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World News

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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.