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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.

December 31, 2020

Russia: African Swine Fever

Tatarstan isn't considered a safe region regarding the African swine fever [ASF] anymore, claimed vice head of the Main Veterinary Office of the Tatarstan Cabinet of Ministers, Gabdulkhak Motygullin, on Dec. 21.

"I will start with the unpleasant news: a mortality case of wild boars in Yelabuga District was found on Dec. 19. Samples were taken; a laboratory showed the ASF. The samples were sent to the Federal Center in Vladimir to confirm the diagnosis. We are waiting for confirmation of the results of the tests."

Around 10 corpses of boars were found not far from Tanayka village. The Commission for Emergency Situations in Yelabuga decided to place checkpoints in a 5 km zone from the site the infected animals were found; employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs will restrict access for both animals and people at these checkpoints.

Tanayka, Lekarevo, and Armaly villages are in this zone. According to the Commission for Emergency Situations, private households and small farms in the settlements in this zone have about 50 heads of swine. They all are subjected to seizure and further destruction. Moreover, groups of hunters have mobilized in Yelabuga District to catch wild animals to prevent the disease from spreading.

Norway: Yersiniosis

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has discovered an increased incidence of the gastrointestinal bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica O3. So far, the infection has been detected in 10 people who live in several counties. Outbreak investigation has been initiated in collaboration with relevant municipal chief physicians, the Veterinary Institute, and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

The patients are between 11 and 59 years old, and all are women. The infected live in Innlandet, Viken, Oslo, Vestfold and Telemark, and Vestland. Bacteria with a similar DNA profile have been detected in all 10 people, and all samples have been taken during the last 2 weeks in November 2020 and the first week in December 2020.

The National Institute of Public Health collaborates with the municipal health service, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute to map whether patients can have a common source of infection. The patients are interviewed, and the local Norwegian Food Safety Authority takes samples from food products in the homes of those who are infected, if residues are available, to identify the source of the outbreak if possible.

India: Shigellosis

Authorities in Kozhikode district in Kerala went into high alert mode after a boy was found infected with the contagious Shigella bacterium. Health Minister K.K. Shailaja has called upon the people to observe caution. Shailaja, however, maintained that the situation was under control and that the Health Department was geared up to face any eventuality.

The 1.5-year-old child was admitted to a private hospital in Kozhikode following complaints of acute stomach pain and diarrhea. Doctors confirmed on Dec. 24 that the boy was infected with Shigella bacteria that leads to intestinal disease shigellosis.

Kozhikode and other parts of the district were under observation after some cases of shigellosis were detected there. The district was in the news earlier due to Nipah virus cases. Kozhikode District Medical Officer Dr. V. Jayasree, however, said that there was no need to panic and that the Health Department had taken measures to contain the disease. She called upon the people to remain vigilant and seek medical attention in case of diarrhea, which was one of the main symptoms of the disease.

Guinea: Yellow Fever

Between Nov. 6 and Dec. 15, 52 suspected cases of yellow fever, including 14 deaths, were reported in Guinea. A total of 50 cases were reported from the health district of Koundara in northwest Guinea, one from the health district of Dubreka (near Conakry, in the southwest), and one from the health district of Kouroussa, in the center of the country.

Analysis performed at the Nongo, Conakry Laboratory of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers revealed that 10 cases of suspected YF were IgM positive for YF. Of these, 8 were from unvaccinated suspect cases from Koundara, 1 was from Dubreka, and 1 from Kouroussa.

Additional testing at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) in Senegal similarly found that 8 samples from Koundara had signals positive for YF. On differential testing of the 8 samples from Koundara, 7 out of 8 YF IgM-positive results were also IgM positive for at least one of the following: dengue, West Nile virus, and/or Zika. Seroneutralization (PRNT) testing found that 7 out of the 8 samples were PRNT positive for YF.

China: Avian Influenza

According to the Hunan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on the evening of Dec. 21, a human case of H5N6 avian influenza was confirmed in Ningyuan County, Yongzhou City, Hunan Province. The patient is currently receiving treatment, and his vital signs are stable. Local live poultry trading has been suspended from Dec. 20.

It is understood that the patient contracted the disease at a live poultry trading market in Ningyuan County. He was sampled by the Yongzhou CDC for H5N6 avian influenza virus nucleic acid testing, and the result was positive. The patient is being treated in an ICU ward of a hospital in Ningyuan County. The patient's vital signs are stable, but he is still on a ventilator.

Live poultry trading in all farmers' markets in Ningyuan County will be suspended. At present, Ningyuan County has completed cleanup and elimination of the 8 major farmer's markets in the county and 44 farmer's markets in towns. The relevant departments have monitored close contacts of the patient.

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

The Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department was notified by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) that a tribal hunter harvested a whitetail deer from the Meriwether Road area on Nov. 11 that tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The tribal hunter had voluntarily provided a sample to MFWP for CWD testing in Bozeman.

CWD is a fatal neurologic disease of moose, elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, and caribou for which there is no known cure. It belongs to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE's), a group that also causes "mad cow disease" in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

The Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department (BFWD) will be working with MFWP, USDA-APHIS, BIA, and other agencies to come up with a Blackfeet CWD Management Plan. 

Brazil: Yellow Fever

In a follow-up report on the yellow fever situation in Parana state, Brazil, the Secretariat of Health of Parana released a biweekly yellow fever bulletin recording 3 dead monkeys (epizootics) confirmed in the municipalities of Cruz Machado, Honorio Serpa, and Palmas.

The epidemiological period beginning in July 2020 totals 87 notifications of epizootic diseases: 11 were confirmed as the deaths of monkeys infected by yellow fever [virus]; 32 were discarded; 35 have been identified as indeterminate, and 9 are under investigation.

During this period, Parana did not register cases of yellow fever in humans. Of the 10 registered notifications, 9 were discarded, and one is under investigation.

"Although we have no cases of yellow fever in humans, we are on alert for the circulation of the virus due to confirmed monkey deaths. These animals do not transmit the disease [directly]. That is why monkeys are considered sentinels and signalers of the presence of the virus," said the Secretary of Health of Parana, Beto Preto.

The Department of Health recommends vaccination against yellow fever to the [human] population. The vaccine is available throughout the public health network, and those who are between 9 months and 59 years old and have never taken a dose should be vaccinated.

Syria: Leishmaniasis

Officials at Hajin Hospital are reporting a widespread surge of cutaneous leishmaniasis, aka Aleppo boil, among children in Hajin and its villages east of Deir ez-Zor, according a Radio Al-kul report. It is reported that 1,750 cases among children have been seen in 2020 in the area and demonstrates the need for urgent medical intervention.

Leishmaniasis lesions require lengthy and expensive treatment because the medication is imported. It is difficult for the people to treat leishmaniasis in light of the deteriorating financial and living conditions.

Suheir Al-Atta, a specialist and head of the leishmaniasis treatment committee in Deir ez-Zor said that most of the cases are concentrated in the regions of eastern Deir ez-Zor and among children within schools, especially between the age group of 7 to 15 years. She indicated that it is expected that the number of cases will exceed 3,000 in the coming days.

Canada: Equine Influenza

An attending veterinarian has confirmed 2 equids at a boarding facility in Strathcona County, Alberta, Canada with equine influenza. Twelve additional horses at the facility were exposed.

The affected equids include a 4-year-old Welsh-cross mare and a 5-year-old Welsh-cross gelding. The gelding began coughing on Dec. 12, and the mare showed signs of nasal discharge the next day. Both horses were confirmed positive on Dec. 16. Neither horse was vaccinated. A voluntary quarantine was enacted for equids at the facility.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease infecting horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus causing it is spreading via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with humans' contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever; a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; watery nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes.

United States: Strangles

Horses in 2 Massachusetts counties have tested positive for strangles since the beginning of December, according to The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC). The first case was confirmed on Dec. 14 in Bristol County. The horse was kept at a public boarding facility where 10 other horses were potentially exposed. The EDCC reports no other cases among those horses. The second case was in a horse at a private facility in Plymouth County. There is no report of other horses potentially exposed.

Also called equine distemper, the infection known as strangles typically begins 10 to 12 days after exposure to S. equi bacteria. First, the horse experiences a high fever, depression, appetite loss, and enlargement of the lymph nodes between the jawbones. Copious amounts of thick, yellow pus begin draining from the nostrils, and before 3 weeks are up, the abscessed nodes at the throat may burst open to drain.

The disease's descriptive name comes from the "strangling" noise produced as severely affected horses struggle to draw breaths into their obstructed airways. Aside from observing the obvious physical signs in diagnosis, veterinarians can run cultures of the nasal drainage to see whether it contains the streptococcal organism.

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reports one additional confirmed yellow fever [YF] case the week ending Dec. 25 in Delta state. NCDC is currently responding to reports of yellow fever cases in 13 states: Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Kogi, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, and Taraba states.

Since the summer, Nigeria has reported 102 confirmed yellow fever cases, including 17 deaths (case fatality rate [CFR] 15.5%). The deaths were reported among confirmed cases across 4 states [Enugu (9), Delta (6), Bauchi (1), and Ebonyi (1)].

The NCDC is coordinating response activities through the national YF EOC [emergency operations center] in collaboration with states and partners.

December 25, 2020

United States: Equine Influenza

A Los Angeles, California boarding facility remains closed to ingress and egress after an attending veterinarian confirmed equine influenza in 2 ponies. 25 additional equines are suspected as positive, and 120 were exposed.

The affected animals, an 18-year-old Welsh pony mare and a 16-year-old Welsh pony gelding were both under-vaccinated. The mare began experiencing signs, which included fever and cough, on 10 Dec 2020 and was confirmed positive on 16 Dec 2020. The gelding began showing signs on Dec. 11 and was confirmed the same day. His signs consisted of cough, fever, and nasal discharge. Both affected animals are recovering.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with humans' contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

An elk has tested positive for the chronic wasting disease in an area of northwestern Wyoming where the animals congregate during the winter at feeding grounds.

Wyoming's Wildlife Health Laboratory processed a test on Dec. 16 from an elk killed by a hunter as part of Grand Teton National Park's annual elk population control efforts, state officials announced.

Mule deer and moose have tested positive for the chronic wasting disease in the area in the past, but this is the first detection of the disease in an elk in Teton County, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.

Most winters, the National Elk Refuge adjoining the park puts out alfalfa pellets to help thousands of elk survive until spring and keep off private land.

In all, nearly 20,000 elk gather at 23 state and federal feed grounds each winter west of the Continental Divide in Wyoming. Some criticize the practice out of concern it could spread disease.

United States: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

According to the Wyoming Livestock Board, a wild eastern cottontail has tested positive for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 in Albany County.

The disease is a viral pathogen that causes sudden death in rabbits and can be spread through direct contact with infected rabbits, meat or fur, or materials that come in contact with those carriers. It is only known to affect rabbits, both wild and domestic. It is highly contagious, fatal, and is not related to coronavirus. It is not known to infect non-rabbit domestic pets, humans, or livestock.

The virus was previously identified in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.

There are no licensed vaccines produced in the US, but the process is underway for importing 2 vaccines. Accredited veterinarians may import a vaccine with approval by the state veterinarian and the USDA.

The virus could seriously impact the pet rabbit industry, 4-H, and FFA [youth organizations] projects, and academic, industrial, or hobby groups such as laboratories, exhibitions, pelt, and hunting.

December 17, 2020

Brazil: Yellow Fever

The state Health Department on Dec. 9 confirmed the deaths of 8 monkeys from yellow fever virus infection.

Paraná state in Brazil has registered 81 notifications of monkeys dead of the virus since July. Of these, 11 cases are under investigation, 32 occurred for indeterminate causes, 30 were discarded as yellow fever cases, and 8 were confirmed as yellow fever cases.

Regarding human yellow fever cases this season, the area technician said that 10 cases have been reported as of Dec. 9. None of these were confirmed, 9 were discarded, and one case continues under investigation in the Curitiba municipality.

India: Anthrax

The authorities in eastern Assam's Dibrugarh district have undertaken a drive to vaccinate livestock around the Joypur rainforest after anthrax was confirmed as the cause of the death of 2 female elephants a week ago.

This is the second case of anthrax in Assam.

Wildlife veterinarians said the 2 elephants -- one sub-adult about 10 years old and the other about 20 years -- died after ingesting anthrax spores that can remain buried underground for 25-30 years. "The carcasses of the elephants were found on the hilly Soraipung range of the Joypur Reserve Forest. They are likely to have ingested the spores while digging the earth for salt," elephant veterinarian Kushal Konwar Sarma said.

Amit Sahai, Assam's Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), said the field staff adhered to standard operating procedures to first burn the carcasses and bury the ashes deep inside the earth besides sanitizing the affected areas. "While our field workers have been patrolling the rainforest for detecting other animals that could be infected, the veterinary officials have undertaken vaccination of livestock that could be vulnerable," he told The Hindu.

United States: Equine Herpesvirus

A barn in Ventura County, California, has been quarantined after a mare developed neurologic signs associated with equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1), according to information supplied by the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC).

The 13-year-old Quarter Horse mare is in isolation at a local veterinary clinic for treatment while 32 potentially exposed horses at her home barn have been quarantined with extra biosecurity measures put in place. No additional cases have been identified as of this time.

The mare developed trouble urinating in late November and soon after developed a fever and urinary tract infection. By Dec. 2 she had become ataxic, and she tested positive for EHV-1 on Dec. 5.

EHV-1 most often causes cause mild-to-moderate respiratory illness (rhino-pneumonitis), but the infection occasionally leads to the life-threatening neurologic disease EHM [equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy]. The mechanisms through which EHV-1 produces neurologic disease are not yet understood.

China: Avian Influenza

Chinese health authorities report a human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) in an 81-year-old female farmer from Changzhou of Jiangsu Province.

The individual had exposure to live chickens at home before developing symptoms on [16 Nov 2020]. She was hospitalized and subsequently passed away on Nov. 27.

From 2014 to date, 25 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) have been reported by the Chinese health authorities.

Avian influenza is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks.

The clinical presentation of avian influenza in humans includes eye infection (conjunctivitis), flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches), or severe respiratory illness (such as chest infection). The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days.

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

The first positive case of the chronic wasting disease has been reported in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The positive test came from a white-tailed deer in Wyandot County northwest of Columbus.

The deer was shot by a hunter on private property, ODNR says. Tissue samples submitted by a taxidermist returned a positive result.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease affecting white-tailed deer and other similar species such as mule deer, elk, and moose, ODNR says. Its signs include drastic weight loss (wasting), stumbling, listlessness, and other neurologic symptoms. The disease is fatal, and there is no known treatment or vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There is no strong evidence CWD is transmissible to humans, ODNR says citing the CDC.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Officials at Clemson Livestock Poultry Health (CLPH) have confirmed a 15-year-old Shetland pony mare with Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE). The mare, which resided in Clarendon County, was unvaccinated and is deceased.

This is Clarendon County's first case of EEE in an equine this year, and South Carolina's 17th.

Eastern equine encephalomyelitis is caused by the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, for which wild birds are a natural reservoir. Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. Horses do not develop high enough levels of these viruses in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans. Because of the high mortality rate in horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the USA.

December 11, 2020

Germany: E.coli

More than 20 E. coli infections are being investigated in a German municipality. Four-day care centers in the Luetzow-Luebstorf district are affected by the outbreak of E. coli O26. Luetzow-Luebstorf is in northwestern Mecklenburg, in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Germany.

Authorities initially reported 18 patients but that had risen to 25 by the end of this past week. They warned further testing is ongoing so more cases are expected. Those sick include children and their relatives as well as a couple of daycare center employees. The majority of those affected have mild or no symptoms, but there are also some cases of severe diarrhea. Currently, there have not been any hospitalizations and no patients have developed the hemolytic uremic syndrome.

Testing of products and in the premises of a food processing company that supplies the daycare centers was negative. Officials believe the pathogen did not enter the centers via food prepared by the company, but through other means, which are being investigated.

Namibia: Malaria

Six people died from malaria and 2,643 positive cases were recorded in the Zambezi region this year.

Regional health director Agnes Mwillima told The Namibian they monitor malaria cases weekly and during the same time last year, they had

only recorded 261 positive cases and one death. This is an indication that the cases have increased drastically, she said.

"The cause of the increase in malaria cases might be because the climate in the region is conducive for mosquitoes to breed throughout the year.

"Recent studies have also shown that mosquitoes are biting people outdoors too. The most affected people are agricultural workers, cattle herders, nomadic communities, and those sleeping in open structures," she explained.

Mwillima urged community members to protect themselves by using mosquito repellents, wearing long-sleeved shirts, and covering their lower limbs while outside, and also allow the indoor residual spraying teams access to their houses.

Switzerland: SARS Covid-19

Two tomcats from the Swiss canton of Zürich were tested within a research project at the Clinical Laboratory of the Vetsuisse Faculty (VSF) of the University of Zürich, Switzerland, to further explore SARS-CoV-2 infections in a One Health context. The researchers investigate potential transmission pathways and animal reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 as a basis for risk assessment and to convey evidence-based guidelines on infection prevention and control (IPC) measures at the animal-human interface.

The owners of the 2 tomcats had been quarantined after showing respiratory symptoms and subsequently tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on Nov. 2. They own 2 tomcats, of which one also demonstrated signs of an upper respiratory infection, including sneezing, inappetence, and apathy. The cat was thus presented to a private practitioner, who collected a blood and serum sample for routine diagnostic purposes on Nov. 20. The cat was not tested at that time for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The 2nd cat was asymptomatic.

Thereafter, the owners contacted the researchers at the Clinical Laboratory, and nasal, oral, fecal, and fur swab samples were collected from both cats on Nov. 16 and tested for SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. The nasal swab of cat 1 tested positive. In addition, the oral swab of cat 2 and fur swabs of both cats tested low positive. A further nasal swab collected from cat 1 on Nov. 19 tested again positive. The clinical condition of cat 1 had already improved at that time. Moreover, the serum sample collected from cat 1 on Nov. 10 tested positive for antibodies to RBD of SARS-CoV-2 S1, and neutralizing activity was demonstrated in this sample. The molecular results of cat 1 were confirmed by the Institute of Virology and Immunology, Mittelhausern, Switzerland, and the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Germany); the FLI also confirmed the positive serological and neutralization results of cat 1. Further molecular and epidemiological investigations are ongoing. However, the data collected so far indicate that this is the first report of a SARS-CoV-2 infection in a cat from Switzerland.

Denmark: SARS Covid-19

Since June 2020, Danish authorities have reported an extensive spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on mink farms in Denmark. On Nov. 5, the Danish public health authorities reported the detection of a mink-associated SARS-CoV-2 variant with a combination of mutations not previously observed in 12 human cases in North Jutland, detected from August to September 2020.

To date, Statens Serum Institut (SSI) in Denmark has identified 7 unique mutations in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 among variants co-circulating in mink and humans. SSI cultured the "Cluster 5" variant with 4 amino acid changes in the spike protein, which was identified in mink and isolated from the 12 human cases reported in North Jutland. Preliminary findings suggested that there was a lower capability of antibodies to neutralize the Cluster 5 strain, which requires further investigation.

Following public health measures implemented by Danish authorities, the incidence of COVID-19 in North Jutland decreased from 100 per 100 000 population in the week beginning Nov. 16 to 60 per 100 000 population in the week beginning 2 Nov [2020] (week 45). Over the past weeks, Danish authorities have conducted mass testing of 111 447 individuals in North Jutland using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and are planning to conduct genetic sequencing for all positive samples.

United States: Rabies

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says 2 recent encounters with rabid animals have exposed both people and pets to rabies.

According to DHEC, a cow located near Nance Street and Dennis Dairy Road in Newberry tested positive for rabies. DHEC is investigating the potential for multiple human and animal exposures, and anyone is known to have had potential exposure to the rabid cow has been referred to their healthcare providers. The cow was submitted to the agency's lab for testing on Nov. 12 and confirmed to have rabies on Nov. 13.

The second incident involved a skunk found near Mt. Pleasant Road and Ringer Road in Pomerania. The skunk was submitted to DHEC's lab for testing on Nov. 16 and the next day was confirmed to have rabies. While there were no known human exposures, a pet dog was exposed. The dog was never vaccinated for rabies, and now DHEC says the owners are considering euthanasia.

"To reduce the risk of getting rabies, always give wild and stray animals plenty of space," said David Vaughan, director of DHEC's Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention, and Enforcement Division. "If you see an animal in need, avoid touching it since the possibility of exposure to rabies can occur anywhere and anytime. Contact someone trained in handling animals, such as your local animal control officer or wildlife rehabilitator."

United Kingdom: Bovine Tuberculosis

An outbreak of tuberculosis among UK cat owners may have originated from a batch of infected venison given to felines as part of a trendy raw meat diet.

Experts led from Edinburgh investigated after 47 cats presented with suspected or definite infection with Mycobacterium Bovis, the bacteria responsible for bovine TB.

Among the cats, M. Bovis was found to have caused skin lesions, swollen lymph nodes, respiratory problems, lethargy, lost appetite, and weight loss.

The team found that 83 additional cats had contracted the disease yet had no symptoms. While M. Bovis is usually caught from cattle, most of the pets lived indoors.

The common factor between the infected cats was found to be a diet including venison from Natural Instinct, a pet food company that specializes in raw food.

The infected meat -- traced back to a single supplier -- was withdrawn from shelves when the outbreak occurred. Natural Instinct has not sold raw venison since.

An outbreak of tuberculosis among UK cat owners may have originated from a batch of infected venison given to felines as part of a trendy raw meat diet.

A latent tuberculosis infection was found in 4 of the animal's owners and a veterinarian, with one owner having required treatment to address the infection.

China: Peste des Petits Ruminants

The Qinghai Animal Disease Control Center confirmed on Dec. 1 an outbreak of peste des petits ruminants in Golmund city, Haixi Prefecture, Qinghai province. A batch of 159 imported sheep was affected, of which 106 got sick and died. After the outbreak, the local authorities applied the epidemiological activities in accordance with relevant programs and technical specifications for prevention and control.

Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is an acute contagious disease caused by a Morbillivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae. It affects mainly sheep and goats and occasionally wild small ruminants. It is not zoonotic.

Based on the fact that PPR has been reported on a few occasions in camels, cattle, and buffaloes, those animal species are considered to be susceptible, although their potential role in the circulation of PPR virus (PPRV) has not been formally established. PPR occurs in Africa except for Southern Africa, in the Arabian Peninsula, throughout most of the Near East and the Middle East, and in Central and South-East Asia.

The clinical disease resembles rinderpest in cattle. It is usually acute and characterized by pyrexia, serous ocular and nasal discharges, diarrhea, and pneumonia, and erosive lesions on different mucous membranes, particularly in the mouth. At necropsy, erosions may be noted in the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. The lungs may show interstitial bronchopneumonia and often secondary bacterial pneumonia. PPR can also occur in subclinical form.

United States: Equine Influenza

On Dec. 1, an attending veterinarian confirmed a horse at a private facility in Clackamas County, Oregon, with equine influenza (EI). The 13-year-old Paint gelding, which was under-vaccinated, began showing clinical signs on Nov. 26. Signs consisted of mild fever, nasal discharge, and mild cough. A voluntary quarantine has been enacted on his premises. No other horses were exposed.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease infecting horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus causing it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with human's contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever (up to 106 deg F); a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse's health at shows by taking his temperature daily, which can help you pick up on signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to reduce disease spread.

Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof horses have had an equine influenza vaccination within the 6 months before attending organization-sanctioned competitions or events. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccines your horse might benefit from.

December 4, 2020

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

Despite the fumigation of Ette and Umuopu communities in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State against yellow fever by the state government and the ongoing immunization against the disease in some local government areas in the state, the death toll has hit 133. About 57 victims lost their lives in Ette, and Umuopu communities initially before both the federal and state governments flooded the areas with yellow fever vaccines.

In the last two weeks, health workers had been working round the clock to curtail the spread of the disease to other communities. However, reports indicated that 21 persons died of the disease in the Isiugwu community within the last two weeks while about 10 died at Umuopu again on No. 24, just as 2 others died on Nov. 25. At the Aji Community, 4 persons died while several others reportedly died at Okpo and Igogoro communities among other communities in the council area.

Health officials were said to have been moved to the Isiugwu community for mass vaccination when Vanguard visited the council area for official comments on the issue. However, a health officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that it takes about 10 days for the vaccines to start working on anybody, adding that those who had been vaccinated could still die if they were already infected before being vaccinated because of the time it takes for the vaccine to become effective.

United States: Equine Herpesvirus

On Nov. 18, officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture confirmed a Los Angeles County horse with the non-neuropathogenic strain of equine herpesvirus-1. On Nov. 13, the 14-year-old American Saddlebred gelding began showing clinical signs, including fever, urine dribbling, and inability to evacuate his bladder. He had been vaccinated and is reported as affected and alive.

The gelding has no recent travel or show history and was last vaccinated for EHV in February 2020.

Sixty-six other horses at the affected horse's boarding facility were exposed and are under official quarantine. Enhanced biosecurity protocols have been enacted, including temperature monitoring twice daily, and CDFA continues to monitor the facility.

EHV 101 Herpesvirus is highly contagious among horses and can cause a variety of ailments in equids, including rhino-pneumonitis (a respiratory disease usually found in young horses), abortion in broodmares, and equine herpesvirus myelo-encephalitis.

Spain: West Nile Virus

Between Nov. 13-19, EU Member States reported one new human case of WNV [West Nile virus] infection. The case was reported by the Netherlands from the region of Arnhem/Nijmegen. This region reported a locally acquired human case of WNV infection for the 1st time through TESSy. One death was reported by Greece. No human cases of WNV infection or deaths were reported from EU-neighboring countries.

Since the start of the 2020 transmission season, EU Member States have reported 316 human cases of WNV infection, including 37 deaths, through TESSy: Greece (143, including 23 deaths), Spain (77, including 7 deaths), Italy (66, including 5 deaths), Germany (13), Romania (6, including 1 death), the Netherlands (7), Hungary (3) and Bulgaria (1, including 1 death).

The province of Pazardzhik in Bulgaria, the province of Badajoz in Spain, the regions of Utrecht and Arnhem/Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and 5 regions in Germany (Barnim, Ostprignitz-Ruppin, Saalekreis, Halle (Saale) and Meissen) reported locally acquired human cases of WNV infection for the first time. All other cases reported through TESSy were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons.

Brazil: Yellow Fever

Health officials reported 3 confirmed epizootic yellow fever cases, resulting in the deaths of 3 monkeys. This took place in the municipality of Coronel Domingos Soares, in the southwest region of Parana state.

Since the beginning of the current monitoring period in July, no human case of the disease in Parana has been confirmed. However, the mortality of monkeys indicates the circulation of the wild yellow fever virus in the respective region.

"Monkeys are our sentinels and indicate the path that the virus can take, and given this information, we can anticipate measures to avoid urban yellow fever," explains Secretary of Health Beto Preto.

Canada: Swine Flu

On Oct. 7, a patient in Alberta, Canada presented to a rural hospital with a 4-day history of cough, fever, pharyngitis, and rhinorrhea. The nasopharyngeal swab tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 and positive for influenza A using the NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel (Luminex Corporation). Influenza A was confirmed using a real-time RT-PCR assay targeting the M-gene; however, it could not be typed as human or avian H3, H1, pandemic H1N1, H5, or H7 subtypes using primers/probes from the Centers for Disease Control.

A partial sequence of the haemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes was obtained by Sanger sequencing. Sequences were compared to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) resulting in high nucleotide similarity to H1 and N2 subtypes of swine origin.

Prospective and retrospective testing of respiratory specimens from the region of Alberta where the case was found detected no other cases of influenza A. To date, Alberta has not reported any cases of influenza A for the 2020/2021 influenza season.

United Kingdom: Avian Influenza

An outbreak of bird flu at a Blackpool park has resulted in the deaths of 9 swans.

Last week, officials from the RSPCA and the Department for Environmental and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) were called to Stanley Park lake in Blackpool. They were responding to reports from residents at the seaside resort who spotted the bodies of several swans. Concerned park goers theorized that the animals, whose bodies were also spotted on the lake bank and the island, could have been subject to attacks but it was later confirmed to be the result of a disease.

Defra has now confirmed that 9 of the swans that died at Stanley Park lake had tested positive for Avian Influenza H5N8.

Public Health England has confirmed that the risk to public health is very low.

November 25, 2020

Germany: African Swine Fever

At the end of October, a wild boar infected with African swine fever (ASF) was shot in the Gorlitz district of Saxony. Since then, more infected wild boars have been found. This highly contagious viral disease threatens not only the wild boar but also the domestic pig population.

The Ministry of Social Affairs, which is responsible for combating animal diseases, has taken all necessary measures to prevent the spread of ASF. The aim of these is to prevent the further spread of the animal disease to other regions and to limit it to as small an area as possible. For this reason, restriction zones have been set up around the site, in which special requirements apply for hunters, agricultural livestock owners, and the general public.

African swine fever is harmless to humans as well as domestic and farm animals other than pigs.

As of Nov. 19, a total of 7 cases have been identified in Krauschwitz municipality (Gorlitz district).

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

Two yellow fever outbreaks have been reported in Nigeria.

Three more local government areas [LGAs] in the state of Enugu were suspected to have recorded yellow fever outbreaks. This came as the Igbo-Eze North LGA, where the outbreak of the disease was first reported, directed residents of the LGA and nearby communities to stop eating beef, following strange deaths of cows in some communities in the area.

Enugu had been battling to contain the outbreak of yellow fever in 2 communities of Ette Uno and Umuopu in Igbo-Eze North LGA, which reportedly claimed 52 lives since October. The state government also confirmed it had received reports of strange deaths within communities in Nsukka, Isi-Uzo, and Igbo-Etiti LGAs.

Meanwhile, more than 20 people have died as a deadly yellow fever outbreak continues to ravage some parts of Benue State.

A statement by the commissioner of health, Professor Ikechukwu Obi, released on Sunday night disclosed that the ministry's rapid response team had visited the communities to take samples for testing.

United States: Equine Infectious Anemia

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials confirmed 2 quarter horses of unspecified age with equine infectious anemia (EIA). The 2 horses reside in Denton and Harris counties. The Denton County horse was euthanized; the Harris County horse is affected and alive. The premises on which the horses reside are under official quarantine until TAHC requirements are met. TAHC staff is coordinating with the owners and attending veterinarians to monitor horses possibly having been exposed and to enact biosecurity protocols.

Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses' immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.

A Coggins test screens horses' blood for antibodies that are indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. Most US states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to travel across state lines. 

United States: Strangles

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has confirmed positive cases of equine strangles in Mecosta and Newaygo counties.

In Mecosta County, a 10-year-old Appaloosa mare had an onset of clinical signs including fever and nasal discharge. The mare is recovering. There are 5 other suspect cases on that property and 37 horses exposed.

In Newaygo County, a 12-year-old Tennessee walking horse gelding was confirmed with equine strangles. The horse developed clinical signs on 25 Oct 2020 including enlarged submandibular lymph nodes and is recovering.

United States: West Nile Virus

On Nov. 13, officials at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) confirmed a horse in Sacramento County with West Nile virus (WNV). The affected horse, an under-vaccinated yearling thoroughbred colt, began showing clinical signs on Nov. 3. Signs consisted of ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements) and hind-limb neurologic signs. The colt is recovering.

According to CDFA, this is California's 19th confirmed equine case of WNV in 2020.

Of the 19 confirmed cases, 13 were unvaccinated, 4 had unknown vaccination histories, and 2 were vaccinated. Fourteen are alive, 1 died, and 4 were euthanized.

Japan: Avian Influenza

Japan's Kagawa prefecture will cull 850,000 chickens at 2 poultry farms after the country detected a bird flu outbreak earlier this month.

These will be the 6th and 7th outbreaks of the avian flu in western Kagawa prefecture and the biggest cull to be done at one time since the country's first bird flu outbreak [in poultry] was detected more than 2 years, an official at the prefecture said.

Chickens at the 2 farms in Mitoyo city tested positive in a preliminary examination for avian influenza on Nov. 19 after the farms had notified the prefectural government of an increase in the number of dead chickens. The local government said it has confirmed the infection was a highly pathogenic strain of H5 bird flu from genetic tests.

The prefecture has already culled about 460,000 chickens for the past 4 outbreaks, the official said.

November 19, 2020

South Korea: Avian Influenza

Between Oct. 30 and Nov. 5, one new case of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus was reported to WHO in the Western Pacific Region. The case is a one-year-old female from Saravan province, who had exposure to domestic poultry. She developed a cough, fever, and difficulty breathing on Oct. 13. On Oct. 16, she was hospitalized and had her sample collected. She was discharged on Oct. 19. All household contacts tested negative for Influenza A.

As of Nov. 5, a total of 239 cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H5N1) virus were reported from 4 countries within the Western Pacific Region since January 2003. Of these cases, 134 were fatal, resulting in a case fatality rate (CFR) of 56 percent.

Ivory Coast: Leprosy

Wild chimpanzees have been found to be infected with leprosy for the first time, in 2 locations in West Africa that are separated by hundreds of miles.

Experts discovered 2 wild chimp populations, in Guinea-Bissau's Cantanhez National Park and Tai National Park in Ivory Coast, that are infected with the disease, as confirmed by fecal samples.

Leprosy -- which is caused by Mycobacterium Leprae, a species of bacteria -- once caused misery to millions of humans across the planet, with colonies set up to isolate the sick from civilization.

The chronic infectious disease causes gruesome skin lesions and, if left untreated, nerve damage that can result in crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, blindness, and loss of body parts.

It has been controlled in humans with antibiotics since the 1980s, and researchers once thought it had been wiped out in the animal kingdom.

Brazil: Yellow Fever

The office of Environmental Surveillance of the Secretariat of Health of the Federal District (SES-DF) found another dead monkey, suspected of yellow fever, on Nov. 10. The animal was found in a condominium in the Botanical Garden.

An agency confirmed the death of another monkey due to the disease. The animal was found in the Sao Sebastiao region last week. After confirmation, SES-DF mobilized a vaccination action against yellow fever in the region.

The animal was sent to the laboratory of the University of Brasilia (UnB) for analysis of possible infection by the disease. According to the Secretariat, the death of a "non-human primate" is one of the main signs of the circulation of the virus in the region's forests.

The Director of Environmental Surveillance, Edgar Rodrigues, stated that it was a surprise to find another animal in those conditions in such a short period of time. "It's worrying. But I can't say yet that it had yellow fever virus until UnB checks whether it is positive or not."

According to the Health Secretariat, a confirmed case on Nov. 9 was the first death of a monkey from yellow fever in the DF this year. So far in 2020, 9 suspected cases in monkeys were reported, but none was positive for the disease," says the official.

India: Scrub Typhus

Panna Chief Medical & Health Officer Dr. LK Tiwari said 2 deaths due to scrub typhus have been reported in Jabalpur Medical College.

While coronavirus is causing infections and deaths all across the state [Madhya Pradesh], bacteria called scrub typhus infected people in 11 districts and claimed 2 lives. People of 11 districts around Panna and Jabalpur districts have been found infected with the bacteria.

Four persons of Panna district showing symptoms of scrub typhus were brought to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur. Two of the patients died on Nov. 12, confirmed Panna CMHO. Four patients who were sent to Jabalpur Medical College hail from Pawai, Amanganj, Ajaygarh of Panna districts.

Mauritania: Rift Valley Fever

The Ministry of Health (MOH) notified WHO that between Sept. 13 and Oct. 1, 8 cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) including 7 deaths were confirmed in animal breeders. Districts affected include Tidjikja and Moudjeria (Tagant region), Guerou (Assaba region), and Chinguetty (Adrar region). Laboratory confirmation of RVF infection was performed using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at the National Institute for Public Health Research (INRSP) in Nouakchott. The age of infected patients varied between 16 and 70 years old and included one woman and 7 men. All 7 deaths occurred among hospitalized patients with fever and hemorrhagic syndrome and vomiting.

Between Sept. 4 and Nov. 7, a total of 214 people were sampled, and their samples have been sent to the INRSP for laboratory testing with a total of 75 testing positive for RVF [RT-PCR and serology by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)]. Positive cases have been reported in 11 of 15 regions of the country. Thus far a total of 25 deaths have been reported from this outbreak.

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

With the loss of 3 new lives, the death toll from a disease suspected to be yellow fever has climbed to 20 at Okpeilo-Otukpa in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue state.

The state Ministry of Health through its Permanent Secretary, Andrew Amee, had on Nov. 10 raised the alarm over a "strange illness" that had claimed 17 lives.

Speaking in a phone interview on Nov. 14, the state epidemiologist, Dr. Sam Ngishe, said 3 more deaths had been recorded, bringing the number of deaths to 20 -- 19 males and a female -- all aged between 7 and 40. Ngishe also said 26 people, 2 females and 24 males, had fallen ill with the sickness.

He said: "Altogether, there have been 20 deaths, and the state Ministry of Health is at the location, and we have been able to move the victims to different hospitals. We have collected samples and sent them to the National Reference Laboratory to be able to establish the kind of organism that is causing the problem. But we are thinking in the direction of yellow fever. As we speak, the state is planning to initiate a yellow fever campaign, which is coming up very soon. And, of course, we will continue with the management of the patients."

India: Leptospirosis

Rat fever [leptospirosis] cases are rising. Between January and September this year, 173 rat fever cases were reported. A total of 85 of them were from Udupi taluk, 54 from Kundapur taluk, and 34 from Karkala taluk. By the end of October, 203 such cases had been detected.

In January, 559 people were tested, and 24 showed symptoms of this fever. As many as 26 people were infected on February, 23, more March, 5, May, 11, June, 32, in July, and 25 in August. The highest number of cases was reported in September, with a total of 34 cases. Among them, 17 were from Udupi taluk with 11 cases from Kundapur and 6 from Karkala. Fewer cases have been reported this year than in 2019 when 344 cases were diagnosed, and in 2018 [330].

This fever normally spreads through the urine and stools of the rats.

Cambodia: Foot and Mouth Disease

Officials said foot and mouth disease has affected 707 cattle in Siem Reap province, causing 34 deaths, and 1645 cattle in Pailin province. Siem Reap provincial Animal Health and Production office chief Prum Vich said 400 cattle were treated for the disease. "The dead animals are calves of cows that have foot and mouth disease. The rest are being treated," he said.

Veterinary officers have been administering vaccines to cattle, but not all can be vaccinated as farmers often take them to graze in remote areas. "People in the lowlands bring their cattle to be vaccinated, but those living in the foothills rarely vaccinate their cattle, so it causes disease," he said. According to Vich, the disease mostly affects calves and is not fatal for adult cattle. Calves that contract the disease develop sores on their mouths and legs and lose their ability to eat properly.

Say Sophat, the director of the Pailin provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, said more than 1000 cattle in a flooded area in Sala Krao district have likely contracted the disease. They are being treated by veterinarians. "Some cattle have contracted an illness in the flooded area of Sala Krao district. These animals are weak. We've assigned veterinary officers to treat and take care of them. The next step is to vaccinate them," he said.

Nepal: Tuberculosis

Captive elephants of Chitwan National Park have once again started dying from tuberculosis, bringing back the memories of deaths among elephants due to TB at a worrying rate.

Three domestic elephants belonging to the national park have died so far this year. The park has confirmed TB as the reason behind the deaths of 2 elephants, while the cause of the third death has yet to be ascertained. The latest casualty is also linked to TB, as the elephant had been sick for a long time and had been diagnosed with TB earlier.

"The elephant had been weak and ailing for a long time. We believe that it also died due to a TB infection, but we are waiting for the final report," Ashok Kumar Ram, information officer at the Chitwan National Park, told the Post over the phone. "If this elephant is also confirmed to have died from TB, then the lung disease would have killed 3 elephants this year alone, which is a worrying sign."

Chitwan National Park has nearly 60 domesticated elephants, which support the park officials in day-to-day conservation activities. The 3 deaths have worried park officials about the danger of TB among the animals. "TB was once a major threat to these elephants during 2006-07 when many elephants were diagnosed with TB. After medication, the disease was neutralized within years. But the return of the disease among captive elephants has once again emerged as a challenge for us," said Ram.

United States: Bovine Tuberculosis

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) positive herd has been found in Alpena County, Michigan. The disease was confirmed in one of the animals from this herd on 10 Nov 2020, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development said on Nov. 16.

Additional testing will be done in the herd, as well as an investigation to rule out the possibility of additional cases stemming from the affected herd.

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. It is known to be present in the free-ranging deer population in parts of northeastern lower Michigan, and the disease can be transmitted between deer and cattle.

November 12, 2020

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Officials at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) have confirmed a deceased horse from a private facility in Alachua County tested positive for Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE).

The 2-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, who was vaccinated for EEE on Aug. 25, showed clinical signs consisting of fever, depression, listlessness, incoordination, head pressing, aimless wandering, and hind-end weakness before passing away.

This case marks Florida's 21st confirmed case of equine EEE in 2020.

EEE is caused by the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, for which wild birds are a natural reservoir. Mosquitoes that feed on EEE-infected birds can transmit the virus to humans, horses, and other birds. Horses do not develop high enough levels of these viruses in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans. Because of the high mortality rate in horses and humans, EEE is regarded as one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the USA.

United States: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

A highly contagious disease has been found in domestic rabbits in Montezuma County and is suspected in the wild population, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife [CPW].

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV-2) is a foreign animal disease fatal to domestic and wild rabbits. It is not infectious to people, other wildlife, or other domestic animals.

The only signs of the disease often are sudden death and possibly blood-stained noses caused by internal bleeding, says CPW. Infected rabbits may also develop a fever, hesitate to eat, or show respiratory or nervous signs.

In May and June, domestic rabbits tested positive for the virus in Montezuma County, said CPW spokesman Joe Lewandowski.

Recent sightings of wild dead rabbits with no obvious trauma in Montezuma County indicate it might have spread to the wild population, he said, although testing has not confirmed this.

"We know the disease is present in the environment in Montezuma County," Lewandowski said.

It is a good indication the disease has spread to the wild rabbit population, said CPW wildlife biologist Brad Weinmeister.

United States: Equine Influenza

The Equine Disease Communication Center reported a farm in Thurston County, Washington, is under a voluntary quarantine after 3 horses tested positive for equine influenza. The animals from the farm had traveled to a barrel race and came home to expose 4 other horses on the farm.

The Washington state veterinarian is currently working with the private vet.

South Sudan: Measles

Measles is rapidly spreading in the flooded town of Pibor and surrounding areas, severely affecting young children, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned, calling for health organizations to urgently carry out a measles vaccination campaign.

MSF treated the first children with suspected measles in the central Pibor town in August, and the outbreak has grown significantly since then. From August to October, MSF treated more than 250 children and is currently treating 30 children with severe measles in its Pibor health facility. Patients are increasingly coming from farther away in the surrounding Greater Pibor Administrative Area, as people walk and paddle through stagnant and moving floodwaters, sometimes for up to 7 days.

"We believe measles is now widespread and getting out of control," said Adelard Shyaka, an MSF doctor in Pibor. "It is especially concerning that the Greater Pibor Administrative Area is flooded in a larger emergency. The severity of the situation is magnified by other illnesses, including severe malaria, pneumonia, and severe malnutrition. Two children have already died of measles, and we are deeply concerned that without a prompt reactive vaccination campaign, more children will die."

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is currently supporting the Delta and Enugu State Governments in response to a suspected outbreak of yellow fever. This is following reports of a sudden spike in cases and deaths in some communities in both states.

On Nov. 2-3, NCDC was notified by the State Ministries of Health of Delta and Enugu States, respectively of cases presenting with symptoms indicative of viral hemorrhagic fever. Most cases presented with fever, headache, fatigue, jaundice vomiting (with or without blood) among others.

As of Nov. 6, 3 samples from Delta and one sample from Enugu tested positive for yellow fever at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital Laboratory and NCDC's National Reference Laboratory, Gaduwa. More samples are being tested from both states to confirm the causative organism of this outbreak.

The State Epidemiology Teams are leading the response with support from NCDC, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). An incident management system has been activated by NCDC to coordinate response activities, and Rapid Response Teams (RRT) have been deployed to both states. The NCDC and State RRTs are carrying out active case searches, risk communications, and community engagement, as well as ensuring prompt management of cases. Our sister agency, NPHCDA, is working with the affected states to plan for a vaccination campaign.

Congo: Plague

A new outbreak of suspected bubonic plague was reported on Oct. 29 from the Aungba health zone located in the Mahagi territory, Ituri province, in northeastern DR Congo. The area is located in the most active endemic plague focus in continental Africa and borders the West Nile plague endemic focus in Uganda.

On that day, the head nurse of the health area of Avari alerted the central office of the chief medical doctor of Aungba about 4 community deaths in the village Amoli, close to the Ugandan border. On Oct. 30, the supervision team of the Aungba health zone carried out an outbreak investigation and recorded 7 cases of bubonic plague including 4 deaths.

The index cases appear to be 2 boys aged 13 and 10 years old from the same family residing in Amoli, who died between Oct. 26-27. Both presented a clinical prognosis consistent with the definition of bubonic plague, i.e. high fever with sudden onset, headache, and painful swelling in the armpits. The other 2 deceased persons are 2 girls, aged 14 and 13 years belonging to another family from a household located close to the presumed index cases.

China: Brucellosis

More than 6,000 people in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province in northwest China, have tested positive for a bacterial disease called brucellosis, the local government was cited as saying, in an outbreak caused by a leak at a vaccine plant over a year ago.

The government has tested 55,725 people in the city, of which 6,620 are positive for brucellosis as of now, the Lanzhou government said at a press conference, according to a report by the state-owned Global Times. That represents a big jump from 3,245 positive cases for brucellosis as of Sept. 14.

Humans get brucellosis with flu-like symptoms through direct contact with infected animals, by eating or drinking contaminated animal products, or by inhaling airborne agents, according to the WHO. Some symptoms can become chronic.

According to a statement from Lanzhou's health commission dated September 2020, the outbreak originated at a biopharmaceutical factory owned by China Animal Husbandry Industry Co. The factory used expired disinfectants from July to August 2019 to manufacture brucellosis vaccines, leaving the bacteria in its polluted waste gas, it said, citing the results from an official investigation. The contaminated waste gas later formed aerosols, which were carried by the wind down to the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute, where the outbreak was first recorded in November 2019, the health commission said.

Canada: Strangles

One of P.E.I.'s (Prince Edward Island) most successful harness racing drivers has posted on Facebook one of his yearlings has tested positive for strangles. Strangles is a highly contagious upper respiratory illness causing swollen lymph nodes and fevers in horses, donkeys, and mules. While the illness can be fatal, most horses survive.

Marc Campbell made a social media post on Nov. 6, saying that because one of his horses was diagnosed with the illness, he was forced to withdraw his other horses from racing this week, including a stake race in Truro, N.S. (Nova Scotia).

He says on Facebook his barn will be quarantined until his vet says it's safe. "I think we caught it in time," Campbell said through messenger.

Campbell has horses belonging to other owners at his stable and in his post, he said he has been following all instructions in order to prevent the spread of the disease. "The infected animal will be taken to an isolated farm until she is cleared of the infection and your horses will continue to be cared for," he said in the post.

Nigeria: Yellow Fever

No fewer than 8 persons have died of probable cases of yellow fever in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi state. There are 8 others who have also been placed under intensive care after contracting the disease.

Executive Chairman of the Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BASPHCDA), Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, disclosed these on Nov. 9.

Mohammed said the surveillance team of the agency made the discovery after taking samples of the 8 infected victims placed under intensive care. "Recently, mysterious deaths of people were reported in some villages in 2 wards of Ganjuwa LGA. Immediately our surveillance team moved in and took samples of infected victims and it was confirmed that they were yellow fever positive.

"This suspicion came from one of our supervisors who went to the local government for Polio immunization and found out that some locals were having yellowness of the eyes and urine," he added. 

Uganda: Anthrax

The Uganda Wildlife Authority has registered more than 150 deaths of wild animals due to anthrax at Queen Elizabeth National Park this year. Sam Mwandha, the executive director of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), said the majority of the animals that died from anthrax include hippos, buffalos, bush pigs, among other species of wildlife.

To ensure that anthrax does not get out of control and end up in humans, Mwandha said: "Early this year, when we saw the strange death of wild species in the park, we informed the Ministry of Agriculture in order to carry out tests and also inform the neighboring communities to desist from eating any dead animal they find." Since it is difficult to see the signs of anthrax, Mwandha revealed that by the time they saw the animals, they were already on the verge of death since blood was oozing out of the eyes, nostrils, and other parts of the body.

Mwandha made the remarks during the World One Health Day celebrations held at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala last week.

Musa Sekamatte, health ministry epidemiologist as well as National One Health Platform coordinator, said One Health works within governments to build resilience and sustainable systems to prevent and respond to zoonotic diseases and also address antimicrobial resistance and biosecurity.

To ensure that the spores in the water and the environment don't end up in other livestock, Mwandha noted: "We pick the carcass on a daily basis, dig a deep pit, bury the dead animal under and then put lime on top to kill the spores of anthrax." According to Mwandha, this year, they had fewer deaths compared with previous episodes. In 2004, UWA lost more than 2,000 animals.

November 5, 2020

Netherlands: Avian Influenza

A highly contagious form of bird flu has been diagnosed at a poultry farm with 35,000 animals in Altforst, Gelderland. The sector is alarmed because this year's contamination is early and has entered a barn where high hygiene standards are maintained. "What is still to come?" asks Hennie de Haan, chairman of the Dutch Poultry Farmers' Union (NVP). "The bird migration, with which the virus spreads, has only just started. Moreover, this is a company where very careful work is done and the animals do not come outside. That it got in there anyway puzzles and worries us."

It is the fourth time in seven winters that bird flu has been diagnosed in the Netherlands. It has never gotten as bad as in 2003 when the industry seemed doomed. Hundreds of poultry farms were affected and millions of animals had to be culled. As of now, it concerned the serious, so-called highly pathogenic variant of bird flu; highly contagious and almost acutely lethal to poultry.

Germany: Schistosomiasis

Drs. Camilla Rothe and Mirjam Schunk at the GeoSentinel Site in Munich have reported a case of a 49-year-old male German who presented with macrohematuria in June 2020. Urogenital schistosomiasis was confirmed upon bladder biopsy, as well as in his urine (microscopy and PCR). Genotyping revealed a Schistosoma haematobium S. Bovis hybrid. The patient had never traveled outside Europe. He had, however, been to Corsica island (France) twice, in 2019 and 2013. He never swam in the Cavu River, where cases of schistosomiasis had been reported in previous years. History suggests he most likely was infected in 2019 bathing in the Solenzara River, close to a busy camping site. The Solenzara River does not communicate with the Cavu river.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

A Michigan horse has died from a mosquito-borne illness. Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties, was notified on Oct. 15 of a horse in Menominee County having died from eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). The horse became ill on Oct. 3. This is the first confirmed animal case of EEE in Menominee County this year. No other animal or human cases of EEE have been confirmed in Menominee County at this time; however, 35 confirmed cases in horses in 16 Michigan counties have been reported. Because conditions are favorable for EEE-carrying mosquitoes during the fall, people should take precautions against mosquito bites. EEE cannot be spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most cases of human EEE do not cause any symptoms, and less than 1% develop serious illness. However, EEE is potentially serious, and symptoms include fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pain. More severe illness can cause swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues.

Brazil: Yellow Fever

The number of monkeys dead of yellow fever in Goias has risen to 7 in one month. The Epidemiological Secretariat [SES] stated that just in Goiania, 200,000 adults and 20,000 children still need to receive doses of the vaccine. Immunization is free and can be done at health centers. The state superintendent of health surveillance, Fluvia Amorim, warns of the risk of virus circulation, which had not appeared in the state for 3 years. "The death of the monkeys works as a warning to the entire population," said the superintendent. "It means that the virus has circulated again. The last cycle we had started in 2015 and ended in 2017. It is a preventable disease that has a vaccine, and there is no reason why people put themselves at risk."

Zimbabwe: Yellow Fever

At the main bus terminus in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, international travelers are tempted with offers of counterfeit travel vaccination certificates. Counterfeit travel vaccination certificates can greatly jeopardize disease control, stated the leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO) African region. A thriving black market there sells fake proof of immunization, said Dr. Integrity Mchechesi in a press release, who works with an innovative technology firm to combat such forgery. Built on blockchain technology, this decentralized digital record-keeping system cannot be tampered with. "After vaccination, the laboratories create a digital record in our system. The traveler gets a QR code on a mobile app or on paper, which is instantly verified by the border authorities, who can see where they got the vaccine and who gave it to them, as well as the batch number of the vaccine, which protects the authenticity of each and every vaccine." "We estimate that around 80% of yellow fever travel cards in Zimbabwe are counterfeit," said Dr. Mchechesi, a co-founder and head of innovation at Vaxiglobal, a travel health consultancy. "All travelers need up-to-date immunization verification, and our system should help cut transmission rates across borders."

United States: Equine Influenza

The Riverside County, California Department of Animal Services has warned horse owners to beware of an equine influenza outbreak that has killed an estimated 3 dozen wild burros in the region.

County and state officials are monitoring the outbreak while urging horse owners to check in with their veterinarians about booster vaccines for previously vaccinated animals. Horse owners are also being advised to ensure their animals are not exposed to sick burros by moving their animals away from fence lines in areas where the burros frequent.

The first burro death occurred about 2 weeks ago, and the death count is expected to rise, according to Animal Services officials. The highly contagious virus is specific to equids -- such as horses, mules, and donkeys -- with severe signs more common in donkeys and mules, as well as in younger horses, ages 1 to 5, said Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.

Older horses typically exhibit milder signs, and the disease does not affect other species of animals, he said. Signs of the virus include fever, edema, and enlarged lymph nodes.

The disease -- one of the most common infectious diseases of the respiratory tract in horses -- spreads rapidly through groups of equids in aerosolized droplets dispersed by coughing or through fomite transmission, meaning objects or surfaces which have become infected, officials said.

Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

Doctors say cases and dozens of deaths from the disease have occurred since the August floods, with cases of malaria and cholera also on the rise.

An outbreak of Rift Valley fever has killed dozens of people and infected more than 1,000 in Sudan's Northern state, according to local doctors.

Doctors told the Guardian the disease has spread across the towns of Merowe, Al Dabbah, and Karima, mainly among cattle herders.

However, the Sudanese government has so far denied there is an outbreak of the disease. Mohamed Hamdan Hemedti, head of the paramilitary unit of the Rapid Support Forces and vice-president of the sovereign council, said the country was free of the fever. "We don't have the Rift Valley fever disease in Sudan, we don't have it at all," he said at an event in Khartoum.

Dr. Abdulhadi Gendeel, a former lab technician from a village near Merowe, said his uncle, 50, and brother-in-law, 27, had died of the disease, which can affect humans and animals. Both died within 2 days of developing symptoms, he said.

October 29, 2020

United States: St. Louis Encephalitis

For the first time in nearly a half-century, San Joaquin County, California, health officials say they have confirmed a human case of St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV).

Back in August, county public health officials say they found SLEV in mosquitoes collected near Lodi. It was the first time since 1973 that officials had detected the virus in the county.

Then, on Oct. 22, public health officials announced that a Stockton resident had a confirmed case of SLEV. That person becomes the first human case of SLEV in San Joaquin County since 1973.

The person's current condition was not stated, but health officials said they were recovering at home.

SLEV is a disease that could cause serious swelling of the brain (known and encephalitis), although most people infected either have minor symptoms or don't ever develop any.

People can be infected with the virus when they are bitten by a mosquito who was also infected, often after biting a bird with SLEV. Health officials note that SLEV cannot be spread from person to person.

South Korea: Influenza

The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Oct. 24, adding that the vaccines would continue to reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics.

The health authorities said they found no direct link between the deaths and the shots. They plan to carry on with the state-run vaccination program to try to avoid having to fight both the flu and the coronavirus over the coming winter.

"After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination program since vaccination is very crucial this year [2020], considering ... the COVID-19 outbreaks," KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung told a briefing.

Jeong said the review had shown no direct link between the flu shots and the 26 deaths that have been investigated. Some 20 initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.

The death toll among those who have been vaccinated rose by 12 cases from a day earlier to 48 on Oct. 24. The rising deaths have caused some doctors and politicians to call for a halt to the government campaign to vaccinate about 30 million of the country's 54 million people.

South Korea: Avian Influenza

A highly pathogenic avian influenza (AI) case was reported in South Korea on Oct. 25, marking the first virulent bird flu case in the country in 32 months. The virulent avian influenza strain of H5N8 was discovered from a fecal sample collected from wild birds in Cheonan, 92 km south of Seoul, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The discovery marked the first highly pathogenic AI case confirmed in the country since the H5N6 case, which is similarly virulent to H5N8, reported in the nearby Asan region in February 2018.

Highly pathogenic AI is very contagious and can make poultry very sick and even cause death.

The ministry has already restricted the movement of poultry and other livestock at 188 farms within a 10-km radius of the area after discovering an H5-type AI strain in the area earlier.

Authorities placed a travel ban on people and vehicles within a 500-meter radius of the location where the H5N8 strain was discovered. The purchase and sale of poultry at local markets in Cheonan will also be suspended until the travel ban is lifted.

October 22, 2020

Zimbabwe: Anthrax

At least 20 cattle have died in Chipinge following an outbreak of anthrax this month. Most of the anthrax cases were recorded in Chibuwe, Dakate, Zamuchiya, and Chisumbanje, which are periodically hit by the disease due to its proximity to Save Conservancy.

It is believed that wild animals such as buffaloes stray and mix with domestic animals.

While Manicaland's Provincial Veterinary officer, Dr. Charles Guri, said they are yet to receive any reports of the disease, an official from the Chipinge Livestock Department spoke on condition of anonymity citing protocol and confirmed the development. The official said the Department of Veterinary Services is on the ground compiling statistics. "Extension officers from the affected areas are encouraging farmers to follow the Department of Veterinary Services' instructions on how to bury the carcasses of cattle that would have succumbed to the disease," he said.

Chipinge Rural District Council Ward 20 Councillor Charles Mugidho also confirmed the outbreak. He said villagers are risking their lives by consuming anthrax infected meat.

United States: Equine Influenza

On Oct. 9, officials at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) confirmed a Pierce County premises is under voluntary quarantine following a horse there testing positive for equine influenza (EI).

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus causing it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with human's contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever; a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes.

United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Following two weeks of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Situation Reports with no new confirmed vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) cases and all previously positive premises released from quarantine, APHIS confirmed one new positive equine premises, in Texas County, Missouri.

Premises with confirmed positive and suspect cases are quarantined and monitored by veterinarians for at least 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last animal affected.

Once APHIS confirms a county as VSV-positive, new equine premises in the county showing clinical signs of VSV aren't required to be tested. Instead, the premises are quarantined and classified as suspect. Also classified as suspect are premises where animals don't meet the definition of a confirmed case but where diagnostic evidence of a recent VSV infection exists.

Vesicular stomatitis virus can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats, or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and a number of other animals. Lesions usually heal in 2 or 3 weeks.

Because of the virus' contagious nature and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately. Most animals recover with supportive care by a veterinarian.

Netherlands: West Nile Virus

Between Oct. 9 and 15, EU Member States reported 14 human cases of WNV infection: Italy (11), Greece (2), and Bulgaria (1). Pazardzhik Province in Bulgaria reported a locally acquired human case of WNV infection. All other cases were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons. This week, 3 deaths were reported by Italy (2) and Bulgaria (1). No human cases of WNV infection or deaths were reported from EU-neighboring countries.

On Oct. 15, Dutch health authorities reported the first locally acquired human WNV infection in the Netherlands. The patient had no travel history, and it is suspected that he may have contracted the virus through a mosquito bite in the region of Utrecht. In this region, WNV-infected birds and mosquitoes have been detected in August and September.

Since the start of the 2020 transmission season, EU Member States have reported 299 human cases of WNV infection and 34 deaths: Greece (137, including 20 deaths), Spain (75, including 7 deaths), Italy (65, including 5 deaths), Germany (12), Romania (6, including 1 death), Hungary (3) and Bulgaria (1). Pazardzhik Province in Bulgaria, the Province of Badajoz in Spain, and 5 regions in Germany (regions of Barnim, Ostprignitz-Ruppin, Saalekreis, Halle (Saale) and Meissen) reported locally acquired human cases of WNV infection for the first time. All other cases were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons. No cases have been reported from EU-neighboring countries.

Sudan: Rift Valley Fever

The United Resistance Coordination of Merowe in the Northern State announced that the number of deaths from Rift Valley fever has risen to 79, while the number of recorded cases has reached 1,962, including 3 cases of nervous system complications. A total of 4,578 miscarriages and deaths have been recorded among livestock.

The Coordination calls on the Sudanese Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Animal Resources to declare an epidemic of Rift Valley fever and to open the door for international and voluntary organizations to intervene and assist.

In a statement, the Merowe activists expressed their regret about "the Ministry of Health's concealment of the Rift Valley fever epidemic despite taking samples since 19 Sep [2020]." They warned the Northern State government against being lax in dealing with the disease so that it would not spread to other areas. They further called on people from Merowe and others from Northern State living in Khartoum to join the protest vigil in front of the Ministry of Health in Khartoum today [Thu 15 Oct 2020].

On Wednesday [14 Oct 2020], the Northern State Ministry of Health briefed the state government, headed by Governor Amal Ezzeldin, on the overall health conditions and the official and popular efforts made to confront fevers in the localities of Merowe and Ed Debba. According to the Ministry, the total cases of fevers in Merowe and Ed Debba in the Northern State reached 1493, including 63 deaths. 

Vietnam: Diphtheria

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel notice recently for Viet Nam due to a diphtheria outbreak.

National health authorities have reported 198 diphtheria cases since the beginning of this year. Of the 198 cases, 172 cases have been reported in the Central Highland region, 22 cases in central provinces, and 4 cases in southern provinces.

In response to the outbreak, the Viet Nam Ministry of Health has launched a vaccination campaign for affected provinces and implemented several measures to help prevent and control the spread of the disease.

CDC says travelers to Viet Nam should make sure they are up to date with diphtheria vaccination.

Diphtheria is a bacterial disease that causes respiratory tract and skin infections. It can spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing and through contact with infected skin sores. Diphtheria bacteria make a toxin (poison) that kills healthy tissues in the respiratory system. Within 2-3 days, the dead tissue forms a thick, gray coating that can build up in the throat or nose, making it very hard to breathe and swallow. If the toxin gets into the bloodstream, it can cause heart, nerve, and kidney damage.

Germany: African Swine Fever

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute confirmed another case of African swine fever [ASF] in wild boar in Brandenburg. This increases the current number of cases in Germany to 71. The carcass was found within the first core area near Neuzelle in the Oder-Spree district.

Domestic pig herds are still free of ASF.

Meanwhile, on the Oder island in Kustrin-Kietz, the supposedly infected group of boar, which was detected during drone flights about 2 weeks ago, has disappeared, Top Agrar reported. On the basis of the drone recordings, the animals were judged as sick or dead. At the end of last week, the wild boar disappeared on the fenced-in Oder island: Drone recordings had shown they could no longer be seen at the location where they had previously gathered.

October 15, 2020

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

There has been a reported case of a horse with eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in the Upper Peninsula. The Michigan Dept of Agriculture & Rural Development released the following statement on Oct. 2:

"Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is confirming the discovery of EEE in a horse from Baraga County. Not only is this the first case of EEE being found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for 2020, but it is also the first report of EEE ever being found in Baraga County. This case indicates the mosquitoes carrying EEE continues to be active, and all Michigan residents still need to take precautions to protect their animals as well as themselves."

EEE is a dangerous, zoonotic mosquito-borne disease typically seen in the state from late summer to early fall. Last year, Michigan experienced 50 cases of EEE in animals and a record of 10 human cases. So far this year, 2 human cases of EEE and 36 animal cases have been confirmed across 15 Michigan counties. The human cases of EEE have been confirmed in residents of Barry and Montcalm counties, and the Montcalm County resident has died.

Germany: African Swine Fever

On Oct. 10, a search was applied in the ASF core zone in Markisch-Oderland by municipality personnel, hunters, farmers, police officers, firefighters, and the technical relief organization. In the Oderbruch, drones with thermal imaging cameras were also used.

A drone discovered a pack of wild boars on the Oder island in Kustrin-Kietz, reports the Markische Oderzeitung (MOZ) in its online edition. There are a total of around 17 dead and 30 living animals, some of which are diseased. The apparently infected boars should now continue to be observed by drone, but, if possible, not roused, according to the MOZ report. "Intervening would be too dangerous because sick animals are very aggressive," explained Thomas Behrendt, the district's spokesman.

According to reports from various regional media, there were also carcass finds in other locations in the searched core zone, which are now being examined for the virus. The results are expected early next week. By Oct. 9, ASF cases in wild boars had been detected in the Markisch-Oderland district. The domestic pig herds are still ASF-free.

Germany: West Nile Virus

A patient hospitalized in Berlin in September has been confirmed to have been infected with the West Nile virus (WNV).

The initial diagnosis was based on a positive WNV antibody test. However, tests of stored samples showed seroconversion over the course of the disease.

Additionally, blood samples taken at the beginning of September 2020 were retrospectively tested by RT-PCR and were positive for West Nile virus RNA. The infection was likely acquired locally, as no travel activity was reported.

The virus genome fragments are highly similar to that of strains (Genbank Acc. No. MH924836, MN794939, and others), obtained from birds in Eastern Germany in 2018 and 2019.

Israel: Avian Influenza

A broiler breeder farm with 35,000 birds in Metzer (near Ma'anit, Central Israel) has been diagnosed with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N8.

The property has been quarantined, and movement controls are in place to stop any birds, eggs, and equipment from leaving the premises. A Restricted Area (3 km) is in place around the property, and a Control Area (10 km)  across a wider area has also been created. The farm will be depopulated

Israel experienced its most recent case of HPAI H5N8 on Jan. 27 when a Bonelli's Eagle was found with neurological signs in the Jordan valley. The eagle had a transmitter, so it could be established that on Jan. 1 it entered the Jordan valley from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and, from then on, stayed in the Jordan valley, on the Israeli side of the Jordan River. The eagle was brought alive to the Wildlife hospital in the Safari of Ramat-Gan and was put there in quarantine, eventually euthanized on Feb. 3.

October 8, 2020

Germany: African Swine Fever

The ongoing intensive search for wild boar in the area of Germany affected by African swine fever (ASF) suggests the virus has been in the Brandenburg since early July.

The Friedrich Loeffler Institute (FLI) confirmed 2 more cases in wild boar in the Spree-Neisse district on Oct. 1, taking the total number of confirmed outbreaks in Brandenburg to 40.

The latest cases were found within the original core area, but, in another highly significant development on Sept. 30, the FLI confirmed a case in a young boar near the German-Polish border at Bleyen, about 60 km from the previously affected districts.

The case is not thought to be directly linked to the original districts. According to the FLI's preliminary assessment, it is likely to be a new introduction of ASF from the affected regions in western Poland.

"Thus there are 2 outbreaks in Brandenburg and the competent authorities are taking the appropriate measures (buffer zone, sensitive area, core area)," the FLI said.

China: Anthrax

On Sept. 29, the Disease Prevention and Control Center of Baoding's Mancheng District issued an "Important Alert from Baoding Municipality Mancheng District's Disease Prevention and Control Center Regarding Prevention of Anthrax."

Recently, Baoding's Mancheng District received a notice from superiors that a patient in Xieyi Village of Shijing Township is suspected to have contracted anthrax. Currently, the patient is being treated in a hospital outside the city. The District Committee and District Government are treating this case seriously and immediately convened a special meeting to strictly implement prevention and control measures in accordance with relevant policies and the opinion of provincial and municipal experts.

The District Disease Prevention and Control Center carried out epidemiologic investigations regarding the suspected patient, implemented disinfection in relevant areas and facilities, strictly implemented isolation of anyone in the district found to have had close contact, along with health observation and other control measures. At present, related personnel is healthy and in good condition.

The Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau and other related agencies carried out safe disposal of domesticated animals found in the suspected case's courtyard and strengthened supervision of circulation cycles of domesticated animals with the timely elimination of hidden risks.

United States: West Nile Virus

Diagnostic testing conducted, reported on Sept. 29 by the Equine Diagnostic Services in Lexington, Kentucky, confirmed a diagnosis of West Nile virus (WNV) affecting a 2nd Kentucky horse. The confirmation of disease is based on WNV-specific IgM antibodies being detected and compatible clinical signs with WNV.

A 9-year-old Tennessee Walking Horse in Madison County, Kentucky, had an onset of clinical signs on Sept. 21. The unvaccinated horse was alive...and described on 29 Sep 2020 by the attending veterinarian to be in a stable condition with some improvement.

In California, officials have reported a total of 91 West Nile virus cases in people statewide. Of those, Los Angeles County Public Health said it has identified 27 local cases.

West Nile virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental USA. Mosquito season is typically from March to late October or early November, and there are currently no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the disease in people.

Most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick, but one in 5 people experience a fever and other symptoms, the CDC says. About one in 150 infected people develop serious and sometimes deadly reactions to the disease, according to health experts.

United States: Rabies

A rabid raccoon in the Walking Horse Lane area of Georgia is the 15th confirmed rabies case in White County for 2020.

According to White County Environmental Health, on Sept. 1, a dog owner went outside when he heard some noise on his porch and discovered his dogfighting with a raccoon. The owner killed the raccoon and reported the incident to Environmental Health immediately. The raccoon was sent to the Georgia Public Health Lab in Decatur. The state lab shared confirmation of a positive rabies test.

The dog was up to date on its rabies vaccination and is required to undergo a 45-day observational quarantine and will have to get a rabies booster shot, according to Environmental Health. During the incident, the homeowner may be been exposed and was told to discuss the incident with his physician and follow the physician's advice.

India: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

A rare disease known as Congo fever has claimed its first victims in India.

The Palghar district administration issued a Congo fever alert after neighboring Gujarat districts reported around 4 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), feared to be spreading from animals to humans. The district administration has asked cattle feeders, meat sellers, and staff of the state animal husbandry department to watch out for symptoms that can cause the Congo fever. The virus is transmitted through the bite of the Hyalomma tick, an external parasite, living by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, etc.

Jogeshwari's only Tabela owner, Ramanand Tiwary, told Afternoon Voice that "the cattle are brought from Gujarat and nearby areas to Mumbai. The sheds here are congested due to space problems; we maintain possible hygiene, but, still, avoiding cattle is not possible."

Ashish Mulk, a Veterinary doctor from Borivali said: "this is not the first time that Maharashtra is facing the threat of Congo fever; it actually returns every year."

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The state of Michigan says a Montcalm County resident has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis [EEE]. Officials didn't release additional details about the death on Oct. 2.

"Our sympathies to the family and friends of this Michigan resident," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a news release. "EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, which is why we made the decision to conduct aerial treatment last month. We continue to urge Michiganders to take precautions against mosquitoes."

The Montcalm County resident was the second human case of EEE in Michigan.

EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that, while rare, can often prove fatal when its symptoms become serious. It's nearly always deadly for horses, but there is a vaccine for horses and not one for people.

China: Avian Influenza

Chinese officials report a human H9N2 avian influenza case in a 4-year-old girl from Guangdong province. The child was hospitalized in August 2020 with mild symptoms and has fully recovered.

The investigation into the case shows the girl had contact with domestic poultry. No further cases were confirmed among the contacts of this case.

The last case of H9N2 avian influenza was reported in May 2020. In 2020, 6 cases have been reported, all from China.

Since 1998, 67 total cases have been reported from 7 countries. In most human cases of H9N2 avian flu, the associated disease symptoms have been mild, and there has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Influenza A(H9N2) viruses are enzootic in poultry populations in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

Most human cases are exposed to the A(H9N2) virus through contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments. Human infection tends to result in mild clinical illness. Since the virus continues to be detected in poultry populations, further human cases can be expected.

Canada: West Nile Virus

A Southwestern Ontario resident has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first lab-confirmed human case this year, Lambton Public Health said. Testing of mosquito pools in Petrolia and Oil Springs had already shown the virus was present.

Ontario has had 24 human cases, which are often confirmed in late summer and early fall, late in the mosquito season.

West Nile virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

The health unit reminds residents to remain vigilant to prevent mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito-breeding sites on their property.

Russia & Kazakhstan: Avian Influenza

Russia and Kazakhstan have reported more highly pathogenic avian flu outbreaks in poultry, Russia's involving H5N8 and Kazakhstan's due to an H5 virus, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Russia, animal health officials have reported 4 more H5N8 outbreaks, all in backyard birds in earlier affected oblasts in the southwestern part of the country: Kurgan, Tyumen, and Omsk. The outbreaks began in late September, killing 234 of 5,222 susceptible birds. The survivors were slated for culling.

In neighboring Kazakhstan, veterinary officials have reported 3 more H5 outbreaks, all in backyard poultry in 3 different regions: Kostanay, Akmola, and Pavlodar. All are in the north-central part of the country. The outbreaks started from 17 to 25 Sep 2020, killing 108 of 191 susceptible birds. The rest were destroyed as part of the outbreak response.

Finland: Myxomatosis

It is not yet certain where the myxoma virus came from in Finland or whether it can spread. In late summer the animal disease, which was first observed in Finland in July, is spreading in city rabbits in Espoo and western Helsinki.

More than 30 wild rabbits have been brought to Korkeasaari Wildlife Hospital to be euthanized because of a newly arrived viral disease called myxomatosis. As many as 4 wild rabbits have been brought in a day, says the animal keeper Laura Pulli from Korkeasaari Wildlife Hospital. According to Pulli, the rabbits brought to Korkeasaari have been lean and in poor condition. As one of the signs of the disease, the rabbit's eyes are so wet that, according to Pull, they are almost closed. "After that, the rabbits don't see anything. They stay in place to squat, they can't even eat."

The infected wild rabbits cannot be cured or helped other than by taking them to a wildlife hospital or city veterinarian for euthanasia. People or even dogs do not get the disease. A vaccine against the virus can be obtained for pet rabbits. "The virus could come to a pet rabbit with a mosquito flying in from a window"

October 1, 2020

China: Plague

On Sept. 25, the Plague Command Post of Yunnan's Menghai County reported an outbreak of plague among rodents in a remote village of Xiding Township, and following a proactive search, a suspected case of bubonic plague was found in a 3-year-old child who is now undergoing treatment. The local government activated a Level IV public health emergency response.

According to reports, a village that is a 3-hour drive from the Menghai County seat recently found 3 rodents dead of unknown cause. The township government immediately reported to the county disease prevention and control center. The provincial-level disease prevention and treatment institute and the state-level disease control center's on-site epidemiological survey and lab results led to preliminary conclusions that rodent plague had occurred in Xiding. 

India: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Gujarat reported 4 cases of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) this year. Of them, 3 cases have been reported to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) as part of the "weekly outbreak" reports; however, the state health department claimed there had been "no outbreak of CCHF this year".

The first case was reported on March 4: a 70-year-old patient from the Paliyad village in Bota. The patient's sample was sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and came back positive.

Botad then reported a second case in May from Gadhada block. The patient was a 35-year-old man from the cattle-grazing community of Maldharis and had visited a community health center after showing symptoms of fever, reported The Indian Express. His samples were also sent to NIV Pune; however, he succumbed in 4 days.

The report was received after his death, and the deceased had tested positive. As per the NCDC report, the patient was suspected to have contracted the disease from the tick insecticide sprayed in a cattle shed.

The third case of a 32-year-old male was recorded positive in July from the Gadhada block of the area, and another one in March. All 3 cases were sent to Bhavnagar for treatment. The one fatality was reported from Botad.

India: Japanese Encephalitis

Assam has reported 51 deaths due to Japanese encephalitis so far this year, but the state health department described it as a success, as the death toll was 110 less than last year.

Japanese encephalitis, a virus spread by the bite of infected mosquitos, has posed a serious challenge for the state health department in the past few years, as it caused more than 150 deaths almost every year.

According to a status report on Japanese encephalitis in Assam 2020, the state reported 318 cases into September, of which 51 persons died. Last year, 642 cases were reported, while 161 people died.

Most of the deaths this year have been reported from Darrang, Barpeta, Sonitpur, Morigaon, Sivasagar, Kamrup, and Golapara districts.

Spain: West Nile Virus

West Nile virus fever has taken the life of a new person in Sevilla. The woman is the 5th fatal victim since the 1st week of August when the first hospitalizations occurred.

The 77-year-old woman is a resident of Cora del Rio who had been for several weeks in the intensive care unit of the Virgin del Rocio Hospital and who at the end could not overcome the disease that was caused by the bite of a mosquito that had become infected from feeding on an ill bird.

During the stay in the hospital, she had been in a vegetative state nearly the whole time, according to responses to ABC from sources close to the family. Although she managed to wake up slightly, in the end, she suffered a cerebral infarction this past Tue 22 Sep 2020 that ended her life during the time when she was admitted to the unit.

There are now 5 people in Sevilla who have died as a consequence of the West Nile virus [infection], a disease that causes meningoencephalitis. In addition to these 5 fatal victims are added to another 3 in Cadiz province.

Japan: Classical Swine Fever

The agriculture ministry said Sept. 26 that classical swine fever (CSF) infections have been confirmed at a pig farm in the city of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, marking the first outbreak of the infectious disease among farmed pigs in the country in about half a year.

It is the first classical swine fever case at a pig farm in Gunma since the first outbreak in Japan in 26 years was confirmed in 2018. The Gunma Prefectural Government will slaughter all of the roughly 5,400 pigs at the farm in accordance with the law.

In the prefecture, vaccinations started for farmed pigs in October last year, following the discovery of an infected wild boar. But the animals found with the disease at the affected farm, all piglets, had yet to be vaccinated.

Early in September, piglets at the Takasaki farm started to die after suffering from diarrhea, and the number of deaths has reached about 200, according to the prefectural government. The prefecture conducted tests on pigs at the farm following a report from its operator. Infections were confirmed in 3 piglets who were each about 70 days old.

Nepal: Scrub typhus

The number of people suffering from scrub typhus and dengue is increased amidst the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic. In the past 2 months, 69 people were diagnosed with scrub typhus and 24 with dengue fever, according to Bharatpur hospital [Chitwan district, Bagmati Pradesh province]. Of the sample collected for the test from 345 people in the months of Saun and Bhadau, 69 were found carrying the scrub typhus virus

Scrub typhus is a disease caused by a bacterium called Orientia tsutsugamushi and spread through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). It is usually seen during the rainy season, said Dr. Mahendra Agragahri at the hospital. High fever, rashes, stomachache, and jaundice are its symptoms.

Mongolia: Plague

A suspected case of bubonic plague in western Mongolia's Khovd (or Hovd) province has been confirmed by lab test results, the country's National Center for Zoonotic Diseases (NCZD) said.

The 25-year-old female patient from the province and 19 people in close contact with her are now under isolation at a local hospital, the NCZD said in a statement. The center said the woman was found to have eaten marmot meat last week. While hunting marmots is illegal in Mongolia, many Mongolians regard the rodent as a delicacy and ignore the law.

Since the beginning of 2020, the Asian country has reported 22 suspected cases, 6 of which were confirmed by laboratory tests. Three of the 6 patients have died. 17 out of all the 21 Mongolian provinces are now at risk of the bubonic plague, the NCZD said, urging the public to avoid eating marmot meat.

The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease spread by fleas living on wild rodents such as marmots and can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the WHO.

Germany: African Swine Fever

Two more cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boars in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, with one found outside the area of the first discoveries, the federal agriculture ministry said on Sept. 30.

One new discovery was confirmed in the Maerkisch-Oderland district in Brandenburg outside of the area close to the Polish border where the first cases were found, the ministry said. The second case was inside the original area, it added.

"The state of Brandenburg must now undertake an appropriate adaptation of the existing protection zones and protection measures to prevent further expansion of the disease," the ministry said. The new discoveries bring total confirmed cases to 38 since the first reported on Sept. 10. All were in wild animals with no farm pigs affected, the ministry said.

The Friedrich-Loeffler scientific institute confirmed the latest animals had ASF, the ministry said. More cases in wild boar have to be expected as the disease is highly infectious, it said.

The German government is considering aid to farmers after prices fell following the discovery of ASF in wild animals in the country.

September 24, 2020

CEEZAD study confirms pigs not effective

transmitters of SARS-CoV-2 virus

Research on COVID-19 by a research team from the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (CEEZAD) has been cited in a recent bulletin of the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA).

The Sept.24 USAHA bulletin notes that the CEEZAD team has confirmed that pigs are not an effective transmitter of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Nor can they be infected with the virus.

The CEEZAD team led by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, CEEZAD’s director, confirmed previous studies conducted in Germany and China, which came to the same conclusion.

September 24, 2020

Germany: African Swine Fever

The National Reference Laboratory for African swine fever (ASF) at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) has so far confirmed 20 cases of ASF in wild boar in Brandenburg. The first case was detected in a carcass of a 2- to 3-year wild sow in the district of Spree-Neisse; many of the others in wild boar were detected near the municipality of Neuzelle in the district of Oder-Spree and thus in the demarcated infected area designated by the Land Brandenburg. All of them were first tested positive in the responsible veterinary state laboratory in Berlin-Brandenburg, and sample material was then sent to the National Reference Laboratory at FLI for clarification.

In light of the experience gained in other countries affected by ASF, it can be assumed that the epidemic is at an early stage. In addition, one of the wild boar was found sick and shot in the Oder-Spree district. This also indicates that the disease situation is still ongoing. It is to be expected that further cases will be added in the course of the intensified search for fall game. The search for fall game will be used to precisely locate the infected area and to remove the carcasses as sources of infection for further feral pigs.

Singapore: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease

A highly infectious and contagious animal disease that wasn't known to be present in Singapore has been reported in local rabbits.

The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) of the National Parks Board has confirmed the first detection of rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) in local pet rabbits. The virus that causes RHD was detected in samples from pet rabbits submitted by a veterinary clinic.

"Based on investigations so far, there may be up to 11 affected rabbits in the cluster, and 8 have died. None of the cases are known to have a travel history. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing."

The agency has advised stakeholders to put in place "strict biosecurity protocols to minimize the risk of disease transmission between rabbits from different households." This includes setting up sanitation, disinfection, and isolation areas and to report suspect cases to AVS.

Typically, rabbits that are housed indoors and have minimal exposure to rabbits from other households face a low risk of contacting RHD.

India: Scrub Typhus

An outbreak of scrub typhus, a bacterial disease, has claimed the lives of 5 people in Nagaland's Noklak district bordering Myanmar, officials said. More than 600 others tested positive for the disease but recovered after treatment.

Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, spreads to people through bites of larval mites. The symptoms include fever, headache, and body ache. The district's Sub-Divisional Officer (Civil), C Phuniang, said Noklak has had to grapple with the disease in the past too, although there had been no scientific study on the whys. "People recover if treated in time. Unfortunately, 5 people died probably because they were ignorant about the disease," he stated.

Doctors and other healthcare workers in the district have been trying to create awareness on a large scale to contain the spread of the disease. "Doctors have advised people to visit a hospital in case they have the symptoms. The hospitals are well-equipped with testing kits," Mr. Phuniang said. 

Kazakhstan: Anthrax

An anthrax outbreak is reported in Shymkent. Two brothers were taken to the hospital in serious condition. Both have a cutaneous form of anthrax, Astana TV channel reported. The men were taking care of cattle at their farm.

Epidemiologists tested the cattle and the test results for anthrax were negative.

More than 20 people contacted the men. They all remain under medical observation.

"We assume some of the kind of slaughter is the source of infection. Anthrax is transmitted from animals, especially the cutaneous form of anthrax. Shymkent and nearby districts of Turkestan region are anthrax unfavorable areas," Shymkent's chief epidemiologist Balkumys Musaeva said. 

United States: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease

White-tailed deer are dying in Purgatory Swamp near Goshen, N.Y. They're dying in Putnam County too, near Cold Spring and Nelsonville. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is also testing remains of deer from 4 other locations in Orange, Ulster, and Dutchess counties for a viral disease called epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).

It's transmitted by biting midges (also called no-see-ums or "punkies"), affects only white-tailed deer, and cannot be transmitted between deer or to humans.

As of earlier this week, the DEC had tallied 321 suspected EHD deer deaths. A total of 138 were east of the Hudson River and 183 were west of the Hudson, with 101 in or within 10 miles of Goshen and 76 in or within 10 miles of the Cold Spring-Nelsonville-Town of Philipstown area.

The illness, which is endemic in the southern USA, first showed up in New York in 2007, upstate in Albany, Rensselaer, and Niagara counties, according to the DEC. A 2011 outbreak hit Rockland County. And now it's hitting deer in the mid-Hudson region.

Germany: Tick-borne Encephalitis

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is reporting an increase in cases of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) year to date in Germany.

Through Sept. 7, 535 cases have been reported; which is an increase of 14 percent over the same period in 2018, a record year for TBE in Germany.

Of the cases, 89 percent (477) have been reported from Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria states in southern Germany.

Health officials suggest the increase may be due to the recommended measures to contain COVID-19, where people may spend increased amounts of their leisure time outdoors and thus have an increased risk of exposure.

In 2020, high numbers of ticks were also be observed in places that are regularly sampled. In particular, the number of adult tick stages is unusually high this year. This tick stage has a higher virus prevalence rate than the nymph stage. It can be assumed that this tick season in the known TBE risk areas also increases the probability of being bitten by an infected tick.

September 17, 2020

India: Scrub typhus

A 12-year-old boy has been found suffering from scrub typhus at PHC (Primary Health Center) Thanga, said a statement of Dr. L. Gojendra Singh, Chief Medical Officer of Bishnupur. The boy was found suffering from the disease on Sept. 8 and was referred to JNIMS [Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences], on the family's request. His condition is improving, said the CMO, stating that scrub typhus is endemic in the district and there have been casualties every year due to the disease. Most of the casualties happened due to a lack of medical attention.

India: Malaria

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, malaria is the new threat to Mumbai. Last month, BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) recorded 2 malaria-COVID-19 co-infection deaths, of which one was from south Mumbai. A 27-year-old man from G-Northward (Dadar, Mahim, Dharavi) died due to the co-infection on Aug. 3, 24 hours after getting admitted to a hospital. The other patient was a 40-year-old man, who died on Aug. 4.

Congo: Cholera

At least 312 people have died of cholera in Central and West Africa in 2020. The deaths are from 17,060 cases recorded in the regions. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the most severe crisis with 281 deaths from 15,028 cases. Nigeria has documented 13 deaths from 1,633 cases while neighboring Cameroon has 16 deaths from 269 cases. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has confirmed single deaths in Chad and Liberia. It has issued an alert in Benin and Niger, but there have been no deaths. 

United States: Plague

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is reporting the second case of human plague in the state during this summer. The case, reported to the department on Sept. 3, is a resident from a rural county in Colorado. The first case was diagnosed earlier this summer in a resident from southwest Colorado. The cases are unrelated. Both cases had exposure to sick animals: a squirrel and a cat respectively. Neither case is suspected of having spread the infection to other people or animals. These are the first cases of human plague reported in the state since 2015. In the past 10 years, there have been 14 cases of human plague in Colorado. 

Norway: Chronic Wasting Disease

On Thursday evening, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute notified the Norwegian Food Safety Authority of a confirmed case of CWD (chronic wasting disease) in a wild reindeer shot during the ordinary hunt on the Hardanger plateau in central southern Norway. Material from a lymph node tested positive, while brain tissue was negative.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

A horse in Barry County, Mich., died from eastern equine encephalitis. The health department said there have been 13 confirmed cases of EEE in horses in Michigan.

Congo: Ebola

Since our last report on the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Equateur Province in the western Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Sept. 6, an additional 9 total EVD cases have been reported. This brings the outbreak total to 121 (115 confirmed and 6 probable cases). 53 people have recovered, and 48 total deaths (including 42 confirmed and 6 probable) have been reported.

United States: West Nile Virus

Massachusetts health officials this week announced 4 new human cases of West Nile virus, bringing the state's total this year to 7. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County, Fla. has now seen more than 50 reported cases of West Nile virus this year, health officials say, and 5 more cases have been announced.

Ukraine: Leptospirosis

A 28-year-old woman with leptospirosis is in the intensive care unit at the City Hospital in Mykolaiv. This is the 2nd patient with leptospirosis to be admitted to the City Hospital in 2020. The first was a 52-year-old man who was discharged with recovery on Aug. 7.

United Kingdom: Legionellosis

Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, the Health and Safety Executive, and Sandwell Council are jointly investigating 3 laboratory-confirmed cases of Legionnaire's [disease] and 6 suspected cases in West Bromwich. No direct link between the cases has been found, although they are believed to have originated from a "common source".

Germany: African Swine Fever

A further five cases of African swine fever (ASF) are suspected in wild boar in the German state of Brandenburg, close to the border with Poland. This follows the discovery of ASF for the first time in Germany in a dead wild boar in a field of harvested crops in the state last week.

September 10, 2020

United States: Rabies

A kitten has tested positive for rabies in the City of Rome, N.Y. Multiple pets and humans were exposed to the kitten and are currently receiving treatment. Signs of rabies include animal acting strangely; animal acting mad; animal acting shy -- the animal may get unusually close; drooling or foaming from the mouth.

United States: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

A rare death and an increase in reports of a tick-borne illness have public health officials reminding Nebraskans to take care when they head outdoors. For the first time since 2015, a Nebraskan has died from Rocky Mountain spotted fever, said Jeff Hamik, an epidemiologist and entomologist with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The man, who was in his 60s, lived in west-central Nebraska. He is believed to have contracted the disease from a tick while in the state, Hamik said.

Mongolia: Plague

An administrative subdivision of Zavkhan province in western Mongolia is under quarantine for an indefinite period after a suspected case of bubonic plague was reported on Sept. 3, the local government said. 

India: Lumpy Skin Disease

Lumpy skin disease (LSD), an infectious viral disease of cattle and bovine animals is spreading fast in some districts of Vidarbha and Marathwada, creating panic among dairy farmers. According to the [Maharashtra] state Animal Husbandry department, so far 93,252 infections of the capripoxvirus, which was first detected in the state in Gadchiroli district in April, have been recorded in the state. 

United States: St. Louis Encephalitis

A California man in his 90s died in August from the Saint Louis encephalitis virus [SLEV], the county health department reported Sept. 3. The county said it is the first confirmed case of SLEV in California this year and the first in Madera County since 1976.

China: Anthrax

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Laboratory testing confirmed Wisconsin's first 2020 human death from eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), state health officials announced Sept. 4. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Chippewa County Health Department sent out a news release with the information. 

United States: Anthrax

North Dakota's state veterinarian says the state's first reported case of anthrax this year is a reminder to livestock producers to take action to protect their animals from the disease, especially in areas with a past history of the disease. The case, in Morton County, was confirmed Sept. 3 by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Germany: Tick-borne Encephalitis

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) cases in Germany are approaching record numbers in 2020. So far, more than 530 human cases have been reported to the German governmental agency Robert Koch-Institute. This year, about 90% of all cases have been reported from the 2 federal states of Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria. The first detailed analyses show that especially the districts with altitudes of 550 to over 600 meters [1804 to over 1969 feet] are more heavily affected with increased numbers of human cases, while the districts in lower altitudes showcase numbers comparable to the past years.

United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Livestock owners are being advised to look out for signs of a disease that has affected horses, cattle, and other animals in several Midwest states. Missouri State Veterinarian Dr. Steve Strubberg announced the state's first case of vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, in a horse in Newton County. 

Germany: African Swine Fever

Germany's Ministry of Food and Agriculture said on Wednesday it had a suspected case of African swine fever [ASF] in the eastern state of Brandenburg. The suspected case concerned a wild boar carcass found a few kilometers from the German-Polish border. A sample of the carcass was being taken for tests at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut laboratory, the ministry said in a statement.

September 3, 2020

Australia: Avian Influenza

Thousands of emus and chickens will be killed after an outbreak of bird flu in regional Victoria. Veterinarians from Agriculture Victoria are on the farm in Kerang, 3 hours north of Melbourne, to euthanize the emu chicks.

The dramatic move came after 200 birds came down with avian influenza earlier this week, spreading to the emu farm in Kerang and an egg farm in the Golden Plains Shire. The detection of bird flu at the 2 new farms takes the total number of affected farms to 6, since the 1st farm detection on July 31.

"The H7N7, H7N6, and H5N2 types of the virus are not a risk to the public as it rarely affects humans unless there is direct and close contact with sick birds. Properly cooked poultry products including chicken and eggs are safe to eat," Agriculture Victoria advised.

The emu farm is under quarantine. Victoria's chief veterinary officer Dr. Graeme Cooke said Agriculture Victoria was acting swiftly to contain the outbreaks. "The Golden Plains egg farm has been placed under quarantine after being confirmed as having high pathogenic H7N7 avian influenza. It has about 37,000 birds on-site within the existing Restricted Area." Agriculture Victoria has been undertaking regular surveillance at the property as part of its response. "Agriculture Victoria will undertake the appropriate actions to depopulate and decontaminate the site," Dr. Cooke said.

The emu farm near Kerang reported sick birds to Agriculture Victoria and subsequent testing has confirmed low pathogenic H7N6 avian influenza. The farm, which has around 8000 emus, is under quarantine and authorities have agreed to send the remaining emu eggs to a different farm where they will stay under surveillance and hopefully be born influenza-free. There are hopes the emu eggs can be saved.

Congo: Monkeypox

A monkeypox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has claimed 10 lives, while 141 people have been infected so far, local media reported on Sept. 1.

"From the 1st week of surveillance until the 33rd, we recorded 141 confirmed cases, with 10 deaths," Dr. Aime Alengo, a health official in Sankuru province, told the local Actualite news website.

Alengo said the disease affects those who are mostly less than 5 years old. "We are one of a few countries in Africa that still have cases of this disease."

In its Health Emergencies Bulletin on Sept. 1, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region said: "One major challenge to the current emergency includes acquiring the required funding to respond to all the multiple ongoing outbreaks in the country."

Monkeypox virus is an Orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox. While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries of Central and West Africa.

Monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission also occurs, according to WHO.

United States: West Nile Virus

California confirms its fourth West Nile virus (WNV) case in 2020. A San Joaquin County horse succumbed to the mosquito-borne disease. Other California cases have been confirmed in Amador, Merced, and Stanislaus counties.

On Aug. 13, a San Joaquin County horse with unknown vaccination history was confirmed with WNV after presenting with neurologic signs. The 8-year-old Friesian stallion was subsequently euthanized.

The day before, a 17-year-old quarter horse gelding in Merced County was also confirmed positive for WNV. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), the horse, which had no vaccination history, displayed neurologic signs and subsequently died.

The state's second case of 2020, an unvaccinated 2-year-old quarter horse colt from Stanislaus County, was confirmed positive on Aug. 3. California's index case, located in Amador County, was confirmed on June 26.

Nepal: Scrub Typhus

Five scrub typhus cases have been reported in Darchula District [Sudurpashchim Pradesh province], Nepal. The infection has been found in one male person in the Mahakali municipality, in 2 women, and one man in Malikarjun rural municipality, and in one male person of Byas rural municipality, Dr. Gajendra Duwal at the District Hospital Darchula said.

One of the infected people has been referred to as Dhangadhi [Kailali District] while another person has been admitted to the District Hospital for treatment. The health condition of 3 others infected is normal, Dr. Duwal said.

Zimbabwe: Elephant Deaths

The mysterious deaths of 11 elephants in Zimbabwe may have been the result of bacterial infection, officials say. Authorities had already ruled out two possibilities after the carcasses were discovered on Aug. 28 in Pandamasue Forest, between Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls, in the west of the country.

The dead elephants were found with the tusks still on their bodies, meaning they were not killed by poachers, and cyanide poisoning has also been ruled out as a cause of the deaths.

Columbus Chaitezvi, a principal veterinary officer at the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), said that following preliminary tests, the agency suspected the elephants could have contracted a deadly bacterial infection while searching for food.

As the country enters the hot summer season, food becomes scarce, and younger elephants tend to eat grass and burrow into the soil, exposing themselves to bacteria, he said. "So far, the laboratory indication is that it's a bacteria infection, but we don't know what kind of bacteria it is," Chaitezvi told Reuters.

Zimparks spokesman Tinashe Farawo said the dead were aged between 5 and 6 years and less than 18 months. "You can see that those young ones can't reach for treetops, so they end up eating anything, which in some cases can be poisonous," said Farawo.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) confirmed this year's first positive detection of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in a mammal.

DEM's Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) responded to a report of a white-tailed deer -- disoriented and walking in circles -- in North Kingstown on UG. 21. DLE euthanized the animal, and its tissues were subsequently tested for EEE by RIDOH's Rhode Island State Health Laboratories. The state lab confirmed the deer tested positive for EEE. The animal also will be tested for chronic wasting disease. This finding of EEE in a mammal indicates there is now an elevated risk of disease transmission from mosquito bites to humans in Rhode Island.

DEM and RIDOH announced 147 mosquito samples from 44 traps tested negative for both EEE and West Nile virus (WNV). Along with today's confirmed mammalian case, there has been one EEE finding in a mosquito sample from Westerly and no findings of WNV in mosquito samples.

To date, Massachusetts has confirmed 3 human cases of EEE, 65 findings of EEE, and 70 findings of WNV. There have been no human cases of EEE or WNV in Connecticut in 2020, but the state has confirmed 2 EEE findings and 82 WNV findings.

August 27, 2020

Equine Infectious Anemia

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials have confirmed 4 Quarter Horses with equine infectious anemia (EIA): 2 in Ellis County and 1 each in Brazoria and Bastrop counties.

All premises involved are under quarantine until TAHC's requirements have been met, and TAHC staff are helping owners and local veterinarians to implement biosecurity protocols and monitor potentially exposed horses.

Equine infectious anemia is a viral disease that attacks horses' immune systems. The virus is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids from an infected to an uninfected animal, often by blood-feeding insects such as horseflies. It can also be transmitted through the use of blood-contaminated instruments or needles.

A Coggins test screens horses' blood for antibodies indicative of the presence of the EIA virus. Most US states require horses to have proof of a negative Coggins test to travel across state lines.

Once an animal is infected with EIA, it is infected for life and can be a reservoir for the spread of disease. Not all horses show signs of disease, but those that do can exhibit progressive condition loss, muscle weakness, poor stamina, fever, depression, and anemia

India: Scrub Typhus

As many as seven people, including children, from various parts of Murshidabad have been affected by scrub typhus in the past 48 hours. Around 9 people from the districts have so far been admitted to the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital, out of which 5 are children. This has become a concern for the Health Department.

Taking note of reports of scrub typhus from some parts of Murshidabad, the state Health Department has directed the district health officials to be alert and vigilant. "Scrub typhus is a disease that can be treated with antibiotics if it is detected early. So, early detection is of the utmost importance. We have directed the hospital to keep a tab if fever continues for a period of 5 days in a patient," a senior official from the district said. All the patients are running high temperatures, and many of them have various other symptoms which include vomiting.

The disease is spread among people through the bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi, and it commonly occurs in rural areas. The most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a rash. Most cases of scrub typhus have so far been reported in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and Northern Australia. 

Israel: West Nile Virus

Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were recently found in the Arava and Gilboa regions of Israel, according to a statement by the Environmental Protection Ministry on Aug. 19. The Environmental Protection Ministry asked the Eilot and Gilboa regional councils to monitor the situation and carry out immediate pest control if necessary.

The virus-carrying mosquitoes were found during standard monitoring operations by the ministry in July.

West Nile Virus is transferred by mosquitoes to humans. It takes about 7-14 days for those bitten by infected mosquitoes to develop symptoms, including, fever, headaches, weakness, joint and muscle pain, inflammation of the eyelid, rashes, and occasionally nausea and diarrhea.

"Mosquito pests develop in the summer when temperatures are high and there is stagnant water. Such events will increase in frequency in the coming years, as climate change worsens," said the ministry in a statement. "It is important to avoid sewers and stagnant water accumulation, and we call on the authorities to urgently address places where pests are detected, and also call on the public to be vigilant and take all measures to prevent bites and mosquito pests."

Spain: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

National Microbiology Center of Majadahonda (Madrid) with the 'Carlos III' Health Institute has confirmed the presence of the Crimean-Congo virus in the samples sent corresponding to a male who died on Aug. 11 at the Complex University Assistance of Salamanca.

The 69-year-old patient had been admitted to the ICU of the Salamanca Clinic on Aug. 10 after going to the Hospital 'Nuestra Senora del Castanar' in Bejar, due to the worsening of the nonspecific symptoms that, days before, he had referred in-home consultation and for which he was in treatment.

In the hospital center, a blackish lesion is observed on one of his legs, in view of what his family environment reports that they had seen him remove a tick the week before.

Faced with this situation, as soon as the suspicion of a possible case of Crimean-Congo virus infection was established, Public Health, and in coordination with the healthcare field, set up the protocol of action and coordination between the national and regional health authorities, with the sending of the analyzes that have given positive results to the FHCC and the adoption of the appropriate protection measures for health professionals.

Iran: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has claimed 5 lives in the country since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year, the director of the zoonotic diseases management office at the Ministry of Health has said.

Behzad Amiri said that over the past 5 months, 38 people have been diagnosed with the disease but were cured.

Last year, 119 persons were diagnosed with Crimean-Congo fever in the country, of whom 11 died. Since the beginning of this year, 38 people have been identified with Crimean-Congo fever, of whom 5 have lost their lives.

Mohammad Nabavi, deputy director for communicable diseases department of the Ministry of Health, said that some 10% of the people who are diagnosed with Crimean-Congo fever and receive proper medical care may die, while this number increases to 50% for the people who do not get any treatments.

According to the Health Ministry, some 100-150 cases of Crimean-Congo fever are annually reported in Iran.

Senegal: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

On Aug. 12, health officials reported a Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) case in Senegal. The case was detected as part of the epidemiological surveillance system in the country. The patient is a 27-year-old woman living in the Pikine district in Dakar.

At the time of diagnosis, she presented with a fever with hemorrhagic signs. Investigations by a multidisciplinary team are ongoing to document this outbreak.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus of the Bunyaviridae family. The CCHF virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10-40%.

Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks, and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites.

United States: Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease

Several people have reported dead or dying white-tailed deer, along with a few antelope, to Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks [FWP] over the last few weeks. FWP says biologists are still waiting for test results to come back, but early indications suggest patterns and symptoms similar to epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD).

EHD is an infectious, sometimes fatal virus that is usually spread by a virus-carrying gnat or midge. Many animals affected with EHD lose their appetite, are drawn to water, lose their fear of people, grow weak, and often eventually die. This disease is often confused with "blue tongue" which is a separate, but similar, disease.

It is not uncommon for EHD to show up in eastern Montana in the late summer or early fall, and it mostly impacts white-tailed deer but can show up in mule deer and antelope. EHD outbreaks typically end when a hard frost kills the insect vectors that carry the disease.

Uganda: Anthrax

Three people suspected to have contracted anthrax in Rubirizi district have died, triggering panic among residents on 4 landing sites on Lake Edward. The deceased are all residents of Kisenyi in Katuguru Sub County.

Dr. Henry Mugaya, the Rubirizi district veterinary officer, says although they are yet to confirm that the victims were killed by anthrax, the disease has claimed more than 30 goats and 15 sheep since they often graze with buffaloes, hippos, and waterbucks in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Dr. Mugaya says 4 people presented with symptoms of anthrax and were treated at Rugazi Health Center. Bashir Hangi, the Uganda Wildlife Authority spokesperson, confirmed the anthrax outbreak in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. He added that they are managing the situation and working with local leaders to sensitize communities about anthrax.

John Patrick Mayanja, the vice-chairperson for the Kishenyi Landing site, says anthrax mostly breaks out during the dry season killing wild animals in the park and domestic animals like goats and sheep. "Hippos started dying in February, it's when we started seeing Uganda wildlife authorities pick the carcass and bury them," he said. Jessica Kyomuhendo says her 3 goats died in the farm but didn't present any symptoms.

Spain: West Nile Virus

The Regional Government of Andalusia announced that the mosquito-borne West Nile virus has been detected in 19 horses. The outbreaks have been detected in the Provinces of Sevilla, Huelva, and Cadiz.

The surveillance system, implemented by the Department of Animal Health of the Regional Ministry in 2010, serves as a health alert for a possible outbreak of the virus in humans.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Massachusetts has its third case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) this year -- a man in his 90s. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the man was exposed to EEE in Plymouth County. The state is now raising the threat level to critical in Halifax and high East Bridgewater and Hanson, all towns in Plymouth County. Across the state, 4 municipalities are at critical risk, 9 at high risk, and 18 at moderate risk.

People are advised to use mosquito repellent when they are outside; those in high and critical risk communities are advised to avoid outdoor activities from dusk to dawn to reduce mosquito exposure.

The Halifax Board of Health is asking residents to refrain from activities from dusk to dawn at Vaughn Field, HOPS Playground, Holmes Street Playground, Holmes Street Beach and Boat Ramp, Summit Street Soccer Fields, Lingan Street Beach, and the playing fields behind the elementary school.

Algeria: Leishmaniasis

The incidence of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a skin infection transmitted by bites from a species of sandflies in the western region has been growing steadily for several years, notes a bulletin from the Oran Regional Health Observatory (ORS). The recently published document, which traces the evolution of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the western region, indicates that the incidence of this disease has risen from 0.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2014, to 2.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019.

The number of cases in the 10 wilayas [provinces] of the western region rose from 46 in 2014 to 251 in 2019. The document adds that the wilaya of Saïda is the most affected by cutaneous leishmaniasis. The incidence in the wilaya of Saïda is estimated at 26.5 per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Tiaret with 10.5 per 100,000.

The ORS bulletin indicates that the under 14-age group is most affected by this infection, with a ratio in favor of males.

August 20, 2020

Taiwan: Norovirus

The Yilan County Public Health Bureau said Aug. 12 that several customers and employees in the mass food poisoning case at Hotel Royal Chiaohsi had tested positive for norovirus, though it has not been confirmed as the official cause.

Earlier this month, news broke out that 164 people who dined at the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi's buffet restaurant had experienced symptoms of food poisoning, including a group of Chailease Finance Co. employees who were on a company retreat. Of all the afflicted individuals, 92 have sought medical assistance, according to the health bureau.

The bureau said that a few customers and hotel staff members, including 2 restaurant workers, have received a positive result for the norovirus test, but no traces of the virus have been found on any of the kitchenware so far. Since the investigation results will determine the hotel's responsibility and its follow-up settlement, the bureau said more clarification is needed on the true cause of the incident.

The bureau said the investigation report will come out as soon as October, and the hotel will be penalized under the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation if norovirus is found to be linked to the mass food poisoning. Meanwhile, the bureau said it had requested the hotel to sanitize the entire building and enhance the health management of its employees, reported the Central News Agency of Taiwan.

United States: Equine Influenza

An attending veterinarian has confirmed a Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, horse with equine influenza. The affected horse is a 12-year-old Percheron mare. A voluntary quarantine has been enacted.

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing, and contact with human's contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever (up to 106 deg F), a dry hacking cough, depression, weakness, anorexia, serous (watery) nasal discharge, and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse's health at shows by taking their temperature daily, which can help you pick up on signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to reduce disease spread.

Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have had an equine influenza vaccination within the 6 months prior to attending organization-sanctioned competitions or events.

Pakistan: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

A young man tested positive for the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) on Aug. 11 and is undergoing treatment in an isolation ward of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

JPMC Executive Director Dr. Seemin Jamali said the man works as a rider for a motor company and is a resident of the Lines Area neighborhood. She said that this is the fourth case of the CCHF.

"The patient had interaction with sacrificial animals and was brought in with a fever and bleeding from the mouth and other parts of the body." Dr. Seemin said that a person infected with the highly contagious tick-borne disease had succumbed to complications arising from the CCHF at the JPMC this January.

CCHF is a lethal viral infection that is transmitted to humans from animals, especially cattle and livestock. Patients are kept in isolation wards to prevent other patients, doctors, nurses, and paramedics from contracting the disease.

United States: Tularemia

A rabbit in Laramie County has tested positive for tularemia, health officials announced Aug. 13. The animal was found in Hillsdale, according to the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department.

Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a rare infectious disease that typically attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and lungs. The disease mainly affects rabbits and rodents, but it can also affect humans and pets.

People can become infected in several ways, including through tick and deer fly bites and skin contact with infected animals. Tularemia can be life-threatening, but most infections can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

Australia: Avian influenza

Turkeys at a Lethbridge property have tested positive to a second strain of the avian influenza virus. The birds are on a property within an existing restricted area in the Golden Plains.

The local government area has had two cases of avian flu at two free-range egg farms in the last fortnight. Another property at Bairnsdale has also tested positive.

Agriculture Victoria has confirmed the H5N2 strain is low pathogenic, but it can affect chickens, ducks, geese, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, quail, pheasants, and ostriches. Many wild birds can also carry the virus without any signs.

The good news for humans is neither the high pathogenic or low pathogenic strains of the virus are a risk, as they rarely affect humans unless there is direct and close contact with sick birds.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has confirmed workers and biosecurity officers at the affected properties are taking all necessary precautions, including wearing protective personal equipment. There are also no food safety issues identified, as properly cooked poultry meat and eggs are safe to eat.

Kyrgyzstan: Anthrax

All patients with suspected anthrax have been discharged from the Osh Interregional Combined Hospital. The diagnosis was confirmed at the laboratory in only one patient, while the rest had a negative result.

Eight people were hospitalized with suspected anthrax. Epidemiological investigations found that nine people took part in the slaughtering and butchering of a cow carcass. The meat was then distributed among residents of Taldyk, Toguz-Bulak, Kyzyl-Bairak, and Besh-Moinok villages. A total of 285 contacts have been identified; all of them are taking antibiotics and are under medical supervision.

Quarantine has been introduced in Toguz-Bulak village until Aug. 25. Residents are prohibited from bringing in or taking out any livestock from the village, as well as prohibited from slaughtering it. 

Georgia: Anthrax

A 43-year-old resident of the village of Karadzhalo, Gardabani town in Kvemo Kartli region in southeastern Georgia is being treated for anthrax and COVID-19, according to a Sputnik News-Georgia report. According to the Imedi TV channel, the woman, on the advice of a relative, consulted a doctor because of a wound on her arm. Tests confirmed she had anthrax.

"She came to us with suspected anthrax, as she had a wound covered with black film on her little finger. She also had a fever. We tested her for an ulcer and coronavirus due to her temperature. The tests came back positive for both coronavirus and anthrax," said Papuna Bakhtadze, director of the Rustavi clinic.

The woman is now isolated and is being treated for the two diseases at once.

Russia: Rabies

In July 2020, 117 cases of rabies in animals were recorded, according to the Russian Federal State Budgetary Institution, the Rosselkhoznadzor publication Veterinary and Life. This compares with 77 sick animals identified in June. In July, the largest number of cases of rabies was noted in the Yaroslavl, Saratov, Penza, Ryazan, Chelyabinsk, Vladimir, Samara, and Kaluga regions.

Among wild carnivores, 61 cases of rabies were identified in July. The largest number of infected [wild carnivores], foxes, is 39, as well as 13 raccoon dogs and 4 badgers. One case of infection was recorded in the populations of [each] wild boars, wolves, raccoons, moles, and martens. In addition, 52 cases of infection with the virus in cats and dogs have been reported. Among cattle and small ruminants, 4 cases of rabies were recorded in July.

It should be noted that in Moscow, three settlements are closed due to this, in quarantine. Restrictions were introduced in the settlement of Klenovskoye in the Troitsky District, in the settlement of Sosenskoye in the Novomoskovsky District, and on the territory of the Nagatinsky Zaton in the southern district of the capital.

England: Leptospirosis

A mother has warned of the dangers of wild swimming after her daughter ended up in the hospital with a rare infection. The Bristol schoolgirl, aged 11, contracted life-threatening leptospirosis after swimming in the River Frome at Snuff Mills. Also known as Weil's disease, the bacterial infection is usually carried by rats and cattle and left her with grey lips, sickness, shaking, a fever, and aches.

The picturesque park in Stapleton is popular for a dip on a sunny day, with many families enjoying a swim in the River Frome. The patient had been swimming in the water on July 28 and July 29. It was not until the Saturday, Aug. 1 that her symptoms started to develop, beginning with backache and then fatigue and fever.

Doctors initially suspected she had a syndrome linked to coronavirus called a pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Her mother said she tested negative for COVID-19, however, adding: "They said it was a bit of a mystery. "The infections and disease team were looking into all the blood and monitoring her constantly, they were so good." The patient was in the hospital for 3 days until doctors were confident enough to discharge her, but it was not until this week that her test results came back.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Massachusetts health officials confirmed the second human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection in a female in her 60s who was exposed to EEE in Hampden County.

As a result, the EEE risk level in Wilbraham has been raised to critical, and the EEE risk level in Hampden and Monson has been raised to high.

Across the Commonwealth, three municipalities are at critical risk, eight are at high risk, and 20 are at moderate risk for EEE.

EEE is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. There has already been one other human case identified this year. In 2019, there were 12 human cases of EEE in Massachusetts with 6 deaths.

Mongolia: Plague

The Mongolia National Center for Zoonotic Disease reported on their Facebook page an additional suspected human bubonic plague case in western Mongolia. The case is a 37-year-old man from Tsetseg soum, Khovd province, and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

It is reported the patient ate marmot meat. Since the beginning of 2020, 13 human plague cases have been reported (9 suspects and 4 confirmed).

The plague is caused by Yersinia pestis. Plague appears to be more prevalent this year in Mongolia. It is not clear that person-to-person spread has occurred.

Most cases are due to bubonic plague following the bite of an infected rodent flea, causing a swollen and very tender lymph gland. The swollen gland is called a "bubo". Bubonic plague should be suspected when a person develops a swollen gland, fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion, and has a history of possible exposure to infected rodents, rabbits, or fleas. A person usually becomes ill with bubonic plague 2-6 days after being bitten.

United States: Plague

A South Lake Tahoe, Calif. resident has tested positive for plague according to El Dorado County health officials. The individual is currently under the care of a medical professional and is recovering at home. It is believed that the person, an avid walker, may have been bitten by an infected flea while walking their dog along the Truckee River Corridor north of Highway 50 or the Tahoe Keys area in South Lake Tahoe. Health officials started investigating the situation after being notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

"Plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevation areas of El Dorado County," said El Dorado County Public Health Officer, Dr. Nancy Williams. "It's important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking, and/or camping in areas where wild rodents are present. Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious."

Several areas of South Lake Tahoe have signs posted to advise the public of the presence of plague and ways to prevent exposure. In past years, chipmunks with plague have been found near the Taylor Creek, Kiva Beach, Tallac Historic Site, and Fallen Leaf Lake, among others.

Turkey: Anthrax

A neighborhood in northern Turkey was placed under quarantine over suspicion of an anthrax outbreak among livestock. Local authorities declared a quarantine for Yemisli in the Surmene district of the Black Sea province of Trabzon Aug. 18. An unspecified number of people fell ill after eating meat from a bull suspected of having the disease. An investigation is underway.

The local branch of the general directorate of food and control said in a written statement that samples from the slaughtered animal were being examined. Initial results pointed to anthrax. Meat from the animal that had not been consumed was destroyed. Meanwhile, other cattle that have not been infected are being vaccinated against the disease.

Anthrax, an infection caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, is commonly seen in animals that accidentally consume the bacterium's spores while grazing. It affects the skin and lungs in humans. Though it cannot spread directly from person to person, clothing, and bodies contaminated with anthrax spores pose a danger to human health. In 2018, two rural neighborhoods in Istanbul were quarantined over an anthrax scare that led to the hospitalizations of 6 people who suffered from skin lesions.

Congo: Ebola

One more Ebola illness and one more death from the virus have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Equateur province outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said on Twitter Aug. 18.

The new developments push the outbreak total to 89 cases and 37 deaths.

The WHO update also said five patients with confirmed Ebola infections remain in the community, posing a risk of further spread. It also noted that 30 health areas have now reported cases, although three have gone without a case for 42 days.

August 13, 2020

Congo: Ebola

Three more Ebola cases have been confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Equateur province outbreak, raising the total to 77, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said.

One more death was reported, lifting the fatality count to 33. It's unclear if the death involved one of the latest confirmed patients.

The outbreak, the country's 11th involving Ebola, was first detected in early June and is occurring in the same area as a 2018 outbreak that lasted a few months and totaled 54 cases, 33 of them fatal. The WHO said the latest outbreak is concerning because it is occurring across a wide geographic area with some of the illnesses occurring in Mbandaka, the provincial capital that has travel connections to Kinshasa and neighboring countries.

In the African regional office's weekly health emergencies and outbreaks report, the WHO said the outbreak response is challenged by a lack of resources for investigations in Mbandaka and case management in hard-to-reach places. It noted that the treatment facility in Bikoro is full and that 6 confirmed cases in 4 different locations remain in the community. So far, more than 18,800 people have been vaccinated.

 China: Plague

Authorities in a city in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia have quarantined a village after a resident there who had caught an intestinal type of plague died, the health commission of the city said on Aug. 6.

Cases of plague are not uncommon in China, although outbreaks have become increasingly rare. From 2009 to 2018, China reported 26 cases and 11 deaths.

Baotou city has sealed off the village where the dead patient lived and quarantined the patient's close contacts, who have tested negative for the disease so far and taken preventive medicines, the health commission said in a statement on its website. The city has also put the district where the village is located on the 2nd-lowest alert level on its 4-level system for plague response until the end of 2020.

The Baotou city health commission said the patient, who died of circulatory system failure, was confirmed to have "intestinal-type plague," referring to a category diagnosed from symptoms including diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and high fever, according to guidelines issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kazakhstan: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

A Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) case has been confirmed in a resident of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, near the border of Uzbekistan.

According to local media, "The citizen was at fieldwork on the territory of the Turkestan region, upon arrival he was at home and after a few days, he began to develop clinical manifestations. At home, he did the treatment himself and on the third day of the disease called an ambulance and was hospitalized in the city infectious diseases hospital, "said Galymzhan Abishev, deputy head of the department for quality control and safety of goods and services in Shymkent.

The patient's condition, according to the deputy chief sanitary doctor of Shymkent, was difficult, but thanks to the competent work of doctors, the man began to recover.

In 2019, one CCHF case was reported in Shymkent. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus of the Bunyaviridae family. The CCHF virus causes severe viral hemorrhagic fever outbreaks, with a case fatality rate of 10-40%.

Animals become infected by the bite of infected ticks and the virus remains in their bloodstream for about one week after infection, allowing the tick-animal-tick cycle to continue when another tick bites. Although a number of tick genera are capable of becoming infected with CCHF virus, ticks of the genus Hyalomma are the principal vector.

Kyrgyzstan: Anthrax

A quarantine was declared in the village of Toguz-Bulak, Kara-Suu district of Osh region over anthrax, rural municipality governor Kurbanbek Miyashev said. The village is locked down from Aug. 4-18, he said.

Turmush reported suspected anthrax cases in the village. Eight people were taken to the hospital. The villagers slaughtered a cow infected with anthrax and divided meat between 288 people. Testing of the soil where the cow was slaughtered gave a positive result for anthrax. The population of Toguz-Bulak village is 406 people.

The Ministry of Health said that eight people were taken to the Osh Interregional United Hospital with suspected cutaneous anthrax. The test results of one patient were positive for anthrax. The condition of the patients is satisfactory.

The epidemiological investigation found that nine people participated in the slaughter and butchering of the carcass of a cow. The meat was distributed among 23 families in Toguz Bulak village (214 people), seven families in Taldyk village (56 people), one family in Kyzyl-Bairak village (3 people), and three families in Besh Moinok village (12 people), 285 contacts in total. They all received antibiotics and remain under medical observation.

India: Malaria

According to a municipal report released on Aug. 10, 45 cases of malaria have been reported in the national capital this year.

The commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) had recently issued an advisory on prevention and control of vector-borne diseases.

Civic bodies have set up separate fever clinics to attend to patients afflicted with the vector-borne disease, authorities earlier said.

The number of households where mosquito-breeding has been found stands at 28,578, while 23,598 legal notices have been issued, according to the SDMC data.

Dengue mosquito larvae breed in clear, standing water, while those of malaria thrive even in dirty water.

Russia: Plague

The plague was detected in ground squirrels in the Russian southeastern Republic of Tuva in July, the country's consumer rights and human welfare watchdog [Rospotrebnadzor] said Aug. 11, adding that the entire population engaged in livestock breeding in the area was subject to vaccination.

"There is an epizootic activity of Tuva mountain natural plague foci recorded almost every year since 1964. In July 2020, local epizootics in the habitat of long-tailed ground squirrels were registered on the territory of Mongun-Tayginskiy and Ovyursky [districts] of the Republic of Tuva. An active epizootic process was registered at one of the sites," Rospotrebnadzor said.

The watchdog added that as many as 4,810 people had been vaccinated in the republic's affected areas.

"Field derivatization has been carried out on 3.9 hectares [9.6 acres] of land. Medical institutions' epidemic readiness has been checked and training sessions to identify patients with plague have been carried out. Health education is also underway," Rospotrebnadzor noted.

In early July, the republic's Agriculture Ministry called on the residents to observe preventive measures in connection with the bubonic plague outbreak in Mongolia. Since 2016, Russia has registered no cases of plague in humans.

United Kingdom: Bovine Tuberculosis

The owners of an elite dairy herd could be forced out of the milk sector after losing 60% of their cows in just 16 months.

The Williams family, who run the multi-award-winning Willhome herd of Ayrshires, Holsteins, and Brown Swiss in Pembrokeshire, are distraught after their latest TB test resulted in the slaughter of 17 animals, bringing to 138 the cows removed from the herd since April 2019.

Among the latest casualties was the dairy cow "Willhome Challenger Amanda EX94," who produced her fifth calf just 10 days before she was slaughtered on Aug. 7. Her accolades included being placed in the top three at the All Britain Calf Show and at the National Ayrshire Show. She was destroyed because it was the third time a test had flagged her up as an inconclusive reactor; she had, however, tested clear on a gamma blood test after the second such reading.

August 6, 2020

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) confirmed two horses in Suffolk were euthanized after testing positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). Both horses were tested for EEE after presenting with acute neurological signs.

The first horse tested positive for EEE on JULY 14 and the 2nd horse tested positive on July 15.

Sometimes called sleeping sickness, EEE is a mosquito-borne illness that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord. Signs include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions, and death.

Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take 3 to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear.

VDACS encourages horse owners to speak with their veterinarians about vaccinating their horses for West Nile virus (WNV) and EEE.

The mortality rate for WNV is 30 percent and up to 90 percent for EEE. Vaccinations are effective for 6 to 12 months.

United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a reportable animal disease, has been found in 7 states in 2020: Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. As VSV may spread throughout the Midwest and mountain states, livestock owners, especially those with horses, should be looking for signs.

VSV is a viral disease primarily affecting horses, also cattle, and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Although humans can become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, resulting in flu-like symptoms, this is a rare event. The main signs of VSV are slobbering, blisters, sores, and sloughing of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, on the muzzle, inside the ears, and on the coronary band above the hooves. Lameness and weight loss may also occur.

Flies and midges are the main vectors for VSV. The virus is also spread through direct contact with infected livestock and indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack. Fly control, including eliminating fly breeding and hiding habitat, is the most important step in preventing the disease. Good sanitation and bio-security measures can help avoid exposure.

United States: Rabies

There have been nine confirmed rabid bats in San Bernardino County, Calif., including four within the past two weeks in Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and Apple Valley. San Bernardino County Public Health is urging the public to protect themselves and their pets from interactions with unfamiliar, stray, or wild animals.

"Rabies is almost always fatal in humans once symptoms begin," stated Dr. Erin Gustafson, County Interim Health Officer. "It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for any animal bite or possible rabies exposure."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common wild reservoirs of rabies are raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. Domestic mammals can also get rabies. Cats, cattle, and dogs are the most frequently reported rabid domestic animals in the USA. Rabies among domestic animals is rare with animal vaccination programs.

French Guyana: Yellow Fever

On July 23, the France IHR National Focal Point reported a confirmed locally acquired case of yellow fever in a 14-year-old male in French Guiana. On July 17, the case was laboratory-confirmed at the French National Reference Centre for arboviruses, Institute Pasteur Cayenne.

The case-patient had a severe disability and developed dengue-like symptoms. He was hospitalized in an intensive care unit in Cayenne, French Guiana with consciousness disorders and acute liver failure and died on July 23.

The case-patient's vaccination history at Mother and Child Welfare Center showed evidence of vaccination for yellow fever at the age of 18 months; however, this was not confirmed by his immunization booklet. In addition, there was no evidence of the booster dose recommended in French Guiana for children between 6 and 10 years of age who were vaccinated before 2 years of age. An initial serology carried out by the Institute Pasteur Cayenne showed the absence of detectable antibodies.

The case-patient lived in the village of Cayode, a commune of Maripasoula in French Guiana, with no history of travel outside of the Village. The village of Cayode is located in the heart of the Amazonian forest, on the riverside, 1-2 hours by pirogue from the town of Maripasoula. According to preliminary results of the epidemiological investigation, the probable place of infection is Maripasoula, Haut-Maroni in French Guiana.

England: Tick-borne Encephalitis

A Hampshire [South East England] resident has been hospitalized as two others have fallen ill with rare infections spread by a tick bite. The person from Hampshire has fallen ill with TBE, and a person from Devon has been reported ill with babesiosis. Both are in hospital.

Health officials confirmed the diagnosis of a case of babesiosis and a probable case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).

Public Health England (PHE) said that this is the first record of a UK-acquired case of babesiosis and the 2nd case of TBE being acquired in the UK.

Most people with babesiosis will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms of infection, but people with weakened immune systems can become very ill and present with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle ache, fatigue, and jaundice.

Around two-thirds of people with TBE infections will have no symptoms, and, for those who develop symptoms, there are often 2 phases. The first is associated with flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and fatigue, which can then progress to a more serious second phase, which involves the central nervous system, which can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, and paralysis.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

A Middleboro resident is the first person to test positive for the eastern equine encephalitis virus this year in Massachusetts.

Town Manager Robert G Nunes said the Massachusetts Department of Public Health [DPH] informed the town of a human case on Aug. 3.

"We just received notice from the MASS DPH that a human case of EEE/West Nile has been reported in Middleboro," he wrote in a Facebook post.

The Department of Public Health announced that a Plymouth County resident between the ages of 11 and 20 tested positive for the eastern equine encephalitis virus and is presenting meningoencephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain caused by an infection.

China: Lumpy Skin Disease

On July 27, the Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services under the Guangfeng District Agriculture and Rural Affairs Bureau sent a technical specialist and a veterinarian to a poor-household farm site. Upon investigation, it was found that the disease suffered by cattle at the farm is Lumpy Skin Disease [LSD], and the condition was relatively serious.

To avoid the risk of transmission to other cattle, technical personnel returned to the household that night and vaccinated 12 heads of cattle that were still not sick and carried out antiviral treatment for the sick cattle. They then carried out the disinfection of the cowshed to eliminate the risk of disease transmission.

New Zealand: Listeriosis

The fourth case of listeriosis has been confirmed in Tauranga [Bay of Plenty]. Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health, Dr. Phil Shoemack says the case was confirmed last week.

This follows three confirmed cases last month. One of the people with the disease died, prompting a warning from medical professionals. All three of those who were affected last month were between 70 and 90 years old. The person who died already had a terminal condition, Medical Officer of Health Neil de Wet said at the time.

He said it was possible that the cases were linked, as it's unusual to see 3 cases in 2 weeks. Following confirmation of a fourth case last week, Dr. Shoemack says they are continuing to work with the Ministry for Primary Industries to locate a common source of each case. "As yet, we have not managed to confirm whether there is a common source, such as a particular food." He says the latest case did require hospitalization, and the person has now been discharged.

United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is a rare virus found in mosquitos that can be transmitted to horses. There haven't been any cases of EEE in almost a decade in New York state; however, that status changed on July 30.

In the town of Orleans, three horses had to be euthanized. One horse tested positive for the disease while two others in the same area also showed similar signs.

Jefferson County health planner Faith Lustik says it's rare but dangerous for horses and people.

"It's fatal a lot of times in a horse, and people may get it; it's not always fatal for people, but for a horse, it usually is," Lustik said.

There have been only five cases of EEE in people in New York since 1971, and all occurred in Oswego and Onondaga counties.

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 the 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 a 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 has 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 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 the Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, 4 deaths have been reported.

In its notification on 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 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 was ASF-positive piglets that the farm owner, Smithfield Foods' subsidiary Agri Plus, purchased in mid-March.

The farm in Wieckowice specializes 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 a history of fever, but none had a 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 were 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 for 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 the 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 on 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 the air. Generally, FMD cases are more common during the 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 for 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 Organization, 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 for 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 in 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 the 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 of 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 the 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 piece of 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 investigating 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 an 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 in 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 the 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 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 the 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 a 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 the 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 topsoil 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 a 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 the 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 the 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 for 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 the 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 that 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.