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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

News and Events Highlights

CEEZAD is a public source for the latest information on developments related to high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats.

June 2, 2022

Germany: Swine Influenza

On May 11, Germany notified WHO of one laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with a swine-origin influenza A(H1N1) virus in North Rhine-Westphalia, in the west of Germany. The case was detected during routine sentinel surveillance for influenza. No further cases have been reported in connection to this case, and the patient has fully recovered. Although infections with A(H1N1) variant viruses occasionally occur, it is still considered a rare and unusual event.

Australia: Japanese Encephalitis

A 61-year-old man from regional New South Wales has become the 5th person in Australia to die from the rare mosquito-borne virus Japanese encephalitis.

The man died at Albury Base Hospital on May 20 after contracting the virus on the New South Wales-Victorian border in mid-February.

He had been placed on life support after developing a severe form of the virus infection.

Thailand: Malaria

Health officials in Southern Thailand are on high alert after 11 people became infected with a strain of malaria that primarily infects the macaque monkey, governor Chamnanwit Terat said May 23. Health authorities said Trat, Songkhla, and Ranong in the south accounted for the most prone areas of Plasmodium knowlesi infections.

Koh Chang has reported 9 of the infections, with the rest being reported from Bo Rai. According to the governor, most of the patients lived and/or worked near forests inhabited by the macaque monkey. Although the patients have since recovered, Mr. Chamnanwit said they had been asked to remain vigilant to prevent further spread within the community from the macaque monkey.

Over the course of the past year, 70 people have contracted malaria, which is caused by a parasite. P. knowlesi, like other malaria-causing parasites, can only be spread by its vector -- Anopheles mosquitos. In 2004, researchers in Sarawak, Malaysia, discovered that the parasite was capable of infecting humans and the long-tailed and pig-tailed macaque monkey.

Kenya: Malaria

Some 28 students from Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County have been hospitalized with fever and diarrhea.

The students were reported to have been taken ill 3 days ago on suspicion of a malaria attack.

In their preliminary findings, 9 students admitted to the nearby St Elizabeth Mukumu Mission Hospital tested positive for malaria and were receiving treatment. Another 4 were admitted to a private hospital in Khayega and 15 were rushed to the St Elizabeth hospital after complaining of similar symptoms.

The authorities are also investigating the possibility that the students were sickened by food poisoning or contaminated water.

Canada: Avian Influenza

Avian influenza has been detected at a Cypress County property, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed. The agency has not provided numbers of birds infected, but described the flock as 'small.' The property is classified as 'non-poultry.'

"We had communication last week between the affected landowner and Cypress County, advising us there might have been a possibility of this," Jeffrey Dowling, director of municipal services for Cypress County, told the News. "They were in touch with the federal government and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and submitted some samples to the laboratory for confirmation.

"Cypress County was informed over the weekend, the situation was positive for the H5N1 pathogen. As far as we know, at this point, the situation is isolated to a single location, west of Medicine Hat, in the western part of Cypress County. And it does involve poultry and chickens."

Outbreaks of avian influenza have been reported across Canada.

France: Avian Influenza

France has started a trial to vaccinate ducks against highly pathogenic avian influenza [HPAI]. The Ministry of Agriculture reports that 2 vaccines are being tested that can protect the birds against infection and prevent the virus from spreading.

Minister Julien Denormandie had previously announced that he was looking at vaccination to combat the recurring epidemics of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The trial, now underway, is being held in regions most affected by those outbreaks. It is supervised by veterinary experts and by the National School of Veterinary Medicine in Toulouse.

"The trial should make it possible to collect scientific evidence about the effectiveness and importance of vaccination in the fight against bird flu. The results of this study are expected by the end of 2022 and, if appropriate, will be shared at the European level to develop a vaccination strategy," the ministry said.

So far, more than 1,370 infections with HPAI have been detected in France. A total of 16 million birds have been culled, 11 million of which are in Vendée and neighboring regions in the west of the country. Because new infections are still being reported almost daily, the highest risk level continues to apply to that region.

China: Avian Influenza

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health received notification from the National Health Commission on a human case of avian influenza A(H3N8) in Hunan Province, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food, and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

The case involves a 5-year-old boy living in Changsha, Hunan Province, who had visited a live poultry market before onset. He developed symptoms and recovered.

So far, 2 human cases of avian influenza A(H3N8) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.

"All novel influenza A infections, including H3N8, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the CHP said.

Travelers to the Mainland or other affected areas must avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets, or farms. They should be alert to the presence of backyard poultry when visiting relatives and friends. They should also avoid purchasing live or freshly slaughtered poultry, and avoid touching poultry/birds or their droppings. They should strictly observe personal and hand hygiene when visiting any place with live poultry.

Iraq: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The World Health Organization (WHO), in cooperation with the Ministry of Health in Iraq, is scaling up preparedness and response activities to control the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Iraq.

As of May 22, Iraq reported 97 laboratory-confirmed cases and 18 deaths, with Thi Qar governorate reporting more than 50% of the cases. Currently, all Iraqi governorates have reported cases.

Further coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health is underway to make a difference in controlling the outbreak.

"WHO is working closely with partners to enhance surveillance and outbreak response interventions in all affected areas. We are hoping to educate the population and those working closely with animals and livestock to raise their awareness of the disease, reduce their exposure to the virus, and prevent further transmission," said Dr. Ahmed Zouiten, WHO representative in Iraq.

"The different meetings and field missions we have conducted so far allowed us to interact with different spectrums of society and identify the gaps to be bridged, especially in view of the approaching Eid Al-Adha festival, where communities come into close contact with animals, including potentially risky animals."

Algeria: Foot and Mouth Disease

The Veterinary services of the province of Bouira revealed that 2 foci of foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] have been recorded among cattle in the province and involved a total of 14 cows in the municipalities of Saharij and Ain Al-Alawi, where the authorities intervened to take the necessary measures.

According to the same services, the 1st focus has been registered in the municipality of Ain Al-Alawi, west of the state, and involved 10 heads of imported cows. The 2nd focus involved 4 heads of cows and took place in the Amzarir region of the municipality of Saharij, east of Bouira, and its personnel entered the place as soon as being informed of the event and took the necessary measures.

These measures include isolation of the affected animals, initiating the disinfection process, carrying the waste and filling it in the technical landfill center, vaccinating the cows, and advising the farmers and breeders on necessary biosecurity measures.

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

While humans continue to battle a pandemic, a fatal disease has emerged affecting North Carolina's white-tailed deer, reindeer, and elk. The state's Wildlife Resources Commission identified a case of chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease affecting some types of cervids, in late March, prompting officials to enact an emergency plan to contain the disease.

The disease is spread by prions, abnormal proteins that are difficult to remove from the environment and can survive both extremely high and freezing temperatures. The commission detected the disease in a deer killed in Yadkin County in December.

Officials are working to boost monitoring capacities and speed up the time it takes to receive testing results.

United States: Strangles

Three equids have tested positive for strangles in Florida, and one horse tested positive in Michigan.

An unvaccinated donkey at a private facility tested positive in Volusia County, Florida, on May 19. He presented asymptomatically and has been isolated.

Additionally,  a 4-year-old Warmblood broodmare in Palm Beach County, Florida, tested positive after showing signs of mucopurulent nasal discharge, a fever, and swelling or abscessation of the lymph nodes under the jaw starting.

A mare at a Palm Beach County, Florida, training facility tested positive on after presenting with a fever and enlarged submandibular lymph nodes. The horse has been quarantined, and 6 horses were also exposed.

All 3 Florida cases were reported by the Florida Department Agriculture and Consumer Services, marking 32 confirmed strangles cases in the state so far in 2022.

United States: Equine Herpesvirus

On May 4, an Oregon horse tested positive for equine herpesvirus (EHV-1). Confirmation came from an out-of-state laboratory. The horse had recently attended the Oregon Horse Center at the Prairie Arena in Eugene from 22-25 Apr 2022. The horse has not attended any other events since that time. EHV-1 can cause upper respiratory disease, neurological disease, abortions, and/or neonatal death. This horse showed neurological symptoms but did not show signs of nasal discharge or an elevated temperature. Unfortunately, due to delayed reporting, this case was only recently shared with the department.

A 2nd horse from Deschutes County became symptomatic May 13. The infected horse attended a show on 6-7 May 2022, also at the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene. Confirmation of EHV-1 came from the Oregon State University Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on 16 May 2022.

Both horses were humanely euthanized and both ranches are currently under quarantine. The required quarantine will last a minimum of 28 days.

The EHV-1 virus is highly contagious and is spread via aerosolized secretions from infected coughing horses, by direct and indirect contact with nasal secretions, and fetal fluids. EHV-1 typically has an incubation period of 2-10 days. Respiratory shedding of the virus generally occurs for 7-10 days but may persist longer in infected horses.