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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

2020 World News

 


World News of 2020 is archived here. To see the latest world news, please go to the World News main page.


July 30, 2020

United States: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, previously found in domestic rabbits at a private Utah farm, has now been found in wild rabbit populations in the state.

Not related to the COVID-19 virus that infects humans, the disease is highly contagious and causes rapid rabbit death, killing one to five days after exposure according to Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources [DWR]. Officials there want Utahn's to contact them if they see multiple dead wild rabbits in an area.

Rabbit and pikas are susceptible to the disease. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, and difficulty breathing. Frothy blood comes from the animal's noses just prior to death. It has an 80% to 100% fatality rate with no known cure or treatment.

Humans, dogs, and other animals are not susceptible to the virus, officially named RHDV-2, but can carry it from one location to another on feet or other contaminated items. The hardy virus can survive for months and can infect rabbits by direct contact with sick rabbits or through contact of sick rabbits' urine or feces.

"Always wear disposable gloves when handling a dead animal, and wash your hands thoroughly after," the DWR said. "Rabbit carcasses that are not fresh enough to be tested should be double-bagged and disposed of by deep burial or landfill."

United States: Heartland Virus

Researchers have confirmed that Heartland virus, an emerging pathogen with potentially dire consequences for those infected, is present in Lone Star ticks in 2 Illinois counties hundreds of miles apart. Lone Star ticks were first detected in Illinois in 1999 but had not been found to be infected with Heartland virus in the state.

The findings are reported in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In July 2018, a resident of Kankakee County was hospitalized after suffering several tick bites while camping on private property. Then 2 months later and more than 250 miles to the south, a resident of Williamson County was hospitalized with many of the same symptoms: fever, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, decreased appetite, and nausea. This patient also noticed tick bites after camping. The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention confirmed that clinical samples from both patients tested positive for the Heartland virus, which is spread by ticks. Both patients eventually recovered.

Tick-borne illnesses share symptoms with many other diseases, and misdiagnoses sometimes occur, said Holly Tuten, a vector ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey [INHS] who led the new research. INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Congo: Plague

The health zone of Rethy in Ituri Province, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has seen an upsurge of plague cases since June 2020. The first case, a 12-year-old girl, reported to a local health center on June 12 experiencing a headache, fever, cough, and an enlarged lymph node. She died on the same day, and further deaths from the community due to suspected cases of plague were subsequently reported. Through July 15, 6 of 22 health areas have been affected within Rethy health zone (11 villages), with a total of 45 cases including 9 deaths (case fatality rate: 20%). All 9 cases who died presented with signs of headache, high fever, and painful nodes; 4 of the 9 cases had a cough.

The health zone team carried out an investigation resulting in 5 positive rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Nine additional samples were taken and shipped to the National Institute for Biomedical Research [Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (INRB)] laboratory in Kinshasa. Of the 45 cases reported, 2 showed signs of the septicemic plague; all the other cases were diagnosed as having the bubonic plague. According to the available information, it is likely that all 3 types of plague clinical presentation (bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic) are present.

The distribution by sex shows 58% (26/45) are male and 93% (42/45) is greater than 5 years old. Of the 45 cases reported, 9 including 4 who died, had cough among the symptoms -- a sign indicating a potential progression from bubonic plague to the pulmonary plague. This was specifically noticed among the deceased.

Congo: Monkeypox

Since the beginning of the year, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported a total of 2,591 suspected monkeypox cases and 97 deaths. This includes 115 cases and 4 deaths recorded during the week ending July 5.

In 2019, DRC saw 5,288 monkeypox cases, including 107 deaths (CFR: 2%) from 133 health zones in 19 provinces.

The World Health Organization says one major challenge to the current emergency is acquiring the required funding to respond to all the multiple ongoing outbreaks in the country. In addition to the monkeypox outbreak, the DRC is battling outbreaks of Ebola, measles, malaria, acute respiratory infections, typhoid, COVID-19, cholera, meningitis, diarrhea with dehydration in children under the age of 5 years, influenza, and yellow fever.

Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs throughout remote parts of Central and West Africa, often near tropical rainforests. It is spread through contact with the monkeypox virus from an animal or human (alive or dead) or with materials contaminated with the virus.

Symptoms begin with fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion, and are followed by a rash. Patients are usually ill for 2-4 weeks. Monkeypox is fatal in as many as 10% of people who get it.

New Zealand: Listeriosis

Authorities in New Zealand are looking into 3 recent Listeria cases to see if they are linked and to find a source of the infections.

While investigations are underway to find the vehicle of infection for the reported cases in Tauranga, a city in the Bay of Plenty region, officials cautioned that often a source cannot be identified for individual cases.

The 3 cases, aged in their late 70s to 90s, were notified to Toi Te Ora Public Health. All 3 were hospitalized and one person with a previously diagnosed terminal condition has died.

Toi Te Ora Public Health and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) reminded the public of recommended food safety measures to reduce risk from Listeria.

"Our investigations include determining what the cases may have eaten in order to identify any common risk factors or food that may be the source of infection," said Dr. Neil de Wet, medical officer of health for Toi Te Ora Public Health. MPI compliance director Gary Orr said that if there was a link identified between cases and the food supply chain, immediate action would be taken to ensure public safety.

People at risk of more serious illness from Listeria include pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborn babies, those with weakened immune systems, and elderly people, especially if they have poor health. The Bay of Plenty typically sees 1 to 5 cases each year.

Northern Ireland: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

A virus that is potentially deadly to rabbits has been discovered in animals in Northern Ireland. Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2) was detected in samples from 2 rabbits which were submitted for testing on [23 Jun 2020]. Testing was carried out by the government-supported Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).

While the disease is contagious between rabbits, it cannot be spread to humans.

Neil Reid, a senior lecturer in conservation biology at Queen's University, said it was likely the disease was widespread across the island of Ireland.

A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said the disease had also been detected during testing in 2019, with one sample returning a positive result out of 3 rabbits which were submitted under passive surveillance. Passive surveillance refers to a system where cases are brought to the attention of the department by people dealing with animals, rather than the disease being searched for.

It was the first time the virus had been discovered in Northern Ireland. It was also found in the Republic of Ireland last year. In a response to a parliamentary question, the then Irish Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan said the virus is "known to be highly contagious" and that "environmental contamination presents significant difficulties in terms of any biosecurity responses".

India: Japanese Encephalitis

At a time when Assam is witnessing a major COVID-19 spike, a Japanese encephalitis outbreak has also been reported from different parts of the state raising concerns.

With about 14 percent mortality rate, about 60 times higher than Assam's COVID-19 mortality rate, Japanese encephalitis has claimed 29 lives already this year.

The vector-borne disease spread by Culex mosquitos, this year, has affected at least 199 people in 29 out of 33 districts in the state, a bulletin from National Health Mission (NHM), Assam, said.

In Assam now only Dina Hasao, Udalguri, and Karbi Anglong districts have not reported Japanese encephalitis cases; [the other] 29 have.

Kamrup (rural) adjoining Guwahati and Jorhat in Upper Assam are the worst-affected districts, the official sources added.

Japanese encephalitis has been a perennial problem in the Northeast that affects the states during annual floods. In 2013, 134 people [died] of the illness, 165 died in 2014; 135 in 2015; 92 in 2016; 87 in 2017, 94 in 2018, and nearly 150 in 2019.

Kyrgyzstan: Lumpy Skin Disease

According to the veterinarians of the Jayyl [district, Chuy region], the first signs of lumpy skin disease [LSD] were detected in the Ak-Suu and Tup districts of the Ysyk-Kol region. After that, isolated cases were noted in Ysyk-Ata, Alamudun, and Sokuluk districts of Chuy oblast. Outwardly, nodular dermatitis looks like a skin-nodular rash. The disease is accompanied by fever, edema of the subcutaneous connective tissue and organs, the formation of skin nodes, damage to the eyes, the mucous membrane of the respiratory, and digestive tracts. The virus is detected in the blood 3-4 days after the temperature rises and the mass formation of nodules.

"During this period, the virus penetrates with blood into the mucous membrane of the mouth, nose, eyes, etc. The inflammatory process involves the lymph nodes. In severe cases, there is prolonged fever, loss of appetite, emaciation of the animal. Nodules are palpable throughout the body, severe damage to the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract is noted. Flat round erosions and grayish-yellow plaques form on the mucous membrane. Further, their suppuration is noted. Erosions and ulcers appear on the eyelids, the cornea becomes cloudy, partial or complete blindness [may] occur. Thick, viscous saliva comes out of the mouth, the mucus comes out of the nose", said Daniyar Abdykerimov, deputy head of the veterinary department.

The source of the virus is sick animals and virus carriers -- animals in the latent period of the disease and those remaining after they have been ill. Nodular dermatitis is transmitted to animals mainly by blood-sucking insects -- mosquitoes, midges, and flies.


 July 16, 2020

Taiwan: Lumpy Skin Disease

The Agricultural Committee pointed out that lumpy skin disease (LSD), which occurred in mainland China last year, has spread to the coast. It is suspected that the virus was carried by mosquitoes and flies from Fujian province to Kinmen. The first case was notified by Kinmen on July 8.

The Agriculture Commission's Bureau of Prevention and Inspection held an interim press conference on July 10 to announce an LSD outbreak in cattle. Chen Jizhong, chair of the Agricultural Committee, emphasized that he had reported the epidemic situation to Su Zhenchang, the president of the Executive Yuan [the executive branch of the government of the Republic of China/Taiwan], and established the Central Disaster Response Center for LSD, in accordance with the regulations, with him as the convener.

Reportedly, the laboratory tests showed that the genetic sequence similarity to the epidemic LSD virus strain published in China in 2019 was as high as 99%, confirming this event as the first case of LSD in Taiwan.

The number of cattle in the affected herd was 548; the Kinmen Epidemic Prevention Office has already completed the killing of 23 sick cattle according to the risk status and will apply other measures to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, the clinical inspection of 47 cattle farms within a radius of 3 km around the affected farm has been completed. No suspicious cases were found. There is no sign of the spread of the epidemic. The inspection of cattle in the county will continue in the future.

LSD is a reportable disease. The disease affects only cattle and buffalo and is not zoonotic. It is mainly transmitted through arthropods such as mosquitoes and sting flies. It will be notified in accordance with the regulations of the World Animal Health Organization (OIE).

Finland: Listeriosis

Authorities in Finland are investigating a Listeria outbreak that has affected 8 people. All patients have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been recorded. The age range of those sick is 60 to 93 years old, 5 are female, and they live in different parts of the country.

Ruska Rimhanen-Finne, a veterinary epidemiologist at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), said all illnesses occurred within a month in May and June.

"At the moment, we have several listeriosis clusters under investigation, but the others are long-term clusters with cases within several years," she told Food Safety News. "We encourage the local authorities to interview the patients as soon and thoroughly as possible by using an online questionnaire that is readable at THL in real-time. We compare the interviews in order to find common exposures. We also encourage the local authorities to go through foods in patients' homes and test risky foods for Listeria."

The multilocus sequence typing (MLST) 6 cluster is being investigated with the help of whole-genome sequencing. The THL is not aware of similar cases in other countries.

India: Japanese Encephalitis

At a time when all eyes are set on the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have claimed as many as 23 lives in Assam state since January this year. While JE claimed 5, AES claimed 18 lives.

According to sources in the State government, as many as 174 people have been suffering from JE and AES in 27 districts across the State; of them, 38 are JE patients.

The outbreak of both the vector-borne diseases -- JE and AES -- is severe in June, July, and August in the State. Around 20%-30% of affected patients lose their lives in Assam annually because of JE and AES. This year [2020], most of the deaths were reported in June and July.

Netherlands: Listeriosis

At least 2 people have died in a Listeria outbreak linked to chilled smoked trout fillets in the Netherlands.

All 6 sick people have been hospitalized, and 2 died from their infections. Another person has died, but no information about the cause of death was given.

Patients became ill between the beginning of February and mid-June. Their age range is 42 to 85 years old with a median of 78 years old.

The outbreak was reported by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Wageningen Food Safety Research (WFSR) institute, who jointly monitor the clustering of Listeria isolates from patients and foods when only 3 people were affected.

As part of listeriosis reporting, several fish consumption questions are usually asked. This information is currently available for 5 of the outbreak patients. They all ate fish, while 4 of them stated smoked fish, and one explicitly mentioned trout.

In the third week of June, 4 products were recalled: smoked trout fillets from Vis Marine, Albert Heijn, and 2 fish items from Bond Seafood. Shelf life dates ranged from 20 Jun to 5 Jul 2020. An NVWA spokesman said it was not clear which of the products have caused illness, and all were made by the same production process.

Japan: Copper poisoning

A total of 13 elderly people in southwestern Japan suffered symptoms of food poisoning, apparently, after traces of copper from an old kettle contaminated a sports drink they consumed, the Oita Prefectural Government said on July 8.

According to the prefecture's food and environmental health division, the incident occurred at a care facility in the city of Usuki, Oita Prefecture on the morning of July 6. The facility boiled water with the kettle then cooled it and added the powder to make a sports drink.

The 13 men and women, aged from their 70s to 90s, each drank about half a cup of the sports drink at around 10:20 a.m., and then complained of ill health, such as vomiting and nausea.

Copper, having built up on the inside of the stainless-steel kettle, is believed to have dissolved in the sports drink, which was acidic. Officials say such a case is extremely rare.

Brazil: Influenza

On June 22, the International Health Regulations (IHR) Focal Point (FP) of Brazil shared a preliminary report with the Pan American Health Organization, the WHO Regional Office for the Americas of human infection with influenza A(H1N2) variant virus (A(H1N2)v). According to the report, the patient, a 22-year-old female, with no comorbidities, worked in a swine slaughterhouse in Ibipora Municipality, Parana State, and developed an influenza-like illness on April 12. The patient initially sought medical care on April 14 and a respiratory specimen was obtained on April 16 as part of routine surveillance activities. The patient was treated with oseltamivir, was not hospitalized, and has recovered.

A real-time RT-PCR test conducted at the public health laboratory identified a non-sub-typable influenza A virus. In May 2020, the specimen was forwarded to the Laboratory of Respiratory Virus and Measles, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, a national influenza reference laboratory, in Rio de Janeiro. Genetic sequencing characterized this virus as an influenza A(H1N2)v virus.

Switzerland: Tick-borne Encephalitis

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has received 215 reports of tick-borne encephalitis in Switzerland since the beginning of the year. This is more than twice as many as last year when 97 cases were reported. Ticks are known to be most prevalent during the summer months. It is likely that favorable weather conditions, coupled with social distancing rules, have prompted many to venture into forests, the FOPH says by way of explanation. It is also possible that semi-confinement measures have prevented some people from being vaccinated.

The estimated number of consultations in June for a tick bite has surpassed the number logged in 2018, a record year. All cantons except Geneva and Ticino have been affected.

The FOPH points out that the vaccine is a good counter-measure to tick-borne meningoencephalitis (TBE). It is recommended for adults and children, generally from the age of 6 who are staying in a high-risk area. A free smartphone tick app developed by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences provides users with useful maps and tips on how to minimize the risk of being bitten by ticks.

China: Foot and Mouth Disease

On July 11, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease [FMD] was diagnosed by the Guangdong Provincial Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center, affecting swine. The outbreak is located in Leizhou City, Zhanjiang City, Guangdong Province. There were 131 pigs in the batch, 39 were ill and 1 died. After the detection of the epizootic, the local authorities are doing a good job in dealing with it according to the technical requirements for prevention and control and relevant plans.

An outbreak of FMD was reported earlier this year from Chongking, affecting cattle. FMDV serotype O was identified.

China's earlier FMD outbreaks were reported during 2018, the 2 last ones in October of that year, in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia.

United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry confirmed the finding of vesicular stomatitis virus, also known as VSV, at premises in Washington County. The horse showed lesions in its mouth and on its muzzle.

VSV is a viral disease of horses, donkeys, mules, cattle, and swine. Initial symptoms include excessive salivation and reluctance to eat or drink. Clinical signs include vesicles, erosions, and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, ears, teats, and coronary bands of their hooves. Lameness or weight loss may follow. Body temperature may rise immediately before or when lesions first appear.

So far in 2020, VSV has been reported in Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona, and Texas.

United States: Aujeszky’s Disease

An adult female feral pig from Central Oregon sampled for disease as part of a surveillance program tested positive for pseudorabies, a contagious disease that can harm livestock and also spread to some wildlife species, state officials said on July 10. This pig was sampled as a part of the ongoing feral pig control and disease surveillance program overseen by USDA Wildlife Services in Oregon. This is the first detection of PRV in a feral pig in Oregon since the surveillance program began in 2007. The Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) would not provide more specifics on the location of the animal.

Pseudorabies (also known as Aujeszky's disease) is a contagious, infectious, and communicable viral disease of livestock, causing neurologic, respiratory, and reproductive disorders. Pseudorabies is not related to rabies, though symptoms may resemble rabies. The disease does not affect humans. Although other livestock species have been known to occasionally become infected, the pig is the only natural host. The commercial hog industry has been PRV-free since 2004.

"While the presence of PRV in Oregon has so far been an isolated event, it shows that our disease surveillance program is working, it is too early to know how this disease appeared in Oregon, but additional testing and investigation is ongoing," said Ryan Scholz, ODA district veterinarian. "There is no indication that there has been any exposure of domestic livestock in Oregon to the Pseudorabies virus, and this detection does not have any impact on Oregon's recognition as being a PRV-free state," Scholz added.

Mongolia: Plague

A 15-year-old boy has died of bubonic plague in Mongolia, according to the country's health ministry. The National Center for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD) said the teenager from the western province of Govi-Altai had died from eating marmot meat. A quarantine has now been put in place on 5 districts in the province, which shares a border with China.

The death follows the news earlier in July of 2 people testing positive for the disease in the neighboring province of Khovd. The NCZD is currently organizing a nationwide immunization program to stop the spread of the disease.

In 2019, a lockdown was imposed in the Mongolian province of Bayan-Olgii after reports that a couple had died from the bubonic plague after reportedly eating raw marmot meat.

Russia has increased patrols in an attempt to stop people hunting marmots near its border with Mongolia. China issued a warning last week after a suspected case of bubonic plague was discovered in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia.

June 18, 2020

Nigeria: African Swine Fever

One of Nigeria's largest pig co-operative farms, located in Lagos State, has been affected by an outbreak of the deadly African swine fever [ASF].

According to a farmer at the Oke Aro farm, who spoke to the BBC, about 300,000 pigs have been killed so far. Ayo Omirin said that nearly 99 percent of the pig pens on the farm had been infected.

"We have lost 4 farmers as a result of shock, 2 of them slumped and died on the farm," Omirin said. According to the co-operative's president Adewale Oluwalana, the last case of ASF hit Oke Aro farm was in 2008.

The virus, which can kill pigs within a few days, can be transmitted by direct contact with infected pigs and wild boars or through infected animal feed and on clothing and farm equipment.

The farm, reportedly the largest in West Africa, is managed by the Lagos State government and is a source of livelihood to about 3,000 farmers. Despite its size, it is unable to meet the demands of the region in terms of pig products.

Lagos State agriculture spokesman Jide Lawal said a sensitisation exercise was ongoing to advise farmers on how to protect the surviving livestock.

United States: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

Wild jackrabbits found dead in Adams County tested positive for a highly contagious disease lethal for rabbits. Seven counties in Colorado have now reported positive cases of rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus type 2 (RHDV-2).

RHDV-2 can cause internal bleeding and swelling, according to wildlife officials. Affected animals may have blood staining the nose and mouth. Only rabbits, hares and pikas, the diminutive cousin of rabbits, can spread it among each other; humans can't become infected with it.

The disease recently appeared in pockets of the western U.S., and experts warn that if it continues to spread unchecked, it could harm all of the dozen-plus species of rabbits in the U.S. and the ecosystems they belong to. Wildlife officials say it has already had significant impacts on rabbits and species preying upon them in Europe. RHDV-2 is considered a foreign animal disease and is of high concern at the state and federal levels.

Last week, a landowner in Adams County found 6 dead jackrabbits on her property, east of Barr Lake, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Officers submitted the jackrabbits to CPW's [Colorado's Parks and Wildlife] Wildlife Health Laboratory for necropsy. They got test results showing that the animals were positive for RHDV- 2.

"It is very possible there are other cases out there having not been observed or reported," said Matt Martinez, Area Wildlife Manager for 7 counties surrounding Denver.

Yemen: Cholera

The Ministry of Public Health and Population of Yemen reported 2,489 suspected cases and one associated death during epidemiological week 21 of 2020, with 16% of the cases reported as severe. The cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases since 2018 is 1,368,325 with 1,566 associated deaths (CFR 0.11%). Children under 5 represent 23% of the total suspected cases during 2020. The outbreak has affected 22 of the 23 governorates and 293 of the 333 districts of Yemen.

The governorates reporting the highest number of suspected cases of cholera during 2020 are Al Hudaydah (21,612), Sana'a (20,620), Taizz (17,190), Ibb (13,350), Al Bayda (12,294), Amanat Al Asimah (10,869), Hajjah (9,724), and Dhamar (9,271).

Of a total of 935 samples tested at the central public health laboratories since January 2020, 76 have been confirmed as cholera-positive by culture. During this reporting period the governorates reporting the highest number of positive cultures were Taizz (49), Al Hudaydah (6), and Amran (5).

Russia: Tick-borne encephalitis

Siberia is facing a historic battle against a tiny but sometimes deadly arachnid, the tick. In a vast Russian region that is frequently hit by flooding and wildfires and has not been spared from the coronavirus, ticks and the diseases they transmit are shaping up as another major challenge this year.

Reported tick bites in the sprawling Krasnoyarsk region, which stretches up from the lands north of Mongolia to the Arctic shore, are up 400 per cent over the same time last year, and the tick season is only just getting under way. According to government statistics, 1,925 people reported bites in the week of May 22-28 in the region, and more than 10,000 bites have already been reported in 2020. Cases of ticks found to be infected with tick-borne encephalitis [virus] have been identified in 57 of the region's 61 administrative districts. The problem is equally prevalent in other regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East, as well as parts of western Russia.

"We are seeing a high level of activity of naturally occurring tick-borne infections," the press service of the Krasnoyarsk branch of Rospotrebnadzor, the state consumer-protection agency, told RFE/RL. "The number of ticks is significantly greater than average." The cause, the officials said, was the region's unusually mild winter followed by the early onset of spring. "The weather conditions enabled the main hosts for ticks -- forest-dwelling rodents -- to survive the winter well," the agency said. "Their numbers have grown, and the number of ticks has increased correspondingly. As a result, the 2020 season has seen an active outbreak of tick-borne encephalitis."

Argentina: Hantavirus

The Office of the Director of the Rural Hospital of Epuyen [HZE] stated that, given the confirmed case of a hantavirus infection, they have taken coordinated action per the protocol consisting of the isolation of 6 people, companions of the patient who is hospitalized in the HZE. The isolation is being controlled by health personnel and the local police as well as with the assistance of Social Action of the municipality.

Blood samples have been taken to carry out related tests, which will continue once per week until the period of isolation ends in 45 days.

The hantavirus involved is not mentioned but is likely to be Andes virus. Last year, there were 34 confirmed Andes virus cases with hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), 12 fatal. The initial spillover occurred in Epuyen, province of Chubut, in the Andean region. The Andes virus (ANDV, genus Orthohantavirus, family Hantaviridae) was confirmed as the etiological agent in the Epuyen outbreak. Its most common host reservoir is the long-tailed pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys longicaudatus).

Taiwan: Hantavirus

A woman in Kaohsiung City has contracted [a] hantavirus [infection], becoming the 5th case in the city and the 7th case in the country this year, setting a new high since records began in 2001. The woman, in her 50s, is a restaurant worker in the southern port city. She was bitten by a rat at her workplace and later exhibited symptoms of the disease, including fever, headache, muscle pain, chill, and excessive fatigue.

Unfortunately, screening did not take place until the end of May after her doctor reported it as a suspected case of the rare virus spread by rodents.

According to government data, there have been 2 new cases in the past 30 days -- one in May and one in June -- bringing the country's total to 7. There were 5 cases in Kaohsiung, one in New Taipei City, and one in Keelung City.

Of the 30 total confirmed hantavirus cases in Taiwan since 2001, 2 were imported; more than a third (13) were recorded in Kaohsiung; followed by 8 in New Taipei City.

Health authorities in Kaohsiung have placed traps to catch mice around the patient's neighborhood and workplace. Residents have been advised to sterilize areas likely contaminated by rodents with diluted bleach.

France: Tick-borne encephalitis

As of June 10, 37 cases of tick-borne encephalitis or attenuated flu-like forms linked to the consumption of raw milk goat cheeses have been reported to the regional health agency (ARS).

Investigations have confirmed the diagnosis of tickborne encephalitis virus (TBE) infection in 28 cases, while 9 are still under investigation. These cases correspond to the same outbreak, [linked to] the virus in raw goat milk and a batch of raw milk cheeses, produced by the GAEC des Chevrettes du Vieux Valey, located at Condamine in Haut-Bugey.

The GAEC des Chevrettes du Vieux Valey organized a recall for its products. Among the 9 cases identified since this operation, 7 relate to previously sick people, now recovered, and for whom a retrospective biological confirmation has been requested.

In a press release sent June 14, Prefecture of Ain and Regional Health Agency (ARS) specified that "human infection by the TBE virus through food is exceptional: the presence of this virus in cheeses is extremely rare, even in areas where ticks are infected. The presence of the virus in GAEC goat cheeses is linked to the presence of ticks carrying the virus in the pastures where its livestock are present. It, therefore, has no link with the quality of GAEC's breeding and dairy processing practices."

Turkey: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Just as Turkey tries to return to normal after its battle with the coronavirus, another danger lurks that threatens rural areas. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), a deadly disease usually confined to summer, is forcing authorities to adopt new measures to contain it. So far, it has claimed 15 lives across Turkey.

The Health Ministry set up a board of scientists, which held its first meeting on June 11, to determine what actions to take against CCHF. Chaired by deputy health minister Emine Alp Mese, the group discussed the virus' current situation and measures needed to control it ahead of Kurban Bayram, also known as Eid al-Adha. The Muslim holiday, which will be observed in late July this year [2020], sees greater mobility for animals and close contact with people. As every Muslim who can afford to do so ought to slaughter a sheep and a cow, animal markets are set up all across the country for the sale of sacrificial beasts ahead of the holiday.

CCHF, common in more than 30 countries, is prevalent in Turkey's northern regions. The death rate from the fever is generally around 4%, while in some countries it reaches 80%. Turkey ties its success to strict measures, effective treatment methods and a surveillance system that tracks the prevalence of the disease. Authorities announced that the number of CCHF cases [was higher than in] 2019, and by 10 Jun 2020, 480 infections had been reported.

CCHF is a widespread disease that is caused by a tick-borne virus (Nairovirus) of the Bunyaviridae family that results in severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks. Animals are carriers, and tick bites or contact with blood or body fluid from an infected person or animal can spread the virus. Common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, general body pain and fatigue. Personal protection measures are vital for disease control.

Congo: Plague

A bubonic and septicemic plague cluster has been noted in the Ituri endemic focus of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djugu territory, on June 14 by the Lokpa health center nurse.

On June 15, a team composed of 2 laboratory technicians, the head nurse of the Rethy General Reference Hospital and the Center for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Rethy HGR-CRMT) and a sanitation officer of the Rethy health zone, investigated the outbreak site and tested 6 patients for plague with a rapid diagnostic test. As of June 16, of the 10 cases (of which 4 deaths were reported), 8 were diagnosed with bubonic plague and 2 were diagnosed with septicemic plague.

The index case seems to be a 4 year old boy coming from Zambi village (Lokpa health area) who died on June 11; samples were not taken. On June 14, his 41 year old father also succumbed to the disease, which prompted the head nurse of the Lokpa health center to alert the heath authorities of the Rethy health zone. The saliva sample tested positive for plague.

In total, the investigation team tested 6 patients (2 deceased), and 4 (2 from Bbala and 2 from Zambi) were positive for plague (blood, saliva or bubo aspirate). All contacts who had attended the funeral wake of the deceased and from active cases' households were administered chemoprophylaxis (doxycycline or cotrimoxazole according to age), and houses of the patients were disinfected. People have confirmed recent rat die-off in Bbala and Zambi villages.

May 28, 2020

Mexico: methanol poisoning

Scores of Mexicans are dying from drinking adulterated liquor, a consequence of the shortage of mainstream alcoholic beverages during the coronavirus disease pandemic, authorities say.

The first of at least 121 deaths in recent weeks occurred at the end of April in the western state of Jalisco, almost exactly a month after the government declared a health emergency over the spread of COVID-19.

Much of Mexico has run out of beer after factories producing liquor and beer were shut down along with other non-essential firms. Beer stocks were practically depleted within a month and in some areas the prices of what was left doubled, according to industry sources.

Many of the 53 deaths in central Puebla province have been linked to a wake where people drank moonshine containing methanol -- a wood alcohol that in non-lethal doses can cause blindness and liver damage.

According to authorities, 23 people died in the hours following the gathering in the town of Chiconcuautla.

The town's mayor said the popular "refino" drink, made from sugarcane, had been adulterated.

A man told officials his father died after being poisoned by a drink known locally as "tejon" -- a blend of brandy with tejocote fruit (a type of hawthorn), in the Puebla town of Cacaloxuchitl.

"They sell it in the stores, and you can buy it and take it out. My father began trembling and feeling weak. He told us he felt bad, and we took him to the hospital," the man told the Agence France-Presse. "This has never happened before."

Deaths have also been recorded in the central state of Morelos and Yucatan and Veracruz in the east.

Botswana: Anthrax

Botswana is investigating the mysterious death of 56 elephants in the past 2 months. Authorities have ruled out poaching, as all carcasses were found intact. The country's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism says 12 elephants were found dead last week in villages in the Okavango Delta panhandle. In March, 44 animals died.

Wildlife officer Dimakatso Ntsebe downplayed the possibility of farmers poisoning the elephants, who tend to eat and stomp on crops.

A local farmer says it is difficult to know the cause of death, but says elephants are a constant menace. "Farmers had a good harvest this year, but they constantly face problems with the encroaching animals," the farmer said. "But it is a rare occurrence (to poison the elephants). It might be something else. We will have to wait for investigations."

Local conservationist Ive Maps says the animals could have died of natural causes. "It is also possible that it is a natural phenomenon from the disease anthrax, which occurs in Botswana occasionally, especially after a good rainy season or a severe drought. Poisoning is not something common up there," Maps said. "I think we should wait for pathology to find out if this is indeed poisoning or a natural anthrax phenomenon."

Fellow conservationist Neil Fitt says if the cause of death was poisoning, other species could be dying, as well. "I wonder why we have not heard reports of other species also dying," he said. "If elephants are eating the poison, then it surely means other things will be eating it."

Thailand: African Horse Sickness

When horses suddenly started dying in Thailand as the nation locked down to stem the spread of COVID-19, researchers feared the cause was another deadly bat-borne virus that could kill humans.

"We had no idea what was causing it," said Nopadol Saropala, owner of a horse farm about 100 miles from the Thai capital, who lost 18 horses in 9 days. "We found out later that it came from zebras that were apparently in transit to China."

More than 500 horses have died since the outbreak appeared in late February. Blood samples analyzed in England in March confirmed it was African horse sickness (AHS), a viral disease not known to harm humans but which is widespread among equines, including zebras, in Africa. The illness, spread by biting midges, hadn't broken out in Asia in more than 50 years.

The disease has devastated horse owners in Thailand and sent another signal to the global health community about the potential dangers of the wildlife trade. About 70% of emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic -- transmitted from animals to people.

The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak, thought to have originated in bats, has prompted governments from the USA to Australia to increase funding for studies of relationships between animals, humans and the environment to detect potential contagions before they jump species.

"Global biosecurity is pivotal," said Mark Schipp, Australia's chief veterinarian and president of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). "Once established, diseases can be very costly, difficult to eradicate and can spread to other countries."

North Korea: African Swine Fever

African swine fever (ASF) has caused mass deaths of pigs at farms in South Hwanghae Province and North Hamgyong Province, leading the central government to take action to prevent further outbreaks, Daily NK has learned.

"Livestock disease[s] are spreading rapidly throughout the province," a South Hwanghae Province-based source told Daily NK on May 18. "The authorities have issued an order through the Cabinet that livestock disease control authorities send investigation teams made up of around 20 people to all the farms with outbreaks."

Since early May, pigs at farms in Haeju and Anak County have issued bloody froth from their snouts and mouths before collapsing onto the ground. Around 10 pigs in one pig pen died from the disease, setting off alarm bells among the country's livestock disease control authorities.

There were similar mass deaths at farms in North Hamgyong Province, including in Gyongsong and Musan counties and in Chongjin. These cases were immediately reported to the authorities.

"On May 6, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued an order to the provincial, municipal and county people's committees to have disease control officials thoroughly disinfect and quarantine all livestock, cremate all deceased animals and submit reports on progress of the disease control process," a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK.

Uganda: Cholera

The number of cholera cases in Moroto district has reached the 100 mark despite several interventions by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).

On May 15, WHO delivered several items to the district, comprising beds, drugs and water purification tablets among others to help combat the spread of the waterborne disease. The Health Ministry also handed over 8 vehicles to assist with disease surveillance, sensitization, and case management in communities. Despite the efforts, Loputuk isolation center continues to receive more cases each day. Phillip Lotee, in charge of Loputuk health center III says cholera cases in the district have hit the 100 mark.

On May 17, 18 new cases were admitted to the facility, increasing the number to 102 cases. Of these, 67 have been discharged, and 33 are still on admission. Three persons died last week. Health workers say that although the treatment center is doing its best to treat the cases, containing the outbreak could remain a challenge because most communities still lack access to clean water. Lotee says that unless community engagement is done right, the fight against cholera could take a little longer, as the disease spreads to more villages due to lack of clean water.

India: Japanese Encephalitis

As if the COVID-19 pandemic is not bad enough, some districts of Assam are now in the grip of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and floods.

Official sources said 82 cases of JE and acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) were reported from districts such as Cachar, Dibrugarh, Sonitpur, Kamrup, and Morigaon. So far, there have been no deaths.

"We have recorded 79 cases of AES and 3 cases of JE. Of these, 2 JE patients have been discharged from hospitals. The remaining others are under treatment and stable," Dr. Lakshmanan S, who is the Mission Director of National Health Mission in Assam, said.

He said the 3rd JE patient was "stable" but she had multiple infections.

"The challenges are innumerable but we are working hard. The reality is there will be people whom we will not be able to save because of the natural course of the disease," Lakshmanan added.

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

In August 2019, the country had recorded an increase in the number of yellow fever cases in Katsina, Bauchi, and Benue States. By September 2017, all 36 States in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory [FCT] had reported at least one suspected case of yellow fever. During October 2019, some 839 suspected cases were recorded from all states including FCT, adding up to a total of 3,620 suspected cases reported in 588 LGAs [local government areas] since January 2019; with 18 states recording at least one confirmed case of yellow fever. To ensure a well-coordinated response and quick control of the outbreak, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) activated the national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) which met weekly to review the situation of the epidemic, partners intervention, identify gaps and proffer way forward.

In support of government actions to curb the rising trend of the outbreak, the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) received support from IFRC through this DREF [Disaster Relief Emergency Fund] operation, launched for $170,000 in September 2019. Through this operation, NRCS was actively involved in the yellow fever (YF) response, mobilizing communities for clean-up campaigns, destruction of mosquito breeding spaces, and providing risk communication messages to the affected populations in Katsina and Bauchi States.

Yellow Fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease occurring in tropical regions of Africa and South America. In Nigeria, vaccination against yellow fever is primarily through the routine childhood immunization and where necessary, catch up campaigns are carried out to increase population immunity

Ukraine: Botulism

The Ukrainian Information Service reports (computer translated) 2 cases of foodborne botulism in the Podolsky district of the Odessa region.

According to the report, five people had the meal of smoked fish, home-cooked silver carp, in which a husband and wife couple contracted the intoxication. The status of the patients is not reported. Laboratory diagnosis was confirmed by the Odessa Regional Laboratory Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Foodborne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food. It occurs when spores of bacterium Clostridium botulinum germinate and the organism is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the spores. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.

Typically in a few hours to several days after ingestion of the contaminated food, one will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis can descend through the body starting at the face and working its way down.

Ethiopia: Guinea Worm

Between April 2 and 8, 6 suspected human cases of dracunculiasis in Duli village, Gog district, Gambella region, Ethiopia, were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of April 27, the Ethiopian Dracunculiasis Eradication Program (EDEP) had detected one additional person with an emerged worm, morphologically consistent with human Guinea worm, bringing the total to 7 suspected cases.

This report comes after more than 2 consecutive years of zero reporting, as the last cases were reported in December 2017. Since its establishment in 1993, the EDEP has made remarkable progress toward interruption of disease transmission in humans despite the existence of low-level transmission of the parasite in non-human hosts such as dogs and peri-domestic baboons.

Of the 7 suspected cases, 5 were detected from the Angota side of Duli village and 2 suspected cases were from Metaget Dipach and Wadmaro villages in Gog Dipach Kebele. All the infected people used unsafe drinking water from farm ponds. These water sources were reported to be associated with the baboon infection in June 2019 in the same village.

Worm specimens from all the suspected cases have been collected and are ready for shipment to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory for confirmation (WHO requirement: All worm specimens should be obtained from each case for laboratory confirmation and sent to the WHO Collaborating Center for Research, Training, and Control of Dracunculiasis at the CDC). Morphologically, all specimens are consistent with Dracunculus medinensis.

 

May 7, 2020

Ethiopia: Yellow Fever

A yellow fever outbreak that was reported in March in Gurage Zone of Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region [SNNPR] has been contained since March 29, according to Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, 4 deaths have been reported.

In its notification April 28, the ministry stated that some 86 yellow fever cases were reported at Enemoreena Enor District, Gurage Zone, at the beginning of March.

"The outbreak started with an index case on March 3, and the last case was reported on March 29," it said.

Thus, active case search was conducted in kebeles [the smallest administrative units of Ethiopia] of the district, and 1,275 households and 2 schools were visited as part of the response effort.

Subsequently, 27,178 individuals received yellow fever vaccine, and the outbreak was contained as of March 9; zero cases had been reported until now, it pointed out.

 United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) was confirmed in one horse on an El Paso County premises. This confirmation marks the third case of VSV in Texas this year.

The horse was tested after the owner observed lesions and contacted a veterinary practitioner. The horse has been isolated on the premises and is being monitored. The El Paso site will remain under state quarantine until 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last-affected animal on the premises.

"VSV is spread by direct contact with infected animals or by insect vectors like black flies, sand flies, and biting midges," said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC executive director. "An epidemiological investigation is underway on the VSV-positive premises to identify the means for disease transmission."

It is important to note that the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the VSV virus as the Indiana serotype. This is a different strain from the Starr County confirmation (New Jersey serotype); however, it is the same strain of VSV having been confirmed in horses in nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico. Since the VSV-infected horse has not recently traveled, this could indicate VSV-infected insects are the likely source of infection on this premises.

 India: African Swine Fever

Even as novel coronavirus infections in northeast India are comparatively under control so far, the 8 northeastern states are staring at a new threat -- African swine fever (ASF) -- which is suspected to be behind the mysterious deaths of hundreds of pigs.

Animal resource experts in northeast India suspect that the highly contagious ASF came to the region from Tibet in China through Arunachal Pradesh. Four of the 8 northeastern states are free from coronavirus, whereas its spread has been tamed in the other 4 states.

Besides Assam and Meghalaya, which have reported suspected ASF in a total of 15 districts, other state governments in the northeast have sounded a high alert and asked people, especially owners of piggeries, to refrain from bringing pigs from other states.

Assam Agriculture and Veterinary Minister Atul Bora confirmed the deaths of more than 2,260 pigs in the state's 6 districts due to suspected ASF, with authorities waiting for confirmatory reports from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal.

The Meghalaya government has already banned the transport of pigs from outside the state after the deaths of pigs in some districts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Meghalaya's Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong on April 29 said that the state issued a notification to ban ferrying of pigs from other states. "We have advised people to consume adequately cooked pork only," the Deputy Chief Minister, who is in charge of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, told IANS over the phone from Shillong.

Brazil: Yellow Fever

Santa Catarina has 15 patients infected with yellow fever, according to information issued by the office of Epidemiological Surveillance this past Monday.

There are 2 cases more in relation to the previous bulletin issued 15 days earlier. Of the total number of people who have contracted the disease, 6 were diagnosed in Blumenau, in the Vale of Itajai.

The number of deaths remains the same; 2 deaths in 2020, both registered in the month of March 2020. The first death is a man in Camboriu according to the state registry. The victim was 42 years of age and was hospitalized in Balneario Camboriu. The second registered death occurred on March 31 and was a man 52 years of age in the municipality of Indaial. Neither of these victims were vaccinated against the disease.

Besides Blumenau, residents of 5 other municipalities have contracted the disease this year. In Pomerode and Indaial, 6 people have been registered with the infection, 3 in each city. Camboriu, Jaragua do Sul and Sao Bento Sul, no Norte of SC, had one case each.

According to the office of Epidemiological Surveillance, the disease is also circulating in other municipalities where dead monkeys infected by the virus have been reported. The primates hit with the disease were registered in other cities where there are still no human cases diagnosed: Gaspar, Timbo, Campo Alegre, Rio Negrinho, Luiz Alves and Doutor Pedrinho.

Taiwan: Hantavirus

A man in Keelung City has been diagnosed with hantavirus, the first case in northern Taiwan this year and the 4th nationwide. The patient, who is in his 40s, is a restaurant worker in the port city. He developed symptoms of the disease, including fever, diarrhea, and muscle pain, on April 10.

He was hospitalized on April 11, but the first screening failed to identify the cause of the illness. A second test was conducted on April 27 and led to a confirmed diagnosis of hantavirus on Tuesday May 5, according to the [Taiwan] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The patient reported seeing rats, the carriers of the virus, at his workplace but said he had not been bitten. Sterilization and pest control have been conducted at locations he has visited, and those who have come into contact with him have not developed any symptoms.

Health authorities in Keelung urged restaurants, hotels, markets, food stalls, and food factories to beef up measures against rodents. Residents are advised to sterilize areas contaminated by rodent excrement with diluted bleach.

April 16, 2020

United States: Avian Influenza

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. This is the first confirmed case of HPAI in commercial poultry in the United States since 2017. It appears this HPAI strain mutated from a low pathogenic strain that has been found in poultry in that area recently.

No human cases of this H7N3 avian influenza virus have been detected, and there is no immediate public health concern. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 deg F kills bacteria and viruses.

Samples from the affected flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa.  Virus isolation is ongoing.

APHIS is working closely with the South Carolina State Veterinarian's Office, part of Clemson University, on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the property were depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system.

As part of existing avian influenza response plans, federal and state partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and migratory wild bird populations.

 Poland: African Swine Fever

An outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed April 6 on a farm near the village of Wieckowice near Poznan in western Poland, less than 150 km (93 mi) from the border with Germany.

The outbreak is Poland's second in 2020 and the first in the Poznan region, an important center of pig farming.

The source of the infection were ASF-positive piglets that the farm owner, Smithfield Foods' subsidiary Agri Plus, purchased in mid-March.

The farm in Wieckowice specialises in fattening piglets up to 30 kg. There are just over 10,000 piglets on the farm that will have to be culled, local authorities said, but the eradication of the outbreak might be slowed by safety and social distancing measures imposed in Poland in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The spread of ASF on pig farms and in wild boars in western Poland is a concern for Germany, Europe's top pork producer with approximately 26 million pigs. Germany is also the EU's 2nd largest pork exporter to non-EU markets, after Spain. Most German exports go to China, South Korea, and Japan. Should any of those markets -- China in particular -- classify Germany as an ASF country, it could herald a major crisis for the German pork industry.

That would also spell trouble for Polish pork producers: a Chinese ban on German pork could lead to it flooding the EU market, depressing prices.

 Namibia: Malaria

The ministry of health in Kavango West and Kavango East regions has reported about 827 malaria cases, while inhabitants are being encouraged to use mosquito repellents to curb the spread.

"We are having cases, but we are not in an outbreak; we are keeping it under control, but the cases that we have now are more than what we had last year. Remember we experienced low rainfall last year," said the regional chief medical officer for the 2 Kavango regions, Dr. Abiola Adesina.

Adesina said in 2019 the 2 Kavango regions had fewer than 200 combined cases; for this year starting in January to last week Friday, the 2 regions reported a combined 827 cases, 4 times more than last year.

"The malaria prevention program in the 2 Kavango regions is running well, and it's one of our priorities. Our field officers are busy doing their work in all our districts," he said.

"We have an integrated program; we combine vector control with case detection and management, which means we treat malaria patients and we follow up their contacts and test them as well and we also spray their houses if they have not been sprayed yet, amongst other measures," he continued.

 South Sudan: Yellow Fever

On 3 Mar 2020, the Ministry of Health of South Sudan reported 2 presumptive positive cases of yellow fever in Kajo Keni County, Central Equatoria State, South Sudan. Both the cases were subsequently confirmed positive by plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT) at the regional reference laboratory, Uganda Viral Research Institute (UVRI).

The cases were identified through a cross-border rapid response team investigation mounted in response to the recently declared outbreak in the bordering Moyo district, Uganda. During the investigation, the team collected 41 blood samples from 5 villages that were in close proximity to the bordering Moyo district, Uganda. Of the 41 individuals whose samples were collected, 9 (22%) had history of fever, but none had history of jaundice. The individuals represented a spectrum of occupations typical for the area (farming, forestry, homemaker, soldier). Most of the individuals investigated were between 20 and 45 years of age, and 18 (44%) of these individuals were female.

In addition, a rapid entomology survey in the villages found evidence of multiple mosquito breeding sites and abundant Aedes species mosquitos.

As of March 28, these are the only 2 cases (no deaths) that have been confirmed from Kajo Keji County.

South Sudan has experienced several yellow fever outbreaks in the past. The last outbreak was declared in 2018, in Sakure payam, Nzara County, Gbudue State when 3 laboratory-confirmed cases with no associated deaths was reported. To respond to the outbreak, a targeted reactive vaccination campaign was mounted in the affected area. Prior to this outbreak, in May 2003, a total of 178 cases with 27 deaths were reported in Imatong region, Torit County, South Sudan. A reactive vaccination campaign was mounted to respond to the outbreak in 2003.

Thailand: African Horse Sickness

The death toll from the outbreak of African horse sickness [AHS] in Thailand stands at more than 150, according to media reports.

However, the confirmed death toll in Thailand's latest update to the World Organization for Animal Health [OIE] stands at less than half that, with 5 additional deaths confirmed since last week's report.

The discrepancies will relate to delays in the official reporting of data and obtaining confirmation of the cause of death.

The country is fighting to contain the insect-borne virus, which kills a majority of the horses it infects.

Measures to contain the disease include the establishment of surveillance and containment zones, quarantine, movement restrictions, disinfection, and other control measures to contain the biting midges responsible for the spread of the infection.

Pictures have emerged on Facebook of stables being enclosed in plastic and being regularly fumigated in a bid to kill the biting insects and keep them away from horses.

AHS is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa. Horses are considered the most susceptible, with nearly 90 percent dying if infected. It kills roughly half of infected mules and 10% of donkeys. However, infected African donkeys and mules rarely show signs of disease.

People are required to report any sudden death or suspected cases to the Department of Livestock Development.

India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

A total of 5 new positive cases of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, have been reported in the district since [Wed 8 Apr 2020].

On April 2, the blood samples of 4 persons tested positive for KFD. All 4 have been hospitalized and their health condition is stable.

The blood samples of a 35-year-old farmer from Bettabasavani in Tirthahalli taluk tested positive for the disease. He was suffering from high fever and ache in joints from the past few days.

With this, the total number of positive cases in the district since Jan. 1 has risen to 141 including 112 cases from Tirthahalli taluk and 29 cases from Sagar taluk. As many as 5 people have died in the district due to the disease during this period.

Meanwhile, B.Y. Raghavendra, Shivamogga MP, held a meeting with the officials of the Department of Health and Family Welfare in the city and took information from them on the measures taken to tackle KFD. Mr. Raghavendra told the meeting that the State government would seek the assistance of experts from Indian Council of Medical Research and Indian Institute of Science on enhancing the efficacy of the vaccine administered against KFD, to study the reasons for the outbreak in 2019 and 2020 and on stepping-up field level surveillance activities to control the spread of the disease.

United States: Plague

In Yellowstone, cougars are facing an epidemic of their own: Bubonic plague.

The flea-borne disease, most famous for killing half of Europe during the medieval ages, is showing up in the cougar population inhabiting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem [GYE], according to a recent study.

Findings suggest it could be widespread. Of the 28 big cats researchers tested, 12 were infected or had been infected, according to the study published in Environmental Conservation.

"This suggests that: (bubonic plague) may be present at higher levels in the GYE than previously assumed," it said, also adding that plague may be a "significant" cause of death for the animals.

Researchers carried out the study over the course of 9 years, following the discovery of 2 dead cougars, a mother and her cub, in Wyoming, the Smithsonian Magazine said.

The deaths weren't in and of themselves surprising, lead researcher Mark Elbroch told Livescience.

It was the winter, and so starvation was the presumed culprit, but when the true cause of death was discovered, it "was a shocker," he told the outlet.

Researchers said it's very unlikely the average person would ever catch plague from a mountain lion, but given that the disease is capable of animal-to-human transmission, they recommended warnings for some.

India: Foot and Mouth Disease

The unknown disease that has infected cattle in some areas of Churachandpur district has been confirmed to be foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), stated Veterinary and Animal Husbandry (V&AH) Services Director Dr. H Chaoba.

Speaking to the media at his Sanjenthong office April 14, Dr. H Chaoba said that reports were received about an unknown disease striking cattle at Thingkhanphai village of Churachandpur district and surrounding villages.

Samples were tested in the laboratory; the unknown disease has been confirmed to be FMD, Dr. Chaoba said.

Four calves have succumbed to the disease. Infected cattle of Thingkhanphai and surrounding villages have been treated, while uninfected cattle have been vaccinated, he said.

There were also reports about an outbreak of FMD at Maphou Kuki village of Kangpokpi district and surrounding villages. As a team of veterinary officials went to the area, 2 cows were suffering from the disease. Another team of officials had visited Sora, Khangabok, and Moijing in Thoubal district as there were reports about an outbreak of the same disease at these places too, Dr Chaoba said.

FMD is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through air. Generally, FMD cases are more common during spring season, but the disease can also infect cattle during winter and summer.

January 31, 2020

Nigeria: Lassa Fever

The commissioner for health in Edo state, Dr. Patrick Okundia, on Jan. 24 in Benin said 76 out of 175 suspected cases of Lassa fever tested positive to the epidemic.

Okundia made this known during a Lassa fever committee meeting chaired by the state deputy governor, Philip Shaibu, and a representative of the World Health Organization.

He said: "A total of 76 suspected cases of Lassa fever were confirmed yesterday in the state, and they are currently on admission in the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital. We have not recorded any new death but have also reduced our case fatality rate to less than 10%. The number of cases in the ward now is 34, and we have discharged over 28 patients that have been fully treated and cured."

In his remarks, Shaibu called on all hospitals across the 18 local government areas of the state to refer any suspected cases to Irrua Specialist hospital and isolation centers.

He said: "Ministries of environment, agriculture, education, information, and other relevant ministries should also step up in the area of public awareness of the people. The 18 local government councils of the state should call for an emergency meeting, which will include private health practitioners for the purpose of early referral."

On her part, the state coordinator of the World Health Organiation, Faith Ireye, revealed that contact tracing in the state is the best in the country. Ireye called on the people to practice simple handwashing to avert contracting the disease.

 China: Coronavirus

A total of 840 new cases of pneumonia caused by new coronavirus infection were added in Hubei Province (Wuhan, Huangshi, Shiyan, and Xiangyang). The total also includes new cases in Yichang, Jingzhou, Jingmen, Ezhou, Xiaogan City, Huanggang City, Xianning City, Suizhou City, Enshi Prefecture, Xiantao City, Tianmen Qianjiang City, and Shennongjia Forest District.

There were 25 new deaths in the province, including 19 in Wuhan, 2 in Xiaogan, and 1 in Jingmen, Ezhou, Huanggang, and Tianmen.

As of Jan. 28, Hubei Province has cumulatively reported 3,554 cases of pneumonia caused by new coronavirus infection.

At present, 3,349 patients are still being treated in the hospital, of which 671 are critically ill. A total of 22,095 close contacts have been tracked, and 20,366 people are still under medical observation.

 India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

Viscera samples of dead monkeys, collected from Shantigrama in Koppa taluk in Chikkamagaluru district, have tested positive to Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD).

The ticks from 10 different places in Koppa taluk, including Shantigramma, Heruru and Kunduru, were collected and sent to the laboratory. The presence of KFD virus was confirmed in the samples of infected ticks collected from Shantigrama.

District Surveillance Officer Dr. Manjunath said that the ticks collected during December were sent to the Viral Diagnostic Laboratory in Shivamogga. The outbreak of KFD begins from January. Vaccination is being given to people residing in Malnad, where the infected ticks were found. Awareness is being created on the precautionary measures. People who come across dead monkeys should immediately alert the health department, he said.

 Sierra Leone: Marburg Virus Disease

Scientists have detected Marburg virus in fruit bats in Sierra Leone, marking the first time the deadly virus has been found in West Africa. A total of 11 Egyptian rousette fruit bats tested positive for active Marburg virus infection. Research teams caught the bats separately in 3 health districts.

The presence of Marburg virus, a close relative to Ebola virus that also causes hemorrhagic disease in people, was detected in advance of any reported cases of human illness in Sierra Leone. However, the virus's presence in bats means people who live nearby could be at risk for becoming infected. No outbreaks have been reported to date.

The findings, based on PCR, antibody, and virus isolation data, were officially published Jan. 24 in the journal Nature Communications. Preliminary findings were announced in December 2018 to ensure rapid notification to the citizens of Sierra Leone and the international health community.

The paper highlights the value of collaborating with government and key stakeholders across human, animal, and environmental sectors to engage at-risk communities about the discovery, address health concerns, and communicate risk-reduction strategies before recognized spillovers occur.

Marburg virus was detected by projects led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the USAID-funded PREDICT project led by the One Health Institute at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine; Njala University, Sierra Leone; and the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone.

Uganda: Crimean CONGO Hemorrhagic Fever

Social media have reported a confirmed case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever [CCHF] in Kagadi, in addition to 4 more suspect cases reported from the same district. An RFI has been sent to the members in order to verify the event and collect more information on cases, occupational exposure and implemented public health response measures.

EpiCore network has confirmed the event. Following a direct information from the National Public Health Institute a CCHF case has been confirmed in a 23-year-old patient in Kagadi District while results from samples taken from 4 suspected cases from the same area are pending; in addition, 9 contacts have been line listed and are under observation. The District Rapid Response Team is currently investigation the outbreak in collaboration with the National Rapid Response Team and WHO representatives.

The RFI has been confirmed, EpiCore network may provide further details about ongoing investigation and lab results, if available.

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

More than 30,000 cattle have been vaccinated against anthrax in Bikita and Gutu districts in Masvingo Province following the outbreak of the disease recently, an official has said. This comes in the wake of reports that more people continued to be diagnosed with anthrax as the districts have recorded more than 70 patients while 50 cattle have also died as of Jan. 24.

In an interview, the Department of Veterinary Services provincial officer, Dr. Ernest Dzimwasha, said his office had managed to attend to 2 dip tanks in Bikita and Gutu where officials vaccinated a considerable number of animals. "Following the outbreak of anthrax last week, we launched a massive vaccination exercise. We managed to vaccinate 14,832 cattle in Bikita and another 18,335 in Gutu from 2 dip tanks," he said. He added that the anthrax situation was expected to normalize after the vaccination but indicated that the department always carried routine vaccination programs. "We hope our vaccination exercise will put a stop to cattle deaths. The department is also carrying out routine vaccination exercises regardless of whether there is an outbreak or not," he said.

However, Bikita District Development Coordinator Mr. Bernard Hadzirambwi said the district was still recording cattle deaths despite the ongoing vaccination exercise. He appealed for more vaccines which would cover more cattle. "As of Jan. 20, the number of people treated of human anthrax had risen to 72 from 34 last week while cattle deaths increased to 50 from 33 cases. While the vaccination exercise is ongoing in Bikita East, the vaccines are not adequate. We, therefore, appeal to the Government to avail more vaccines that can cover the whole district. We expect at least 14,000 more vaccines, to carter for the remaining areas," he said.

Indonesia: Anthrax

The village of Panguragan Kulon in Indonesian port city Cirebon is unique in its own way. Most villagers earn their living by collecting and reselling trash. Huge sacks of waste are visible along the roads of Panguragan Kulon, many of them appearing to contain bottles.

However, when CNA visited the village in mid-January, a different type of waste was found at the backyard of a house: medical waste. Small needles, used hospital infusion bottles, and syringes with dried blood were just a few of the items scattered on the ground. Dozens of white gunny bags containing other medical waste such as medicine and little glass vials were also filling up a backyard about 1600 sq ft.

"I rented this house about 15 months ago. The garbage has always been there," an occupant told CNA. The woman lives there with her husband and her children aged 13 and 23. They rented the house for 3 million rupiah ($220) per year, knowing that the backyard is filled with medical waste. "Let it be ... we need the money," she said.

When it was pointed out that there may be viruses in the waste, she said her family never went to the backyard anyway. "I am not concerned ... We are never sick," she said. Her lack of concern was despite an investigation that concluded several years ago showing that the soil has been contaminated with various viruses, and also traces of anthrax.

Her younger sister, who lives a few miles away, claimed that the waste belongs to a man who worked for the military. In 2017, the man ordered people to dump the medical waste at the backyard of the house. Items that were considered recyclable were sold to someone else.

January 24, 2020

Canada: Equine Herpesvirus

On 6 Jan 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) was notified of 2 cases of equine abortion in Simcoe County. Both cases were confirmed to be caused by equine herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-1). Both mares aborted during their 10th month of pregnancy, and both mares arrived from an out-of-province location in December.

A third mare was exposed to the infected mares, but she has remained unaffected.

The farm manager kept the new mares separate from the resident mares and in a small group. This type of management procedure reduced the risk of spreading the virus to the entire herd. Working with the facility's veterinarian, the farm manager isolated the affected mares and has voluntarily placed the premises under quarantine to reduce the risk of viral spread.

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural and Development (MDARD) has confirmed chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 3 white-tailed deer from a Newaygo County deer farm. All 3 deer were 4.5 years old. The samples were submitted for routine testing as part of the state's CWD surveillance program for farmed deer.

To date, CWD has not been detected in free-ranging deer in Newaygo County. As part of MDARD's disease response, an investigation will be conducted to rule out exposure of any other farmed deer.

"Chronic wasting disease is a serious disease affecting both farmed and free-ranging deer," said state veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. "MDARD and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources work together, in partnership with the state's deer farmers, to ensure the protection of all of Michigan's deer."

China: Coronavirus

An unexplained pneumonia in China caused the Korean quarantine authorities to strengthen the quarantine, and a fever-sensing camera is installed to monitor the body temperature of Chinese tourists who entered Korea at Incheon Port 1 International Passenger Terminal.

Pneumonia confirmed by the new coronavirus, which is prevalent in Wuhan, China, was confirmed for the first time on Jan. 20. According to health officials, a Chinese woman, who arrived at Incheon International Airport on a plane from Wuhan last weekend, was confirmed with pneumonia. The patient showed signs of pneumonia, including high fever and cough. The health authorities entered the airport at the same time, confirmed the symptoms of high fever, suspected pneumonia, and went into quarantine and testing. The Centers for Disease Control immediately quarantined the woman and entered treatment with a nationally designated quarantine bed.

Meanwhile, Beijing's Daxing District Health and Welfare Committee said 2 fever patients who had been to Wuhan were confirmed as a new pneumonia patient on Jan. 19. They are currently being treated at a designated hospital and said they are stable. Daxing District is where Beijing New Airport opened last year. The Guangdong Provincial Health and Welfare Committee said that a 66-year-old man who had visited a relative's home in Wuhan showed fever and lethargy and was diagnosed with Wuhan pneumonia. Confirmation patients have also emerged in Shenzhen, a neighboring Hong Kong province in southern China, raising concerns that the new pneumonia has already spread throughout China.

Bangladesh: Nipah Virus

Media sources in Bangladesh are reporting a Nipah virus infection in the city of Khulna. The reported case is a 20-year-old female who has been hospitalized since Jan. 11 at the Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH).

"A medical board has confirmed her infection by Nipah virus. As her infection is a risk to other patients, she is being treated separately at the hospital's Medicine unit 1," said SM Kamal Hossain, chief of KMCH Medicine Department.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the Bangladesh and India outbreaks, consumption of fruits or fruit products contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection. Fruit bats of the family Pteropodidae are the natural hosts for Nipah virus. There is no apparent disease in fruit bats.

In more recent outbreaks of the disease, person-to-person transmission has been seen in Bangladesh and India.

The disease in humans can range from asymptomatic infection to fatal encephalitis. Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.

The case fatality rate is estimated at 40% to 75%; however, this rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for surveillance investigations, according to the WHO.

Czech Republic: Avian Influenza

The presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza has been confirmed in the Czech Republic 3 years after the previous event. The outbreak affects a small poultry farm in Stepanov nad Svratkou, in the Vysocina Region. The virus was introduced by wild water birds. It is a highly pathogenic subtype of H5N8 virus, fatal to birds, but transmission to humans has not yet been reported.

The infected stock were 12 hens, 6 of which died within 2 days, and there were 3 ducks. Veterinary inspectors started their investigation and took precautionary measures immediately after the reporting by the breeder about the poultry deaths, and sent dead hens for examination to the State Veterinary Institute in Prague. The latter confirmed the highly pathogenic avian influenza in all 6 animals.

"My colleagues at the Ministry are ready to help affected farmers with compensation that they are legally entitled to. But most important now is to prevent further spread of infection, in particular by preventing contact between wild and domestic birds," said Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman.

"The remaining poultry on the farm will be euthanized; a 3-km protection zone and a surveillance zone of 10 km radius will be defined, and extraordinary veterinary measures will be declared there," said Zbynek Semerad, the Central Director of the State Veterinary Administration.

Brazil: Yellow Fever

With the arrival of summer when the occurrence of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, such as yellow fever, increases, the Brazilian Ministry of Health is alerting the population to get vaccinated against the disease.

January 17, 2020

India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

A 58-year-old woman from Seegemakki village in Tumari Gram Panchayat limits in Sagar taluk died due to Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, at a private hospital in Manipal in Udupi district on Jan. 11.

The deceased, who had complained of high fever and aches in joints, was admitted to government sub-divisional hospital in Sagar city for treatment on Jan. 7. Her blood tested positive for KFD.

Rajesh Suragihalli, District Health Officer, told The Hindu that as her health condition had worsened, she was shifted to a private hospital in Manipal for advanced treatment. She failed to respond to the treatment.

A year after a major outbreak of the disease in the region, 2 other confirmed cases of Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) popularly known as 'monkey fever' have been reported in Shivamogga district of Karnataka in the past one week.

One victim, from Hemmakki village in Theerthahalli was diagnosed on Jan. 2. The other, from Sagar, was diagnosed on Jan. 7. The diagnosis was confirmed after tests conducted at the Virus Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) in Shivamogga.

Both suffered from fever and dehydration, which are known symptoms of KFD. One was shifted to Kasturba Hospital in Manipal after the fever continued to persist. He is currently receiving treatment and is likely to get discharged soon. The other has been admitted to a government hospital in Sagar.

KFD recurs every year in the months from November to May and is widely reported in the summer months. These are the first cases reported in the KFD season of 2019-20. Last year, the disease took the lives of 14 people, including 12 people from Shivamogga district. 441 people were diagnosed with the disease in total. The outbreak of the disease in 2018 began as early as November in Aralagodu village in Shivamogga.

In 2019, the Karnataka Health Department admitted that there were lapses in managing the outbreak of the disease last year. The protocol was not followed in vaccinating a 10 km radius when the suspected case of KFD was found in Aralagodu. Subsequently, an outbreak of the disease occurred in Brahmana Ilakale, 8.6 km from Aralagodu.

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

Three people are battling for their lives after consuming meat from animals that died of anthrax in Mahusekwa, Marondera district. The 3 cases were picked at Chimbwanda Clinic last week and were confirmed at Mahusekwa Hospital on Jan. 6.

Marondera District Veterinary Officer Dr. Kramer Manyetu said the affected 3 people consumed meat from 2 cattle. "No meat was still available when the affected property was visited. The 2 cattle deaths were reported at Chimbwanda West Dip Tank, which has a census of 800 cattle. The combined census for a 10-kilometre radius is 4,500 cattle covering a total of 3 dip tanks, namely, Chimbwanda West, Chimbwanda communal area and Nyandoro," he said. Dr. Manyetu said they had secured 5,000 doses required to cover the 3 dip tanks.

The Department of Veterinary Services has received 811,000 doses of anthrax vaccine from Botswana's Vaccine Institute to deal with outbreaks during the rainy season.

Another outbreak of anthrax has hit Bikita District in Masvingo with 28 people reportedly diagnosed with the disease at different clinics so far. Masvingo Department of Veterinary Services provincial officer Dr. Ernest Dzimwasha confirmed.

Bikita District Development Coordinator Mr. Bernard Hadzirambwi said most parts of Bikita East constituency were badly affected. "We are battling an anthrax outbreak in Bikita District, which … has killed 24 cattle in Ward 19 and 20 in Bikita East. … We have a total of 28 people diagnosed with the disease and more are expected as we hear that some are ignoring advice against eating beef from dead cattle," he said.

Anthrax is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by bacteria that normally affects animals, especially ruminants. The disease affects all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Signs of anthrax include sudden death of livestock, rapid decomposition of the bloated carcasses and tarry blood coming out of all natural openings. The blood of the carcass is brownish and does not clot. During the rainy season, the country usually experiences more anthrax outbreaks because of the rains that wash away the top soil and expose spores.

Malaysia: Poliomyelitis

Two more children have been confirmed infected with polio virus in Sabah after a 3-month baby boy was recorded having the disease in Tuaran in December last year.

Health director-general Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said the 2 boys, aged 8 and 11 were foreigners. "The 8-year-old boy who is from Sandakan was found not vaccinated against polio. He had fever and 3 days later, he could not walk.

"Another boy in Kinabatangan who was also not vaccinated, was admitted to the hospital after complaining of back pain and was unable to walk. The patient is now able to walk with a walking stick," he said.

He said all patients are still being treated at the hospital and are in stable condition. Dr. Noor Hisham added that tests at the World Health Organization Polio Regional Reference Laboratory (WHO Polio RRL) in Melbourne, Australia found the polio virus which infected all 3 patients have genetic links with the polio case in Philippines. And that detailed investigations conducted to identify the source of infection in the 2 new cases found they were having acute flaccid paralysis (AFP).

To date, 705 residents from the villages of the 2 boys had been screened and there were no AFP cases recorded. The Health Ministry is calling on Sabahans especially parents to pay attention to their children's vaccination requirements by getting 2 dosages of oral polio vaccine during an ongoing campaign. He also reminded the people to obtain early treatment at the clinic and hospital if there were symptoms of polio and take the preventive measures as advised by the Health Ministry.

Argentina: Hantavirus

A pregnant woman from an area in Buenos Aires province was admitted to hospital with a hantavirus infection, so the local health authorities are investigating how she was infected in order to predict if there are possibilities of more cases.

The patient is 28 weeks pregnant and was taken into the health system for a physical illness that later was recognized by the physicians attending her as a hantavirus infection; currently she is hospitalized in the interzonal hospital San Martin in La Plata.

The municipal Secretary of Health, Diego Schiaffino, stated that the woman "never met the serious condition criterion" and indicated that her progress was favorable, so that she will be released in the coming hours.

"We are dedicated to tracking down and evaluating [the situation] in order to see how and where she was infected. We wish to see if she was infected in the area, what is the situation where she lives, if she has traveled elsewhere, if she has worked in the countryside," the local official remarked.

Pakistan: Poliomyelitis

A 3-year-old boy in Thatta's Mirpur Sakhro has been diagnosed with polio in Sindh, bringing the total for 2019 to 25 cases and Pakistan's tally to 135. The Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for polio in Sindh confirmed the case.

This is not a case from 2020, as the 34-month boy was affected by polio with weakness in the left upper and lower limbs on dec. 26. According to his parents, he had received 7 doses of the oral polio vaccine and 3 routine doses plus the IPV were verified by card. An investigation has been opened into these claims.

EOC Sindh's spokesperson said that the long gap in door-to-door campaigns during 2019 created a large pool of vulnerable children. The National EOC and Sindh EOC have started to fight back to eradicate polio and reverse this trend. The 1st step was the successful December NID, and now areas with recent detections are being targeted in a special response round.

"We will follow this up with 2 NIDs in February and April with another targeted case response in between," the spokesperson said. Efforts from December to April will bridge the immunity gap and lead to a significant decrease in the intensity of virus transmission in the 2nd half of 2020, they said.

 Thailand: Coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with officials in Thailand and China following reports of confirmation of the novel coronavirus in a person in Thailand.

The person was a traveler from Wuhan, China, and was identified by Thai officials on Jan. 8, and hospitalized that day. The person is recovering from the illness according to Thai officials.

The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected and reinforces why WHO calls for on-going active monitoring and preparedness in other countries. WHO has issued guidance on how to detect and treat persons ill with the new virus.

The genetic sequencing shared by China enables more countries to rapidly diagnose patients.

WHO reiterates that it is essential that investigations continue in China to identify the source of this outbreak and any animal reservoirs or intermediate hosts.

Japan: Classical Swine Fever

The agriculture ministry said on Wednesday that a classical swine fever [CSF] infection has been confirmed at a pig farm in the prefecture of Okinawa for the first time since the autumn of 1986.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government plans to cull more than 1,800 pigs at the farm in the city of Uruma and at another farm where infection is suspected, in accordance with the law.

In September 2018, the 1st CSF outbreak in Japan in 26 years was identified at a pig farm in the central city of Gifu. Before the latest outbreak in Okinawa, CSF infections were confirmed in a total of 12 prefectures, mainly in the Chubu and Kanto regions, such as Aichi, Mie and Saitama. The virus is believed to have been transmitted through wild boars.

The ministry will carefully look into infection routes, as it is thought that pigs at the farm in Okinawa may have become infected via different routes to prior cases.

Officials in Okinawa's pork industry were shocked by the news and expressed fears over the spread of the disease and harmful rumors.

"After the outbreak in Gifu, we strengthened epidemic prevention measures. It is regretful that we are put in such a serious situation," said Seizo Inamine, 64, chairman of the prefecture's pig farming promotion council. "We are praying that vaccination will be conducted to prevent further spread of the disease."


January 10, 2020

India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

A slew of preventive measures taken by the Department of Health and Family Welfare against Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, has paid off as no positive cases have been reported in the State since July.

In the KFD season of 2018-19 (from September 2018 to June 2019), 14 people died in Karnataka because of this viral infection. Of them, 12 were from Shivamogga district. Of the 440 positive cases reported during this period, 341 were from Shivamogga district.

Kiran SK, Deputy Director of Viral Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), Shivamogga, the main arm of the department in tackling KFD, told The Hindu that to prevent the outbreak, field-level vigilance was stepped up from June in 14 affected subdistricts spread over 8 districts.

He said that coordination between the Health and Family Welfare, Animal Husbandry, and Forest Departments was imperative for successful on-field vigilance in tackling the outbreak as it involves identifying dead monkeys in forests, collecting their blood samples and viscera for tests, and disposing of the carcass in a safe manner. In all the affected districts, a Rapid Response Team (RRT) comprising senior officials of these departments were formed for better coordination.

Canada: Vaping-related illness

Alberta's chief medical officer of health confirmed the province's first case of severe vaping-associated lung illness on Jan. 2. Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the case was confirmed a few days ago but would not say where in Alberta it was reported.

Hinshaw said the patient was admitted to hospital for treatment but would not release any further information about the patient for confidentiality reasons, apart from saying they are now recovering at home.

"We're not releasing that information because it is a rare event," Hinshaw said. "In this particular case, the symptoms really were about the lungs."

The Alberta case is the 15th vaping-associated illness reported in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Of the 14 other cases, 3 occurred in British Columbia, 2 were in New Brunswick, 4 were reported in Ontario, and 5 happened in Quebec. Of those 14 cases, 11 people required admission to hospital.

"We are actively monitoring the situation in Alberta and working with health officials across Canada to share information and better understand this illness," Hinshaw said.

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

 A deadly anthrax outbreak has hit Gokwe North district in the Midlands province, with farmers losing large herds of cattle while several people were reportedly hospitalized after eating infected meat.

Midlands veterinary officer Munyaradzi Chigiji confirmed the development and said his department had since moved in to put the outbreak under control. "We have had great losses of livestock to date, and our tests confirmed that it was anthrax. Farmers have lost huge numbers of cattle due to the outbreak so far. We have also recorded cases of human beings who have been treated of the disease in the affected areas. Although we cannot confirm the number of deaths of the livestock, what we can say is that farmers have lost out," Chigiji said.

"During my visit to the area, I arrived at a homestead which had lost 15 cattle. I also visited another one which had lost 4. We also have several other farmers who have lost their livestock due to anthrax." The hardest hit areas are Nembudziya, Simchembo and Chireya.

Southern Eye spoke to farmers at Nembudziya Growth Point who confirmed that the outbreak was wreaking havoc in the area. "I lost a herd of 11 cattle due to the outbreak. In my village alone, over 80 cattle have perished in the recent past due to the outbreak. Here, our main economic activity has been cotton growing, but lately we had shifted to cattle ranching because the cotton has become less profitable due to falling prices," said Nomore Machivenyika, a farmer in Maserukwe village. "This outbreak has, therefore, come as a big blow for us."

United Kingdom: Avian Influenza

Authorities are investigating a suspected case of a notifiable bird disease on a poultry farm in County Fermanagh. It was discovered 4 days ago when a vet became concerned about increased mortality among the broiler birds.

Tests are being run to see whether it is bird flu or another disease called Newcastle disease. It will be several days before final results are back. Restrictions have been put in place on the farm as a precautionary measure.

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs can order the culling of birds to prevent disease spreading. Farmers have been urged to step up their biosecurity.

The disease risk increases in winter with the arrival of migratory birds which can carry them. In recent years bird flu has been confirmed in wild birds on several occasions.

Last month, the H5 strain of bird flu was detected at a commercial poultry business in Suffolk; 27 000 chickens were culled there.

China: Plague

On Nov. 11, Beijing Center for Disease Control (Beijing CDC) identified 2 cases of Yersinia pestis, induced pneumonic plague, in a husband and wife from the Sunitezuo Qi County of the Xilinguole Prefecture in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Three days later, another case was identified in a patient from Huade County of Ulanchabu City in Inner Mongolia, 130 km from the first 2 cases. China CDC established no epidemiological relationship between the 2 events.

A total of 447 persons with direct contact in Beijing and 46 in Inner Mongolia were quarantined for medical observation. As of Nov. 21, all persons with direct contact were discharged from medical observation.