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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

Early 2018 World News


World News for the first half of 2018 is archived here. To see the latest world news, please go to the World News main page.

June 29, 2018

Afghanistan:  Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

In the past 2 months, a total of 36 patients with Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have been admitted to Afghanistan’s Herat Regional Hospital, 4 of whom have died to date. Compared to the same period in the past year, the number of cases this year has doubled. Distress sales of livestock due to the ongoing drought are suspected to be partly responsible for the higher number of CCHF cases.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

Kenya has been advised to establish an animal health surveillance system for early detection and control of Rift Valley fever [RVF].

Since the outbreak was first reported in Wajir, 17 counties are on high alert. At least 10 people have been killed in Wajir and Siaya.

The outbreak is suspected to be a result of heavy rains that caused flooding in semi-arid areas.

The World Health Organization said Kitui, Wajir, Kajiado, and Marsabit counties are reporting high death rates and miscarriage among animals. But accurate reporting and investigations have been hampered by logistical challenges.

WHO cited bad roads that have limited access to affected areas.

The outbreak has been reported in villages in Moyale while Balesa, Demo, Shuur, and Maikona in North Horr have also recorded cases.


United States: Newcastle Disease

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed an additional case of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard exhibition chickens in San Bernardino County, California.

Virulent Newcastle disease has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003.

No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild and limited to conjunctivitis. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.


United States: Hantavirus

A worker at Belmont Park racetrack has died in what health officials believe may be a rare case of hantavirus in New York State.

The worker, whose name has not been released, was found earlier this month collapsed outside the ramshackle employee barracks, tucked between the horse barns and exercise pens where he and scores of other grooms, hot walkers and riders live, state health officials said. He was hospitalized and died of what appears to have been hantavirus pulmonary syndrome [HPS], an advanced stage of the virus, according to the New York State Department of Health's preliminary findings.

The illness, the pulmonary form of which has a nearly 40 percent fatality rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cannot be communicated between humans. It is typically contracted by inhaling air contaminated with rodent droppings [urine and saliva] in confined spaces, or, in rare cases, via a bite.


India: Leptospirosis

The increasing number of leptospirosis cases is a major public health concern. A total of 69 leptospirosis cases had been reported as of June 21.

Most of the leptospirosis cases had been found in workers attached to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Kudumbasree Mission, who work in waterlogged areas.

Callous dumping of waste in public places and clogged canals had made many parts of the district safe breeding grounds for mosquitoes and rodents. Polluting fresh-water sources with waste from chicken stalls, slaughterhouses, hotels, and markets had become a major public health menace in Pathanamthitta.


Eastern Africa: Rift Valley Fever

The 11th meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) which has just concluded in Dar es Salaam, has directed the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat to address the issue of Rift Valley fever [RVF] promptly.

SCAFS urged the EAC to convene a meeting of the Technical Working Group on Transboundary Animal and Zoonotic Diseases (TADs), to address the issue of RVF outbreak, which has been reported in the region.


India: Goat pox

Posing a serious threat to the endangered species, another goral died of suspected goat pox at Shyaro, a village in Jang-thingbu Tehsil in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, recently.

However, this time the infected Himalayan goral was alive when a team of veterinarians from Tawang led by Dr. Thupten Tashi, Senior Veterinary Officer of Tawang had gone to the remote village of Arunachal Pradesh, close to Indo-China border, after receiving information of a goral showing goat pox-like symptoms. The team of veterinarians administered treatment of goat pox to the sick Himalayan goral, but unfortunately it passed away.

Dr. Tashi while talking to Northeast Now from Tawang said that the symptoms were very similar to goat pox inflicting this endangered species which is designated as 'threatened' under the wildlife schedule.


United States: Anthrax

Officials say anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the 1st time year this year. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven has confirmed that eight cows died out of a herd of 87 unvaccinated cattle in Clark County.

The Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University confirmed the disease from samples submitted over the weekend.

Anthrax can cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a short time. Infected livestock often are found dead with no illness detected. The South Dakota Animal Industry Board says anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated soil. The board says strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination from bacterial spores.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

Isiolo veterinary department has closed all slaughterhouses and livestock markets for 2 weeks following an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF).

Following the outbreak, panic has gripped Isiolo and Meru counties, with veterinary officers moving with speed to contain the disease. The outbreak is suspected to have spread from the neighboring Wajir County, where it has killed 6 people, with 26 cases reported so far. The disease has also hit Marsabit County.

Isiolo Livestock chief officer, Mr Benjamin Lopetet, has imposed a quarantine limiting movement of all livestock including sheep, goats, camels, and their products. Mr Lopetet said 106 samples collected from several areas in Isiolo's 3 sub counties had been taken to government laboratory, where 25 tested positive for RVF.

Isiolo butchers' association led by their chairman, Mr Salesio Kiambi, said they will comply with the directive but faulted the county government for allegedly withholding the information as they stare at losses.


United States: Norovirus

Officials say that norovirus is what caused 33 children to fall ill at a summer camp in Lake Placid, Florida.

Norovirus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in closed environments like summer camp.

"Our epidemiology team has notified health departments in the home counties of all campers, and appropriate follow-up will be done," said Mary Kay Burns, Highlands County Health Officer. "Camp officials have already started the process of disinfecting the camp, and re-inspection will be done once cleaning has been completed. We will also provide information on proper hand-washing and food preparation techniques, to help avoid further incidents."

Water tests were done and came back negative for any illness-causing bacteria.

Officials say that over the course of 2 days, campers began falling ill with reports of nausea, vomiting, headaches and fever.

The campers are between the ages of 8 and 13. Camp officials say that 33 of the 120 campers reportedly fell ill. Highlands County Fire and Rescue officials said that none of the illnesses appeared to be serious.


Panama: Hantavirus

A total of 7 new hantavirus cases in Los Santos province were reported by health authorities in the province.

Delfina Sáez, head of Los Santos regional Public Health, indicated that 4 of them remain hospitalized in the Joaquín Pablo Franco Sayas Hospital in Las Tablas. Sáez said that 2 are being attended in intensive care.

The official stated that with these 7 cases the number of people ill from hantavirus is raised to 38 so far in 2018. She added that with the evident increase in cases of the disease, provincial, local and municipal authorities are involved, as well as rice and corn producers, to seek together new strategies to prevent and promote measures in the affected communities and avoid occurrence of new cases.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

An outbreak of Lassa fever has allegedly claimed the life of a male nurse working with Okomu Oil Palm Company staff clinic, located in Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State.

The victim said to be in his 30s and married with one child, works at the clinic, but lives with his family at Upper Sakponba area, in Benin City, whenever he is off duty at the clinic.


Greece: West Nile Virus

Two people in Greece have contracted the West Nile virus, which is carried by infected mosquitoes, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) said on Wednesday [27 Jun 2018] in its weekly epidemiological data posted on its website. 

The two patients who were diagnosed with the virus are the 1st cases recorded in 2018 and are in stable condition, the disease control agency said.

KEELPNO said the patients are from western Attica but noted that the virus' circulation areas in the current season cannot be safely predicted, as WNV's epidemiology is determined by many factors.

Outbreaks of the virus in humans and animals were recorded every year between 2010 and 2014, and in 2017 during the summer months in various regions of the country. The agency said it expects more cases during the year.


United States: Anthrax

Anthrax is responsible for recent deaths in a cattle herd in Bon Homme County, South Dakota. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says that at least 4 adult cattle died suddenly in the herd, which had not been vaccinated against anthrax.

He also confirmed that anthrax killed 8 cows from a herd of 87 unvaccinated cattle in Clark County, South Dakota.

Anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated alkaline soils, and nearly all areas of South Dakota have the potential of experiencing an outbreak under ideal climatic conditions. Significant climate changes such as drought, floods and wind can expose anthrax spores to grazing livestock.

Livestock producers are advised that anthrax should be suspected in cases of sudden death loss.

Affected animals are often found dead with no prior illness detected. Suspicious cases should be reported immediately to a local veterinarian or to the state veterinarian at the South Dakota Animal Industry Board. Anthrax is transmissible to people and other animals. Precaution and veterinarian guidance should be taken in handling, moving or disturbing carcasses that are suspected to have died of anthrax.

June 22, 2018

Liberia:  Lassa fever

The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has responded to the Lassa fever outbreak in the country.

According to a release issued in Monrovia, cases of Lassa fever are on the increase in the Lassa belt.

In the country, 4 new confirmed cases have been reported since the last outbreak in May. A blood specimen was collected and tested positive for Lassa fever on at the National Public Health Reference Laboratory. The recent case from Nimba County was confirmed by the NPHRL on June 7.

A total of 128 contacts, including 59 healthcare workers, have been line-listed and are being followed up. One case is currently undergoing treatment at Phebe Hospital in Gbarnga Bong County, while one has been discharged; 2 deaths have been reported in this recent outbreak.

Since the beginning of January, a total of 112 suspected cases have been reported across the country, of which 18 have been confirmed positive. The case fatality rate among confirmed cases is 72.2 percent. The high death rate is alarming to NPHIL, which has launched an in-depth investigation.

The release also discloses that although Lassa fever is not new to Liberia, it is a deadly viral disease that requires urgent attention. The disease is spread by rats through close contact with affected persons.

People are advised to keep their environment clean: cover dishes to prevent rats from defecating or urinating on them; cover food in tightly closed containers to prevent rats from playing in food or drinking water; do not eat rats because you can get the sickness by coming into contact with their blood, urine or feces, and do not dry food in open places where rats can reach.


Rwanda: Rift Valley Fever

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has announced that a Rift Valley fever outbreak has killed a total of 99 cows and caused 452 abortions in the districts of Kirehe, Ngoma, Kayonza, and Rwamagana in the Eastern Province.

According to MINAGRI, the disease, caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes, 1st appeared in the Eastern province on May 18.

The disease affects animals and humans. The ministry says that laboratory tests have revealed RVF virus in 80 percent of affected cattle.

In a statement, MINAGRI said that they have established teams of veterinarians to treat the affected cows. Currently, a total of 1,638 have been treated, and 1,202 among them were cured.

In Ngoma district alone, the disease killed 66 cows with 168 aborted; in Kirehe 17 died, while 159 aborted; in Kayonza 9 died, while 60 aborted, and in Rwamagana, 7 died, while 65 aborted.

According to MINAGRI, efforts to vaccinate cattle that have not been affected were intensified, and treatment services were made available to cattle with the disease symptoms.

MINAGRI urges people not to consume uninspected meat and to report cases presenting RVF-related symptoms to veterinarians.


United States: Equine herpesvirus

The Washington State Veterinarian's Office has quarantined a King County facility after a horse tested positive for non-neuropathogenic EHV-1.

The office received a report of a case of non-neuropathogenic equine herpesvirus-1 in a King County horse, the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported on June 13.

"The horse is in isolation, and the facility is currently under quarantine," the EDCC said. "Strict equine biosecurity is in place."

Earlier this year, several other facilities in King County were quarantined after resident horses tested positive for EHV-1. Those quarantines have since been released.

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and myeloencephalopathy (the neurologic form). In many horses, fever is the only sign of EHV-1 infection, which can go undetected.

In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around 8 months) but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from 2 weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1.


United States: Eastern equine encephalitis

After 2 horses in the past 2 weeks tested positive for a mosquito-borne illness, health officials in Nassau County issued a warning to residents who could be at risk.

Since the beginning of the year [2018], 4 horses have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) infection in Nassau County.

One sentinel chicken also tested positive for EEEV in 2018.

Officials said the risk of transmission to humans has increased, and they're urging residents to take precautions against exposure to mosquitos, which carry and transmit the virus.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

An outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in North Eastern counties has left at least 13 people dead. Hundreds have survived the hemorrhagic disease that leaves victims bleeding from most parts of their bodies including the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Blood is also passed through patients' feces and urine.

A week ago, Marsabit County residents were cautioned after the disease broke out in neighboring Wajir. Those who died are said to have consumed infected meat. Samples of the meat were tested by veterinary officers and found to contain the RVF virus.

According to County Director of Public Health Adano Kochi, RVF broke out in Marsabit in 2006. Other outbreaks were reported in 2016 and 2018. A total of 234 suspected cases have been discovered since the 1st outbreak, with about 13 deaths reported so far.

The outbreak has been blamed on prolonged rains leading to heavy flooding and stagnant waters, which create a conducive breeding environment for the Aedes and Culex mosquitoes, the main vectors for transmission of the disease. Human beings are infected through livestock when one comes in contact with body fluids or eats animal products like meat, milk and blood from sick animals.

Abortion, mostly among sheep and camels, hemorrhage and fever are among the signs of RVF in animals. For the past 3 weeks, the county has experienced increased cases of abortion in camels, goats and sheep. A total of 14 camels died in Funanyatta and Bori in Moyale, while 12 camels aborted. There are reports of more cases in Badanrero, Amballo, Ittir, Kargi, Olturot, Loglogo, Korr and Laisamis. Residents in affected areas have been advised to feed only on inspected livestock products including meat, milk and blood.

According to the county government, Moyale is hardest hit by the outbreak. In North Horr sub-county, North Horr, Balesa, Demo, Shuur and Maikona are the most affected.


India: Anthrax

A fresh anthrax outbreak has caused a scare in Khanjaloya Kadamtoli village under Pakartand block, where 2 tribals have been found infected with the life-threatening disease.

The fatal disease anthrax has again shown signs of comeback in Jharkhand's Simdega district, as 2 individuals were tested positive on June 18. Both are being treated in the district hospital.

Over 200 cases of anthrax were reported from the district in the last 2 years, out which 11 succumbed to the disease.

Simdega Civil Surgeon AE Ashraf confirmed the anthrax outbreak saying: "Both infected from the disease are out of danger. We are running an awareness program in the district. Impoverished tribals tend to skin the dead animals for meat, which seems to be the primary reason for the fresh outbreak."

A medical team is visiting the affected and neighboring villages for early identification of other anthrax infected individuals. The civil surgeon said a team of veterinary doctors had been dispatched to vaccinate domestic animals.

Talking to News18, some villagers said that on May 22, they consumed meat of a dead goat. After some days, 2 of them complained of skin problems. Both were rushed to the district hospital where the anthrax infection was confirmed.


China: Avian influenza

Coined 'Disease X', a new strain of bird flu -- H7N9 -- has sparked fears of a major outbreak among scientists, having already infected more than 1,600 people.

Symptoms of infection include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and organ failure. The virus has already killed 623 people within China.

At this time, the H7N9 can't be spread between humans -- and can only be contracted from contact with birds. However, experts suspect as few as 3 mutations could result in a human-to-human contagion -- and potentially a worldwide pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said: "Influenza viruses constantly change and it is possible that this virus could gain the ability to spread easily and sustainably among people, triggering a global outbreak of disease."

England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam also expressed fears that H7N9 'could be the cause of the next pandemic'.


Latvia: African swine fever

A 2nd outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) among domestic pigs this year has been registered in a farm in western Latvia, the Latvian Food and Veterinary Service said.

The latest ASF outbreak has been registered in Strautini farm in Kursisi county. The Food and Veterinary Service said it was taking the appropriate measures to contain the disease. The 4 pigs in the infected farm will be culled, and an epidemiological investigation has been launched to establish how the pigs had got the disease.

A quarantine zone has been established, and biosafety measures in nearby farms will be scrutinized.

This is the 2nd ASF outbreak among domestic pigs registered in Latvia this year. The 1st outbreak was registered on June 12 in a farm with 165 pigs in Jaunsvirlaukas county, Jelgava region, southern Latvia.

Before that, the last time ASF was found in domestic pigs in Latvia was in October 2017.


USA: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

An Indiana man came down with Rocky Mountain spotted fever after he was bit by a tick in Illinois. He is recovering.

Early treatment of this disease can prevent death or serious illness. The problem with this type -- and other types of tick-borne diseases -- is they often start out like the flu, so they can be misdiagnosed. But in this case, he remembered something that helped doctors make a quick diagnosis. He is an avid outdoorsman who says he spends most of his free time outside. He and his friends traveled to southern Illinois for a long weekend away.

Doctors immediately took blood tests and put him on a strong antibiotic before diagnosing him with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If left untreated, it can be deadly. In fact, it is the same disease that killed an Indiana toddler last year after she was misdiagnosed.

June 15, 2018

United States: Anthrax

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirmed anthrax in one calf on a Jim Hogg County premises. This is the 1st anthrax case in Texas this year.

The premises is located about 30 miles south of Hebbronville and has been quarantined. TAHC rules require proper disposal of affected carcasses and vaccination of other cattle on the premise prior to release of the quarantine. "TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation," said Dr Susan Rollo, TAHC state epidemiologist. "Producers are encouraged to remain vigilant and consult with their local veterinary practitioner if they suspect their animals are exposed to anthrax or are interested in vaccinating their livestock."

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, which is a naturally occurring organism with worldwide distribution, including certain parts of Texas. Anthrax cases in Texas are historically found in the triangular area bound by the towns of Uvalde, Ozona, and Eagle Pass. This area includes portions of Crockett, Val Verde, Sutton, Edwards, Kinney, and Maverick counties. A vaccine is available for use in susceptible livestock in high risk areas.

Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are common signs of anthrax in livestock. Carcasses may also appear bloated and decompose quickly. Livestock or animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private veterinary practitioner or a TAHC official.

Nigeria: Monkeypox

The Plateau State Government has confirmed that the state has recorded 2 positive cases of monkeypox in the Shendam Local Government Area. Dr Kunden Deyin, the state commissioner for health, told the News Agency of Nigeria June 7 that the 1st case recorded was imported from Port-Harcourt, as the victim came in from Rivers for treatment.

According to the commissioner, the infected victim eventually infected his brother and both of them were treated at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital in Jos and discharged. Deyin said that the state's Epidemiology and Surveillance unit of the ministry are still monitoring the contacts to curtail the spread of the disease.

The commissioner said that the symptoms of monkeypox were similar to that of chickenpox but more severe. He said that the disease is primarily transmitted from animal to man while the secondary source of transmission is through human to human contact. ‎‎Deyin warned that people who kill, touch or cook bush animals, such as rats, squirrels and monkeys were at risk of contracting the disease as they serve as reservoirs of the virus. He cautioned the public to desist from indulging in such acts. ‎Deyin also called on the public to report any sign of unexplained rashes to the nearest health facility.

He further disclosed that the number of suspected cases has risen from the initial 87 to 126. However, he assured that the ministry is working in collaboration with WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to contain the disease.

The commissioner further cautioned the public to ensure that they practice handwashing and maintaining good hygiene as measures of preventing the disease. Besides, Deyin further cautioned that people should desist from eating uncooked vegetables, raw fish, street foods and ensure that ‎they drink boiled water. He also called on the public to report cases of diarrhea and vomiting to the nearest health facility.

Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

In Wajir, 2 more people have died of suspected Rift Valley fever (RVF) bringing the death toll to 4 as panic grips the county.

Wajir county's chief health officer Noor Sheikh Mohamed said the 2 deaths occurred outside the local referral hospital but have not independently verified the report. "We cannot exactly confirm the 2 deaths, but we have sent a team on the ground for confirmation since the area has low network connectivity and the victims died away from our facilities," Mr Mohamed said.

The 1st 2 victims, both male, died on June 4 at the Wajir Referral Hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RVF is an acute, fever-causing viral disease most commonly observed in domesticated animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels, which has the ability to infect and cause illness in humans. The disease is caused by RVF virus (RVFV) and was first reported in livestock by veterinary officers in Kenya's Rift Valley in the early 1910s. The disease has been reported in Basir and Lakoley areas in Eldas sub-county.

Hundreds of livestock continue to die in the area due to the outbreak with camels and goats the most affected. In an earlier interview with the Nation, Mr Mohamed said that all the victims had shown symptoms of RVF but they had sent blood samples to the Kenya Medical Research Institute for further tests.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

This year's 3rd case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in Karachi was reported late on June 5 after an 18 year old patient was admitted to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC). Speaking to The Express Tribune, JPMC executive director Dr Seemin Jamali confirmed that the patient tested positive for CCHF, commonly known as Congo virus. "The patient hails from Quetta," she said, adding that he was bleeding when he was brought to the hospital.

According to Jamali, the patient arrived in Karachi a week ago and he had symptoms of the disease. He was admitted to a private hospital due to a high fever before being shifted to JPMC. The doctor added that the patient had been kept in isolation in an intensive care unit due to the contagious nature of the disease. "He is kept on a symptomatic treatment and platelets are being infused in addition to anti-viral medications."

Earlier this year, a 36 year old resident of Lyari died at Liaquat National Hospital in Karachi due to complications of Congo virus. Another patient who tested positive for Congo virus was successfully treated at JPMC and discharged, Jamali said.

CCHF is a viral disease typically spread by tick bites or contact with livestock carrying the disease. It can be spread among people via body fluids. Symptoms of the virus include fever, ache in muscle, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding. The symptoms start emerging 2 weeks following the exposure to the disease. The recovery process generally takes around 2 weeks after the onset. According to experts, humans and animal healthcare authorities and livestock handlers need to adopt precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

According to an advisory notice issued by the National Institute of Health, Congo virus is more rampant in Balochistan than in other provinces. However, cases have been reported from all the regions of the country.

There is currently no vaccine available for humans and the only way to reduce infection is by raising awareness. Medical practitioners advise avoiding close physical contact with CCHF-infected people, and wearing gloves and protective equipment while attending to them.


Rwanda: Rift Valley fever

At least 100 cows in Ngoma district of Eastern province have died from Rift Valley fever (RVF) in recent weeks. The disease has also spread to the nearby Kirehe district.

RVF is an acute fever-causing viral disease that's commonly observed in domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. It can also attack wild animals such as buffaloes. The disease is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes and blood feeding flies and mostly affects animals but it can also be transmitted to humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In humans, the disease ranges from a mild flu-like illness to severe hemorrhagic fever that can be deadly.

Ngoma district vice mayor for Finance and Economic Development, Jean-Marie Vianney Rwiririza, told The New Times on June 5 that 102 cows had died from the fatal disease, while 103 others have aborted since the disease was first reported in the district.

WHO says RVF can cause significant economic losses due to high mortality rate among young animals and waves of abortions. The virus was first identified in 1931 among sheep on a farm in the Rift Valley of Kenya.

The vice mayor for Finance and Economic Planning of Kirehe, Jean-Damascène Nsengiyumva, said that about 16 cows in the district had been successfully treated of the infection while 22 were still undergoing treatment. "We are vaccinating cows which have not yet been infected and treating those infected," Nsengiyumva told The New Times.

Officials at Rwanda Agriculture Board [RAB] say that RVF was first recorded in Rwanda in 2011 and the government started vaccinating cows against the disease in 2015. The vaccines are provided free of charge.


United States: Chronic wasting disease

A total of 3 more captive deer in Pennsylvania have tested positive for chronic wasting disease [CWD], the state Department of Agriculture said on June 8. One of the deer was from a breeding farm in West Cocalico Township, in Lancaster County. The deer was among a herd that was euthanized after a 2-and-a-half-year-old buck tested positive in February. It was the only positive result among 36 deer tested.

The disease also was confirmed in 2 white-tailed deer on a small hobby farm in Greenfield Township, Blair County. The Agriculture Department said the deer are the 1st CWD positives among captive deer in Blair County. The farm is now under quarantine.

A total of 49 deer have tested positive for the fatal disease since it was discovered in Pennsylvania in 2012.

Chronic wasting disease attacks the brain of infected deer, elk, and moose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no strong evidence that humans or livestock can contract the disease.


India: Nipah virus

The deadly Nipah virus that struck Kozhikode district in Kerala last month and claimed 16 lives in the state has been finally contained, and the last of the 2 positive cases have fully recovered, said Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja.

Including the man who was the 1st person suspected to have died of the infection, the death toll stands at 17.

The virus struck at Kozhikode, which saw 13 people dying, while 3 deaths were reported from nearby Malappuram district, and more than 2,000 patients with fever were kept under close observation.

After presiding over a review meeting, the Health Minister told media persons that the virus scare is finally over.

"We visited the 2 Nipah-positive patients who have been completely cured, and, according to many, this is something rare. The scare of this getting spread is finally over, as no more patients have tested positive, but a caution has to be there for those who are under observation, as they have to take complete rest," said Shailaja.

The district authorities, following the scare, had asked to wait for schools to reopen in the new academic year, and now schools are all set to open from June 12 onwards while the ban on public functions has also been lifted.

The Kozhikode Medical College hospital, where a special Nipah ward was opened, is now seeing patients returning home, said an official.

Earlier on June 4, the state health department had declared that apart from the 18 positive cases, no new cases were reported. Of the total 244 samples sent for testing, as many as 226 samples turned negative, the department said.

The state department had confirmed that nobody has been affected with Nipah virus since May.


Sri Lanka: Leptospirosis

Sri Lanka health officials have reported an increase in the number cases of the bacterial disease, leptospirosis during the 1st 5 months of 2018. From January-May 2017, authorities reported 1,022 cases; however, for the same period in 2018, 1,525 cases were reported. The districts seeing the most leptospirosis cases year-to-date include Kalutara [Western province], Ratnapura [Sabaragamuwa province], Monaragala [Uva province], and Gampaha [Western province]. For Colombo district in the 1st 5 months of 2017, 47 cases were reported. This has been nearly doubled in 2018 with 91 cases.

The ColomboPage reports the Health Promotion Bureau (HPB) Director and Epidemiologist Dr Paba Palihawadana has warned the public to take precautions to protect themselves leptospirosis due to the current rainy weather. Persons at greatest risk of contracting leptospirosis are farmers and agricultural workers, sanitation workers and sewer workers. However, anyone exposed to rat contaminated water and soil is also at risk of contracting the disease.


India: Japanese encephalitis

The Bhopal Health department has issued an alert in the state after 2 children -- one each from Vidisha and Hoshangabad -- died of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) in Hamidia Hospital. Malaria Officer Akhilesh Dubey said, "As per the alert, hospitals have been directed to conduct Japanese encephalitis test on the patients which complain of cough and fever.

Teams have been constituted to conduct door to door surveys at war footing." Another patient of Ashok Nagar is still undergoing treatment in AIIMS, Bhopal. A 14-year-old native of Puranpura village in Vidisha and a 3-year-old native of Gohikheda village in Hoshangabad were referred to Hamidia Hospital after the test confirmed that their blood samples were Japanese encephalitis positive.

Their treatment was carried on as per the established guidelines and medical protocol. Their blood samples have been sent to AIIMS, Bhopal for tests. National Vector borne control program officer Dr. Himanshu Jaiswal said, "We have advised the hospitals to be alerts on the basis of advisory. If patients get timely consultation then there is [no reason] to panic."

"JEV is prevalent in UP [Uttar Pradesh], Bihar, and Jharkhand [states] and 2 deaths were also reported last year. So if deaths or cases increase, government will consider undertaking mass vaccination."

JEV is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, and belongs to the same genus as dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile viruses. While most infections result in little or no symptoms, occasional inflammation of the brain occurs -- in these cases symptoms may include headache, vomiting, fever, confusion, and seizure. JEV is the prime cause of viral encephalitis in Asia.


Bulgaria: Avian influenza

An outbreak of a virulent bird flu virus has spread to another farm in northeastern Bulgaria, the national food safety agency said June 13.

A 3-kilometer protection zone was set around the farm in the village of Donchevo and the sale of eggs and the movement of domestic, wild, and other birds was banned within it, the agency said in a statement.

"All contaminated and contact birds in 2 of the farm halls will be culled in a humane manner," it said.

Two weeks ago the agency authorities reported an outbreak of the virus on a duck farm in the village of Stefanovo and said birds on the farm were being culled.

Bulgaria has reported a handful of outbreaks in the past year, some involving the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus.


United States: Hantavirus

Washington Health Department officials confirmed a local woman died June 13 from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome [HPS], a disease [virus] transmitted through rodent droppings.

The woman, 67, and her husband, lived in Redmond but also maintained a home in the 3 Rivers community in Culver.

According to a neighbor, she had come to the Culver home before Memorial Day to prepare for a family visit.

"They have a loft in their barn that they use for extra sleeping," said a neighbor and friend. "She had gone out with a Shop-vac. She didn't know, as well as most people didn't, that you should wear protective gear and all that stuff."

Hantavirus exposures usually occur after breathing in the virus when rodent urine and droppings are stirred up into the air. People can also become infected when they touch mouse or rat urine, droppings, or nesting materials that contain the virus, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. The disease is not spread from person to person, and cats and dogs cannot transmit hantavirus infections to people.

"A lot of times it will happen after an area has been closed up for a while, a summer home or a barn, something like that. They go in and they do spring cleaning, and there are mice droppings everywhere," said Heather Kaisner, a spokeswoman for the health department.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Experts are closely monitoring 5 people at an isolation center set up in Mubende district. This was after a patient succumbed to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF).

The 35-year old man was first recorded at a clinic in district with high fever and persistent vomiting. When his symptoms did not subside after a few days of treatment, he was referred to Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

On arrival, several tests were carried out and turned out negative. Suspicious health officials placed the patient in the isolation center from where he received intravenous fluids. He died in the wee hours of the night he was admitted.

Dr. Sarah Opendi, the Minister of Health in charge of General Duties told The Independent that samples from the patient tested at the Uganda Virus Research Institute revealed he had succumbed to CCHF. The incident immediately triggered the standard hemorrhagic fever response, including monitoring of known contacts of the dead patients.

A national rapid response team was dispatched to Mubende to collect more information and assist the district to mount an appropriate response that included orientating health workers on how to carefully handle suspected patients.

June 8, 2018

India: Nipah virus

In southern India, the Nipah virus has claimed 3 new victims in recent days. The epidemic, which is currently limited to part of Kerala, worries the health authorities of the state that thought to have had it mastered. This virus, spread by a frugivorous bat, has already killed 16 people in Kerala since mid-May.

The Kerala government is again on high alert after 3 more deaths since May 31 from people infected with the Nipah virus and 6 new patients were admitted June 1 in a hospital in Kozhikode, a city in northern Kerala recognized as the epicenter of this epidemic. Authorities now fear a 2nd wave of infections, as the spread of the virus seemed to be under control early this week.

Nearly 1,300 people, who have been in contact with people infected with the virus, are under observation. For its part, the government of Kerala has announced several measures: all official meetings have been postponed until further notice. The civil service entrance exams have also been postponed and Kozhikode schools will remain closed until next June 5. Staff at a hospital where 4 of the deceased were being treated were also ordered to take leave as a precautionary measure.

The Indian Ministry of Health issued a public health advisory, recalling that the virus was localized and should not panic. The Nipah virus, for which there is no vaccine, has already appeared in India in 2001 and 2007 on the Bangladeshi border, leaving dozens of dead.


United States: Hantavirus

Health officials in Placer County say a Tahoe-area resident died after contracting hantavirus.

According to a statement from county health officials, rodents at the home where the resident lived and worked were the likely source, health officials said.

They said the public is not at risk from the source tied to the resident's death.

"We are very sorry to announce that hantavirus was involved in this tragic death of one of our community members," said Placer County Health Officer Rob Oldham said in a press release. "This unfortunate loss reminds us that hantaviruses are very dangerous. But the silver lining is that hantavirus infections are quite rare and can be prevented. It appears that the source associated with this fatal infection has been cleaned."

Placer County includes Lake Tahoe's northwest shore from about Homewood to the Nevada border near Crystal Bay.

Rodents can carry hantaviruses and spread them via their urine, droppings and saliva.


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has caused 10 deaths in Iran since mid-March.

CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus. The disease outbreak normally occurs in spring, and it becomes more severe with the beginning of the livestock breeding season.

In spite of receiving the best medical care, in general, 10 percent of the patients affected by the virus face death, Mohammad Nabavi, deputy director for the communicable diseases department of the Ministry of Health said.

Every year, a number of people die of the fever, Nabavi said, adding that some 10 percent of the people who are diagnosed with Crimean-Congo fever and receive proper medical care may die, while this number increases to 50 percent for the people who do not get any treatment.

Annually, some 100 to 150 cases of Crimean-Congo fever are reported in Iran.


Liberia: Lassa fever

Tolbert Nyenswah, Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, says Liberia has reported 73 suspected cases of Lassa fever, with 13 confirmed.

At the beginning of May, the Margibi County Health Team declared a health emergency following 2 confirmed cases of Lassa fever deaths in less than a week.

The newly assigned county health officer, Dr. Myers Pajibo, told a press briefing that the 2 cases involve a 56-year-old male and a 35-year-old female, who both showed signs of the fever by profusely vomiting with blood and subsequently dying.

Pajibo noted that the specimen taken from the deceased had been confirmed by the medical reference lab as Lassa fever, leaving the County Health Team with no alternative but to treat the case as a medical emergency.

During last week's Ministry of Information regular press briefing, Nyenswah said from January 2018 to the 2nd week of May, 73 suspected cases was reported with 13 confirmed. He also confirmed that there had not been any additional deaths.

He explained that the current outbreak of Lassa fever can be found in Nimba, Bong, Lofa, and Grand Bassa.


France: E. Coli

More Reblochon cheese from a factory in the French Alps will be removed from the market after children were infected by Escherichia coli linked to the raw milk-based product with one child possibly dying from it, health authorities said.

French food retailer Leclerc had already issued a recall of Reblochon products produced by cheesemaker Chabert and sold in its own shops under the "Nos régions ont du talent" ("Our regions have talent") brand. That was extended in mid-May 2018 to concern all distributors of the suspect cheese, including retailers Carrefour and Intermarché, which sold the cheese produced in Cruseilles in the Haute-Savoie region under their own brand. The move came after health authorities linked 7 cases of E. coli O26 bacteria among children between 1.5 and 3 years old to the cheese, which is a creamy specialty of the French Alps.

On Fri 1 June 2018, the national public health center extended the recall after 14 suspected new cases of children between 1 and 5 were discovered. 6 of the 14 cases of infection involved hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) with E. coli O26, a potentially serious condition that can cause kidney failure among young children.

"The traceability survey conducted by health authorities after a new infection case ... enabled the identification of new batches of Reblochon that were not targeted by the original recall," the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.


United States: Chronic wasting disease

The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has quarantined a deer farm in Dane County and an elk farm in Richland County due to chronic wasting disease (CWD). This is a result of the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA confirming that samples from a 15 year old whitetail doe and a 2 year old elk cow were positive for CWD.

The 10 acre Dane County deer farm has 6 whitetail deer that have been registered with DATCP since 2003. The farm has been double-fenced since 2009. Since 2010, the farm has had 20 deer sampled for CWD.

Since March, the 20 acre Richland County elk farm has had 11 elk and there have been no elk purchases or sales on the farm in the past 5 years. Since 2007, the farm has had 25 elk sampled for CWD.


United States: Newcastle Disease

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [has] confirmed 3 additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease in backyard birds in San Bernardino County, California. A complete list of confirmed cases is available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/vnd.

Virulent Newcastle disease has not been found in commercial poultry in the United States since 2003.

Samples from the flocks were tested at the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirms all findings. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to these findings and to conduct an epidemiological investigation. Federal and State partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.


Cameroon: Monkeypox

At least 16 people in Cameroon are thought to have monkeypox, a disease that hasn't been reported in the nation since 1989. Cases have been reported in 3 different areas.

Initial investigations show the 1st person infected in the current outbreak may have had contact with a gorilla before becoming ill. People can contract the virus from an infected animal. They may be bitten or come into contact with an infected animal's skin, blood or body fluids. Infected people can pass on the disease to others. There is no monkeypox vaccine. Prevent infection by observing hygiene and avoiding contact with animals.

Monkeypox cases have been reported in Njikwa, Northwest province and Akwaya, Southwest province, Biyem-Assi, Central Region, Bertoua, Eastern Region, and Fotokol, Far-North Region. The 1st known cases, in Njikwa, sought medical care at the end of April [2018] for symptoms, including a rash. Samples were collected, and one of them was confirmed to have monkeypox. The national Ministry of Health then declared an outbreak. A total of 16 cases have been reported. So far, only one case has been confirmed with laboratory testing. None of the patients have died.


Pakistan: Leishmaniasis

The Mohmand Agency political administration has launched the 3rd phase of the campaign against leishmaniasis with help of Frontier Corps North Headquarters [HQ/FC]. After receiving 400 injections from the HQ/FC, the 3rd phase of leishmaniasis treatment campaign was launched in selected health facilities in the Mohmand Agency.

A total of 282 patients, predominantly children, were treated on the 1st day of the campaign. Moreover, as a preventive measure, LLIN (long lasting insecticide nets) were handed over to the health facilities. Up to 120 bed nets were given to Baizai tehsildar for onward distribution in Ghanam Shah, Yari Khel and Spenki Tangi areas.

The campaign will last until the registered and under-treatment patients receive the 3rd dose.


Australia: Anthrax

Vets fear the recent spate of deaths attributed to pimelea in the southwest may have actually been caused by anthrax and are warning all producers in the affected Maranoa and Balonne area to burn all carcasses as a precaution.

Speaking publicly for the first time since three major anthrax incidents at St George and Dirranbandi, local vet Libby Price, who was first on the scene of each case, questioned if some deaths put down to pimelea should have been further investigated. "I've been here 16 years and I wonder now if a lot of the deaths being put down to pimelea over the years, there may be other factors that we haven't picked up," she said. "It's certainly more prevalent than what we are aware."

In March last year, 120 head of cattle died from anthrax on a St George property following soil disturbance caused by grading.


Sierra Leone: Lassa fever

The surveillance supervisor of the Lassa Fever Unit at the government hospital in Kenema, Lansana Kanneh, said the rate of Lassa fever infection in the Kenema district is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2017, in Kenema District, the Lassa Fever Unit recorded 17 cases and 11 died. From January to May 2018, 18 cases have been recorded and 7 have died. He said the unit is expecting more cases.

Kanneh attributed the high rate of death to delayed arrival at the hospital. He said people continue to self-medicate, visit "quack" doctors or engage in traditional remedies, and they arrive at the hospital half dead. Kanneh said lassa fever is an infectious disease that can affect anyone, all tribes, old and young, male and female. The disease is caused by a small germ, invisible to the naked eye, called the Lassa virus. Like other diseases, Lassa fever can present differently; some people will become slightly ill but others will die from the disease.

Lassa fever was discovered in Sierra Leone in 1972 in Panguma in the Lower Bambara chiefdom, Kenema district. It has been discovered in other parts of the country including Koinadugu, Tonkolili and Bombali districts with the exception of Western Area. Presently, it is prevalent in Dodo, Nongowa and Lower Bambara chiefdoms.

Lassa fever is spread by rats and you can also get lassa fever from someone who already has the disease or someone who has recently had the disease.

June 1, 2018

India: Nipah virus

A soldier has died here of suspected Nipah virus infection, a defense spokesman said on May 30.

The soldier, who hails from Kerala and was posted at the Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William, was admitted to the Command Hospital on May 20 and passed away on May 25, the spokesman said.

He had been on a month's leave to Kerala.

The Nipah virus another life in Kerala on May 27, taking the death toll to 14 even as health authorities reiterated that the situation was under control and no fresh case was reported from affected areas.

The latest victim was identified as a 26-year-old man, who was admitted at a private hospital in Kozhikode with infection.

In the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, 2 more Nipah-infected people are undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit, state health officials said. Following directions of the Union Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda, a multi-disciplinary Central Team led by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is presently in Kerala constantly reviewing the situation of the Nipah virus disease.

After reviewing the cases of all the patients who have lost their lives, the Central High-level Team is of the view that the Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence. The Team has also further fine-tuned the draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation accordingly.

The Central Team held meetings with the District Collectors and the medical and paramedical staff of the hospitals today also to review the condition of the admitted patients and to consider further course of action to be taken to prevent the disease from spreading. The efforts taken so far for containment of the disease have been fruitful as the disease has not spread to new areas. The contact tracing strategy adopted has also been successful. It has been found that all the reported cases including the suspected cases had direct or indirect contact with the 1st casualty/his family prior to contacting the disease.

General awareness among the general public has been encouraging. They have been asked to follow safe hygiene practices, not to consume fruits/vegetables partly eaten by birds/animals and steps to be taken while going near the infected persons/areas. The State Government has also issued advisories in the vernacular. The continued round-the-clock presence of the Central and State Teams in the affected areas right from day one of the outbreak and the surveillance and preventive actions taken by them, have instilled confidence among the public.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A teenager from Quetta has contracted the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and is being treated in the isolation ward of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

The teen was brought to the JPMC with a bleeding nose and mouth on May 23, the hospital's executive director said. His tests from a private laboratory confirmed that he is infected with the CCHF virus.

The CCHF is caused when a person comes into contact with the deadly virus that is found in ticks present on the bodies of cattle and some other animals. People dealing with such animals, including shepherds, butchers and dairy farmers, are at a higher risk of contracting the disease, which has a mortality rate of up to 40 per cent.

As many as 2 people, a resident of Lyari Town and a middle-aged woman from Mianwali, died in Karachi in April and May due to complications of the CCHF. JPMC doctors said the teenaged patient from Quetta is in a serious condition, as his platelets have dropped to an alarmingly low level, and despite undergoing treatment, he is in a critical state.

"The patient is a bus conductor by profession and has no history of dealing with cattle or other animals," the hospital director said. "We are trying our level best to save his life by providing him the best available treatment."

According to experts, patients of the CCHF need to be kept in isolation wards, and doctors and paramedical staff should adopt extreme precautionary measures to avoid contracting the disease themselves, as in several past cases the caregivers have fallen victim to the lethal virus. JPMC officials said they have provided the necessary protective gear and equipment to the staff that are treating the Quetta teenager, and made the assurance that the virus will be contained.


Reunion Island: Leptospirosis

Since the beginning of the year, 89 cases of leptospirosis have been reported in Reunion (against 50 in 2017). This disease can be contracted through contact with contaminated wetland (stagnant water, mud, etc). The West and South are the most affected regions with 21 confirmed cases in Saint-Paul.

Once again, the cleaning of courtyards and gardens or bathing in fresh water [flood water that is contaminated with urine from infected animals, e.g., rats, dogs] after heavy rains is particularly risky. The ARS Indian Ocean [the French Regional Health Agency in charge of health administration for Mayotte and La Réunion islands] wants to sensitize the population: it is essential to apply protective measures and fight against rats.

Leptospirosis is a zoonotic bacterial infection that is distributed widely throughout the world in warm climates and is transmitted to humans by direct contact of abraded skin or mucous membranes with the urine of infected animals or by contact with wet soil, vegetation, or water that has been contaminated with infected animal urine. Leptospira bacteria shed in urine may survive in fresh water or moist soil for weeks to months. Many species of wild and domestic animals (including dogs, cattle, swine, and especially rats) are susceptible to chronic kidney infection with pathogenic Leptospira. Different leptospiral serovars are prevalent in particular geographical regions. Inadequate disposal of trash and debris provides a suitable habitat for rat infestation in urban settings. Outbreaks of leptospirosis frequently follow heavy rainfall, flooding with fresh water, and increasing rodent numbers. Reunion experiences seasonal outbreaks of leptospirosis probably related to the rainfall.


United States: E. coli

The local Homegrown Organic chain of sandwich shops has been linked to a small outbreak of Shiga toxin producing E. coli infections in the Seattle area, according to county health investigators. A total of 4 people in King County have been sickened since May 23 after eating at 3 different Homegrown stores. All of the people sickened ate the chicken pesto sandwich, according to health officials.

"On May 24, Environmental Health investigators visited the 3 Homegrown locations where the ill persons reported eating. During the field inspections, potential risk factors, including handwashing facilities violations at 2 of the 3 locations, and a cold holding temperature violation at one of the 3 locations, were identified and discussed with the restaurant managers.

"We are also investigating the various ingredients of the chicken pesto sandwich. All Homegrown locations in King County have stopped selling this particular sandwich while the investigation is ongoing," King County Health wrote in a bulletin about the infections.

Health investigators revisited each location on May 25 to verify that the restaurants had been cleaned. If you have eaten at Homegrown and have E. coli [infection] symptoms - bloody diarrhea in particular -- visit your physician to get tested for the virus.

Homegrown released a statement about the outbreak, saying the stores are taking "aggressive" action to prevent further infections. "The incidents occurred at our Redmond, Kirkland and South Lake Union stores in Washington State. We are taking aggressive action to ensure these are isolated incidents. Specifically, we removed the sauce from our stores as soon as we were notified of the incidents, and we are working closely with all vendors in our supply chain to ensure that all potential food safety risks are eliminated," the statement read.


Ireland: E. coli

A community creche in County Monaghan has been closed over an outbreak of an E. coli infection among children and staff. Ballybay Community Creche was forced to close following the outbreak, to limit the spread of the infection. All children and staff members are due to be screened to see if they have picked up the infection.

The outbreak is believed to be of the Verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (generally now referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli [STEC] or enterohemorrhagic E. coli [EHEC]) strain of the bacterium, which causes mild illness in most cases. However in some serious cases EHEC can produce a toxin that damages the wall of the bowel, which can lead to severe diarrhea. In 5-8 per cent of cases the infection can cause hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is potentially life threatening. HUS, which is more common among children under 5 years of age and the elderly, can result in anemia and subsequent kidney failure.

A spokeswoman for the Health Service Executive said the Monaghan creche was closed after "a number of linked cases of EHEC infection" were detected. "Parents and caregivers of children attending the creche have been advised to monitor their children to see if they develop the symptoms of diarrhea, particularly bloody diarrhea," the spokeswoman said. EHEC is commonly transmitted by personal contact, and is particularly common in childcare facilities.

So far in 2018, there have been 36 recorded cases of EHEC infections in the northeast region. In a minority of cases the patients were hospitalized, but there were no fatalities. In 2017 there were 73 recorded cases.

The HSE has previously warned the frequency of EHEC infections has been increasing in recent years, and advised the public to avoid infection by taking precautions such as keeping up good hand-washing practices.


Bolivia: Hantavirus

The National Center for Tropical Diseases (CENETROP), confirmed that the death of a 6 year old child from the Santa Rosa community was caused by leptospirosis and hantavirus.

Erasmo Tapial epidemiologist in the Virgen de Guadalupe Hospital, stated that the report received from CENETROP confirmed the cause of death. "We informed the authorities of a death case of a 6 year old child in our municipality, reported positive for both leptospirosis and for hantavirus by CENTROP" Tapia said.

He that the child presented with symptoms 10 days earlier. His family decided to take him to the Virgen de Guadalupe Health Center 4 days after having had fever during 5 days, gastrointestinal pain, headache and vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. Unhappily, the boy arrived at the hospital without vital signs.

Given this, the Epidemiological Surveillance Unit carried out the related inquiries to determine the cause of death. After analysis of the clinical presentation, medical personnel took samples for laboratory testing for influenza, leptospirosis and hantaviruses and sent them to CENETROP in Santa Cruz.

Once the results were available, they proceeded according to established protocol and carried out control measures with family members of the deceased boy in the educational unit in the community.


Uganda: Anthrax

Uganda has been experiencing recurrent outbreaks of anthrax since February 2018, with 4 districts being affected. In the latest event that occurred in the week ending May 20, Kiruhura District in the western region has reported an outbreak of anthrax in humans, with a concurrent epizootic outbreak in the animal population. As of May 23, a total of 22 human cases of cutaneous anthrax have been reported in Engari Sub-county, with no deaths. A total of 35 heads of cattle from 16 farms have reportedly died of the disease. Of 18 animal samples collected, 7 tested positive on anthrax rapid diagnostic test. Test results of 9 human and 15 animal samples are awaited.

On May 21, a cluster of 3 suspected human cases of cutaneous anthrax was reported in Zombo District in the northern region. The case patients, 3 children from one family, presented to the district hospital with skin lesions typical of an anthrax infection. Swab samples from the skin lesions have been collected and shipped to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI). The test results are still pending.

On April 20, a cluster of 7 case-patients from Kaplopwotow village, Kween District in the eastern region presented to the local health facility with skin blisters and edema of the upper limbs. The case patients reportedly participated in skinning, handling and/or eating a dead cow, alongside other people. As of May 21, a total of 48 human cases (with no deaths) have been reported. Most of the cases have the cutaneous form of the disease, a few have gastrointestinal features and one inhalation. A total of 10 cows have reportedly died of the disease, 4 of them within the same kraal in Kaplopwoto village.

On April 5, an outbreak of cutaneous anthrax was confirmed in Arua District in northern Uganda. The outbreak emerged on Feb. 3 in Rhino Camp Sub-county, a refugee settlement. A total of 10 cases (one confirmed, 7 probable and 2 suspected) were reported, with no deaths. No new cases have since been reported.


France: Leptospirosis

The mayor of Libourne opened an environmental survey after the death of a triathlete with leptospirosis the week of May 14. He regularly swam at Lac des Dagueys, but for the moment, there is no evidence that he contracted the disease while swimming.

The mayor of Libourne said on May 28 that she is taking precautions around Lake Dagueys, following the death.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease transmitted primarily by rodent urine and may be present in fresh water, the Institut Pasteur reports. A vaccine is offered in France only to highly exposed workers (sewer workers, garbage collectors).

The Regional Health Agency and the health watch cell were alerted to determine the presence of other cases. An environmental survey was initiated with inspections around the lake for rodent presence and herd proximity. Samples of the water of the Dagueys were made and sent to the Institut Pasteur; the results will be known within 10 days.

However, the town hall indicates that "the origin of the contamination is uncertain. No link can currently be established with swimming in Lake Dagueys," The sportsman belonging to the club of Libourne trained there regularly.

"Any body of water can contain leptospirosis," said Elisabeth Dugos, president of the triathlon club in Libourne, who calls on people not to be "alarmist." She recalls that the athlete was able to contract bacterial disease out of the water: "It is enough for rats to urinate on a wooden board." She said the triathletes continue to swim at Dagueys Lake.

May 25, 2018

United States: Newcastle Disease

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Los Angeles County, California. It is important to note that the presence of the disease is not a food safety concern. This is the 1st case of virulent Newcastle disease, previously referred to as exotic Newcastle disease, in the U.S. since 2003.

No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to the finding. Federal and State partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.

It is essential that all bird owners follow good biosecurity practices to help protect their birds from infectious diseases. These include simple steps like washing hands and scrubbing boots before and after entering a poultry area; cleaning and disinfecting tires and equipment before moving them off the property; and isolating any birds returning from shows for 30 days before placing them with the rest of the flock.

Virulent Newcastle disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry.


Brazil: Rabies

Brazil’s Para Health Department reported having reported 12 cases of human rabies in the state, including 6 deaths. So far, at least one case has been confirmed.

According to the agency, a patient died May 15 at the Hospital Regional de Breves. Four children are hospitalized at Santa Casa de Misericordia in Belem and one at the Breves Regional Hospital, which also serves an adult with suspected illness. Most patients remain in a serious condition.

By means of a note, the secretariat said that it continues the work of research and prevention of human rabies in the municipality of Melgaco, in the Marajo Archipelago. On May 14, 1,000 doses of rabies vaccine and 300 bottles of antirabies serum were sent to the region. The actions are concentrated in the locality of Rio Laguna, about 70 kilometers from Melgaco, where approximately 1,000 people live. So far, 500 people have been vaccinated.

Still according to the state government, serological collections were performed on all patients -- including those who died -- and referred to the Pasteur Institute, in Sao Paulo, a reference laboratory for the diagnosis of human rabies. Since the last day 4 teams of epidemiological surveillance and health surveillance are in place to investigate the suspicions, in partnership with the Agricultural Defense Agency of Para and the Ministry of Health.

All cases reported by the Department of Health as suspects for human rabies present a similar picture, with signs and symptoms such as fever, dyspnea, headache, abdominal pain and neurological signs such as ascending flaccid paralysis, convulsion, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), disorientation, hydrophobia and hyperacusis (sensitivity to sounds, mainly acute).

Confirmed cases of human rabies in Para have not occurred since 2005, when 15 cases were recorded in the municipality of Augusto Correa and three in Viseu (northeastern Paraguay) -- all of them transmitted by a blood-sucking bat.


Congo: Ebola

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) does not, at this time, constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

"At this point, it's not cost beneficial to declare an international state of emergency," said Robert Steffen, MD, the WHO's chairman of the emergency committee that made the decision. Steffen made the announcement on the heels of an International Health Regulations meeting held in Geneva.

Steffen was joined by WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus PhD, and Peter Salama, MD, the WHO's deputy director-general of the emergency response program, in a media briefing.

Jeremy Farrar, MD, director of the UK-based Welcome Trust, said in a statement posted on Twitter, "The decision by WHO not to call a public health emergency of international concern is the right one for the time being. The response by the DRC authorities and the WHO has been swift and decisive."

"However," he added "we can't predict how the outbreak will progress, and the WHO must keep the situation under frequent review."

The WHO emergency committee met 9 times during the 2014--2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which involved more than 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.


Cameroon: Monkeypox

The dreaded but rare viral zoonotic disease (from animal to man) caused by monkeypox virus has hit English speaking Cameroon, Andre Mama Fouda, Cameroon's Public Health Minister said.

According to a press release issued by the Minister, monkeypox was detected in Njikwa, Momo Division, in the North West Region and Akwaya, Manyu, in the South West Region. The release states that the epidemiology surveilance system had recorded cases of human monkeypox in late April 2018. The few cases, the release went on was later confirmed in May with high suspicions of the virus circulating across several health districts.

Studies reveal monkeypox is a viral illness caused by a group of viruses. The virus has 2 types, the Central African and the West African types with the West African type being milder and having no records of mortality.

Given the serious consequences of the disease, Minister Mama Fouda urged Cameroonians to take adequate measures in order to reduce the risk of contracting the diseases. In his press statement, the Minister exhorted the population of the North West and South West regions to collaborate with health officials by staying away from sick animals. Persons with fever and rashes were equally urged to rush to the nearest health facility.


Liberia: Lassa fever

Liberian authorities have confirmed that 22 deaths have been recorded across the country following the outbreak of Lassa fever since January.

In a statement, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia said the West African country had seen an increase in the outbreak with 81 suspected cases recorded so far.

However, 67 out of the 81 suspected cases tested negative following laboratory examination, according to the statement.

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus.

The outbreak has so far occurred in Bong, Margibi, Nimba, and Montserrado, 4 counties out of Liberia's 15 counties.

The Liberian health authorities decried the high death rate, saying it was mostly caused by sick people coming to health facilities late for medical examination.

"Although Lassa fever is not new to Liberia, it is a deadly viral disease that requires urgent attention," the official statement said.

Humans usually become infected with the Lassa virus from exposure to urine or feces of infected Mastomys rats. Other than common preventive measures such as washing hands regularly, the World Health Organization has recommended keeping cats.


India: Nipah virus

The Nipah virus that has claimed more than 13 lives in Kerala in the last few days seems to have spread to the neighboring Karnataka; 2 suspected cases of Nipah virus infection have been reported from Mangaluru and Kasargod in Karnataka.

The outbreak is likely to hit the tourism industry in the State as well, as Bahrain has issued a travel advisory asking its citizens to avoid visiting the Southern States while the UAE [United Arab Emirates] to urging its citizens in India to exercise caution and abide by the instructions of the local authorities. The Piniyari Government too has asked travelers to avoid visiting 4 northern districts Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur, in Kerala, even though the Union Health Ministry has said that the Nipah virus outbreak in Kerala is a localized occurrence and there is no threat of it spreading.

According to reports, one patient is a 20-year-old woman from Kasargod and the other patient is a 75-year-old man from Mangaluru in Karnataka. It is suspected that the woman probably could have been exposed to the virus when she had visited the Perambra hospital in Kozhikode district of Kerala where a nurse was undergoing treatment for Nipah virus infection. The woman had been in close contact with the nurse. The nurse succumbed to the infection on [Mon 21 May 2018]. However, the 75-year-old man has no history of travel.

Samples from both the patients have been sent to the Manipal Centre for Virus Research, Manipal. The samples will be sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune if the results turn positive for Nipah Virus.

One of the persons who died late Sunday was identified as a nurse who worked at the taluk hospital, reportedly in close contact with those who were infected. To prevent further spread of the infection, her body was cremated immediately without handing it over to her family.

"Through secretions, the virus could spread from one person to another. It is a serious situation but there's no need to panic. All those persons who were reportedly in contact with the infected are being closely monitored. We have asked the medical personnel to use all safety gear such as gloves and masks while dealing with potentially infected persons. The collector has already ordered the area around the home of the family with the initial deaths to be cordoned off," Jayashree said, stressing that all practices to control the spread of the infection have been put in place.

Neighbors reportedly told medical officials that they saw the 3 members of the family -- brothers and their paternal aunt -- consuming what looked like fruits picked up from a compound in which they are building a home.

India: Glanders

Work has almost come to a standstill at 800 brick kilns in Baghpat region as the dreaded glanders Persian disease, that affects mostly equines, has struck the region. In a recent survey of 117 equines by the animal husbandry department, 8 tested positive.

There are around 3,000 horses, mules, and donkeys in Baghpat district and some 2,000 are primarily engaged in brick kilns to ferry bricks.

The remaining 1,000 are used for transportation. District administration has declared the entire district, "control area", denying exit and entry of the animals from and into the district to prevent this highly contagious bacterial disease from spreading.


Argentina: Hantavirus

The head of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Public Health confirmed that to date a total of 21 confirmed cases of hantavirus with 7 deaths from the disease have been registered in the entire province since Jan. 1.

The confirmed cases correspond to localities in Orán, Tartagal, Pichanal, Colonia Santa Rosa, Apolinario Saravia and Irigoyen. The patients range from 22-52 years of age.

The authorities of this provincial health agency urge the community to adopt extreme preventive measures in order to halt the disease. The success of any health campaign is based on its continuity and on the awareness of the community.

Cleanup of homes, personal hygiene, and putting in order patios and grounds are essential in order to avoid any type of disease and to drive away insects, rodents and animals in general.

It is recommended that the population keep their houses and empty lands clean with the goal of avoiding the presence of rodents as well as blocking openings in doors, walls and around pipes.

Use of rodent poison and traps is advised, but do not touch or hit them. If one encounters one of these animals dead, soak it in bleach, and, after 30 minutes at a minimum, pick it up using gloves and bury it at least 30 cm deep, or burn it.


United States: Equine herpesvirus

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported on May 18 that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirmed equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM) in one horse at a sport horse farm in Fauquier County.

Equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy is the neurological form of equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

"The horse 1st showed mild neurologic signs on May 10 and was admitted directly into isolation at the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center (in Leesburg, Virginia) on May 16 the EDCC said. "The Equine Medical Center is not under quarantine and is operating normally.

"The farm in Fauquier County is under quarantine, and all exposed horses are being monitored twice daily for fever and other clinical signs," the EDCC added. "The horse had not travelled off the farm prior to exhibiting clinical signs."

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and EHM. In many horses, the only sign of EHV-1 infection is fever, which can go undetected.


Canada: Lyme Disease

According to the most recent data published by the Laurentian Public Health Department, since the beginning of 2018, 3 cases of Lyme disease infection have been reported in the region. On average since 2013, there are about 10 cases per year.

"The number of cases is increasing," says Julie Lemieux-Côté, CISSS Laurentides [Centre Intégré de Santé et de Services Sociaux (CISSS) des Laurentides or Integrated Health and Social Services Center of the Laurentians]. On the other hand, she says, the prevalence rate -- the number of cases per 100 000 population --, remains lower in the Laurentians than in Quebec for the 2013-2017 period.

"Lyme disease is growing steadily in southern Quebec," says Lemieux-Côté. According to him, the increase in the number of cases can be explained by several factors. First, she says, "the presence of ticks in Laurentian territory seems to be increasing over the years." Birds that carry more and more ticks from endemic areas that are expanding would be the main culprits.

The fact that the general population and clinicians are more aware of this emerging disease also leads to more medical consultations and more prescriptions for diagnostic tests for the disease. "The diagnostic criteria and the case definitions are becoming more precise, which makes it possible to obtain confirmed cases for our region," added Ms. Lemieux-Côté.


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Since the March 21, 10 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] have been reported. "Out of the 10 reported cases unfortunately one has passed away," ISNA news agency quoted Mohammad Mehdi Gouya as saying May 22. The disease outbreak normally occurs in spring and it becomes more severe with the beginning of the livestock breeding season, Gouya said, adding that every year some 100 to 150 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever are reported in Iran. The family members and healthcare providers are trained to avoid catching the virus, he concluded

According to World Health Organization (WHO), CCHF is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus. CCHF is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia, in countries south of the 50th parallel north. The CCHF virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10-40 percent. There is no vaccine available for either people or animals. The hosts of the CCHF virus include a wide range of wild and domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats. The CCHF virus is transmitted to people either by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter. The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers, and veterinarians. Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected persons. Hospital-acquired infections can also occur due to improper sterilization of medical equipment, reuse of needles, and contamination of medical supplies.

Onset of symptoms is sudden, with fever, myalgia (muscle ache), dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes, and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may also be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sore throat early on, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion. After 2 to 4 days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression, and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant, with detectable hepatomegaly (liver enlargement). General supportive care with treatment of symptoms is the main approach to managing CCHF in people. Additionally, the antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with apparent benefit. Death normally occur in the second week of illness. In patients who recover, improvement generally begins on the 9th or 10th day after the onset of illness.

May 18, 2018

India: Anthrax

With the death of 22 sheep in Karaikeni in May], the district, for the first time, recorded the incidence of anthrax infection. According to Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, R Rajasekaran, anthrax infection will be declared endemic to Karenina village next year.

Up to 2 weeks ago, as many as 56 sheep died under mysterious circumstances in Karaikeni village in T Kallupatti block in Peraiyur taluk in the district.

The officials animal husbandry department later confirmed that the 22 sheep that died after blood oozing from mouth and anus were tested positive for anthrax infection. Nine ailing sheep have been quarantined from the flock. The symptoms of Anthrax which is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis will start showing between day one and 2 months after contracting the bacteria. The contagious infection which mainly affects animals is spread usually while grazing. Humans can also get affected if they come in contact with an infected animal or inhale spores. Confirming the infection, Rajasekaran said, "This records Madurai district's 1st incidence of anthrax infection. Five teams, stationed in and around Karikeni, Mangammalpatti, Kolliveeranpatti and Kandiyadevanpatti, have vaccinated 4,100 sheep, 1,513 goats and 643 cattle so far. The vaccination takes 7-14 days to take effect."

He went on to add that [...the ] recent downpour in summer triggers bacterial growth in the soil. "Usually, the immune system of the livestock is weakened when it suddenly rains during summer, which could have possibly resulted in anthrax infection," he said. Rajasekaran further noted that the anthrax infection will be declared endemic to Karaikeni village next year [2019], which would mean compulsory and widespread vaccination against anthrax infection for all livestock.

Meanwhile, the shepherds whose livelihood depend only on the sheep have demanded relief from the government for the loss. Following the anthrax outbreak, the sales of mutton have gone down, and chicken sales have shot up. Moreover, declaring the infection endemic to the region could adversely impact the sales of mutton in T Kallupatti area, the locals added.


USA: Equine herpesvirus


A debilitating disease commonly known as EHV-1 [equine herpesvirus 1] has been confirmed in a 2nd horse in South Dakota.

Equine herpesvirus is common among horses and can cause respiratory problems (rhinopneumonitis), abortions, and neurological issues.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said EHV-1 is not dangerous to people or to other livestock.

The 1st case in South Dakota this year was documented about 3 weeks ago in the Sioux Falls area.

The 2nd case involved a horse in the Brookings area having recently been in Nebraska.

Oedekoven says both horses have recovered.


India: Glanders

Families planning a memorable wedding for their sons in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal will have to shelve the idea of seeing the groom on the horse.

Reason: The Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) has banned the movement of horses and related class of animals within the municipal limits of the city, to prevent the possibility of spread of contagious glanders disease that was detected recently in a horse in the Kaji Camp-Bafna Colony area.

According to the order issued by the BMC commissioner Priyanka Das, "the order was issued following the receipt of the letter from the Bhopal district collector, which informed about a horse owned by one Rahman in Kaji Camp-Bafna Colony area, being detected to be suffering with the glanders disease.

In line with the notifications and circulars issued by the central government and state government for control of glanders disease as well as other contagious diseases, the BMC commissioner ordered a ban on the movement of horses and related class of animals, their exhibition at fairs and festivals and horse races at sports events with effect until further orders.

Glanders is an infectious disease by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei. It's primarily a disease affecting horses, but can also spread to donkeys, mules, goats, dogs and cats. As per veterinary experts, glanders can even be passed on to humans, through contact with affected animals, particularly from nasal discharge of infected animal.


Congo: Ebola

The 1st death of a new Ebola outbreak has been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization said it was preparing for the "worst case scenario."

The Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has killed a nurse, according to the Health Ministry.

The nurse died at a hospital in nearby Ikoko Impenge, where 4 new suspected cases of Ebola have been reported, Health Minister Oly Ilunga said at a news conference. Seven people with a hemorrhagic fever, including 2 confirmed cases of Ebola, lay in hospital, he added.

The patients could have links to a police officer in Bikoro who died after exhibiting symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in December, National Institute of Biological and Bacterial Research director Jean Jacques Muyembe said. The officer's mother and 10 others then showed similar symptoms. Muyembe said officials would likely contain the outbreak.

A total of 17 people have died from hemorrhagic fever in recent weeks, Ilunga said, and doctors are treating 3 more nurses for the symptoms. Officials must test 9 patients for Ebola, just one virus responsible for such symptoms. Doctors have traveled to Bikoro to trace contacts, identify the epicenter and all affected villages, and provide resources.

The World Health Organization said it was preparing for the worst case scenario in the latest Ebola outbreak, including for the disease spreading to a major town.

WHO Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response Peter Salama told a regular UN briefing in Geneva that the health agency had alerted the 9 neighboring countries but currently regarded the risk of regional spread as "moderate."


Israel: Foot and mouth disease

The 4-wheel-drive tour, planned for the Nahal Tavor and Nahal Issachar Nature reserve, has been cancelled. The nature reserves have been closed to the public due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease affecting gazelles.

A quick inquiry revealed that the measure has already been immediately applied and is already in force.


South Africa: Listeriosis

The world's largest listeriosis epidemic is now under control because meat products from Enterprise and Rainbow Chicken have been recalled, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the South African Parliament.

"Since the recall, we have had fewer than 5 cases a week in the past 5 weeks compared to 40 a week before the recall," Motsoaledi told Parliament.

According to South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recent release, 1,033 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 204 deaths, have been reported.

Neonates 28 days of age and younger are the most affected age group, followed by adults ages 15 to 49.

Most cases have been reported from Gauteng Province (59 percent, 605/1033), followed by Western Cape (13 percent, 130/1033) and KwaZulu-Natal (7 percent, 75/1033) provinces.

May 11, 2018

Nigeria:  Ebola

The Federal Ministry of Health has stepped up surveillance at all entry points into Nigeria to prevent the spread of Ebola disease into the country, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has said. This is as a result of the Ebola outbreak reported in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The minister, while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council [FEC] meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja May 9, said the Council ordered steps be taken to keep the outbreak from Nigeria. He said the development in DRC is of great concern to the Nigerian government.

"FEC has now directed the Federal Ministry of Health to step up emergency surveillance activities at all land and airport borders, so that we can actually keep Nigerians safe," he said.

"Part of the new measures to be taken include screening passengers coming into the country. Not only that, we will be screening incoming passengers, particularly passengers from DRC and neighboring countries. We will also ensure we step up all activities screening people coming in so that we will not be caught unawares."

Ebola has a tendency of spreading across borders through human migration if not well monitored. In 2014, the disease was imported to Nigeria through a Liberian diplomat who flew into Nigeria in an attempt to get to the US after contracting the disease in Liberia. As a result of this, 8 Nigerians died from the disease and many others were infected, majority of them health workers.


Liberia: Lassa fever

The Margibi County Health Team has declared a health emergency following 2 confirmed cases of Lassa fever deaths in less than a week.

The newly assigned county health officer, Dr. Myers Pajibo, told a press briefing on May 8 that the 2 cases involve a 56-year-old male and a 35-year-old female, who showed signs of the fever by profusely vomiting with blood and subsequently dying at the C. H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata.

Pajibo noted that the specimen taken from the deceased had been confirmed by the medical reference lab as Lassa fever, leaving the County Health Team with no alternative but to treat the case as a medical emergency.

"As of today, we have 2 confirmed cases of Lassa fever, and the 2 cases have died. One has been buried, and the other is to be buried," Pajibo said. "Realizing the seriousness of this situation, we have put in place the Incident Management System."

He added: "Whenever there is an outbreak, we call the technical people together to see how we can address it; we have notified the National Public Health Institute and the Ministry of Health to see how they could help us."

He noted that, following the death of the 2 victims, at least 50 people had been traced and are being monitored as close contacts.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

A laboratory attendant working with the Kidney Care Center, Medical Village, Ondo town, has been reportedly killed by Lassa fever. It was learnt that the deceased died April 28.

The death of the health officer came a few months after Lassa Fever was said to have been contained in Ondo state.

"One of her relatives in Port Harcourt had earlier been infected with Lassa Fever. She went there to visit that relative who has also died. So, it was in Port Harcourt she was infected with the disease," a source said.

The incident was said to have caused panic among workers in the hospital.

A source told Independent on May 1 that workers at the health facility were working in fear. She said: "We don't know what to do. One of us has been killed by Lassa fever. We have appealed to the management to conduct medical test for us. But the [Chief Medical Director] did not want us to cry out because of the image of the hospital and the state. Our lives are at risk now. We expect the hospital to have taken our blood sample to Irrua Specialists Hospital to check whether any one of us has been infected or not but they have done nothing about it."


Congo: Ebola

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro in Equateur Province May 8.

The Ministry of Health of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) informed WHO that 2 out of 5 samples collected from 5 patients tested positive for EVD at the Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (INRB) in Kinshasa. More specimens are being collected for testing.

WHO is working closely with the Government of the DRC to rapidly scale up its operations and mobilize health partners using the model of a successful response to a similar EVD outbreak in 2017.

"Our top priority is to get to Bikoro to work alongside the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and partners to reduce the loss of life and suffering related to this new Ebola virus disease outbreak," said Dr. Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response. "Working with partners and responding early and in a coordinated way will be vital to containing this deadly disease."

The 1st multidisciplinary team comprised of experts from WHO, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Provincial Division of Health travelled May 8 to Bikoro to strengthen coordination and investigations.

Bikoro is situated in Equateur province on the shores of Lake Tumba in the northwestern part of the country, near the Republic of the Congo. All cases were reported from ilkoko Iponge health facility located about 30 kilometers from Bikoro. Health facilities in Bikoro have very limited functionality, and rely on international organizations to provide supplies that frequently stock out.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, commonly referred to as Congo fever has claimed another life in Multan district of Punjab.

The Congo fever had claimed 2 lives in Multan, earlier this month. According to media reports, 6 patients affected by the dangerous virus were brought to Nishtar Hospital, one of them is dead and 2 others are under treatment.

All patients carrying Congo virus were kept in an isolated ward of Nishtar Hospital and their blood samples were sent to Islamabad's health laboratory for tests which identified the Congo virus attack.

Congo fever is a tick-borne viral disease which is mainly transferred to humans from pets. Its symptoms include fever, flu, bloody urine, vomiting, and nose bleeding.


Taiwan: Avian influenza

A goose farm in southern Taiwan's Yunlin county was found to have been contaminated by a subtype of H5 bird flu virus and 2279 birds on the farm were culled, the 68th case of poultry farm infection this year, according to the Council of Agriculture.

Several geese on the farm in Yunlin's Sihu Township were confirmed as having contracted the virus, the council's Bureau of Animal and Plant Inspection and Quarantine said in a press release.

The bureau has reminded the farm's operators to disinfect the area following the standard operation procedure of destroying the geese.

Officials called on all poultry farm operators to keep their birds warm and in a place with good ventilation as temperatures vary considerably between daytime and nighttime.


Uganda: Anthrax

On April 20, 7 people were admitted to Ngenge Health Center III, after skinning, carrying, and eating a dead cow at Kaplopwotwo village, Kween district. They all presented with blisters, edema, and red to brown, raised spots that are typical of an anthrax infection. Additionally, 4 cows were reported to have died within the same kraal [an enclosure for cattle or sheep] in Kaplopwotwo village. Locals reportedly skinned and ate the meat from the 4 cows. Ministry of Health set out to confirm the existence of the outbreak, determine the scope and magnitude of the outbreak, identify possible exposures, and recommend evidence-based control measures.

It was learned that on April 11 a cow suddenly died at the residence of one of the village members. A total of 15 village members participated in slaughtering, skinning, cutting, carrying meat, and cleaning waste of the dead cow on the same day. According to the village constable, almost the entire village ate the dead cow's meat. A big portion of it was also sold to a bar owner in Kamuga, a nearby village in Binyinyi sub-county. As of April 30, 26 cases have been listed with signs and symptoms suggestive of either cutaneous, inhalation, gastrointestinal, and meningeal, or a combination of 2 or 3 forms of anthrax infection.


China: Anthrax

Russia recently issued a travel alert for citizens planning to visit China: there has been an outbreak of anthrax in central China. Russia's daily newspaper Kommersant reported on May 2 that the country's Consumer Protection and Public Welfare Supervision Bureau warned travelers to exercise caution if they are visiting areas of central China.

China's state-run China News Service reported on April 17 that 3 Chinese farmers in Haiyuan County, in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of central China, were infected with anthrax and hospitalized. One victim, from the Qiying Township, died at the hospital. The report said that the Qiying farmer was infected and sent to the hospital after killing a sick cow. The other 2 victims, farmers from Sanhez, were infected after killing a sick goat. The farmers are suspected to have contracted anthrax from the infected animals.

Radio Free Asia reported that the Chinese communist authorities announced the outbreak is now under control.


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] has caused the death of one man in Iran in recent days, Bashir Khaleghi, an Iranian MP, said.

Kaleghi, who is a member of the Parliament's Health Commission, said that at least 4 people have so far caught the disease in the recent days, ILNA [Iranian Labour News Agency] news agency reported.

The cases have been reported in Iran's south eastern province of Kerman and southern province of Far.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a widespread tick-borne viral disease that is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Asia. The virus is a member of the Bunyaviridae family of RNA viruses.

It is a zoonotic disease carried by several domestic and wild animals. While clinical disease is rare in infected animals, it is severe in infected humans, with a mortality rate of 10-40 percent.


Panama: Hantavirus

Health District officials are investigating a suspected case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in a middle-aged resident. The individual is believed to have been exposed to contaminated deer mouse droppings while cleaning out their vehicle. According to the family, the ill individual is improving but is still hospitalized with respiratory failure from the illness that began in April. Preliminary test results were positive for a hantavirus infection; confirmatory results are pending.

If confirmed, this case will be the first hantavirus infection case reported in that area in 6 years. In 2012, 2 Grant County residents died of HPS from unrelated incidents. On average, 1 to 5 confirmed cases of hantavirus infections are reported each year in the state.


USA: Chronic wasting disease

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports 33 new cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) have been found following the testing of 24,486 free-ranging Missouri deer through its 2017-2018 sampling and testing efforts. The new cases were from the following counties: Adair (3), Cedar (1), Franklin (4), Jefferson (1), Linn (7), Macon (3), Perry (1), Polk (3), St. Clair (4), and Ste. Genevieve (6).

Of the 33 new cases, 16 were from hunter-harvested deer, one was from a road-killed deer, and 16 were from MDC's post-season targeted culling efforts in the immediate areas around where previous cases have been found. This year's findings bring the total number of free-ranging deer in Missouri confirmed to have CWD to 75.

"For a 3rd year in a row, we found no CWD-positive deer in central Missouri, where a single case was confirmed in early 2015," said MDC Wildlife Disease Coordinator Jasmine Batten. "Additionally, we found no cases of CWD on the Missouri-Arkansas border, despite the high level of CWD in northwest Arkansas." Batten added that where CWD has been found in Missouri, the numbers of positives remain relatively low.

"It is encouraging that cases of CWD are still pretty low overall, and MDC remains committed to monitoring the disease and taking actions to limit its spread," she said. "We encourage hunters and landowners to continue participating in our CWD monitoring and management efforts." Batten added that these efforts are vital in limiting the spread of the disease. "If we do nothing, areas affected by CWD will increase in size and many more deer will become infected by the disease," she explained. "Over time, this would lead to significant long-term population declines."


Madagascar: Plague

Plague is endemic in Madagascar, with hundreds of cases reported annually. Plague season typically lasts from Sept to April each year and the 2017-2018 season was quite remarkable. By the end of April 2018, some 2671 cases of the plague had been recorded since the 1st case of the plague season was reported in August 2017, including at least 239 deaths.

The number of cases in the 2017-2018 season is at least 6 times the annual average of around 400 cases, the outbreak began earlier than usual, and the predominance of pneumonic plague in urban areas this season differs from the usual trend of bubonic plague in rural areas.

Since the official announcement of the containment of the urban pneumonic plague outbreak on 27 November 2017, 194 cases of plague, bubonic (60) and pneumonic (128), have been reported, including 23 deaths.

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is found in animals throughout the world, most commonly rats but other rodents like ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, rabbits and voles. Fleas typically serve as the vector of plague. Human cases have been linked to the domestic cats and dogs that brought infected fleas into the house. People can also get infected through direct contact with an infected animal, through inhalation and in the case of pneumonic plague, person to person.


Mauritania: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The Mauritania Ministry of Health has reported a confirmed case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] in Ould Yengé commune, Guidimaka region located in the southern-most part of the country.

The case-patient is a 58-year-old male herder from Elghabra locality who became ill on April 16 after tending to a sick cow days earlier. He presented to a private clinic the same day with high fever, arthralgia and headache. He was admitted, managed for an unspecified medical condition and discharged on April 18.

The following day, he developed bleeding from the gums and nose, and was admitted to the regional hospital where he was transfused and subsequently discharged a day later, following an apparent clinical improvement. On April 21, the case-patient's health deteriorated and he was taken to Guerou health center, from where he was immediately referred to Cheikh Zayed hospital in Nouakchott on April 22. A blood specimen was obtained and shipped to the national public health laboratory. The test result was IgM positive for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

A total of 32 close contacts, including 10 health workers and 4 family members, have been listed and are being followed up. Efforts to identify other close contacts are ongoing. The case-patient used public transportation and a taxi at various stages of his movement during the course of illness. Preliminary investigations also established that all the 4 healthcare facilities that managed the case-patient did not apply appropriate infection prevention and control measures, potentially indicating a higher number of contacts.


Europe: Malaria

Between January 2016 and April 2018, 6 sporadic hospital transmissions of malaria were identified in the European Union (EU). Although uncommon, hospital transmission of malaria has been described previously. While the countries reporting these 6 cases (i.e. Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain) have not observed an increase in the number of sporadic hospital-acquired cases of malaria since January 2016, the concomitant occurrence of these cases in 4 countries makes the overall event unusual. The mode(s) of transmission have not been determined for any of the cases. This rapid risk assessment presents the context, details investigations into the cases and offers options for prevention and control.

According to the scientific literature, the following modes of transmission should be taken into account in the investigation of hospital-acquired malaria:

- Parenteral introduction of blood that contains parasite-infected erythrocytes from one infectious individual to another patient during healthcare procedures;
- Blood transfusion, or bone marrow or organ transplant from a malaria-infected patient;
- Accidental contact of blood containing parasite-infected erythrocytes with an open wound.

Malaria transmission in a hospital can also be vector-borne, when a malaria-infected mosquito bites a hospitalized patient. According to the literature, investigations are not always conclusive and entomological investigations may fail to identify rare events of vector-borne transmission such as transmission in hospital settings, airport malaria or luggage malaria.

Clinicians must be aware of the possibility of hospital-acquired malaria in hospitalized or recently discharged patients who develop an unexplained fever or a malaria-like clinical syndrome, especially if their hospital admission coincided with that of another patient admitted with malaria.


India: Anthrax

Fear of anthrax outbreak gripped the district after a 6-year-old elephant died of the deadly bacterium at Eriyapuram area in Thalawadi forest range in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve here on April 28.

Following this, forest officials have launched a vaccination drive in all the hamlets and villages surrounding the Thalawadi forest range.

It was local villagers who spotted the carcass of the elephant first. When alerted, forest officials examined the carcass in detail and found that the cause of death was anthrax.

"We have sent the samples of vital organs such as liver, kidney and lungs to the state government's diagnostic center in Chennai for detailed results," said a senior forest official. After the postmortem, the carcass was burned in the forest.

April 20, 2018

USA: Equine herpes virus

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported April 6 that the Washington State Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of neurologic equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) in a King County horse.

"The horse was moved to an isolation area on the property and the premise has been quarantined," the EDCC's statement said. "There are 2 other premises that will be quarantined due to recent movement of horses from the index property to other equine facilities. Temperatures will be taken twice daily and strict equine biosecurity is in place."

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (the neurologic form). In many horses, the only sign of EHV-1 infection is fever, which can go undetected.

In addition to fever, other common signs of EHV-1 infection in young horses include cough, decreased appetite, depression, and a nasal discharge. Pregnant mares typically show no signs of infection before they abort, and abortions usually occur late in gestation (around 8 months) but can be earlier. Abortions can occur anywhere from 2 weeks to several months following infection with EHV-1.


Namibia: Anthrax

Namibia's Environment Ministry confirmed on April 16 that the anthrax outbreak in the west part of Bwabwata National Park in the Kavango East Region has been contained. The anthrax outbreak in the country which was detected last October in one of the country's biggest game parks killed around 120 hippopotamuses and 25 buffaloes, amongst others.

The Environment Ministry, Public Relations officer, Romeo Muyunda in a statement said the Anthrax Containment Team which included the environment, health and agriculture ministries had contained the situation. "During the outbreak, no clinical cases of anthrax were detected in human and livestock. The Health Ministry put 724 people on prophylaxis against anthrax mainly in the Mukwe Constituency as a precautionary measure," said Muyunda.

According to Muyunda, the Agriculture Ministry also managed to vaccinate a total of 216 wild animals while 3000 cattle and 1010 goats were also vaccinated.

Muyunda added that to avoid future outbreaks, the Regional Containment Team resolved that a National Standard Operating Procedure or Action Plan for the containment of anthrax outbreaks should be developed.


Bolivia: Plague

The Departmental Health Service (SEDES) of La Paz reported that an 81-year-old woman in the municipality of Apolo, north of La Paz, died on Feb. 26 due to bubonic plague, confirming the first case of this type of disease in 2018. The head of the Epidemiology Unit of that health division, Alejandra Salas, indicated that the positive case was confirmed after a laboratory examination that led to the activation of an operation in the area, in order to interrupt the chain of transmission. "They proceeded to perform the active search for rodents that were near the houses, because these animals are usually those that have fleas and through their bite the bubonic plague is transmitted," Salas said, according to an institutional note.

The health contingent evaluated homes in the communities of Machua, Los Altos, Alto Humaca, and Suturi, where they also trained residents on the symptoms of the disease, its consequences and how to disinfect vulnerable areas with insecticides.


Liberia: Lassa fever

The Lassa fever outbreak is ongoing in Liberia with 25 new suspected cases, including 5 deaths reported since mid-March. Of these, 2 new confirmed cases were reported in the two weeks ending April 1.

One patient was a 2-year-old female with symptom onset on March 22, who was admitted to a hospital in the capital city, Monrovia on March 29 with symptoms of fever, malaise, vomiting, difficulty in breathing and later, convulsions. Clinical suspicion was Lassa fever [virus] infection and following collection of a blood sample the patient tested positive for Lassa fever virus by RT-PCR at the National Reference Laboratory. The patient died on the day of admission and a safe burial was conducted.

A retrospective investigation was conducted which established that the mother, a 33-year-old from Grand Bassa county died on March 22. She sought care at the district hospital on March 18 where the clinician suspected a viral hemorrhagic fever and isolated her. Following a negative test for Ebola virus on 20 Mar 2018, a positive RT-PCR result for Lassa virus was received on March 30. A total of 47 contacts from these two confirmed cases were identified, of which 60 percent are healthcare workers and are under follow up.

From January 2018 to date, a total of 67 suspected cases, including 19 deaths (case fatality rate 28.3 percent) have been reported from 6 counties. Of the total suspected cases, 9 were confirmed positive by RT-PCR at the National Reference Laboratory. The confirmed cases originated from Nimba (4 cases), Montserrado (3), Bong (1), and Grand Bassa (1); 8 of the 9 confirmed cases died, a case fatality rate of 89 percent. The confirmed cases are predominately female (78 percent) and the age range among confirmed cases is 1 to 57 years old with a median age of 32 years.


Panama: Hantavirus

Carlos Muñoz, from the provincial Department of Epidemiology, stated that this weekend a 64 year old patient from the El Bebedero area in the Tonosí district, was admitted to the Joaquín Pablo Franco Hospital in Las Tablas with a hantavirus infection. Also, a 26 year old patient from El Cacao is hospitalized and currently on assisted ventilation.

According to health authorities, so far in 2018, 23 cases have been registered; 14 from Los Santo province. Almost all the patients have a common characteristic of having had contact with agricultural activities, movement of bales, with crops or cleaning houses that have been closed, among others.


China: Anthrax

At least three human anthrax cases have been reported in north-central China, including one fatality. The outbreak of cutaneous anthrax is reported in two towns of Zhongwei City, Ningxia region where the patients had consumed tainted cow and mutton. The two surviving patients are currently hospitalized and stable.

Upon discovery of the cases, authorities quarantined the area and closed the livestock market.

Anthrax is a serious infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax can be found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals around the world. Although it is rare, people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products

Cutaneous anthrax occurs when the spore (or possibly the bacterium) enters a cut or abrasion on the skin. It starts out as a raised bump that looks like an insect bite. It then develops into a blackened lesion called an eschar that may form a scab. Lymph glands in the area may swell plus edema may be present. This form of anthrax responds well to antibiotics. If untreated, deaths can occur if the infection goes systemic. Ninety-five percent of cases of anthrax are cutaneous.

April 13, 2018

Bulgaria: Avian influenza

A new outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza was confirmed at a duck farm in the village of Zimnitsa, Straldzha municipality, Yambol district, Bulgaria's Food Safety Agency said.

There were 6,000 ducks on the farm and it was expected that the process of destroying them would be completed on April 5, the agency said.

A 3-kilometer protection zone and a 10-km observation area around the holding were set up, with a ban on the trade and movement of domestic, wild and other birds and breeding eggs, organization of fairs, markets, exhibitions and other clusters of domestic or other birds.

The agency said that clinical examinations would be carried out at poultry establishment, along with a check on biosecurity measures at poultry establishments in the area.


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The Ministry of Health and Social Services on April 4 confirmed that the 37-year-old Keetmanshoop man who last week tested positive for Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever, known as Congo fever, died on April 3.

According to a statement signed by Dr Bernard Haufiku, the Minister of Health and Social Services, the man contracted the virus while assisting a neighbor with slaughtering a cow that was reportedly infested with ticks on Independence Day.

Up to 6 days later, he sought medical attention for symptoms related to the virus.
"He was later transferred to Windhoek Central Hospital's isolation unit on March 30 after he tested positive for Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever for further management," said Haufiku. Unfortunately, the man died Tuesday morning, Haufiku added.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A woman suffering from Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) died of the disease at Shifa International Hospital in Pakistan April 6. This is the first confirmed case of CCHF in Pakistan this year.

Hailing from Mianwali, the middle-aged woman remained under treatment for 3 days. Her blood samples were sent to the National Institute of Health, which confirmed the suspected diagnosis. Animal handling was common in the family of the deceased, whose body was sent to her hometown for burial the same day. The government of Punjab is said to have taken stock of the situation and has instituted emergency interventions for the relevant area.


Uganda: Anthrax

Anthrax has broken out at a refugee camp in the northwestern Ugandan district of Arua, killing one person and leaving two others hospitalized, a local official said. Willy Nguma, the veterinary officer in Arua district, told Xinhua that blood samples taken from three people at a refugee settlement camp in Arua have tested positive for anthrax. "Two other victims are still undergoing treatment as more people are at the risk of contracting this deadly disease because many of them are sharing houses with animals," Nguma said.

South Sudanese refugees who fled the fighting at home live in the camp. "The challenge is that when these refugees cross to Uganda, the humanitarian agencies only screen human beings and ignore animals, which is very dangerous," Nguma said.

He advised farmers in the area to report any suspected death of animals where there are signs of blood oozing from the nostrils and anus. More than 15 animals have died as a result of anthrax, Nguma said.

An anthrax outbreak was last reported in Uganda in 2016. The authorities in the western district of Ntungamo were forced to close all livestock markets in the area to prevent the spread of the disease.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis. According to the World Health Organization, the disease primarily affects herbivorous mammals, although other mammals and some birds have been known to contract it. Humans generally acquire the disease from infected animals or as a result of exposure to contaminated animal products.


South Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

On 3 Apr 2018, South Sudan's Veterinary Services (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Tourism, Animal Resources, Fisheries, Cooperatives, JUBA) submitted its follow-up report No. 3 (Final report) on Rift Valley fever (RVF) to the OIE (see here). This follow-up report, created on 31 Mar 2018, notified continued absence of new animal cases since the initial, immediate notification to the OIE, dated March 8, when 8 cases in cattle were reported. The notification included the following epidemiological comment: "There were a few cases of abortion in cattle herds observed after heavy flooding in November 2017, when swampy areas formed and the number of mosquitoes increased. No mortalities in cattle have been reported. During the investigation clinical signs, consistent with Rift Valley fever, were observed (see here). The "9 confirmed animal cases" included in the 12th weekly ReliefWeb report are, probably, not new.

OIE's follow-up report included the following final comment: "The event cannot be considered resolved, but the situation is sufficiently stable. No more follow-up reports will be sent. Information about this disease will be included in the next 6-monthly reports".

Unfortunately, during the recent S. Sudan RVF event, as in most, if not all, previous RVF events in other African countries, humans served as sentinels. Improved surveillance in animals is desperately needed in Africa, to allow timely measures applied, predominantly preventive vaccination, before the development of a full-blown epizootic involving secondary infection in humans.


Taiwan: Hantavirus

On 3 Apr 2018, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (Taiwan CDC) announced this year's first case of hantavirus hemorrhagic fever in a 44-year-old male who resides in northern Taiwan and works in the food and beverage industry. The case's primary areas of daily activities include places around his work place, residence, and the nearby mountain. He had not recently traveled domestically and internationally. On March 9, he developed symptoms, including fever and dizziness. When his symptoms persisted despite seeking medical attention several times, he was referred to a hospital and hospitalized for further treatment.

After the hospital reported the patient as a suspected case to the health authority on March 14, infection with hantavirus hemorrhagic fever was confirmed in the case on April 3. As of now, the case's conditions have improved and he has been discharged from the hospital. None of the family members residing in the same household with the case has developed suspected symptoms. To reduce the risk of further transmission, the local health authority has implemented a number of rodent control measures around the case's residence, and provided relevant health education to the residents in the neighborhood.

According to the surveillance statistics compiled by Taiwan CDC, each year a few cases of hantavirus infection are confirmed. Since 2008, a total of 12 cases of hantavirus hemorrhagic fever have been confirmed. All of them are indigenous cases.

Hantavirus hemorrhagic fever is a zoonosis caused by hantaviruses. Rodents are the natural reservoir for hantaviruses and the virus is transmitted from infected rodents to humans by inhalation of aerosolized particles from rodent excreta or a bite from infected rodents. The incubation period ranges from a couple of days to two months. The virus does not spread between humans. Symptoms usually include persistent fever, inflammation or redness of the eyes, fatigue, lower back pain, abdominal pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, flushing of the face, varying degrees of hemorrhagic manifestations, and kidney involvement. Hemorrhaging usually occurs approximately three to six days after symptom onset. Later symptoms can include proteinuria, low blood pressure, or oliguria. Some patients may experience acute shock and mild kidney disease that could lead to acute kidney failure. Symptoms can be improved upon treatment.


Pakistan: Chikungunya

Due to the poor sanitary conditions, mosquito-borne vector diseases are on the rise, and 10 more chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Karachi in a week. According to the weekly report issued by the Sindh Health Department, a total of 4,868 chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout the Sindh province last year, of which 4,138 were from Karachi and 730 from other districts of the province. In Karachi, a total of 73 cases had been reported in the month of December 2017 alone.

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people.

Chikungunya virus is most often spread to people by Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. These are the same mosquitoes that transmit dengue virus. In the wake of growing cases of chikungunya, people should monitor their fever and look for symptoms such as joint pain.

More importantly, the relevant authorities should ensure cleaning of the streets across the city. Considering that currently no vaccine exists to prevent chikungunya infection, the most effective way to avoid the virus is to prevent mosquito bites by using mosquito-repellants and making sure our cities are clean.


Spain: Q fever

The workers of the Mechanical Biological Treatment Plant of Monte Arraiz have relived the experience of 2014, when an outbreak of Q fever made 49 people sick. Five years later, at least two employees, are infected with the bacterium Coxiella burnetti, which usually spreads through the placental or fetal tissues of dead animals such as cows, sheep, goats.

In addition to the two confirmed cases, three other workers of the waste treatment plant are awaiting the result of a second analysis that will be done in the coming days.

"We had been told that this had been controlled, but we see that no, it is happening again," the employees confess, worried.

Starting tomorrow, the entire TMB staff, composed of 130 people, will be checked to see if they are infected with the bacteria or have antibodies necessary to protect themselves. According to DEIA, the two people did not work at the plant seven years ago when the first case occurred. The alarm sounded when several workers began to present the usual symptoms of Q fever. It was at that time that the pit and the tunnels had to be emptied. At that time the Basque Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Osalan) started the protocol for these cases.

At the moment only the triage booth has been cleaned. Experts from Osalan plan to take samples of different sites at the company. Depending on the results of these samples, technicians will mark the guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the areas that might be contaminated with the bacterium of animal origin. Seven years ago the Q fever outbreak forced interruption of the activity for several months. On that occasion the pit and the tunnels had to be emptied. The entire company had to undergo an exhaustive disinfection to eradicate the bacterium Coxiella burnetii.


Liberia: Monkeypox

Liberian health authorities on April 10 issued an alert on the possible outbreak of monkeypox, an infectious disease found mostly in central and western Africa.

Liberia's chief medical officer Francis Kateh said the disease, caused by the monkeypox virus, has already been discovered in the southern county of Rivercess.

Kateh said there are currently four confirmed cases of the disease. A couple of suspected cases have also been sent for testing.

According to the health official, the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms of monkeypox is around 10 days, while the duration of symptoms is typically from 2-5 weeks.

He said the virus may be spread from handling bushmeat, an animal bite or scratch, body fluids, contaminated objects, or close contact with an infected person.

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 amongst laboratory monkeys. The first human cases were discovered in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Fever, itchy toes, headache, muscle pain, and swollen lymph nodes, among others, have been identified as the symptoms of the disease.

The disease is not deadly and can be cured through the smallpox vaccine.


India: Anthrax

For the past year, multiple cases of anthrax have been reported from Vishakhapatnam district. In this week alone, four people from Andhra Pradesh's Dumbriguda mandal in Vishakhapatnam district were suspected to have contracted anthrax. According to sources, the serum from the patients has been collected and the samples have been sent to a laboratory for analysis.

But this wasn't the first such case of anthrax to be reported. In September last year, there were five cases of anthrax reported from the same place. These patients were quarantined and given the necessary treatment once the lab reports confirmed that they had contracted cutaneous anthrax.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cutaneous anthrax is the most common form of anthrax infection. When anthrax spores get into the skin, usually through a cut or scrape, a person can develop cutaneous anthrax. This can happen when a person handles infected animals or contaminated animal products like wool, hides, or hair. Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with cutaneous anthrax may die. However, with proper treatment, almost all patients with cutaneous anthrax survive.

Once the cases were identified and confirmed, the Animal Husbandry Department in Vishakhapatnam carried out a vaccination drive, which covered animals within the 10 km radius of the affected villages.

Dr. Linga Kalyan Prasad, Vishakhapatnam District Epidemiologist explains that if an animal which is not vaccinated contracts anthrax, it is likely to die on the same day. The carcass, he says, needs to be disposed of properly with experts suggesting that they be buried 6-feet under the soil. "However, some of the animal owners do not dispose them properly. The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in the nearby villages are asked to come and collect the carcass. They eat the meat instead of burying the carcass," states Dr. Linga. The anthrax spores thus enter the human body.

Anthrax can also spread if a carcass decays near a water body or is cut open, with its spores contaminating and spreading through the water. The spores are viable for up to 70 years and are often found in soil. The animals which graze the soil, ingest the spores along with their feed. And the cycle continues.

April 6, 2018

Argentina: Hantavirus

Health authorities in Neuquen confirmed that the death of a 32-year-old man in San Martin de los Andes city on March 15 was due to a hantavirus infection, according to information provided by the Malbran Institute.

The head of Health Zone IV of Neuquen province, Nestor Saez, explained to the Telam agency that "the man had some previous health visits before hospitalization in which the impression was one of influenza or of tonsillitis, and even asked for mouth exudate sample thinking that it could be the throat."

The physician stated that in days following the medical consultations, the patient returned to the emergency service of the Ramon Carrillo Hospital in bad condition and began to worsen with respiratory and cardiovascular problems, was intubated with mechanical respiration, and around 5 hours later he died."

"The problem with this disease is that we do not have specific treatment, and moreover it has a rapid clinical progression and high fatality rate, 40 or 50 percent, that people cannot overcome," according to Sáez.

In addition, he said that the patient, "was a rural worker and camped in forested areas, and was working in El Bolson in the Lake Lolog area, as well as in various places of the mountains where he had various rural tasks such as weed and brush clearing and collecting firewood," and stated that, "we always recommend carrying out these tasks with masks, gloves and high boots to prevent" infection.


United States: Plague

New Mexico health officials report a case of plague in a dog from Santa Fe County, making it the first diagnosed case of plague in New Mexico this year.

The Department of Health says it's checking the home of the dog's owner for risks to others and sending personnel around the neighborhood to inform residents and provide information on reducing risks.

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. Plague can be transmitted to humans by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

The department says New Mexico had 4 human cases of plague in 2017 and that those people all survived the illness.


Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A 45-year-old woman suspected of suffering from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo fever, was shifted to an isolation ward in Rajkot Civil Hospital on March 30. Her blood samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for testing. The report is expected in the next 5 days.

According to civil hospital sources, the woman belongs to Khijadia village in Rajkot district. Rajkot's chief district health officer Dr Mitesh Bhanderi said, "She was suffering from fever and had red spots on her skin. Our primary health center team visited her house and referred her to a civil hospital, where she was admitted to the dermatology department for the last 12 days. The doctors suspecting infection of CCHF virus, shifted her to an isolation ward." The woman's condition is stated to be stable.

Sources said the woman is a cattle breeder in Khijadia and that's why doctors at civil hospital suspect infection of CCHF virus. Doctors said they did not see much improvement in her condition during the treatment, and she also started bleeding from the red spots on her skin, which was unusual, they added.


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

In a follow-up on the monkeypox outbreak in Bambari district, Central African Republic, a total of 8 cases with no deaths have been reported as of March 25.

The Ministry of Health declared an outbreak on March 17 in the sub-district of Ippy. As of March 25, 3 patients were hospitalized.

Laboratory samples were collected from all patients and have been tested by the Pasteur Institute in Bangui and 6 of the 8 suspected cases have tested positive for monkeypox virus. One contact of a case developed suspicious lesions and laboratory confirmation is pending.

Monkeypox is a largely self-limiting disease. Generalized vesicular pustular skin rashes, fever, and painful jaw swelling are characteristic symptoms associated with an infection. Although there is no specific medicine to treat the disease, when intensive supportive care is provided virtually all patients recover fully, as we have seen with the current outbreak.

People at risk for monkeypox are those who get bitten by an infected animal or if you have contact with the animal's rash, blood or body fluids. It can also be transmitted person to person through respiratory or direct contact and contact with contaminated bedding or clothing.


Saudi Arabia: Avian influenza

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on April 1 announced the detection of 2 cases of H5N8 avian flu in Al-Kharj governorate.

Saudi authorities are actively taking measures to contain the virus. In its daily briefing, the ministry affirmed that the number of samples collected from different parts of the Kingdom since the first case was reported reached 12,829. Out of the samples, only 171 tested positive for the virus.

Bird flu strains have hit poultry flocks in a number of countries across the world in recent years, with some types of the disease also causing human infections and deaths.

H5N8 is highly pathogenic to birds and was first discovered in Ireland in 1983. Since then it has been reported in numerous locations around the world. This strain, however, has not caused any human infections.

According to an Arab News report published in January, the Saudi Wildlife Authority enforced a ban on the hunting of migratory birds to help prevent avian influenza. The migratory birds include houbara bustards, passerines, flamingos, pelicans, cranes and turtle doves.

March 30, 2018

Russia: Anthrax

Regional authorities on have kick-started this year's major immunization effort as the first teams of veterinarians moved out the remote tundra area with vaccine doses against anthrax. In the course of the year, at least 658 000 reindeer are to be vaccinated, the first 50,000 already vaccinated in March.

It is all part of an effort to prevent an outbreak of the deadly infection, similar to the one in 2016 when a young boy died and at least 115 people were hospitalized. Military personnel was sent to the region and burned more than 2300 infected reindeer in order to halt the spread of the infection. About 667,000 reindeer in the region were subsequently vaccinated in a huge immunization effort.

This year, about 160 people will be engaged in the efforts. They will operate 30 stationary and 100 mobile vaccination units. It is the second year in a row that they have mass vaccinated animals against anthrax, but the first time that they started as early as March.

According to regional chief veterinary Andrey Listishenko, spring time is the most practical and cheapest period for the vaccination effort. Furthermore, many reindeer herders have themselves requested vaccination at this time, he says in a press release. Listishenko and his people now have on hand a total of 520,000 doses and another 800,000 is to arrive in the course of the year. That will be sufficient both for this year and, the regional authorities say.


South Sudan: Guinea worm

South Sudan has succeeded in interrupting transmission of Guinea worm disease, the country's minister of health announced at The Carter Center. "This is a great achievement for our young nation," Riek Gai Kok, the country's health minister told the global Guinea Worm eradication program's 22nd annual review at the Atlanta-based center. "Our health workers and thousands of volunteers have done exemplary work eliminating this disease across our country, and I have no doubt that the World Health Organization will grant certification in due time," he added.

Since the end of February, South Sudan has reportedly recorded zero cases of Guinea worm disease for 15 consecutive months. Because the Guinea worm life cycle is about a year, a 15-month absence of cases indicates interruption of transmission, officials said.

Ex-United State President Jimmy Carter, founder of the Cater Center, congratulated South Sudan for halting transmission of the disease. "The people and government of South Sudan have achieved a great milestone in the worldwide effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease," said Carter in a statement. Carter, who negotiated the 1995 ceasefire during Sudan's bloody civil war, said the success in the fighting the deadly disease was the "fruit of good faith shown by all parties that agreed to the 1995 cease-fire during Sudan's terrible civil war, allowing health workers to start a campaign of interventions against this horrible parasitic disease."

"South Sudan's success shows that people can collaborate for the common good. We look forward to certification by the WHO in the next few years that South Sudan has won the battle against this ancient scourge. We are within reach of a world free of Guinea worm disease," stressed the US ex-leader.


South Africa: avian influenza

Scientists have been banned from handling seabirds in South African coastal colonies, as authorities race to quell an avian-flu outbreak that is threatening endangered species.

On March 23, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs announced that it would be halting research activities for fear of unintentionally spreading the infection to other bird colonies. Researchers say that the move is unprecedented, but they see no other way to protect birds. The moratorium will remain in place until June 1, with a re-evaluation scheduled for mid-May.

"On balance, it's a reasonable measure to take, given the scale of the problem," says Peter Ryan, director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology in Cape Town. "We don't want to exacerbate it -- our birds have enough of a problem as it is."

In February, veterinarians detected H5N8 avian influenza virus in African penguins at Boulders Beach in the Western Cape. The African penguin is classified as endangered, and is one of a number of wild bird species affected. Others afflicted include terns, Cape cormorants and peregrine falcons. Although the virus is highly pathogenic to chickens and other poultry, its impact on wild seabirds is not yet well understood, according to a statement released at the time by the national-parks authority.

Avian-influenza outbreaks aren't unheard of in South Africa, and wildlife officials are still determining the scale of the current epidemic. Fewer than 100 birds have tested positive for the virus so far, says Lauren Waller, an avian specialist with the government-supported conservation organization CapeNature in Cape Town. Of the birds affected, the swift tern has been hit hardest. Just 14 African penguins from 9 sites have tested positive, she adds.


USA: Hantavirus

The 9-year-old Farmington, N.M. boy who contracted hantavirus remains in a coma.

His father told authorities the disease started with flu-like symptoms, but within days the boy was being airlifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora [Colorado] in critical condition. Hantavirus infection is a deadly disease usually carried by deer mice, and spread through contact with rodent feces.

"Basically it's a killer disease. If you do contact [a] hantavirus there is no cure or medicine for it," the boy's father told a Denver television station.

The father said his son woke up one morning in January throwing up. The next day it had gotten worse so he took him to the emergency room. The boy was eventually sent home with oxygen to help his breathing. Days later his condition became life-threatening and he was airlifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora for treatment.

The boy has been in the hospital since, in and out of a medically-induced coma. He is currently on life support. "He's awake, he responds by nodding, he can kind of speak, and he's trying. It's just really heartbreaking to see him in bed," his father said.

The father said he doesn't know how his son contracted the virus, though they do live in a farming community where mice are prevalent.


Germany: Borna virus

Borna disease virus 1 has been associated with human disease in four cases in Germany resulting in the deaths of three people. As three of the cases belong to a cluster of solid organ recipients from a single donor, donor-derived transmission is possible. There is no evidence that the donor had any clinical manifestation of the disease.

Borna virus disease in humans occurs rarely; however considering the severity of this disease, Member States may consider adding the disease to the list of pathogens included in the differential diagnosis of causes of human encephalitis. The fact that the virus could be transmitted through solid organ transplantation raises concerns about the possibility of transmission through other types of substances of human origin. This should be further investigated.

Clinicians and transplantation professionals should be aware of possible related encephalitis and the possibility of transmission through donated organs, especially in areas where Borna disease is endemic. Endemic areas so far have been identified in central Europe including eastern and southern Germany, the eastern part of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the most western federal state of Austria and more recently in Upper Austria.

March 23, 2018

Sweden: Avian influenza

Just two days after Sweden reported its second detection of HPAI H5N6 in wild terrestrial birds, the Swedish Board of Agriculture announced March 16 the first outbreak in poultry by this recently reassorted virus.

Bird flu has been found in a small backyard holding in Uppsala County. The virus was analyzed by the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), and found to be HPAI H5N6. It is the first discovery of this AI type in poultry in Sweden. This virus, recently circulating in Europe including Sweden, has never infected humans.

To avoid its spread to poultry, it is important that poultry producers and owners of hobby birds apply appropriate infection control procedures, preventing contact between domestic poultry and wild birds, says Karin Ahl, deputy head of the unit for equine, poultry and game.

So far this reassorted (from HPAI H5N8) H5N6 virus hasn't produced anything close to the impact of last year's record HPAI H5N8 epizootic across Europe. In many ways, it behaves similarly to the behavior of H5N8 during its first brief event in Europe, during spring 2015. By Autumn 2016, 18 months later, HPAI H5N8 underwent evolutionary changes, gaining enough virulence and transmissibility to spark a record-setting avian influenza epizootic across Europe.


Chile: Hantavirus

A 24 year old woman was taken in an emergency from the City of Coyhaique to the Las Condes Clinic in Santiago as a newly diagnosed hantavirus infection case and is in a serious condition. The young woman, who presented with symptoms including dizziness, was taken to a health facility in the area.

Dr. Rodrigo Diaz, program chief of the Las Condes Clinic, stated that the patient seems to have [hantavirus] cardiopulmonary syndrome that led to respiratory failure. The attending physician in the intensive care unit, Andres Raccius, stated that the young woman presented with multiple organ failure and will be under observation in the coming days in hopes of improvement.

A 16 year old youth, resident of Quilpue who is hospitalized in the Sótero del Río Hospital in Puerto Alto, is the 1st suspected case of hantavirus [infection] in the Valparaiso region so far this year [2018].

The Institute of Public Health (ISP) will issue the information to confirm or discard if this case involves this disease or not.

The Valparaiso Health SEREMI [Regional Health Ministerial Secretariat], Maria Graciela Astudillo, stated that, "we were informed about the admission of a suspected hantavirus [infection] case to the Limache Hospital and that the patient was sent to the Quillota Hospital, where the medical team determined he be sent to Santiago, to the Hospital Sótero del Río".


England: Avian influenza

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Lincolnshire Trading Standards have issued a warning after cases of bird flu were discovered on farmland near Bourne. DEFRA has confirmed that H5N6 -- a subtype of the species Influenza A virus -- was discovered in 2 greylag geese and 2 wild pheasants, which were found dead on farmland near Bourne on Feb. 28. A Lincolnshire Trading Standards spokesman said: "DEFRA conducts regular checks on wild birds and in February it discovered four deaths in greylag geese and wild pheasants near Bourne. As far as we are aware this is a new case of avian flu in wild birds."

The discovery has not led to any restrictions in the movement of domestic or commercial birds, but the prevention zone has been extended to cover the whole of England and Wales. The trading standards spokesman continued: "Anyone keeping poultry or birds must follow our detailed requirements on strict biosecurity, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock. "We have taken these measures because bird flu has now been found in wild birds in this country.

"Bird flu is also present in Europe, and wild bird migration brings birds to the UK from areas where we know highly pathogenic bird flu is present. "If anyone keeps birds which are close to large numbers of wild birds, they should consider netting off their enclosure. And anyone who keeps more than 500 birds should take further precautions, wash and disinfect any vehicle wheels entering or leaving the area."


Korea: Avian influenza

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs confirmed the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian influenza in chickens at 3 poultry farms in Pyeongtaek and Yangju, Gyeonggi Province, and Asan, South Chungcheong Province March 18.

Authorities culled more than a million chickens from these farms over the weekend -- 800 000 chickens in Gyeonggi Province and 450 000 in South Chungcheong Province -- within a 2 mile radius of where the H5 strain was detected in an effort to stop the avian influenza from spreading.

The ministry also issued a 48 hour transport ban on all domestic poultry starting March 17. Movement of persons or vehicles will be restricted for a week around the confirmed locations of the H5 strain.

The first farm to be reported for a suspected case of bird flu March 16 was the one in Pyeongtaek, 65 km south of Seoul. Thirty chickens died there March 15, followed by 80 more the next day. The highly pathogenic H5 strain was also confirmed at a poultry farm in Yangju, north of Gyeonggi Province. The farm bought egg-laying chicks from the H5N6 virus-confirmed farm in Pyeongtaek.


Syria: Leishmaniasis

In March, a medical organization has documented about 35 000 cases of infection with leishmaniasis in the countrysides of Idlib, Aleppo, and Hama governorates, in northern and central Syria. Leishmaniasis is a disease that affects the skin or internal organs. It is caused by the leishmania parasite and is transmitted by the bite of sandflies.

The head of the leishmaniasis department in the Mentor organization, Dr. Mohammad al-Omar, told SMART that 2 kinds of leishmaniasis spread in the area: cutaneous (skin) leishmaniasis and visceral (internal organs) leishmaniasis. Dr. al-Omar added that the disease spreads due to the displacement of the people, dead bodies under the rubble of bombed buildings, the spread of organic waste, and exposed sewers.

Dr. al-Omar explained that the treatment for cutaneous (skin) leishmaniasis has 2 stages: topical and muscular. The 1st stage takes up to 8 sessions and the 2nd stage [20 mg/kg/day of pentavalent antimonials, IV or IM, for 20 days].

Last year, visceral leishmaniasis, also known as the black fever, spread in the towns of Harem, Salqin, Darkoush, and Azmarin, northern Idlib, where about 70 cases of infection were registered. The Mentor organization centers monitored and treated the cases, and managed to contain the disease, according to Dr. al-Omar, who added that the organization has more than 60 centers and mobile clinics specializing in the treatment of leishmaniasis, and the 27 mobile clinics are ready to head to affected areas on short notice. Dr. al-Omar said that the organization has everything needed for the treatment.


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

A crisis committee has been revitalized in response to the monkeypox outbreak, being supported by WHO and partners. An isolation unit has been set up in Bria hospital, where 3 patients are being treated, supported by the NGO IMC. The contacts of these cases are being monitored. Standard case definition for monkeypox has been disseminated to facilitate identification of cases and awareness about prevention is ongoing in the community and on the local community radio.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of developing a monkeypox outbreak response plan, following the confirmation of the disease in Bria.


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

Schmallenberg virus is believed to have spread to all counties of Ireland. Figures provided to AgriLand by the Department of Agriculture indicate that SBV positive test results have been recorded in both cattle and sheep this year.

Of the 311 tests carried out on cattle, 6 positive results were identified. In addition, 96 tests were carried out on sheep at Regional Veterinary Laboratories, and 38 positive results were obtained.

The data also delve into where each case was identified: between January and February 2018, 13 cases were identified in Sligo, 8 in Galway, and 6 in Donegal. SBV was also found in the counties of Cork, Dublin, Kerry, Kildare, Laois, Limerick, Waterford and Westmeath in 2017 [see source URL for a table presenting the number of cases in each of the mentioned counties].

Commenting on the data, a department spokesperson said: "SBV is now believed to have effectively spread to all counties with the detection of confirmed cases in County Donegal."

March 16, 2018

South Sudan: Rift Valley fever

The outbreak of Rift Valley fever continues to evolve in Eastern Lakes state, South Sudan, with another county affected. As of March 9, a total of 40 cases and 4 deaths have been reported from Yirol East (37 cases, 4 deaths) and Yirol West (3 cases, no deaths) counties. Of these, a total of 6 confirmed, 3 probable, and 12 suspect RVF cases (with pending laboratory results) have been reported. Of the suspected cases, 19 were considered as non-cases following negative laboratory results for RVF. The majority of suspected cases have been women (57.1 percent), and individuals aged 20-39 years make up the majority (72.2 percent) of cases.

In week 10, 8 new suspected human cases were reported in Yirol East (5 cases) and Yirol West (3 cases). Samples have been collected from these cases, and 7 were shipped to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on 7 Mar 2018 for laboratory testing. As of 9 Mar 2018, there were no cases hospitalized. During the week, one human sample tested RVF IgG positive, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed RVF cases to 6 (one RVF IgM and IgG positive and 5 IgG-only positive).

Test results from 21 animal samples (from livestock) that were shipped to South Africa were released during the week; 8 were RVF positive (3 IgM-positive and 5 IgG-positive), 6 samples were classified as suspect RVF cases based on IgG and IgM serological titres, and 7 samples were negative. Since the beginning of the outbreak, a total of 28 animal samples have been tested, with 9 classified as RVF positive (3 IgM and 6 IgG), 6 classified as suspected RVF (based on IgG and IgM serological titres), and 13 classified as RVF negative. Goats, sheep, and cattle in the area have shown evidence of zoonotic hemorrhagic illness, and abortions in livestock, disease in cattle, and wild bird die-offs have been reported.


England: Avian influenza

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and Lincolnshire Trading Standards have issued warnings after confirmed cases of bird flu were discovered near Bourne.

DEFRA told Lincolnshire Reporter that H5N6 -- a subtype of the species influenza A virus -- was reported in 2 greylag geese and 2 wild pheasants, which were found dead on farmland near Bourne Feb. 28.

Avian influenza (bird flu) has been identified in wild birds in England in 2018 and all keepers must report any unexplained deaths or sickness to their vet.

A Lincolnshire Trading Standards spokesman said: "conduct regular checks on wild birds and in February they discovered 4 cases of deaths in Lincolnshire, in greylag geese and wild pheasants.

"As far as we are aware this is a new case of avian flu in wild birds. While the discovery has not led to restriction in the movement of domestic or commercial birds at the moment, we are offering the following advice.

"A bird flu prevention zone has been extended to cover the whole of England and Wales. This means there is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures."


Liberia: Lassa fever

The National Public Health Institute of Liberia and the Ministry of Health confirmed 3 Lassa fever cases from 2 counties: Montserrado and Nimba.

All 3 confirmed cases have died. The 3 cases have undergone safe and dignified burials, and the county health teams are conducting contact tracing on both healthcare workers and community members who had high-risk (i.e. direct) contact with the patients during their symptomatic periods.

No epidemiological link has been established between the 3 confirmed cases that died. A total of 134 contacts have been identified and are currently being followed-up (Montserrado 105, Margibi 25 and Nimba 4) inclusive of 37 healthcare workers. As of March 7, no new confirmed Lassa fever cases have been reported.

Since Jan. 1, a total of 28 suspected cases of Lassa fever have been reported across Liberia, including 12 deaths. Of these, 7 cases have been confirmed by the National Public Health Reference Laboratory.

Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic illness caused by a virus that is transmitted through contact with the urine or feces of infected rodents and through direct contact with body fluids of symptomatic human cases. In recent years, a consistently increasing trend in the number of Lassa fever cases has been observed in Liberia and other countries across West Africa. This includes Nigeria, where an ongoing outbreak has led to 353 confirmed cases with 78 confirmed and 8 probable deaths since Jan. 1.

Symptoms of Lassa fever include vomiting, respiratory distress, chest pain, hiccups, and unexplained bleeding.


Panama: Hantavirus

The number of hantavirus infection cases in Los Santos province has increased to 13, 4 with fever and 9 with hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome.

Carlos Muñoz, epidemiology coordinator of the Ministry of Health in Los Santos, stated that the last 2 cases are a 25-year-old-man from La Concepción de Pocrí, and a 44-year-old woman from El Cacao in Tonosí.

Muñoz stated that currently there are 4 hospitalized patients, 2 without assisted ventilation but in the intensive care unit and 2 in wards soon to leave the hospital.

In comparison to the expected increase in each 4-year cycle, the number of cases has been a little less.

Muñoz indicated that this year maize production has increased and in the 18 years that hantavirus have occurred in Los Santos, the people have not become aware [of the risk] and continue storing maize within or near their homes.

In 2017, 23 cases were registered.

"Obviously, when the mice are left without food and water in the field, they approach houses where they can find food," Muñoz said.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

In Bauchi state, 2 people have been confirmed dead following the scourge of Lassa Fever. The Director General, Primary Health Care Development Agency, Pharmacist Adamu Ibrahim Gamawa told the Daily Post in Bauchi.

He added that about 26 cases of Lassa Fever had also been reported with 4 people confirmed who were affected already.

Gamawa stressed that this followed the Agency's decision to review the primary healthcare service from January to March, 2019

Gamawa noted that the cases were discovered in 5 local government areas of Bauchi State, Bauchi, Dass, Bogoro, Tafawa Balewa and Toro.

The Director General added that the government is currently training about 60 health workers in all the 20 LGAs of the state to curb the cases of Lassa Fever. He also urged residents to keep their environment clean so as not to breed rats and mosquitoes.


Finland: Chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease has been found in a moose, or European elk Alces alces, for the first time ever in Finland.

The disease was diagnosed in Kuhmo in a 15-year old moose, having died naturally. The results of the analyses carried out by Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira have been verified by an EU reference laboratory. Species of the deer family, known as "cervids," can suffer from chronic wasting disease, and it is always fatal. The disease is not known to have been contracted by people.

Norway was, before this case, the only European country where CWD has been diagnosed. The monitoring of the occurrence of the disease was intensified from the beginning of 2018 in Finland and 5 other EU Member States.

In Finland, the occurrence of the disease has been studied since 2003. None of the approximately 2,500 samples analyzed so far had tested positive for the disease. The monitoring of the disease will now be further intensified in the Kuhmo and Kainuu region. Hunters are going to be provided with more instructions before the start of the next hunting season, if appropriate.

Chronic wasting disease is not known to have been contracted by people. Moose meat is safe to eat, and no restrictions are imposed on the sale and exportation of meat of animals of the deer family. As a precautionary measure, the export of live animals of the deer family to other countries will be discontinued for now.


Australia: Anthrax

Grazers in Southern Queensland are urged to vaccinate their livestock against anthrax following another case near St George, a year since about 80 head died on a local property.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner said only a small number of cattle had died in the recent case. "Our officers moved quickly to contain the disease on that individual property by immediately restricting all movement of livestock on and off that location," he said. "The owners undertook vaccination of all remaining cattle to minimize the risk of further spread."

Biosecurity Queensland's Chief Veterinary Officer Allison Crook said the property was no longer under movement restrictions. "This incident indicates that anthrax spores may be present in and around the St George district and livestock grazing locally may be at risk of infection," she said.

March 9, 2018

Chile: Hantavirus

A new case of a hantavirus infection has been confirmed in the Los Lagos region, a 56 year old man from Cochamo who had a positive test that confirmed the virus that is transmitted by the long-tailed mouse. The man was cleaning out a shed in the community, where he was infected by the hantavirus. He was taken to the hospital in Concepción to be connected to mechanical ventilation and remains under treatment.

A second man is a suspected case, and he remains in the Los Lagos region, where expertise is being applied to determine whether he is infected.


Ghana: Lassa fever

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has confirmed the first recorded case of Lassa fever in the country at Tema General Hospital. Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, the director-general of the Ghana Health Service, who was speaking to the media in Accra on March 1, said one person has been confirmed dead from Lassa fever.

Lassa fever is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with the urine, saliva feces, and blood of infected rodents.

The confirmation, Dr Nsiah-Asare said, followed a test conducted by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. He said that, currently, all the frontline staff at the hospital who handled the patient before he died were being screened, while further investigations to trace the background and all contacts of the deceased were being pursued to prevent the spread of the virus. He called on the public to be extremely cautious of rodents and maintain good hygiene. He also urged the public to report any suspected case of the disease.

The GHS in February 2018 issued an alert of the likelihood of an outbreak of Lassa fever in the country. The disease is said to have already affected several countries in West Africa with, over 300 cases and 31 deaths in Nigeria.


Australia: Anthrax

Anthrax has been detected on a farm in regional Victoria after a sheep died from the bacterial infection. The dead sheep was found on a property at Swan Hill near the New South Wales border, which has since been quarantined, Victoria's agriculture department said March 1.

"We are taking the necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of this detection impacting more livestock. Some local measures have been put in place and at-risk livestock are being vaccinated," chief veterinary officer Dr. Charles Milne said. However the veterinary officer has said the discovery wasn't unusual and it wouldn't impact the movement of people or vehicles.


Panama: Hantavirus

A case of hantavirus[infection, the first this year in Herrera province, was confirmed by the health authorities in this region of the country. The individual involved is a 28 year old patient, resident in the Monagrillo neighborhood of Chitre, who is suspected to have acquired infection outside this region, specifically in the area of Tres Quebradas in Los Santos province.

The patient is currently receiving intensive care in the Gustavo Nelson Collado Hospital in Chitré, and investigations suggest that he could have contracted the disease two weeks ago in a visit to Los Santos.

The minister of health, Miguel Mayo, confirmed this situation during a visit to this region in Herrera, and stated that one expects this disease to occur, mainly in this season of the year. "We are having more cases of hantavirus, as was suspected by the Gorgas Commemorative Institute. The people have to take care of their health since the mouse virus reservoir is here and the virus has arrived to stay," Mayo indicated.


Poland: African swine fever

New cases of African swine fever are being found in Poland with an increasingly high speed. In 2018 alone, the Polish authorities have found 511 cases of ASF amongst its wild boar population. In comparison: in the whole of 2017, Poland discovered 741 cases of ASF in dead wild boars, of which 388 were in the last quarter.

This information was shared by Prof. Zygmunt Pejsak, head of the Department of Swine Diseases at the National Veterinary Research Institute in Puławy, Poland. He presented these figures at a meeting on the Polish pig industry in an event in Hegelsom, the Netherlands.

Poland has identified a total of 7 areas where the virus has been found. In total 5 of these border Belarus and Ukraine and one borders the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. It is likely that wild boar from these countries have introduced the virus into the Polish population. The last area is to be found around the capital, Warsaw. Most probably this area got infected by human influence, as ASF is known to travel about 5km per month when circulating in wild boar, Prof. Pejsak said.


Denmark: Avian influenza

The Danish national veterinary institute, DTU Vet, has revealed it has discovered bird flu in a dead white-tailed eagle found near Slagelse in Zealand. According to the Food and Environment Ministry, the bird flu type is most likely H5H6, which is highly deadly to birds. There's no need for the public to be overly alarmed, said the ministry.

"Firstly, birds of prey are the most sensitive to getting bird flu because they eat other birds, dead and alive," John Larsen, a spokesperson for the ministry, said according to BT Tabloid. "Secondly, we've known this type of bird flu for over a year from cases in other countries like South Korea. And it hasn't been a problem for humans."

For now, the discovery won't lead to more stringent protocol for fowl farmers, but that could change should more contaminated birds be found, such as in late 2016. According to Larsen, it's the first instance of bird flu discovered in a wild bird in Denmark since April 2017. And there hasn't been a bird flu case among kept Danish birds since February 2017.


United States: Hantavirus

The second reported case of a hantavirus infection in New Mexico has left a 9 year old Farmington boy fighting for his life in a Colorado hospital.

For the last month, a family member said the victim’s family has been left with a lot of questions "They realized that he wasn't doing good, but they still didn't know it was that serious," the person said. In January the boy came down with what they thought was the flu. "You usually take them in, and you send them back out with the medicine, and you're fine, so this time I thought the same thing," the relative said.

The Farmington family said they were in and out of the hospital for days until the 9 year old got really sick. On his birthday, he was air-lifted to the Children's Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. He was found to be positive for hantavirus.

This appears to be the second case of the virus reported in the Farmington area in one month. Last week, a 27 year old woman was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital fighting for her life after doctors say she tested positive for the virus in January 2018.

For the second time since the city started tracking the disease in 1993, a Denver resident has been diagnosed with the hantavirus.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment publicly announced the diagnosis March 6. Health officials characterize hantavirus infection as a rare but serious respiratory disease carried by infected deer mice.

No evidence of rodents was found when the health department inspected the victim's apartment building, and there's also no concern the mouse that carries the hantavirus is nesting in the Denver area.

The hantavirus is not found in common house mice, but it is found in deer mice, which are usually found in rural or suburban areas. These are recognizable by their white ears and undersides.


New Zealand: Parvovirus

Paeroa vets are warning owners to make sure vaccinations are up to date after several dogs have been infected with canine parvovirus.

Paeroa Veterinary Services veterinarian Danielle Thomson said one dog had died and two others were successfully treated for the deadly virus in the past few weeks.

There were also several more dogs diagnosed with parvo at other vet clinics throughout the region, she said.

"We've also had a few people come in talking about signs resembling parvo but they haven't been able to afford treatment for it, so we've given [medicine] across the counter," she said.


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

A high number of suspected Schmallenberg virus cases in aborted lambs and calves were recorded by the Regional Veterinary Laboratories network in the 1st week of this year [2018].

A number of suspect cases particularly in lamb fetuses submitted to Sligo and Athlone labs have birth deformities that are very suggestive of the effects of SBV infection of ewes during pregnancy, according to an RVL report.

It says while the polymerase chain reaction results for these submissions are still pending to date, they appear to confirm observations by RVLs last autumn of animals showing antibodies to SBV present in previously unaffected areas north of the Dundalk-Galway line (Sligo, Cavan, Leitrim, and probably neighboring counties).


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The family of the 19-year-old man from Okalongo in Omusati region, who died early last month after he was bitten by a tick, are still waiting for the state to inform them of the cause of death, although management at Oshikuku Catholic Hospital hinted the victim died from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

New Era has learned that the deceased, had complained of unusual movements in his left ear. He then went to Oshikuku Catholic Hospital for treatment and it was found that there was a tick in his ear. His uncle, who spoke on behalf of the family, said doctors applied some medication to the ear but were only able to remove the tick some 3 days later.

"He was just given painkiller tablets and sent home. A few days later he started complaining of a headache and the grandmother took him to hospital where he was again given painkillers. Thereafter, on different occasions he visited Oshikuku Catholic Hospital and Oshakati Intermediate Hospital with the same headache but was again given painkillers and some tablets to make him sleep, despite having a history of being bitten by a tick in his medical passport," said his uncle.


Canada: Colorado tick fever virus

A 65-year-old male presented to a tertiary-care hospital emergency department in Winnipeg last year, with new onset of fever. The patient had been hiking in southwestern Saskatchewan near Fox Valley. He reported several tick bites at that time; 4 days after returning to Winnipeg, he developed acute onset of fever, chills, and myalgias. He also complained of reduced appetite and watery diarrhea. He received azithromycin empirically as an outpatient and symptomatically improved over the following 48 hours. However, in April, he had a recurrence of fever, reduced oral intake, and diarrhea. He also had a syncopal episode while sitting on the toilet at home.

Given the history of a biphasic febrile illness with associated leukopenia in the setting of a recent tick exposure while hiking in an area with established populations of Dermacentor andersoni ticks, the possibility of infection with Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV) was also considered. An ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid- plasma sample obtained from the patient 8 days after the onset of signs and symptoms was subsequently sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Diagnostic and Reference Laboratory, Arbovirus Diseases Branch in Fort Collins, CO, where CTFV RNA was detected by a real-time RT-PCR assay.


Bulgaria: Avian influenza

Bulgaria has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus on a farm in the northeastern district of Dobrich, the national food safety agency said.

The virus, found on a farm in the town of General Toshevo, located near the border with Romania, would lead to the death of 140 000 birds, the agency said.

"A 3-kilometer protection zone and a 10-km observation area around the livestock area were set up," the agency said in a statement, adding that a ban on the trade and movement of domestic, wild and other birds and trade in eggs, had been imposed.


Argentina: Anthrax

After a year without any outbreaks of bovine anthrax in the Surveillance Area for Rural Anthrax in the Province of Buenos Aires -- a first after 40 years of surveillance, 1977-2017 – an outbreak was reported March 1 in the municipality of Paraje Muñoz. A herd of 90 Aberdeen Angus cattle was affected with 10 sudden deaths with extravasation of blood from natural openings (mouth, anus, vagina). The estancia veterinarian submitted a metatarsal for diagnosis and Bacillus anthracis was cultured from it. The culture was sensitive to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline, gentamicin, florfenicol, and ciprofloxacine, and resistant to trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole. No persons involved were infected. In spite of the present regulations of compulsory livestock vaccination this herd has not been vaccinated.

March 2, 2018

Nigeria: Lassa fever

Lassa fever has continued to spread in Nigeria, with 1,081 suspected cases and 90 deaths in 18 states, according to a press statement released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Feb. 27. According to the agency, following the increasing number of Lassa fever cases, within a week, 54 new confirmed cases were recorded from 8 states, with 10 new deaths in confirmed cases from 5 states.

"From 1 Jan-25 Feb 2018, a total of 1081 suspected cases and 90 deaths have been recorded actively in Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau, Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, FCT, Gombe and Ekiti states, making 18 states. This year, 69 per cent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (43 per cent) and Ondo (26 per cent) states, and 14 health care workers have been affected in 6 states: Ebonyi -7, Nasarawa -1, Kogi -1, Benue -1, Ondo -1 and Edo -3) with 4 deaths (Ebonyi -3 and Kogi -1)," said the report.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness, transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in hospital environments in the absence of adequate infection control measures.

The agency further stated that since the start of 2018, 325 cases have been classified: 317 confirmed cases, 8 probable cases with 72 deaths (64 lab confirmed and 8 probable); the case fatality rate in confirmed and probable cases is 22 per cent.

"There is need for the public to ensure and maintain adequate personal hygiene and environmental sanitation at all times as part of prevention and control measures against the spread of Lassa fever in the state,'' said Jide Idris, commissioner for health, in an interview with Business Day. The commissioner urged people to dispose of refuse properly at designated dump sites and not into the drainage system and to store food items in rodent-proof containers. "Currently, Lassa fever [cases] are being followed up on, with testing across 3 laboratories in the country. The NCDC [Nigeria Center for Disease Control] is working in collaboration with The Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), scaling up its support of the response at national and state levels."


China: Avian influenza

On Feb. 14, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of one case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N4) virus. This is the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N4) infection to be reported worldwide.

The case-patient was a 68-year-old woman from Jiangsu Province with pre-existing coronary heart disease and hypertension and she developed symptoms on Dec. 25. Seven days later, she was admitted to a local hospital for treatment of severe pneumonia and was discharged after 21 days. On Feb. 12, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) confirmed that the case-patient's samples were positive for avian influenza A(H7N4). The NHFPC confirmed the diagnosis on Feb. 13. The case-patient had reported a history of exposure to live poultry before onset of symptoms.

Genetic sequencing of this A(H7N4) virus shows that all the virus segments originated from avian influenza viruses. This virus is sensitive to adamantanes and neuraminidase inhibitors based on genetic sequencing.

Up to 28 close contacts of the case-patient have been under medical observation. Among close contacts, no abnormal findings have been found and all throat swabs from her contacts have tested negative.


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

Schmallenberg virus is progressing west across Northern Ireland, according to the province's Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute [AFBI].

The Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was first identified in Germany in late 2011 as a cause of malformations in newborn calves and lambs.

It was detected in Northern Ireland in a cattle herd in County Down in October 2012. Three further cases were confirmed the following spring in County Down in 2 cattle herds and one sheep flock. In 2017, the virus reappeared and was detected in one ovine abortion in County Down. Last year AFBI also detected positive tests for antibodies to Schmallenberg in 2 calves born with skeletal deformities and a cow from a herd experiencing abortions and calf abnormalities, providing evidence that the virus was circulating again in Northern Ireland.

Now AFBI has detected SBV in 8 ovine abortion cases in Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone. Further diagnostic testing has revealed the presence of Schmallenberg virus in the brain, lung and spinal cord sampled from 7 of the cases. These are the first virus positive cases confirmed by AFBI in the west of the province.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the Republic of Ireland have also recently reported suspected cases in counties Sligo, Cavan and Leitrim. Antibodies have also recently been detected in blood samples from ewes in Armagh, Antrim and Fermanagh, indicating exposure to the virus or vaccination.


India: Foot and mouth disease

Following the death of 8 animals from foot and mouth disease in the last 2 months at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park in Punjab's Chhatbir, the central zoo authority has alerted states and union territories to take preventive measures. Since January, FMD -- a highly contagious viral disease -- spread among cattle in Chhatbir and Gagar villages and the adjoining area of the park. Captive animals at the park have been affected, said a top park official.

In the last couple of months, captive animals, including gaur, black buck, chowsingha and mouse deer in the park have died due to the infection, said M Sudhakar, director at the zoological park. "Up to 5 mortalities were reported through Jan. 22, 3 more casualties were recorded through Feb. 15," he said. "We, however, took immediate measures and with the help of veterinary officials and experts from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly, we have managed to contain the spread of the disease." The park management and Punjab forest department have roped in experts from the state animal husbandry department to vaccinate domestic animals in the surrounding villages, he said.

This is the first time the FMD has been reported in the park. Earlier other diseases like leptospirosis and hemorrhagic septicemia have been reported among captive animals in the park. Concerned about the spread of the disease, the central zoo authority has issued a circular to states and union territories, asking them to coordinate with state animal husbandry departments for implementing of FMD control program.

The letter also directed the state and union territories to take up mandatory biosecurity measures as recommended by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute and have been asked to provide feedback on the action taken.

People familiar with the matter, said similar cases of FMD outbreak were reported from Kerala, but the spread was contained. Himalayan states, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir are closely monitoring captive animals for the disease, some of them said. "We carry out routine health check-ups of captive animals and the zoos in the state are secured so far," said Digvijay Singh Khati, state chief wildlife warden. The state has 2 zoos -- the Dehradun Zoo and Pandit GB Pant High Altitude Zoo in Nainital.


Argentina: Hantavirus

A woman died in the General La Madrid partido of Buenos Aires province, as confirmed by the municipality. With this case, the total is 17 cases, as stated by the Ministry of Health, despite the assurances of this health agency that there is no outbreak.

The patient who died was hospitalized for several weeks, during which investigations were carried out in order to determine whether this was a case of hantavirus infection. In fact, the province indicated that, with the location, it was within the "endemic area". In addition to the La Madrid partido, cases in Florencia Varela have been recognized.

According to Health, the statistics show an increase of 10 cases compared with 2017, which is attributed to questions of seasonality. "We have discarded an epidemic or epidemiological risk," this agency stated to Talam.

Also, the province is charged with a surveillance operation and recommended preventive measures to avoid the presence of the long-tailed rat.


United States: Hantavirus

A woman from Arizona predicted that she would be diagnosed with flu, but it turned out to be an infection that is caused by a rare rodent-carried virus called a hantavirus. The woman, who is 27 years old, started getting sick in January. All the symptoms that came, nausea, stomach pain, led her to connect it with flu.

After meeting the doctor she went back to home. Later on, she started feeling shortness of breath. The woman's mother said, "she didn't test positive for pneumonia, the flu, hepatitis… nothing she tested for was coming back positive." Later she asked to get the hantavirus test done by the doctors, and that was found to be positive.

The final status of the woman's condition is not stated, nor is there any information about the diagnostic test used for hantavirus infection nor is the location where the infection was acquired in Arizona mentioned.

February 23, 2018

Papua New Guinea: Anthrax

Papua New Guinea's Department of Agriculture and Livestock says there is an outbreak of anthrax in Madang. According to the Post Courier, the mysterious death of 600 pigs in the province in the past two months is being linked to anthrax.

The Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Godfrey Savi, issued a warning to all pig owners. He said if any pig owners see drooling, swollen necks, high fever, difficulty in breathing or sudden death, they must report this to the department.


Cambodia: Avian influenza

A moratorium on the movement of chickens, dead or alive, has been put into effect in a commune of Prey Veng's Ba Phnom district after a chicken sample tested positive for avian influenza H5N1, the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries said.

The infected bird originated from Prey Phdao village and was among 100 tested from Sdao Korng commune, according to department director Ouk Samnang, who said that the Ministry of Agriculture had ordered the spray of suspected areas with disinfectant as well as a halt in the movement of birds throughout the commune.

"Trafficking of animals in the area has to be prevented in order not to spread this disease to other places," Samnang said.

The ban will remain in effect until authorities see fit to lift it, he noted, adding that no human cases have been found.

Last month, 135 chickens were culled in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district as a preventative measure after a suspected case was found. Similarly, in December 2017 more than 200 chickens were culled in Kampong Cham's Prey Chhor.


South Korea: Norovirus

Two Swiss athletes are the first at the Winter Olympics confirmed to have contracted norovirus, which has affected hundreds of people in Pyeongchang.

The Swiss Olympic delegation said the two athletes had shown signs of the highly contagious virus "in the past several days," and that they no longer had symptoms after receiving care. It said they were sequestered in private rooms and were not staying at the Olympic Village. The statement did not identify the athletes or their sport, but it said they were staying in a location close to where freestyle skiing events were being held.

It was not immediately clear whether the athletes would compete. But the statement said, "We would like to point out that athletes affected by norovirus will be admitted to the competitions in good physical condition and after examination by a Swiss team doctor," adding that "it is also not out of the question that the athletes are competitive after surviving the disease."

Reuters reported that the athletes were freestyle skiers, and it quoted a team spokesman as saying that one was Fabian Boesch. Boesch's Instagram video showing him hanging from the railing of an escalator by one hand, allowing it to pull him up, went viral this week.

More than 250 people, including security workers and members of the organizing committee, have been affected by norovirus while in Pyeongchang. Its symptoms typically include extreme vomiting and diarrhea.


United States: Equine herpesvirus

The Equine Disease Communication Center reported Feb. 12 that the Arizona Department of Agriculture has confirmed equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy, caused in this case by wild-type equine herpesvirus-1, in a horse at Turf Paradise, a Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetrack in Maricopa County.

"The horse presented with neurologic signs on Feb. 8, and was moved to a referral hospital," the EDCC stated. "One barn at the racetrack has been quarantined while the Office of the State Veterinarian works with track officials ... to monitor exposed horses."

All owners are advised to practice strict biosecurity measures and report any sick horses to officials, the EDCC said.

Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhinopneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and EHM (the neurologic form). In many horses, the only sign of EHV-1 infection is fever, which can go undetected.


South Africa: Listeriosis

The country's listeriosis outbreak shows no sign of slowing down. In the last week alone, 57 people died from the food-borne disease, bringing the death toll to over 160. The source of the outbreak remains unknown.

The manner in which food is prepared in businesses and in homes has been under the spotlight since the outbreak of the disease in December 2017. Fruit and vegetables must be washed well and meat cooked thoroughly.

But awareness of the outbreak remains low. "Somebody preparing food in Pretoria to a small group of people will not have that food available in the Northern Cape, for example, so I doubt very much that it's a preparation process in a home kitchen. I believe this is a processed product of some sort that is distributed across the entire country," said food safety expert Dr Lucia Anelich. Anelich believes processed foods and cold meats and ready-made salads found at local delis could be the culprit for the outbreak. "Environmental hygiene from an industry perspective is really important ... to find it and to kill it so it doesn't continuously contaminate different products."

Another expert believes taking charge of how your food is being prepared is the safest bet. "If it's been made outside of your control, keep yourself away from that. Get into the habit of cooking thoroughly and make sure you have handled your own food, because that is the only way you can be under control until we hear more about sources of infection," said Unisa researcher, Dr Prudence Kayoka-Kabongo.


Chile: Hantavirus

A 44-year-old man died of a hantavirus infection, despite a negative rapid test done in the Hernán Henríquez Aravena Hospital.

The deceased person had his residence in Tumaco but worked in the Aysen region. According to the confirmation by the Regional Health Ministerial Secretariat [SEREMI], he presented the first symptoms on 9 Feb but went to a health assistance center two days later. Later, he was admitted to the regional hospital in Tumaco where the hantavirus rapid detection test was done, with negative results. Later, a PCR test was done that was positive.

The PCR is a blood test to determine the level of C reactive protein that is used to identify inflammation and infections in the body, because a little after an infection or inflammation begins, the liver liberates protein C in the blood.

Despite receiving specialized attention, the man finally died on the morning of Feb. 15.

Samples were sent to the Laboratory of Molecular Virology of the Universidad Austral de Chile, where a hantavirus infection was finally confirmed.


Canada: E. coli

For the third time since 2005, researchers have parsed data from an E. coli O157 H7 outbreak traced to raw milk gouda cheese. For the third time, they have concluded the "60-day rule" isn't long enough to ensure dangerous bacteria in unpasteurized gouda have died. This time around the scientists did more than publish the information, though. They are telling the government that the 1950s-vintage 60-day rule needs to be revisited because it is obsolete when viewed under 21st century microscopes.

The antiquated rule "assumed that any pathogens present would die off over time in an environment of low pH, low water activity, and high salt and the presence of competitive microflora in the cheese," according to the most recent research report. "However, these assumptions were made before E. coli O157: H7, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella were recognized as common foodborne pathogens and before evidence had accumulated regarding the ability of these pathogens to tolerate these conditions.

"Hard and semihard cheeses have long been considered a lower risk to public health than soft and semisoft cheeses, but further evaluation is warranted for Gouda cheese in particular, given recurrent outbreaks associated with this semihard variety."

Two of the outbreaks referenced in the research published in the February 2018 edition of the Journal of Food Protection occurred in Canada, in 2002-03 and 2013. The first sickened at least 13 people. The 2013 outbreak sickened 29 people with one death. The third outbreak was in 2010, with 41 people across the southwestern USA confirmed with E. coli O157: H7 infections. All three outbreaks were traced to gouda cheese made with unpasteurized, raw milk.


South Africa: Avian influenza

South Africa's agriculture ministry has reported highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks involving Western Cape province sea birds, including African penguins that will be treated for their illnesses because of their endangered status.

In a statement, officials said seven birds from six sites on the province's coastline have tested positive for the virus. One of the birds has survived, and the treatment protocol involves nutrition, hydration, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory drugs or antibiotics, as needed.

South Africa reported its first H5N8 outbreak in poultry in June 2017 and has noted a few detections in wild birds, though no outbreaks have been reported in poultry since October.

In H5N8 developments elsewhere, Iraq reported two more outbreaks on poultry farms, one that began in Diyala province and another that began in Baghdad province, according to a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Over the two locations, the virus killed 52,750 of 95,200 susceptible poultry, and authorities destroyed the survivors as part of outbreak response.

February 16, 2018

Kenya: Chikungunya

The number of people confirmed to be infected with chikungunya virus has climbed to 40, up from 32 announced by Mombasa County Health authorities in January.

The last chikungunya outbreak in Kenya occurred in Mandera in mid 2016. Mombasa County Health Chief Officer Dr Khadija Shikely said hundreds of others were suspected to be having the disease after presenting themselves to various public and private health facilities in Mombasa with symptoms associated with the disease.


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The Ministry of Health and Social Services has confirmed one case of Crimean Congo fever in the country. The medical superintendent at the Windhoek Central Hospital, Dr David Uirab, told New Era that a 23-year-old man is being kept in isolation at Windhoek Central Hospital because the disease is highly contagious.

The man, who has a history of tick bite, was transported from Gobabis and is from a nearby village in the area. The man is doing well and has responded well to treatment, authorities said. His blood tests confirmed that he has Congo fever.

"We are not aware of any other contacts that are sick apart from his partner who was also treated and her temperature is under control," said Uirab. Congo fever is transmitted to people by tick bites or through contact with infected animal blood or tissues during and immediately after slaughter.

The majority of cases have occurred in people involved in the livestock industry, such as agricultural workers, slaughterhouse workers and veterinarians. Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected persons.


USA: Chronic wasting disease

Two cases of chronic wasting disease have been confirmed in different areas of the United States.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports a confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in a county outside of northeast Iowa.

Widlife biologist Terry Haindfield says a doe taken in the first shotgun season tested positive for the disease.

Chronic wasting disease has also been found in a Mississippi animal. A 4.5-year-old white-tailed deer in Issaquena County has tested positive for the disease. The buck died of natural causes and was reported to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.


Chile: Hantavirus

The O'Higgins Health Epidemiological Unit confirmed the second case of hantavirus, this one in a 22-year-old youth who currently is in the intensive care unit of the San Fernando Hospital.

As for the patient's health status, Hector Muñoz, advisor to the Epidemiological Unit, stated that "he is in good condition and progressing well." As for the locality where he was infected, he added that, "possibly he went on an excursion in a rural locality in Las Peñas in Colchagua province."

"We now have started the protocols that include an environmental investigation that will be conducted by our Health Action Department. As well, we are getting into contact with the family to find out more about the case and thus avoid possible new cases of infection," emphasized the epidemiologist.


Guinea: Lassa fever

Authorities in Guinea announced the first death from Lassa fever in more than two decades, heightening anxiety about another hemorrhagic fever in the West African country where an Ebola epidemic first emerged.

The Ebola outbreak in late 2013 went on to kill more than 11 000 people in part because local authorities and the international community were slow to act when cases first popped up in a rural part of the deeply impoverished nation.

In a government statement, health authorities confirmed that at least one person was dead and more than 2 dozen others had been monitored for possible symptoms. However, critics questioned why the government was only now making the news public when the victim died in January.

Further complicating the situation was the fact that the Guinean citizen died across the border in Liberia - the same way that Ebola initially spread.


Ireland: Avian influenza

A white-tailed sea eagle found dead in County Tipperary was carrying the only case detected in Ireland so far of a highly infectious strain of bird flu, it has been confirmed.

The Department of Agriculture said tests had shown the type of avian flu found in the dead bird was a "highly pathogenic" strain previously confirmed in Britain and mainland Europe.

Farmers were warned to take precautions after the eagle was found dead, but health authorities said the risk to the public was very low and that there was no food safety risk for consumers.

In a statement Feb. 9, the department said tests had confirmed the avian flu subtype found in the bird was H5N6 and that it was the only case detected in the Republic so far.

"As previously advised, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has confirmed that the risk to humans is considered to be very low," it added.

"The Food Safety Authority of Ireland confirms that poultry meat is safe to eat, provided that it is handled hygienically while raw, and cooked thoroughly prior to consumption."


Northern Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

Multiple cases of Schmallenberg disease have now been reported in Northern Ireland, it has been claimed. Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann has called on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to direct 'all necessary additional resources' to its labs in light of the outbreak. He said he was aware of reported cases in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, while Parklands Vets in Cookstown reported that it was aware of confirmed cases in the Mid Ulster area.

The virus, spread by midges, causes newborn calves and lambs to be deformed born alive or dead. Malformations include bent limbs, fixed joints spinal cord damage and brain deformities. Mr. Swann, the UUP's agriculture spokesperson, said: "Reports of the disease in Northern Ireland are deeply worrying, albeit not completely unexpected. A few weeks ago I urged farmers to show vigilance after the disease was detected in several early lambing flocks just across the border with the Irish Republic and now I am aware of at least four suspected cases in Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh."


Nigeria: Lassa fever

The medical NGO ALIMA (Alliance for International Medical Action) began a rapid emergency response to an outbreak of Lassa fever, an acute viral hemorrhagic fever, in southern Nigeria in mid-January 2018. ALIMA is working alongside Nigeria's Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as well as Federal and State health authorities.

"ALIMA's priority is to help Nigerian health authorities protect and train hospital staff, improve case management and facilitate actions in the community to control the transmission of the disease," said Guillaume Le Duc, ALIMA's Lassa Coordinator. "The goal is to catch cases early, and improve the chances of survival for those who become infected."

According to the NCDC [Nigeria Center for Disease Control], 449 suspected cases of Lassa fever have been reported across 17 States since Jan. 1. Among these, 132 cases have been confirmed, as of Feb. 4, and 40 people, including 3 health workers, have died. The current number of suspected cases is more than double the average annual caseload recorded in previous years.


China: Avian influenza

The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health has received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province, and reminded the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel especially in the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays.

The case occurred in Zhongshan and this is the first case in Guangdong this winter.

"Based on the seasonal pattern, the activity of avian influenza viruses is expected to be higher in winter. The public should avoid contact with poultry, birds, and their droppings and should not visit live poultry markets and farms to prevent avian influenza," a spokesman for the CHP said.

Since October 2017, three human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infections and two other human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) infections have been reported in the mainland. Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5) in birds and poultry have also occurred in many countries in the past few months.

February 9, 2018

Spain: Scabies

So far in 2018, there have been a total of seven outbreaks of scabies, with 59 affected in the region, most of them health care workers.

The Public Health Agency of Catalonia has declared a new outbreak of scabies at the Moisès Broggi Hospital in Barcelona, with four affected workers, in addition to in Tarragona.

It was reported that in 2018, there have been a total of seven scabies outbreaks with 59 affected in Catalonia.

In addition to the two outbreaks in the hospitals of Reus and Saint Joan Despí, there have been another five outbreaks in three nursing homes, and in a school with four affected children.


England: Avian influenza

Avian influenza (bird flu) has been identified in wild birds in England.

On Jan. 18, Defra introduced an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone in England. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

This was introduced after H5N6 bird flu was identified in wild birds in two separate locations - South Dorset (confirmed Jan. 12) and Warwickshire (confirmed Jan. 18).

The new Avian Influenza Prevention Zone applies to everyone who keeps poultry or captive birds in England. All keepers must follow our detailed legal requirements on strict biosecurity, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock. View our best practice biosecurity advice.

UK Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said: "Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds."

It was also reported that bird flu has killed at least 30 swans from Queen Elizabeth's flock, with more expected to succumb to the disease.

"We are currently at the river recovering bodies of the dead swans," said David Barber, the official responsible for the Queen's swans. "This is the first time in my 24 years as Swan Marker that bird flu has hit the Thames -- naturally, we are all very upset about the situation."

Nigeria: Lassa fever

The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, says the current outbreak of Lassa fever has affected 15 states with 105 laboratory confirmed cases, three probable cases, and 31 deaths.

Adewole said that in 2018 alone, Nigeria recorded 77 cases of Lassa fever.

The cases were in Bauchi, Plateau, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Ebonyi, Rivers, Imo, Anambra, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Osun, and Lagos states.

Adewole said of the 31 deaths from Lassa fever outbreak, four health workers died as a result of the disease. The minister said the meeting was summoned to discuss the state of public health challenges in Nigeria with focus on some the challenges that bedevilled the nation in the past few weeks.

February 2, 2018

United Kingdom: Avian influenza

The United Kingdom today reported its third highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu outbreak in wild birds, this time in Hertfordshire in the southeast, as agriculture officials there upgraded the risk of the virus spreading to other parts of the country.

The virus -- a new reassortant between H5N8 that circulated widely last winter [2016-17] and endemic Eurasian viruses -- has turned up in a few European countries this season, as well as some in Asia, including in South Korea and Japan.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

Following the increasing number of Lassa fever cases reported from several states across the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] has activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate the response to the outbreak on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health.

The EOC has deployed Rapid Response Teams to the most affected states - Ebonyi, Ondo and Edo States. The RRTs are supporting the states in response coordination, contact tracing, case management, risk communication and strengthening infection prevention and control practices. Emergency supplies have also been sent to treatment centers in all affected states.

Since the beginning of 2018, a total number of 107 suspected Lassa fever cases have been recorded in 10 states: Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo and Lagos States. As of Jan. 21, the total number of confirmed cases is 61, with 16 deaths recorded. Also, 10 health care workers have been infected.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness, transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents. Person-to-person transmission can also occur, particularly in hospital environment in the absence of adequate infection control measures. Health care workers in health facilities are particularly at risk of contracting the disease, especially where infection prevention and control procedures are not strictly adhered to.


Colombia: Newcastle Disease

The Health Ministry warned that there have been cases of Newcastle disease in the municipalities of Fómeque and Cáqueza. Red eye or eye discharge, itching, or burning are the main symptoms of Newcastle disease in humans. Authorities make recommendations for prevent contagion.

On Jan. 22, the country woke up to the news of an outbreak of the little known viral disease, Newcastle disease, which is highly contagious for humans and is transmitted by direct contact with sick birds. The alarm was reported by the Ministry of Health of Cundinamarca after registering cases of Newcastle disease in the municipalities of Fómeque and Cáqueza.

Authorities issued a statement with recommendations to learn more about the disease and to prevent further spread of the disease. In avians, Newcastle disease may cause acute respiratory symptoms, neck bowing, neurologic signs, and even death.

In humans, although the symptoms are milder and more limited, infection results in conjunctivitis, discharge from the eyes, and itching or burning of the eyes. Hence, the ministry advises individuals not to handle birds in commercial farms or in backyards or to consume poultry of unknown origin.


Iran: Avian influenza

Avian flu has infected Iranian chicken farms, posing a challenge to chicken breeders and the country's meat output, Financial Tribune daily reported Jan. 23.

Since last March, about 30 percent of egg-laying hens, or 20 million, and 10 percent of broiler chickens, amounting to one million, in the Iranian farms have been culled for the infection with the disease.

"If the virus spreads further among broiler chickens, the whole country's meat production will be affected, as chicken has an important share in Iranians' meat consumption," said Mehdi Masoumi-Esfehani, the deputy head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture's Agriculture, Water and Food Industries Commission.

Masoumi-Esfehani also said 300 egg-laying hen units have shuttered because of the outbreak and the remaining ones are operating below capacity and risk being shut down.

Nasser Nabipour, the head of the board of directors at Tehran's Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Chicken, said the first strains of avian flu hit Iran in the fiscal year 2010-11.

"The more deadly strain of the virus emerged in the 2015-16, infecting more than 1,500 egg-laying hen farms," he said.


Chile: Q Fever

The most recent epidemiological surveillance report in the region of Los Lagos confirmed 32 cases of Q fever, of which 29 correspond to the province of Osorno. According to the updated report, there are 167 cases classified as "suspicious and compatible with Q fever", while of the 32 confirmed 3 belong to the province of Llanquihue.

The emerging disease appeared in the area of Osorno in an outbreak detected in August 2017 in the Manuka company of Puerto Octay, where some workers ended hospitalized and even caused the infection of some officials of that center. According to the Seremi de Salud Subrogante in Los Lagos, Teresita Cancino, environmental monitoring actions were also carried out with 33 inspections in agricultural lands, to which 14 educational and training talks were added.

A total of 20 possible cases were confirmed, and 36 individuals required hospitalization in recent weeks.

The outbreak seems to be centered on Osorno, part of the Los Lagos region. It would be interesting to know geographically where the cases were acquired in the 3 regions as the infectious form can be transmitted through the air over prolonged distances (that is likely why some non-livestock workers are involved). It is likely that more than one livestock farms are involved and that should be able to be obtained from a history of the affected workers.

Q fever, often acquired by close exposure to animals, is infectious with a very low inoculum and may be aerosolized over a significant distance. Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent, was discovered in 1937. This infectious form of the organism is an agent that can be resistant to heat and desiccation and is highly infectious by the aerosol route. A single inhaled organism may produce clinical illness. Indeed, in [non-human] primates, the dose to kill 50 percent of primates was found to be 1.7 organisms (1).


Chile: Hantavirus

Authorities are currently inquiring about a possible case of a hantavirus infection in Corral, in the Los Ríos region, after the death of a worker from Aysén who was in the area. This occurred after an alert issued by a local health ministerial unit that indicated the case is a 35-year-old man who apparently died from the virus.

According to details from Aysén, an epidemiological investigation was initiated in order to determine where the victim was infected.
Authorities have called for preventive measures to be taken, such as ventilating for 30 minutes spaces that have been closed for a long time, camping in areas that are authorized and cleared.


Panama: Hantavirus

Health authorities in Los Santos province report the first hantavirus victim registered in 2018, a 62-year-old man who resided in El Bebero in TonosI. His death was registered Jan. 28 in the Joaquín Pablo Franco Sayas hospital in the city of Las Tablas.

Germán Solís, Regional Director of the Ministry of Health in Los Santos province, said an increase in cases is expected due to the considerable production of grains and other crops in this district and other places in the province.

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

Anthrax virus infection is on the rise in Zimbabwe, with the Health Ministry recording nine human cases in the first two weeks of January. The deadly virus causes skin, lung and bowel disease following contact with infected animals.

In its weekly surveillance report, the Health Ministry said; "four new suspected cases of anthrax and no deaths, were reported during week ending Jan. 14. The cases were reported from Buhera District, Gokwe South District and Mazowe District." The Veterinary department confirmed that the infected people lived in an anthrax prone area.

Anthrax is a potentially lethal disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, an aerobic spore-forming bacterium that exists in a complex ecological cycle predominantly involving herbivorous mammals and human.


Uruguay: Hantavirus

Personnel of the Ministry of Public Health are investigating the death of a 28-years old agronomist caused by hantavirus. After completion of the specific studies, which could take 48 hours, they will be able to determine if the young woman died as a consequence of the virus.

The disease is contracted by the inhalation of excretions or secretions of rodents infected by the hantavirus.


South Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

With the addition of seven suspected Rift Valley fever (RVF) cases reported from Yirol East County, South Sudan, 20 suspect cases have been reported in the past month.

Of the cases, three are confirmed and three probable cases who died and had epidemiological links to the confirmed cases.

On Dec. 28, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan reported a cluster of three severe hemorrhagic cases, which were epidemiologically linked by place and time; all occurred in Thonabutkok village, Yirol East County in December. Goats, sheep, and cattle in the area also showed evidence of zoonotic hemorrhagic illness.


South Africa: Listeriosis

The case count in the South African listeriosis outbreak has risen again as the search continues to find the source.

An additional 53 cases and 1 death have been recorded by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD). Thirteen cases occurred during 2017 and were retrospectively reported.

Outcome data is available for 29 percent of cases, of which 82 died. A total of 820 laboratory-confirmed listeriosis cases have now been reported to NICD since January 2017.

It is already by far the largest ever listeriosis outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.

Genetic testing on Listeria from patients suggests a single strain, sequence type 6, is responsible for the majority of infections. However, it has not been found in samples from processing facilities, abattoirs, or food from patients' homes.

Tensions are mounting as rumors circulate about the source of the outbreak. The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality hit out at 'unfounded allegations' that its tap water was one of the causes. "The institution would like to condemn individuals who have been spreading inaccurate and irresponsible information about this serious issue through social media."


South Korea: Avian influenza

Bird flu was recently detected on farms near Seoul; just weeks before the 2018 Winter Olympics will take place in South Korea.

On Jan. 27, South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced that it had discovered a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N6 avian influenza near a chicken farm in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, about 25 miles south of Seoul. Another pathogenic strain of the same virus was also recently detected in another chicken farm in Pyeongtaek, a city about 44 miles south of Seoul.

To stem the outbreak, the government culled about 190 000 chickens in Hwaseong and about 144 000 chickens at Pyeongtaek. In a recent press release, the Gyeonggi government announced the slaughter of an estimated 430 000 chickens on farms in a 547-yard radius of the Pyeongtaek farm as a precaution. The government has also destroyed 467 000 eggs and are planning on eradicating about 500 000 more eggs at the Hwaseong farm.


Uganda: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The Health Ministry has admitted there was an outbreak after a nine-year-old girl from a village in the Nakaseke district tested positive for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ugandan Ministry of Health have confirmed nine cases of two strains of viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). Of the cases confirmed, the Health Ministry said four have died from the disease, which can cause victims to bleed from their orifices -- including eyes, mouth, and anus.

Doctors from Nakaseke Hospital claim the death toll has risen to 11. In a press conference last week, Dr Diana Atwine, the Ministry's Permanent Secretary, reported additional cases of the serious viral infections. Speaking to the media alongside WHO officials, she said: "Since August 2017, when suspected cases were reported, four cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have been confirmed and five cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF).  "Unfortunately, we have lost three cases of the RVF from Kiboga, Buikwe, and Mityana districts.”

In total, 23 people have been struck down by the lethal disease, nine of whom received treatment at the hospital, Dr Okella said. One patient is currently being treated at the hospital, he said.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told Daily Star Online officials are working with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to monitor the outbreak and provide technical assistance. He said 100 full sets of personal protective equipment have been sent to Ugandan authorities to support health facilities dealing with the outbreak.

Both Crimean-Congo fever and Rift Valley fever are viral diseases that are found in livestock but can be transmitted to humans. The CCHF virus, first detected in the 1940s, causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10-40 percent. The onset of CCHF is sudden, with symptoms including headache, high fever, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and vomiting. In up to 75 percent of cases, signs of bleeding can appear within 3 to 5 days of the onset of illness.

January 26, 2018

Iraq: Avian influenza

A sixth case infected with bird flu died in Salahuddin province on Jan. 21, Iraqi medical sources said. The victim died of bird flu at the outskirts of Balad, south of Salahuddin. Two other cases are being medically examined. The sources indicated launching vaccination campaigns within the precautionary measures at Balad and al-Dujail towns, fearing the spread of the disease.

Several death cases have been recorded over the past few days across Iraqi provinces due to infection with the disease. A total of four people died in the city of Mosul.

Medical workers have reportedly raised alert in the city, especially with drugs needed to counter the disease short of demand. One of the deceased was reported to be an Islamic State member in custody. On Jan. 11, Iraqi agriculture minister Falah Hassan declared that a poultry farm caught the infection in Babil province, days after another infection focus in Diyala province was brought under control.


Kenya: Anthrax

A health officer in Trans-Mara, Narok County has raised the alarm after two people resorted to traditional means to treat themselves after contracting anthrax Jan. 19. The two, a mother and a son, contracted the disease after consuming meat from a dead cow suspected to have died of anthrax in Mosotik Village on the same day.

Confirming the incident, Trans-Mara East Sub-County public health promotion officer Micheal Cheruiyot also revealed that several other people consumed the meat from more than eight dead cows.

"We were informed by a village elder that two people, a mother and a son, had enlisted the services of a doctor instead of going to the hospital after contracting anthrax. We were also informed that more people consumed the meat. We are trying to establish their whereabouts to ensure that they go to hospital," said Mr. Cheruiyot. The health officer appealed to any person who might have consumed the meat to report to the nearest health facility for treatment.

Mr. Cheruiyot also warned that the owners of the dead cows will be arrested for allowing locals to eat the uninspected meat.


Nigeria: Monkeypox

Scientists working to control a human outbreak of monkeypox virus in Nigeria performed genetic sequencing of patient samples, revealing that the outbreak likely originated from a source within the country. Their results emphasize the value of local surveillance for the early detection of viral spillovers and the need for advanced genetic characterization to help determine the origins of outbreaks.

"Based on our findings, it appears that the index case of the current outbreak in Nigeria was not imported, but probably originated from a spillover event or events involving reservoir hosts," said Gustavo Palacios, Ph.D., who heads the Center for Genome Sciences at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. USAMRIID and a multinational team of collaborators published their analysis of the outbreak’s spread in a letter posted online Jan. 14 in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

According to the World Health Organization, 172 suspected and 61 confirmed cases, including one death, were reported in different parts of Nigeria between Sept. 4 and Dec. 9.


Madagascar: Plague

After a few weeks of calm, bubonic plague resurfaced in Ankazobe. The inhabitants of this Analamanga region district, located 100 km from Antananarivo have been in a panic since the beginning of this week. Anguish following the existence of a suspected case of plague affecting a cook with the clergy of the Saint-Jean school.

"This 40-year-old man presented all the symptoms of bubonic plague, including fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph glands. Since his consultation at Ankazobe level II health center, the patient is being treated in the isolation ward," says Andriamanantena Rakotoarivony, technical assistant in the Ankazobe Public Health District Service.

Ankazobe constitutes one of the plague foci in Madagascar, that is to say, cases of bubonic or pulmonary plague often appear there during the season between August and April. Since the beginning of the season, this District has recorded 9 cases, including 4 deaths. The 1st case that appeared in August 2017 would have been a foreigner passing through this locality. Currently, 13 districts are still considered as usual plague foci.


Chile: Hantavirus

The Institute of Public Health confirmed the first case of hantavirus infection in the O'Higgins region in a 7-year-old boy, a resident of the San Vicente community in Tagua Tagua.

The child is hospitalized in the Fusat clinic in Rancagua, in the intermediate unit in pediatrics.

According to the background given by the institution, the child currently is in good health condition, and now currently is not on mechanical ventilation and is without fever.


Benin: Lassa fever

There was panic Jan. 20 in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, following the death of a 7-month-old child infected with the dreaded Lassa fever. The child died at the Federal Medical Centre in Lokoja.

Incidentally, the authorities at the Medical Center have also confirmed that doctor caring for the late baby has also contacted the deadly disease. The Medical Director of the Center, Dr Olatunde Alabi, confirmed that the male doctor was diagnosed Jan. 19.

He said that the victim's blood sample was sent to the Federal Medical Center, Irrua, Edo state, and that the blood sample tested positive. Alabi added that the 30-year-old doctor was evacuated to Irrua for further treatment.

According to the Medical Director, the World Health Organization, the state's Ministry of Health, and other stakeholders have been informed of the development and are already assisting the Center in various ways.

All the people who came in contact with the sick doctor, both at home and work, had since been placed under surveillance, he added.


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

Uganda's health ministry on Jan. 23 said at least three more people have succumbed to the Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak in the country's 3 central districts.

Ruth Aceng, the Minister for Health, told reporters here that at least 5 suspected cases have tested positive of RVF, including three deaths in the central districts of Kiboga, Buikwe and Mityana.

The latest RVF cases were reported on Jan. 19 in the 3 districts in the East African country.

This new number brings the total number of people who have succumbed to the fever, which broke out in August 2017, to 5. At least 2 cases died of the fever in November 2017.

"Since August 2017, when suspected cases were reported, 5 cases of the RVF have been confirmed. Unfortunately, we have lost 3 cases of the RVF from Kiboga, Buikwe and Mityana districts," said Aceng.

The minister said that a joint National Rapid Response team has been dispatched to the affected districts to handle the situation.


Senegal: Rift Valley Fever

On Jan. 3, the Ministry of Health of Senegal notified WHO of a case of Rift Valley fever (RVF) reported from a hospital in Dakar. On Dec. 29, a blood sample taken from a 52-year-old Korean man, resident in the Gambia, done at the Institute Pasteur Dakar, was positive for RVF. Previous PCR testing had been negative for RVF and other arboviruses.

The case patient worked for a fishing company in the Gambia and had no known history of handling raw meat. He was hospitalized on Dec. 20 and diagnosed with severe malaria. On Dec. 23, he became delirious and developed psychomotor agitation, profuse mucousy diarrhea, bile-stained vomiting, and hemorrhage. On Dec. 25, he became comatose and was evacuated by ambulance to Dakar. He experienced a recurrence of hemorrhagic symptoms on Dec. 31 and died the same day.

January 19, 2018

USA: Chronic wasting disease

A roadkill white-tailed deer collected by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel on U.S. Highway 87 between Dalhart and Hartley has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. This marks the first discovery of the disease in a Texas roadkill and the first case in a Texas Panhandle whitetail.

"The roadkill was found along the border between the current CWD Containment Zone and Surveillance Zone, and as a result will likely necessitate a precautionary expansion of the Containment Zone," said Dr. Bob Dittmar, State Wildlife Veterinarian with TPWD. "We do not believe there's a need to expand the Surveillance Zone at this time."

TPWD staff will present a proposal detailing the expansion of the Containment Zone during the TPW Commission's Jan. 24 public hearing. The proposed expansion of the Containment Zone will not result in any new requirements for hunters or landowners unless they are engaged in a permitted activity such as moving live deer.


Saudi Arabia: MERS

Through Jan. 9 there have been a total of five newly confirmed cases with four new fatalities.

In one report, four Saudi males and one female were identified as infected; three were listed in stable condition but the woman and one man died. All of the victims were above age 60; none were health care workers.

In a second report, four fatalities were listed, all Saudi nationals.


Argentina: Hantavirus

A 38-year-old man who was a poultry worker was admitted in the Gualeguaychú hospital during the holidays, suspected of having contracted a Hantavirus infection or leptospirosis. A complaint was lodged against the farm where he worked.

The department of Gualeguaychú confirmed that the poultry worker was hospitalized since Dec. 20 in a private clinic in the city for a zoonosis yet to be determined.

The 38-year-old man died as a result of a serious viral clinical condition compatible with Hantavirus. His family lodged a complaint to the government that was sent to government prosecutor's office, in turn, stating directly that the chicken production facility where he worked was a place plagued with rats, the vector of these diseases.

The prosecutor's office authorized an autopsy of the man's body to know the specific cause of death while awaiting the results of samples for serology that were sent to laboratories in Santa Fe and Buenos Aires.

The Senior Commissioner, Carlos Pérez, confirmed the complaint lodged by the man's wife. She said her husband's death was due to the bad conditions on the poultry farm where he worked where "there are many rats that urinate on the poultry feed and the workers have no sanitary protection.”

In a dialogue in an on-line program, Commissioner Pérez indicated that the health of the man worsened in recent days without a specific diagnosis and that the prosecutor's office had ordered an autopsy.

The man's illness began on Dec. 20.


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

There are fears that the area affected by the Schmallenberg virus has increased and spread further north in 2017, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

A department spokesperson confirmed to AgriLand that the Regional Veterinary Laboratory network has reported an increase in the number of suspected SBV cases in aborted lambs and calves submitted this past week.

The increase has been particularly prevalent in aborted lambs.

Results of the polymerase chain reaction test are currently being awaited.

But these submissions -- from counties Sligo, Cavan, and Leitrim -- tend to confirm observations, made last autumn of animals in new areas north of the Dundalk-Galway line, the spokesperson for the department said.

It also supports the hypothesis that the affected area has now increased, and includes counties Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and probably some neighboring counties, the spokesperson added.

"The department's advice to Irish farmers on SBV remains essentially unchanged since its first incursion. ”SBV is a low-impact disease, with the potential to cause significant losses in individual herds/flocks. Particularly where a substantial number of susceptible animals are infected, for the 1st time, at a vulnerable stage of gestation -- especially where breeding is synchronized," the department spokesperson explained.


South Africa: Avian influenza

Spread of avian influenza amongst poultry has halted. Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, announced on Jan. 9 that no new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed at previously uninfected poultry farms in the province since October. In December 2017, there was a reoccurrence at a previously infected farm, which was still under quarantine.

Laboratory tests have, however, confirmed the presence of the H5N8 virus in swift terns found in Durbanville, Seapoint, between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand, Kenilworth, and Stony Point, in the Western Cape. Other wild birds found to be infected in 2017 included guinea fowl, laughing doves, rock pigeon, pied crows, sacred ibis, blue crane, Egyptian goose, spotted eagle owl, peregrine falcons and a house sparrow.

The sick terns show signs of weakness and cloudy eyes and later develop head tremors, lack of balance, walking in circles, seizures and death.

Minister Winde said: "Our Veterinary Services team have notified Cape Nature, BirdLife and local seabird rehabilitation centers of this latest outbreak of HPAI amongst wild birds for further dissemination to relevant stakeholders.

The H5N8 strain of the virus has so far shown no sign of being infectious to people. Constant monitoring of exposed people in South Africa has supported this. However, people can spread the disease via their hands, clothes and vehicles.

South Sudan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

'Bleeding Eye Fever' that's deadlier than the plague has killed four and infected dozens in East Africa, as health chiefs warn the spread could be "catastrophic". The disease could be about to bring misery to the continent -- so soon after the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16.

Fears are growing that the disease could spread across Africa. The virus which leaves people bleeding from their eyes, mouth, and anus is thought to be spreading in South Sudan. Three people have already died, a pregnant woman, a teenage boy, and a teenage girl in Eastern Lakes state.

Up to 60 people are suspected to be infected, and are undergoing tests by a team from the Sudanese healthy ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO). Medics are now concerned a health emergency worse that the Black Death outbreak last year [2017], after the sudden death of a child in the Nakaseke district of neighboring Uganda.

The 9-year-old girl died after displaying the nightmarish symptoms of virus that kills up to 40 per cent of those affected.

And tests have now confirmed she died from the disease, named Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, according to Xinhua news agency. The disease is transmitted to humans through tick bites, or through contact with the blood of infected animals especially during slaughter.


Cambodia: Avian influenza

Nearly 300 chickens and ducks were culled after a new case of H5N1, or bird flu, was found in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district last week, officials said.

Seang Borin, director of the municipal agriculture department, said Jan. 14 that 292 chickens and ducks were killed in Phnom Penh Thmey village, where the National Institute of Animal Health and Production found an outbreak that had infected three chickens.

Mr. Borin said government officials from multiple departments shut down the movement of any birds from the area for the foreseeable future. "Health officials will check and follow up on the villagers' health.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said authorities must ensure there is no sale or movement of poultry from the cordoned off area.

Mr. Borin added that consumers should not buy meat originating from the area and also make sure any chickens they bought live were not sick, adding that vendors should notify authorities of any illnesses. "If their chickens or ducks are sick, they must report it to officials immediately and not touch the sick birds," he said, noting further tests would continue to be carried out before the movement ban was lifted.

In late December, H5N1 spread to Kampong Thom province's Stoung district following an outbreak in Kampong Cham province, but it did not infect any villagers.

January 12, 2018

Scotland: Schmallenberg virus

Vets have found signs the midgeborne Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which is capable of causing deformities in calves and lambs, was circulating in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, in autumn 2017.

The results have been revealed by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services (part of Scotland's Rural College), which -- in conjunction with Livestock Health Scotland with funding from the Scottish Government -- has been monitoring bulk milk samples from 50 dairy herds across the country throughout autumn.

First entering the UK on wind flows from Europe in 2011, SBV is spread by midges and affects both cattle and sheep. Initial infection can cause general symptoms of reduced appetite, a raised temperature, milk drop and scour. Some acute infections can be hard to detect -- particularly in cattle and sheep at grass.

When cattle and sheep are infected in the earlier stages of pregnancy, infection of the fetus may lead to skeletal deformities in the lambs and calves once born. Cases like this were first seen in southern Scotland in 2013, but the disease's profile fell in the following seasons.

In 2017, SAC Consulting's Veterinary Surveillance Network identified fetal deformities caused by SBV in southern Scotland and northern England. Cases were seen initially in lambs from mid-January 2017 and the last case was confirmed in early May. These dates suggest a potential infection window between mid-September and mid-December 2016.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A 9 year old boy has been isolated at Kiwoko Hospital in Central Uganda] for suspected Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, CCHF. The boy from the Kasiiso trading center in Luwero district was admitted at Kiwoko Hospital on Dec. 22 after a referral from Bamugoledde Health Center III with signs related to the highly contagious CCHF.

The boy had high fever, vomiting, general weakness, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, bloody stool and headache among others. It is reported that after the boy's situation deteriorated blood samples were picked and transferred to Uganda Virus Research Institute for tests.

According to an internal memo the results, which were returned on Dec. 30, revealed that the boy tested positive to the hemorrhagic fever and was thereafter isolated. Geoffrey Mulangira, the hospital administrator, confirmed the isolation of the patient and said they will address the press after they have concluded the investigations.


Iraq: Avian influenza

Anbar provincial council member Naeem Abdul Mohsin al-Ka'oud, on Jan. 6 called on the authorities to prevent the entry of imported chickens into the province, due to the risk of introducing bird flu.

Al-Ka'oud said in an interview with Alsumaria News that "there are fears of the spread of avian influenza in Anbar province, especially since some authorities began to divert the consignments of infected poultry to the province, after preventing their introduction into Baghdad and Diyala." Al-Ka'oud called on the regulatory authorities to "prevent the entry of imported chickens to Anbar because the province is rich in poultry farms with susceptible animals which may lead to the virus spreading throughout the province".

A local source revealed on Jan. 1 that more than 25,000 chickens were culled in Newdah al-Shat, Diyala province, due to the suspicion of avian flu.


Morocco: Avian influenza

After fruits and vegetables, it is the turn for the price of poultry to increase: in some regions prices have almost doubled. Where does this increase come from?

It's been a few weeks since the price of fruits and vegetables soared. From now on, it is the turn of poultry prices. In some areas, the kilogram is sold for $2.20 against only $1.50 to $1.70 in normal times. Consumers no longer hesitate to express their dissatisfaction: fresh products are experiencing a significant and unexplained increase.

According to Aziz Al Arabi, president of the national association of producers of poultry meat, quoted by LeSiteInfo, it is the breeders of chicks that caused this increase. Indeed, the cold wave that currently affects the Kingdom has resulted in the return of avian influenza.


Argentina: Hantavirus

A hantavirus cases has been confirmed in Buenos Aires. The case is a 19 year old youth who was treated and evaluated by medical professionals in the San Jose Municipal Hospital, and despite being in good health, remains hospitalized under observation.

This information was issued by the Secretary of Health, Ernesto Meiraldi, the Chief of Epidemiology of the San Jose Municipal Hospital, Eleonora Penovi, and the infectious disease physician Federico Simioli, who recommended cleaning homes with water and bleach, ventilating closed spaces, mainly storage sheds, keeping grass short, and not accumulating waste food, in order to prevent the disease.

The health professionals commented that the symptoms are high fever without cold symptoms, headache, muscle and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, among others.

For these reasons, the Office of Bromatology and Zoonoses is carrying out trash removal and general cleanup in the patient's house, as well as giving these relevant recommendations to the neighbors.


Slovakia: African Swine Fever

Slovakia is on alert due to the current outbreak of African swine fever [ASF] in the Czech Republic, Zuzana Peiger Acjakova from the Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry confirmed on Jan. 3.

"Slovakia is on alert. Slovakia's State Veterinary and Food Administration is carrying out extraordinary measures in regions close to the Czech Republic and Ukraine," said the official, adding that African swine fever is a very serious problem.

"The public might not realize the importance of the intense struggle in which the Agriculture Ministry, pig breeders, and the hunting community are involved. However, the activities that our veterinary inspectors are carrying out in the field can be understood by anyone who has witnessed the slaughter of millions of animals affected by this disease at farms abroad," added Acjakova.

The State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic reported on Jan. 3 that it had recorded the first cases of a confirmed outbreak of African swine fever in an area beyond fences in the so-called red zone of the contaminated area in Zlin region.

China: Avian influenza

The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health on Jan. 5 received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Fujian from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

The case involved a 3-year-old girl, who had contact with live poultry before the onset of symptoms. The patient had recovered after medical treatment and her close contacts remain asymptomatic. "Based on the seasonal pattern of avian influenza viruses, their activity in the Mainland is expected to increase in winter. The public should avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings and should not visit live poultry markets and farms to prevent avian influenza," a spokesman for the CHP said.

Since 2014 18 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the mainland health authorities.


South Korea: Bird flu

A new case of bird flu has been discovered at a duck farm in South Korea's southwestern region, the agriculture ministry said Jan. 8 in the latest outbreak in the duck farming region, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said H5 avian influenza (AI) was detected at a farm in Naju, about 225 miles south of Seoul, and culled all of the farm's 16,500 ducks.

Quarantine officials plan to slaughter an additional 53,500 ducks at 5 other farms located within about 2 miles from the affected region as part of preventive measures, the ministry said.

January 5, 2018

Saudi Arabia: Avian influenza

The infectious bird flu disease (H5N8) has spread to 2 new governorates in the province of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. New cases of the avian influenza were discovered at Al-Quaiya and Dharma.

The H5N8 disease was first discovered at Al-Aziziya Market before hitting the governorates of Al-Kharj and Huraimila.

The Ministry of the Environment, Water and Agriculture reported eight new cases at a poultry project in Riyadh, which led to the culling of 85 627 birds. The authorities have also culled 1,232 birds at 12 locations in the region of Mazahmiya.

Saudi Arabia had confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu in Riyadh that led to the culling of nearly 16 000 ducks, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said Dec. 22.


Pakistan: Chikungunya

Due to the poor sanitary conditions, mosquito-borne vector diseases are on a steep rise, and 10 more chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Karachi in a week, taking the number of the reported cases to 4,138 in the city since Jan. 1, 2017.

According to the weekly report issued by Sindh Health Department, a total of 4,868 chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Sindh province, of which 4,138 had emerged from Karachi and 730 from other districts of the province.

In Karachi alone, a total 73 cases have been chikungunya suspected cases have been reported in Karachi in the month of December so far.

Fortunately, no deaths have from this mosquito-borne disease have so far been reported.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, and the major symptoms include high fever, joint pain, joint swelling, rashes, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue.


Iran: Avian influenza

Around 17 million chickens have been culled in Iran so far, due to the recent outbreak of avian flu, the chairman of the board of directors at Tehran's Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Chicken said.

Nasser Nabipour added that almost all the provinces across the country, except Semnan and Khorasan Razavi, are now dealing with the deadly virus.

According to the official, the permit for importing 20 000 tons of eggs has been issued and so far 50-60 tons have been imported from Turkey, Mehr News Agency reported.

This is while Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Akbar Mehrfard earlier told the news agency that a shipment of 130,000 tons of eggs had been imported from Turkey and were being distributed in the domestic market.

"Turkey has increased egg prices from $22 to $28 within 24 hours of exporting eggs to Iran," he said.

Nabipour hoped that imports would lead to a decline in the rising egg prices in the Iranian market.

According to CBI's latest report, egg prices marked a 9 percent hike during the week to Dec. 22 compared to the previous week and a 53.7 percent rise compared with last year's corresponding week, reaching 126 000-175 000 rials [about $3.49-$4.85] for each tray of 30 eggs.


Egypt: Avian influenza

Egypt has slaughtered more than 17,500 poultry in a farm where bird flu cases were reported in the Dakahlia governorate (Delta), said head of Veterinary Medicine Directorate, Abdel Moneim Al Mongy, Dec. 30. After taking samples from infected poultry, vets buried the dead and slaughtered poultry to control the spread of viruses, Mongy added in remarks to Al-Watan newspaper. Dakahlia's Mit Ghamr and Gharbyia's Santa cities were ranked as the most dangerous places, as they have the virus, he continued.

During the veterinary inspection, the vets reported new H5N2, H8N2, H9N2, and IB [infectious bronchitis] strains. The fact that these strains are appearing for the 1st time in Egypt has made the situation all the more serious.

"After the death of my poultry, I informed the Veterinary Medicine (Directorate) immediately," the owner of the farm, [MA], confirmed. The government should produce local veterinary medicine to cure the local virus strains and stop [importing] drugs for strains not existing in Egypt, he said.


Malaysia: MERS-COV

Malaysian health officials have confirmed a case of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) infection in a returning Umrah pilgrim, according to a release from director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The patient, a 55 year old man from Selangor, returned home from the pilgrimage on Dec. 23. On Dec. 24, he had symptoms of fever, cough, weakness, fatigue, and leg pain. The patient sought treatment from the clinic near his home, where he had been treated for fever. On Dec. 28, he came to Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR), Klang Hospital and was admitted to the HTAR ward for further examination and treatment.

Recognizing the history of his new journey back from performing Umrah, the MERS-CoV screening test was carried out and it was positive both for the screening test conducted by the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Dec. 30 and for subsequent verification tests conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) on Dec. 31. Currently, the patient is in a stable condition and has been referred to Sungai Buloh Hospital for further treatment. The patient has said that while in the Holy Land, he was taken to a camel farm, where he then drank raw camel milk and came in contact with the camels found on the farm.