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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

World News

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July 5, 2019

India: Japanese Encephalitis

The National Health Mission said 45 people have died since the outbreak of Japanese encephalitis in Assam.

Most of upper Assam districts, including Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, and the lower Assam district of Kamrup have been affected by the mosquito-borne disease.

"Assam is undergoing the transmission season for Japanese encephalitis cases. A total number of 45 Japanese encephalitis deaths have been reported, in the state," the National Health Mission (NHM) said in a statement.

It, however, said the situation in the state is under close watch and all preventive measures are being taken to combat the situation.

Diagnostic services for Japanese encephalitis with ELISA kits have been made available in all district hospitals and government medical college hospitals, awareness programs intensified, and fogging operations stepped up in areas from where Japanese encephalitis cases have been reported.

The NHM also said that free transportation is being provided to patients with suspected JE fever through 'Mrintunjoy 108 Ambulances'.

The Assam government is ensuring that treatment and diagnostic cost at medical colleges and district hospitals are borne by the state while a certain number of beds there have been reserved for Japanese encephalitis patients.

A round-the-clock central control room has been opened to deal with and monitor the situation and all deputy commissioners have been directed to step up surveillance activities.

Bolivia: Bolivian Hemorrhagic Fever

In 2019, a small outbreak of Bolivian hemorrhagic fever was reported at a hospital in La Paz. The following background data on Bolivian hemorrhagic fever are abstracted from Gideon www.GideonOnline.com and the Gideon e-book.

Bolivian hemorrhagic fever (BHF) is caused by Machupo virus (Arenaviridae, Tacaribe complex, Mammarenavirus). The disease was initially described in 1959 as a sporadic hemorrhagic illness in rural areas of Beni department, eastern Bolivia, and the virus itself was first identified in 1963. BHF is most common during April to July in the upper savanna region of Beni. Principal exposure occurs through rodents ([the large vesper mouse] Calomys callosus), which enter homes in endemic areas.

BHF is one of several human Arenavirus diseases reported in the Americas: Argentine hemorrhagic fever (Junin virus), Brazilian hemorrhagic fever (Sabia virus), lymphocytic choriomeningitis, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever (Guanarito virus) and Whitewater Arroyo virus infection.

Infection of C. callosus results in asymptomatic viral shedding in saliva, urine, and feces; 50% of experimentally infected C. callosus are chronically viremic and shed virus in their bodily excretions or secretions. C. callosus acquires the virus after birth, and start shedding it through their urine and saliva while suckling. When mice acquire the virus as adults, they may develop immunity and no longer shed the virus.

Although the infectious dose of Machupo virus in humans is unknown, exposed persons may become infected by inhaling virus in aerosolized secretions or excretions of infected rodents, ingestion of food contaminated with rodent excreta, or by direct contact of excreta with abraded skin or oropharyngeal mucous membranes. Nosocomial and human-to-human spread have been documented. Hospital contact with a patient has resulted in person-to-person spread of Machupo virus to nursing and pathology laboratory staff.


Canada: Equine Infectious Anemia

An equine infectious anemia (EIA)-affected premises has been identified in the province of Alberta. On June 28, a positive EIA result was confirmed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) national reference laboratory for a horse located on a premises in the County of St. Paul, in the province of Alberta.

The horse had been sampled by an accredited veterinarian because it was exhibiting clinical signs compatible with EIA infection. A CFIA investigation is underway and as per program policy, a quarantine has been placed on the infected horse and its on-premises contact animals. Initial reports indicate there are several equines on the affected premises.

The quarantine will remain until all disease response activities have been completed, including follow-up testing and ordering the destruction of positive cases. Trace-out activities may require the CFIA to undertake actions at additional premises as outlined in the current policy.


Zambia: Trypanosomiasis

A 19-year-old German woman was diagnosed with East African trypanosomiasis during a stay in Zambia.

The patient had been working since August 2018 in a school project close to Kabwe. From May 29 to June 4 she visited South Luangwa National Park. On May 31, she received a mildly painful insect bite on her calf during an afternoon game-viewing drive from Kafunta River Lodge.

She recalled seeing numerous tsetse flies during this drive but was told there had not been any cases of trypanosomiasis for years in this area. The bite initially healed well and she returned to Kabwe.

On the evening of June 11, she developed high fever, rigors, and severe headache. The site of the insect bite on her calf was swollen and showed livid discoloration. Several point-of-care tests for malaria were negative.

Antibiotic treatment at a local hospital led to no improvement of her symptoms. On June 16 she was admitted to Lusaka Coptic Hospital where African trypanosomiasis was diagnosed by blood microscopy. Central nervous system involvement was ruled out by spinal tap, and treatment with suramin was started on June 17. The patient returned in stable condition to Germany on July 2 where she sought further treatment and follow-up.


Bulgaria: African Swine Fever

The Bulgarian Food Safety Agency on July 5 confirmed a second outbreak of African swine fever [ASF] in domestic pigs in 3 days, and the third since 2018.

The disease was located in a backyard pig farm in the village of Novachene near the Danube River, only 16 km southeast of the village of Zhernov, where the previous case was confirmed, the agency said in a statement.

The BFSA took the necessary measures for the control and eradication of the disease according to the European and national legislation, the statement said.

Earlier on July 5, at a meeting of the Management Board of the State Fund Agriculture, the country's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Desislava Taneva, called for rigorous implementation of prevention and control measures.

According to Taneva, this is a very dangerous disease that spreads quickly and easily; "there is no cure and vaccine for it, and the economic losses are enormous.''

The first outbreak of African swine fever in domestic pigs in Bulgaria was confirmed last August in the village of Tutrakantsi, some 250 km southeast of Novachene.


United States: Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

The Colorado Department of Agriculture reported that on July 3 the National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported positive test results for vesicular stomatitis virus on samples submitted from 2 horses in Weld County.

The 2 horses reside on separate locations in Weld County, and they both have been placed under quarantine. Both premises are private residences with horses as the only livestock species present.

The initial Colorado disease investigation was completed by a field veterinarian from the State Veterinarian's Office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The index premises has one horse presenting with lesions on his sheath and no history of recent movements on or off the premises.

The subsequent positive premises has one of 3 horses presenting with lip and tongue lesions, and the only history of movement off the property was pleasure riding near the home premises 2 weeks prior to onset.

There are no additional animals at either location currently showing clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis.

Both premises are under state quarantine and will remain so until at least 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.


Bolivia: Hantavirus

The Villa Montes municipal health technician, Samuel Quintasi, stated that a person from a rural area contracted a hantavirus infection and was sent to a third level hospital, although he did not specify whether it was in Tarija or in Santa Cruz del la Sierra.

Due to timely medical attention for the patient, this individual is in stable condition and has been released from the hospital with recommendations to avoid new infection on returning home.

"Health personnel have visited the area, where we are carrying out epidemiological surveillance," the municipal official explained.

Hantavirus infection causes an emerging zoonotic disease that is transmitted by rodents, including mice and rats. The disease is characterized by presentation of fever, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal disturbance, followed by the beginning of respiratory difficulty and hypotension.

Cases of hantavirus infection in humans in general occur in rural areas where one can encounter rodents that have the virus, but transmission is also possible in urban areas.


United States: White Nose Syndrome

For the first time, an invasive fungus that causes a deadly bat disease has been detected in California.

White-nose syndrome, one of the most consequential wildlife diseases of modern times, has killed more than 6 million bats in North America since it was first discovered in New York in 2006.

The disease, which has devastated bat populations in Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere in the Northeast, is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans. It is not known to be harmful to people or common house pets.

Environmental officials discovered low levels of the fungus in samples collected from little brown bats, a common hibernating species, in the Plumas County town of Chester, about 65 miles northeast of Chico. Four bats have been found with traces of the fungus, one in 2018 and 3 this year.

"We decided, 2 years in a row, even though they are low-level detection, we ought to call it. The fungus is here," said Scott Osborn, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

White-nose syndrome is a fungal infection that grows on the skin of bats while they hibernate. Osborn describes it as an "all-body case of athlete's foot." The infection irritates the bats, waking them from what should be a deep slumber.

They then use up their stored energy by grooming themselves. Because it's winter, most of the bugs and insects that make up their food supply aren't available, and the bats can't replenish themselves. They die of starvation.


Latvia: African Swine Fever

This year's first African swine fever  infection for domestic pigs has been registered in Latvia. The illness was uncovered in an enclosure in Durbe Parish, Vecpils County. A total of 49 pigs have been killed to halt the spread of the disease, as reported by Food and Veterinary Service.

The affected farm has been put under quarantine - a protection zone in a 3 km radius and an observation zone in a 10 km radius around it. All other enclosures in this area will be put under intense supervision for compliance with bio-security measures. Transportation of pigs and pork to and from this area will be put under increased control as well.


United States: Anthrax

Since June 19, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) has received confirmation of 3 additional anthrax cases in the area of Texas where anthrax is historically found. The first anthrax case of the year was confirmed in one captive antelope on a premises in Uvalde County on June 19. Since that time, anthrax was confirmed in goats on a new Uvalde County premises on June 24, one Sutton County horse was confirmed to have anthrax on July 3, and cattle were confirmed to have anthrax on a separate Sutton County premises on July 4.

All of the premises have been placed under quarantine, and producers were advised on vaccinating exposed animals and the proper disposal of affected carcasses, as outlined by TAHC's rules. Typically, quarantines are lifted 10 days from vaccination or the last death loss.

"It is common to see an increase in anthrax cases after periods of wet, cool weather, followed by hot, dry conditions," said Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director. "During these conditions, animals ingest the anthrax bacteria when they consume contaminated grass and hay, or inhale the spores. Outbreaks usually end when cooler weather arrives."


Australia: Leptospirosis

At least 50 people have contracted a highly-contagious and potentially life-threatening disease spread through rat urine.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease having already claimed the lives of 7 dogs in the last year in inner-Sydney, New South Wales [NSW], but experts said it's now infecting people, Daily Telegraph reported.

University of Sydney professor of veterinary microbiology and infectious diseases Jacqueline Norris said the disease is 'shed out in the urine' and spreads easily from animals to humans.

'We haven't seen this disease in New South Wales in decades so it's a high likelihood there's a common environmental source,' she said.

'You can get direct contact, so directly splashed urine into a mucosal surface like your eye, mouth, or skin. But most frequently it's accessing the same external indirect surface, so out in the environment.'

Symptoms in humans vary, and can range from mild headaches to blood in the urine and skin hemorrhages.

Data from the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System showed there have been 50 cases of leptospirosis this year and 144 last year, with most cases originating in Queensland, as the bacteria thrives in warm and humid climates.

A NSW Health spokeswoman said most cases reported are from regional areas 'often in association with floods or mouse plagues'.

'The most effective way to prevent any transmission from infected pets or another source of the infection to humans is for people to wash their hands with soap after touching animals,' she said.

'Keep cuts and scratches covered when there is a chance they could come in contact with animal urine.'


United States: West Nile Virus

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship State Veterinarian Jeff Kaisand has confirmed 2 cases of West Nile virus (WNV) have been detected in horses living in the southern part of the state. These are the first confirmed cases of WNV in Iowa horses this year [2019].

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported last week that cases were confirmed in Davis and Union counties.

In Davis county, a 15-year-old thoroughbred mare began displaying clinical signs, including hind-limb ataxia and muscle fasciculations on June 24, the EDCC said. Diagnostic testing confirmed WNV on June 28.

"The horse is being treated and reported (to be) recovering," the EDCC said. "The mare was not vaccinated for WNV this year but has a history of vaccination 2 years ago."

In Union county, a 2-year old quarter horse gelding in Union county tested positive for WNV on June 19. The gelding was displaying mild clinical signs and had no history of vaccination against WNV.


Vietnam: African Swine Fever

African swine fever (ASF) has hit Vietnam's southern Tay Ninh province, Vietnam News Agency reported on July 7.

A herd of 16 pigs raised by a household in Tay Ninh's Chau Thanh district have been tested positive to ASF virus, and then culled to prevent the disease from spreading.

ASF has spread to almost all cities and provinces across Viet Nam, leading to the culling of over 2.84 million pigs or 10.3 percent of the country's total pig population.

Vietnam will focus on developing cattle, poultry, and aquatic breeding to compensate for a shortage of pork which is expected to hit the country this year due to ASF, its Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said late last month.

Vietnam reported the first ASF outbreak in February in northern Hung Yen province.

ASF is a severe viral disease affecting domestic pigs and boars which can be spread by live or dead pigs and pork products. The ASF virus is harmless to humans, but causes hemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boars that is almost fatal.


Belgium: African Swine Fever

For the first time, Belgium has reported a week without new cases of African swine fever (ASF) in its wild boar population. That was shown in the latest report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Ever since mid-May the total number of infected animals had been relatively low. Over the whole of June, only 8 infected wild boar were found in Belgium's province of Luxembourg -- the lowest monthly score since the virus was discovered in September 2018. The total number of infected wild boar therefore remains 824. In total, 799 were found dead in the forest; an additional 25 were shot dead.

About 2 weeks ago, there also was a moment when there was no news about ASF from Belgium. That was caused by the fact that there was no update on the situation in Belgium reported to the OIE. Due to the presence of the virus, however, Belgium has to give updates, irrespective of new cases being found or not. There was an update about last week -- and that one, for the 1st time, was "empty."

Belgium recently announced it started shooting the remaining wild boar in the inner zone of the infected area. In doing so, Belgium follows EU policy to keep the virus concentrated in one zone as much as possible.

A similar approach proved to be successful in the Czech Republic, where the virus, just like in Belgium, was found only in the wild boar population. In total, in the Czech Republic, 230 wild boar died of ASF in Zlin province between June 2017 and April 2018. In February, the European Commission declared the Czech Republic to be free from ASF again. In doing so, the Czechs have been the only country in recent years to have done so.

June 28, 2019

South Africa: African Horse Sickness

Across Gauteng, a total of 236 cases of African horse sickness (AHS) have been reported between between Jan. 1 and June 18, according to the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development -- and the illness has also hit closer to home.

The historic and internationally recognized horses of the South African Lipizzaners non-profit organisation (NPO), located in Kyalami, have been affected by the virus. So far, 4 Lipizzaners have died and one has managed to survive with treatment.

The NPO is appealing to the public for donations so they can buy medication and insect repellent needed to prevent further deaths at both the venue in Kyalami and at the organization's stud farm, where females and foals are kept.

"We've lost young and old horses so far," explained Dr. Karen Bohme, who is the head rider and veterinarian for the South African Lipizzaners. "We lost 2 brood mares. We also lost 2 colts within a day of each other in late April," she added.

AHS is caused by a virus that appears seasonally in warmer weather and is transferred by biting midges, according to a statement by Steve Galane of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which receives official reports of the disease. Galane added that AHS was particularly present in the country this year due to climatic factors such as rainfall and temperature.

"In most of South Africa, except for a part of the Western Cape province, AHS is endemic and the area is known as an AHS-infected zone. Unfortunately, outbreaks of AHS are expected to occur in the AHS-infected zone from November to May, often with a peak from February to April," the statement read in part.


United States: Anthrax

The Texas Department of State Health Services is reminding Texans to avoid sick or dead wildlife after 18 recent animal deaths in Uvalde County, including 2 which were confirmed anthrax-related cases.

The first anthrax case of the year in Texas was confirmed in a captive antelope on a premises in Uvalde County on June 19 -- in a triangular area of southwest Texas where anthrax is historically found in the soil. Since then, another anthrax-related case has been confirmed, and officials reported 18 recent animal deaths.


Uganda: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated June 27:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 2,297, of which 2,203 are confirmed and 94 are probable. In total, there were 1,553 deaths (1,459 confirmed and 94 probable) and 641 people recovered.

A total of 364 suspected cases are under investigation.

There have been 13 new confirmed cases, including 7 in Beni, 3 in Masereka, 1 in Mabalako, 1 in Biena and 1 in Kulunguta.

There are 13 new confirmed case deaths: 4 community deaths, including 3 in Beni and 1 in Biena; 9 deaths in Ebola treatment centers (ETCs), including 3 in Beni, 2 in Mabalako, 2 in Butembo and 2 in Katwa.

Four people recovered from ETCs, including 3 in Beni and 1 in Butembo.


India: Japanese Encephalitis

A man died on June 28 at Guwahati's Nemcare hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for Japanese encephalitis for the past 8 days. He was a resident of Guwahati's Birkuchi area.

It should be noted that this is the first death reported in the city due to the brain infection this year. However, across Assam, 10 people have died because of the disease so far, and 35 more are infected with it.

Although most of the recent cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) have been reported from Bijar state so far this year, Assam state is also endemic for JE.


United States: E. coli

The connections between the death of a 2-year-old boy and the violent illness suffered by 3 other children earlier this month weren't at first apparent. But on June 28, public health officials zeroed in on the common denominator: all 4 tested positive for E.coli bacteria and all 4 had visited animals at the San Diego County Fair.

The discovery prompted the closure of all animal exhibits, a safety measure that will remain in effect through the remainder of the fair's 2019 run set to end July 4. While the cluster of cases has not yet been definitively linked to fair animals, in part because testing is not yet complete, the decision to shut down the public livestock exhibits, including the popular petting zoo, seemed prudent. The livestock auction, which took place in a different area and does not allow the public to have direct contact with animals, went forward as scheduled.

"We have taken this step to restrict access to animals at the fair in an abundance of caution," Dr. Eric McDonald, a county public health official, said at a news conference. "We may find, as the investigation develops, as we develop genetic fingerprints of these organisms, that these cases are not related, that these just happened to be cases that occurred during the summer when it's more common for these types of cases to occur."


Brazil: Yellow Fever

The origin of the virus responsible for the ongoing yellow fever epidemic in Brazil, the worst for 40 years, has just been identified by scientists affiliated with 2 Brazilian institutions: Adolfo Lutz Institute (IAL) and the University of Sao Paulo (USP).

By means of a molecular study of yellow fever viruses found in dead monkeys and in mosquitoes, the group discovered that the strain behind the current epidemic originated in Para state in North Brazil in 1980.

The virus infected monkeys in Para and spread from there throughout the Amazon region until it reached Venezuela and Suriname. From 2000 on, always via infection of monkeys, the disease migrated to the Center-West and Southeast of Brazil, finally reaching Sao Paulo state in 2013. The first deaths of humans in Sao Paulo occurred in 2016.

Findings of the study, which was supported by Sao Paulo Research Foundation.

The investigation was led by Mariana Sequetin Cunha, a researcher in IAL's Vector-Borne Disease Group. Scientists at the University of Sao Paulo's Tropical Medicine Institute, the Federal University of Para and the Federal University of Sao Paulo also took part. The project was also funded by Brazil's National Council for Scientific and Technological Development.


Germany: Tuberculosis

Since the beginning of 2018, the health authorities in 2 districts of Lower Saxony (LK) have frequently registered cases of tuberculosis (TB) illness among slaughterhouse workers, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports

Thirteen employees had become infected and one person had died as a result of the disease. The persons infected are predominantly Romanian workers.

During 2018 and up to Feb. 28, 7 slaughterhouse workers who slaughtered and processed pigs were diagnosed with active pulmonary TB, 3 of them in September and October 2018. One of the patients died in November 2018 as a result of TB.

In the neighboring district, 6 slaughterhouse workers with active pulmonary TB who were employed in slaughterhouse B were reported since the beginning of 2018. Slaughterhouse A and B are about 40 km apart.

After the infection became public, extensive investigations by health authorities followed. Of the 96 contact persons tested at slaughterhouse A, 59 (61%) showed a positive test result. At slaughterhouse B no additional case of TB requiring treatment were detected.


United States: White Nose Syndrome

The National Park Service says the fungus that causes a deadly disease in bats has been discovered in North Dakota.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the fungus was discovered after swab testing of a bat that was captured at Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site near Stanton.

The fungus causes white-nose syndrome, which can lead to dehydration or other conditions that kill bats.

To date, 33 states have confirmed the disease since it was found in 2006 in New York. US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife refuge specialist Catherine Hibbard says 4 states, including North Dakota, have discovered only the fungus.

South Dakota identified the fungus and disease for the 1st time last year.

Humans can transmit the fungus but aren't affected by it. It is spread easily among bats.