1 – 7 November 2018

New research led by the MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine finds that good housing with indoor plumbing may be key in eliminating childhood malnutrition and stunting. Andrew Prentice is quoted in The Guardian: “The takeaway message from our research is that there’s a very high threshold of hygiene necessary to allow children to grow properly – communities need improved living conditions and access to clean water piped into their homes. These findings should redirect governments’ priorities, shifting efforts to providing drastically better housing, and better access to clean water.

Kimberley Fornace speaks to Science News about zoonotic malaria, also known as P. knowlesi, and how the disease is increasingly moving from monkeys to humans in Malaysia. Kimberley said: “It feels almost like P. knowlesi follows deforestation, several years after a forest is cut back, nearby communities get a peak of P. knowlesi. It is a really good example of how a disease can emerge and change.”

Dan Bausch is quoted in Sci Dev on why prevention needs to be a priority in tackling Ebola. Dan said: “The cost of the international response to major epidemics will always be much higher than the cost of strengthening health infrastructures to prevent them in the first place.” (article written in French please use Google translate)

Rachel Lowe comments in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on West Nile virus spreading in Europe, which has led to calls for greater awareness of the infection. Rachel said: “People are maybe becoming more aware of infectious diseases in general, but they need to be more aware of the fact there are such diseases, like West Nile virus, in Europe.”

Heidi Larson is quoted in Metro US on the rise of measles outbreaks in the United States. Heidi said: “Measles outbreaks are often sparked from cases being brought into the U.S. from other countries and then transmitting to those who are not vaccinated.”

Brian Greenwood is profiled on the WHO website about his role on the Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and his career in public health and malaria research. On his career, Brian said: “When we organized the first Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) meeting in 1997 we had to work really hard to convince people to attend, and interestingly, there were few participants from across the African continent. Malaria was very much a neglected disease, and it has really been in the last 2 decades that interest has developed.”

John Cairns comments in a BMJ opinion piece about how China is moving to increase spend on drugs, devices, and diagnostics for health care. John Said: “The weakness of the evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new cancer drugs was another message repeated during the meeting. Most data are derived from short term, poorly controlled trials, conducted in unrepresentative populations, during which treatment is often switched; added to which there is a paucity of quality of life data.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page, with Prof Heidi Larson welcoming attendees to the Women Leaders in Global Health Conference 2018, being hosted at LSHTM on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 November.

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