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Rising Number Of Livestock Diseases Threatens Public Health, Food Security In Developing Countries, Report Says

“A growing number of livestock, such as cows and pigs, are fuelling new animal epidemics worldwide and posing more severe problems in developing countries as it threatens their food security, according to a report [.pdf] released on Friday” during an international conference in New Delhi, India, on Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition & Health, Reuters reports (Lyn, 2/11).

un agReports Of H7N9 Cases, Deaths Continue From Across China

“Two more people have died in China from a new strain of bird flu, raising the death toll from the virus to 13, state media reported Sunday,” the Associated Press reports. “A total of 11 new cases were reported Sunday — including two in a central province that previously had…

Yearlong Moratorium On H5N1 Research Soon Lifted, New Rules Implemented, Science Reports

“U.S. government officials say they expect to put the finishing touches this month on new rules designed to help funding agencies identify and regulate especially problematic H5N1 studies before they begin,” which would allow influenza researchers “to lift a year-old, self-imposed moratorium on certain kinds of potentially dangerous experiments,” Science reports. “The two developments would essentially end a long and bruising controversy over the risks and benefits of H5N1 research,” the magazine notes, adding the debate was initiated by two research teams that lab-engineered H5N1 strains to be transmissible among mammals. “The issue has been especially sensitive for the U.S. government, because its National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded the two studies and is one of the world’s biggest funders of H5N1 research,” Science writes. The magazine discusses the moratorium’s impact on research worldwide and summarizes differing views about its effects (Malakoff, 1/4).

WHO Reports Significant Decrease In Measles Deaths Over Past Decade But Warns Large Outbreaks In Certain Regions Threaten Progress

“While the number of measles deaths around the world has significantly decreased over the past decade, large outbreaks in certain regions are jeopardizing progress, the United Nations health agency said [Thursday], adding that improved vaccination rates are critical to eliminate the disease,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “Between 2000 and 2011, measles…

Some Public Health Experts Concerned Over Saudi Arabia’s Response To SARS-Like Virus

“A SARS-like virus has infected 15 people, nine of whom have died, mostly in Saudi Arabia, worrying some Western scientists who question whether the kingdom is sharing enough critical data on the outbreak,” “[b]ut a top Saudi Arabia health official rejected those complaints on Tuesday and said the virus posed…

U.S. Science Advisory Board Asks Science, Nature To Omit Data From Bird Flu Studies Amid Security Concerns

The U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity on “Tuesday asked two scientific journals to leave out data from research studies on a lab-made version of bird flu that could spread more easily to humans, fearing it could be used as a potential weapon,” Reuters reports (Steenhuysen, 12/20). The board “recommended that the journals Science and Nature publish only the general discoveries, not the full blueprint for these man-made strains,” the Associated Press notes (Neergaard, 12/20). “Editors at the journals … say they will not agree to the redactions until they are assured the data will be accessible to researchers” according to BBC News (12/20).

Health Officials Have Reason To ‘Remain Hypervigilant’ Over H7N9

“Just as the world was breathing easier about a deadly bird flu virus that killed 371 people over the past decade before dropping out of sight, a different form of bird flu has emerged in China that is causing concern among health experts,” a New York Times editorial writes. “So far there…

TEDMED Conference Speaker Highlights Key Actions To Stop Pandemics

“Some 2,000 health professionals and thought leaders from all sectors of society are attending TEDMED at the Kennedy Center [in Washington, D.C.,] this week for a series of talks [focusing on medical technology and health care], which are also being televised in more than 80 countries,” CNN reports. The news service profiles…

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