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Emergency Preparedness and Management at the University of L’aquila (Central Italy) and the Role of Students’ Associations in the April 6th 2009 Earthquake

Introduction: On April 6th 2009 an earthquake of Mw=6.3 hit the historical downtown of L’Aquila and its hinterland causing more than 300 fatalities and severe damage to private and public buildings. At the time, the University of L’Aquila represented a major source of employment and income for the city. The earthquake impacted both the facilities and the administrative, financial ...

Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium Meeting on Disease Progression Modeling for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Introduction: The Duchenne Regulatory Science Consortium (D-RSC) was established to develop tools to accelerate drug development for DMD. The resulting tools are anticipated to meet validity requirements outlined by qualification/endorsement pathways at both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Administration (EMA), and will be made available to the ...

Strategic Interactions in Antiviral Drug Use During an Influenza Pandemic

Background: The evolution of antiviral drug resistance during influenza pandemics has created widespread concern. Use of antiviral drugs is a main contributor to the evolution of drug-resistant strains. Moreover, there are recent examples of influenza viruses acquiring drug resistance seemingly without incurring a fitness penalty that reduces their transmission rate. This creates ...

Survivors’ Solidarity and Attachment in the Immediate Aftermath of the Typhoon Haiyan (Philippines)

Introduction: Anti-social behavior and self-preservation are often assumed to be normal responses to threats and disasters; on the contrary, decades of research and empirical studies in social sciences showed that pro-social behaviors are frequently common and that solidarity is the typical response to a variety of threats. The main objective of this study is to investigate and ...

The Politics of Global Public Health in Fragile States and Ungoverned Territories

The reasons for global health crises and how the world responds to them have dramatically changed over the last half century. Increasingly, natural disasters result in failure of public health and security systems leading to preventable conflict, unconventional war and unprecedented population migration. While scientific expertise exists to mitigate these failures in fragile states ...

Exploring the Continuum of Vaccine Hesitancy Between African American and White Adults: Results of a Qualitative Study

Vaccine delay and refusal present very real threats to public health. Since even a slight reduction in vaccination rates could produce major consequences as herd immunity is eroded, it is imperative to understand the factors that contribute to decision-making about vaccines. Recent scholarship on the concept of “vaccine hesitancy” emphasizes that vaccine behaviors and beliefs tend ...

Social Cognition, Executive Functions and Self-Report of Psychological Distress in Huntington’s Disease

Objective: Huntington’s disease (HD) is characterized by motor symptoms, psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairment in, inter alia, executive functions and social cognition. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between subjective feeling of psychological distress using a self-report questionnaire and performances on tests of executive functions and social ...

New Recommendation on Biological Materials Could Hamper Muscular Dystrophy Research

The new ‘Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on research on biological materials of human origin’, adopted in Europe in May 2016 is confusing and lacks specificity on the research use of biomaterials taken from persons not able to consent. It is possible to interpret the relevant clauses in a restrictive manner and doing so would hamper biobank research, ...

Reducing Disaster Exacerbated Non-communicable Diseases Through Public Health Infrastructure Resilience: Perspectives of Australian Disaster Service Providers

Background: The exposure of people and infrastructure to flood and storm related disasters across the world is increasing faster than vulnerability is decreasing. For people with non-communicable diseases this presents a significant risk as traditionally the focus of disaster management systems has been on immediate trauma and communicable diseases. This focus must now be expanded ...

Prevalence of Hypertension among Patients Attending Mobile Medical Clinics in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan

Introduction: On November 8, 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, causing a humanitarian emergency. According to the World Health Organization, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of death and disability around the world. NCDs kill 38 million people each year. Sixteen million NCD deaths occur before the age of 70; ...

Epidemic Potential for Local Transmission of Zika Virus in 2015 and 2016 in Queensland, Australia

Introduction: Zika virus could be transmitted in the state of Queensland, Australia, in parts of the state where the mosquito vectors are established. Methods: We assessed the epidemic potential of Zika in Queensland from January 2015 to August 2016, and estimate the epidemic potential from September to December 2016, by calculating the temperature-dependent relative vectorial ...

Community Event-Based Surveillance for Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone: Implementation of a National-Level System During a Crisis

INTRODUCTION: There are few documented examples of community networks that have used unstructured information to support surveillance during a health emergency. In January 2015, the Ebola Response Consortium rapidly implemented community event-based surveillance for Ebola virus disease at a national scale in Sierra Leone. METHODS: Community event based surveillance uses community ...

Social Media as a Sentinel for Disease Surveillance: What Does Sociodemographic Status Have to Do with It?

Introduction: Data from social media have been shown to have utility in augmenting traditional approaches to public health surveillance. Quantifying the representativeness of these data is needed for making accurate public health inferences. Methods: We applied machine-learning methods to explore spatial and temporal dengue event reporting trends on Twitter relative to confirmed ...

Red Algal Phylogenomics Provides a Robust Framework for Inferring Evolution of Key Metabolic Pathways

Red algae comprise an anciently diverged, species-rich phylum with morphologies that span unicells to large seaweeds. Here, leveraging a rich red algal genome and transcriptome dataset, we used 298 single-copy orthologous nuclear genes from 15 red algal species to erect a robust multi-gene phylogeny of Rhodophyta. This tree places red seaweeds (Bangiophyceae and Florideophyceae) at ...

Laboratory Investigation of Salmonella enterica serovar Poona Outbreak in California: Comparison of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) Results

Introduction: Recently, Salmonella enterica serovar Poona caused a multistate outbreak, with 245 out of 907 cases occurring in California. We report a comparison of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) results with whole genome sequencing (WGS) for genotyping of Salmonella Poona isolates. Methods: CA Salmonella Poona isolates, collected from July to August 2015, were genotyped ...

Exploring the Role of Ad Hoc Grassroots Organizations Providing Humanitarian Aid on Lesvos, Greece

Introduction: Syrian refugees displaced into Turkey have attempted high-risk sea migrations to reach safer destinations in Europe, most often initially arriving on the Greek island of Lesvos. These refugees were often in need of basic humanitarian assistance that has been provided in part by a new category of ad hoc grassroots organizations (AHGOs). The aim of this study was to ...

Focused Training for Humanitarian Responders in Regional Anesthesia Techniques for a Planned Randomized Controlled Trial in a Disaster Setting

Background: Lower extremity trauma during earthquakes accounts for the largest burden of geophysical disaster-related injuries. Insufficient pain management is common in disaster settings, and regional anesthesia (RA) has the potential to reduce pain in injured patients beyond current standards. To date, no prospective research has evaluated the use of RA in a disaster setting. ...

Pokémon Go and Exposure to Mosquito-Borne Diseases: How Not to Catch ‘Em All

Pokémon Go is a new game that encourages players to venture outdoors and interact with others in the pursuit of virtual Pokémon characters. With more time spent outdoors overall and in sometimes large congregations, Pokémon Go players could inadvertently elevate their risk of exposure to mosquito-borne diseases when playing in certain areas at certain times of year. Here, we make ...

Identifying Candidate Targets of Immune Responses in Zika Virus Based on Homology to Epitopes in Other Flavivirus Species

Introduction: The current outbreak of Zika virus has resulted in a massive effort to accelerate the development of ZIKV-specific diagnostics and vaccines. These efforts would benefit greatly from the definition of the specific epitope targets of immune responses in ZIKV, but given the relatively recent emergence of ZIKV as a pandemic threat, few such data are available. Methods: We ...

The Ebola Crisis and the Corresponding Public Behavior: A System Dynamics Approach

Background: The interaction of several sociocultural and environmental factors during an epidemic crisis leads to behavioral responses that consequently make the crisis control a complex problem. Methods: The system dynamics approach has been adopted to study the relationships between spread of disease, public attention, situational awareness, and community’s response to the Ebola ...