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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

2018 World News


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

November 26, 2018

Sweden: Newcastle Disease

Poultry producers have been reminded of the risks of pigeons spreading Newcastle disease following a disease outbreak in Sweden. The Swedish outbreak was reported last month at a large commercial farm on the western coast, which held 5,000 laying hens. Presence of the disease, which led to egg drop and eggs without shells but no increase in mortality, was caused by a virulent avian avulavirus type-1, according to PCR and gene sequencing.

Sweden does not allow vaccination for Newcastle Disease, with the industry willing to take the consequences of single outbreaks from time to time.

The UK's Animal and Plant Health Agency said avian avulavirus type-1 is highly variable in its ability to infect different avian species and can cause differing severity of the disease.

Following further laboratory investigations, the latest outbreak in Sweden has been shown to be pigeon paramyxovirus. The pathotype sequence is indicative of virulent Newcastle disease, similar to that found in pigeons found dead in the same county in September. This implicates wild birds as the source of virus introduction into the commercial farm of fully susceptible non vaccinated birds. It also confirms that the virus is not the same as the Newcastle disease virus genotype isolated in Belgium in recent months.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Uganda's health ministry has spoken out on reports of an Ebola outbreak in Rukungiri district, days after 2 patients succumbed to an Ebola-like-disease.

The Tower Post has seen a communication between 2 Rukungiri district leaders indicating the death of patients with signs similar to those of Ebola. According to the communication, a patient died at Nyakibale Hospital of what would later be confirmed as Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

By the time the communication had been exchanged, the results from another patient had not been returned. On Nov. 10, another patient, from Rwakaterera Village, Burombe Parish, Ruhinda Sub County, was also admitted in the same hospital, showing similar signs. The second patient died the same day.

On Nov. 13, the junior health minister in charge of healthcare, Joyce Moriku, presented a statement on the Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo and the government's preparedness to handle any outbreaks in the country. "As of today," said minister Moriku, "there is no confirmed case of Ebola in Uganda." Moriku added that the ministry of health "remains on the highest alert ever and, together with partners, efforts have been put in place to not only screen but also to manage any identified suspect cases in specially established Ebola treatment centers."


United States: Brucellosis

Wyoming state veterinarian, Dr Jim Logan, has been notified by the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory that there is a new case of brucellosis in a cattle herd in Teton County, which is in the Wyoming brucellosis designated surveillance area (DSA). Serologic testing at both laboratories has shown reactor level results on 5 animals from one herd. Further testing, including bacterial culture, will be conducted to confirm serology results.

Logan and assistant state field veterinarian, Dr Thach Winslow, are working with the owner of the infected cattle and are conducting an epidemiologic investigation. The herd with known Brucella spp.-positive animals is under quarantine at this time. No sexually intact cattle can be moved from the quarantined premises until conditions of the quarantine release are met. At this time, Logan does not believe there are any additional herds epidemiologically linked to this case. This case is not related to the case found in early October in Park County, and there is no epidemiologic link between the 2 cases.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can cause cattle, elk, and bison to abort their pregnancies, typically late term. All of Wyoming's brucellosis cases since 1988 have been determined to have been caused by transmission from infected wildlife to cattle or domestic bison. For more information, contact the Wyoming Livestock Board field office.


China: African swine fever

China's agricultural ministry confirmed on Nov. 16 the first outbreak of deadly African swine fever [ASF] in the south west province of Sichuan, the country's top pig-producing region, raising the likelihood of a major impact to pork supplies in coming months. The outbreak was found on a farm of 40 pigs in Yibin city, in Sichuan's southeast. This is the 18th province or municipality to have reported an outbreak of ASF since the highly contagious disease was detected in China in early August.

Sichuan produced almost 66 million pigs for slaughter last year, according to official data, more than any other province. Sichuan provincial authorities last week issued a regulation banning the import of all live hogs and hog products from other regions in a bid to keep the disease out. Yibin is close to Sichuan's borders with Chongqing municipality and Guizhou province, both of which have already reported outbreaks. There is no cure and no vaccine for ASF, and the virus can survive for weeks in pork and animal feed.

On Nov. 16, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs received a report from the China Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention, that a wild boar from Hanjiang district of Baishan city, Jilin province, had been tested and found positive for virus nucleic acid of African swine fever [ASF]. The diagnosis was made by the China Center for Animal Health and Epidemiology.

After the outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the State Forestry Bureau immediately dispatched a supervision team to the local area to carry out an epidemiological investigation. The local authorities have started to apply the emergency response mechanism according to the requirements, and carried out harmless treatment and disinfection measures for sick and dead wild pigs, strengthened inspections of local wild boars, strictly restricting the stocking of nearby pigs, and inspected the areas with wild boar activity that surround pig farms. At present, the measures above have been implemented.

In China, wild boar density is estimated at between 2 and 5 head/sq.km, with densities put at 2.24 head/sq.km in some forests in north eastern China, and even higher in the south eastern coastal areas. In Guangdong Province Nature Reserve, wild boar density was estimated at between 4.87 and 5.15 head/sq.km.


Japan: Classical swine fever

A second case of classical swine fever [CSF] was detected in Gifu Prefecture Nov. 16 at a park, after the nation's first case in decades was reported in September at a nearby pig farm. The Gifu Prefectural Government culled all 21 pigs kept at the Chikusan Center Park after confirming earlier in the morning through tests that two of them were infected with what is also known as hog cholera. The virus affects only pigs and wild boars and has an almost 100 per cent fatality rate.

Already 49 wild boars in the prefecture have been found to be infected with the virus, and 2 of them were found in the park in late September 2018. But the pigs in the park had shown no signs of infection at that time, according to the prefecture. The park said it will close until Nov. 25 due to disinfection and epidemic control work.

Farm minister Takamori Yoshikawa urged all prefectures to take measures to prevent wild boars from entering pig farms, deeming them to be the cause of the outbreak. Eight Gifu pig farms near the affected park have been banned from shipping their pigs and meat outside the area.

Following the CSF infection at a Gifu farm just 8 km southeast of the park in September 2018, Japan suspended exports of pork and related products from across the country. But the ban on shipments had been lifted for some markets after individual negotiations, and Tokyo does not plan to stop exports to those destinations following the latest case, according to farm ministry officials.


Namibia: Anthrax

Thirteen human anthrax cases were recorded at Sesfontein in the Kunene Region after 35 residents consumed the meat of livestock which died of unknown disease. No deaths have been reported, and the disease has since been contained says Health and Social Services permanent secretary, Ben Nangombe.

In a joint statement signed by both the Ministry of Health and Social Services and that of Agriculture, a total of 92 small stock died from the outbreak in Sesfontein, while 23 buffalo died in the Bwabwata National Park. The ministries are collaborating in the matter and have informed all farmers and the general public about the danger in the affected areas.

Post exposure prophylactic medicines have also been administered thus far to 44 people in the areas of Omiriu and Okamba yOzongombo in Kunene. Symptoms and signs in humans include swollen and painful lymph glands, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, loss of appetite, fever, and sore throat.


Zambia: Anthrax

Hippos in Luangwa River in Chama district in Muchinga Province are reportedly dying from suspected anthrax disease. Confirming the development to ZANIS, Chama district commissioner Leonard Ngoma said a team from the University of Zambia has since visited the affected areas to collect samples for testing.

Mr. Ngoma said results from the samples taken are yet to be released to confirm whether the hippos are dying from suspected anthrax or whether it is because of overpopulation. He said the affected areas are mainly in Chikwa and Chifunda Chiefdoms involving close to 8 villages.

The district commissioner has since discouraged people in the area from eating meat from the carcasses and any other animal that may have died from unknown causes, as this could be a source of infection which could lead to severe illness and even death. In October of 2016, anthrax broke out in Chama district affecting over 40 people. The outbreak was blamed on people handling, cutting, cooking, and eating meat from hippos that had died from anthrax in the Luangwa River.

Last month, the cabinet approved 3 bills and resolved to reduce the hippo population along the Luangwa River following reports of damage to the environment. The current population of the hippos in Luangwa River is 13,000, which is beyond the carrying capacity of 9,000 on a 270 km stretch. This has caused considerable damage to the environment and river banks and continues to threaten the sustainability of the river system.


Nigeria: Foot and mouth disease

Strange cases of foot and mouth disease ravaging animals in different parts of Yobe State are scaring livestock farmers living there. Cases of the disease were said to have been found in communities in Jakusko, Fune, Nangere, Tarmuwa, Potiskum, Damaturu, Fika and Gulani.

Breeders from the affected areas told the Daily Trust that the scourge manifested shortly after the rainy season and that it had so far claimed many animals. The chairman of Kullen Allah Cattle Breeders Association (KACBA) in Fika, Muhammad Alhaji Hassan, said he lost three cows to the disease. Alhaji Hassan said, "The 'boru disease' (FMD) was brought into the state by white migratory cattle from Chad and Cameroon through Adamawa. I have never seen this kind of 'boru disease' in camels. It looks like the FMD in cows," he said.

He noted that the contagious disease had killed animals in Maluri, Gudi, Manawaji and other Fulani settlements in a short period of time. "Months before now, our animals had suffered from lung disease, and now, it's 'boru' (FMD). It took the intervention of veterinary doctors sent by the state government to curtail the spread of the disease," he said. He stated that the disease could have been fatal if not for the mass animal vaccination that the livestock received early this year.

The national president of KACBA, Khalil Muhammad Bello, said he had received reports from affected areas and that he had forwarded them to the Yobe State Pilot Livestock Development Program for immediate action. "I'm happy to inform that our people have started receiving drugs and treatment at area offices across the state. Wherever the livestock farmers have a problem, they will contact us to link them with the nearest area office for treatment," he explained.


United States: Norovirus

Evacuees who fled the Camp Fire in California are facing norovirus outbreaks in shelters. The Butte County Public Health Department said that 145 people have been sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea since the shelters opened to evacuees, and 41 people were experiencing symptoms at four different shelters as of Nov. 14th. Twenty-five people have been to the hospital for medical support, the health department said in a statement. "The number of sick people is increasing every day," the statement said.

About 9,700 homes were destroyed and 141,000 [151,000 as of Nov. 19] acres burned in the fire. Seventy-seven people have died due to the fire, and more than 600 [1,000 as of Nov. 19] are missing. The Butte County health department is working with the Red Cross, state and federal partners to reduce the spread of the illness at the evacuation shelters, according to the statement released on Nov. 15. Some of the actions being taken include establishing separate shelters for sick evacuees, active monitoring of shelter residents and protective equipment for medical staff.

Norovirus, which is sometimes called stomach flu or a stomach bug, is "a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea," according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It leads to 19 to 21 million cases of acute gastroenteritis in the United States every year.


Australia: Anthrax

Agriculture officials in Victoria, Australia reported responding to positive identification of anthrax in a sheep on a property near Swan Hill over the weekend. Victoria's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Charles Milne, said the affected property had now been quarantined and appropriate bio-security protections were in place.

Dr. Milne said it was not unusual for incidents of anthrax to be detected in cattle and sheep in the region, with several farms in the Swan Hill area affected in March 2017, as well as a property in March this year.

"Incidents tend to occur during the warmer months when it is drier and livestock forage deeper into the soil when eating grass," Dr. Milne said. "We are well prepared to handle these incidents and we are currently contacting local farmers and veterinarians." Dr. Milne said all sheep on the affected property had now been vaccinated and appropriate disposals were taking place today.

The current evidence suggests that one property has been affected. Agriculture Victoria will continue to work with nearby farmers, veterinarians and the local community to monitor the situation.


United States: Chronic wasting disease

Test results from 3 deer harvested in Blaine County have tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The deer were harvested within the 2018 priority surveillance area, which includes the northern half of Blaine County. As a result, the northern part of Blaine County -- north of U.S. Highway 2 -- has been designated a CWD-positive area. A previously existing CWD-positive area includes all of Liberty County. FWP [Fish, Wildlife, and Parks] has notified the hunters who submitted the samples.

To prevent the spread of CWD to other portions of Montana, the brain and spinal column of deer, elk or moose harvested within either CWD-positive area cannot be transported outside of the associated transport restriction zone, or TRZ, which includes Toole, Liberty and Hill counties, and with this latest detection has been expanded to include Blaine and Phillips counties. Hunters are reminded not to leave this expanded TRZ with whole deer, elk or moose carcasses from either CWD-positive area but should consider processing the animal within the TRZ or only removing quarters and deboned meat with no spinal column or head attached.

Hunters also need to be aware that because of this new detection of CWD, FWP is relying on collecting more samples from the area to determine disease prevalence among the deer population and its potential distribution. This information is critical for FWP in developing a plan for managing the disease.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola Virus Disease dated Nov. 19:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 373, of which 326 are confirmed and 47 are probable. In total, there were 217 deaths (170 confirmed and 47 probable) and 110 people healed.

Seventy-one suspected cases are under investigation. No new cases are confirmed.

There is 1 new confirmed case death and two new people have been healed in Beni.

Since the beginning of vaccination on Aug. 8th, 32,626 people have been vaccinated, including 16,210 in Beni.

November 16, 2018

Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Reports on the number of dengue and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever/CCHF virus cases in the past 4 years were presented before the National Assembly on November 7th. Since 2015, Congo virus has infected 613 people. Of these people, 148 died due to the disease.

Balochistan was the most affected by the virus, as 424 were infected. In Sindh 63 cases were reported while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa each reported 51 cases. Thirteen cases were reported in Islamabad and 5 in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The Congo virus is spread through ticks on animals.


Congo: Ebola

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 339; 301 are confirmed and 38 probable. In total, there have been 212 deaths (composed of 174 confirmed and 38 probable cases).


Ireland: Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand-foot-mouth disease [HFMD] cases are on the rise in Ireland. With children back at school, there is a rapid increase in cases, and parents are being urged to look out for the signs. HFMD is a common, mild illness caused by a type of enterovirus. The disease gets its name from the non-itchy rash that develops on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. It can also cause ulcers in your mouth and make you feel generally unwell, although some people have no symptoms.

According to the Health Service Executive (HSE), the disease is very contagious and is common in children under 10 years of age. However, adolescents and adults can also be affected. The first symptoms of HFMD include fever and feeling unwell, loss of appetite, sore throat, and small red spots in the mouth, throat, and skin.

Later symptoms include the following: After 1-2 days, red spots in the mouth will develop into painful ulcers, particularly around the tongue, gums, and inside of the cheeks. The spots are flat or raised, sometimes with blisters, and smaller than chickenpox sores. It may be difficult to eat, drink, and swallow.

Any red spots on the skin will turn into a non-itchy rash over another 1-2 day period. The rash develops on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and between the fingers and toes. In some cases, spots also develop on the buttocks and genitals.

To prevent HFMD, always wash your hands after going to the toilet and handling nappies, and before preparing food. If your child has HFMD, encourage them to wash their hands regularly; avoid sharing utensils with people who are infected with HFMD; and make sure that shared work surfaces are clean.


Japan: African swine fever

A highly contagious African swine fever [ASF] virus has been detected in the luggage of a traveler from Shanghai at Tokyo's Haneda airport, the farm ministry said on November 9th. Pork-filled dumplings brought by the traveler on Oct. 14 have tested positive for the virus, becoming the second case of the virus brought to Japan from overseas.

ASF was reported in China in August of this year, while no domestic infections in Japan have been reported so far. It is regarded as more lethal than classical swine fever, also known as hog cholera, and there is no effective vaccine to protect pigs from the deadly disease.

According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the dumplings were homemade and uncooked. Both African and classical swine fevers pose no direct threat to human health.


Uganda: Anthrax

Experts in Uganda have been making calls to control Anthrax infections in their country. Speaking during the 4th National Field Epidemiology Conference at Imperial Royale hotel, Dr. Alex Ario (the acting director of the Uganda National Institute of Public Health Ministry of Health) called on the public to ensure animal health if the country is to control anthrax.

Over 200 people have been infected with anthrax in four districts in West Nile and South Western Uganda. According to the Ministry of Health officials, many people were at risk of contracting the disease, which is common in animals. The 236 cases have been recorded in the districts of Arua, Kiruhura, Isingiro and Kween from 2017 up to Nov. 12.

Arua district in Uganda has had the highest number of anthrax in humans with a total number of 102 reported since 2015. Isingiro district came second with 60 cases reported last year, 52 cases in Kween district and 22 in Kiruhura were registered this year.

Dr. Alex Ario said if government does not address the problem of anthrax from animal side, it will continue to spread and affect more people. He however noted with concern that some farmers cannot afford the cost to vaccinate their animals against anthrax. He urged the government to come up with a policy on vaccination of animals. "In some cultures however, instead of getting rid of animals which have died from anthrax, these animals are eaten by people," he noted. It is against this background that Ario called for a need to put in place a policy to burn the animal once it is found to have died of anthrax.

Dr Willy Nguma, the Arua district veterinary officer said at the moment at least 150,000 animals including cows, sheep, goats and pigs are at risk of anthrax. He said the outbreak from 2017 to 2018 left over 1,000 animals dead. Nguma said sudden death is one of the signs of anthrax in animals.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

In the Oct. 29-Nov. 4 reporting week, 5 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (3), Ondo (1) and Ebonyi (1) state with 2 new deaths in Edo (1) and Ebonyi (1) This year, a total of 2,950 suspected cases have been reported from 22 states. Of these, 553 were confirmed positive, 17 probable, 2,380 negative.

Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 143 deaths in confirmed cases and 17 in probable cases. Case fatality rate (CFR) in confirmed cases is 25.9%.

Twenty-two states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 90 Local Government Areas (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Anambra, Benue, Kogi, Imo, Plateau, Lagos, Taraba, Delta, Osun, Rivers, FCT, Gombe, Ekiti, Kaduna, Abia, Adamawa and Enugu); 18 states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 4; Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi and Delta states, remain active.

Eighty-two percent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (46%), Ondo (23%) and Ebonyi (13%) states.

Ten patients are currently being managed at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Center (4), Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owo (4), and Federal Teaching Hospital Abakiliki (2).

A total of 8,587 contacts have been identified from 22 states. Of these 512 (6%) are currently being followed up, 7,946 (92.5%) have completed 21 days follow up while 15 (0.2%) were lost to follow up. 114 (1.3%) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 36 (0.4%) have tested positive from 5 states (Edo - 20, Ondo - 8, Ebonyi - 3, Kogi - 3, Bauchi - 1 and Adamawa - 1).

November 9, 2018

Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Nov. 6:

A total of 308 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, 273 confirmed and 35 probable. Of the 273 confirmed, 156 died and 91 are cured. The others are hospitalized in the different Ebola treatment centers.

Thirty-nine suspected cases are under investigation. There are 3 new confirmed cases, 2 in Beni and 1 in Vuhovi [North Kivu]. There are 2 new confirmed fatalities, including 1 in Butembo [North Kivu] and 1 in Vuhovi. There are 3 new recoveries in Beni.

The response teams in Beni were visited by a large delegation composed of the Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the Governor of North Kivu Province, Julien Paluku, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the UN Special Representative in the DRC, Leila Zerrougui.

The delegation began the day at the emergency operations center of the response, where National Response Coordinator Dr. Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe presented the epidemiological situation, challenges and progress of the response. The Coordinator agreed, on behalf of all stakeholders in the response, with the Merit Certificate awarded to congratulate them on the work done in this Ebola outbreak, which is the most complex epidemic in the history of the country.

At the end of the visit, the Minister of Health warmly congratulated the teams that have so far managed to prevent this epidemic from turning into a real human tragedy, resulting in thousands of deaths across the country. Although the number of new confirmed cases reported daily has slightly decreased in recent days, the situation remains extremely critical.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

In the reporting week of Oct. 22-28, 9 new confirmed cases were reported from the states of Ondo (4), Edo (4), and Ebonyi (1), with 2 new deaths in Edo (1) and Ondo (1) and a probable case from Ebonyi.

From January through October, a total of 2,834 suspected cases have been reported from 22 states. Of these, 548 were confirmed positive, 17 are probable, and 2,264 are negative (not a case).

Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 141 deaths in confirmed cases and 17 in probable cases. The case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 25.7 percent.

Twenty-two states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 90 local government areas

Eighty-two percent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (46 percent), Ondo (23 percent), and Ebonyi (13 percent) states.

A total of 8,454 contacts have been identified from 22 states. Of these, 389 (4.6 percent) are currently being followed up with, 7,946 (94 percent) have completed 21 days follow-up, while 15 (0.2 percent) were lost to follow-up. 109 (1.3 percent) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 36 (0.5 percent) have tested positive from 5 states: Edo (20), Ondo (8), Ebonyi (3), Kogi (3), Bauchi (1), and Adamawa (1).

Lassa fever national multi-partner, multi-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) continues to coordinate response activities at all levels.


China: African swine fever

China has found 3 new African swine fever [ASF] cases on small pig farms in Shanxi, Hunan, and Yunnan provinces, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said. The herds at the affected farms together total 390 pigs, the ministry said on its website.

Beijing has not yet said how the disease entered the country, but the ministry found 62 percent of the first 21 outbreaks were related to the feeding of kitchen waste, a statement published on its website said.

The outbreak of ASF in China could lead to increased exports of Irish pigmeat from Ireland to China in the medium term, director of Meat Industry Ireland Cormac Healy has said. "In the short term, it could lead to more domestic product coming onto the market, which would dampen import demand

He added that if significant culling within the domestic Chinese pig herd takes place, it should create greater import opportunities.


Bulgaria: African swine fever

The first cases of infection with African swine fever (ASF) virus were found in 4 wild boars in the Dobrich region of northeastern Bulgaria. The boars were shot at a hunting farm on the land of the village of Bulgarevo, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BFSA) announced Nov. 1.

By an order of the BFSA Executive Director, Dr. Damyan Iliev, measures have been imposed to prevent and limit the spread of the infection in accordance with the existing legislation. Areas of restriction have been created, and oversight of wild and domestic swine has been enhanced.

The BFSA will conduct ongoing ASF clinical examinations in domestic swine and will take samples from all dead wild boars and domestic pigs, as well as from any showing signs of the disease. The samples will be taken in line with the implementation of the Disease Prevention and Control Program in Bulgaria. Measures for domestic pigs are taken to prevent transfer of the virus between wild and domestic animals.

At a meeting of the Regional Epizootic Commission in Dobrich Nov. 2, the participants discussed the control measures and their implementation. Farm biosecurity is a key factor in protecting domestic pigs from getting infected with the ASF virus. Therefore, the BFSA reminds all that pigs in "backyard farms" should be kept in enclosures with enhanced biosecurity and should not have contact with wild pigs.


China: Avian influenza

The Macau Health Bureau was warned by Chinese health authorities that a fatal bird flu human infection case had been registered in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, bordering with Guangdong province.

A 44-year-old Chinese driver from Hechi in Guangxi Zhuang was said to have contracted the influenza A virus H5N6 sub-type, having shown symptoms on Oct. 18 and sent for medical treatment on Oct. 21.

Separate news reports have indicated that the man died Oct. 27 from severe respiratory illness.

According to the bureau, since 2014 bird flu cases have been registered in the Chinese provinces of Sichun, Guangdong, Yunnan, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui, and in Guangxi Zhuang, with Macau health authorities having maintained close communication with health entities in China and neighboring regions, and with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Human contraction with the influenza A virus H5N6 subtype was first reported in China in early May 2014, with all known cases having happened in this country.

This avian influenza virus originated from influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks. It is considered a low virulent strain for avian populations, but with the clinical manifestation in humans considered severe, with acute respiratory illness and pneumonia able to occur.


United States: Hand, foot and mouth disease

In the past 2 weeks, 5 Western Washington University students have been diagnosed with hand-foot-mouth disease, causing Dr. Emily Gibson, director of the Student Health Center, to post an advisory on Twitter.

"We are aware of a small cluster of hand-foot-mouth disease among WWU students -- this virus is more typically seen in young children, but can result in symptoms in adults that can last up to a week, and it is very contagious," Dr. Gibson wrote in the Tweet.

In an email to The Bellingham Herald, Dr. Gibson said Western sees sporadic hand-foot-mouth disease cases most years, but not usually the small cluster they've seen this year. Dr. Gibson also said that larger outbreaks of more than 100 cases have been seen at colleges on the East Coast this fall.

"This is a mild viral illness that typically afflicts young children," Dr. Gibson said in the email. "It is now being seen more in college populations among non-immune individuals and is easily spread through coughing, sneezing, or sharing utensils and drinks. The symptoms, which can include fever, body aches, cough, runny nose, and lesions in the mouth, on the hands and feet, usually resolve in 5 to 7 days."

When students are diagnosed, Dr. Gibson said, the Student Health Center recommends they remain isolated, including not attending class, to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.


Belgium: African swine fever

The Boerenbond [Farmers Union in Flanders, Belgium] argues for a decisive and joint approach to the overpopulation of wild boars. This is necessary to reduce nuisance and prevent possible spread of African swine fever into pig farms, says the organization.

"With the regularity of a clock, reports appear in the press of shunted gardens, traffic accidents caused by wild boars, and troubled civilians who notice wild boars on their streets. But farmers have been complaining for a long time, especially in the province of Limburg, about the damage that wild boars inflict on agricultural crops. There is now the threat that wild boars could spread African swine fever," the Boerenbond wrote in a press release Nov. 5.

With a view to planned consultation this and next week between the governors of Limburg and Antwerp and the various other stakeholders, the organization will list some points of interest.

For example, they argue for the appointment of a wild boar coordinator who must ensure that the parties involved meet more quickly and make clear agreements so that the Boerenbond has a clear overview of the number of wild boar and their location. This is necessary in order to be able to find out to what extent the actions on the ground meet the effort to reduce the wild boar populations in Flanders, it says.

The agricultural organization also demands more opportunities for hunting. They suggest using night vision goggles and infrared cameras and allowing the use of silencers under certain circumstances.

There must also be a clear hunting policy in nature areas. In the nature reserves where nothing happens, Boerenbond believes that nature managers must fence these areas so that the population can no longer cause damage in agricultural areas and to private individuals.


Australia: Q fever

Reports suggest a recent spate of cases of Q fever in rural areas likely comes from closer human exposure to livestock during times of drought, according to Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr. Erica Kennedy, who is encouraging farmers to get tested and vaccinated. It has been confirmed there have been reports of 4 cases in Nyngan alone.

Dr. Kennedy said the bacteria can be carried by cattle, goats, sheep and other domesticated and wild animals, infecting people through contact of birthing fluids or the inhalation of dust containing dried animal secretions, which can be spread by winds. Symptoms often appear like a very severe flu, and include high fevers and chills, severe sweats, severe headaches, muscle and joint pains and extreme fatigue.

Dr. Kennedy believes current dry conditions have increased people's exposure levels to livestock, which could be the cause for the recent spike in cases. "People are out feeding and around animals so much more so I wouldn't imagine prevalence of disease in the livestock in the region is getting higher ... I would say that people's exposure levels have increased," she said.

Dr. Kennedy said anyone in rural areas should be mindful when handling livestock, particularly birthing fluids, encouraging anyone who has contact with animals to get themselves tested then vaccinated. "If you're a producer out here or have anything to do with livestock you should really go and get tested and vaccinated if you haven't before," she said.

One of the key complications of the virus is chronic fatigue, which Dr. Kennedy said reinforces why producers in the region need to get tested and vaccinated. "The cost of chronic fatigue to a producer far outweighs the cost of vaccination. I think this just highlights that producers need to focus and look after themselves so they can then continue to be productive."


Ethiopia: Yellow fever

The World Health Organization is releasing more than a million doses of yellow fever vaccine from its emergency stockpile after the deadly mosquito-borne disease killed 10 people in southwestern Ethiopia, a WHO report said Nov. 5.

The outbreak was confirmed in Wolaita Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region and has been traced back to a patient who fell ill on Aug. 21. It has caused 35 suspected cases of the disease.

"This outbreak is of concern since the population of Ethiopia is highly susceptible to yellow fever due to absence of recent exposure and lack of large-scale immunization," the WHO report said.

Symptoms include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, and although only a small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, about half of those die within 7-10 days.

All the confirmed cases came from Offa Woreda district, and there have been no more confirmed cases since an immediate reactive vaccination campaign was conducted there in mid-October, reaching around 31,000 people. However, the WHO said there was a risk of further spread of the disease, partly because of conflict in the region, and it was releasing 1.45 million doses of vaccine for a mass campaign that needed to take place "without further delay".

Ethiopia, the home country of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is within the geographic "yellow fever belt" and had frequent outbreaks until the 1960s, but no more until 143 cases were confirmed in the SNNP region in 2013, the weekly report said.


United States: West Nile virus

A West Nile virus case has been confirmed in a horse in Clarke County. The affected horse--a vaccinated 8-year-old Holsteiner stallion--developed mild ataxia, prominent skin twitching, and moderate behavioral anxiety. He has since fully recovered.

The Equine Disease Communication Center reported Nov. 1 that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed another case of equine WNV. This is the 7th case of WNV in Virginia horses confirmed so far this year, according to USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service data.

A serum sample was positive on the IgM Capture ELISA performed at the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, in Ithaca, New York. The affected horse has fully recovered, the EDCC said.


United States: Avian influenza

The Board of Animal Health detected a 2nd case of low-pathogenic avian influenza in a turkey flock. This detection came in Stearns County, Minnesota, following a case in Kandiyohi County. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association Executive Director Steve Olson says enhanced surveillance and tightened biosecurity helped with this detection.

He says they learned a lot from the highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak that hit Minnesota in 2015, which has helped in dealing with these 'low path' cases. Olson says he wouldn't be surprised to see additional low path cases, but the best deterrent will be colder weather.


Indonesia: Japanese encephalitis

Australian tourists in Bali are being told to take extra precautions because of an outbreak of a viral brain infections transmitted through mosquitoes.

Indonesia's Ministry of Health has revealed they're keeping close tabs on the deadly Japanese encephalitis after a spike of cases in Bali and Manado, in North Sulawesi.

The infection, a virus, is commonly transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, but birds, bats, cows, and pigs can also carry the disease. It can cause blindness, weakness, movement disorders, and in 30 percent of cases, death. The disease takes up to 15 days to develop with warning signs flu-like symptoms such as a headache, fever, and convulsions.

Ministry of Health Director of Surveillance and Quarantine, Vensya Sitohang, said in Nusa Dua Nov. 6 that Bali has had the most cases, followed by Manado, North Sulawesi, according to the ministry's data.

The ministry say they're now introducing a vaccine in Bali in the hopes it will prevent the transmission of the infection to other regions in the country.


Europe: West Nile virus

A terrifying disease spread by mosquitos is sweeping across Europe killing at least 170 people this year, with the majority of cases in the south of the continent as infection rates soar.

Last year, there were only 200 reported infections in the EU, with 25 people killed. But in 2018 there have been 1,460 reported cases of the potentially lethal sickness, according to the EU Health Commission.

The fever has ripped across Europe in 2018, killing 44 people in Italy, 42 in Greece, 42 in Romania, and 35 in Serbia. Fatalities in Kosovo (3), Bulgaria (2), the Czech Republic (1), and Hungary (1) have also occurred. Italy (550) and Serbia (410) have seen the highest number of cases.

Victims contract the virus from mosquitos that have fed on infected birds. Around 80 per cent of infected people have no symptoms, with about a fifth of those affected developing flu-like symptoms. Roughly one in 150 people get seriously ill with a high fever and meningitis.

Cold weather is helping to reduce the killer virus's impact. So far, nobody has caught the virus while in the UK. But with no vaccine to protect holidaymakers from West Nile virus, the NHS has warned British travelers to wear mosquito spray and use mosquito nets in affected countries.

November 2, 2018

China: African swine fever

China's agriculture ministry said Oct. 24 it would ban the feeding of kitchen waste to pigs after linking the practice to the majority of the early cases of African swine fever. Beijing has not yet said how the disease entered the country, but the ministry found that 62 percent of the first 21 outbreaks were related to the feeding of kitchen waste, a statement published on its website said.

"These outbreaks were mostly located in urban-rural boundaries and were particularly evident in several cases in early September in Anhui province," the statement said. Anhui is an eastern province whose capital, Hefei, is located about 258 miles west of Shanghai.

The virus was also detected in kitchen waste fed to pigs on a farm in the Inner Mongolia region. "After the provinces with outbreaks and neighboring provinces completely banned feeding of kitchen waste to pigs, the epidemic was greatly reduced, which fully demonstrates the importance of completely prohibiting the feeding of waste," the statement said.

Kitchen waste or swill is widely used in China to feed hogs, particularly by small farmers, as it is cheaper than manufactured pig feed. Regulations require that the swill must be heated to a certain temperature before being consumed, but industry experts say that step is often skipped.

The ministry also said in the statement that it will set up a registration system for vehicles transporting live hogs, poultry, and other livestock to control the spread of the disease better. The long-distance transport of live hogs has been the main channel for transmitting ASF across different regions. Vehicles transporting pigs and other animals will also no longer be allowed to use the "green channel" for priority on roads that is normally permitted for the trucking of fresh produce, added the ministry.

The statement also called for more slaughtering closer to farms and the use of refrigerated pork transportation to better manage the supply of livestock across different regions. China has promoted construction of new farms in the northeast in recent years, closer to its grain supplies. But the policy, which has not yet been accompanied by investment in new slaughterhouses, has led to large numbers of pigs being trucked long distances south.


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

In a remote southwestern pocket of the Central African Republic (CAR), Dr. Patrick Karume and his small team are on the jungle frontline to quarantine a rare outbreak of monkeypox. From a makeshift base in Zomea Kaka village, they trek 18 miles across muddy tracks to Bagandou, where a dozen children appear to have developed rashes characteristic of the virus, which in rare cases can be fatal.

Monkeypox virus, first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, has symptoms similar to human smallpox, if less severe. In May, the virus became a "public health threat," according to local CAR authorities. It was the latest outbreak detected in CAR since 2013, according to World Health Organization advisor Augustin Diebert.

Medecins sans Frontieres dispatched an emergency team to set up in Zomea Kaka after 3 cases of the virus were identified. Already they have quarantined 9 people, most of them children. "Monkeypox may be endemic to this area," Karume said, pulling off muddied boots after another trek out of their MSF base.

Before entering the "red zone" quarantine area cordoned off with a fence, everyone dons the required gear -- rubber boots, disposable overalls, masks and goggles. Nearby, a few meters away, their patients sit on benches eating breakfast. Some show traces of the virus on their faces. For some, crusts have discolored parts of their skin. Peeling is a sign of healing.


Congo: Ebola

More than 1,000 students from universities and colleges in Beni invaded the city recently with a peaceful march to show their support for the Ebola response. For nearly 2 hours, students crisscrossed the areas of the city in which pockets of resistance had been recorded to convince the residents of these areas to collaborate with the teams of the response.

With this march, the Beni students officially launched the "Ebola Pas Chez Moi" campaign, which invites all citizens of Beni to respect the preventive measures and all the recommendations of the health authorities to stop the spread of the virus.

The Response Coordinator Dr. Ndjoloko Tambwe Bathe found the students at the end point at Kalinda Stadium to congratulate and encourage them in this initiative. He hopes that this involvement of students will help overcome the resistance, sometimes maintained by neighborhood youth in some active homes of the city.

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Oct 30, 2018:

A total of 279 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, of which 244 confirmed and 35 probable.

 Of the 244 confirmed, 144 died and 81 are cured. The others are hospitalized in the different Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) installed.

Fifty-one suspected cases under investigation.

Three new confirmed cases, including 2 in Beni and 1 in Vuhovi. Vuhovi is a new health zone located between Beni and Butembo. He [the Vuhovi case] is the husband of a confirmed case who died at Butembo ETC on 26 Oct 2018. He refused to follow up and transfer to ETC. He died at the Vuhovi health center where the sample was taken.

4 new confirmed deaths, including 2 in Beni, 1 in Butembo, and 1 in Vuhovi.

7 new healed cases, including 6 in Beni and 1 in Butembo.

5,679 contacts followed to date.


Bolivia: Hantavirus

There are 11 cases of hantavirus so far in 2018, the statistics of the Departmental Health Services (SEDES) of Tarija show. Four municipalities are affected by this disease.

Of the total cases of hantavirus infection, 3 died due to the disease; thus, epidemiologists speak of an elevated case fatality rate. The municipalities where these types of cases occur are: Carapari, Yacuiba, Padcaya, and Bermejo. The situation is most critical in the last municipalities mentioned.

The person responsible for SEDES Epidemiology, Claudia Montenegro, explained that the last case that occurred was in the Playa Ancha community in Padcaya. Because the disease was detected on time, it was possible to save the lives of these people. The [health] agency proceeded to block the disease; the municipality and Bermejo took action together to avoid more victims of the disease.

"Personnel of the health centers are capable of timely detection, and we know that there is a national alert, since Tarija has endemic municipalities and is working to prevent [hantavirus infections]," the official commented. Montenegro explained that the rains generated abundant food for the rodents, which increases their populations. This implies that this season has more risk of contracting hantavirus infections.

Since there is abundant wild-rodent presence, the management of rodent control is complicated: putting poison out would cause the death of other species inhabiting the wooded areas. This is why the recommendation for prevention includes placing metal on doors and windows and covering food and trash containers. It is also important to eliminate weeds around the house in order to reduce the possibility of contact with rodents that transmit the virus.


Nigeria: Monkeypox

The NCDC is following up closely with the Ministry of Health Israel following the report of a confirmed monkeypox case in Israel on Oct. 13 with a travel history from Nigeria. Ten new suspected cases of monkeypox were reported from Ebonyi (4), Rivers (2), and Bayelsa (4).

Eight patient samples from the cluster of 10 suspected cases with epidemiological linkages to the 1st case in the UK were tested and found to be negative for monkeypox but positive for chickenpox. Two cases will require further investigation. Thirteen contacts of the first UK confirmed case were followed up in Nigeria for a period of 21 days. None became symptomatic.

NCDC continued to collaborate with PHE to investigate and strengthen control measures related to the 2 cases confirmed in the UK.

A total of 86 cases have been reported in 2018 from 16 states (Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Oyo, Abia, Anambra, Plateau, and the FCT); 38 are confirmed, one probable, 10 awaiting results, and 2 deaths. One hundred sixteen confirmed and 280 suspected cases have been recorded from the beginning of the outbreak in September 2017.

Genetic sequencing suggests multiple sources of introduction of monkeypox virus into the human population with some evidence of human-to-human transmission.


France: West Nile virus

West Nile disease is spreading across southern Europe, including 24 confirmed cases in France, with experts calling it the "biggest epidemic seen in our country."

The Mediterranean area reported the first case of the virus in July 2018. There have now been 24 cases diagnosed across the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Occitanie, and Corsica regions; as well as 550 cases in Italy and 300 in Greece.

West Nile virus is spread by Culex mosquitoes, which carry the virus from infected birds and horses into humans. The virus can only be carried by mosquitoes and cannot be spread from horse to human, or between humans themselves. The virus can go on to cause West Nile disease, with around 20 percent of infected humans going on to develop a fever.

When it shows up, after an incubation period of 3-15 days, flu-like symptoms will occur, including fever, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain. Older people over 50 are more at risk.

For 80 percent of infected people, there are no symptoms, but one in 150 will develop a severe case of the illness, causing neurological problems such as meningitis, paralysis or Guillain-Barre syndrome, which affects the nerves and immune system.

So far in France, 6 people have required hospitalization due to a severe case, but according to the Agence Régionale de Santé, they should all make a full recovery.


Central African Republic: Yellow fever

On Oct. 23, the Central African Minister of Health and Population, Pierre Some, formally recognized the existence in the Central African Republic city of Bocaranga of a case of yellow fever, whose signs were discovered in a woman aged 80 and confirmed by the Pasteur Institute of Bangui.

As a result, Mr. Somse announced the strengthening of epidemiological surveillance in the locality and response measures that have benefited from the support of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pasteur Institute of Bangui, and the NGO CORDAID [Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid].

These measures, he added, include immunization, patient care, and community outreach to improve hygiene and sanitation.

Mr. Somse urged residents of so-called risk areas or forest areas to sleep under impregnated mosquito nets. He also advised people in these areas to immediately refer all people with yellow fever indications to health centers.

He described yellow fever as responsible for a mortality rate of between 25 and 50 percent of proven cases, manifested by jaundice caused by a virus. The disease, which is transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, he added, has a reservoir in primates, like monkeys.


India: Anthrax

On Oct. 28 District Collector P.S. Pradyumna directed the Animal Husbandry Department officials to immediately undertake the vaccination drive for cattle in a radius of approximately 6 miles with Kodandaramapuram village of Karveti Nagaram mandal as the epicenter of the suspected anthrax outbreak.

Joint director (Animal Husbandry) S. Venkat Rao told The Hindu that based on the instructions of the Collector, 13,000 vaccination doses were procured from other government veterinary hospitals, though the requirement was about 10,000 doses.

The official observed that the death of cattle at Kodandaramapuram village was first detected on Oct. 18, followed by a series of casualties.

A senior medical officer said that special teams were on the job of searching for the meat stocks in the surrounding villages of Kodandaramapuram as some residents had reportedly shifted the stocks outside. "We have already searched several houses and the meat found was destroyed. An appeal was also made to the public in Karveti Nagaram mandal through the field officials to destroy the dried or stored meat," he said.

A total of 7 villagers of Kodandarama Puram in Karveti Nagaram mandal were diagnosed with having anthrax at the government hospital at Puttur on Oct. 26. A 50-year-old person, who slipped into coma following infection of the digestive tract, was shifted to SVRR Hospital in Tirupati, where his condition is serious.

Personnel of the Animal Husbandry Department confirmed that 18 cows and buffaloes and 6 sheep had died during the last fortnight. About 6 stray dogs that had contracted the bacteria were on the prowl in the village, they said. It all started when a group of youth had skinned the carcass of 2 cows found dead in the fields in the village a fortnight ago and shared the meat among their families, the officials said. They further said that 18 head of cattle had died, and the villagers consumed the meat of the dead animal.

Senior Medical Officer P. Ravi Raju, after conducting preliminary tests, confirmed the outbreak of anthrax among 7 people at Kodandarama Puram.

In coordination with the MPDO staff and the Karveti Nagaram police, Dr. Raju searched the houses in the village and destroyed the meat stocks. Special parties had been dispatched in search of dried meat sent to the neighboring villages.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 3 new cases of Lassa fever in Ondo state, including a health worker, with 2 new deaths.

According to the NCDC, in the reporting week of Oct. 15, one new healthcare worker was infected in Ondo state and 41 healthcare workers have been affected since the onset of the outbreak in 7 states -- Ebonyi (16), Edo (15), Ondo (5), Kogi (2), Nasarawa (one), Taraba (one), and Abia (one) with 10 deaths in Ebonyi (5), Kogi (one), Abia (one), Ondo (2), and Edo (one).

The NCDC, which confirmed 2 new cases of monkeypox out of 10 new reported cases, noted that it is following up closely with the Ministry of Health in Israel.


Israel: Leptospirosis

The current leptospirosis outbreak in Northern Israel with 36 confirmed/probable and 583 suspected cases, has been a concerning health risk among all travelers visiting this region, but special surveillance seemed warranted for adolescents.

 Israel is a popular summer destination among youths for camps, tours, and fresh-water recreational activities; making up to 40% of all visitors.

Therefore, physicians should have raised clinical awareness for young travelers returning from Israel with an acute febrile illness. Three cases of suspected leptospirosis, one confirmed, of teenaged travelers to Israel, have been reported.

All 3 patients had spent about 4 weeks in Israel in July/August and had visited affected bodies of water in the Golan Heights with various fresh water exposure (kayaking, swimming, or white-water-rafting).

All received treatment with ceftriaxone, doxycycline or azithromycin for 5-7 days and had made full recovery.

October 26, 2018

Scotland: BSE

A case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- also known as 'mad cow' disease -- has been confirmed at a farm in Aberdeenshire. BBC Scotland understands the isolated case involves a beef herd in the Huntly area. Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said a movement ban was now in place on the unnamed farm.

Investigations are underway to identify the origin of the disease -- the first in Scotland in a decade -- which was found after an animal died. The case involving a 5-year-old animal was identified before entering the human food chain. In addition, 4 others from the herd were being destroyed as a precaution.

There are understood to have been 16 cases in the UK since 2011, with the last in 2015 when farming officials confirmed a case of BSE in Carmarthenshire, Wales. That was discovered following routine tests carried out when a farm animal dies. The monitoring of BSE has been an important function since the crisis of 1986 when 180 000 cattle were infected and 4.4 million slaughtered to eradicate the disease in the UK.

On the Aberdeenshire case, Scotland's Chief Veterinary Officer Sheila Voas said: "I would urge any farmer who has concerns to seek veterinary advice."

Andrew McCornick, president of NFU Scotland, said: "It is disappointing to learn of this BSE case within the Aberdeenshire area." He added, "Whilst we lose our negligible risk status, it is not unexpected to see a new case and demonstrates the efficacy of the surveillance measures in place."


United States: Eastern equine encephalitis

A couple from Michigan hopes their experience with a rare and deadly mosquito-borne illness serves as a lesson for others.

A man was rushed to the emergency room Aug. 30 after a few weeks of flu-like symptoms. It was another 2 weeks of testing, memory loss, and partial paralysis before he was diagnosed with eastern equine encephalitis.

"They started leaning toward the West Nile virus," his wife explained to 24 Hour News 8. "So we kept thinking it's the West Nile virus; we know where we're going now. But it came back negative."

The man's Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) diagnosis is the first confirmed case in Michigan since 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the illness has a 33 percent fatality rate, making it one of the most dangerous illnesses that can be contracted via a mosquito bite.

The man is now in a Kalamazoo rehabilitation facility.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

During 2018, an unusual increase in Lassa fever cases occurred in Nigeria, raising concern among national and international public health agencies.

Authorities analyzed 220 Lassa virus genomes from infected patients, including 129 from the 2017 to 2018 transmission season, to understand the viral populations underpinning the increase. A total of 14 initial genomes from 2018 samples were generated at Redeemer's University in Nigeria, and the findings were shared with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control in real time.

Investigators found that the increase in cases was not attributable to a particular Lassa virus strain or sustained by human-to-human transmission. Instead, the data were consistent with ongoing cross-species transmission from local rodent populations. Phylogenetic analysis also revealed extensive viral diversity that was structured according to geography, with major rivers appearing to act as barriers to migration of the rodent reservoir.


Bulgaria: Avian influenza

Bulgaria's food safety agency reported Oct. 18 an outbreak of the virulent bird flu virus on a duck farm and a poultry farm in the southern village of Voivodovo. All ducks and chickens at the 2 farms will be culled, the agency said.


Vietnam: Hand, foot and mouth disease

Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long has voiced concern over the complicated development of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) in the coming days if preventive measures are not effectively adopted. To date, all provinces and cities across the country have reported multiple cases of this infectious disease, Lao Dong newspaper reported.

The Ministry of Health asked local authorities to provide guidance, organize campaigns aimed at fighting the spread of the disease and encourage local residents to join efforts to manage the disease. Besides this, healthcare agencies must actively follow up on the disease's development and map out solutions to quickly detect and address infectious cases.

Data from the General Department of Preventive Medicine show that the country reported 53,529 infected people as of September 2018, down 25.3% year-on-year. Of these cases, more than 25,800 were admitted to hospitals, down 20%, and 6 people died of the disease in 5 provinces and cities.

However, HCMC, Hanoi, Long An, Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Danang and Quang Ngai have seen a surging number of HFMD patients in recent weeks.

In HCMC, nearly 400 infected people were admitted to hospitals between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, raising the total number of HFMD inpatients there to more than 4,000 in the January to September period.


Greece: West Nile virus

The death of a 67-year-old man in Larissa, central Greece, raised the death toll from the West Nile virus to 41. Another 17 people have been infected since the start of October by the virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, with 14 of the cases showing symptoms that the virus has affected their central nervous system.

A total of 306 people have been infected since the start of the year, with 234 of them requiring hospital treatment. According to the weekly report published by the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO), there are currently 13 people in hospitals around the country who have been diagnosed with West Nile virus.


United States: Hantavirus

According to SLV regional epidemiologist Ginger Stringer, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment laboratory has confirmed that a recently deceased individual in the San Luis Valley was exposed to hantavirus.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a rare but serious disease caused by exposure to hantavirus. Colorado has had more confirmed cases of HPS than any other state except New Mexico. The disease is fatal for more than one third of those people who become infected.

Hantaviruses cannot spread from person to person. People are infected by breathing in the virus when stirring up dust from mouse nests or mouse droppings in areas with poor ventilation, or when handling mice, because hantavirus can be found in the urine, saliva, and droppings of infected mice. People are at risk when going into closed spaces with rodent droppings, such as crawl spaces, attics, barns, outbuildings, and sheds, or when clearing wood piles where mouse droppings might be present.

In the San Luis Valley, the hantavirus is carried by deer mice, which have tawny backs, white bellies, big eyes, and big ears. Typically, 10-15 percent of deer mice are infected, and it is not possible to tell if a mouse has the virus just by looking at it. Rodents and household pets do not get sick from the virus.

Symptoms usually start from one week to 6 weeks after exposure. Initial symptoms are fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and chills; then 4-10 days later, a dry cough and difficulty breathing may develop as the lungs fill with fluid. From this point, the illness can progress rapidly to respiratory failure or even death.

Because the disease can progress rapidly, it is important to seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, and muscle pain within 6 weeks of exposure to mice or their droppings.


China: African swine fever

China's agriculture ministry confirms a new African swine fever [ASF] outbreak in the city of Zhaotong in Yunnan province in the country's southwest.

The ministry confirms ASF in 2 farms in Zhaotong with a total of 545 pigs dead. The outbreak in Yunnan could be considered a worrying leap of ASF south-westwards.

The Chinese ASF epizootic remained limited to domestic pigs, most of them in small holdings. The epizootic situation could become more complicated in case wild boars get involved, becoming a difficult-to-control reservoir of the virus.

In China, wild boar density is estimated at between 2 and 5 head/sq.km, with densities put at 2.24 head/sq.km in some forests in northeastern China, and even higher in the southeastern coastal areas. In Guangdong Province Nature Reserve, wild boar density was estimated at between 4.87 and 5.15 head/sq.km.

The species is widely distributed throughout China, except for some dry and unsuitable regions in the west and north of the country, including the Tibetan plateau, and the region bordering Mongolia.


Japan: Classical swine fever

In Gifu city and Kakamigahara city, a wild boar infected with classical swine fever [CSF] was confirmed. Another new wild boar was found in Seki city.

On the morning of Oct. 19, a male wild boar was found on a mountain in the Seki city Kurachi-minami when Gifu prefecture inspected it, and infection with classical swine fever was confirmed.

In Gifu prefecture, 33 head of infected wild boar have been found in Gifu city and Kakamigahara city so far; however, this is the first CSF case confirmed in Seki city.

It appears that the infected wild boar was found moving on the mountain in a place 90 meters away from the city boundary with Kakamigahara city.

Prefectural and local authorities are setting up traps for the capture of wild boars mainly around the city border. The prefectural officials say that "expansion of infection is halted at the water's edge."


Bolivia: Hantavirus

The National Chief of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health, Vicente González Aramayo, stated that, "so far there are 19 positive cases of hantavirus in La Asunta. The most recent ones are 2 members of the Joint Task Force [JTF] who were evacuated to the Foianini Clinic in the city of Santa Cruz."

Hantaviruses cause a severe acute viral disease, transmitted by saliva, feces and urine of field mice.

"To improve management and avoid complications, such as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, the 2 JTF personnel were evacuated from La Asunta to the Foianini clinic in the department of Santa Cruz," the official explained.

Both soldiers were transported Oct. 16 in an Armed Force helicopter with the corresponding safety and protection measures.

"The laboratory was installed in the La Asunta municipality in order to make a timely diagnosis for patients and avoid complications. That is how these cases are detected in time to initiate treatment," stated González Aramayo.

Given this situation, up to now 40 confirmed hantavirus cases have been reported in the country.


Switzerland: Tick-borne encephalitis

Swiss authorities are set to widen the net for vaccinations against tick-borne encephalitis after a record year for infections.

A total of 334 have been affected by the dangerous early summer meningo-encephalitis (ESME) virus this year, a new record and 30 percent more than all of 2017.

While only a small number of ticks carry the virus (also known as tick-borne encephalitis), a bite from one of the insects can have serious consequences for your health. The initial stage of the disease, which comes around 1-2 weeks after the bite, includes flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fever, tiredness and aching muscles.

In 5-15 percent of cases, however, a 2nd stage of the disease includes meningitis symptoms that can last for months. Overall, some 80 percent of people infected require hospitalization, while around one percent of cases are fatal.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Another case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo virus, has been reported in Karachi as a patient at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JMPC) has been diagnosed with the disease.

Officials at the JPMC confirmed on Oct. 21 that a resident of District Malir had tested positive for Congo virus and was being treated at the hospital.

"A resident of Jam Goth in Malir, was brought to the JPMC in critical condition," said JPMC Executive Director Dr Seemin Jamali. She added that the patient tested positive for CCHF and was being treated at an isolation ward in the hospital.

Dr Jamali explained that the patient had a history of dealing with animals as he was raising cattle at his residence in the Malir area. She added that most of the CCHF patients acquired the disease due to interaction with animals and cattle.

Another patient of CCHF, was also under treatment at the JPMC, Dr Jamali said, adding that his condition was stable. "So far in 2018, we have received 18 patients of CCHF of whom 6 died."

According to health experts, CCHF is a lethal disease with 40 percent mortality rate. The disease is caused when a person comes in contact with an infected animal, which has parasitic ticks on its body that carry the virus.

Officials of the Sindh health department say so far 11 people have died due to CCHF in Karachi in 2018 while over 100 persons have tested positive for the disease.


Kenya: Anthrax

One person has died, and 8 others received treatment of suspected anthrax at the Chuka County Referral Hospital in Tharaka-Nithi County. The patients and the victim, who come from Mubukuro village, are said to have come into contact with meat of a sick cow.

Speaking to journalists from his hospital bed, a man said he was called by the owner of the cow 2 weeks ago after the animal fell sick and together with the victim slaughtered it.

"The animal was almost dying when we slaughtered it," said the man. He said they hanged the meat in a house and the following day called a veterinary officer who after inspecting the meat advised them to bury it. The man noted that 4 days later he started developing a swell on his left eye and went to the hospital where he was admitted.

County Health director Dr. Tony Njoka said the man who died had a severe headache and loss of consciousness, adding that the hospital is yet to confirm if he died of anthrax.

County chief officer in charge of medical services Kimathi Njeru said a team of veterinary and public health officers have already visited the village for further investigation and public sensitization.

"We have disinfected the area and advised the locals to report any case of a sick animal and avoid eating uninspected meat," he said.


Bulgaria: African swine fever

The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency said Oct. 23 that it had confirmed a case of African swine fever [ASF] in a wild boar near Kaynardzha in the country's Silistra district.

Silistra is a port city in north-eastern Bulgaria, on the southern bank of the Danube River, Bulgaria's border with Romania - one of the European countries recently hardest-hit by African swine fever.

The wild boar was found dead entangled in a wire fence at the Romanian - Bulgarian border, the agency said. Tests had confirmed the presence of the ASF virus. The carcass had been destroyed and buried. Disinfection was carried out where it was buried.

The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency said that it was carrying out all steps mandated by current legislation. It said that clinical examinations were being carried out to detect ASF, including through checks of wild and domestic swine.

Currently, ASF has been detected in 9 EU countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Latvia, and Romania.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Oct. 23:

A total of 247 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, 212 confirmed and 35 probable.

Of the 212 confirmed, 124 died and 65 are cured. The others are hospitalized in the different Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) installed.

48 suspected cases under investigation.

3 new confirmed cases, including 2 in Beni and 1 in Butembo.

2 new deaths of confirmed cases in Beni.

2 new cures in Butembo.

5,486 contacts to follow.

October 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia: MERS

Since the beginning of October 2018, there have been 3 cases of MERS-CoV infection reported by the Saudi Ministry of Health (MoH). Of the 3 cases, 2 were hospitalized and one was managed on home isolation. One case was a secondary household contact of a previously confirmed case, whereas the other 2 cases had a history of contact with camels.

The cases came from 3 different regions: Riyadh, Najran, and Makkah (referred to as Taif region in the MoH report). It is hoped that October [2018] will continue to be a "quiet" month for MERS-CoV transmission.

In the 2 days since the last update, there was a single newly confirmed case reported from Riyadh region. Notably this case had a history of contact with camels as the high-risk exposure. Since the beginning of October 2018, there have now been 4 newly confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection reported from 3 different regions in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, 2 cases; Najran and Makkah, 1 case each). Three of the 4 newly confirmed cases were primary cases associated with camel contact; the 4th case was in a household contact of a previously confirmed case.


India: Anthrax

It was not long ago when a Royal Bengal tiger named Manikantan (male) along with Karthika (female) reached Nagaland Zoological Park (NZP) at Rangapahan. But much to the disappointment of the visitors, the majestic male tiger was not seen for more than 2 months. It has emerged that the zoo staff found the dead body of the big cat on July 31.

The pair was brought to the state on Jan. 9, 2017 from Kerala's Thiruvananthanpuram Zoo in exchange for 2 black Asiatic bears namely Kohima (male) and Dimapur (female) from NZP. Manikantan was 11 years old when he was brought to Nagaland.

Director of NZP, Obed Bohovi Swu, told Eastern Mirror that the death of Manikantan was a "suspected case of anthrax." The preliminary investigation of his carcass showed signs of anthrax such as bleeding from nose, mouth, eyes, and swollen stomach due to gas, he said. The zoo veterinary doctor too found signs.

Samples from Manikantan's body have been sent to places such as Guwahati and Shillong for testing to find out the exact cause of death and it should be out anytime soon, said Swu. When asked the reason for not disclosing the death of Manikantan to the public for so long, he said that since it was a suspected case of anthrax, the nature of the disease itself was a very big issue for the government as well as for the welfare of the public. Another reason was due to the non-confirmation of the test result, he added.


United States: West Nile Virus

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has confirmed a case of equine West Nile virus (WNV) in an unvaccinated horse in Yadkin County, the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported Monday October 8th. According to EDCC data, this is the 2nd confirmed case of WNV in North Carolina horses in 2018.

Another Kentucky horse has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV), said E.S. Rusty Ford, an equine operations consultant for the Kentucky State Veterinarian's Office. There are now 9 confirmed cases of WNV in Kentucky horses this year.

The 6-year-old Standardbred mare from Todd County presented on Sept. 26 with ataxia (incoordination) and hyperexcitability. Ford said the mare's condition worsened, and she ultimately became unable to rise. She was euthanized on Sept. 29.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Oct. 16:

- A total of 220 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, 185 confirmed and 35 probable

- Of the 185 confirmed, 107 died and 57 are cured. The others are hospitalized in the different Ebola Treatment Centers (ETCs) installed

- 34 suspected cases under investigation

- 4 new confirmed cases, including 3 in Beni and 1 in Butembo

- 3 new confirmed cases in Beni

- 4798 contacts to follow so far.


Nigeria: Monkeypox

The Ministry of Health has received a report from Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the laboratory that diagnosed a monkeypox patient. The patient is an Israeli who lives and works in the Port Harcourt area of southern Nigeria, an endemic region. The man got sick about a week after his return from Nigeria and was diagnosed Oct. 12th, according to his clinic. The patient's condition is good and improving; he is currently in isolation at his home.

Monkeypox belongs to a group of smallpox diseases that can occur in different species and resembles chickenpox in essence but with different wounds. It is a viral disease characterized by fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue, with a typical rash up to 3 days later. The disease usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks and passes by itself without treatment. The disease is transmitted between animals and is generally not contagious from one person to another. The Ministry of Health takes the necessary actions to monitor and treat the disease.

In the fall of 2017, Nigeria saw its first confirmed monkeypox outbreak in nearly 40 years, resulting in more than 200 confirmed and suspected cases. Although that outbreak was reportedly quelled in February, a small number of isolated cases have continued to be reported over the past 6 months. Fortunately, the West African monkeypox virus is less virulent and less easily transmitted than its Central African counterpart.


Australia: Listeriosis

An investigation into a Listeria outbreak in Australia linked to 7 deaths has found that the weather played a significant role in contamination.

The outbreak from rockmelons (known as cantaloupe in North America) affected 22 people with 6 cases in New South Wales (NSW), 8 cases in Victoria, 7 in Queensland and one in Tasmania between January and April this year. Seven people died, and one case resulted in a miscarriage. Government officials said the outbreak was linked to one grower named as Rombola Family Farms (RFF), based in Nericon in the state.

The strain of Listeria monocytogenes that caused infections was related by whole genome sequencing to isolates from samples taken from 37 rockmelons from the farm. Listeria also was found on the floor around the melon packing area and from a composite swab of washed melons. All Listeria-positives were identified as the outbreak strain.

Rockmelons are grown off the ground on plastic sheeting but are in the open farm environment and subject to rain, wind and other natural contamination. A NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) report found that hygiene and sanitation practices at Rombola Family Farms were on par with, or better than, most other rockmelon growers in Australia.

Adverse weather events listed as heavy rainfall in December 2017 prior to harvest, followed by dust storms, were blamed for increasing the organic load and amount of Listeria on rockmelons prior to harvest. Another issue is the netted skin of the fruit, making it harder to clean and sanitize.


China: African Swine Fever

One of China's top animal feed producers said an affiliated firm has culled nearly 20,000 pigs due to a suspected case of African swine fever [ASF], according to a report by the China Securities Journal.

Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co Ltd reported the information to investors in an online platform on Oct. 16, the state-owned journal said. The company could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

China has reported more than 30 separate outbreaks of the deadly disease in 9 provinces and municipalities since the 1st case in early August and has slaughtered tens of thousands of animals.

Dabeinong has expanded from feed production into pig farming in recent years, building large sow farms to supply the world's top pork market. It was the 15th largest producer in China in 2017, according to China Swine Industry Association data.


Ukraine: Anthrax

In Saratsky district, Odesa region, a new case of anthrax was spotted as Saratsky Regional State Administration reported to Ukrinform. "The owner of the farm in Mykolaivka-Novorosiiska village spotted the signs of the disease of a cow that 'fell on its feet' and appealed to the specialists. The workers of the animal health area urgently arrived at the site and confirmed the presence of the anthrax causative agent. No person was affected. The measures on the localization of the outbreak were put in place," the message said.

The specialists disinfected the stable and yard where the ill animal was contained, and quarantine was imposed in the village. This implies a ban for the removal of the meat and milk from this village. Moreover, other measures on the localization of anthrax outbreak were assumed.

Earlier we reported that a spell of anthrax was observed in a village in Saratsky district, Odesa region, southern Ukraine. According to preliminary data, the source of the disease is a domestic cow, which was slaughtered for meat. A total of 5 people who skinned the animal, suffered the symptoms and were taken to hospitals; they are under the medical supervision. Their lives are out of danger.


Bolivia: Hantavirus

The Bolivia Ministry of Health reported this week that 13 military personnel were infected with hantavirus in the military camps of the Joint Task Force of the Yungas, including one death and 2 cases requiring intensive care.

This has prompted health officials to send a team to the region. "In the 3 points of Inca Huara, Siguana Chico and Puerto Aroma of the municipality of La Asunta, 15 doctors, laboratory personnel, biologists, technical personnel, experts in zoonoses, rodents handling will take samples and verify of specimens of captured rodents," officials said.

National Chief of Epidemiology, Vicente Gonzalez Aramayo also noted that experts will perform analyzes of environments, food, water, among others. "The medical staff will focus on the clinical review or 'triage' of the personnel who were exposed to the virus and have some relationship with the 1st positive case, in order to determine the possible source of infection," he added.

"We have declared quarantine in 3 Departments of Joint Task Force, therefore we have suspended the eradication work until the Ministry of Health guarantees the adequate conditions to continue with the work," he said.

At the national level there are 34 cases of hantavirus this year: 2 were reported in the department of Cochabamba, 10 cases in Santa Cruz, 9 in Tarija, and 13 cases in the Yungas region of the department of La Paz.


Switzerland: Listeriosis

Since June, an unexplained outbreak of listeriosis, a rare infectious disease, has been occurring across Switzerland. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has identified 12 cases, 2 of which are fatal.

"What is unusual is that it is all cases of the same subtype of bacteria. We counted 12 cases, which is not that much, but 12 of the same type in a short time, it's not normal," said Daniel Koch, director of the Division of Communicable Diseases at the FOPH, told Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, German-language broadcaster in Switzerland.

Research is being conducted to find the sources of the infection. Currently 6 cantons are affected by the listeriosis outbreak. In Neuchatel, 3 cases were reported, 4 in Valais and others in Ticino, Zurich, Aargau and Schwyz.

Listeriosis is a rare infectious disease caused by a bacterium that spreads especially through the ingestion of contaminated food. Charcuterie, soft cheeses and salads are all foods that are possible sources of infection.


Panama: Hantavirus

A total of 4 new cases of hantavirus in Los Santos province have been reported by the provincial health authorities. Carlos Munoz, Los Santos Regional Epidemiology Coordinator, signaled that these new cases bring the overall number of reported cases in 2018 to 77. 

He detailed that among the ill individuals are 2 children from Las Tablas. In addition to these 2 cases, there are an 80 year old patient and a 51 year old man from Pocri, Los Santos. Munoz clarified that fortunately all these Los Santos individuals developed hantavirus fever and not hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. 

According to the district statistics, Tonosi reported 51 cases, Las Tablas 16, Pocri 5, Los Santos and Pedasi 2 cases each (4 total), while Guarare reported just one case and Macaracas continues to report no cases this year.

October 12, 2018

Belgium: African Swine Fever

Belgium will deploy army snipers to slaughter wild boars in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) virus across Europe, the country's government has announced. Sharpshooters will be sent into the forests of the southern province of Luxemburg, where at least 15 cases of the disease have been discovered, to cull the boar population.

The action was demanded by Belgian pig farmers, who now face mounting import bans on their products, and mirrors a similar response taken by the Czech Republic. Authorities in Prague turned to police snipers to control the outbreak there, which involved officers fencing off a large area and hunting 158 wild boars in a 2-month period between October and December 2017.

Belgian officials are increasingly concerned that ASF will be transferred by wild boars to farm pigs, which could decimate the country's agricultural industry. They have quarantined a massive 63,000 hectares (156 000 acres) of land near the southern border to prevent it from spreading further and have already announced a cull of 4,000 pigs at farms in the area.

Hendrik Vandamme, chairman of the Belgian farmers' union, the General Agricultural Syndicate, said farmers had been struggling to sell pork products and that the outbreak led to a fall in market prices that was "much deeper than anyone suspected."

"The impact on the pig sector is being felt in all corners of the country despite the highly isolated and remote contamination. We now hear various signals from retailers that sales will be difficult, translating into lower purchase prices," Vandamme said.


Germany: West Nile Virus

There is strong evidence for the first human case of West Nile fever acquired in Germany -- a male veterinarian from Bavaria has been diagnosed after contact with a West Nile virus (WNV)-infected bird. 

The 31-year-old veterinarian, who works at a birds' clinic, had performed necropsy of a just-deceased owl found in a wildlife park near Poing, Ebersberg, Bavaria. WNV was detected by PCR in tissue samples recovered during the necropsy. The owl case was posted on Sept. 14 on ProMED-mail. Then 3 days after the necropsy, the veterinarian developed flu-like symptoms persisting for 4 to 5 days and a maculopapular skin rash, followed by a 2nd episode of fever one week later.

Serological examination of a serum sample collected one month after the necropsy revealed the presence of specific IgM antibodies against WNV with a titre of 1:80 by immunofluorescence assay. No IgM antibodies against dengue virus, tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) virus, yellow fever virus and Japanese encephalitis virus were present. IgG antibodies against WNV and the other flaviviruses tested were positive with titres of 1:640 each. The patient had a history of past vaccinations against TBE (during childhood) and yellow fever virus (in 2012). The diagnostic tests were performed at the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology.


Germany: Avian influenza

The most common unnatural causes of death in white-tailed sea eagles are lead poisoning and collisions with trains. During the winter of 2016/2017, however, many white-tailed eagles died in Northern Germany in circumstances unrelated to either cause.

 Instead, at least 17 white-tailed sea eagles were killed by avian influenza of the highly pathogenic virus subtype H5N8, as a team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, FLI) demonstrated. Avian influenza may become a new threat for this highly protected wild species. The study was published in the scientific journal Viruses.

The avian flu has been a threat to wild birds and poultry for decades. Especially chicken, ducks and geese as well as several species of waterfowl have been shown to be infected with different types of the influenza virus. This lead to epidemic outbreaks, for example in Mexico in 1992, in central Europe in 2006, in the USA in 2015, and in Europe again in 2016/2017. Amongst raptors, peregrine falcons and common buzzards had been previously found to be infected but until now there was no such evidence regarding the largest bird in Europe, the white-tailed sea eagle.

The investigation of 17 white-tailed sea eagles collected in the federal states of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Lower Saxonia during the winter of 2016/17 (14 of them being already dead and another 3 showing symptoms such as being overexcited and finding it difficult to move in a coordinated fashion) now demonstrated that white-tailed sea eagles can be killed by the avian influenza virus.

The analysis of the entire genome of the virus isolated from the collected birds revealed that it was not the widespread influenza subtype H5N1 but the subtype H5N8 which was responsible. More precisely, the analysis revealed that it the virus belonged to the clade, considered to be highly aggressive for birds. It causes a lethal inflammation of the brain (polioencephalitis). Lead poisoning could be ruled out as a possible cause of death for the birds, as the analysis of liver and kidney tissue demonstrated.


Sudan: Chikungunya

The Federal Ministry of Health has informed WHO of an outbreak of chikungunya that has affected eastern states. To date, a total of 13,430 suspected cases were reported from the country, primarily from Kassala and Red Sea state. Samples have been tested both by PCR and by serology. A number of samples have also been tested positive for dengue fever.

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne viral disease. It can be easily be mistaken for other arboviral diseases such as dengue or Zika virus, since they share many clinical symptoms and are transmitted by a common vector, the Aedes mosquito. Chikungunya is a self-limiting disease and has a low mortality rate. Treatment is mostly symptomatic. However, chronic, debilitating disease, such as prolonged joint pain, may occur in the aftermath of infections as a residual effect. Therefore, detection and diagnosis of chikungunya is challenging but critical at early stage of infection.

In the beginning, the current outbreak of chikungunya was concentrated in one state (Red Sea) of Sudan but has since spread to a 2nd state (Kassala), which is now worst affected amongst the 2 states. Kassala state has reported a majority of the infections (over 12 000 cases) so far, and cases continue to evolve.

The fact that the current outbreak shows mixed infections of both chikungunya and dengue fever and the fact that often the clinical symptoms of both these infections overlap, it is critical to use a standardized and a more sensitive case definition for detecting all suspected cases which might otherwise remain unreported or undiagnosed. Although there is no specific treatment for chikungunya, standardized treatments need to be applied for dengue fever, as severe dengue fever cases may present with hemorrhagic manifestations as well as "shock syndrome," which might need treatment with blood platelets and fluid replacement therapy.


United States: Newcastle Disease

Virulent Newcastle disease [vND] has been confirmed at a live bird market. There are pastured poultry and identified additional cases of vND within existing disease-control areas. Affected flocks are quickly being euthanized. Together, these actions will help us prevent additional disease spread and eradicate the disease more quickly.

USDA is announcing confirmed vND cases weekly. Cases are still being tested and confirmed as they are identified. If there is a finding in a new state or a different segment of the industry, USDA will issue an announcement for that case immediately.

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

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


Ireland: Hand, foot and mouth disease

An Irish toddler was covered in sores and blisters after allegedly contracting hand, foot, and mouth disease at a holiday resort in Mallorca, Spain. The two-year-old was treated in Dublin's Tallaght Hospital after her family had to cut short their holiday when she fell ill.

Around 50 people have caught the virus so far, most of them being children, at the Club Mac Hotel in Alcudia, the Irish Sun reports.

The Dublin toddler arrived at the hotel on Sept. 25 with her mother, brother, and grandmother. Her father later flew out to Spain to be with his daughter. He said: "They borrowed a cot from the hotel for her, and we think that's how she got sick." The family noticed the sores when they went down at the beach.


Congo: Ebola

The response to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a critical juncture. WHO faces a precarious situation given recent increases in insecurity, incidents of community mistrust, and increased geographical spread.

The period of mourning and general strike in Beni, Butembo and Mabalako has officially ended; the strike was organized by civil society leaders following an attack in Beni on Sept. 22, in which 21 people were killed. Activities that had slowed during the period included health workers being unable to reach and monitor the health of Ebola patient contacts, social mobilization and community engagement efforts significantly slowed or suspended, risk communications seriously constrained or suspended in areas highly impacted by EVD, and severe limitations on field teams' ability to investigate alerts of suspected cases and carry out safe and dignified burials. WHO operations are currently back to full scale; however, WHO remains vigilant given ongoing security constraints.

The Ministry of Health (MoH), WHO, and partners continue to work closely with people in the affected areas. Most communities support the response efforts and are open to vaccination and treatment; collaboration between communities and local authorities is ongoing to overcome the reluctance and mistrust which has developed in some places.

October 5th, 2018

Vietnam: Hand, foot and mouth disease

Over the last 4 weeks, there have been more than 500 admissions due to hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) at Children's Hospital 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, a significant increase compared to previous months. Of the hospitalizations, 38 had severe diseases, and one was fatal. Sequence analysis of the viruses collected from a subset of severe patients revealed that all enterovirus A71 strains belonged to subgenogroup C4.

Enterovirus A71 exists as a single serotype but is genetically divided into several genogroups (including C and B) and subgenogroups (e.g., C1 to C5 and B1 to B5). Subgenogroup replacement in endemic localities is a common phenomenon and is often associated with large outbreaks. Of note, a switch from C5 to C4 in 2011 coincided with an explosive outbreak in Vietnam, which resulted in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and more than 200 fatal cases between 2011 and 2012. While there has been no evidence demonstrating the difference in terms of virulence between viruses of different (sub) genogroups, in Vietnam the replacement of C4 by B5 in 2013 coincided with a decrease in the numbers of reported cases and the proportion of severe illness. Hence, the re-emergence of subgenotype C4 after an absence of 6 years causing disease among a likely unprotected birth cohort of children born after 2012 is of concern.

An inactivated vaccine for EV-A71 has been licensed in China but has not been implemented anywhere outside of China. Currently there is no clinically proven effective antiviral drug available to offer the affected patients. IVIg [intravenous immunoglobulin G] is widely used to empirically treat patients with severe illness. Randomized controlled trials to assess the clinical effectiveness of current treatment approaches (including IVIg) are thus urgently needed.


Germany: West Nile virus

On Sept. 21, the first case of West Nile virus infection in a horse was detected in Germany. Confirmatory testing was performed by the National Reference Laboratory for West Nile virus infections (WNV) in birds and horses of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI). The affected animal comes from the district Elbe-Elster (Brandenburg).

Like humans and birds, horses can become infected by virus-bearing, blood-sucking mosquitoes. Like humans, horses are considered so-called "dead-end hosts" (i.e., the virus does not replicate sufficiently to permit retransmission of the infection to other mosquitoes). Therefore, WNV-infected and diseased horses do not represent an infection risk.

Similar to humans, the majority of WNV-infected horses do not develop any clinical symptoms. However, some animals show distinct central nervous disorders due to WNV-induced meningitis or encephalitis. Febrile general illness, in contrast, is rare. Central nervous disorders include stumbling, paraplegia, ataxia, general weakness, tremor, and partial or complete paralysis. Clinically diseased horses may survive WNV infection; however, up to 20 percent of the affected animals show irreversible neurological damage. In 22-44 percent of clinically diseased horses, the outcome is fatal.

There is no specific therapy for WNV infection; the disease can only be treated symptomatically.

Three vaccines for prophylactic immunization licensed by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are available in Germany for application in horses. These include an inactivated whole-virus vaccine, a recombinant live vaccine, and a recombinant inactivated vaccine.


Congo: Ebola

A total of 159 cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the region, of which 127 confirmed and 32 probable. Of the 127 confirmed, 72 died and 45 have recovered. Thirteen suspected cases are under investigation.

One new confirmed case in Beni died shortly after arriving at the Ebola treatment center (ETC). One new probable case is in Beni - the case is a contact of the last confirmed case, died a day earlier and was buried by his family in an unsecured way.


Sudan: Chikungunya

Hospital patients in Kassala suffering from chikungunya fever have been transferred to health centers to "show a decrease of their numbers in the main hospitals", witnesses claim. A government official in Kassala state justified the action to move a number of chikungunya patients away from the main hospitals by saying it "aims to transfer the patients to health centers to ensure access to the service for free."

Eyewitnesses told Radio Dabanga that the hospitals in Kassala town were "emptied" before the visit of prime minister Motaz Mousa on Sept. 24. Ibrahim El Sheikh told this station that the aim of the transfer of chikungunya patients is "to show a decrease of their numbers in the hospitals and give the impression to the visiting delegation that the epidemic is decreasing, as the state governor insists in his interviews."

On Sept. 23, the children's ward, laboratory, and pharmacy at Kassala Teaching Hospital were closed after 2 children vomited blood. One of the children died.

On that same day, prime minister Motaz Mousa visited several health centers in the eastern and western parts of Kassala, including Hai El Arab, El Sikka Hadeed, and El Hidaya center in El Khatamiya. He issued a decision to send 2 tons of pesticides and instructed the sanitation of the environment to be addressed.

Adam Jamaa, the governor of Kassala, admitted the existence of daily deaths in the state, but he claims that they are "unrelated to the disease". He confirmed that 10,900 infections have been diagnosed. Governor Jamaa acknowledged 11 days ago the death of 7 people from chikungunya fever, and that more than 6,000 people have been infected in the recently confirmed outbreak of the virus.

According to unofficial statistics issued by the popular committees that oversee the provision of graves and coffins 25 people are dying per week. A number of residents said that the authorities should have declared Kassala as a disaster area, so that activities to address the disease and prevent the spread would be carried out at national and international levels.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A teenage boy from Dhaki Sahib Gul Mohallah of Charsadda district died of Congo virus infection in a hospital in Peshawar Sept. 28. A man told media people that his nephew, a grade 10th student, fell ill and was admitted to Tangi hospital. From there he was referred to a rural health center in Jamalabad, Harichand, where his hepatitis test result came positive.

The man said the victim was then shifted to a hospital in Peshawar where he remained under treatment for 12 days, adding the doctors sent his test to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, Lahore. In the interim, Congo virus was detected in his body after a test, the uncle said and added that he passed away at the hospital Sept. 28.

The news of his death created panic and fear among the local people who demanded the health authorities to send medical teams to the area.


Kazakhstan: Anthrax

The quarantine, introduced because of anthrax in the East Kazakhstan region, will be removed Oct. 5, said Tursyn Kabduldanov, deputy chairman of the Committee for Veterinary Control and Supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

"In case of anthrax, quarantine lasts only 15 days. It is not foot and mouth disease, nor nodular dermatitis. We conduct quarantine measures, forced vaccination, disinfection and removal quarantine. In East Kazakhstan, we will remove quarantine on Oct. 5," added Tursyn Kabduldanov at a briefing in the press center of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

According to him, without the knowledge of the veterinarian, a 4 month old bull was killed by the disease. On the question of whether this case may affect the supply of beef to China, the deputy head of the committee responded that he "would not particularly be affected".


Madagascar: Plague

Madagascar health officials reported in a Sept. 26 update that the plague case count has now risen to 22 cases in 10 districts. To date, 5 deaths have been reported. The 10 districts include Ambalavo, Ambatofinandrahana, Ambatolampy, Ambositra, Ankazobe, Antananarivo, Antsirabe, Arivonimamo, Fandriana, and Miarinarivo.

Plague is known to be endemic in Madagascar and a seasonal upsurge (predominantly the bubonic form) usually occurs early every year between September and April.


Ukraine: Anthrax

A 2 week quarantine has been announced in the village of Minyalivka in Odessa region's Saratskyi district, where an outbreak of anthrax has been recorded. The State Emergencies Service and the police set up 6 checkpoints there. Sanitary services are carrying out disinfection in the village. Anthrax infection has been confirmed in one person among 5 local residents hospitalized, the TV news service TSN said.

As reported, officers of the National Guard of Ukraine are being deployed in the area. They are expected to cordon off the region, set up tents with rescuers, and arrange accommodation for people in case of their emergency evacuation. Veterinarians and doctors are monitoring nearby villages.

"We have vaccinated cattle in the 20 kilometer zone, as well as conducted complete medical examination of residents in the villages of Minyalivka, Furativka, Faraonivka, Petropavlivka, and Starosilia regarding the anthrax infection. No more cases have been confirmed except for these 5 local residents being hospitalized to the Sarata district hospital," chairman of Sarata District State Administration Anton Loban said.

People in the village are scared, but there is no panic. They are most afraid of the possible destruction of livestock that feeds many families. It is also reported the condition of the hospitalized residents of Minyalivka has improved. They are receiving the necessary treatment in the district hospital. Doctors say the 1st man who was diagnosed with anthrax will be discharged from the hospital in 2 days.


United States: West Nile virus

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has 3 more equine cases of West Nile virus infection, according to the Equine Disease Communications Center (EDCC), which says this brings the total to 12 cases in 2018 in New York.

On Sept. 18, a 17 year old mare from Mayville, New York was unsteady on her feet, which progressed over a few days' time. The mare was unvaccinated and was euthanized on Sept. 20.

On Sept. 19, a 25 year old, unvaccinated gelding from Leroy had a high fever. The next day, he developed ataxia, tremors and lost his appetite. Veterinary treatment was initiated, and this horse was alive as of Sept. 28.

On Sept. 21, an unvaccinated 16 year old gelding from Albion had behavior changes, incoordination and loss of appetite. The veterinarian initiated treatment, and as of Sept. 28 the gelding is recovering quite well.

In all 3 cases, blood tests confirmed active WNV infection.


China: Avian influenza

The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health on Sept. 30 received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Guangdong from the National Health Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

The case involved a 22 year old man from Guangzhou in Guangdong. He developed symptoms on Sept. 25 and was hospitalized on the next day. He is now in a serious condition. The patient had contact with live poultry before the onset of symptoms.

Since 2014, 21 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the mainland health authorities. "All novel influenza A infections, including H5N6, are notifiable infectious diseases in Hong Kong," the spokesman 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.

Travelers returning from affected areas should consult a doctor promptly if symptoms develop, and inform the doctor of their travel history for prompt diagnosis and treatment of potential diseases. It is essential to tell the doctor if they have seen any live poultry during travel, which may imply possible exposure to contaminated environments. This will enable the doctor to assess the possibility of avian influenza and arrange necessary investigations and appropriate treatment in a timely manner.


Italy: Bluetongue

The presence of the bluetongue virus [BTV] of serotype 3 (BTV-3) in Sardinia was confirmed by the national reference center of Teramo on samples of organs taken from a sheep.

It was suggested that this BTV serotype presumably arrived from North Africa by BTV-3 infected vector arthropods (culicoides), as already happened in the past for other BTV serotypes. The vectors are assumed to have been transported by the wind to south western Sardinia.

This hypothesis will be checked in the coming weeks by analyzing meteorological and epidemiological data.

To date, 7 BT outbreaks have been confirmed in Teulada, presumably all caused by BTV3, although at the moment only the 1st outbreak has been confirmed by laboratory. The clinical symptoms in these herds were typical of BT, involving a fairly limited number of animals, generally presenting non-severe symptoms, with only 4 dead sheep.

Vaccination against BTV 1 and 4, was carried out on the affected sheep farms. The ruminant populations of Sardinia generally have a good immune coverage against these serotypes, following their circulation within many areas of Sardinia in the past few years, while vaccination campaigns funded by the region were implemented by the veterinary services.

"We are not dealing with a particularly serious disease-picture. It is true that at the moment no BTV3 vaccine is available," explains Alberto Laddomada, director general of the Animal Health Institute of Sardinia, "but experience shows that in any case, such vaccination, if implemented as an emergency measure during the last few months of 2018, would not lead to significant protection."

In relation to the vaccine, therefore, it is a matter of verifying whether it will be possible to obtain supplies for a campaign to be carried out in the course of 2019. In the meantime, all breeders must work to reduce the risk of BT in their herds by taking all the prevention and control of the vectors, measures that can protect farms from the introduction of the virus.


Czech Republic: West Nile virus

The Czech Republic confirmed on Sept. 27 its 1st case of West Nile fever contracted domestically. The case was a 72 year old woman who also suffered from other serious chronic problems and died after contracting the virus in the Czech Republic.

Epidemiologists had already identified the virus in mosquitoes and horses in south Moravia in June. The 1st case occurred in early September, when a Czech man returned from Greece in August was taken to the infection clinic of the Central Military Hospital (UVN) in Prague after suffering health troubles.

The Health Ministry spokeswoman Gabriela Stepanyova said that this is a logical development of the situation due to climate conditions and the distribution of the incidence of the West Nile fever. She said no case has been recorded in which West Nile virus has been transferred from one man to another. The relevant measures have been taken and the relevant authorities, such as the State Veterinary Administration, have been contacted.

West Nile fever is a viral infection typically spread by mosquitoes. The incubation period ranges from 3 to 14 days. The infection can lead to serious complications including meningitis and encephalitis. Serious infection can endanger patients' lives.

September 28, 2018

Congo: Ebola

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains active. Although substantial progress has been made to limit the spread of the disease to new areas and the situation in Mangina is stabilizing, the cities of Beni and Butembo have become the new hotspot. Response teams continue to enhance activities to mitigate potential clusters in these cities and prevent spread to other areas.

Significant risks for further spread of the disease remain. Continued challenges include contacts not following-up, delayed recognition, poor infection prevention and control (IPC) in health centers, and reluctance among some cases to be treated.

Although the majority of communities have welcomed response measures, in some, risks of transmission and poor disease outcomes have been amplified by unfavorable behaviors, with reluctance to adopt prevention and risk mitigation strategies. The priority remains strengthening all components of the public health response in all affected areas, as well as continuing to enhance operational readiness and preparedness in the non-affected provinces of the DRC and neighboring countries.

Since the last report, five new confirmed EVD cases were reported: four from Beni and one from Butembo. All cases have been linked to ongoing transmission chains within these respective communities.


Canada: Chronic wasting disease

A Quebec farm has been placed under quarantine after an animal that was raised there was diagnosed with chronic wasting disease - a degenerative disease that affects deer, elk and other cervid mammals. This is the first time the disease has been documented in the province.

Quebec's Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food discovered the infected animal in the Laurentians region, north of Montreal, during an inspection of a slaughterhouse. The ministry said in a statement that the animal was culled and its meat did not go into the slaughterhouse's food processing line.

Quebec's Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks has called on hunters to be vigilant and help contain the spread of the disease. The ministry said it is also checking the condition of wild animals that may have come into contact with the domesticated animals on the farm in question.

Chronic wasting disease has been discovered in mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk -- both in the wild and at farms -- in thirteen U.S. states, as well as in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The disease affects the nervous systems and has no known cure. It can be transmitted between animals through their saliva or through contact with their urine and feces.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Authorities at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) have confirmed another patient with Congo-Crimean hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has been admitted to their hospital.

The patient, a factory worker, was brought to JPMC emergency with symptoms similar to CCHF infection and was confirmed to have the viral disease after lab results, according to JPMC Executive Direc JPMC Dr. Seemin Jamali. She said the patient had been moved to an isolation ward in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to prevent other patients from contracting the viral infection.

She added that so far 14 CCHF patients had been brought to the hospital, and five of them had died. This year, 10 people have died at various Karachi hospitals because of CCHF, with the most recent patient losing his life on Sept. 11.

Health officials say CCHF is a lethal viral infection that is transmitted to humans from animals, especially cattle and livestock. Patients are kept in isolation wards to prevent other patients, doctors and paramedics from contracting the disease. Of the 10 victims, seven were from different areas of Karachi, and three were from Quetta and the adjoining areas in the Balochistan province.


Austria: Leptospirosis

A case of leptospirosis has been reported in a 26-year-old Austrian backpacker returning from Costa Rica. The infection occurred most likely at a waterfall near the village of Montezuma on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. This waterfall is a popular place especially with backpackers; therefore, other tourists could be affected, too.

The patient returned on Aug. 28 after traveling for five weeks in Panama and Costa Rica. He had a high fever and a feeling of overall weakness two days before his return to Austria. He consulted a local doctor who ruled out dengue fever because of a high blood leukocyte count; the doctor prescribed a 5-day course of oral ciprofloxacin as an antibiotic treatment. No other tests were performed.

After the patient's return to Austria, his general condition improved and his body temperature returned to normal. The fever reappeared nine days after the initial onset of the disease, and the patient complained of severe headache and flulike symptoms. His family doctor initiated a broad diagnostic checkup. In the end, only leptospirosis serology yielded positive results.


United States: West Nile virus

The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, Wyoming Department of Health, and Wyoming Livestock Board have received reports of "significant" West Nile virus (WNV) activity in the state over the past two weeks.

In addition to one human case being confirmed in Fremont County, officials reported seven cases of WNV in Wyoming horses residing in Campbell, Fremont, Goshen, Park, and Sheridan counties. They also found WNV in a golden eagle, a crow, and a hawk, as well as in mosquito pools in Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, and Natrona counties.

West Nile virus is transmitted to hosts via bites from infected mosquitoes.


Israel: Leptospirosis

Due to leptospirosis, many sites in the north are still closed. The Ministry of Health (MOH) warned that the water sites still pose danger to visitors and that the prohibition on entering many streams remains in force.

The Majrassa Nature reserve, one of the most popular sites in the southern Golan Heights, reopened a few days ago. The rest of the sites in the area are still closed, including the Jordan Park, the Hexagons ("Meshushim") pool, the El Al & the Zavitan streams, and others. To the displeasure of people involved in tourism in the Golan Heights, the Health Ministry has yet to remove the warnings about the danger. Business owners in the area reported cancellations and heavy economic losses, which had not been felt to a similar extent even during the previous difficult security periods.

According to MOH guidelines, it is possible to travel in the Golan Heights, but travelers are required to be careful in places where there are warning signs against entering the water. The web-sites of the Nature & Parks Authority and of MOH are continuously updated about the permitted and banned water sites.


Madagascar: Plague

In an update on the plague situation in Madagascar, the Ministry of Health is now reporting plague has affected eight districts in the country: Central Highlands, Ambalavao, Ambatofinandrahana, Ambositra, Ankazobe, Fandriana, Miarinarivo and Antisirabe. In these eight districts, 16 suspect cases have been reported in a month, including four fatalities. A total of five cases have been laboratory confirmed. Of the five confirmed cases, two were classified as bubonic plague and three as pulmonary plague.

Plague is known to be endemic in Madagascar and a seasonal upsurge (predominantly the bubonic form) usually occurs early every year between September and April.


Turkey: Anthrax

Just after the end of the Eid al-Adha religious holiday in August, Turkey was gripped by a series of reports of an anthrax outbreak. The 1st came from a farm near Ankara, followed by reports from 6 other cities around the country, including Istanbul. Despite reassurances from government officials, people are still uneasy.

Although the official number of cases has not yet been released, many people have been diagnosed with the disease and are undergoing treatment. This past week in the Ankara district of Mamak, the Public Health Institute learned that more than 50 people suspected of being infected had been sent for testing. The Ankara Governor's Office denied the claims.

The most recent news came Sept. 21 from Bitlis, in the southeast. At a press conference called by several local health organizations, it was announced that a 10-year-old child had died of an anthrax-related gastrointestinal infection. Local health officials are alarmed.

Experts point out that Turkey's agriculture policies are misguided, saying the real issues are the way that import processes are handled as well as high attrition rates and lack of experience among preventative health care providers. These problems, along with risky food safety policies and practices, have put Turkey on a dangerous path toward a serious public health crisis.


Belgium: African swine fever

There at least 13 countries so far that intend to stop importing pork from Belgium after the deadly African swine fever [ASF] outbreak was confirmed in the country. These include Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Belarus, Philippines, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Singapore, Serbia, Uruguay, and Malaysia.

In New Zealand, pig herders are demanding the local government halt pork products that are coming from Belgium to safeguard the country's pork industry. New Zealand has been importing fresh pork from European countries that include Belgium, Poland, Estonia, and Italy.

On Sept. 25, European Union Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan called member states to implement a tougher strategy to contain the spread of ASF. He said that the outbreak started in the Baltic States before spreading to Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic before jumping to Belgium. Hogan said a total of 9 EU member states have been hit by the virus so far.

The commissioner said the deadly outbreak could threaten EU's pork industry, including as many as 15,000 jobs.


United States: Avian influenza

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have confirmed a second outbreak of low-pathogenic H7N3 avian flu in a California turkey flock in the same county as the outbreak reported a week ago.

The commercial operation, located in Stanislaus County, houses 35,000 turkeys susceptible to the virus. Officials detected the H7N3 strain as part of routine pre-slaughter surveillance within a 10-km radius of the first outbreak. Tests confirmed the finding.

The report says that partial sequencing data connect the virus to isolates obtained from the earlier outbreak, which involved more than 26,000 turkeys. "State officials have quarantined the affected premises and implemented movement controls," the report notes. "Depopulation and disposal of the birds on the premises is near completion."

September 21, 2018

Uganda: Anthrax

Uganda's Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries have dispatched teams of experts to contain the anthrax outbreak in the western, northwestern, and eastern regions. Minister of State for Healt, Sarah Opendi Achieng told Xinhua News Agency on Sept. 14th that health and veterinary experts have been sent to the districts of Arua, Kween and Kirihura to contain the outbreak following new cases of the disease.

"We have a national joint taskforce. The agriculture ministry is providing vaccines for the treatment of cattle while the health ministry has provided antibiotics for those infected. The ministry of agriculture will import drugs for treating the animals and will continue with public sensitization to avoid eating meat of dead animals," she said.

On Sept. 13th, Tom Aza Alero, the MP for West Moyo told parliament the disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis has left 2 people dead, 28 infected, and over 1,000 affected.


Turkey: Anthrax

Holding a joint press conference in Diyarbakir, health organizations have announced that a 10-year-old child has lost his or her life because of anthrax.

The Diyarbakir Chamber of Medicine, Diyarbakir Chamber of Veterinary Surgeons, Diyarbakir Chamber of Dentists, and Health and Social Service Laborers' Union Diyarbakir Branch (SES) organized a joint press conference to report on people diagnosed with anthrax, as well as their medical condition, quarantine, number of imported animals and where they were distributed to. The following statements were made at the joint conference:

"[The death] of a 10-year-old child from Guroymak, Bitlis has increased our concerns regarding anthrax. Our concerns and worries increase more considering the rumors that the imported meats causing anthrax [are available in markets]."

"As per the regulation, the obligation of veterinary inspection on imported animals was lifted, and the authorization was granted to agricultural engineers, forest engineers and chemistry engineers."

Bitlis' Gunkiri municipality in the district of Guroymak has been put under quarantine since the anthrax was detected Sept. 6. It was also stated that all bovines would be vaccinated in the district and villages to prevent anthrax from spreading to places close to the town. As many as 100 animals had died in the town.


Australia: Hendra virus

The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is urging horse owners to remain vigilant, following confirmation of Hendra virus infection in an unvaccinated horse near Tweed Heads. NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Sarah Britton, said the property near Tweed Heads has been placed under movement restrictions by Local Land Services.

"This is the first confirmed case of Hendra virus in NSW this year," Dr. Britton said. "Samples from the horse were sent by a private veterinarian for laboratory analysis to Queensland's Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory at Coopers Plains and initial test results confirmed Hendra virus. The 4-year-old Arab cross was initially noticed by the owner to be lethargic and not eating properly. It deteriorated the next day and was euthanized by a private veterinarian."

Dr. Britton said vaccination of horses is the most effective way to help manage Hendra virus disease. "Vaccination of horses provides a public health and work health and safety benefit by reducing the risk of Hendra transmission to humans and other susceptible animals," she said.

She added, "Whenever Hendra infection is suspected, even in vaccinated horses, appropriate biosecurity precautions, including personal protective equipment (PPE), should be used. Horse owners are encouraged to discuss the option of Hendra vaccination of their horse with their veterinarian. Horses should also be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Do not place feed and water under trees, and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above."


Belgium: African swine fever

Federal Agriculture Minister Denis Ducarme confirmed the discovery of 3 new cases of wild boar carrying African swine fever. They were discovered in a protected area in the Belgian province of Luxembourg, in the same geographical area as previous cases were found.

Further examination was conducted to confirm whether the wild boars were carriers of the virus. The University of Liege carried out the first tests on the carcasses, and according to the Department of the Study of the Natural and Agricultural Environment, the three new cases tested positive. They bring the total number of infected, dead wild boars to five.


China: Foot and mouth disease

China's Ministry of Agriculture reported an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in a herd of cattle that was transported to the Xinjiang region from Gansu province.

On Sept. 6th, authorities discovered the suspected outbreak, and on Sept. 14 they confirmed a diagnosis of the O-type strain of the disease. The local government in Xinjiang then culled 47 cattle following the outbreak.

The outbreak is now under control, the ministry said.


United States: West Nile virus

A 10-year old Burlington County mare is the first reported case of West Nile virus (WNV) in New Jersey for 2018.

The horse had not been vaccinated against WNV, which is a serious, mosquito-borne virus that infects both people and animals. WNV affects the neurological system and is transmitted by a mosquito bite.

“We continue to encourage horse owners be vigilant in vaccinating their animals against these diseases spread by mosquitoes," New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher said.

The Burlington County horse is undergoing treatment.


Romania: African swine fever

The southern County of Dambovita has recorded its first African swine fever outbreak after a local citizen lost two pigs to the disease.

 Authorities have summoned the Local Center for Combating Disease to help combat the disease, AGERPRES Dambovita Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate director Sandu Tolea said on Sept. 16th. When asked about this outbreak specifically, Tolea answered that he could not give any further information at the time.

On Sept. 13th, the National Sanitary Veterinary Food Safety Authority (ANSVSA) announced that the ASF outbreak involves as many as 207 localities of 12 counties with over 898 outbreaks, out of which 13 are in industrial units, one in a farm's slaughterhouse, and another in an A-type commercial exploitation, and 57 cases in wild boars.

Overall, 232,722 pigs were culled since the date confirming the virus's presence in Romania.


Algeria: Foot and mouth disease

A total of 11 cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been reported in the commune of Oued El Berdi, about 20 km southeast of Bouira. All 11 cases were pregnant cows that contracted the virus in a barn of a private breeder. The dairy-type cattle were culled.

During the onset of the disease a few months ago, there were 23 FMD cases observed in the municipalities of Ain Bessem, Aghbalou and M'chedallah. There, 23 cattle were culled to prevent spread of the disease. However, this viral disease has not finished decimating the cattle herd despite the protection and compensation measures that have been taken.

In 2014, the province of Bouira saw its agro-pastoral vocation hard hit by this disease. This province, which has a population estimated at more than 74,000 head, is an important dairy basin. The province had then experienced a worrying spread of the virus, with nearly 1,000 cows culled.

Despite the strengthening of control and prevention measures since then, including a large-scale vaccination campaign since the arrival of large quantities of vaccines and the distribution of antiseptics and disinfection products, fear of having another outbreak similar to 2014 remains strong.  FMDv is a highly contagious disease than can be spread simply by the wind.

The regional cattle market in the area was closed for a few days before opening again. According to some veterinarians, this quick reopening has allowed the resurgence of other cases of FMD.


Canada: West Nile virus

Hundreds of cases of the West Nile virus have been reported so far this year and 22 people have already died as a result of the mosquito-borne infection. In the most recent case, one person is reportedly dead due to West Nile virus in Canada.

This is the first death of the season attributed to the virus in Canada, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said. It also warned that WNV continues to be a risk until the area experiences temperatures below freezing.

Health officials added that so far this year, 26 mosquito traps set up in Windsor-Essex and across the region had caught mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV. However, the health unit said residents should continue to protect themselves from the certain types of mosquitoes that spread West Nile virus, a potentially serious infection to humans.

They advised residents to eliminate any standing water around their home, take personal protective measures to avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellents, stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn and to make sure that all door and window screens are tight and free of any holes.

The virus is not spread from person to person and cannot be spread directly from infected animals, such as birds, horses, or pets, to people.


Madagascar: Plague

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 2 people, a health official said on Sept. 18th, marking the official start of the season when the disease is considered to be at its deadliest. Last year, in 2017, more than 200 people were killed before epidemics of bubonic and pneumonic plague were brought under control in November.

The WHO has warned that 2018's strain could be even more virulent. "According to counts undertaken between Aug. 1st and Sept. 13th, we recorded 8 suspected plague cases, 6 of whom recovered and 2 died in their villages," said health ministry official Manitra Rakotoarivony. The first fatality was recorded in Fiadanana, north of the capital Antananarivo, while the second was reported in Ambalavao in the Indian Ocean island's interior, added Rakotoarivony.

Madagascar has suffered bubonic plague outbreaks almost every year since 1980, often caused by rats fleeing forest fires. The disease tends to make a comeback each hot rainy season, from September to April. On average, between 300 and 600 infections are recorded every year among a population approaching 25 million people, according to a UN estimate.

Last year, cases sprang up far earlier than usual and, instead of being confined to the countryside, the disease infiltrated towns. The authorities recorded more than 2,000 cases.

The plague bacterium Yersinia pestis is typically transmitted to humans from infected rats via fleas. It can also be transmitted from human to human through cough droplets expelled by a person with a pneumonic form of the disease. Pneumonic plague can prove fatal between 24 to 72 hours, while the bubonic form is less dangerous.

September 14, 2018

Argentina: Hantavirus

A positive case of a hantavirus infection was reported in recent days in a resident of Laprida province, who was from Azul city. According to information from the Municipal Hospital through Oh Laprida, the case originated in a rural areas of the district.

The patient is a man who is currently hospitalized in the Pinto de Azul Hospital. This is not believed to be a serious case, although further developments may arise.


South Korea: MERS

A South Korean man, 61, was diagnosed with the potentially deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and is being treated at a hospital in Seoul, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The patient returned to Seoul on Sept. 7 after a business trip to Kuwait, according to the KCDC. This is the first time since July 2015 that an outbreak of MERS has been reported in South Korea.

"As far as found by now, 20 people, including flight attendants and medical staff, have been in close contact with the patient, and they are under isolation at home," KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a press briefing.

The patient, who was suffering from diarrhea, headed directly to Samsung Medical Center from the airport, Jeong said. He is now in an isolation ward at Seoul National University Hospital.

The KCDC director said all flights from Middle East countries have been put into quarantine. "The KCDC and local governments will do our best to prevent spread of the MERS," Jeong noted.

The infectious disease swept South Korea in 2015, leading to 38 fatalities. MERS is thought to be carried by camels and most of the known human-to-human transmission has occurred in healthcare settings.


Great Britain: Monkeypox

Britain's first ever case of monkeypox in a human was confirmed Sept. 8, Public Health England (PHE) announced.

The patient, a Nigerian national, is undergoing expert treatment in the infectious disease unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London after being transferred from a naval base in Cornwall.

PHE said in a statement: "This is the first time this infection has been diagnosed in the UK. Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals."

The patient is a resident of Nigeria, which is where they are believed to have contracted the infection before travelling to Britain, PHE added.

"The infection can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person; however there is a very low risk of transmission to the general population," the statement said.


Japan: Classical swine fever

Japan's agriculture ministry said on Sept. 9 it had confirmed the country's first outbreak of swine fever in 26 years. They have suspended exports of pork and wild boar meat following the outbreak.

Classical swine fever [CSF], a different disease from African swine fever, occurs among pigs and wild boar, and is not infectious to humans. The disease was found in a farm in central Japan's Gifu city, the ministry said.

African swine fever [ASF] was detected in China in early August and has been found in 18 farms or abattoirs in 6 provinces, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO said last week it was almost certain to spread from China to other Asian countries.


United States: West Nile virus

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) reported on Aug. 15 that a 9-year-old pony in Fauquire County had tested positive for the West Nile virus. That horse was not vaccinated for West Nile but has recovered.

Signs include a loss of control of bodily movements and partial paralysis in the hind limbs, a dazed appearance, and lack of ability to stand.

West Nile has a 30 percent fatality rate in horses.

Dr. Joe Garvin, head of VDACS' Office of Laboratory Services, said horse owners should check with their veterinarians about vaccinating their animals for West Nile.

"West Nile is a mosquito-borne disease, and we generally start seeing our first cases in August and September," he said. "The disease is usually preventable by vaccination, as is eastern equine encephalitis [EEE], so many veterinarians recommend vaccination at least yearly, and in mosquito-prone areas, every 6 months."

He added that following the vaccination, it takes about 6 weeks to reach full immunity.


Canada: Eastern equine encephalitis

The City of Hamilton on Sept. 7 confirmed its first case of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

A horse has tested positive for the virus, which is typically found in wild birds and transmitted by infected mosquitoes.

Generally, humans do not show symptoms when they are infected, according to public health. Yet in severe cases, EEE can progress to swelling of the brain, seizures, or a coma. Lesser symptoms include the sudden onset of chills, fever and vomiting.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of human illness related to the virus in Hamilton.

Residents are being advised to use bug spray with DEET, wear long sleeves and pants in wooded areas, and remove any standing water on their property to prevent potential breeding sites.


United States: Eastern equine encephalitis

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced on Aug. 27 that another horse from the Hampton Roads area had contracted eastern equine encephalitis [EEE] via the bite of an infected mosquito and has been euthanized.

The animal, an American Quarter Horse stabled in Chesapeake, is the second to be diagnosed with EEE and the second fatality from the disease in August 2018. Earlier in the same month, a Quarter Horse mare stabled in the Suffolk area also succumbed to the illness, which has a fatality rate of 80-90 percent.

According to the VDACS, both of the horses had an "incomplete vaccination history." For full effectiveness, horses must receive the initial vaccination and a booster, then be re-vaccinated every 6-12 months, said Elaine Lidholm, communications director for VDACS.


Netherlands: Anthrax

The departments of internal medicine and medical microbiology of the Northwest Clinics in Alkmaar, The Netherlands, have confirmed a case of Bacillus anthracis bacteremia.

A 48-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with fever, diarrhea and a painful, red lump on her back. She had returned from holiday in Tanzania on the day of presentation. Six days prior she had visited a local tribe in Tanzania and had shared food with them, including raw root vegetables. She mentioned having fallen into some dry shrubs causing skin abrasion on her back; adjacent to these shrubs was an area where gazelles were slaughtered and processed. Diarrhea had started several hours after this visit.

Blood culture and fecal culture grew B. anthracis, sensitive to penicillin and clindamycin. Intravenous ciprofloxacin 400mg and clindamycin 900mg, both 3 times daily, was started. After this treatment, the patient quickly recovered. She was discharged after 8 days with further oral antibiotic treatment for a total duration of 60 days.

Anthrax is transmitted through direct contact with infected animals, their carcasses or contaminated products. Clinical manifestations include cutaneous, pulmonary and gastro-intestinal, with cutaneous anthrax being the most common form of the disease. In our patient, the primary source of infection remains unclear; however, gastro-intestinal anthrax through the ingestion of raw root vegetables and cutaneous anthrax through the skin lesion are both considered probable.


Turkey: Anthrax

As many as 3 villages in Turkey's northwestern province of Kocaeli were quarantined after anthrax was diagnosed in cattle on a local farm, the Diken news website reported on Sept. 9.

Anthrax was 1st found in cattle imported from Brazil before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, causing the death of 50 cattle on a farm in Ankara province. Hospitals in İstanbul and Sivas also detected anthrax in 9 people who were sent for medical screening. In another case in Bitlis, more than 100 cattle died in one day from anthrax.

According to reports in the Turkish media, the cattle import agreement with Brazil omitted a health inspection of the animals by Turkish officials.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus claimed another life in Karachi Sept. 10 as a 25-year-old man died at Jinnah hospital. The man was a resident of Mehmoodabad and was brought to the hospital 2 days ago.

This is the 10th Congo virus-related death this year.

The health department had earlier said it would conduct spraying operations to rid the city of ticks carrying the virus but nothing has been done so far.


Uganda: Anthrax

More than 1,000 animals have died following the outbreak of anthrax in Arua district. The disease has also claimed 2 people, according to the district veterinary officer, Dr. Willy Nguma.

The blood tests carried out by the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe have confirmed the outbreak of the disease although the Minister of Health, Dr. Ruth Aceng, recently downplayed its presence in Arua and Kween districts. According to reports from the district, the first outbreak was reported in December 2016 and confirmed in March 2017, after blood samples were tested by UVRI.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on Sept. 10, Dr. Nguma said: "We have confirmed from the laboratory tests the presence of anthrax. So far, we have 28 people infected and we have recorded 2 deaths. If the ministry still believes there is no anthrax despite the positive results from the central laboratory from Ministry of Agriculture, then this is contradictory. There shouldn't be denial game in this because economic and social lives of people are being affected."

September 7, 2018

Bulgaria: African swine fever

The first case of African swine fever (ASF) was established in the village of Tutrakantsi in the Varna region, the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency (BNSA) has announced.

Around Aug. 28, 3 of 7 backyard fattening pigs died in Tutrakantsi. The mayor immediately reported the deaths to the local veterinary service, and samples were taken. The samples were investigated by the National Reference Laboratory and found to be positive for the presence of ASF virus.

The head of the Food Agency has ordered that measures be taken to eradicate the outbreak and limit the spread of the disease. A 3-km protection zone has been announced around the epicenter, including the villages Tutrakantsi and Bozveliysko in Provadia district, Varna region. A 10-km surveillance zone has been implemented around the outbreak point, which includes settlements in the municipalities of the Provadia district -- Avren, Dolni and Dulgopol -- in Varna region, with the consequent measures applied.

The region of Varna prohibits the trade, movement and transport of domestic swine except for those intended for immediate slaughter, liable to authorization by an official veterinarian for such transit. It is forbidden to hold markets and exhibitions of pigs. The owners of the culled animals will receive compensation.

ASF has entered Bulgaria, even though in August the authorities built 130 km of wire fence along the border with Romania to prevent the free passage of wild boars into the country. AFS is a highly contagious viral disease in domestic and wild swine. It is transmitted directly through contact between diseased and healthy animals and indirectly by contact with virus-contaminated materials and surfaces, by swallowing infected feeds, and mainly by feeding waste containing contaminated pork or meat products.

There is no cure and vaccine for the lethal virus, so the only solution to the problem is the killing of infected domestic and wild swine and avoiding contact with them. This will seriously affect the industry for years, however the disease is harmless to humans.


Brazil: Leishmaniasis

In the 1st 6 months of this year, Alagoas reported 63 cases of leishmaniasis, also known as kala-azar in humans, a number 30 percent higher than what was reported during the entire year 2017. According to the State Secretary of Health, there were 48 cases reported during the entire year 2017.

The disease is serious and can lead to death if not treated correctly.

The largest part of the reported cases of the disease in humans in the recent months was concentrated in the Alagoan Sertao. The cities with the most number of cases of kala-azar are: Estrela de Alagoas (11), Palmeira dos Indios (8), Girau do Ponciano (5), and Santana do Ipanema (4).

In the same period, there was also an increase in reports of infected dogs, the principal host of visceral leishmaniasis. From January to December 2017, there were 69 cases of canine kala-azar. Notably, in the 1st semester of 2018, the cases reached 350.

In general, transmission occurs through the sandfly that bites a dog infected with the protozoa Leishmania chagasi and is the vector of the disease. Through this manner the insects infect humans and other animals.


France: Anthrax

The eastern French region of Hautes-Alpes said it has begun vaccinating cows and sheep against anthrax after an outbreak of the fatal infection in the region. Anthrax has been detected in 23 locations, local authorities said in a statement, with 54 animals killed (mainly bovines).

Vaccination doses for 5,000 cows and 10,000 sheep have been rushed to the area to tackle the worst anthrax outbreak in France in nearly 20 years.

Anthrax is an infection spread by spores of the Bacillus anthracis bacteria which occur naturally and can be ingested by livestock and passed on to humans, usually through skin contact, causing black lesions. If left untreated it can be fatal.


Croatia: West Nile virus

A total of 26 people in Croatia have been diagnosed with the West Nile virus (WNV) this year and one has died, the Croatian Institute of Public Health announced.

Since last week, the institute has received 10 new reports of the disease, which is most often transmitted by infected mosquitoes and birds. The victims all came from the northwest and eastern parts of the country.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, by Aug. 30 there were 710 cases of WNV infections in Europe. Most of them in were in Italy (327), Serbia (243) and Greece (147).

The Croatian news portal index.hr reported that at least 20 people currently in Croatia who have been diagnosed with the virus were infected while in Croatia.

WNV can cause neurological disease and death. The virus 1st appeared in Croatia in 2012 and since then 38 people have been infected. However, only a small percentage of the infected has been recorded, as the disease is usually mild and goes without any symptoms.

It is estimated that 80 percent of infected people have no symptoms while others develop a disease with flu-like symptoms such as high temperature, headache, sickness, and vomiting. Only 1 percent of infected people are hit by a heavy fever that usually leads to meningitis or encephalitis.


Afghanistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health on Sept. 3 said that at least 34 people across the country have died after being diagnosed with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) - commonly known as Congo Fever.

"Since the start of the month of Hamal (March 21) until today (Sept. 3), 169 patients (have been treated)," said Assadullah Esmat, chairman of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kabul.

Meanwhile, members of the public have called on the ministry of public health to undertake a public awareness campaign to help people take necessary measures to avoid contracting the tick-borne virus. "People have contracted the virus through working with animals such as sheep and cows," said one patient being treated in Kabul. "I was diagnosed with the virus several days ago, I was feeling pain in my head and then my body," another patient said.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The contagious Congo virus claimed the life of another young man on Sept. 2. The death was the second case of Congo virus in the region.

According to the details, the victim was admitted to Hayatabad medical complex initially, from where he was referred to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. His precarious condition did not improve and he passed away in Peshawar. It is worth mentioning that the victim was the attendant of the first affected person, who died in Islamabad hospital.

The local administration while taking the precautionary measures closed 3 private schools and a market in the affected village to preclude the spread of the fatal virus. The health officials urged the residents of the affected area to strictly follow the safety measures, especially, those people who have animals in their houses.


Uganda: Rift Valley fever

There is a confirmed outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Lyantonde district. The disease has already claimed 11 people and left several others in critical condition in 2 months, according to local authorities.

Dr. Moses Nkanika, the Lyantonde District Health Officer-DHO, says there is a possibility that the victims consumed meat from infected cows, sheep and goats. He says 2 other patients died after being referred to Mabarara Regional Hospital. Nine of the deaths have been reported in Kitazigolokwa village, Katovu parish in Lyantonde rural sub-county.

Nkanika said that they have received several cases from different sub-counties, and the most complicated are referred to Mbarara Regional hospital. He noted that they are on high alert to the spread of the disease.

Dr. Okoth Obo, the Medical Superintendent of Lyantonde Hospital, said they established an isolation center to handle RVF cases, adding that they have received 10 patients in recent weeks.


India: Leptospirosis

As tens of thousands of Keralites affected by last month's floods are busy cleaning up their slush-filled homes, a second threat is haunting the state in the form of leptospirosis (commonly known as rat fever). Five more deaths were reported due to rat fever on Sept. 3, taking the toll from the disease over the past five days alone to more than 3 dozen.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is transmitted chiefly through soil or water contaminated by the urine of the disease-carrying animals. Of those who lost their lives, [2 natives] of Ranni and Eranjikkal, Kozhikode, had been volunteers in the rescue and rehabilitation work in the aftermath of the floods. On Sept. 2cnd, as many as 10 people had lost their lives in the state due to rat fever. The development is a blow to the tourism prospects of the state, which were slowly showing signs of revival with some international tourists reaching Alappuzha for houseboat rides over the past few days.

Rat fever cases have been reported from different districts, including Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Thrissur, Alappuzha, and Kottayam. At the Thrissur Medical College alone, over 50 persons with symptoms of the disease are undergoing treatment. In Malappuram district, nearly 50 people are under observation. The situation is reportedly most severe in Kozhikode district, where close to 100 people are under observation.


Italy: West Nile virus

A second case of West Nile virus was reported in Piacenza. The man, a 60-year-old resident in Val D'Arda, was hospitalized in August at the hospital in Parma - he was already in the Ducal city for other treatments - because of high fever. Fortunately, his condition has improved.

This is the second case in the province of Piacenza of the virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. The first involved a 78-year-old hospitalized at the Guglielmo da Saliceto hospital and was only a few days apart from the second infection.

WNV is an infectious disease spread in many regions of Africa, the Middle East, India and Indonesia; it is also present in some areas of southern Europe with less intensity. In Italy it is transmitted mainly by the common mosquito, although it is possible that the infection can occur after the bite of the tiger mosquito.

For some years the Emilia-Romagna region has activated a system of surveillance on the circulation in their territories of the virus responsible for West Nile Disease to verify the presence of this pathogen in mosquitoes and birds (where the virus is multiplied), in horses and in humans (which may be occasionally infected as a result of bites).

August 31, 2018

China: African swine fever

African swine fever [ASF] has infected 185 pigs on a farm in Wuhu City in eastern China's Anhui province, the Ministry of Agriculture said Aug. 30. The infection killed 80 of 459 hogs on a farm in Wuhu's Nanling County.

Transport of hogs and related products has been banned in the affected area, said a notice on the ministry's website.

African swine fever (ASF) has continued to expand in the mainland. Following Shenyang City in Liaoning province, Zhengzhou City in Henan province and Lianyungang City in Jiangsu province, the ASF epidemic has spread to Zhejiang province, where 340 pigs died on 3 farms in a breeding area in Yueqing. The source and route of ASF virus entering China is still under investigation; however, there is some evidence and opinions referring the source of the epidemic to Russia, such as genetic tests showing the sequencing results of the Chinese virus being completely consistent with the corresponding sequence of the Russian Irkutsk 2017 strain.

Several ASF epidemics have occurred in the far east of Russia since 2017. Mainland reporters found that Chinese officials have recorded a small amount of pig by-products from a pig-raising company in the Russian epidemic area this month.


Turkey: Anthrax

Authorities have found that 4,000 cattle imported from Brazil for Turkey's Meat and Milk Institution ahead of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha or the "Feast of Sacrifice" and kept in a farm facility in the Gölbaşı district of capital Ankara are infected with anthrax.

Animal sales have been stopped in the Ahiboz and Günalan neighborhoods that are just 3 km away from the farm where the affected cattle are kept. Local breeders in the Gölbaşı district are angry, asking how the authorities allowed those "infected animals" to enter the country in the first place. They said their businesses have also been affected.

However, the Forestry and Agriculture Ministry said as a rule, all animals imported into the country are quarantined at a specific site and tests are run on those animals for 21 days to make sure they do not have any diseases before they are allowed to be sold on the market.

A total of 3,959 cattle were shipped from Brazil ahead of the Feast of Sacrifice for the Meat and Milk Institution. However, when some of the animals died, teams from Gölbaşı's Agriculture and Forestry Directorate launched an investigation to determine why they perished and discovered traces of anthrax disease. Following the findings, 60 animals from the herd were terminated and the farm was placed under quarantine.

The Meat and Milk Institution has assured the public that meat produced from the infected farm or affected animals have not been sold on the market.


United States: Rabies

A Delaware woman died last week after being exposed to rabies -- only the 2nd Delawarean to contract and die of the disease, state health officials said Monday night.

The woman, who lived west of Felton, was admitted to a Delaware hospital in late July after becoming sick, officials said. Her condition quickly got worse and she was transferred to a Pennsylvania hospital for treatment.

Test results did not confirm the presence of rabies until recently, officials said. The source of disease has not been identified.

State officials said the last known person to die of rabies since a young boy in 1941. He was bitten by a stray dog.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting a person's nervous system. It can occur through a bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or opening in the skin.


United States: Plague

A cat in Wyoming has been confirmed to have been infected with plague, the state Department of Health announced.

There are no known human cases in that area or in Wyoming as a whole. There hasn't been a confirmed case since 2008, according to a department press release. The cat "is known to wander outdoors," the release said.

The case comes a little over a year after the plague was found in prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland, the 1st time the disease popped up there in more than 15 years.

"Plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly for pets and for people if not treated as soon as possible with antibiotics," Alexia Harrist, state health officer and epidemiologist, said in a statement. "The disease can be transmitted to humans from ill animals and by fleas coming from infected animals."

Department spokeswoman Kim Deti did not immediately return a request for comment.

There have been just 6 cases of plague in humans here since 1978, according to the department. The United States overall averages 7 human cases a year.


Romania: African swine fever

The owner of the biggest pig farm in Romania, which is also the 2nd largest in Europe, called for an assessment of damages resulting from the planned culling of 141,000 pigs located in an outbreak site of African swine fever [ASF].

The manager of SC TEBU Consult Braila delayed the euthanasia of the pigs because he needs a clear picture of the damages that will be incurred by the company, said Gicu Dragan, the director of veterinary health department.

The ASF infection was confirmed on 3 separate pig farms in Braila county, comprising more than 35,000 pigs that will be euthanized.

"I believe that the animals in these farms got sick due to the Danube water. Farms are supplied with water from the Danube," said Dragan, adding that pig carcasses were found in the Danube. "We killed 29,000 pigs in order to protect these farms. We focuses on land and the virus came by water," said the official.

In Braila county there are 34 outbreaks of ASF, in 19 localities, including Braila. Over 30,000 pigs from 3 farms were euthanized up to now, according to the prefect of the county, George Paladi.


United States: Hantavirus

A northeast North Dakota woman has died after falling ill to a rare disease that's spread by infected rodent droppings, urine and saliva, the state Department of Health said Monday.

The unidentified adult woman fell ill to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome [HPS]. People can develop [an infection leading to] HPS by breathing air that's contaminated with the virus when fresh rodent droppings, urine or nesting materials are disturbed, but it's not transmitted from person to person.

The woman had possible contact with rodent urine or droppings or rodents in the environment, according to a news release. She was not named in a news release nor was her city of residence.

"People need to be mindful of the presence or evidence of wild rodents or rodent nests when conducting clean-up activities in a house, barn or other buildings, especially in rural areas," Jill Baber, epidemiologist for the department, said in a statement. "It is important to avoid actions that stir up dust, such as sweeping or vacuuming, if signs of rodents are present."


Afghanistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

At least 18 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) infection have recently been detected in Afghanistan, taking this year's [2018] total cases to 267 compared to 244 cases last year.

The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is caused by infection with a tick-borne virus in the family Bunyaviridae. The disease was first characterized in Crimea in 1944 and given the name Crimean hemorrhagic fever.

The onset of CCHF is sudden, with initial signs and symptoms including headache, high fever, back pain, joint pain, stomach pain, and vomiting. Red eyes, a flushed face, a red throat, and red spots on the palate are common.

Dr Shah Wali Marufi, in charge of preventing communicable diseases in the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), told Pajhwok Afghan News that Congo virus cases increased each year during Eidul Adha [Eid al-Adha, "Festival of Sacrifice"] days when people sacrifice animals.

He said so far 18 CCHF infection cases have been detected since the 1st day of Eidul Adha (21 Aug 2018), raising the number of the virus cases to 267 this year.


South Korea: African swine fever

The deadly African swine fever [ASF] has been discovered in Korea, putting the quarantine authorities on alert.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Aug. 26 a virus gene of the disease was found in 2 processed pork products that were brought in and voluntarily reported by 2 travelers who visited Shenyang, China, earlier this month.

The highly contagious pig disease was 1st reported Aug. 3 in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

Quarantine officials conducted a polymerase chain reaction test, which detected the virus gene. They are currently checking whether the virus gene is alive.

"The travelers brought in banned products including one Korean sausage and one pack of dumplings and voluntarily reported to quarantine officials at the airport," the agriculture ministry said, adding that the products were disposed of.

"The products have been heated up, so there is little possibility the virus could be contagious."

Since April 2018, the quarantine agency has been keeping close tabs on the ASF virus, closely monitoring banned animal products coming into the country at airports and harbors.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

One person has died of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) at Naguru Hospital in Kampala, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.

Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the ministry's senior spokesperson, said the deceased is a 32-year-old female from Bukerere, in Mukono District.

"The Ministry of Health has dispatched rapid response teams to trace her contacts. She will be accorded a safe burial by our medical teams to avoid future spread of the disease. The burial will take place in Sembabule District," Ainebyoona said.

Blood samples were collected and taken to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) in Entebbe, where they tested positive for CCHF.

The CCHF is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted to humans through tick bites. It can also be transmitted through contact with the blood of infected animals. The case fertility ranges between 10-40 per cent and can be treated.

"The general public is advised to use protective gear and gloves when in close contact with infected persons; regular hand washing is recommended, avoid tick-to-human transmission by wearing protective clothes like long sleeved shirts and a pair of trousers," Ainebyoona added.

Uganda last recorded cases of CCHF in May this year when a 35-year-old male from Nkoko sub-county in Bugangaizi County, Kakumiro District died of the disease at Mubende Regional Referral Hospital.

Other cases had also been recorded earlier in January 2018 when 4 cases and one death were confirmed in Nakaseke District.

August 24, 2018

Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The administration of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) has confirmed that a 23-year-old man with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) was admitted to one of its isolation wards.

"[The man], was brought to JPMC emergency with bruises on his body … and we shifted him to an isolation ward on suspicion of Congo virus," Dr Seemin Jamali, executive director, said. The diagnosis was confirmed a day later.

CCHF is a tick-borne, potentially lethal viral disease with 30-40 per cent mortality rate and is usually contracted by people who remain in contact with cattle and other animals.

Dr Jamali said the patient's condition was critical due to extremely low platelets and total leucocytes counts (TLC). She mentioned that the patient was being given supportive and anti-viral drugs. She added that this was the eighth case of Congo virus at JPMC. 2 patients have already succumbed to the disease earlier.

"Survival rate of CCHF at JPMC is very high and positive if the patients are brought in during the initial stages of contracting the disease," she assured, urging people to visit the health facility at any sign of a sudden onset of high fever, vomiting, muscle ache, and red spots on the body as well as bleeding from the mouth or nose.

"Animal herders, livestock handlers, and slaughterhouse workers are at a greater risk of contracting this disease but since a lot of people are handling sacrificial animals, they should also take extra precautionary measures," Dr Jamali advised.


Russia: Avian influenza

Russian authorities have confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza on a 500 000-bird commercial farm in Kostromskaya, a region to the north-west of the country.

According to the disease report, sequencing analysis showed the virus (H5N2) belonged to the Asian strain which has been detected in multiple wild bird and poultry cases across Asia, Africa and Europe since 2014.

There have been no human cases associated with H5N2 HPAI (highly pathogenic avian influenza) infection in areas where it circulates.

The latest outbreak of H5N2 HPAI is overlapped by 3 migration flyways - the Central Asian, the West Asian and the East Atlantic and it is this flyway which also brings wild migratory waterfowl to the UK.


France: Anthrax

More than 50 cows, sheep, and horses have died in France's most serious outbreak of anthrax in 2 decades, according to officials who have warned of a vaccine shortage. Authorities in the mountainous Hautes-Alpes region of southeastern France said the infection, which can spread to humans and is deadly in its rarest forms, had spread to 28 farms since June.

French vets have been battling to contain the outbreak because the Spanish laboratory which produces the vaccines has been closed throughout August for the summer vacation. "The state is in talks with its European partners to discuss the availability and purchase of vaccines" which other countries may have stockpiled, said senior regional official Agnes Chavanon.

Senior Hautes-Alpes official Serge Cavalli said animals were being vaccinated at affected farms in the region. Those [herds] hit have been banned from production for at least 21 days while the farms are disinfected, and to provide time for the vaccinated animals to become immune. Any milk on site is pasteurized and then destroyed.

The last serious French outbreak was in 2008 when anthrax spread to 23 farms, most of them in the eastern Doubs area.


Canada: Eastern equine encephalitis

Two horses have tested positive for a serious equine virus. The horses, which are housed in the Dunnville area south of Hamilton, Ontario, tested positive earlier this month for eastern equine encephalitis [EEE] virus after showing neurological symptoms, the Haldimand-Norfolk health unit announced.

The health unit has not had a report of a horse positive for the virus since 2009. "This serves notice that the virus continues to circulate in the area," the health unit said.

The virus, also known as "triple E" or "sleeping sickness," affects mostly horses and birds and is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

It also can be transmitted to humans through mosquitoes, said the health unit, noting that most people infected will not develop symptoms.


United States: Eastern equine encephalitis

A horse in the town of West Monroe, N.Y., died last week of eastern equine encephalitis [EEE], a mosquito-borne virus, according to the Oswego County Health Department.

The diagnosis was confirmed by tests performed by the state Health Department.

While there is no EEE vaccine available for humans, there is a vaccine for horses. The health department said horse owners should talk to veterinarians about getting their horses vaccinated.

Horses cannot spread the disease to people, but it can be transmitted by infected mosquitoes to humans and horses.

Human cases of EEE are rare. About 1/3 of people who get EEE die from the disease and most survivors suffer brain damage. There have been 8 reported human EEE deaths in Central New York since 1971 -- 5 in Oswego and 3 in Onondaga

Mosquitoes with EEE have been collected recently in the towns of West Monroe and Cicero. County health departments in Oswego and Onondaga plan to conduct aerial spraying of mosquitoes in the Toad Harbor Oswego county] and Cicero [Onondaga county] swamps.


United States: West Nile virus

The Culex pipiens mosquito is the insect primarily responsible for the spread of West Nile virus in the Bay Area of California. The number of birds and mosquitoes testing positive for the West Nile virus has increased by 50 percent in the past week, the county Mosquito & Vector Control District reported.

In the past week, there have been 4 groups of mosquitoes, 4 dead birds, and one group of sentinel chickens that have tested positive for the West Nile virus. The discoveries have doubled the number of dead birds found with the virus in Contra Costa County for this year and nearly doubled the number of positive mosquito groups.

Usually, the months of August and September, when baby birds are leaving their nests and mosquitoes bite more often, are when the virus peaks, the district warned.

"As we enter the peak of West Nile virus season we're starting to see more widespread activity," said Steve Schutz, the district's scientific programs manager. "People in all areas of Contra Costa county should be protecting themselves against mosquito bites."

There have been 10 groups of mosquitoes, 8 dead birds and 13 chickens from Contra Costa county that have tested positive for the virus this year [2018].


Singapore: Hand, foot and mouth disease

Six childcare centers and 2 kindergartens in Singapore have been identified as hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) clusters.

The 1,249 cases of HFMD is also the highest reported in a week this year, almost 1.5 times the 868 cases at the same time last year, according to Ministry of Health figures. There have also been slightly more cases caused by the enterovirus A71 (EV-A71), a more virulent strain behind the recent deaths of 2 children in Malaysia.

In an update on its website last MOH the 6 childcare centers and 2 kindergartens with HFMD clusters. None of them has been closed due to the outbreak.

A cluster occurs when a pre-school reports more than 10 HFMD cases or an "attack rate" higher than 13 per cent and a transmission period of more than 16 days. The attack rate refers to the proportion of children enrolled who are infected.

Replying to queries by The New Paper, MOH said the HFMD coxsackievirus type A remains the predominant strain in Singapore, as in previous years.

But its spokesman also said there has been a "slight increase" in the proportion of cases from the EV-A71 strain.


China: African swine fever

China's Ministry of Agriculture said 88 hogs had died from African swine fever [ASF] in the city of Lianyungang, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, as the highly contagious disease continues to spread through the world's biggest pig herd.

A total of 615 hogs have been infected since Aug. 15 2018 with the swine fever in Lianyungang, in Jiangsu province, where authorities have banned the movement of hogs, related products and animals that are easily infected both into and outside the affected area, the ministry said.

Emergency measures, including culling and disinfecting animals, have brought the outbreak in the city's Haizhou district under "effective control," the ministry said.

The ministry did not answer a call or immediately respond to a fax seeking comment on how it is acting to contain the spread.

The Jiangsu cases are the 3rd outbreak of ASF in China this month. The disease, for which there is no available vaccine, had never previously been detected in East Asia. It does not affect humans.


Israel: West Nile virus

The Environment Ministry has issued orders to local authorities around the country to act to reduce the mosquito population in their jurisdictions, after mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were discovered at a number of locations in Israel.

The infected mosquitoes were discovered over the past 2 weeks in routine inspections by the ministry. However, officials said, because the infected mosquitoes were found in distinct geographic regions, it is likely that they are present in other areas. The ministry ordered that pesticides and other materials be sprayed in rural and suburban areas around the country to prevent further spread of the disease.


Great Britain: Tick-borne encephalitis

A dog walker developed life-threatening meningitis after he was bitten by a tick which he believes happened in the UK.

The victim, from the Lake District, was rushed to a hospital with an extreme headache and near paralysis of his limbs. Doctors diagnosed him with tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), a potentially fatal infection spread by tick bites found in woodland habitats.

Officials say the disease is not found in the UK, but there's risk of getting it in other parts of Europe -- where it is endemic in 27 countries -- and Asia.

The 33-year-old had travelled to Sardinia before he got ill -- however, doctors were left baffled because TBE typically emerges 1 to 2 weeks after a bite and [the man] only became symptomatic 6 weeks after his trip, raising the possibility he caught the disease after a bite in the UK. If so, this would make him the 1st such case in the UK.

There have been fears TBE could become a problem here after vets previously warned British pets are catching deadly diseases from foreign ticks after travelling to Europe on pet passports.

The sous-chef, who lives in Ambleside, said: "In Sardinia we were on the coast. I was never in an environment where I would come into contact with ticks. In England, I've been exposed to them almost daily by taking my dog out. "I can't say with 100 per cent certainty, but I'd be amazed if the TBE hasn't been contracted here in the UK."


Israel: Leptospirosis

The Israeli Ministry of Health is currently managing an outbreak of human leptospirosis linked to recreational water exposure in Northern Israel.

The investigation began following reports of several suspected cases who presented to several hospitals across Israel during the weekend of 9-11 Aug 2018, following touristic excursions.

According to current active surveillance data and following public notification, over 250 individuals were identified as suspected cases after seeking medical advice for acute febrile illness following travel to the specific locations which are currently defined as possible exposure sites in Northern Israel.

Suspected cases are being evaluated and treated for possible infection at community clinics and hospitals. Of those, 32 cases have been initially confirmed by means of molecular and serological tests performed at the National Reference Laboratory for Leptospirosis. The infecting serovar is expected to be identified over the next days.

The epidemiological investigation suggests recreational exposure to natural water sources over the last weeks in certain locations (recreational natural water sources) in Northern Israel as the common risk factor.


Greece: West Nile virus

The number of deaths from the West Nile virus has risen to 5, it emerged on [Thu 16 Aug 2018] as the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (KEELPNO) confirmed that a total of 77 cases of the infection have been recorded in Greece since the beginning of the summer [2018], 17 in the past week.

The death toll rose following the deaths of 2 people, both aged over 70, in the past 2 weeks.

The virus, which is carried by infected mosquitoes, has also spread geographically, with cases reported in 33 municipalities, including the municipality of Athens.


Panama: Hantavirus

A 73-year-old patient, maintained for more than 2 months in the intensive care unit of the Joaquin Pablo Franco in Las Tablas, died on Wednesday afternoon [15 Aug 2018] after having been infected by bacteria acquired in the hospital.

This information was confirmed by the Los Santos provincial health authorities, who explained that the patient, from the Flores community in Tonosi in Los Santos Province, had suffered hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome but remained hospitalized.

Carlos Munoz, head of Epidemiology in the Los Santos health region, indicated that the patient died due to a bacterial infection and not specifically to [a] hantavirus [infection], since he had been taken off a ventilator; however, he presented with complications that caused his death.

According to Munoz, the death of the patient is associated with hantavirus [infection] but will not be considered within the statistics of deaths due to the disease, since his death was due to bacterial complications. "We could determine that the death of this patient was not from [a] hantavirus [infection]. The patients in the intensive care unit are very susceptible to these types of infections, and this is what happened with this man. It was a bacteria and fungus that he acquired in the course of his hospitalization," stated Munoz.


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

Isingiro Chairman Jeremiah Kamurali has attributed the increase of Rift Valley fever in the district to the growing number of refugees entering Isingiro. Kamurali met with journalists at Little Woods in Mbarara town.

Kamurali said Isingiro is one of the most affected districts because of its geographical location bordering with Tanzania, Rwanda, and crossing Lake Mburo national park. He also reported that several people have died because of the epidemic in the area. "We have already buried some of the important people on the team fighting Rift Valley fever; we lost [J], who was Commandant of Orukiinga Refuge Settlement, and many others," said Kamurali.

Mbarara District Health Officer Dr. Peter Ssebutinde reported that the disease has crossed to the districts of Isingiro, Kiruhura, Sembabule, Mbarara, Ibanda, and Kasese. He described signs of hemorrhagic fever as severe headache, stomach pain, vomiting, among others, adding that it kills a person within 6 days when he/she receives no treatment. Chairman Kamurali reported that the epidemic crossed to Isingiro on June 26 but has spread rampantly for the past 3 days. He added that the District Emergency Team was formed to make an isolation center to treat the infected patients and report new outbreaks within the district.

August 17, 2018

China: African swine fever

China found its 2nd case of African swine fever (ASF) on Aug. 16 at a slaughterhouse owned by WH Group Ltd's Chinese unit, stirring concerns about the spread of the deadly infection across the world's largest pig herd.

Some 30 hogs died of the disease at the slaughterhouse in Zhengzhou in central Henan province, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement. The pigs had traveled thousands of kilometers from a farm in Jiamusi city in China's northeastern province of Heilongjiang, it said.

The outbreak comes almost 2 weeks after another northeastern province, Liaoning, culled thousands of pigs after the discovery of China's 1st case of African swine fever.

The agriculture ministry did not name the company in Heilongjiang, but China's largest pork processor Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development reported earlier that it had discovered a suspected case of the disease, a director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau told Reuters. Shuanghui is the Chinese unit of WH Group, the world's top pork producer.

Heilongjiang authorities were investigating whether the pigs were infected in the northeastern province bordering Russia. The provincial veterinary official said it wasn't clear where or how the pigs in Zhengzhou caught the disease.


United States: Anthrax

South Dakota state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven has confirmed that anthrax was diagnosed in a group of 300 unvaccinated yearling cattle in Butte County, in western South Dakota. Butte is the 4th county where anthrax has been diagnosed in 2018, following Clark, Bon Homme and Hamlin counties.

Anthrax spores can survive indefinitely in contaminated soil, and the potential for outbreaks exists across South Dakota. Drought, floods and winds can expose anthrax spores to livestock.

Anthrax can cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a short time. Infected livestock often are found dead with no illness detected. Producers across South Dakota should consult their veterinaries and vaccinate livestock, if appropriate.


Panama: Hantavirus

Health authorities in Los Santos province have confirmed 6 new cases of hantavirus in one week, bringing a total of 61 cases in the region so far in 2018.

The authorities assure the public that these are expected case numbers given the increase in the transmission cycle of the disease.

There is no indication of which hantavirus is involved in this or in previous cases in Panama. However, as noted in comments in previous posts, Los Santos and adjoining provinces are endemic for Choclo hantavirus. Although no data on this or the previous cases in earlier years include an indication of which hantavirus is responsible, Choclo is the only one of the 3 hantaviruses known to be endemic in Panama that causes HPS (hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome) or hantavirus fever. However, Dr. Jan Clemens recently commented that Seoul hantavirus could also be present in Panama causing human infections. Appropriate laboratory tests would be required to differentiate Choclo and Seoul viruses. No vaccine is available for Choclo virus.


French Guinea: Yellow fever

A 47-year-old man of Swiss nationality contracted yellow fever in French Guiana. He was diagnosed last weekend by the Pasteur Institute. The fact that he had been present in French Guiana for 4 months without having apparently left it makes it very likely that he contracted the virus in the department, and more precisely in the area of the County Bridge.

In a message addressed to certain health professionals, the Regional Health Agency (ARS) details the situation: "A new case of yellow fever was confirmed last weekend by the Pasteur Institute of Guyana, and after that diagnosed in France. After a visit to CHAR, the patient was transferred urgently to a liver resuscitation unit in Paris. This is a 47-year-old man of Swiss nationality who had returned by land from Brazil but who had been in French Guiana for 4 months and who had not left the territory (of Guyana) since his arrival. Therefore, we can consider that this is a local infection. The patient was not vaccinated.

According to information available at this stage, he was working on the marking of forest roads in the County Bridge area, and it can be assumed that he was infected in these areas, and investigations are underway to detect associated cases and to trace more closely the movements of the patient. This new case confirms that yellow fever is present in Guyana.


Kyrgyzstan: Anthrax

An emergency operations center has been established in the Kara-Kulja District of Kyrgyzstan to eliminate and localize anthrax. Sanitary and preventive measures are being carried out.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health announced the hospitalization of 12 people in Kara-Kulja with suspected anthrax. All hospitalized people had had contact with meat of the infected animal.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) confirmed 9 new cases of Lassa fever epidemic with 2 deaths, in one week, including the 1st confirmed case in Enugu State since the beginning of the outbreak.

The NCDC, however, blamed the persistent outbreak of Lassa fever in the country on poor environmental sanitation conditions observed in high burden communities.

According to the NCDC report, 22 states have recorded at least one confirmed case and 19 states have exited the active phase of the outbreak while 3 remain active.


China: Anthrax

Local authorities said 20 people have been confirmed to be infected with cutaneous anthrax in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Cases of cattle deaths from unknown causes in Shengli Village, Horqin district in the city of Tongliao, have been reported as of last week. Cutaneous anthrax is usually contracted when a person with a cut or sore on their skin comes into direct, unprotected contact with anthrax spores on a sick or dead animal. As of Aug. 14, 54 cattle have been found infected and a further 29 dead cattle have been disposed of, according to the Tongliao government.

In addition to the infected, another 66 people in close contact have been placed under medical observation.

Local government and epidemic control headquarters have carried out epidemic control efforts, blocking affected and high-risk areas, setting up animal supervision checkpoints, and strengthening inspection of the flow of livestock and products. Vehicles, trading markets, and livestock pens have been sterilized. Local hospitals have also provided free drugs and guidance for livestock farmers.


Romania: West Nile virus

In a follow-up on the West Nile virus (WNV) situation in Romania, the National Center for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Control reported since the start of surveillance on May 2, 23 meningitis/meningo-encephalitis have been reported due to West Nile virus infection and a death in the case of a 79-year-old patient who had co-morbidities.

Officials say the cases in Romania are sporadic and there is currently no risk of an epidemic.


United States: Newcastle Disease

During the week of 3-9 Aug 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed 16 additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease [vND] in backyard exhibition chickens in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, California.

Over the past few weeks, the response team intensified its efforts and identified additional cases of vND within existing disease-control areas. Affected flocks are quickly being euthanized. Together, these actions will help prevent additional disease spread and eradicate the disease more quickly.

USDA is moving to a weekly announcement of confirmed vND cases, beginning with this report. Cases are still being tested and confirmed as they are identified.

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


Pakistan: Typhoid fever

An ongoing outbreak of extensively drug-resistant typhoid fever in Pakistan that has triggered the level 2 alert can be controlled by sensitizing public and health professionals on following preventive measures religiously and offering vaccination particularly to the population at risk. The US CDC has already issued a travel alert saying anyone heading to Pakistan should take extra care of food and water and get vaccination against typhoid. The CDC said the typhoid strain in Pakistan does not respond to many antimicrobials.

Typhoid or enteric fever is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. The fecal oral transmission is the most common route of infecting healthy people. Contaminated water and food are the main sources for the spread of the infection.

Typhoid fever is a treatable and curable infection, provided it is accurately treated after confirmed diagnosis by culture and sensitivity (blood, stool, and bone marrow), she said.


Spain: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A 74 year old man from Avila, Spain has died from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. He had been taking part in a hunting activity near the Badajoz town of Helechosa de los Montes, Spain.

In Spain, CCHFV was first detected in hyalomma ticks from Caceres in 2010 and again in 2014. Subsequently, 2 autochthonous CCHFV cases were reported in August 2016, which resulted in the death of a 62 year old man that in turn resulted in a nosocomial transmission to a 52 year old nurse who was part of the patient's care team.

Because the Hyalomma tick populations are widely distributed in the Mediterranean basin, surveillance for the presence of CCHFV in western Europe is of utmost importance, and these additional cases of CCHFV highlight the growing threat of this disease to the European continent.


United States: West Nile virus

Two cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Johnson County, Kansas, although health officials say those in north and southeast Kansas are only at a moderate risk of catching the disease. The Kansas Health Department says the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito is highest in north central, south central, north west, and south west Kansas.

About 20 per cent of those who contract WNV infection will develop a fever and headache, weakness, muscle pain, arthritis-like pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and a rash 2-14 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Roughly one in 150 infected people develop the more severe version of the disease, which includes swelling of the brain and, in some cases, death. There currently are no vaccines or medications to manage the virus. Elderly people and those with a weakened immune system are most at risk.

"Although for most people West Nile virus may not cause a great deal of concern, we encourage residents, especially our vulnerable populations, to take steps to prevent infection because of the potential for complications," said Dr. Greg Lakin, chief medical officer, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.


Greece: West Nile virus

Since the beginning of the mosquito season, 9 deaths related to the West Nile virus have been reported in Serbia, 4 of them in the past week, the Institute of Public Health of Serbia stated in a press release. The release reads that the virus was confirmed in the population of mosquitoes in northern parts of Serbia, especially in Belgrade, where all 4 fatal outcomes occurred.

The institute said that of 102 cases of West Nile infection this season, 44 were registered in Belgrade, as the mosquitoes carrying the virus in Serbia are most densely populated around the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. The press release said that from the 1st confirmed West Nile infection in 2012 to the end of 2017, 574 infections have been reported in Serbia, 61 of which were fatal.


Uganda: Rift Valley fever

Rakai veterinary specialists and leaders have closed 4 major cattle markets in the district following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) in neighboring Isingiro district. Two people and 7 cows have already died of the fever.

Livestock farmers in Kyalulangira, under their umbrella body Nyekundire Farmers' Association, say the district authorities had been reluctant to close the markets in the past month over revenue.

"We have been telling them to close the markets, but they were looking at revenue likely to be lost. People's health is more important than the targeted revenue from cattle traders. Even the foot and mouth disease could have been contained a long time ago if those people [district authorities] were vigilant," Mr. Robert Kanyete, the association chairperson, said.

The district veterinary officer, Mr. Erias Kizito Nsubuga, said the closure of the markets followed a directive from the anti-stock safety unit to control the spread. "RVF has not yet extended to Rakai, but we closed the markets to prevent it from spreading to our district since traders buy cattle from different farms, including those in Isingiro," Dr. Nsubuga said.

August 10, 2018

African swine fever: Latvia


The biggest outbreak of African swine fever [ASF] since 2014 just took place in Latvia, with a flock of 15,570 domestic pigs affected at a farm in Saldus, western Latvia.

The Food and Veterinary Service told the press that operations at the Druvas Unguri pig farm have been suspended and a zone of quarantine set across the perimeter. Precise reasons of the outbreak are being investigated.

This is the 8th outbreak of the dangerous porcine disease in Latvia this year among domestic pigs. It is understood that all the pigs in the affected farm are to be culled, which is standard practice as the disease is highly contagious.

The Latvian news agency reports that Latvia's cabinet was to convene to discuss measures designed to prevent the disease from spreading further.

African swine fever has been detected in 666 wild boar this year.


Congo: Ebola

At least 37 cases and 21 Ebola deaths are reported in North Kivu province, where an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease was declared on Aug. 1 after the one conquered in Equateur to the west. A total of "37 cases of Ebola are reported in Beni including 21 deaths and a suspected case in Musienene in the Lubero territory", reports Top Congo, a VOA radio partner in the DRC, citing a summary of the Council of Ministers chaired by the Deputy Governor of North Kivu, Feller Lutaichirwa.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, visited Beni and Mangina the day before July 31 with experts and said he identified "needs and challenges" in the response to the new epidemic of Ebola in the east of the DRC. "The teams of the DRC Ministry of Health are already working to contain this new Ebola outbreak," he added.

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that it will challenging to stop the new Ebola epidemic in the DRC, which is rife in a war zone where humanitarian workers do not move without armed escort. "On the scale of difficulty, trying to extinguish an outbreak of a deadly dangerous pathogen in a war zone is at the top," said the WHO Deputy Director General in charge of emergency responses, Peter Salama, during a press briefing in Geneva.

WHO now considers that the risk to public health is high at the national and regional levels. Globally, risk is currently considered low.

The disease has been reported in Mangina, a village 30 km southwest of Beni in troubled North Kivu province. The province of North Kivu reported Saturday [28 Jul 2018] "the Ministry of Health [reports] 26 cases of fever with hemorrhagic signs, including 20 deaths," said the Minister of Health, Dr. Oly Ilunga, without specifying the date of deaths or whether they were proven or suspected cases of Ebola.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 42 suspected cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have been detected in the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda. In its latest epidemiological analysis, WHO said the 1st case, involving a female who came from Rwanda through the Democratic Republic of Congo, was confirmed by the Uganda Virus Research Institute on July 18.

"She presented with a 4-day history of fever and a bleeding diathesis on July 7. By July 17 the husband had tested positive for CCHF. No deaths have been reported and both cases are in isolation at the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital," the WHO said.

Meanwhile, the WHO says at least 3 of 8 suspected cases of Rift Valley fever have died since the outbreak was confirmed at a farm in the Nakivale Refugee Camp on 28 Jun 2018. Efforts to identify the source of the outbreak are still underway. Teams from the government and the WHO are working on outbreak responses. As of 17 Jul 2018, samples had been taken from 125 animals, including 95 cattle, 27 goats and 3 sheep.


Kazakhstan: Lumpy skin disease

Signs of a disease similar to nodular dermatitis [lumpy skin disease, LSD] have been recorded in cattle in the Amangeldy district of the Kostanay region. In the veterinary department of the Kostanay region, this was explained as a post-vaccination reaction after the application of a live vaccine, a MIA Kazinform correspondent reported.

The symptoms of the disease, which were similar to those of LSD, were explained by a post-vaccination reaction. According to the strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture in these 5 regions, vaccination against LSD was carried out in cattle.

No field cases of LSD have been registered; the vaccination is termed as "preventive." The mentioned cases are thus regarded as "post-vaccinal reaction" and at an acceptable rate. The animals, being fully susceptible, were vaccinated by this vaccine for the 1st time. The appearance of the reaction included signs that resemble the disease: elevated body temperature, keratoconjunctivitis, and a decrease in milk yield. No death cases have been reported, and recovery occurs within a week, usually in 3-5 days.


Algeria: Foot and mouth disease

The number of cattle affected by foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] since the inception of the epizootic reached 190 cases in 10 provinces, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture. The 10 provinces where these cases have been recorded are Tizi-Ouzou, Bouira, Bejaia, Setif, Tipaza, Medea, Oum El Bouaghi, Bourd Bou Arreridj, Chlef, and Blida.

The affected cattle were slaughtered, according to the same communication from the Ministry of Agriculture, and measures were taken by the governors to regulate livestock flows, close cattle markets according to the situation in each province, and provide disinfectants to clean up epidemic areas.

"Livestock research and surveillance operations are strengthened by the mobilization of all veterinary doctors and practitioners," said the ministry, which also announced that a market has been opened for the acquisition of 2 million doses of vaccine in accordance with the plan established Tuesday at a meeting of the secretary general of the ministry Kamel Chadi with veterinary inspectors of the provinces.

The secretary general has given instructions to veterinary inspectors of the provinces to "ensure the surveillance on the day of the Eid and ensure compliance with health rules in force at markets and other points of sale with the issuance of health certificates that will accompany livestock, especially for livestock keepers moving to other provinces."

In anticipation of the Eid Festival of Sacrifice, during which a significant number of livestock will be sacrificed, preventive measures have been taken, including the designation by the governors of livestock outlets and the introduction of veterinary surveillance on these outlets.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

The county government plans to vaccinate at least 70,000 cattle against Rift Valley fever in Baringo South Constituency. The disease has so far killed over 500 livestock, mostly goats and sheep, at Kiserian in the past 2 months. This has left many families that rely on livestock without a source of livelihood.

Baringo South veterinary officer Julius Cheruiyot vaccination was started after samples taken to government laboratories were positive for Rift Valley fever. "We have started a vector control program ... to prevent its further spread," said Dr. Cheruiyot.

Before RVF was diagnosed livestock were being treated for blue [tongue] disease. However, the high number of abortions, especially in goats and sheep, raised the alarm, prompting testing for RVF.


Greece: West Nile virus

Greek health officials have reported 21 additional confirmed human West Nile virus (WNV) cases during the past week, bringing the country total to 43 in 2018. Of the total, 35 presented with neuro-invasive disease (WNND, encephalitis and/or meningitis and/or acute flaccid paralysis) and 8 cases with mild symptoms (febrile syndrome). No deaths have been reported.

In Europe, since the beginning of the 2018 transmission season, 111 human cases have been reported in the European Union/European Economic Area member states. Italy reported 51 cases, including 2 deaths, Greece 43 cases, Hungary 10 cases, and Romania 7 cases. 70 human cases, including 4 deaths, have been reported in countries neighboring the EU, all by Serbia.

Europe's 2018 transmission season started earlier than usual and higher case numbers have been reported compared with the same period in previous years, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. All human cases reported during the current transmission season were reported in previously affected countries.


India: Malaria

With 34 fresh cases reported last week, the total number of malaria cases has reached at 207 according to data released by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Out of 207 cases of malaria diagnosed, 93 patients belong to neighboring states.

Civic bodies also reported breeding of mosquitoes from nearly 77,272 households in the national capital this year, according to the civic bodies, which are grappling with the rising number of cases of the vector-borne diseases.

According to the report, all 3 municipal corporations have also issued 77,508 notices to various people and establishments after mosquito breeding conditions were found in their houses or premises. At least 9,292 prosecutions have also been launched after breeding were found, the report said.

The total number of the people affected with malaria in 2017 was 1,142.


Rwanda: Rift Valley Fever

Livestock farmers have appealed to the government to ensure that cows get timely vaccination in order to effectively control deadly epidemics in cattle. The appeal comes after an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever [RVF] -- a deadly and infectious viral disease -- killed 154 cows countrywide since May, according to figures from Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).

Gahiga Gashumba, the chairman of Rwanda National Dairy Farmers' Federation, told The New Times that in their performance contracts, districts set themselves targets to inoculate cows, which leaves a gap in achieving effective vaccination.

Efforts to contain the recent outbreak of RVF included vaccinating 257,902 cows countrywide of which 119,520 were from Ngoma, Kirehe, and Kayonza -- the hardest hit by the disease. "All cows should be vaccinated at least in areas prone to given diseases," Gashumba said adding, "We need a clear vaccination calendar detailing the cows that should be immunized in a given period of time. When there are heavy rains, we should be prepared of [immunizing cows against] East Coast fever." Also known as theileriosis, East Coast fever is a deadly tick-borne disease in cattle.

Ngoma district vice mayor for Finance and Economic Development, Jean Marie Vianney Rwiririza, said that this year they want many cows to get vaccines against different diseases, including RVF and foot and mouth disease [FMD]. "With using funds from the district's budget alone, we cannot manage to give vaccines to all cows. We request farmers' cooperatives and the farmers themselves to partake in the activity so that all the cows can be inoculated," he told The New Times.

In Kirehe district, there are over 52,000 cows and over 30,000 of them were vaccinated against different diseases, including Rift Valley fever in the 2017/2018 financial year, according to Jean Damascène Nsengiyumva, Kirehe district vice mayor for Finance and Economic Development. "We have increased funding for the vaccination activity so that we inject all cows which we should vaccinate because we do not want the recurrence of such a problem," he said referring to RVF.


Panama: Hantavirus

Health authorities in Los Santos province reported 6 new cases of hantavirus in the province. The regional coordinator of epidemiology, Carlos Muñoz, said they are 5 adults and a 12 year old child. He stated that of these 6 new cases, only one patient, a 41 year old woman resident of Las Tablas, developed hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome and the rest remain as hantavirus fever cases.

Muñoz stated that to date, 55 people have been ill from hantavirus [infections] in Los Santos. Of these, 38 correspond to the Tonosí district, while the remainder are located in the other Los Santos districts, with the exception of Macaracas that has reported no cases to date.

Of the ill individuals, 3 remain hospitalized, 2 in the Joaquin Pablo Franco Sayas Hospital and the 3rd in the Gustavo Nelson Collado Hospital. Muñoz stated that always, when one examines the cases of the ill people, one finds risk factors and said that there are conditions that permit the nesting of the [reservoir] rodent and for it to be near the houses, making it much more feasible that the people become infected.


India: Nipah virus

A total of 19 Nipah virus cases, including 17 deaths, have been reported from Kerala state: 18 of the cases were laboratory-confirmed. The outbreak was localized to 2 districts in Kerala state: Kozhikode and Malappuram. No new cases or deaths have been reported since 1 Jun 2018 and human-to-human transmission has been contained in Kerala State.

As reported in the Disease Outbreak News, 3 deaths due to NiV infection were reported from Kozhikode District, Kerala State; 3 of the 4 reported deaths were confirmed positive for NiV.

Of these, 2 patients recovered completely and were discharged from the hospital. Acute respiratory distress syndrome and encephalitis were observed among the patients infected. This was the 1st NiV outbreak reported in Kerala State and the 3rd NiV outbreak known to have occurred in India; the 2 previous outbreaks occurred in the state of West Bengal in 2001 and 2007.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A man has tested positive for the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever at Pims. Pims media coordinator Dr. Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that the patient arrived at the hospital a few days ago complaining of fever and oral bleeding. He had the symptoms of Congo virus so blood samples were sent to the National Institute of Health (NIH), and those samples tested positive for the disease. Dr. Khawaja said the patient belonged to Murree and had cattle in his house. "It was suggested that the health department immediately send a team to the area as the village is at the risk of being infected," he added.

CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease with symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, dizziness, abnormal sensitivity to light, abdominal pain and vomiting.


China: Anthrax

A total of 255 sheep have been slaughtered following a suspected outbreak of anthrax in Jiamusi City, north east China's Heilongjiang Province. According to the Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center of Huanan County in Jiamusi, newly purchased sheep from the province's Qitaihe City died from suspected anthrax at a local breeding site.

Huanan authorities promptly launched an emergency response plan, implementing a series of measures to disinfect the area and prevent the spread of the deadly disease. All those who had close contact with the sheep have been quarantined, with one diagnosed with suspected infection by the virus and another whose diagnosis has not been confirmed. The county said the outbreak has been effectively controlled without spreading.

Huanan's neighboring county Yilan also intensified efforts to prevent possible contamination. A farmer in Fuqiangtun Village had his 255 sheep, including 190 bought from Huanan, slaughtered.

August 3, 2018

Ebola: Sierra Leone

A novel ebolavirus species has been identified in bats in Sierra Leone, providing the strongest evidence to date that bats are the natural hosts of these viruses. This is not the virus that caused the outbreak in West Africa from 2013-2016, which belongs to the species Zaire ebolavirus. The new virus, called Bombali virus, was found in insectivorous bats roosting inside people's houses in the Bombali district of Sierra Leone. Based on laboratory experiments, researchers report that the virus has the potential to infect human cells -- but stress it is not known whether it has actually infected anyone or if it is pathogenic. The government of Sierra Leone and international partners are engaging local communities to convey what is known about the new virus, and how to live safely with bats. The discovery of the Bombali virus brings the known number of ebolavirus species to 6.

United States: Norovirus

When you hear the word norovirus, you may think of outbreaks associated with cruise ships or restaurants. The highly contagious virus -- which causes vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms -- is known for its tendency to spread quickly in densely populated areas, as well as through contaminated food.

But an outbreak in Maine this month has brought to light another way this "stomach bug" can be passed from person to person: Scientists at the state's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that nearly 100 people became sick with norovirus after they visited a beach and swam in a lake in the town of Bridgton or had contact with others who had done so.

Nigeria: Lassa fever

Residents of Edo state in Nigeria are on alert following a fresh outbreak of Lassa fever in the area.

Nigeria News gathers that the new outbreak of the killer disease in the state occurred in Esan North-East, Esan Central, Etsako East, and other local government areas.

The information was confirmed by the state's Commissioner for Health, Dr David Osifo July 25 in an interview with reporters in Benin, the state's capital.

Speaking to the reporters, Osifo said: "People should protect their foodstuffs and water from rats through storage in well-covered containers. Avoid bush burning that can drive rats into people's homes from the surrounding bush. The environment and homes where people live should be clean always." He further said: "Residents in the state should avoid eating raw food that is not properly stored in covered containers. If possible, people should suspend the drinking of garri."


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

Authorities in Mubende district are on a high alert following the outbreak of a strange disease which has claimed the lives of at least 5 people. The strange disease, which has symptoms of high fever, vomiting and passing of blood, was first reported last week in Kalezi village.

Dr. Bosco Ssendikadiwa, the assistant Mubende district health officer, says that the 5th person died on July 24. He says that medical workers suspected it was hemorrhagic fever.

Ssendikadiwa, however, says that the results sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) tested negative to hemorrhagic fever.


Taiwan: Japanese encephalitis

The first case of Japanese encephalitis in Yunlin County was reported to the public on July 28 and served as a moment for the health department to urge the public to be aware that Taiwan is entering peak season for the virus.

A 52-year-old man contracted the disease at the end of June. The man had a high temperature, confusion, and a feeling of weakness. The man was not vaccinated and is currently in the hospital, reports say.

The Japanese encephalitis virus is spread via mosquitoes, with pigs and birds serving as a holder of the virus. Vaccines are a safe and effective counter. The vaccine for the virus was first included in Taiwan's routine vaccine regime in 1968.

Those most at risk to the virus are people over the age of 40. Typical symptoms include headaches, vomiting, confusion, fever, and seizures. The peak season for Japanese encephalitis in Taiwan is May-October.

The health department investigated the illness by visiting the man's home, workplace, and other frequented places. The investigation found that 3 pigs were kept close to his home, and this environment posed a high risk.


El Salvador: Typhoid fever

All the departments of the country experienced significant rises in typhoid fever in the 1st 6 months of 2018, with the exception of Cabanas, in comparison with the figures for the 1st 6 months of 2017. The statistics were provided by the Information and Response Office of the Ministry of Health.

According to the data, the departments that registered the highest increases were San Miguel, San Salvador, La Paz and Sonsonate. Throughout 2017, San Miguel, for example, reported 9 cases of typhoid fever; while only between January and June 2018, cases rose to 17. In San Salvador, cases for 2017 totaled 427, but during the 1st months of 2018 only, they totaled 653.


United States: Lyme disease

There is a dramatic rise in Lyme disease in Preston county and West Virginia, Dr. Fred Conley told members of the Preston Health Board.

Although the Center for Disease Control does not have 2017 numbers posted for the state or county, its 2016 numbers indicate 368 cases were reported statewide. In a memo, Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner and State Health Officer, stated that in 2017, 675 confirmed and probable cases of tick-borne diseases were reported in West Virginia, of which 96 percent were Lyme disease. "West Virginia will report the highest number of Lyme disease cases on record in 2017," Gupta wrote.

If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the Lyme disease or RMSF symptoms contact your health provider.


Congo: Ebola

Authorities on July 30 confirmed that 12 people died from an unknown disease with symptoms similar to Ebola in north-eastern Congo.

"The deaths began in early July in the village of Mangina, near the town of Beni,'' local administrator Donat Kibwana told newsmen.

Meanwhile, a local civil society group in Beni, said it had counted 15 deaths caused by the disease, which similar to Ebola, manifests itself through fever, diarrhea, vomiting and nose bleeds.

"A nearby laboratory was currently analyzing blood samples,'' said Kibwana.


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

Since 2013, the Central African Republic has been experiencing at least one monkeypox outbreak every year, especially in its eastern region. Since the beginning of 2018, outbreaks have been reported in 3 health districts, namely Bambari in the centre, Bangassou in the eastern part of the country, and more recently Mbaiki in the southwest.

In Bambari district, the outbreak was declared in March in the Ippy sub-district. A total of 9 suspected cases with no deaths were reported from Ippy sub-district. Of the 7 samples tested, 6 were laboratory confirmed for monkeypox by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at Institut Pasteur de Bangui.

In April, the Ministry of Health was informed of a suspected case in Bangassou District, close to Bambari District where the index case was reported. The index case is a merchant who developed symptoms in Dembia village, sub-district Rafai, who was hospitalized in Bangassou district hospital. The one death was of a 33-year-old woman who died in a health facility 3 days after she developed a rash.


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever


The outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has killed 7 people in Iran so far, a senior official at the Iran Veterinary Organization announced July 30. Karim Amiri said CCHF has become a permanent disease in Iran, adding that according to the latest data received by the organization, 56 cases of the disease have been reported so far, 7 of which have led to the death of the victims.

He went on to say that during the current Iranian year (which began on March 21), the number of deaths due to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever has increased compared to last year. Several people who died this year from the disease had already some other illnesses that led to the weakening of their immune systems, Karim added.

In 2015, the disease took the lives of 3 people in Iran. It has also had a presence in neighboring Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CCHF's mortality rate is about 30 percent and is endemic to Africa, the Balkans, and Ukraine, the Middle East, and Central Asia. CCHF was first detected in the Crimea in 1944 and then in the Congo in 1969.


Italy: West Nile virus

A life-threatening West Nile virus outbreak is sweeping through Italy via mosquitos, with one death and 11 other infections already reported. Authorities are struggling to contain the infection, with 3 areas -- Jesolo, Caorle, and Ceggia -- already testing positive for the virus. All 3 areas had already been decontaminated, meaning the outbreaks are moving faster than tests and disinfestations.

A 77-year-old man died July 29 after he contracted an infected mosquito bite in Cento, near Bologna in northern Italy. The man had originally been admitted to the hospital for a fall on July 24, but his condition deteriorated, and he was transferred to a specialist hospital in Cona, where he was diagnosed with West Nile meningoencephalitis. He died 4 days later.

The West Nile virus has no symptoms in 75 percent of cases. But those who do show signs suffer flu-like symptoms, with a fever, headache, vomiting, and a rash. In the worst of cases, the virus can develop into meningitis or encephalitis, causing seizures and confusion. If the infection reaches the nervous system, it can cause death in 10 percent of cases.

The 12th person to be infected by the virus, in the eastern Veneto region, saw small bubbles erupt all over her body and experienced headache and joint pains. The mayor of Fossalta di Piave, in the Venice area, has ordered a "massive disinfestation" throughout the area after the 53-year-old woman tested positive for the infection. The woman managed to stop the infection becoming any more dangerous by spotting symptoms early.

July 27, 2018

Israel: Leishmaniasis

A disease-spreading sandfly has been plaguing the central and northern West Bank as well as the Lower Galilee in recent months, prompting calls for increased government spending to address the threat. Sandflies found in Israel and the surrounding areas often carry a parasite called leishmania, which they contract from the rock hyrax, a small desert mammal native to the Middle East and Africa. People bitten by an infected sandfly develop leishmaniasis, an illness characterized by skin ulcers and open sores at the bite site that can take up to 18 months to fully heal.

Children are particularity vulnerable to leishmaniasis, as sandflies generally tend to fly close to the ground. "It just keeps spreading, and so I think that we are in a national emergency," Professor Eli Schwartz, director of the Center for Geographic Medicine at Tel Hashomer, told Israel TV. "When you look at the outbreak distribution on a map, it covers about 50 per cent of Israel." Schwartz said some communities in northern and central Israel had a 30 per cent infection rate, and some area army bases were at 50 per cent.

In 2016, dozens of cases of leishmaniasis were reported in the northern West Bank, mostly in the settlement of Zufim. Locals at the time said the construction of the security barrier over the past decade led to a decrease in hyrax habitats, a charge the Defense Ministry firmly denied.

In Israel, the rock hyrax is considered an endangered species, and killing the animal, even for population control, is illegal. Efforts by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority to distance the rock hyrax from residential areas in recent years have only pushed the animals in the direction of other settlements in the area. In Nili, in the central West Bank, an electric fence was recently built to keep the hyrax away, but local residents say the measure has not helped, and packs of hyrax are seen roaming the settlement.


Australia: Anthrax

A case of anthrax in cattle was confirmed in the Dirranbandi-St George area of Queensland in early July 2018. This detection is the 4th incident in cattle in the region since 2016.

Animal owners in southern Queensland -- particularly in the Dirranbandi to St George area -- should be alert to anthrax and the risks to human and animal health. Vaccination of livestock can prevent unnecessary livestock deaths. Talk to your private veterinarian about anthrax vaccination. Officials are reminding producers to adhere to the general biosecurity obligation in preventing and managing incidents of anthrax.

In addition, in the case of an animal that has died suddenly, officials say that producers should contact a private veterinarian who can assist in determining the cause and provide biosecurity advice to protect human and animal health.

Anthrax can infect humans (meaning there are additional considerations to be made to protect people), and incidents in livestock can have significant economic, environmental, and animal health and welfare impacts.

Anthrax typically presents as sudden death in livestock and can affect a wide variety of species (cattle, sheep, goats, and camelids are particularly susceptible). The disease often causes carcasses to bloat quickly and may cause bloody or tarry discharges from carcass orifices. It can affect one to 2 animals in small incidents and exceed 100 animals in large outbreaks.


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

Residents, leaders, and health experts in the Ankole region and the country at large are worried following the outbreak of the deadly Rift Valley fever (RVF).

The outbreak of this hemorrhagic fever has already been reported in the districts of Isingiro, Kiruhura, Sembabule, Mbarara, Ibanda, and Kasese. In the Isingiro district alone, 2 people have died. Reports indicate that more than 5 people have died in different areas, while up to 7 people are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the region.

RVF is in the category of hemorrhagic fevers along with Marburg and Ebola, which is why the outbreak has put the region and the country on alert. This acute viral disease primarily affects domestic animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and camels but also infects humans. It is spread by either touching infected animal blood, consuming meat and milk products from an infected animal, or being bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Mbarara district health officer Peter Ssebutinde is cautioning Ugandans against eating meat and consuming products of dead animals to avert the spread of RVF. Isingiro District Resident District Commissioner Herbert Muhangi said more vigilance among the population is needed if the fight against RVF is to be successful.


Greece: West Nile virus

Between July 13-19, 6 cases of human West Nile fever were reported in the EU by Greece (3), Romania (2) and Hungary (1). Another 18 cases were reported by Serbia.

All human cases were reported from regions that have been affected during previous transmission seasons.

This week, 2 outbreaks among equids were reported: one in Greece and another in Italy.

Since the beginning of the 2018 transmission season, 19 human cases have been reported in EU/EEA Member States by Greece (12), Italy (4), Romania (2) and Hungary (1). An additional 29 human cases have been reported in Serbia.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

If you are traveling to Kenya, which is located on the central-east coast of Africa the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a Level 1 Alert regarding an ongoing Rift Valley fever outbreak.

The Ministry of Health for Kenya confirmed a total of 94 human cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) have been reported from Wajir (82) and Marsabit (11) counties, including 10 fatalities. This is a case fatality ratio of 11 percent.

Rift Valley fever is an illness that is primarily spread by direct contact with blood, fluids, or tissues of infected animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels.

Less commonly, it can also be spread through mosquito bites.

According to the CDC, if think you may have RVF while traveling, see a doctor and do not take pain relievers that contain aspirin or ibuprofen, which may lead to a greater tendency to bleed.


Switzerland: Tick-borne encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis cases have significantly increased in 2018, and areas of high risk continue to expand. The Swiss government is considering issuing a nationwide vaccination recommendation against the virus.

Almost 230 people have already been infected with the virus -- which in rare cases can be fatal -- since the beginning of 2018, reported Swiss Public Television, SRF, on July 24. Cases have almost doubled compared to last year's figures for the same time period.

In addition, the at-risk areas, where the disease is endemic, are increasing, according to the Federal Office of Public Health. The Zurich area, all of northeastern Switzerland, and large parts of cantons Bern and Aarau are all affected by the virus.

It makes little sense to recommend vaccination against the virus only for certain at-risk regions, Christoph Berger, President of the Swiss Federal Commission for Vaccination, told SRF. "These areas are almost merging into each other. At some point, it becomes more reasonable and easier to make a general, nationwide vaccination recommendation," he said.

The commission had already set up a working group to consider whether the vaccination recommendation should be extended to all of Switzerland except for the canton of Ticino. So far, no cases of tick-borne encephalitis have been recorded in the Italian-speaking canton.


Panama: Hantavirus

Los Santos health authorities reported July 25 the 3rd death from hantavirus in this province in 2018.

Carlos Muñoz, the Los Santos Regional Epidemiology Coordinator, said the patient was 64 years old and a resident of the Lajamina neighborhood in the Pocrí district.

Muñoz added that to date 49 cases of the disease have been diagnosed.


Czech Republic: African swine fever

Veterinarians found antibodies against African swine fever in one of the 6 wild boar caught in the Ostrata region in Zlín, so the animal probably suffered from the disease. The virus can therefore still be in the territory. The Ministry asks that hunters and breeders continue to abide by principles of biosecurity. The last time the virus was detected was in February. Antibodies were last detected in wild boar in April.

In the Czech Republic, extraordinary veterinary measures are still in force, regulating the intensive wild boar year-round catching. It is also forbidden to feed them. At the same time, the obligation to register the movement of pigs intended for domestic slaughter remains valid throughout the country.

"Despite the favorable development of the situation of African swine fever in the whole Czech Republic, extraordinary veterinary measures are still in force, and it is imperative that hunters and breeders abide by it. I urge pig breeders in the contaminated area to strictly adhere to the biosecurity rules of the breed and the conditions under which it is possible to process meat and send meat products from an infested area," said Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman.

In the infected area, which is part of the Zlín district, there is still a restriction of entry into the so-called high-risk area, where all the infected animals came from. Hunting and trapping of wild boar in an infected area are only permitted under veterinary permission. Among other things, all the animals found and caught are still being investigated for African plague. The incentive for hunters in the infested area and the wider area of intensive catches is still paid for the shotgun. Dead animals have been found within the whole of the Czech Republic. The disease is not dangerous for humans, but if it gets into pig breeding sector, it must be discharged.

July 20, 2018

Congo: Ebola

The Ministry of Health and WHO continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Equateur Province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Until the outbreak is declared over, intensive surveillance, survivor monitoring and other response activities are ongoing to prevent, promptly detect and respond to potential resurgences of the virus.

No new laboratory-confirmed EVD cases have been detected since the last case developed symptoms on June 2. Since the beginning of the outbreak April 4, a total of 38 laboratory confirmed and 15 probable cases have been reported. Of these 53 cases, 29 died, giving a case fatality ratio of 54.7 percent. Twenty-eight (53 percent) cases were from Iboko, 21 (40 percent) from Bikoro and 4 (8 percent) from Wangata health zones. Five healthcare workers were affected, of which 2 died.

An additional 11 suspected EVD cases have been reported since the last report on July 3. As of July 9, 5 suspected cases are currently awaiting laboratory results. All other previously reported suspected cases have tested negative.


Peru: Plague

A 42-year-old man died from bubonic plague in the Lambayeque region. He had contracted the disease in the Salas district, as confirmed by the Regional Health Management.

The head of Epidemiology, Dafne Moreno Paico, indicated that the Peruvian citizen likely acquired the disease by the bite of a flea infected with the bacterium Yersinia pestis in the Moistures Alto de Salas sector on June 29. Moreno noted that the patient, who had been living in the USA for 7 years, was admitted to the Regional Hospital of Lambayeque, where doctors confirmed bubonic plague, which later developed into septicemic plague. The specialist said that the citizen had high fever and malaise, which complicated his health, leading to his death.

Dafne Moreno said that, for 20 years, no deaths from this disease were reported in this region following the outbreak of plague occurring in several areas of Morrope; several people died in that outbreak.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

More than 10 people have died following an outbreak of Rift Valley fever [RVF] in Kenya, with more than 120 cases reported countrywide. On June 12, international medical-humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sent a team to Wajir County, the most affected county, to support the Kenyan Ministry of Health (MoH) in containing and managing the disease.

RVF is caused by a virus transmitted by mosquitoes and blood-feeding flies that usually affects animals (commonly cattle, camels, and sheep), but it can also affect humans. In humans, the disease ranges from a mild flu-like illness to severe haemorrhagic fever that can be lethal.

The outbreak was confirmed on June 7 after 4 patients who had died in Wajir tested positive with the disease. So far, 85 cases, including 3 patients who were readmitted, have been reported in the county, with 6 having died since the beginning of the outbreak.

"We first assessed the situation on the ground, then worked together with the Ministry of Health to identify gaps in the response," said Ahmed Garat, MSF's Emergency Field Coordinator leading the response.

The team set up an isolation center in which patients can be managed at the Wajir County Referral Hospital. So far, 6 patients have been treated at the facility. "MSF will continue monitoring the situation and responding where necessary, and we are hopeful that the situation will improve with better contingencies in place, although RVF tends to be quite unpredictable," adds Garat. MSF is also providing medical supplies to the county to aid in containing the disease.


Pakistan: Leishmaniasis

Cases of leishmaniasis have reached an alarming level in Landi Kotal subdivision of Khyber tribal area amid conflicting claims by health officials, with the medical superintendent of the hospital complaining about an acute shortage of necessary medicines and the agency surgeon claiming to have treated a maximum number of the affected patients.

Doctors at the main Landi Kotal hospital told this correspondent that they had been receiving 40 to 50 patients daily, mostly children, with bites on their faces and other open parts of the body by the sand fly, which transmits common cutaneous leishmaniasis. "Over 8,000 people were affected with cutaneous leishmaniasis during last 3-4 years, with children below 5 the prime target of the sand fly," medical superintendent Dr. Khalid Javed told Dawn while examining 2 such patients in his office. Doctors say they have been receiving 40 to 50 patients daily at the hospital.

Dr. Javed said that despite the rising number of such cases, the health department provided them with only 60 glucotine injections, which were administered to leishmania-affected patients. He said that the Directorate of Health Services, FATA, had supplied them with a thermotherapy machine, which was proving effective in curing the scars caused by the vector sand fly.

In view of the rising number of leishmania cases in tribal regions, the health directorate placed an order for 22 000 glucotine injections to be imported from abroad as the medicine was not manufactured locally, sources said.

Senator Taj Mohammad also provided 500 glucotine injections to Landi Kotal hospital after he was approached by the doctors for help, while army authorities provided at least 800 such injections to the directorate of health services, of which 600 were distributed in Bara, Jamrud and Landi Kotal.


India: Anthrax

As many as 15 persons of Kuanrmunda block of Sundargarh district have been diagnosed with deadly anthrax disease, and the district administration deputed a medical team to the spot on Friday [13 Jul 2018]. The medical team, besides offering treatment to the affected persons, issued an advisory notice to the locals, requesting them not to eat flesh of any deceased animal.

Sources said about 11 persons of Ganju tolla under Raiboga police station area of Sundargarh district and 4 persons from Thangdinacha village under Biramitrapur police station have been confirmed having the dreaded anthrax. These persons had eaten flesh of a dead animal a few days ago. Following confirmation, a 6-member medical team under the leadership of additional district public health officer SK Rath reached the spot and offered treatment to the affected persons.

Sources said all the affected persons have complained of infection in their skin. The medical team claimed their condition was stable. "Since the infection has not affected the lungs of the patients, they will recover soon," said chief district medical officer, Sundargarh Uday Bhanu Das.


India: Nipah virus

A detailed study by the Kerala government on the recent outbreak of Nipah virus has suggested that 17 of the 19 infected people might have contracted the deadly virus from the 1st victim, a 26 year old who died on May 5. A total of 17 people have lost their lives after they contracted the virus. Two people recovered.

According to available records, it has been found that the first victim contracted the Nipah virus from fruit bats, and 17 others -- including 3 from his family (father, younger brother, and a paternal aunt) -- became infected from him, government sources said. The virus from him is also suspected to have infected 4 other people at the Perambra Taluk [sub-division] Hospital, Kohzikode, where he was first brought, the sources in the state surveillance department of the Kerala Health Services said, adding that 10 others in the Kozhikode medical college hospital, where he was taken for a CT scan in the radiology department, also picked up the virus from him.

One patient was infected by another man at the Perambra hospital, they said.


Algeria: Foot and mouth disease

The health services of the province of Tizi Ouzou reported July 15 16 suspected cases of foot and mouth disease [FMD]. The 16 head of cattle sent to the slaughterhouse were reported in 3 separate outbreaks -- first in Frikat, in the circle of Draa El Mizan, then in Tizi Gheniff in the same region, and finally in Mekla on the east side of the province.

In Frikat, the number of suspected head were 13 in 2 different locations. It is in this commune that the majority of the cases were recorded. The veterinary services of the local subdivision reacted quickly, isolating the infected livestock. Cleaning and disinfection operations were quickly carried out on site. The same measures were taken during the various phases, such as the transport of animals suffering from the disease and the transfer to the slaughterhouse. The same speed characterized the interventions carried out in the communes of Tizi Gheniff and Mekla where other head were slaughtered to avoid spread. Disinfection operations were also carried out through the farms of the 2 communes. At the same time, the services concerned have launched information and prevention operations in order to prevent the disease from developing in other outbreaks.

It should be noted that FMD, a highly contagious disease, signs its return after 2 years of absence. The province of Tizi Ouzou has had a very difficult time, when dozens of cases were reported before the disease spread through several communes. As a reminder, FMD contaminated the herds of the province that year [2017], with head bought from the province of Setif and transported to Tizi Ouzou in unhygienic conditions. The spread of the disease has been very fast. It took a lot of time and effort to control the disease. Hundreds of head were slaughtered, and indiscriminate losses hit the farmers.


Panama: Hantavirus

A 79 year old diagnosed with a hantavirus infection died after suffering cardiac complications while remaining hospitalized since June 23. The victim, from the La Lagunita de Pedasí community in Los Santos province, became the 2nd person to die of a hantavirus infection this year, according to regional health authorities.

Carlos Muñoz, regional epidemiology coordinator for the Los Santos region, indicated that the patient was hospitalized for 18 days in the Joaquín Pablo Franco Sayas Hospital, in Las Tablas city, and although recovered from pulmonary symptoms, was unable to overcome medical complications with which she presented. According to what he said, she was on mechanical ventilation and intubated, but these measures had been removed, and she expired on her own.

He added that in this past month of June, 13 hantavirus infection cases were closed in the Los Santos region, with the last cases reported in children less than 10 years old, residents of the Tonosí and Las Lajas regions in Las Tablas.


USA: Chronic wasting disease

The recent discovery of chronic wasting disease [CWD] in a deer at a breeding farm near Goodman in Marinette county prompted the Florence county board on July 17 to impose moratoriums both on importing any cervids -- deer, elk, moose, or caribou -- into the county and establishing or expanding any cervid game farms in the county.

The board also will begin the process of crafting an ordinance so the moratoriums will have some "teeth," board chairwoman Jeanette Bomberg said. With an ordinance in place, officers will be able to ticket offenders, she explained.

Only one deer farm exists in Florence county, on 40 acres in the town of Fence and crossing over into Forest county.

No CWD case has yet been confirmed in Florence county, Florence County Deer Advisory Council chairman Dale Ebert said, but he pointed out the Goodman-area farm with the CWD-positive deer is less than 10 miles from both Florence and Forest counties.

Due to the proximity, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has enacted a ban on feeding or baiting deer in Florence and Forest counties, as well as Marinette County. The ban lasts 2 years, but could be renewed if more deer in the area test positive for CWD, Ebert said.


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

An outbreak of Rift Valley fever and Crimean Congo fever has been reported in  Uganda. According to reports, the fever is spreading in the districts of Mbarara, Ibanda, Kirihura, and Isingiro. By press time, 3 people had been reported dead at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

According to Dr. Rose Muhindo, a physician at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, in the past 2 weeks the hospital received 5 patients with normal medical symptoms such as headache, chest pain, diarrhea, and fever, but what struck the staff was when the patients presented with bleeding. Tests confirmed that the patients were suffering from Rift Valley fever.

Muhindo said the first patient who was admitted was from Isingiro. The patient died on arrival before any tests were carried out. Another patient was from Nakivale settlement camp in Isingiro, and the other 2 were from Ibanda and Kiruhura.

"We have lost 3 patients," Muhindo said. "One was coughing blood and died on arrival. Shortly after, we lost another one. However, we are still waiting for results to confirm what could have killed them. The good news is that we have managed to save the lives of 2 patients who will be discharged 2 days from now." Muhindo says this is a sporadic outbreak. The disease typically presents specific and hemorrhagic signs. Transmitted by mosquitoes and blood-feeding flies, the disease is caused by a virus that usually affects animals, commonly cattle and sheep, but can also attack humans.

Rift Valley fever is in the category of hemorrhagic fevers along with Marburg and Ebola. The disease ranges from a mild flu-like illness to a severe hemorrhagic fever that can be lethal among humans.

July 13, 2018

Rwanda: Rift Valley Fever

A Rift Valley fever outbreak has been reported in Kamonyi District, weeks after RVF wreaked havoc in livestock in Eastern Province. The disease has been detected in cows that died in the district's 4 sectors of Rukoma, Kayenzi, Ngamba and Nyarubaka.

Rwanda Agricultural Board reports at least 11 cows died from RVF, one cow is showing signs of RVF disease, and 24 have aborted in the process. Rukoma sector has so far been hit hardest by the outbreak, with 8 cows killed, one showing signs of RVF, and 5 have aborted. Also, 2 more cows died of RVF in Ngamba and one in Kayenzi, and the most abortion cases (19) were identified in Nyarubaka sector, where one cow also died.

Dr. Solange Uwituze, the RAB Deputy Director General in charge of Animal Resources Research and Technology Transfer, said they are currently treating infected cows while vaccination continues in the affected areas. "Actually, the district had previously had animals vaccinated against RVF disease for farmers raising cows near River Nyabarongo. Unfortunately, the disease spread to areas due to stagnated water brought about by recent heavy rains," she told The New Times.

She added: "We are now vaccinating non-RVF-infected cows and calves under 3 months of age, especially in susceptible areas, while those which were infected are being treated." Dr. Uwituze also cautioned livestock farmers and the public to wear protective gear while treating or touching infected or dead cows to ensure self-protection against further spread. But she advised that the most important thing is that farmers should raise their cows in cowsheds, saying they are safer places to protect against diseases like the deadly fever.

Before striking Kamonyi, more than 100 cows were killed by RVF disease in the Eastern Province's Ngoma, Kirehe and Kayonza districts since April, pushing the Ministry of Agriculture to impose restriction on cattle movement in the province to avoid further spreading to other parts of the country. However, Dr. Uwituze said that despite the restricted movement, cattle business will continue to operate, but warned farmers to keep the animals away from wetlands.


Kenya: Anthrax

One person in Kimasian village in Ainamoi Constituency died after contracting anthrax. The 24-year-old mason contracted the epidemic disease while skinning the carcass of a cow with the disease. The deceased man was infected through a wound in his hand. Medical records from the Kericho County hospital indicated that the mason died from a cutaneous form of anthrax as evidenced by his skin.

Dr. David Rotich, a veterinary department officer with the county, said laboratory testing had revealed 2 cows that died in the village had the disease. He blamed the area residents for the unfortunate deaths because of their failure to vaccinate their cows and other domestic animals. "It is unfortunate that anthrax vaccination has been ongoing, but locals have not been taking their animals for the crucial exercise," said Dr. Rotich. The veterinary doctor at the same time cautioned the residents against handling or consuming uninspected meat.


United States: E. coli

A cluster of 15 E. coli infection cases in June 2018, all among children, came from 2 different sources, Knox County Health Department investigators have concluded: a somewhat unusual outcome.

The health department announced July 6 that 2 different strains of E. coli O157 sickened the children, 9 of whom were hospitalized and 7 of whom developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a severe complication that affects the kidneys and occurs in 5-10 percent of infected people. One child remains hospitalized, now in fair condition, at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. The outbreak appears to be over, as no new transmissions are occurring, health officials said.

"While it is rare, it appears we had 2 sets of children sickened by 2 different strains of E. coli O157 at the same time," said health department director Dr. Martha Buchanan. "The epidemiological evidence overwhelmingly supported the 2-source theory: consumption of raw milk and some type of contact, most likely indirect, with ruminant animals. The investigation revealed no definitive connections between the 2 sources or the 2 groups of ill children. And this is now supported by the state's lab results confirming it was 2 different strains of E. coli O157."

Ten of the 15 ill children had a common link: they consumed raw milk from French Broad Farm in East Knox county. State lab results confirmed these children had the same strain of E. coli O157 and that this strain is a DNA fingerprint match to the E. coli O157 found in cow manure samples collected from French Broad Farm.


Ukraine: African swine fever

Given the high concentration of new cases of African swine fever infection within a short period, located on Romania's border areas adjacent to the Ukraine region of Odessa, there is an emergency for both countries. In general, the ASF situation in the European Union has recently deteriorated, both in terms of number of new cases and the size of territories affected.

As viewed by Rosselkhoznadzor's experienced specialists, the development of such an epizootic situation and massive spread of infection in the direction of the Balkans is primarily due to uncontrolled movement of infected animals and pig products from the infected regions. ASF also challenges the well-being of southern and central European countries. The Rosselkhoznadzor has repeatedly notified its European counterparts of its concern about the "soft approach" implemented in conducting culling and other ASF-preventive activities.


Germany: Hantavirus

In the last year, more people in Rhineland-Palatinate became infected with hantavirus than in 2016.

A total of 49 cases were notified in 2017. In 2016, there were 7 cases.

One source of infection is mouse droppings. The virus usually causes illnesses with flu-like symptoms: high fever, headaches, and abdominal and back pain. Additionally, infection can lead to kidney failure.

The virus is excreted in the saliva, urine, and feces of small infected mammals, especially the bank vole. The virus can enter the human airways with dust. The disease mostly affects people working in the forest or walking in woodlands.


United States: Colorado tick fever

In just over a month, Central Oregon has seen at least 4 confirmed cases and one suspected case of Colorado tick fever, a sometimes painful but rarely fatal tick-borne virus usually diagnosed in only one or 2 Oregonians per year.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, 8 of the 11 confirmed cases of the condition statewide since 2011 have been in Deschutes County residents. "I think that's pretty good evidence that Deschutes County is kind of a hot spot for it," said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health division; "3 cases in a short period is a lot."

The 4 cases involved Deschutes County residents, while the 5th was a resident of Jefferson County.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the Rocky Mountain wood tick, which can carry the disease, is usually found at elevations between 4000 - 10 000 feet [1219 - 3048 meters], mainly in the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada. Ticks like to climb tall grass or brush where they can latch onto a new host for a blood meal.

"The high desert area of Central and Eastern Oregon are where we would expect to see it," Cieslak said.


India: Nipah virus

A study report published in a recent edition of the Indian Journal of Medical Research says bats with Nipah virus have been found in Assam's Dhubri and West Bengal's Cooch Behar districts.

During the study, conducted from March till December 2015, 107 Pteropus giganteus bats were captured from Assam and Bengal - 60 from Dhubri, 39 from Cooch Behar and 8 from Jalpaiguri district in Bengal. Tissue specimens of the 107 bats were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, which found 6 bats from Cooch Behar and 3 from Dhubri positive for Nipah virus. Pteropus bats are known to be a natural reservoir for this virus.

Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis. In 2001, Nipah virus-associated encephalitis outbreak was reported for the 1st time from Meherpur district, Bangladesh. Sporadic cases and outbreaks have been reported from various districts of Bangladesh since. Twelve persons died of Nipah virus in Kerala in May this year.

"The presence of Nipah virus in the bat population in a previously unexplored region is a matter of serious concern. This warrants a survey to determine the presence of the virus among humans, suspected cases and reservoirs (swine and bat) in other states of Northeast," says the report.


Liberia: Lassa fever

Liberia has continued to experience sporadic cases of Lassa fever since the beginning of 2018. In the week ending June 26, 2 new confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported in Nimba County, the only county with active transmission currently. Nimba County has reported 5 confirmed Lassa fever cases since May 12.

In the latest event, the 1st case-patient, a 59-year- old male from Gbehlay Geh district, fell ill on June 4 and was treated with antimalarials and antibiotics at a local clinic. On June 20, the case-patient presented to a public hospital with fever and other constitutional symptoms, and had bleeding from a venipuncture site. A blood specimen was collected and sent to the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL). The test result was positive for Lassa fever virus infection.

The 2nd case-patient, a 41-year-old female, is the wife of the first case-patient. She developed illness on June 17 and was admitted to the same hospital on June 20 with fever and other constitutional symptoms. Being a known contact, a blood specimen was collected and the test result was positive for Lassa fever.


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

On June 29, the Uganda Ministry of Health notified WHO of an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Isingiro and Kasese districts, all located in the western region of the country. Two unrelated simultaneous cases were confirmed, one in each district.

The 1st case-patient was a 47-year-old male from Kanyatsi village in Munkunyu sub-county, Kasese District, whose main occupation was as a butcher. He fell ill June 20 with symptoms of fever and headache, and self-administered antimalarial treatment. The case-patient died at home June 21, with the body oozing blood from multiple orifices. The district health authority collected a nasal swab and the specimen was sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) on [25 Jun 2018]. The test result was positive for RVF by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

The 2nd case-patient was a 35-year-old male casual laborer and herdsman from Kabare village in Isingiro town council, Isingiro District. The village is located near Lake Nakivale and borders Lake Mburo National park. On June 25, he developed fever, headache, and anorexia, which was followed by epistaxis. He presented to the local health facility the same day, but was immediately referred to the regional referral hospital because of the severity of his illness and suspicion of a viral hemorrhagic disease. The case-patient was admitted in the isolation unit. A blood specimen was obtained and the test result was positive for RVF. The case-patient died on June 30 and a supervised burial was carried out.


Romania: African swine fever

Until May this year, in Romania the occurrence of African swine fever (ASF) appeared to be limited to a few cases in Satu Mare county, close to both the Ukraine and Hungary borders.

Predominantly, the figures shared from Tulcea county, close to the Black Sea, appear worrisome. In total, 249 outbreaks of ASF have been reported between that date and now. This included mostly backyard farms, a national park, one slaughterhouse, and one large professional farm.

The farm in Tulcea province, with 43,800 pigs, was reported infected on June 29. Of that total, 8 pigs were found to have died of ASF in late June. To the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), the Romanians reported that "the actions of culling and disposing of the animals are now in progress."

Total culls of swine in Tulcea county alone now stand at 46,167 pigs and counting.

Other areas infected include Braila county (neighboring Tulcea on the west side), Constanta province (neighboring Tulcea on the south) and Bihor county, next to Satu Mare in the country's north. In all 3 counties, only one backyard farm was infected. The one in Bihor county had 57 porcine victims in total.


United States: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

A La Crosse woman has died of a disease that is considered rare in the Midwest, health officials said. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the La Crosse County Health Department said that the death is the 1st documented from Rocky Mountain spotted fever in Wisconsin.

Jo Foellimi, a La Crosse County public health nurse, says a tick bit the woman while she was camping in western Wisconsin in early May. The woman was diagnosed with RMSF in mid-June and died days later. Foellimi says the woman was in her late 50s but declined to identify her.

RMSF most commonly occurs in the central and southeastern regions of the USA, according to a news release. Most tick-borne diseases transmitted in Wisconsin are spread by the blacklegged (or deer) tick. RMSF, however, is spread by the bite of the American dog (or wood) tick. Early symptoms of RMSF can be mild and typically include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash and stomach pain, DHS said. If left untreated, an RMSF infection can rapidly develop into a serious illness.


Congo: Ebola

The Ministry of Health and WHO continue to closely monitor the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Equateur Province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Until the outbreak is declared over, intensive surveillance, survivor monitoring and other response activities are ongoing to prevent, promptly detect and respond to potential resurgences of the virus.

No new laboratory-confirmed EVD cases have been detected since the last case developed symptoms on June 2. Since the beginning of the outbreak April 4, a total of 38 laboratory confirmed and 15 probable cases (deaths for which it was not possible to collect laboratory specimens for testing) have been reported. Of these 53 cases, 29 died, giving a case fatality ratio of 54.7 percent. Twenty-eight (53 percent) cases were from Iboko, 21 (40 percent) from Bikoro and 4 (8 percent) from Wangata health zones. Five healthcare workers were affected, of which 2 died.

An additional 11 suspected EVD cases have been reported since the last report July 3.  As of July 9, 5 suspected cases are currently awaiting laboratory results. All other previously reported suspected cases have tested negative.

The last surviving confirmed EVD case was discharged from an Ebola treatment center following 2 negative tests on serial laboratory specimens, on June 12. Before the outbreak can be declared over, a period of 42 days (2 incubation periods) following the last possible exposure to a confirmed case must elapse without any new confirmed cases being detected.

July 6, 2018

India: Anthrax

An adult female elephant, which was found dead in Hadagada wildlife sanctuary in the district 2 months ago, died of anthrax infection according to the pathological investigation report received by the forest department.

Blood samples taken from the jumbo's ear tip were sent to the Animal Husbandry College of Odisha University of Agriculture Technology (QUAT). "The pathological investigation has detected the presence of anthrax bacteria," said Anandpur divisional forest officer Ajit Kumar Satpathy. The animal's body was found on May 12.

"We had detected preliminary signs of anthrax bacteria in the carcass of the 20-year-old female elephant in the preliminary diagnostic investigation conducted by local veterinary surgeons. However, samples were sent to OUAT for confirmatory report," Satpathy said.

The forest department has undertaken sensitization drive as a precautionary measure and asked the farmers to avoid using the spot where the carcass was recovered. The villagers had been asked to stop grazing their cattle in the area for one week. "The villagers had abided by the forest department instructions. Therefore, the threat of the bacterial disease spreading its tentacles has been curbed," Satpathy said.

An immunization drive to vaccinate the domesticated animals had been conducted in the villages.

The animal was buried with application of chemicals for the decaying of the body at the earliest. The village where the death was reported is close to elephants' habitation corridor.


Saudi Arabia: MERS

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced positive Phase 1 results of its collaborative vaccine study with INO-4700 (GLS-5300) against MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Results for INO-4700, which is being co-developed by Inovio and GeneOne Life Science Inc. (KSE:011000), showed that the drug was well-tolerated and demonstrated overall high levels of antibody responses in roughly 95 percent of subjects, while also generating broad-based T cell responses in nearly 90 percent of study participants.

The Phase 1, open-label, dose-escalation MERS vaccine trial, in partnership with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland, displayed antibody responses by ELISA in 94 percent of subjects at week 14 (2 weeks post-3rd dose). Additionally, there were no statistically significant dose-dependent differences in antibody response rates (91 percent, 95 percent, and 95 percent at doses of 0.67, 2, and 6 mg, respectively). Durable antibody responses to INO-4700 were also maintained through 60 weeks following dosing. Dr. Joel Maslow, GeneOne's Chief Medical Officer, presented the data in Seoul, Korea at the WHO-IVI Joint Symposium for MERS-CoV Vaccine Development.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio President and CEO, said, "Inovio is utilizing our versatile immunotherapy and vaccine platform to target and develop the most advanced preventive vaccine for MERS, a virulent viral infection with no medical countermeasure. This trial further demonstrates Inovio's commitment to fighting emerging viral threats while also continuing to validate consistent high levels of both immune and antibody responses across our infectious disease platform. We look forward to continuing this development in a partnership with GeneOne and CEPI for developing novel therapies for MERS."

In April 2018, Inovio was awarded $56 million to develop a MERS vaccine through Phase 2 by The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). The shared goal of Inovio and CEPI is for the MERS vaccine to be available for stockpile as soon as possible for emergency use. The CEPI funding also included support for Inovio's vaccine against the Lassa virus.

In collaboration with GeneOne Life Science, Inovio plans to begin a Phase 1/2 study for MERS in the 3rd quarter of this year. The study will be conducted by GeneOne Life Science in Korea and fully funded by a $34 million grant from the Samsung Foundation through the International Vaccine Institute.

In preclinical testing, INO-4700 induced 100 percent protection from a live virus challenge in a rhesus macaque non-human primate study. Inovio and its collaborators evaluated its MERS vaccine in mice, camels as well as non-human primates. As published in Science Translational Medicine, the vaccine induced robust immune responses in all 3 species. In monkeys, all vaccinated animals in the study were protected from symptoms of MERS when challenged with a live MERS virus.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is caused by a coronavirus that is related to the virus which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). While the SARS coronavirus infected and caused illness in more than 8,000 people worldwide, the disease was short-lived between 2002 and 2004 and had a case fatality rate of about 10 percent. Since the MERS-CoV was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, as of May 2018 the World Health Organization indicates that laboratory-confirmed MERS cases have been reported for 2,220 people worldwide, with 790 deaths, for a case fatality rate of 36 percent. Local occasional transmission is still ongoing, primarily in Saudi Arabia where a hospital outbreak occurred earlier this year. Highlighting the global concern for MERS, in the summer of 2015 a single business person returned to South Korea from Saudi Arabia and was the index case for a South Korea epidemic in 17 hospitals around the country. That epidemic was comprised of 186 confirmed cases with a 20 percent case fatality rate.


United States: West Nile virus

New York City health officials have reported the first human West Nile virus (WNV) case of the year in a Manhattan resident. The patient, who is over 50 years of age, was hospitalized in June with encephalitis and has since been discharged.

The Health Department notes that this is the earliest identification of a human case of WNV in New York City since surveillance began in 1999. Human cases of West Nile virus occur each year in New York City, and most cases are identified between late July and October. West Nile virus activity varies every year.

In addition, the 1st collection of mosquitoes infected with the virus of the 2018 season was also reported.

"The findings from our mosquito surveillance and the early West Nile virus case serve as vital reminders that mosquito season is here and that all New Yorkers should take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "We have one of the best mosquito control programs in the country, but West Nile virus is here to stay. To reduce the chance of infection, all New Yorkers -- including residents living in Manhattan -- should use mosquito repellent, cover arms and legs when outdoors, get rid of standing water, and install window screens."

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis, a brain inflammation.

It was first detected in North America in 1999, and has since spread across the continental United States and Canada.

Most people get infected with West Nile virus by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 80 percent of people who are infected with WNV will not show any symptoms. Up to 20 percent of the people who become infected have symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back. Symptoms can last for as short as a few days, though even healthy people have become sick for several weeks.


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

Rift Valley fever [RVF] cases have hit 80 in Wajir county since the outbreak on June 7.

Wajir health minister Abdihakim Billow said that the death toll remains at 6. New cases have been reported in Wajir East and Tarbaj, but the hotspots are in Eldas and Wajir West.

Four patients are currently receiving treatment at Wajir Referral Hospital and Eldas dispensary. Mr Billow said hundreds of camels, sheep, and goats have died since the disease outbreak. No cases involving cattle has been reported since the outbreak.

The county extended a ban on meat and milk to July 5 as it seeks to contain the disease. The county has also set up 4 isolation centers in the hotspots, including at Wajir Referral Hospital and Basir in Eldas sub-county.

Isiolo, Marsabit, Mandera, and Meru counties have been on high alert after the virus spread. According to the Ministry of Health's disease surveillance and response unit, at least 26 people have died from the disease.


Iraq: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

The spokesman of the Directorate of Health of Erbil [Arbil] announced that the results of the laboratory tests of the patient that was referred from Soran district to Erbil hospital for treatment revealed infection with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and this is the 1st case of this disease in the region.

Fakher Herki said the results of the laboratory tests revealed that the patient is infected with hemorrhagic fever, and he is now in a special room under monitoring.

He also said that laboratory tests have been done to all the family members of the patient for assurance, but no infection was detected among them.


Kenya:  Anthrax

A middle-aged man died, and 28 others were hospitalized in Kericho after eating the carcass of a cow that died of anthrax. According to Kenegut Location Chief Sammy Koech, residents had been instructed to slaughter the animal and bury the remains but refused.

He told journalists that they divided the meat among themselves and took it home. "A team of health officials was dispatched to the area after residents started complaining of ill-health," he said. One of them was rushed to Kericho Sub-County Hospital but pronounced dead on arrival. The other residents were treated and discharged.

Samples of the carcass were later taken to the veterinary lab, and a test for anthrax turned out positive.

The chief has urged residents to refrain from consuming meat labelled as unfit for human consumption and report similar cases to relevant authorities.


India: Nipah virus

Putting to rest suspense about the source of the Nipah virus infections in Kerala, scientists from the Indian Council of Medical Research have now found the virus in bats that were caught from the affected areas. At least 17 people died of Nipah infection in Mallapuram and Kozhikode districts of Kerala over April and May.

While the first batch of bats caught from the well in Kozhikode in the house from where the first case was reported, had tested negative; of the second batch of 52 fruit bats, 19.2 percent were found to carry the virus. The findings will be published in The Lancet. Health minister J. P. Nadda was informed about the findings in a meeting last week.

In the meeting, scientists from ICMR and public health officials also told the minister that circumstances have now improved enough for the state to be declared Nipah free. The incubation period of Nipah is 5 to 14 days. The last case was in May and now that 2 incubation periods have elapsed without any fresh cases, the specter of the dreaded disease seems to be finally receding.


Romania: African swine fever

Romania has reported an outbreak of African swine fever [ASF] at a breeding farm for pigs in the southern county of Tulcea, the national food safety authority ANSVSA said.

It said all pigs on the holding, or 44 580, would be culled. "Carcasses of pigs are being destroyed under official supervision, with support from the defense ministry which brought 4 mobile incinerators."

In June, Romania reported an outbreak of ASF among backyard pigs in the same county.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that affects pigs and wild boar and has spread in Eastern Europe in recent years. It does not affect humans.

Hungary, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Romania are among the countries affected, alarming governments and pig farmers due the pace at which it has spread.


Ireland: E. coli

The HSE has urged the public to take care with food after E. coli infection cases skyrocketed in the last few days. The health service said that 96 cases had been reported in the last 10 days -- 3 times higher than this time in 2017 -- and that the recent hot weather provides the perfect conditions for the numbers to grow. The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre warned people to "take extra care when handling and preparing food."

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland's website outlines that "although most strains of E. coli are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, EHEC strains produce a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness." The symptoms of EHEC infection vary but often include bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Symptoms usually pass within 5 to 10 days. However, EHEC infection can also cause a more serious complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in up to 10 percent of cases, which can lead to kidney failure and occasionally even death. HUS is more common in children under 5 and the elderly. It is important to visit your doctor if you develop bloody diarrhea, the HSE said.

The health service added that people should "always wash your hands before and after handling food; wash your fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them, and always ensure minced meats are cooked all the way through." It added in a statement: "A study carried out in Ireland in 2013 showed that raw minced beef burgers and minced beef samples from retail and catering premises were contaminated with VTEC, which was detected in 2.5 percent of samples.

Eating meat (especially minced beef) that has not been thoroughly cooked all the way through to kill these bugs can cause food poisoning. Therefore, to ensure that minced meat burgers are safe to eat, they should be cooked to a core temperature of 167 degrees. EHEC can also be found in the stool of an infected person and can be passed from person to person if hygiene or hand-washing habits are inadequate. This is particularly common among toddlers, who are not toilet trained. Family members and playmates of these children are at high risk of becoming infected.

June 29, 2018

Afghanistan:  Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Newcastle Disease

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

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

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


United States: Hantavirus

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

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

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


India: Leptospirosis

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

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

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


Eastern Africa: Rift Valley Fever

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

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


India: Goat pox

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

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

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


United States: Anthrax

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

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

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


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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


United States: Norovirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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

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


Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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


Greece: West Nile Virus

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

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

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

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


United States: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

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

June 22, 2018

Liberia:  Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rwanda: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Equine herpesvirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Eastern equine encephalitis

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

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

One sentinel chicken also tested positive for EEEV in 2018.

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


Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


India: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

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

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


China: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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


Latvia: African swine fever

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

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

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

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

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


USA: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

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

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

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

June 15, 2018

United States: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

Nigeria: Monkeypox

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

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

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

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

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

Kenya: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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

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


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


Rwanda: Rift Valley fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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

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


India: Nipah virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sri Lanka: Leptospirosis

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

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


India: Japanese encephalitis

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

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

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

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

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


Bulgaria: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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

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

June 8, 2018

India: Nipah virus

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

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

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

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


United States: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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

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


Liberia: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


France: E. Coli

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

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

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

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


United States: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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


United States: Newcastle Disease

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

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

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


Cameroon: Monkeypox

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

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

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


Pakistan: Leishmaniasis

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

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

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


Australia: Anthrax

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

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

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


Sierra Leone: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

June 1, 2018

India: Nipah virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


Reunion Island: Leptospirosis

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

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

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


United States: E. coli

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

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

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

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

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


Ireland: E. coli

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

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

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

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

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


Bolivia: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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


Uganda: Anthrax

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

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

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

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


France: Leptospirosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 25, 2018

United States: Newcastle Disease

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

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

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

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

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


Brazil: Rabies

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

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

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

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

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

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


Congo: Ebola

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

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

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

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

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

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


Cameroon: Monkeypox

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

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

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

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


Liberia: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


India: Nipah virus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India: Glanders

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

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

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


Argentina: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Equine herpesvirus

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

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

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

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

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


Canada: Lyme Disease

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

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

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

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


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

May 18, 2018

India: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

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


USA: Equine herpesvirus


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

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

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

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

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

Oedekoven says both horses have recovered.


India: Glanders

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

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

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

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

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


Congo: Ebola

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Israel: Foot and mouth disease

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

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


South Africa: Listeriosis

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

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

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

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

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

May 11, 2018

Nigeria:  Ebola

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

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

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

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

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


Liberia: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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


Congo: Ebola

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

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

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

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

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

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


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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


Taiwan: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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


Uganda: Anthrax

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

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


China: Anthrax

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

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

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


Iran: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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


USA: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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

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


Madagascar: Plague

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

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

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

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


Mauritania: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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


Europe: Malaria

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

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

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

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

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


India: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

April 20, 2018

USA: Equine herpes virus

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

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

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

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


Namibia: Anthrax

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

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

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

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


Bolivia: Plague

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

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


Liberia: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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


China: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

April 13, 2018

Bulgaria: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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


Pakistan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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


Uganda: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

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


South Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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


Taiwan: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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


Pakistan: Chikungunya

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

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

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

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


Spain: Q fever

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

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

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

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

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


Liberia: Monkeypox

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


India: Anthrax

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 6, 2018

Argentina: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Plague

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

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

Plague is a bacterial disease of wildlife and is generally transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas. Pet animals also can be exposed after eating an infected animal. Plague can be transmitted to humans by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

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


Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

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

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

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

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

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


Saudi Arabia: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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

March 30, 2018

Russia: Anthrax

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

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

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

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


South Sudan: Guinea worm

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

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

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

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


South Africa: avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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


USA: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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


Germany: Borna virus

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

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

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

March 23, 2018

Sweden: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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


Chile: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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


England: Avian influenza

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

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

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


Korea: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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


Syria: Leishmaniasis

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

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

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

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


Central African Republic: Monkeypox

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

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


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

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

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

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

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

March 16, 2018

South Sudan: Rift Valley fever

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

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

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


England: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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

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


Liberia: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

In 2017, 23 cases were registered.

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


Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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


Finland: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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

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

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


Australia: Anthrax

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

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

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

March 9, 2018

Chile: Hantavirus

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

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


Ghana: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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


Australia: Anthrax

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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

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


Poland: African swine fever

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

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

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


Denmark: Avian influenza

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

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

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


United States: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Zealand: Parvovirus

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

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

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

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


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

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

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

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


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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


Canada: Colorado tick fever virus

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

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


Bulgaria: Avian influenza

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

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

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


Argentina: Anthrax

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

March 2, 2018

Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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


China: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

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

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

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

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

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


India: Foot and mouth disease

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

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

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

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

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


Argentina: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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


United States: Hantavirus

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

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

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

February 23, 2018

Papua New Guinea: Anthrax

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

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


Cambodia: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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


South Korea: Norovirus

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

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

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

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

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


United States: Equine herpesvirus

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

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

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

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


South Africa: Listeriosis

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

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

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

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


Chile: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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


Canada: E. coli

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

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

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

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


South Africa: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

February 16, 2018

Kenya: Chikungunya

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

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


Namibia: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

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

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

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

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


USA: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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

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


Chile: Hantavirus

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

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

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


Guinea: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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


Ireland: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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

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


Northern Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

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

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


Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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


China: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

February 9, 2018

Spain: Scabies

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

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

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

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


England: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

February 2, 2018

United Kingdom: Avian influenza

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

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


Nigeria: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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


Colombia: Newcastle Disease

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

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

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

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


Iran: Avian influenza

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chile: Q Fever

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

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

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

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

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


Chile: Hantavirus

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

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


Panama: Hantavirus

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

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

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

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

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

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


Uruguay: Hantavirus

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

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


South Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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


South Africa: Listeriosis

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

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

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

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

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

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


South Korea: Avian influenza

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

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

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


Uganda: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

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

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

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

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

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

January 26, 2018

Iraq: Avian influenza

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

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

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


Kenya: Anthrax

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

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

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

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


Nigeria: Monkeypox

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

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

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


Madagascar: Plague

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

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

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


Chile: Hantavirus

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

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

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


Benin: Lassa fever

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

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

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

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

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


Uganda: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

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

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

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

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


Senegal: Rift Valley Fever

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

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

January 19, 2018

USA: Chronic wasting disease

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

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

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


Saudi Arabia: MERS

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

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

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


Argentina: Hantavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man's illness began on Dec. 20.


Ireland: Schmallenberg virus

There are fears that the area affected by the Schmallenberg virus has increased and spread further north in 2017, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

A department spokesperson confirmed to AgriLand that the Regional Veterinary Laboratory network has reported an increase in the number of suspected SBV cases in aborted lambs and calves submitted this past week.

The increase has been particularly prevalent in aborted lambs.

Results of the polymerase chain reaction test are currently being awaited.

But these submissions -- from counties Sligo, Cavan, and Leitrim -- tend to confirm observations, made last autumn of animals in new areas north of the Dundalk-Galway line, the spokesperson for the department said.

It also supports the hypothesis that the affected area has now increased, and includes counties Cavan, Leitrim, Sligo and probably some neighboring counties, the spokesperson added.

"The department's advice to Irish farmers on SBV remains essentially unchanged since its first incursion. ”SBV is a low-impact disease, with the potential to cause significant losses in individual herds/flocks. Particularly where a substantial number of susceptible animals are infected, for the 1st time, at a vulnerable stage of gestation -- especially where breeding is synchronized," the department spokesperson explained.


South Africa: Avian influenza

Spread of avian influenza amongst poultry has halted. Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, announced on Jan. 9 that no new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have been confirmed at previously uninfected poultry farms in the province since October. In December 2017, there was a reoccurrence at a previously infected farm, which was still under quarantine.

Laboratory tests have, however, confirmed the presence of the H5N8 virus in swift terns found in Durbanville, Seapoint, between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand, Kenilworth, and Stony Point, in the Western Cape. Other wild birds found to be infected in 2017 included guinea fowl, laughing doves, rock pigeon, pied crows, sacred ibis, blue crane, Egyptian goose, spotted eagle owl, peregrine falcons and a house sparrow.

The sick terns show signs of weakness and cloudy eyes and later develop head tremors, lack of balance, walking in circles, seizures and death.

Minister Winde said: "Our Veterinary Services team have notified Cape Nature, BirdLife and local seabird rehabilitation centers of this latest outbreak of HPAI amongst wild birds for further dissemination to relevant stakeholders.

The H5N8 strain of the virus has so far shown no sign of being infectious to people. Constant monitoring of exposed people in South Africa has supported this. However, people can spread the disease via their hands, clothes and vehicles.

South Sudan: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

'Bleeding Eye Fever' that's deadlier than the plague has killed four and infected dozens in East Africa, as health chiefs warn the spread could be "catastrophic". The disease could be about to bring misery to the continent -- so soon after the Ebola outbreak of 2014-16.

Fears are growing that the disease could spread across Africa. The virus which leaves people bleeding from their eyes, mouth, and anus is thought to be spreading in South Sudan. Three people have already died, a pregnant woman, a teenage boy, and a teenage girl in Eastern Lakes state.

Up to 60 people are suspected to be infected, and are undergoing tests by a team from the Sudanese healthy ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO). Medics are now concerned a health emergency worse that the Black Death outbreak last year [2017], after the sudden death of a child in the Nakaseke district of neighboring Uganda.

The 9-year-old girl died after displaying the nightmarish symptoms of virus that kills up to 40 per cent of those affected.

And tests have now confirmed she died from the disease, named Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, according to Xinhua news agency. The disease is transmitted to humans through tick bites, or through contact with the blood of infected animals especially during slaughter.


Cambodia: Avian influenza

Nearly 300 chickens and ducks were culled after a new case of H5N1, or bird flu, was found in Phnom Penh's Sen Sok district last week, officials said.

Seang Borin, director of the municipal agriculture department, said Jan. 14 that 292 chickens and ducks were killed in Phnom Penh Thmey village, where the National Institute of Animal Health and Production found an outbreak that had infected three chickens.

Mr. Borin said government officials from multiple departments shut down the movement of any birds from the area for the foreseeable future. "Health officials will check and follow up on the villagers' health.

Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said authorities must ensure there is no sale or movement of poultry from the cordoned off area.

Mr. Borin added that consumers should not buy meat originating from the area and also make sure any chickens they bought live were not sick, adding that vendors should notify authorities of any illnesses. "If their chickens or ducks are sick, they must report it to officials immediately and not touch the sick birds," he said, noting further tests would continue to be carried out before the movement ban was lifted.

In late December, H5N1 spread to Kampong Thom province's Stoung district following an outbreak in Kampong Cham province, but it did not infect any villagers.

January 12, 2018

Scotland: Schmallenberg virus

Vets have found signs the midgeborne Schmallenberg virus (SBV), which is capable of causing deformities in calves and lambs, was circulating in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, in autumn 2017.

The results have been revealed by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services (part of Scotland's Rural College), which -- in conjunction with Livestock Health Scotland with funding from the Scottish Government -- has been monitoring bulk milk samples from 50 dairy herds across the country throughout autumn.

First entering the UK on wind flows from Europe in 2011, SBV is spread by midges and affects both cattle and sheep. Initial infection can cause general symptoms of reduced appetite, a raised temperature, milk drop and scour. Some acute infections can be hard to detect -- particularly in cattle and sheep at grass.

When cattle and sheep are infected in the earlier stages of pregnancy, infection of the fetus may lead to skeletal deformities in the lambs and calves once born. Cases like this were first seen in southern Scotland in 2013, but the disease's profile fell in the following seasons.

In 2017, SAC Consulting's Veterinary Surveillance Network identified fetal deformities caused by SBV in southern Scotland and northern England. Cases were seen initially in lambs from mid-January 2017 and the last case was confirmed in early May. These dates suggest a potential infection window between mid-September and mid-December 2016.


Uganda: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever

A 9 year old boy has been isolated at Kiwoko Hospital in Central Uganda] for suspected Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, CCHF. The boy from the Kasiiso trading center in Luwero district was admitted at Kiwoko Hospital on Dec. 22 after a referral from Bamugoledde Health Center III with signs related to the highly contagious CCHF.

The boy had high fever, vomiting, general weakness, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, bloody stool and headache among others. It is reported that after the boy's situation deteriorated blood samples were picked and transferred to Uganda Virus Research Institute for tests.

According to an internal memo the results, which were returned on Dec. 30, revealed that the boy tested positive to the hemorrhagic fever and was thereafter isolated. Geoffrey Mulangira, the hospital administrator, confirmed the isolation of the patient and said they will address the press after they have concluded the investigations.


Iraq: Avian influenza

Anbar provincial council member Naeem Abdul Mohsin al-Ka'oud, on Jan. 6 called on the authorities to prevent the entry of imported chickens into the province, due to the risk of introducing bird flu.

Al-Ka'oud said in an interview with Alsumaria News that "there are fears of the spread of avian influenza in Anbar province, especially since some authorities began to divert the consignments of infected poultry to the province, after preventing their introduction into Baghdad and Diyala." Al-Ka'oud called on the regulatory authorities to "prevent the entry of imported chickens to Anbar because the province is rich in poultry farms with susceptible animals which may lead to the virus spreading throughout the province".

A local source revealed on Jan. 1 that more than 25,000 chickens were culled in Newdah al-Shat, Diyala province, due to the suspicion of avian flu.


Morocco: Avian influenza

After fruits and vegetables, it is the turn for the price of poultry to increase: in some regions prices have almost doubled. Where does this increase come from?

It's been a few weeks since the price of fruits and vegetables soared. From now on, it is the turn of poultry prices. In some areas, the kilogram is sold for $2.20 against only $1.50 to $1.70 in normal times. Consumers no longer hesitate to express their dissatisfaction: fresh products are experiencing a significant and unexplained increase.

According to Aziz Al Arabi, president of the national association of producers of poultry meat, quoted by LeSiteInfo, it is the breeders of chicks that caused this increase. Indeed, the cold wave that currently affects the Kingdom has resulted in the return of avian influenza.


Argentina: Hantavirus

A hantavirus cases has been confirmed in Buenos Aires. The case is a 19 year old youth who was treated and evaluated by medical professionals in the San Jose Municipal Hospital, and despite being in good health, remains hospitalized under observation.

This information was issued by the Secretary of Health, Ernesto Meiraldi, the Chief of Epidemiology of the San Jose Municipal Hospital, Eleonora Penovi, and the infectious disease physician Federico Simioli, who recommended cleaning homes with water and bleach, ventilating closed spaces, mainly storage sheds, keeping grass short, and not accumulating waste food, in order to prevent the disease.

The health professionals commented that the symptoms are high fever without cold symptoms, headache, muscle and abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, among others.

For these reasons, the Office of Bromatology and Zoonoses is carrying out trash removal and general cleanup in the patient's house, as well as giving these relevant recommendations to the neighbors.


Slovakia: African Swine Fever

Slovakia is on alert due to the current outbreak of African swine fever [ASF] in the Czech Republic, Zuzana Peiger Acjakova from the Slovak Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry confirmed on Jan. 3.

"Slovakia is on alert. Slovakia's State Veterinary and Food Administration is carrying out extraordinary measures in regions close to the Czech Republic and Ukraine," said the official, adding that African swine fever is a very serious problem.

"The public might not realize the importance of the intense struggle in which the Agriculture Ministry, pig breeders, and the hunting community are involved. However, the activities that our veterinary inspectors are carrying out in the field can be understood by anyone who has witnessed the slaughter of millions of animals affected by this disease at farms abroad," added Acjakova.

The State Veterinary Administration of the Czech Republic reported on Jan. 3 that it had recorded the first cases of a confirmed outbreak of African swine fever in an area beyond fences in the so-called red zone of the contaminated area in Zlin region.

China: Avian influenza

The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health on Jan. 5 received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in Fujian from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

The case involved a 3-year-old girl, who had contact with live poultry before the onset of symptoms. The patient had recovered after medical treatment and her close contacts remain asymptomatic. "Based on the seasonal pattern of avian influenza viruses, their activity in the Mainland is expected to increase in winter. The public should avoid contact with poultry, birds and their droppings and should not visit live poultry markets and farms to prevent avian influenza," a spokesman for the CHP said.

Since 2014 18 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the mainland health authorities.


South Korea: Bird flu

A new case of bird flu has been discovered at a duck farm in South Korea's southwestern region, the agriculture ministry said Jan. 8 in the latest outbreak in the duck farming region, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said H5 avian influenza (AI) was detected at a farm in Naju, about 225 miles south of Seoul, and culled all of the farm's 16,500 ducks.

Quarantine officials plan to slaughter an additional 53,500 ducks at 5 other farms located within about 2 miles from the affected region as part of preventive measures, the ministry said.

January 5, 2018

Saudi Arabia: Avian influenza

The infectious bird flu disease (H5N8) has spread to 2 new governorates in the province of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. New cases of the avian influenza were discovered at Al-Quaiya and Dharma.

The H5N8 disease was first discovered at Al-Aziziya Market before hitting the governorates of Al-Kharj and Huraimila.

The Ministry of the Environment, Water and Agriculture reported eight new cases at a poultry project in Riyadh, which led to the culling of 85 627 birds. The authorities have also culled 1,232 birds at 12 locations in the region of Mazahmiya.

Saudi Arabia had confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu in Riyadh that led to the culling of nearly 16 000 ducks, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said Dec. 22.


Pakistan: Chikungunya

Due to the poor sanitary conditions, mosquito-borne vector diseases are on a steep rise, and 10 more chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Karachi in a week, taking the number of the reported cases to 4,138 in the city since Jan. 1, 2017.

According to the weekly report issued by Sindh Health Department, a total of 4,868 chikungunya suspected cases have been reported throughout Sindh province, of which 4,138 had emerged from Karachi and 730 from other districts of the province.

In Karachi alone, a total 73 cases have been chikungunya suspected cases have been reported in Karachi in the month of December so far.

Fortunately, no deaths have from this mosquito-borne disease have so far been reported.

Chikungunya is transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes, and the major symptoms include high fever, joint pain, joint swelling, rashes, headache, muscle pain, nausea, and fatigue.


Iran: Avian influenza

Around 17 million chickens have been culled in Iran so far, due to the recent outbreak of avian flu, the chairman of the board of directors at Tehran's Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Chicken said.

Nasser Nabipour added that almost all the provinces across the country, except Semnan and Khorasan Razavi, are now dealing with the deadly virus.

According to the official, the permit for importing 20 000 tons of eggs has been issued and so far 50-60 tons have been imported from Turkey, Mehr News Agency reported.

This is while Deputy Agriculture Minister Ali Akbar Mehrfard earlier told the news agency that a shipment of 130,000 tons of eggs had been imported from Turkey and were being distributed in the domestic market.

"Turkey has increased egg prices from $22 to $28 within 24 hours of exporting eggs to Iran," he said.

Nabipour hoped that imports would lead to a decline in the rising egg prices in the Iranian market.

According to CBI's latest report, egg prices marked a 9 percent hike during the week to Dec. 22 compared to the previous week and a 53.7 percent rise compared with last year's corresponding week, reaching 126 000-175 000 rials [about $3.49-$4.85] for each tray of 30 eggs.


Egypt: Avian influenza

Egypt has slaughtered more than 17,500 poultry in a farm where bird flu cases were reported in the Dakahlia governorate (Delta), said head of Veterinary Medicine Directorate, Abdel Moneim Al Mongy, Dec. 30. After taking samples from infected poultry, vets buried the dead and slaughtered poultry to control the spread of viruses, Mongy added in remarks to Al-Watan newspaper. Dakahlia's Mit Ghamr and Gharbyia's Santa cities were ranked as the most dangerous places, as they have the virus, he continued.

During the veterinary inspection, the vets reported new H5N2, H8N2, H9N2, and IB [infectious bronchitis] strains. The fact that these strains are appearing for the 1st time in Egypt has made the situation all the more serious.

"After the death of my poultry, I informed the Veterinary Medicine (Directorate) immediately," the owner of the farm, [MA], confirmed. The government should produce local veterinary medicine to cure the local virus strains and stop [importing] drugs for strains not existing in Egypt, he said.


Malaysia: MERS-COV

Malaysian health officials have confirmed a case of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) infection in a returning Umrah pilgrim, according to a release from director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The patient, a 55 year old man from Selangor, returned home from the pilgrimage on Dec. 23. On Dec. 24, he had symptoms of fever, cough, weakness, fatigue, and leg pain. The patient sought treatment from the clinic near his home, where he had been treated for fever. On Dec. 28, he came to Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR), Klang Hospital and was admitted to the HTAR ward for further examination and treatment.

Recognizing the history of his new journey back from performing Umrah, the MERS-CoV screening test was carried out and it was positive both for the screening test conducted by the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Dec. 30 and for subsequent verification tests conducted by the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) on Dec. 31. Currently, the patient is in a stable condition and has been referred to Sungai Buloh Hospital for further treatment. The patient has said that while in the Holy Land, he was taken to a camel farm, where he then drank raw camel milk and came in contact with the camels found on the farm.