transit Center, an advocacy group that touts the environmental benefits of mass transit. But as the virus spread, those benefits were overshadowed by the risk of contagion in the enclosed spaces of subway cars. "I think the prevailing attitude then was, 'If you don't need to ride, don't ride,'" Fried recalled in a recent phone interview. Since those first fateful months, however, Fried has ventured back onto the subway with his wife. And he's become part of a vocal group of advocates saying the initial fears of mass transit were overblown. Those advocates say there is scant evidence tying major coronavirus outbreaks to buses and trains. On the contrary, they say, transit can play a crucial role in the pandemic era by reducing air pollution that makes people more susceptible to COVID-19. Scientific American External Link

    Portuguese scientists make a mask that 'kills' coronavirus upon contact with the fabric

    27 July- Scientists in Portugal claimed to have created a mask that would kill the virus as it reaches the fabric. If proven effective, this becomes a breakthrough in COVID-19 protection technology as the new face mask features a special coating that disables the coronavirus when it comes in contact with the material. A virologist from the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lisbon (IMM) Pedro Simas who worked on the mask said the coating reduces the infectious units of the virus by 99% within 30 minutes. The mask would continue to effectively protect even after 50 washes, making the mask highly reusable. The IMM said in a statement that this mask uses an active ingredient that has already been tested by France's Institut Pasteur de Lille against the H1N1 virus and the rotavirus. The face-covering is OEKO-Tex certified, which proves that it is safe for human use as it does not contain any harmful substances. However, Simas denies their creation is a breakthrough as masks are generally effective when combined with social distancing measures. He explained that viruses spread through large respiratory droplets and any tool that stops these large droplets from getting into the respiratory system are highly effective. "I think this is just another tool, another element on a mask, that in addition to a physical barrier, can now provide a chemical barrier," said Simas adding that he hopes more people will cover their mouths and noses throughout the pandemic, regardless if they use coated or just disposable masks. However, as others refuse to wear masks because they feel uncomfortable doing so, Simas noted that mask is a very important protective gear, "a very small sacrifice to save lives." Tech Times External Link

    The child-care crisis punishes women in health care- Without schools, they'll quit

    24 July- Aysha is a nurse practitioner I met during the pandemic who works in a small clinic that provides prenatal care in an underserved neighborhood in New York. It stayed open during the crisis, but her children's public school did not. So while she worked from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the spring semester, her husband, who works a night shift, helped their 7-year-old and 9-year-old with their online schooling — grabbing naps when he could. When Aysha got home, he slept about three hours, then headed off to work, before starting all over in the morning. Felicia works as a nurse in a surgical unit in a small hospital on the East Coast. She lives with her rising fourth grader and her mother, who has always provided child care. At the beginning of the pandemic, right before she was deployed to a covid-19 floor, Felicia sent her mom to live in a relative's basement apartment — but it proved too expensive to maintain two households, and she worried about her kid too much. The local public school mainly provided paper homework packets that her 9-year-old found boring. He spends most of his time alone, in his room; Grandma makes him come out for meals, but she's not sure what he's doing in there all the time. Then there's me: an obstetrician with four kids, irregular hours and no local family. I have a partner who is working from home, in our three-bedroom apartment in northern Manhattan — meaning the kids are supervised, to the extent that they will probably not burn the house down. The Washington Post External Link

    WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is 'one big wave', not seasonal

    28 July- The World Health Organization on Tuesday warned against complacency about new coronavirus transmission in the northern hemisphere summer, saying that this virus did not behave like influenza that tended to follow seasonal trends. "People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and...this one is behaving differently," Margaret Harris told a virtual briefing in Geneva, urging vigilance in applying measures to slow transmission that is spreading via mass gatherings. She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves, saying: "It's going to be one big wave. It's going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet." Reuters External Link


    CDC: Flu View - Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report

    2019-2020 Influenza Season Week 29, ending July 18, 2020:

    Influenza-Associated Hospitalizations: The Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) conducts all age 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.

    Pneumonia and Influenza (P&I) Mortality Surveillance: Based on National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data available on July 23, 2020, 7.1% of the deaths occurring during the week ending July 18, 2020 (week 29) were due to P&I. This percentage is above the epidemic threshold of 5.6% for week 29.

    Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality: No influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2019-2020 season were reported to CDC during week 29.CDC External Link

    WHO: Influenza Update

    20 July 2020 - Update number 372, based on data up to 05 July 2020:

    - The current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might have influenced to varying extents health seeking behavior's, 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 might also have played a role in mitigating influenza virus transmission.

    - Globally, influenza activity was reported at lower levels than expected for this time of the year. In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity returned to inter-seasonal levels while in the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, the influenza season has not commenced.

    - In the Caribbean and Central American countries, sporadic influenza detections were reported in most reporting countries. Severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) activity remained elevated in some reporting countries.

    - In tropical South American and tropical Africa, there were no or sporadic influenza virus detections across reporting countries.

    - In Southern Asia and South East Asia, no influenza detections were reported.

    - Worldwide, seasonal influenza A and B viruses were detected in similar proportion. WHO External Link


    Mysterious Salmonella outbreak quickly sweeping across the country

    24 July- Federal health officials said this afternoon that a Salmonella outbreak of unknown origin is spreading rapidly, increasing to 23 states. Now there are  212 patients, which is up by 87 cases since the CDC's outbreak announcement Tuesday. "A specific food, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of this outbreak," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stressed in its outbreak update." This investigation is active and evolving." Health officials are pleading with the public to help with the outbreak investigation. "CDC encourages people experiencing symptoms of a Salmonella infection to report their illness to their local health department and participate in interviews when the health department calls to ask them about the foods they ate before they got sick. This information is vital for public health officials to identify the source of this outbreak and to take steps to prevent additional illnesses."  As of today, the mysterious outbreak has infected people in eight additional states: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Maine, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Virginia. The first person identified as part of the outbreak became ill on June 19. The most recent person got sick on July 11. It can take up to four weeks for the CDC to add patients to its tally following an initial positive test. In the ongoing outbreak patients range in age from zero to 92 years old, according to the CDC. Of 117 patients for whom the CDC has received information on hospital status, 31 out of 117 people had been admitted. No deaths have been reported. The CDC is encouraging people with specific questions to contact their state health departments. The agency reported that past outbreaks of Salmonella Newport infections have been linked to produce, meat, and dairy products. Food Safety News External Link

    Zucchinis linked to rare poisonings in England

    25 July- Rogue zucchini seeds are suspected to be behind several cases of illness in England. Zucchinis, also called courgettes, contain a naturally occurring compound. When this is at a high enough level it can lead to symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea. Four families in Castle Acre, Norfolk, reported feeling unwell after eating produce they had grown, according to the BBC. The Sun newspaper reported a woman needed hospital treatment after being poisoned by courgettes she had grown. They came from Unwins seeds and parent company Westland told The Sun that it had temporarily suspended shipments as a precaution while it investigated the issue. Another firm, Mr. Fothergill's, recalled a batch of Courgette Zucchini that could contain seeds that produce bitter tasting fruits. The affected item has Batch code I on the back of the packet. A statement from Mr. Fothergill's said such a problem is extremely rare, but not unknown. It advised people not to eat the zucchini and discard the plants. "It can come from issues with cross-pollination in the seed production cycle and is untraceable before growing out again for harvest. Please be assured that we take every precaution to maintain the quality of our seed stock. In this instance we have withdrawn the rogue batch from all sales outlets and in-house stocks," said the company. "We recommend that if you have grown this variety from a packet with the batch code I that you do not ingest the fruits without taste testing for bitterness. A taste-test is a safe thing to do to detect if you have an affected plant which will be extremely bitter slice the top off the fruit and simply touch your tongue on it." All remaining stock in the warehouse, unpacked seeds and seeds in retail outlets are being recovered and destroyed. Food Safety News External Link


    Cinnamon supplement may benefit people with prediabetes, study finds

    27 July- Cinnamon supplements may help people with prediabetes to control their blood sugar levels, which could potentially slow the progression of type 2 diabetes, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. "In individuals with prediabetes, 12 weeks of cinnamon supplementation improved FPG and glucose tolerance, with a favorable safety profile," according to researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. In the randomized control trial, 51 patients were followed for 12 weeks. Patients took a 500 mg cinnamon capsule or placebo three times a day. The researchers in the small study found fasting plasma glucose levels (FPG) remained the same in the group that took the cinnamon supplements while the placebo group's levels increased. The researchers stated the supplements not only helped lower fasting glucose levels but also improved the body's ability to tolerate carbohydrates. "This RCT of individuals with prediabetes showed that treatment with cinnamon 500 mg thrice daily resulted in a statistically significant between-group mean difference in FPG of approximately 5 mg/dl at 12 weeks, which was the primary outcome measure of the study. No change in FPG was noted at 6 weeks, which was one of the three prespecified secondary end-points." According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), prediabetes affects 38 percent of the U.S. population. The ADA says prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes. It can progress to type 2 diabetes but experts also say this may be prevented by modifying your diet and lifestyle as well as weight loss and certain medications.Fox News External Link

    Practice mindfulness for better health, performance, and relationships

    26 July- Here is a secret to boosting working memory, improving focus and having less emotional reactivity: mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness involves learning to acknowledge and accept our thoughts and feelings with curiosity and openness rather than judgment. Mindfulness has been shown to effectively reduce stress, build resilience, and improve health. When we are mindful in our interactions with others, we can improve our relationships as well. APHC


    DRC Ebola outbreak is 'escalating': WHO

    27 July- The World Health Organization (WHO) says the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in Équateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is escalating, with increasing new confirmed cases along with geographical spread to new health areas– 23 health areas in seven health zones are affected. According to the latest situation report, two additional cases were reported bringing the total in the country's 11th outbreak to 67 ( 63 confirmed, 4 probable) with 31 deaths (CFR of more than 46%). Community resistance to response activities is being seen and there are challenges around inadequate resources for alert investigations in Mbandaka, and in case management in rural and hard-to-reach areas. The constant presence of confirmed cases in the community is of particular concern, along with suspected cases who are not isolated. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Pakistan: Human rabies death attributed to vaccine being not available

    27 July- A 20-year-old man from Narowal, Punjab province, Pakistan died from rabies two months after getting a dog bite, according to a report in the news source, Dawn. According to the report, he sought medical treatment after the bite; however, the physician told him and the family that the rabies vaccine was not available at the hospital, so they would have to purchase it from the market. The family was unable to purchase due to the cost and the young man had to do without.  After two months, when he developed symptoms of rabies and his condition deteriorated, he was admitted to Mayo Hospital in Lahore. He was being treated for four days, but died on Sunday. The death has prompted protests as protesters claim health officials of selling the vaccine at high rates in the market with mutual connivance. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Ukraine: Reports 40 botulism cases in first half of 2020

    28 July- The Ukraine Ministry of Health has reported 40 cases of botulism since January, including two fatalities. The cause of botulism is often products of home canning of meat, fish, less often – vegetables. Potentially hazardous are all canned products that have been poorly washed, improperly / insufficiently cooked, transported or stored improperly. Even canned food, which is good for its shelf life, appearance and taste, can be contaminated: botulism cannot be determined by color or taste, the microorganism that causes the disease does not spoil the food. Botulism can also occur due to the consumption of dried or smoked fish and any meat products (sausages, hams, etc.). The most common cause of botulism are dried or smoked home-made products, but cases of the disease after eating products produced in industrial conditions are also registered. This happens if the relevant requirements are not met during the procurement, processing or storage of the product. Botulism can be contracted much less frequently through wounds, just as the microorganism is rarely transmitted from mother to child through breast milk. There are currently no known cases of botulism associated with the consumption of freshly washed and properly cooked or fried foods. Outbreak News Today External Link


    Japan: Syphilis cases top 3,000

    26 July- The National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo reports the number of syphilis cases in the country has topped 3,000 cases, according to the latest Surveillance data table. Through July 15 this year, Japan has reported 3,027 syphilis cases with 781 being reported from Tokyo and 510 in Osaka. Japan reported more than 5,000 syphilis cases three years straight and two consecutive years with more than 6,000 cases–Prior to 2018, the last time Japan saw more than 6,000 syphilis cases was 48 years ago. Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms of syphilis in adults include a painless sore that will go away without treatment followed by a non-itchy body rash. If left untreated syphilis can lead to damage through the body including neurological and cardiovascular complications. Syphilis also increases the risk of HIV infection and, for women, can cause problems during pregnancy and for the newborn. Outbreak News Today External Link

    Mongolia: Officials investigate suspected bubonic plague case in Uliastai soum

    29 July- The Mongolia National Center for Zoonotic Disease reported on their Facebook page three days ago (loosely translated):  In the uliastai soum of zavkhan aimag, we are working with suspicious cases of the bubonic, and the response to organize the province's zöst and special commission. The Malaysia Star reports, An administrative subdivision of Zavkhan province in western Mongolia has been quarantined for an indefinite period after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported on Saturday, local government said Sunday. The 39-year-old resident of Uliastai soum presented with symptoms after eating marmot meat with his family a week ago. He is currently being treated. A total of seven suspected cases of bubonic plague have been reported across the country so far this year, with three confirmed by laboratory test results.Outbreak News Today External Link


    New Mexico: Plague- 1st case of the year reported

    27 July- In the past two weeks, human plague cases have been reported in Jefferson County, Colorado and Navajo County, Arizona. Today, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports a Santa Fe County man in his 60s has been diagnosed with bubonic plague – the first human plague case in New Mexico in 2020. While the man recovers at a local hospital, an environmental investigation will take place at the person's home to look for ongoing risk to immediate family members, neighbors and others in the surrounding community. "This is a reminder that even during a pandemic, other infectious diseases are out that can still put your health at risk," said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel. "All New Mexicans need to be aware of the risks for contracting diseases like plague and take the necessary precautions to avoid them." Plague is a bacterial disease of wildlife and is generally transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas. Pet animals also can be exposed after eating an infected animal. Outbreak News Today External Link 

    U.S.: Florida- More local dengue fever, West Nile virus reported

    28 July- The Florida Department of Health in Monroe County reported an additional five locally acquired dengue fever cases over the weekend. There are now 22 locally acquired dengue fever cases statewide in 2020 and 21 for Monroe County (one in Miami-Dade County). Mosquito Control was promptly informed of the new cases. Dengue can present as a severe flu-like illness with severe muscle aches and pain, fever and sometimes a rash. Usually, there are no respiratory symptoms. Symptoms of Dengue will appear within 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Dengue fever is not contagious but is transmitted by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Outbreak News Today External Link

    U.S.: Records 10,000 coronavirus deaths in 11 days as fatalities approach 150,000

    29 July- U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus were approaching 150,000 on Wednesday, the highest level in the world and rising by 10,000 in 11 days, according to a Reuters tally. This is the fastest increase in fatalities since the United States went from 100,000 cases to 110,000 cases in 11 days in early June, according to the tally. Nationally, COVID-19 deaths have risen for three weeks in a row while the number of new cases week-over-week recently fell for the first time since June. A spike in infections in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas this month has overwhelmed hospitals. The rise has forced states to make a U-turn on reopening economies that were restricted by lockdowns in March and April to slow the spread of the virus. Texas leads the nation with nearly 4,000 deaths so far this month, followed by Florida with 2,690 and California, the most populous state, with 2,500. The Texas figure includes a backlog of hundreds of deaths after the state changed the way it counted COVID-19 fatalities. While deaths have rapidly risen in July in these three states, New York and New Jersey still lead the nation in total lives lost and for deaths per capita, according to a Reuters tally. Of the 20 countries with the biggest outbreak, the United States ranks sixth for deaths per capita, at 4.5 fatalities per 10,000 people. It is exceeded by the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Peru and Chile. Reuters External Link


    Dengue cases up 200% in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil

    26 July- The number of dengue fever cases in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil has increased some 200 percent in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. In the first half of 2019, Manaus saw 173 confirmed dengue cases, while in the same period this year, 525 cases were reported. This is a 204 percent increase. "The message of our campaign is clear: 'as long as you are concerned about one danger, you cannot forget the other', making a reference between Covid-19 and dengue. And this is a permanent orientation from Mayor Arthur Virgílio Neto, which is to reinforce that the city government, as a public authority, has a duty to carry out actions to combat the transmitting mosquito, but also to warn that with simple actions we can prevent the disease ", he highlighted the municipal secretary of Communication, Kellen Veras Lopes. According to the director of the Department of Environmental and Epidemiological Surveillance (Devae / Semsa), nurse Marinélia Ferreira, the campaign aims to raise awareness among manauaras about the importance of maintaining care against the mosquito. "Breeding sites are usually in the family environment and if we are spending more time at home, we are even more exposed. It is an alert for the population to pay attention to both the pandemic and other dangers ", he pointed out. Outbreak News Today External Link