06 – 12 June 2019

New LSHTM-led research finds that more than six billion people are at risk of dengue fever by 2080. African countries, particularly in the Sahel region and southern part of the continent, face a substantial increase in risk of dengue fever over the next 65 years. Lead author Oliver Brady said: “What was most surprising was actually how much less spread we predict in comparison to previous dengue maps. While climate change is likely to contribute to dengue expansion, factors including population growth and increasing urbanisation in tropical areas will play a much larger role in shaping who will be at risk in the future.”

The research was covered in the New York Times, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

Peter Piot speaks to the Financial Times (£) about news from the World Health Organization that a case of Ebola from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is being treated in Uganda. It is the first case of the current outbreak that has crossed an international boarder. Peter said: “Eastern Congo is an extraordinarily difficult environment to control an outbreak because of armed conflict and community mustrust.”

New research finds that one in every 25 people globally are carrying an STI and in 2016 there were 127 million new cases of the four most common STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis). LSHTM co-author Matthew Chico said:  “These global estimates of four curable STIs must be a catalyst for change. One million new infections worldwide every day – frankly, the urgency for action could not be clearer. These STIs are preventable and treatable. However, the global threat of antibiotic resistance looms large, highlighted by the almost unthinkable: a world without a cure for gonorrhoea in the not too distant future.”

Matthew’s comments were picked up by CNN and The Telegraph.

Andy Haines speaks to The Guardian about a new report he co-chaired for the European Academies Science Advisory Council. It looks at the widespread damage caused by global heating, which is already affecting people’s health. Andy said: “There are impacts occurring now and over the coming century, climate change has to be ranked as one of the most serious threats to health.”

Martin McKee speaks to the BBC about whether US companies could run NHS services after Brexit. Martin said: “It’s possible that the US negotiators could use a trade deal as an opportunity to push for more favourable contracts in the NHS, for example contracts allowing them to only treat less complex and more lucrative patients, leaving the NHS with the most challenging and expensive cases.”

Brendan Wren provides expert comment to the Science Media Centre about reports that some recent listeria cases in NHS hospitals are linked to pre-packed sandwiches. Brendan said:  “Listeria is a bacterium that can be found occasionally in food products.  If consumed it can lead to gastroenteritis, and in compromised patients more severe disease such as meningitis and, in rare cases, death.  In this small outbreak there appears a cluster of cases in hospitalised patients that were already ill.  Listeria can survive at refrigeration temperatures which means it can persist in food processing equipment and in the food chain.”

Brendan’s comments were covered by The Sun.

Melissa Parker is a co-author on a letter published in The Guardian detailing why the UK government’s visa system is unfair. The authors write:  “As leaders of organisations, institutions and programmes that are striving to strengthen the UK’s position as a science, research and development world leader, we continue to be extremely concerned that growing numbers of African partners are being refused entry to the UK.”

Times Higher Education (£) cover the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. They include news that LSHTM’s Professor Charlotte Watts was awarded a CMG for services to global health and international development, through a career dedicated to researching domestic violence and its links to poor health, including its importance for HIV. Charlotte said: “It is a privilege and an honour to be awarded a CMG. This and my recent inclusion in Apolitical’s top 100 came as a complete surprise. Both are, I think, recognition of the importance of rigorous evidence on how to tackle violence against women and girls, which shows that this violence is preventable.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from the LSHTM Twitter page sharing news that LSHTM’s Chris Whitty, Professor of Public and International Health, has been appointed the new Chief Medical Officer for England, taking over from Professor Dame Sally Davies in October.

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