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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.