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April 19, 2019

Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the April 1-7 reporting week, 11 new confirmed cases were reported from 5 states -- Ondo (5), Edo (2), Bauchi (2), Ebonyi (1), and Taraba (1) states with one new death in Taraba state.

Since Jan. 1, a total of 2,133 suspected cases have been reported from 21 states. Of these, 537 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1,581 negative.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 122 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 22.7%.

Kenya: Anthrax

The State may have ignored recommendations on anthrax outbreaks at Lake Nakuru National Park, exposing animals and humans to grave danger. The disease has killed 14 buffaloes with unconfirmed reports indicating one human infection in Elburgon, Nakuru County.

In August2018, the Kenya Zoonotic Disease Unit of the ministries of agriculture and health had declared the park an anthrax hotspot and directed routine vaccination of all animals at all times. In a study to establish the cause of repeated anthrax outbreaks in the area, since 1973, the unit had blamed kneejerk reactions by government agencies for unnecessary loss of human and animal lives. "Typically, the government responds to these anthrax outbreaks by immediately deep-burying dead livestock and wildlife, ring vaccinating livestock, and treating affected humans," said the report. Anthrax vaccination programs in the area, the report [says], have been irregular and mostly planned as a response to outbreaks; "there is no routine vaccination practiced."

True to the report, on April 9, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) head of corporate communications Paul Gathitu said they had burned carcasses of the dead buffaloes, disinfected the sites and started vaccinating rhinos. "We will vaccinate 15 white rhinos and 67 black rhinos in a window of 10 days. So far, we have vaccinated 19 rhinos and 63 remaining while vegetation will be disinfected," said Susan Koech, the Principal Secretary for Wildlife. The outbreak of anthrax was first identified on March 29 at the park, which has more than 4,000 buffaloes.

On April 7, Nakuru County Minister for Agriculture Dr. Immaculate Njuthe said one case of suspected human anthrax had been reported in Elburgon. "If not managed well, the outbreak can spiral out of control and find its way into neighboring communities," said Principal Secretary Koech.


Russia: Anthrax

When authorities in Yakutsk invited participants in a youth government initiative to brainstorm ideas for an empty lot in the center last year, it seemed like a smart way to get rid of an eyesore. But the project was held up after residents and officials raised concerns that the site could hold anthrax spores preserved in the permanently frozen soil.

Although specialists eventually said it was safe to build a skate park on the lot, which once held a laboratory making an anthrax serum, the incident raised further questions about the ancient diseases known to be lurking in the permafrost -- and whether they could be unlocked by global warming

"Anthrax spores can stay alive in the permafrost for up to 2,500 years. That's scary given the thawing of animal burial grounds from the 19th century," said Boris Kershengolts, a Yakutsk biologist who studies northern climates. "When they are taken out of the permafrost and put into our temperatures, they revive."

Yakutsk is the coldest city on earth with temperatures that can drop below -76 deg F in the winter. But it's seeing the start of warming that could lead to the destruction of infrastructure and the revival of dormant diseases across the north, even as more people arrive to man new military bases and oil and gas facilities. At an Arctic forum in St. Petersburg April 9, Vladimir Putin called the fact that Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the rest of the world an "alarming trend." At the same time, he announced a new Arctic development strategy and promised to increase investment with tax breaks and subsidized icebreaker escorts through the northeast passage.

Two-thirds of Russia's territory is permafrost, including almost all of the vast region of Yakutia, where it can be up to hundreds of feet deep. Now these icy bonds are beginning to break. In many places the active layer, the top few feet that thaw and refreeze each year, is thawing earlier and to a greater depth. Permafrost in central Yakutia is shrinking by 1 to 5 cm a year and even more in urban areas, according to the Melnikov Permafrost Institute. Meanwhile, precipitation has increased in 70% of Yakutia since 1966. That thickens the blanket of snow that insulates the ground from the cold air, exacerbating the thaw.


Uganda: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The ministry of Health has confirmed a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and warned of a possible outbreak in the eastern district of Jinja.

"A 32-year-old male, who passed on at Entebbe General Hospital in Wakiso, tested positive with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever. He was buried in Jinja," said ministry of Health spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyoona.

The deceased was a builder and was staying in Bendegere village, Kasenyi parish-Katabi sub county in Wakiso district. His body was transported by relatives from Entebbe hospital and buried in Butagaya, Nakakulwe village, in Jinja.

"This is to alert the general public of Jinja that; there is a suspected outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever disease following a death of the confirmed case with the disease," read a statement issued by Jinja district health officer.

Jinja district chairman Titus Kisambira said that 11 suspected cases have been quarantined in their homes in Nakakulwe village. "We have quarantined 11 people who have shown signs and symptoms of the disease. Some are relatives of the man who died and others participated in his burial," said Kisambira.

Ainebyoona, said medical officers are on the ground are investigating other suspected cases. "But the public should remain calm as we investigate the illness and report any person with symptoms to the nearest health facility."

According to WHO, the disease is caused by a bunyavirus. It is transmitted by tick bites, contact with infected animal blood or tissues, and person-to person transmission via blood, body fluids, and semen.

The symptoms are sudden onset of fever, general body weakness, headache, severe pain in limbs, bloody diarrhea, and bleeding from body openings. In 2017, an outbreak of the fever was confirmed in the districts of Nakaseke and Luwero, and in 2018, an outbreak was confirmed in Kabarole district where it killed one person.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated April 15:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 1,273, of which 1,207 are confirmed and 66 are probable. In total, there were 821 deaths (755 confirmed and 66 probable) and 374 people cured.

Three-hundred three suspected cases under investigation.

There are nine new confirmed cases, including 3 in Katwa, 3 in Butembo, 1 in Masereka, 1 in Mandima, and 1 in Kyondo.

There are seven new deaths of confirmed cases, including 4 community deaths -- 2 in Butembo, 1 in Katwa, and 1 in Mandima; 3 ETC deaths -- 2 in Butembo and 1 in Katwa.

April 12, 2019

China: Avian Influenza

Officials with the National Health Commission in China have reported the first human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) this year in Gansu. The male patient, age 82 years, from Jiuquan has been hospitalized and is in serious condition.

Since March 2013, there were a total of 1,568 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) reported globally.

Avian influenza is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks. Clinical presentation of avian influenza in humans may range from flulike symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches) to severe respiratory illness (e.g., chest infection). Eye infection (conjunctivitis) and gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting and diarrhea) have also been reported.

The incubation period ranges from 7 to 10 days. The more virulent forms can result in respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and even death. People mainly become infected with avian influenza virus through contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead) or their droppings, or contact with contaminated environments (such as wet markets and live poultry markets). Human-to-human transmission is inefficient. People in close contact with poultry are more susceptible to contracting avian influenza.

The elderly, children and people with chronic illness have a higher risk of developing complications such as bronchitis and chest infection.


England: Leishmaniosis

Veterinary professionals have sounded the alarm in this week's Vet Record after treating the first UK case of a dog with the potentially fatal infection leishmaniosis that is thought to have been passed on by another dog, rather than by travel to an area where the infection is endemic.

Canine leishmaniosis is caused by the parasite Leishmania infantum, carried by the female sand fly and transmitted in its bite. It is zoonotic, so it can be passed on to people.

Dogs have been known to pick up the infection after being bitten or wounded by another infected dog. But up to now, this has not been reported in the UK, where cases to date have been associated with blood transfusion, breeding programs, or overseas travel.

But a 3-year-old neutered male shih tzu cross, which had been with its owner since a puppy and had none of the known risk factors for infection, was nevertheless diagnosed with leishmaniosis in Hertfordshire.

Dog-to-dog transmission is the most likely explanation, suggest the authors, because another dog in the household that had been imported from Spain had to be put down 6 months earlier after developing severe leishmaniosis.

"To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of leishmaniosis in the UK in a dog without a history of travel to an endemic area," they write, adding that extra vigilance is now needed to guard against the spread of the infection.

"In an era of increased foreign travel of dogs and increased importation of dogs to the UK, it is likely that the number of dogs seropositive for L. infantum will continue to increase," they warn.

"Leishmania-infected dogs may present an infection risk to other dogs, even in the absence of natural vectors, as direct transmission between dogs is possible," they add.


Mexico: Western Equine Encephalitis

The Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality, SENASICA) scientists are investigating the virus that is causing equine encephalitis in Nayarit state in order to be able to count on information necessary to combat it.

The experts of the National Producer of Veterinary Biologics (PRONAVE) are currently working on the development of a Western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV) vaccine as an alternative to control.

SENASICA has reinforced its measures to contain the WEEV detected in Nayarit and in order to report its findings to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).

The veterinarians of the Secretariat of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) continue epidemiological tracking in Nayarit in search of horses with signs of neurological alterations caused by WEEV, a disease that is found exclusively in 5 municipalities in this state: Ixtlan del Rio, Compostela, Ahuacatlan, Bahia de Banderas and Tepic.

As an additional measure, SENASICA delivered a virus from its bank of pathogens to PRONAVE in order to initiate tests that would permit development of an effective vaccine as an alternative to control the disease.

The SENASICA scientists have done 141 investigations in the affected areas and to date have detected 41 equine animals positive for western equine encephalitis and discarded other diseases that could be confounding, such as rabies, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and West Nile virus, among others of those that have effective vaccines in Mexico.

They have located 17 rural properties with affected animals, in which there had been a population of 141 equine animals; 25 were ill, of which 18 died. In the study area, they found animals that apparently were healthy although positive for the virus.

The SENASICA medical entomologists put up different types of traps that would permit constant identification of the vector Culex tarsalis, the principal transmitter of the disease virus.


United States: Newcastle Disease

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced April 5 it has confirmed the presence of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) in a small flock of pet chickens in Coconino County, Arizona. Coconino County includes the Flagstaff area in northern Arizona, including Grand Canyon National Park, but APHIS did not disclose the actual location of the affected flock.

APHIS said this is the first case of VND confirmed in Arizona as part of the current outbreak. The agency said this case is believed to be connected to the current outbreak of VND in California, as tests show the virus is almost identical to the virus causing disease in California. Since May 2018, more than 400 VND cases have been confirmed as part of this Southern California outbreak, primarily in backyard exhibition birds. A single case had also been found in a backyard flock in Utah that had been relocated from Los Angeles, CA.

VND is not a food safety concern. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat.

APHIS is working with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to respond to the finding. Federal and state partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area, the announcement said.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the March 25-31 reporting week, 16 new confirmed cases were reported from 5 states - Edo(6), Ondo (4), Bauchi (2), Taraba (2) and Plateau (2) with 2 new deaths in Bauchi (1) and Taraba (1) states.

Since Jan. 1, a total of 2,034 suspected cases have been reported from 21 states. Of these, 526 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1,693 negative.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 121 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 23.0%.
- 21 States (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi and Cross River) have recorded at least one confirmed case across 81 Local Government Areas.

Twenty-nine patients are currently being managed at various treatment centers across the country: Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Centre (10), Federal Medical Centre Owo (9), Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (3), Bauchi (2), Plateau (3) and Taraba (2).

A total of 6,489 contacts have been identified from 20 States. Of these 1,443 (22.2%) are currently being followed up, 4,983 (76.8%) have completed 21 days follow up, while 8 (0.1%) were lost to follow up. 112 (1.7%) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 55 (1.0%) have tested positive.

Congo: Ebola

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

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 1,146, of which 1,080 are confirmed and 66 are probable. In total, there were 721 deaths (655 confirmed and 66 probable) and 345 people cured.

Three-hundred three suspected cases are under investigation.

Sixteen new cases have been confirmed, including 11 in Katwa, 3 in Vuhovi, 1 in Beni, and 1 in Mandima.

There are seven new deaths of confirmed cases.

Pakistan: Leishmaniosis

After previously ravishing hundreds of people in Mohmand [Peshawar division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa], a leishmaniasis outbreak has been reported in South Waziristan [Dera Ismail Khan division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa] with hundreds of patients registered at the district headquarters hospital while others have sought treatment at the Bannu district [Bannu division of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa] Headquarters Hospital.

Afraid of any adverse health impacts of the parasitic infection caused by the bite of infected sandflies, many residents have opted to shift to other parts of the tribal belt to 'escape' the disease.

Locals say that dozens of residents from the worst affected areas of South Waziristan including Kotkai, Badar, Makeen, Kanigurm, Shawal, and Sara Rugha have relocated to Bannu or even to the provincial capital of Peshawar.

The district administration, though, has yet to adequately respond to the outbreak even as the district health officials struggle to cope with the situation. A local claimed that the DHQ [District Headquarter Hospital] in Wana [South Waziristan district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] did not have any remedy to treat the disease.

Meanwhile, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa health ministry told The Express Tribune on contact that they had dispatched some 300 anti-leishmaniasis injections to the tribal district and that they were working on arranging further doses to treat the affected there.

Locals have summoned a grand Jirga [traditional assembly of leaders that make decisions by consensus and according to the teachings of Pashtunwali] to decide on a future course of action.


Kenya: Anthrax

More than 22 people from Tegat Village in Molo were admitted at the Nyayo hospital in Elburgon, with residents fearing they may have contracted anthrax after consuming milk from a sick cow. According to Emily Sang, the Nyumba Kumi chairperson of the area, the 22 include the owner of the cow, his wife and 2 children.

Elburgon assistant commissioner Naftali Korir says 18 people have been treated and discharged. Korir has further cautioned residents against eating or drinking un-inspected meat or milk.

A veterinary officer is reported to have confirmed that the meat was found to have anthrax and advised all those who had consumed to seek treatment immediately.

In an unrelated development, vaccination of southern white rhinos at Lake Nakuru National Park has started following an anthrax outbreak that has killed 10 buffaloes.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) confirmed that the dead buffaloes tested positive for anthrax. Four more buffalo carcasses were found after the dead 10.

Susan Koech, the Principal Secretary for wildlife, said the 4 carcasses were found by KWS patrolling teams, although it has not been confirmed that they died of anthrax.

While commenting on the rhino vaccinations, Dr Koech said: "Currently, 14 of the 15 white rhinos have been vaccinated and so have 4 of the 63 black rhinos."


United States: West Nile Virus

There's not a lot that's positive to report right now when it comes to ruffed grouse. Populations of the forest-dwelling bird appear to be on the decline throughout the Northeast and Midwest, according to reports from wildlife management agencies from Maryland to Michigan and all points between.

The Ruffed Grouse Society, for example, holds a "national grouse and woodcock hunt" each fall in Minnesota. This year [2019], the expectation was that grouse numbers were up, at or near the peak of a multi-year cycle.

Yet, the Society reported, the total grouse harvest was down over 2017. Worse still, the proportion of immature birds to older ones, an indication of recruitment and survival, was the lowest in 37 years.

Sightings of grouse in West Virginia, meanwhile, were pretty dismal in 2017. They were even worse going into last fall's hunting seasons, according to media interviews given by Mike Peters, a game bird biologist with the state's Division of Natural Resources. He blamed the admittedly "depressing" situation on 2 things.

The first is lack of habitat. Though the state is heavily wooded, too little of it is the young-forest stage grouse need.

The second is disease, namely West Nile Virus.

Ongoing research by the Pennsylvania Game Commission shows a relationship between high rates of West Nile and falling grouse numbers.


Argentina: Hantavirus

The confirmation of the [hantavirus infection] case in Las Golondrinas [Chubut province] was issued by Dr. Jorge Elias on air to Radio 3 and he remarked the "this is the first case of the year  not related to the outbreak in Epuyen, which is absolutely closed."

The infected person is a craftsman who was in contact with the natural environment of the endemic disease [virus]. "The man has a history of having been camping in a wild environment and, in fact lives, in a semi-wild place that is the natural niche of the hantavirus."

The Associate Director of the Esquel programmatic area said that the 47-year-old patient "is clinically stable, hospitalized in the Bariloche hospital and it is timely to clarify that this is the first case that was addressed with all the protocols that have been implemented since the outbreak of hantavirus infections in Epuyen."

Before consulting about the characteristics of the [virus] strain he said, "we cannot know if it is exactly the same as the [virus of] the previous one (from Epuyen) until the Malbran institute has carried out the procedures that take a few months to identify the genome of this virus, but without a doubt the approach [now] has a different protocol."


Kenya: Leishmaniosis

Some 27 people have been admitted at Laisamis Level 4 Hospital following an outbreak of kala-azar [visceral leishmaniasis] in Laisamis sub county in Marsabit.

The facility's Chief Executive Officer, Abshiro Hapicha however, said the patients, were responding well to treatment. A majority of the patients, he added are from Logo.

"A total of 27 patients who tested positive to kala-azar have been admitted in this hospital and are currently undergoing medication. I can say that their response is good," Hapicha said.

Consequently the CEO made an appeal for concerted efforts among the national and county governments and other agencies in eradicating the sand flies that transmits the disease. "There is need for massive awareness campaign to control the spread of the disease and if possible to eliminate it," he said.

He said pastoralist communities sleep on sand outside their houses during dry seasons which expose them to sand flies. "High levels of poverty and illiteracy among residents have also been established to be other factors that expose them to kala-azar," he added.

Kala-azar has an incubation period of between 2 weeks to 6 months with symptoms being fever, weight loss, anemia, and swelling of the spleen and liver.

Meanwhile, Kargi Member of the County Assembly Asunta Galgithelle has asked the government to consider establishing kala-azar control centers fully equipped with diagnostic facilities and testing kits in parts of the county that are prone to the disease. Galgithele urged partners in the health sector to join hands in bringing the menace under control.

April 5, 2019

South Africa: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

A Kimberley man is being treated for Congo fever in the isolation unit at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital. He is the second patient to be diagnosed with Congo fever in South Africa this year. The other case is in the Free State.

According to his wife, the 58-year-old started feeling ill on Mar 24. She said her husband went to work at the Kareevlei Mine in the Koopmansfontein area on Monday still feeling unwell.

The diagnosis of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever was confirmed March 27. He had a bite mark on his shoulder and he found a tick in his groin area last week.

As Congo fever is contagious and is transmitted from one infected human to another by contact with infected blood or body fluids, the spouse will have to monitor herself for the next few days.


Belgium: Bluetongue

 Following a detection of bluetongue in a cattle farm near Paliseul (Luxembourg province), the FASFC has organized an increased monitoring plan for this outbreak. The first results of this increased surveillance have confirmed the presence of the disease in Belgium. The country is now classified as a "restricted zone." This disease, which already occurs in various European countries is not contagious to humans and is not transmitted to humans. It also does not pose any risk to public health. Finally, it is not necessary to slaughter animals due to their infection with the virus.

During the winter screening by the FASFC, the agency determined the presence of the bluetongue serotype-8 virus in some animals from a farm in Paliseul. The FASFC has therefore introduced a stricter monitoring plan in all cattle and sheep farms within a radius of 5 km [3.1 mi] around the infected farm to check whether the virus has actually circulated. Initial results have revealed additional infected animals at 4 other livestock farms around Paliseul for the time being. The whole of Belgium is now a "restricted zone."


Japan: Classical Swine Fever

Japan's central government has disclosed its decision to cull about 2,400 pigs following confirmation of 2 more outbreaks of classical swine fever [CSF] at the farms in the region. "It is extremely difficult to foresee when the outbreak will wind down," Farm Minister Takamori Yoshikawa told a news conference, referring to the epidemic.

Concise News learned that the Aichi prefectural government reported the 15th and 16th outbreaks of CSF, also known as hog cholera, in pigs in the cities of Seto and Tahara since September 2018. Authorities detected the virus at one farm in Seto during their inspection, following the outbreak at nearby facilities earlier this week.

Another outbreak was confirmed at the Tahara farm after one pig was found dead there.

The local government has suspended shipments of pigs and the transportation of feed crop and droppings from facilities located within 10 km [6.2 mi] of each of the 2 farms. The government says the disease poses no risk to humans, but a series of outbreaks has hurt local farmers' livelihoods.

In September 2018, Japan's first swine fever outbreak in 16 years was confirmed at a farm in neighboring Gifu, and 2 months later, the second case was reported at a Gifu public livestock park.


Mayotte: Rift Valley Fever

The circulation of Rift Valley fever (RVF) continues in Mayotte. There have been 114 human RVF cases and 84 animal outbreaks. This past week, 7 new human cases and 9 in animals were reported to the LRA. Human cases remain concentrated in the center and northwest of the island.

An animal disease of viral origin, Rift Valley fever mainly affects domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), causing abortions and high mortality in young animals. It can be transmitted from the sick animal to humans.

During the past week, 9 new animal foci and 7 new human cases have been reported, for a total of 84 animal foci and 114 human cases since the first cases occurred at the end of November 2018.

In this epidemic context, the prefecture of Mayotte, in collaboration with the ARS Indian Ocean and the Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Forestry of Mayotte (DAAF) reminds people of the importance of prevention measures to protect themselves from disease.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the reporting March 18-24, 15 new confirmed cases were reported from 6 states - Edo (4), Ondo (3), Plateau (2), Bauchi (3), Taraba (2) and Ebonyi (1) with 5 new deaths in Edo (2), Ondo (2) and Bauchi (1) states.

Since Jan. 1, a total of 1,924 suspected cases have been reported from 21 states. Of these, 510 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1,511 negative (not a case).

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 117 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 22.9%.


United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Mosquito season has officially arrived in Louisiana and along with it 2 potentially fatal diseases. West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE) are prevalent in Louisiana and can cause death in horses.

So far, 5 horses have died from EEE across Louisiana, the majority of which could have been prevented with vaccination. WNV and EEE are both viral diseases that cause encephalitis and meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord or their protective covering). While each disease is caused by a different specific virus, they are both transmitted to horses by being bitten by an infected mosquito.

There are vaccines currently available to help prevent WNV and EEE. A minimum yearly booster is required, while stressed horses and/or those traveling frequently due to show schedules, or that live in warm, humid climates such as Louisiana, should be vaccinated twice a year. Vaccinating your horses against mosquito borne viruses is an inexpensive way to help reduce the possibility of infection. However, vaccination alone is not 100-percent effective.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Deadly Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has claimed the life of a youngster at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), after which the death toll due to the fever mounted to 3 this year.

Executive Director, JPMC, Dr Seemi Jamali, while talking to PPI [Pakistan Press International], confirmed the death of a 19-year-old patient from Congo fever who was brought to the health facility 2 days ago with high grade-fever and bleeding from nose and mouth.

The deceased from Sehwan Shareef [Sindh] died during treatment March 31. Lab reports confirmed that the patient was suffering from Congo fever.

A total of 3 people including 2 women have died from the deadly Congo fever so far at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre this year [2019].

CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease that is mainly contracted by people who deal with cattle and livestock. The symptoms of Congo virus include backache, joint pain, pain in the abdomen, high fever, and bleeding from any part of the body.


India: Avian Influenza

A team of veterinary doctors and experts culled more than 600 ducks and 66 chickens following confirmation of bird flu (H5N1) in the city of Cuttack.

An outbreak of bird flu was suspected after the death of ducks in the Duck Breeding Center and Dairy Farm at Khapuria. On March 23, as many as 13 ducks died on the day in the farm. District veterinary office investigated into the incident and sent blood samples to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal. "The samples tested positive for the H5N1 or avian influenza virus," informed chief district veterinary officer Premananda Rout.

"Following the test report, we culled ducks and chickens. Moreover, 3.6 quintal [360 kg] of foodgrains were destroyed as well.

Carcasses of culled birds were buried in 10-foot deep pits. Bleaching powder and other disinfectants were sprinkled while filling up the pits to prevent spread of H5N1 virus, added Rout.

All the poultry farms in a 1-km radius of the breeding center have been banned for the time being. The farms will remain closed for the next 6 months according to guidelines, added Rout.


Ebola: Congo

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated 31 Mar 2019:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 1,089, of which 1,023 are confirmed and 66 are probable

In total, there were 679 deaths (613 confirmed and 66 probable) and 331 people cured. One-hundred eighty suspected cases are under investigation.

 There have been seven new confirmed cases, including 2 in Katwa, 2 in Vuhovi, 1 in Mandima, 1 in Beni and 1 in Oicha.

Three new deaths are reported, including 2 community deaths, 1 in Katwa and 1 in Vuhovi; 1 death at the CTE of Butembo.


Japan: African Swine Fever

The African swine fever virus [ASFV] has been detected in a contagious state on Japanese soil for the first time, the government said April 2. The government has in the past detected genes of the ASFV in food brought from overseas, but never before has the virus been confirmed as being at an infectious stage.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the discovery of an infectious form of the virus has prompted a decision to strengthen measures against illegal imports of livestock products.

The virus was discovered in sausages brought into the country from China in January, the farm ministry said.

The virus only affects domesticated and wild pigs and boars, not humans, but there is no vaccine or effective treatment for the highly lethal virus, the ministry said.

The sausages were brought into Japan, apparently as souvenirs, by two passengers arriving separately at Chubu airport near Nagoya on planes from Shanghai and Qingdao.

So far, no ASF infections have been reported in Japan, and it is unlikely that food infected with the virus would cause an outbreak unless pigs were fed with the infected food.

Under the law on infectious disease control for domestic animals, people who bring unauthorized animal products into the country could face a fine of up to one million Japanese Yen [$9,000] or imprisonment for up to 3 years.

To date, authorities have only penalized serious violations, such as when unauthorized products were imported for sale, but the government now plans to tighten controls and take action against those who repeatedly import unauthorized livestock products.

ASF is more lethal than conventional swine fever, also known as hog cholera, with a number of outbreaks having been reported in parts of Japan since September 2018, the first time the virus had been detected in the country for 26 years.


El Salvador: Typhoid Fever

According to MINSAL [El Salvador's Ministry of Public Health], the number of cases of typhoid fever remains high. They have reported 517 cases in 2019, compared to 313 cases in 2018, which is equivalent to an increase of 65%.

The head of health surveillance of the ISSS [El Salvador's Social Security Institute], Jose Adan Martinez, said that the figures themselves reflect an increase of 44%. It is worth mentioning that the MINSAL presents the data at the national level, which include those of the ISSS, FOSALUD [El Salvador Solidarity Fund for Health], and other institutions.

"We have been experiencing this upward trend in the disease since the beginning of 2019, and it has increased in the last week," Martinez said.

He also recalled that this is a disease transmitted by water or food contamination. "Given the scarcity of water that has been in some sectors of San Salvador, which is the most affected department, [the increase] could be due to the lack of hygiene measures that the population is taking, both for the preparation of food and for water consumption," he added.

March 29,2019

England: Equine Influenza

The first outbreak of equine flu in England has been confirmed by animal health officials. The Animal Health Trust says the horse affected was an unvaccinated non-Thoroughbred that had recently arrived on a private yard in the county following post-purchase movement from another part of the UK.

A report on the AHT website said the horse had shown signs of mild fever, coughing, and nasal discharge shortly after arriving and tested positive for equine influenza by PCR on a nasopharyngeal swab. The only other horse on the property, says AHT, was vaccinated and had so far shown no clinical signs of the disease.

Paragon Veterinary Practice, based in Dalston, near Carlisle, posted a message on their Facebook page confirming the equine flu outbreak in the county. Leading Paragon equine vet Paul May said they would advise limiting horse travel if possible for the next few days until the scale of the outbreak in Cumbria can be determined.

"If your horse is going to or returning home from events, it is sensible to take its temperature daily," said Mr May. "Horse owners should not panic; just be vigilant. The majority of outbreaks in recent weeks have been in unvaccinated horses; however, minor signs of infection have been seen in vaccinated horses. We recommend that all horses are vaccinated, as this is the best protection against flu and will reduce the length and severity of the disease."

Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the reporting Week, 23 new confirmed cases were reported from 9 states - Edo (8), Ondo 4), Ebonyi (3), Bauchi (3), Taraba (1), Imo (1), Enugu (1), Benue (1) and Kebbi (1) with 4 new deaths in Edo (2), Benue (1) and Bauchi (1) States.

Since Jan. 1, a total of 1,801 suspected cases have been reported from states. Of these, 495 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1,277 negative.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 114 deaths in confirmed cases.

Twenty-one states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo, Kebbi and Cross River) have recorded at least one confirmed case across 73 Local Government Areas.

In the reporting week 11, one new health care worker was affected in Ebonyi state. A total of 16 health care workers have been infected since the onset of the outbreak in 7 States - Edo (7), Ondo (3), Ebonyi (2), Enugu (1), Rivers (1), Bauchi (1) and Benue (1) with 2 deaths in Enugu and Edo States

Brazil: Yellow Fever

The weekly epidemiological bulletin released by the State Department of Health reports that the number of cases of yellow fever rose in Parana. Last week there were 8 confirmed cases and now there are 12 in the updated bulletin.

According to the Secretary of State for Health, Beto Preto, the 22 regional health centers of Parana are involved with the intensification of vaccination. "We reaffirm the guidance that being immunized is the only way to protect against the disease. Everyone aged 9 months to 59 years should receive the vaccine," he said.

He adds that the Health Department is actively pursuing people who have not yet been immunized and live in areas of difficult access, as well as reinforcing guidelines on the importance of vaccination at community events. He also promoted the training of teams for vaccination at the Hospital do Trabalhador, in Curitiba, and in the Third Health Regional of Ponta Grossa.

The 12 confirmed cases of the disease are in Antonina, Morretes, Adrianopolis, Campina Grande do Sul, Curitiba, Piraquara, and Sao Jose dos Pinhais. Of the patients, 92% are males, with a mean age of 36 years; 3 of them are rural workers. There is one confirmed yellow fever death in Parana in the 1st week of March, with residence and probable place of infection in the municipality of Morretes.

The municipalities with the highest incidence of notifications are Paranagua (55), Curitiba (33), and Sao Jose dos Pinhais (30). The Capital reported 8 more notifications than the bulletin of the previous week and Sao Jose dos Pinhais 7 new cases. In total, there are 224 notifications and 61 cases under investigation, in addition to the 12 confirmations.

India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) or monkey fever has claimed one life in Wayanad, marking it the 1st KFD death in the state since 2015.

The 27-year-old resident of the Begur tribal hamlet died at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital March 23. He was admitted to the Mananthavady district hospital on March 10 with symptoms of the disease and was later referred to the medical college.

"The deceased had gone for work in a timber yard near Begur where monkey deaths were reported recently. It is not confirmed whether he contacted the disease from there. We had collected samples from the ticks collected from the area to find out the source of infection," said Wayanad district medical officer R Renuka.

Renuka said that there have been 5 confirmed cases of KFD in Wayanad so far this year. Two are currently under treatment at the hospital, while 2 others have been discharged after treatment. "We had stepped up disease surveillance and preventive measures after KFD resurfaced in Wayanad after a gap of 2 years in January 2019. People should take adequate precautions before venturing into forests," she added.

Also, people have been asked not to go near dead monkeys and immediately inform forest and health department authorities if they come across monkey deaths.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

South Dakota's state veterinarian says chronic wasting disease has been confirmed in a captive elk in Clark County.

State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven said Wednesday that the owner of the 21-month-old female elk noticed the animal was sick and contacted his veterinarian. The USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa later confirmed that samples tested positive for the disease.

Chronic wasting disease is endemic in free-ranging deer and elk in and around the Black Hills. The disease was last diagnosed in captive elk in South Dakota in 2001.

CWD is a fatal disease that strikes the nervous system in deer, elk and moose. Oedekoven says state and federal animal health officials are working with the owner of the affected herd to investigate the disease and mitigate further infection.


United States: Canine Distemper

A young dog imported from South Korea into western Canada last October brought along a dangerous hitchhiker: the Asia-1 strain of canine distemper virus (CDV), which until then had not been reported in North America.

Scientists at Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) identified the virus in samples from the dog, which they suspect was part of a shipment of animals rescued from a Korean meat market by an animal welfare organization. Dogs that are already immunized against CDV likely are not at risk from the Asian strain, but if the virus comes into contact with wildlife, it may take a serious toll on wild carnivore populations.

"Well-meaning people are trying to save animals, but when you move animals, you move their infectious disease," said Edward Dubovi, director of the virology laboratory at the AHDC and a professor of population medicine and diagnostic sciences. "If this particular Asia-1 strain got out into the wildlife population, then it's here forever, because you can't get rid of it once it hits wildlife."

About 2 weeks after the sick dog's arrival in Canada, it developed a cough and was lethargic. Ten days later, it developed muscle twitches, then seizures and ultimately was euthanized. The AHDC tested samples collected from the animal; they were negative for canine influenza virus but gave strong positive results for CDV. Genetic analysis by Randall Renshaw, Ph.D. '92, a research associate at the AHDC, indicated the virus was nearly identical to the Asia-1 strain of CDV circulating throughout East Asia.

Canine distemper virus is highly contagious and commonly travels between hosts through the aerosols emitted when dogs bark and cough and through urine and feces. The disease starts with respiratory signs, such as coughing and pneumonia, and progresses into gastrointestinal illness and neurological problems. Most dogs in the United States receive vaccines for CDV to protect against native North American strains.

Though CDV outbreaks occasionally pop up in animal shelters, the virus persists primarily in wildlife populations, particularly in the Northeast where canine cases of CDV are extremely rare. It circulates among numerous carnivore species, causing die-offs of raccoons, grey foxes, skunks, coyotes, wolves, and other animals.


Sweden: Chronic Wasting Disease

The first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Sweden has been detected in a moose Alces alces in Norrbotten county. The 16-year-old moose was euthanized after being observed emaciated, staggering, walking in circles, and apparently blind.

Samples from the moose were analyzed at the National Veterinary Institute (SVA) within the ongoing CWD surveillance program. Brainstem and retropharyngeal lymph nodes were screened with a TSE rapid test. Samples from brainstem were positive in the screening test and confirmed positive for transmissible spongiform encephalopathy with Western Blot. Samples from lymph nodes were negative in the screening test.

The case shows similar features with cases of atypical CWD previously detected in Norwegian moose and described by Prisinu et al 2018. But further analyses are needed to determine the type of CWD and will be done in collaboration with international reference laboratories for CWD.


United States: Newcastle Disease

Poultry show cancellations continue to be announced in response to the outbreak of virulent Newcastle disease (VND).

Since May 2018, a VND outbreak has had a devastating impact on poultry populations in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. A recent case of VND was also discovered in Redwood City in Alameda County. Officials from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have been working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to continue to investigate the area; however, no other cases have been reported so far in Northern California.

Dozens of poultry shows and exhibitions have already been canceled after being advised by California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones that VND poses a serious threat to the industry. Some of the most recent poultry show cancellations come from the Stanislaus County Fair, the Big Fresno Fair, the Salinas Valley Fair, the Nevada County Fair, and the San Mateo County State Fair. Some fair organizers are still weighing their options, with managers of both the Santa Cruz County Fair and the San Benito County Fair indicating they will hold off on making any decisions for a few more months.

More than one million birds in commercial operations and backyards have been euthanized in relation to the outbreak. All of Los Angeles County and large areas of San Bernardino and Riverside counties remain under a poultry quarantine. The highly contagious respiratory virus is nearly always fatal as there is currently no known cure. VND has also shown up in Utah as a result of birds being moved and contaminating others, as birds can appear to be healthy even when infected. The virus does not pose any risk to human beings; however, it can be transmitted by individuals who have VND on their clothes or shoes.


Zambia: Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] has broken out in Lundazi and Vubwi districts of Eastern Province. Eastern Permanent Secretary Buleti Nsemukila says that over 1,000 animals have been infected with the highly contagious viral disease, which affects livestock with split hooves.

Dr. Nsemukila told journalists in Chipata that government has since restricted the movement of animals in the region. He said that a total of 600 animals have been affected in Lundazi while 412 have been infected with the deadly virus in Vubwi.

The Permanent Secretary has also directed law enforcement agencies who mount roadblocks to demand livestock movement permits from all vehicles carrying animals. Dr. Nsemukila said that vehicles should be impounded where the drivers fail to produce the required documents.

He stated that there is need for farmers to be alert and report suspicious cases to the nearest veterinary offices in an effort to contain the situation.

The Permanent secretary has since advised farmers and game ranch operators to be alert and report any suspicious looking animals to the nearest veterinary offices.


Denmark: Listeroiosis

ECDC has identified a microbiological link between an outbreak of 9 Listeria monocytogenes ST1247 cases in Denmark and 9 additional cases reported between 2014 and 2018 in Estonia (2 cases) Finland (2), France (1) and Sweden (4).

In Denmark, the outbreak investigation is led by Statens Serum Institut (SSI), the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the DTU Food Institute.

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis performed at the national level and by ECDC found all isolates from the 18 cases within 2 allelic differences from each other (core genome MLST using Moura scheme, 1540 of 1748 loci detected in all 18 isolates). The latest case was reported in Denmark in February.

A large-scale study led by ECDC on whole genome sequencing shows that most listeriosis outbreaks such as this one remain undetected. The study, published in 2018, suggests that more than half of the severe listeriosis cases in the European Union belong to clusters, many of which are not being picked up fast enough by the current surveillance system.

Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, which primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, and adults with a weakened immune system. Listeriosis is a relatively rare but potentially severe food-borne disease that has been reported in increasing numbers in the EU/EEA countries since 2008. In 2016, 2536 cases were reported, including 247 deaths.

March 22, 2019

Uruguay: Hantavirus

The departmental health director, Dr Jorge Mota, confirmed for Carmelo Portal the death of a young girl from a hantavirus infection. "In Colonia department, there are on average 3 cases per year. The evolution of the disease is in thirds. One-third of the infected people do not have notable symptoms; another third have serious symptoms, especially respiratory symptoms and ones in all the systems, but with adequate treatment, [the infected people] survive, sometimes with sequelae. There is another third that die. It is those few with the virus that die with an evolution so drastic, such as is the case of this girl, sadly," Dr Mota stated.

The department health director said that hantaviruses are not contagious person-to-person. "It is transmitted from an intermediate animal, the field mouse. Only 3% of these mice have hantavirus. To become infected, one must be in contact with an [infected] mouse's secretions that have dried, are mixed with dust, and are in a closed space, away from sunlight and ventilation. A spa, a shed, or a wood pile [are examples of such a space]. The person had to have been moving around there and inhaled the dust," he explained.

Dr Mota spoke about the epidemiological surveillance that is carried out. "We tracked places where the person was, even those that could be identified 2 months before contracting the virus; sometimes we found the place, but sometimes not." As a preventive measure, Mota stated that in these cases, ventilate these closed spaces for at least half an hour. Wet down floors and shelves with water [with 10% bleach].


Mayotte: Rift Valley Fever

The circulation of Rift Valley fever (RVF) continues in Mayotte. An animal disease of viral origin, Rift Valley fever mainly affects domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), causing abortions and high mortality in young animals. It can be transmitted from the infected animal to humans.

In total, since the beginning of the epidemic (end of November [2018]).

Samples taken by veterinarians from sick animals or during abortions led to the identification of 8 new outbreaks this week, for a total of 60 cases in animals (including 49 cattle). Animal foci are located mainly in the center and north west of the island;

A total of 101 human cases of RVF have been reported to the platform/cell watch and health emergencies of the ARS OI (CVAGS) of Mayotte by the CHM laboratory. Of those who could be interviewed, almost 80% report having been in contact with animals;

Since the beginning of the health alert, human cases have been located mainly in the center and north west of the island, with nearly 60% of cases in Chiconi and Tsingoni.

Since 25 Feb 2019, the weekly number of new human cases has been on the decrease.


Bangladesh: Nipah Virus

The 3 members of a family from Baliadangi upazila's Ujarmoni village in Thakurgaon district are suspected to have been infected with the deadly Nipah virus, reports United News of Bangladesh.

The victims include a 28 year old mother; her son, aged 8; and her daughter, aged 4. They were taken to Rangpur Medical College Hospital on March 14, said ABM Maniruzzaman, the resident medical officer of Baliadangi Upazila Health Complex. He said the victims had been suffering from fever for the last 3 days. They also reported headache and vomiting. The trio was first taken to Thakurgaon Modern Sadar Hospital and later shifted to RMCH.

Nipah virus is transmitted from animals to humans and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people, according to the World Health Organization. There is no vaccine for the virus, which is spread through body fluids and can cause inflammation of the brain.

The mother's husband said his wife and children fell sick after eating jujube.

Thakurgaon civil surgeon Abu Mohammad Khairul Kabir said their blood samples had been collected for testing. A medical team from the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research is scheduled to visit RMCH.

In February, 5 members of a family died mysteriously in Baliadanga upazila. It is unclear what caused their deaths [Nipah virus is suspected]. In 2001, Nipah virus was identified as the causative agent in an outbreak of human disease occurring in Bangladesh. Genetic sequencing confirmed this virus as Nipah virus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

United States: Newcastle Disease

The live poultry show has been canceled at this spring's San Mateo County Fair. A major Peninsula veterinary hospital is postponing all chicken appointments. And worried Bay Area backyard bird hobbyists are taking special steps to protect their flocks. News of a highly contagious and deadly bird virus detected at a veterinary clinic in Redwood City has alarmed the Bay Area's poultry community, since it indicates the dreaded Virulent Newcastle Disease has moved north from Southern California.

The disease, first reported in Riverside County, has led to the euthanasia of over 1 million backyard and commercial birds in Southern California.

"The really big concern is the spread into commercial flocks," said Richard Blatchford, a poultry specialist at UC Davis Department of Animal Science. It has already been found in 3 commercial facilities in Riverside County. "It can wipe out an entire farm very quickly," he said.

The disease causes only mild symptoms in humans who have very close contact with infected birds, but it can kill chickens, turkeys, cockatoos, cockatiels - and occasionally wild birds such as cormorants, pelicans and gulls.

"I am extremely worried about this news," said Los Gatos resident Michelle Strachan, who owns 9 chickens at her home in the Santa Cruz Mountains. "It made me gasp and got my heart racing immediately, as I understand the severity of it." She is taking rigorous steps to protect her flock: hand washing, keeping her birds confined to their pen, wearing disposable shoe covers at the feed store, not visiting friends who have poultry, not allowing friends with poultry to visit her birds and keeping a "closed" flock - not adding any birds this year," she said, "as tempting as those fluffy chicks may be!"

"The most important thing people can do is to not move their birds," she said.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks says 3 more cases of chronic wasting disease have been confirmed. The executive director of the agency's Wildlife Bureau, Russ Walsh, tells The Hattiesburg American the cases were confirmed this week in Benton and Marshall Counties. The fatal neurological disease affects deer, elk and moose.

So far, a total of 19 cases have been confirmed in Benton, Issaquena, Marshall, Panola, Pontotoc and Tallahatchie counties. Walsh says the recent cases in Panola and Tallahatchie counties were outside the current northern wasting disease management zone.

The zones prohibit supplemental feeding and the transportation of carcasses to outside zone boundaries to limit the spread of the disease. Walsh says the agency is now considering how to update the northern zone.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the March 4-10 reporting week, 52 new confirmed cases were reported from 8 states - Edo (23), Ondo (11), Ebonyi (9), Bauchi (1), Nasarawa (2), Plateau (1), Taraba (4) and Delta (1) with 11 new deaths in Edo (3), Ondo (3), Ebonyi (4) and Nasarawa (1) states.

From 1 Jan-10 Mar 2019, a total of 1,752 suspected cases have been reported. Of these, 472 were confirmed positive, 15 probable and 1,265 negative (not a case).

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 110 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 23.3%.

Belgium: African Swine Fever

The discovery of a dead wild boar infected with African swine fever [ASF] in zone I north, between Les Fossés and Mellier (Léglise), required adjustment of the limits of the restricted areas. The change was applied in cooperation with the European Commission. Zone I (buffer zone) and zone II (contaminated zone) were expanded to the north.

To date, 687 cases of ASF have been detected in wild boar. As a reminder, the first cases of ASF were discovered in September in wild boar found dead in the Etalle region, in the province of Luxembourg. An infected zone was defined around the infections by the AFSCA and the Walloon region. Measures were taken in this zone, both for wild boar and kept pigs. All domestic pigs were culled as a result of a decision by the Federal Minister of Agriculture. The repopulation of the holdings in this zone is prohibited until further notice.

Chile: Hantavirus

The third hantavirus pulmonary syndrome was confirmed, with positive PCR and ELISA tests, in the Bio Bio region. The case is a 57 year old man, resident of the Arauco province, according to indications by the Bio Bio Health SEREMI [Regional Health Ministerial Secretariat].

"The patient was first seen in the SAPU Eleuterio Ramírez, later taken to the Curanilahue Hospital, and on then taken to the Guillermo Grant Benavente Hospital. There he was connected to mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal oxygenation as well as given hyperimmune human serum; he is in stable condition," said the Bio Bio Health SEREMI Hector Munoz.

Health authorities, by means of a team composed by professionals of Occupational Health, Zoonoses and Epidemiology of the Arauco government, carried out an environmental investigation to determine risk factors. They concluded that there was high risk of acquiring the infectious virus in a load of wood that took place in January and February in properties of the Pocuno sector of the Canete community. The place met the characteristics of shelter, food and access to water for the rodent [reservoir host]. Given this, public health education was delivered to the property owner and workers, which is also planned to be delivered to other properties in the sector to increase awareness.

The first case of hantavirus [infection] in the region was to a 28 year old man, resident of the Araucanía region, but who became infected while working in the Quilaco community in the Bio Bio province. The 2nd case was a 24 year old man, resident of Los Alamos, but had been infected in a rural sector of the Santa Juana community of the Concepcion province.

In 2018, considering Nuble as part of the Bio Bio region, there were 8 cases of hantavirus [infection] with (4 in Nuble, 1 in Arauco and 4 in the Bio Bio province), which is less than the 12 cases of the median of 5 year period (2014-2018) and than the 18 cases registered in the region during 2017.


India: West Nile Virus

As a 6-year-old boy undergoing treatment for West Nile fever died in Kerala's Mallapuram, the government reviewed the current situation, preparedness, and action taken to deal with the disease.

According to a Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry official, this could be the first fatality due to the vector-borne disease reported from the country.

The ministry, along with officials from the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), reviewed the state preparedness and action taken to deal with WNF in Mallapuram district, the official said.

A multi-disciplinary central team is already deputed in Mallapuram to investigate various epidemiological aspects of West Nile virus there and also help the district administration in its prevention and management.

Kerala has been advised to follow the National Vector Borne Disease Control Program guidelines of personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites, while it also been recommended that vector surveillance and control be carried out.

"It has been advised that all cases of JE/AES are to be investigated as per guidelines of JE/AES (Japanese encephalitis/acute encephalitis syndrome) and also tested for West Nile virus. Further, the community is to be sensitized through IEC campaigns on the use of personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bites as per NVBDCP Guidelines," the official added.

The boy from Malappuram district was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital last week after he tested positive for the virus. He died on March 18.

West Nile fever is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease caused by flavivirus WNV and is related to viruses that cause Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever and St. Louis encephalitis.


United States: Eastern Equine Encephalitis

A horse in Lowndes County, Ga. has tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).

Public Health officials urge South Georgians to always wear mosquito spray whenever outdoors to guard against mosquito-borne illnesses no matter how early in the season it may seem.

"It is crucial to remember that it is never too early for mosquito bite prevention," says Kenneth Lowery, district epidemiologist. "While we generally see EEE beginning in late spring, it would not be unreasonable to see cases earlier than expected given warmer temperatures and higher mosquito activity."

Most mosquito-borne illnesses are transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.


United States: Leptospirosis

A rare bacterial disease that every pet owner should know about has surfaced in a California pet. Leptospirosis is spread from wild animals to pets and humans.

The disease is found in standing water and with all the rain lately, veterinarians are reminding people to vaccinate pets. All it takes is a puddle of water or an infected blade of grass to infect an animal, but Leptospirosis is preventable through vaccination.

Alarm bells are sounding after a Citrus Heights woman admitted her dog to the vet after it came down with leptospirosis.

Dr. Kelly Byam with Abel Pet Clinic said the disease is spread in the urine of infected animals. "The disease is usually found in standing water could be a reservoir or lake that could be a puddle or drop of urine on a blade of grass," Byam said.

Pet owners around Folsom Lake Tuesday were taking extra precautions. Byam said rats, mice, and raccoons can spread the disease. She said to look out for kidney disease symptoms in dogs. "Dogs will have a fever, they're going to drink a lot, pee a lot, and won't feel like eating," Byam said.

Leptospirosis is preventable, so it is a good idea to get your dog vaccinated. Humans can get it as well through cuts or abrasions.


China: African Swine Fever

When pigs on the Xinda Husbandry Co. Ltd breeding farm in northern China began dying in growing numbers in early January, it looked increasingly likely that the farm had been struck by the much feared African swine fever [ASF], an incurable disease that has spread rapidly across the country since last year.

But after taking samples from some pigs, local officials in the Xushui district of Baoding city, about an hour's drive from Beijing, said their tests came back negative, said Sun Dawu, chairman of Hebei Dawu Agriculture Group, the farm owner.

As hundreds of pigs began dying daily on the 20,000-head farm, the company obtained a test kit that showed some positive results for the virus. But after further lobbying by Xinda, officials just offered the company subsidies for farm buildings and other investments, said Sun.

Sun's account of events and pictures taken by farm staff of dead pigs lying in rows and a pile outside the farm could not be independently verified.

Xushui district said in a faxed response to Reuters on Tuesday that it was opening an investigation into the case, adding that it had found some "discrepancies" with the reported version of events.

"If there is illegal behavior, relevant departments will handle it according to the law," added the statement from the local government's investigative committee.

Farmers and other industry insiders told Reuters that China's ASF epidemic is far more extensive than official reports suggest, making the disease harder to contain, potentially causing pork shortages and increasing the likelihood that it will spread beyond China's borders.

"Our full expectation is that the number of cases is under-reported," said Paul Sundberg, executive director at the Swine Health Information Center in Ames, Iowa, which is funded by American pork producers.

"And if there's so much of that virus in the environment in China, then we are at increased risk of importing it."

China does not permit the commercial sale of ASF test kits, though many are now available. Official confirmation must come from a state-approved laboratory.

"Public confirmation of disease is the government's job," Sun told Reuters at his company headquarters in Xushui in late February 2019.

Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated March 19.

 Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 980, of which 915 are confirmed and 65 are probable. In total, there were 610 deaths (545 confirmed and 65 probable) and 317 people cured.

Two-hundred thirty-six suspected cases are under investigation.

There are 12 new confirmed cases, including 4 in Masereka, 3 in Mandima, 2 in Katwa, 1 in Kayina, 1 in Butembo, and 1 in Bunia; the new confirmed case in Bunia is a 6-month-old infant whose parents are in apparent good health. In-depth investigations are underway and will include, among other things, the analysis of breast milk to identify the source of contamination.

There are four new confirmed case deaths, including 2 community deaths: 1 in Katwa and 1 in Bunia; 2 deaths at Butembo CTE.


United States: West Nile Virus

A dead Cooper's hawk found in California has tested positive for West Nile virus [WNV], making it the first sign this year of the potentially deadly disease in San Diego County.

Officials said the dead hawk had relatively low levels of WNV in its tissues, suggesting that it was an old infection. However, they said it was a good reminder that WNV, which first arrived in San Diego County in 2003, is established here and that people need to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

Last year was a relatively mild one for WNV in San Diego County. One county resident tested positive for the disease and survived. However, as recently as 2015, 44 county residents tested positive and 6 people died. Across California in 2018, 215 people became infected with West Nile virus and 10 people died.

WNV is mainly a bird disease, but it can be transmitted to humans by a number of species of mosquitoes -- including Culex mosquitoes native to San Diego and, less effectively, by invasive Aedes aegypti mosquitoes -- if they feed off an infected animal, mainly birds, and then bite people.

If people who become infected suffer symptoms, they are typically mild, including headache, fever, nausea, fatigue, skin rash or swollen glands. But in rare cases, WNV can make people extremely ill and even kill them.

March 8, 2019

Nigeria: Lassa Fever

Between January and February 2019, 15 people died of Lassa fever in Ondo state, southwest Nigeria, while 102 persons are infected, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) said. "As at Thursday, 102 people have tested positive for Lassa fever this year," chairman of the medical association in Ondo, Dr Wale Oke, told NAN in Akure.

"Eighty-two people in January, and 20 people so far in February have tested positive, apart from 15 deaths recorded in January as a result of the fever; no death has been recorded so far in February. Most people that died either reported late or were already subjected to alternative treatment and doing self-medication before they eventually came to the hospital. Their kidneys and livers were affected as a result of the delay."

Oke, who is also a staff member at the Federal Medical Center, Owo, urged residents of the state to report early to the medical center if they experience an upsurge of temperature in their bodies. "We have a contact tracing mechanism whereby we can place on surveillance for 21 days those who may have had contact with the infected persons," Oke said. "We continue to monitor their temperature; if it is above 37.8 deg C [100 deg F], we direct them for quick treatment."


India: Kyasanur Forest Disease

Sagar taluk is reeling under a fresh outbreak of Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD), also known as monkey fever, as 3 persons hailing from here have died because of this tick-borne viral infection in just 3 days. On Sunday a resident of Nandodi from Aralagod gram panchayat [GP] in Sagar taluk, died at a private hospital in Manipal. With this, the KFD death toll in the district since December has touched 12. According to sources in the Department of Health and Family Welfare, 6 persons suffering from symptoms of KFD in Aralagod GP limits have been admitted in various private hospitals since March 2; two of them are said to be in serious condition.

Of the recent 3 victims, two, including one who died, had been administered primary as well as a booster dose of vaccine against KFD. An officer serving with the department told The Hindu on the condition of anonymity that the deaths of vaccinated persons has created apprehension about the potency of the vaccine. The issue will be brought to the notice of the authorities at the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals, Bengaluru, where the vaccine is produced, the officer said. So far, more than 90,000 persons from affected areas spread over Sagar, Tirthahalli, Hosanagar, Sorab, Shikaripur, and Bhadravati taluks have been administered primary and booster dose of the vaccine. The booster dose will offer around 65 percent immunity against the disease. The immunity level in the vaccinated person will be enhance to 83 percent after a third round of vaccination, usually administered nine months after the booster dose.

Following the fresh outbreak, vigilance has been stepped up in Aralagod and surrounding areas. Staff from the Forest and Health and Family Welfare departments are combing forests to find dead monkeys. Dimethyl phthalate (DMP), a tick-repellent oil, is also being provided for the residents in Aralagod through Accredited Social Health Activists.


Libya: Leishmaniasis

At least 5,000 cases of a potentially deadly tropical disease have been registered in Libya in the past 6 months, the country's health ministry said. Leishmaniasis, which is caused by a microscopic parasite spread by sandflies, creates ulcers and disfiguring scars, and one variety can attack internal organs. It is often associated with poverty and poor urban sanitation.

"There are currently 5,000 patients who are being treated," said Ahmad al-Qarari, who heads the center for disease control at the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed unity government. But he told AFP that these were only cases that have been registered by the authorities, noting that the extent of the problem remains unknown because some patients do not seek treatment.

Qarari said the World Health Organization was providing Libya with treatment from India and that a new batch of medication was due next week. Most of the cases were registered along the North African country's Mediterranean coast west of the capital, Tripoli. Qarari said leishmaniasis first appeared in Libya a century ago and more recently in 2006. "The government must organize awareness campaigns continuously because this disease has become endemic," Qarari said.

Libya has been rocked by deadly conflict and its economy thrown into turmoil since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.


Mayotte: Rift Valley Fever

The circulation of Rift Valley fever (RVF) continues in Mayotte as of March 1, the prefecture has reported. Raw milk should not be consumed if it is not treated. A viral animal disease, Rift Valley fever mainly affects domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), causing abortions and high mortality in young animals.

The virus can be transmitted from sick animals to humans. Since the first cases occurred in late November 2018, 39 animal outbreaks have been identified, and 82 human cases have been reported.

The prefecture of Mayotte, in collaboration with the ARS Indian Ocean and the Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Forestry of Mayotte (DAAF) stresses the importance of prevention measures to protect yourself from the disease.


Paraguay: Hantavirus

Patients who present with febrile symptoms and who reside in the area where the first positive case was reported positive request tests for hantavirus. Until now there are 5 cases, 3 were positive in initial laboratory tests and 2 are suspect cases that will be tested outside the country because the Central Laboratory does not do confirmatory tests.

The febrile cases of residents in Capiata [Central department], the area where the first cases of hantavirus occurred, are adding up and now Health Surveillance has reported 2 more suspected cases, all children between 2 and 7 years old living in the same city; community intervention continues in search of possible cases.

The first cases confirmed in a private laboratory remain hospitalized in intensive care and the others who have improved are now receiving ambulatory treatment, stated Dr. Sandra Irala of Health Surveillance.

"The clinical picture of hantavirus infection is that of a patient with a temperature above 38 deg C and respiratory difficulty is another characteristic in the endemic area such as that of Chaco. In the non-endemic area hantavirus infection is suspected if the patient presents with fever and other possible causes are eliminated," the doctor indicated in a press conference.

The rodents that transmit the hantavirus do not inhabit urban areas and the way in which the disease virus is acquired is through contact with excreta and other secretions such as saliva and urine of these infected rodents.


United States: Newcastle Disease

California State Veterinarian Dr. Annette Jones has modified Southern California's quarantine area to further restrict bird movement as work continues to eradicate virulent Newcastle disease (vND). The quarantine mandates the reporting of sick birds and prohibits poultry owners from moving birds in all of Los Angeles County, and in large areas of San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The modified quarantine extends from the northern and southern borders of western Riverside County to the Salton Sea--including the Coachella Valley--and as far east as Yucca Valley in San Bernardino County, with a northern boundary of State Route 58 at the Kern County line. The quarantine language and a map may be found at CDFA's VND Web site.

The quarantine requires bird owners to allow diagnostic testing, to isolate poultry from other species, to cease exhibitions, to stop the shipping and receiving of birds, and to enhance biosecurity.

"By modifying the quarantine area in Southern California, we are building upon an ongoing effort to eradicate virulent Newcastle disease," said Dr. Jones. "The primary way that VND spreads is by people moving sick birds. Extending the prohibition of bird movement across a larger area is the next logical step in being able to stop the spread of the virus and to eradicate the disease."

VND is a nearly-always fatal respiratory infection in poultry. Birds may seem healthy but will die within days of being infected. There is no cure. The virus is also transmitted by people who have VND on their clothes or shoes, and by equipment or vehicles that can transport the disease from place to place.

There are no human health concerns provided any meat or eggs are cooked properly. People who come in direct contact with the virus may develop conjunctivitis-like symptoms or run a mild fever.


Bangladesh: Nipah Virus

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has found the presence of Nipah virus in one of the 5 family members who died in Baliadangi upazila of Thakurgaon early in February.

"Samples of one of the deceased were collected, and investigators detected presence of Nipah virus there," said IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora.

IEDCR formed 2 committees, which conducted investigations at Baliadangi Upazila Health Complex, Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital, Rangpur Medical College Hospital and various places of Baliadangi upazila.

During the time, investigators also collected samples of hospital doctors, nurses, health workers and family members of the victims, neighbors, and villagers. The investigation found that those who died had fever, headache, vomiting, and infection. Nipah virus was not found in samples of living persons of the family.

"In the investigation, it was not known if the deceased had a history of drinking raw date palm sap (a popular drink), but the investigators think 4 of the victims were infected by Nipah virus from the other," said the IEDCR statement.

Nipah virus generally transmits through drinking date palm sap infected by bats carrying the virus. Meerjady has advised all not to drink raw date sap.

If anyone is infected by Nipah virus, health personnel and family members should use masks and gloves when they take care of the patients, and wash hands with soap afterwards. The patients should be kept in isolated environment, she said.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated 3 Mar 2019:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 897, of which 832* confirmed and 65 probable. In total, there were 563 deaths (498 confirmed and 65 probable) and 304 people healed.

A confirmed non-classified case has been added to Butembp.

One-hundred seventy-one suspected cases are under investigation.

Two new confirmed cases in Butembo.

Two new deaths of confirmed cases from Butembo: 1 community death in Butembo; 1 death of in the Katwa TC [transit center].

Two new recoveries released from Butembo ETC [Ebola treatment center].


Australia: Anthrax

Victoria agricultural officials are responding to a confirmed incident of anthrax in sheep on a single property near Swan Hill. Victorian Acting Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Cameron Bell said quarantine notices had been put in place until the necessary biosecurity requirements, including carcass disposal and site disinfection, were completed. He said the case was on a farm which has had a history of anthrax and at-risk stock on the property are vaccinated.

"Anthrax detections in livestock occur in Victoria from time to time. They commonly occur during the warmer months when it is drier and cattle and sheep forage deeper into the soil when grazing. Quarantine controls will not affect the movement of local people or vehicles, including school bus routes."

Local farmers, veterinarians, and Agriculture Victoria are well prepared to handle these incidents. This isolated case was detected as part of ongoing surveillance for anthrax and other livestock diseases. "We are taking the necessary steps to reduce the chance of more livestock being affected," Dr. Bell said.

Anthrax is a bacterial pathogen in livestock and wild animals. Some of the more common herbivores are cattle, sheep, goats, horses, camels, and deer. Anthrax is a very serious disease of livestock because it can potentially cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Affected animals are often found dead with no illness detected. Strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses from livestock suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination with the bacterial spores.

March 1, 2019

United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

In a continuing effort to monitor the prevalence and spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Kansas deer, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has collected and tested samples from 360 deer so far this year. Thirty-seven of those samples were confirmed positive.

The 37 confirmed positives came from deer taken in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Thomas, Sheridan, Gove, Rooks, Osborne, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Ford, Edwards, Stafford, Reno, and Pratt counties. While most positives are still coming from northwest Kansas, new counties were added to the list this year, including several that show the disease's spread to the south and east: Haskell, Edwards, Pratt, Osborne, and Reno.

CWD infects members of the deer family, including whitetail and mule deer, elk and moose. CWD testing in Kansas began in 1996 to help track the occurrence of the disease in the state's wild deer, and more than 28 000 tissue samples have undergone lab analysis since. The 1st CWD occurrence documented in a wild Kansas deer was a whitetail doe killed by a hunter in 2005 in Cheyenne County. To date, 216 deer have tested positive, and most have occurred in a region that includes Decatur, Rawlins, Sheridan and Norton counties.

Additionally, state authorities in Mississippi have received confirmation that a female white-tailed deer from Panola County and a female white-tailed deer from Tallahatchie County tested positive for CWD.

The Panola County deer was a diseased deer report and the Tallahatchie County deer was hunter-harvested. To date, Mississippi has 15 confirmed CWD-positive cases and 4 suspected CWD-positive cases awaiting confirmation.

The contagious and always fatal neurological disease is caused by a contagious fatal prion, or abnormal protein, that affects cervids such as white-tailed deer, elk and mule deer. For some animals, it may be a year or more before signs develop, which can include drastic weight loss, stumbling, listlessness and other neurological symptoms.

Infected animals shed prions through saliva, feces, blood, and urine. Other animals can become infected through direct contact with an infected animal and through indirect contact from an infected environment. Once the disease occurs in an area, the evidence demonstrates eradication is unlikely. There is no cure and no vaccine for the disease.


United States: Strangles

More than a dozen cases of strangles and one horse death have been reported on the same premises in Clark County, Nevada. On Feb. 20, the Nevada Department of Agriculture reported 2 cases of strangles and more than 12 other presumptive cases.

Clinical signs were first seen by a local veterinarian on Feb. 4. On Feb. 19, one horse was reported to have died after exhibiting clinical signs, although no confirmatory testing on its cause of death was completed.

Strict biosecurity is being encouraged, and the Nevada State Veterinarian has asked the facility to impose a voluntary hold on the movement of animals into and out of the premise.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

A popular and deadly disease caused by a virus in rodents, Lassa fever, has killed 10 persons and infected 28 others in Plateau state, Nigeria.

Naija News reports that Plateau State commissioner for health Dr Kunden Deyin, while confirming the cases of the fever, said that 64 cases were taken to the laboratory for confirmation; of these, 28 were confirmed to be Lassa fever. According to Deyin, the state has recorded 28 new cases of Lassa fever with 10 deaths.

Deyin confirmed that the cases were imported from Kaduna state, adding that some patients of the fever are already responding to treatment.

"Lassa fever presents like any other fever, with symptoms such as headache, body pain, and a general feeling of being unwell. Therefore, anyone who is feeling feverish should visit the hospital immediately. Prompt presentation is the key to reducing the mortality rate associated with the disease, but most times, patients do come to the hospitals late.

"However, all health workers should make referrals to other health facilities such as the tertiary health facilities, when they cannot handle cases like Lassa fever that require prompt medical attention," he added.


Belgium: African Swine Fever

The African Swine Fever virus is closer than ever to the Luxemburg border. The "viropositive" carcass of an infected wild boar was discovered just 3 km from the country.

The animal was found a few days ago in the village of Differt, located in the municipality of Messancy in Belgium. The location is just 10 minutes from Clemency, a Luxembourg town. Wild boars taken by fever usually seek water points: Differt is a village bordered by the river Messancy, which inevitably attracts mammals.

Swine fever has already killed more than 550 animals in Belgium. On Feb. 15, minister of agriculture Romain Schneider and environment minister Carole Dieschbourg said they were optimistic that the virus could avoid Luxembourg.

A surveillance zone has been set up in the southwest of the country close to the Belgian and French borders.

African swine fever causes the death of infected animals in a few days. In humans, however, the virus is harmless.


Mayotte: Rift Valley fever

Rift Valley fever continues to circulate in Mayotte among the herds of ruminants, and the number of human cases is increasing.

The epidemiological situation as of Feb. 22:

Samples taken by veterinarians from sick animals or during abortions have identified 33 animal FVR outbreaks.

Since late November, 63 human cases of RVF have been reported to the monitoring and health emergencies platform of the ARS OI (CVAGS) of Mayotte by the CHM laboratory.

Rift Valley fever is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans of viral origin, which mainly affects domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), causing abortions and high mortality in young animals.


China: African Swine Fever

China on Feb. 24 confirmed 2 new outbreaks of African swine fever, one in the northern province of Hebei and the other in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, as the highly contagious disease spreads through the world's largest hog herd.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said the first outbreak is on a farm in the Xushui district of Baoding city, which has 5,600 hogs, some of which died because of the swine fever, though it did not give a death toll. The farm has been quarantined and the herd slaughtered, it added.

The second outbreak is in the remote Greater Khingan Mountains in Inner Mongolia, where 210 of the 222 wild boar raised on the farm died, the ministry said in a separate statement. The rest have been slaughtered, it said.

China has reported more than 100 outbreaks of the disease in 27 provinces and regions since August. The disease is deadly for pigs but does not harm humans.

India: Anthrax

Following up with the reports of veterinary experts, wildlife authority in Tripura has suspended the entry of tourists in Sepahijala zoo in West Tripura for a week apprehending the presence of anthrax infection among the animals residing there.

According to report, a deer died in the zoo on Feb. 19 and the carcass was sent to the laboratory of veterinary College. The necropsy report of the dead animal has been suspected of being contaminated with anthrax virus in the zoo, which prompted the authority to close the zoo down for public entry.

"The necessary sanitization work has been going on to prevent any further spread of the infection," said a zoo official adding that there is no health hazard inside and in the surrounding localities of the zoo due to the spread of infection.

Anthrax is an infectious bacterial disease of animals, caused by the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It can affect humans and a wide range of animals.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Feb. 24:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 872, 807 confirmed and 65 probable. In total, there have been 548 deaths (483 confirmed and 65 probable).

One hundred seventy-six suspected cases are under investigation.

Three new confirmed cases are in Katwa; 2 new deaths of confirmed cases in Katwa.


African Swine Fever: Viet Nam

Hai Phong city has become the third locality in Viet Nam to detect African swine fever [ASF]. The outbreak in Hai Phong was detected after a farmer in Chinh My commune, Thuy Nguyen district, reported that 35 of his pigs had died from the disease.

Out of the 5 serum and viscera samples collected from the dead pigs, 3 tested positive for ASF with the same pathogens as the outbreaks previously detected in the northern provinces of Thai Binh and Hung Yen, according to the Animal Health Department under the agriculture ministry. Local authorities have disinfected the area and buried the dead pigs.

According to Pawin Padungtod, senior technical coordinator of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease in Viet Nam, ASF cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans, so the public should not be too worried and boycott pork. Padungtod also highly appreciated Viet Nam's epidemic prevention efforts and thanked the Vietnamese government for preparing, responding to the ASF outbreak and informing the public of the outbreak in a swift manner. "This is a very important condition for international organizations, including FAO, to mobilize resources and experts to help Viet Nam control the disease soon," he said.

Last week, the Animal Health Department announced that it had discovered 2 separate outbreaks of African swine fever that affected 130 pigs in Hung Yen province and another affecting 123 pigs in Thai Binh province. Local authorities have disposed of all the infected pigs, blocked all transportation and sales of live pigs and pig products, and sanitized farms and markets in the 2 provinces.

Paraguay: Hantavirus

A seven year old boy is currently hospitalized in Capiatá in the intensive care unit in the IPS Central Hospital, for a presumed hantavirus infection. The hospital director, Gabriel Aguilera, said this is the first known case in the city. The boy was seen, along with his mother, in the local hospital last week for fever and was taken to the Previsión Social Institute.

The result from a private laboratory was positive for the disease, which is transmitted by rats. However, in order to officially report that this is a hantavirus infection, Dr Aguilera stated that they are awaiting results from the Central Laboratory of the Ministry of Health. He added that health personnel inspected the house and surrounding area, but did not find any resident with fever or other symptoms. He also stated that neither the boy nor his family traveled to Boquerón department, the endemic area in the country.

Dr Aguilera added that contact with rodent excrement and urine can cause the disease. He stressed that any produce that one acquires from storehouses, supermarkets and similar establishments must be cleaned, because it is known that rodents frequently circulate in these places.

February 22, 2019

Pakistan: Leishmaniasis

Health Minister Dr. Hisham Inamullah Khan has said that government is making efforts on war footing for prevention of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the province and a special cell has been set up to cope with the outbreak of the skin disease.

According to a handout issued in Peshawar on Feb. 13, so far 21,258 cases of leishmaniasis have been reported throughout the province, including 19,072 from tribal districts.

In his message, Dr. Hisham said that there was no need to worry about that type of disease, as it was curable. He said that government would ensure that each patient suffering from leishmaniasis was given proper treatment besides taking practical measures for prevention of the disease in the affected areas.

The minister said that WHO also provided 9,500 vials of injections for treatment of the patients. He said that special centers were established at sentinel sites where patients were being treated under the guidelines of WHO in the affected districts.


United States: Strangles

The Washington State Department of Agriculture reported to the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) 3 confirmed cases of strangles and 10 suspected cases in Chelan County. There is a voluntary quarantine in place.

The reporting vet indicated that up to 10 horses on the premises are affected, with 3 having been cultured and confirmed positive for strangles. Additional horses are presumed positive based on clinical signs.

The 3 horses confirmed positive for strangles are a 12-year-old Arabian, which is recovering; a 4-year-old warmblood; and a 5-year-old Arabian. The 4-year-old had the 1st onset of clinical signs on 23 Dec 2018, and the younger Arabian had onset of clinical signs on 10 Feb 2019.


Oman: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has announced that it has imposed veterinary quarantine on a farm in the wilayat district of Shinas in North Batinah after it registered a case of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in a citizen. It also confirmed that the citizen infected is undergoing treatment at Sohar Hospital and his condition is stable.

Experts took samples of tick insects, a carrier of the disease from the animals at the citizen's farm and other animals in the area and sent them to the laboratory for examination. MoAF elaborated that experts are guiding the citizen's family on how to handle animals. CCHF is caused by a virus carried by ticks.

Animals like sheep, goats, and cows become carriers after they are bitten by the infected ticks. Humans get infected either by tick-bites or through direct contact with the infected animal's blood and tissues during or after slaughtering. Human-to-human transmission can occur resulting from close contact with blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids from infected persons, the ministry said.


Kenya: Anthrax

A nurse in Embu county was arrested after allegedly inspecting a cow and sanctioning it for consumption even though it had anthrax disease. She is currently being held at Itabua Police Station.

The incident is said to have occurred in Rukia village and led to 3 people being hospitalized at Embu Level Five Hospital.

Embu County Public Health Officer Rosaline Kaugi said the nurse is trained to treat people and works in one of the health facilities but had been engaged by residents to act as a veterinary officer. Kaugi said the nurse will be arraigned in court on after investigations are concluded. She further warned the residents against slaughtering and disposing animals suspected to have anthrax.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the reporting Feb. 4-10, 37 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (10), Ondo (12), Ebonyi (4), Plateau (4), Taraba (3), Benue (1), Gombe (1), Rivers (1) and Kebbi (1) states with 10 new deaths in Edo (2), Ondo (2), Ebonyi (4) and Plateau (2).

In 2019 to date, a total of 947 suspected cases have been reported from 20 states and FCT. Of these, 324 were confirmed positive, 3 probable and 620 negative.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 69 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality ratio in confirmed cases is 21.3%.

Twenty states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT, Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Oyo and Kebbi) have recorded at least one confirmed case across 54 local government areas.


Belgium: African Swine Fever

After the discovery of a new case of African swine fever [ASF] in a wild boar found dead in the surveillance zone, the Walloon government has proceeded to expand the 3 protection zones. This has been announced by the Walloon minister of Nature and Forest, René Collin.

Collin has held emergency consultations in Gembloux on Feb. 16, including representatives from the Cabinet of Federal Minister for Agriculture Denis Ducarme. "The discovery leads to an extension of the buffer zone, the observation zone and the surveillance zone", says Collin. In concrete terms, the buffer zone to the north will be expanded by 2900 ha, the observation zone will be expanded east and west of the buffer zone.

In addition, the council chamber of Arlon extended the detention of a second suspect in the judicial investigation concerning ASF by one month. That has been communicated to the public prosecutor of the province of Luxembourg. The detention of the first suspected person had previously been extended.

So far, the judicial authorities have been very reluctant to make information available. At the request of the investigating judge in charge of the case, the public prosecutor's office still did not inform the parties on which grounds the two were arrested. Also the identity of both suspects is officially not yet known. Both were placed under detention mandate last week. Several house searches were carried out during that week. In the Gaume region, the ASF virus was discovered in wild boar in September 2018.


Ireland: Meningitis

A rare form of deadly meningitis is on the rise in Ireland following a pattern seen in other countries, disease specialists have revealed.

The number of cases of the Neisseria meningitis serogroup W strain has increased from one in the year 2014 to 12 last year. There has also been an increase in meningococcal meningitis serogroup Y over the same period.

Neither strain is currently included in the vaccines to protect against meningitis that are commonly given to children.

The increase follows a similar trend in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which has in turn led to the vaccine now being offered by health services to teenagers and college and university students.

No such vaccination program has been introduced here yet, but the rise in cases will have to be examined by the group of experts which advises the Health Service Executive.

Like other forms of the disease, it can be very serious if not treated quickly with antibiotics. Without emergency treatment, it can lead to life-threatening blood poisoning, and result in permanent brain or nerve damage.

The report from the Health Protection Surveillance Center, the country's disease watchdog, said that during January there were 17 cases of different forms of meningitis. Four of these involved the W and Y strains. Two people died from meningitis during January. Overall, the incidence of meningitis in Ireland has fallen in the past 2 decades.


Tanzania: Anthrax

An outbreak of anthrax in Tanzania's southern highlands region of Songwe that killed 4 people in January 2019 is now under control, a senior official said on Feb. 18. Songwe Regional Administrative Secretary David Kafulila said since the outbreak of the disease in the region on Dec. 10 that regional authorities have taken measures aimed at ending the spread of the disease that left 81 people falling ill after they ate infected meat. "Since Jan. 7 this year, we haven't recorded any new cases of anthrax in Songwe region," Kafulila told Xinhua in an interview.

Kafulila said measures taken by Songwe regional authorities to control the outbreak of the disease included vaccinating all livestock in the region. He said by a total of 20,181 head of cattle, 292 goats and 29 sheep were vaccinated.

"Our target is to vaccinate the region's population of 123,219 head of cattle, 78,000 goats and 40,000 sheep," he said, adding that the region has bought 50,500 doses of vaccine, and more will be purchased through a revolving fund.

Last month, the Ministry of Health confirmed that the 4 people died after they ate meat suspected to have been contaminated with the bacteria that cause anthrax.


Viet Nam: African Swine Fever

African swine fever [ASF] has been detected on 3 farms in Viet Nam, authorities said, the first confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease in the Southeast Asia country.

All pigs on the farms located in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces, southeast of the capital Hanoi, were culled, the Animal Health Department said in a statement.

The disease, which is incurable in pigs but harmless for humans, has spread rapidly across neighboring China since August, affecting 25 provinces and regions.

"The disease is not infectious for humans, so people and farmers shouldn't panic," Pham Van Dong, head of the department, told a press conference in Hanoi.

Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Viet Nam, a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

With pork such a popular meat in many Asian countries, UN experts said last September the spread of the virus to China's neighbors was a near certainty, and likely through movements of products containing infected pork.

Nguyen Van Long, the department's chief of epidemiology, said smuggling of animals across borders and tourism made it difficult to control the spread of the disease.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that the country's Council of Agriculture had found the virus in a sandwich carried from Viet Nam to Taiwan on Feb. 5.

Authorities in Taiwan and Viet Nam are working to determine the origin of the pork found in the sandwich, Viet Nam's animal health department said.


Pakistan: Typhoid Fever

The Sindh Health Department on Feb. 19 admitted its failure to formulate an action plan to prevent the spread of the extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strain of typhoid fever in the province. The provincial minister for health, Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, sighed that the health department still awaited vaccines for XDR typhoid from the federal government as the province battles the outbreak caused by a bacterial strain resistant to most known antimicrobials. She added that the strain had claimed 4 lives since its outbreak from Hyderabad [Sindh] in November 2016, which later spread to Karachi and other cities and towns of the province.

Dr. Pechuho said that the Sindh Health Department had asked the local governments to improve the chlorination in water supplies, noting that the disease had spread due to the lack of sanitation and the presence of open garbage dumps in Karachi and other places. More than 5,000 children have been affected by this typhoid strain, she continued. XDR typhoid is caused by antimicrobial resistant strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi and has been declared by WHO as a notable public health concern.

A report by the Provincial Disease Surveillance and Response Unit reported 5,274 cases of XDR typhoid out of 8,188 typhoid fever cases in Sindh from Nov. 1, 2016 through Dec. 9, 2018.

The WHO recommended typhoid vaccination in response to confirmed outbreaks of typhoid fever. These vaccinations should be implemented in combination with other efforts to control the disease. At present, azithromycin remains the only affordable first-line oral therapeutic option to manage patients with XDR typhoid in low-resource settings.


China: African Swine Fever

In the week that Viet Nam reported its first outbreaks of African swine fever [ASF], the news broke as well that the virus had reached two of the last non-infected provinces on the Chinese east coast: Shandong province and Guangxi autonomous region.

This means that all coastal provinces from north to south now at least reported one outbreak of the virus ever since ASF was first detected in China in August.

In total, on the basis of figures shared by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the total number of pigs on farms found with ASF is 460,000. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, already 950,000 pigs had to be culled in an attempt to hold the spread. According to recent official figures, China is home to 461 million pigs.

The outbreak in Shandong province does not come unexpected, as there had been rumors for some while about allegedly infected meat packages coming from this province. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported that the virus had been found on a farm in Laiwu district of Jinan city. The facility had 4,504 pigs, of which 17 had contracted the virus and 3 had died.

With regard to the outbreak in Guangxi autonomous region, reported on Feb. 19, MARA shared that it had found the virus on 2 farming communities with a total of 23,555 pigs. In total 924 animals had been killed by the virus.

The distance between the Guangxi outbreak and the affected Vietnamese provinces near Hanoi is between 300 and 350 km, measured in a straight line.

News agency Reuters also reported that major Chinese frozen food producer Sanquan Food recently informed that it had recalled products that might have been contaminated with ASF. This happened after media reports about some of its dumplings testing positive for the virus.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated 19 Feb 2019:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 848, 783 confirmed and 65 probable.

In total, there were 529 deaths (464 confirmed and 65 probable) and 257 people cured.

Two-hundred thirteen suspected cases are under investigation.

One new death of a confirmed case at Katwa ETC.


Zimbabwe: Anthrax

There has been an anthrax outbreak in Mutare and Vumba with confirmed cases at Leopard Rock and Zimbabwe Prisons & Correctional Service’s Mutare Prison Farm which has been forced to temporarily close its abattoir. SPCA's Lynne James confirmed that all the animals at the ZPCS farm have been vaccinated band their horses are under quarantine until March 10.

Leopard Rock also has a suspected case of this disease.

"We also have plenty cattle wander all over Vumba roads currently as well as a large number of baboons and I am sure that all of this makes management of the disease all the more difficult and urgent," Sue Fenwick, a Vumba resident, said.

It is uncertain what has been affected where, but it would seem that there have been 3 outbreaks (Mutare & Mutare Prison Farm, Vumba) and maybe a wildlife case at Leopard Rock which is a wildlife park area with many tourist hotels.

February 15, 2019

Brazil: Yellow Fever

A 21-year-old man who had never been vaccinated is the first confirmed case of yellow fever in Parana. This case was identified on Jan. 26, when a task force of the State Secretariat of Health went to the Litoral in order to organize, together with the Antonina municipality, strategies to deal with the disease. The young man is hospitalized in the Litoral Regional Hospital and is doing well, with a mild form of the disease.

With the formation of the Center of Emergency Health Operations (COES) by the state Secretariat, a team went again to the Litoral Jan. 29 and created a Paranagua First Regional Health COES in order to monitor the disease.

The COES also prepared a document with the so-called clinical management flow in order to orient the health professionals with the identification and treatment of yellow fever, since the last case of the disease occurred in 2015, when the disease was contracted outside the state.

Various measures and strategies to deal with the disease are now in progress by the State Secretariat for Health, especially directed at the 7 municipalities of the first region and municipalities of the second region, due to their proximity to Sao Paulo state where several cases now have been confirmed.

A reinforcement team sent by the State Secretariat is visiting each of the cities of these 2 regions in order to identify the difficulties and actively search in communities more isolated to urge the population to take the vaccination. Through Feb. 5, a person by person search will be carried out in the entire area where the virus is suspected to circulate.

The alert is also extended to strategic groups in the areas of risk, such as truck drivers who descend to the Port of Paranagua, public security officials, and workers of companies that circulate in the Atlantic Forest. Up to now, no more dead monkeys have been found.


Brazil: West Nile Virus

The State Health Secretariat of Piaui (SESAPI) confirmed Feb. 8 the occurrence of another human case of neurological disease in the state caused by West Nile virus. (WNV). The case is a young man resident of the rural zone of Picos, who suffered from acute flaccid muscle paralysis in 2017. The patient was admitted to the University Hospital of the UFPI in Piaui, where the standard protocol for the diagnosis of neuroinvasive diseases issued by SESAPI was applied; he received treatment and recovered completely. The tests were conducted at the time, but the Ministry of Health released the results only in early 2019, indicating the presence of neutralizing antibodies against the virus in the patient's blood.

The first and, until then, only case of West Nile fever in Piaui had occurred in August 2014, corresponding to a cowboy from the city of Aroeiras do Itaim, Piaui. In fact, it was the first case of the disease in the country. At the time, tests on birds and equines of the region indicated that these animals also had contact with the virus. To date, examinations of 32 other suspected human cases in the state have resulted as "undetermined." In April 2018, WNV was detected in the brain of sick and dead horses with neurological symptoms in the state of Espirito Santo, but without confirmation of human cases in that state.

West Nile fever can be transmitted to humans through the bite of mosquitoes infected with the virus acquired from infected (wild) migrating birds. There is no transmission through interhuman contact or through contact with horses. Most infected individuals have no symptoms, and cases of neurological impairment are exceptional. Preventive measures are similar to those against dengue, Zika, and chikungunya viruses. Since 2014, the state of Piaui has intensively monitored cases of neurological disease and tests all suspected cases reported for the disease, both in the public and private hospital network.


Pakistan: West Nile Virus

Researchers who detected the West Nile virus (WNV) in Pakistan for the first time are calling for urgent coordinated surveillance to assess its distribution in the country of the virus known to cause deadly neurological disease.

Spread by mosquitoes, WNV infection is generally asymptomatic. But in about 20% of cases, fever, headache and vomiting develop; less than 1% of these cases lead to potentially fatal neurological complications. The virus causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (meningitis), studies show.

The researchers published their findings online last month in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases. They found samples of the virus after analyzing 1,070 serum samples drawn from blood donors in the Punjab province from 2016 to 2018. But when they screened 4,500 mosquito specimens collected from 2016 to 2017 from 5 selected districts of Punjab province, the samples tested negative for WNV -- suggesting that the virus is circulating via a different route.

Muhammad Saqib, assistant professor at the University of Faisalabad, Pakistan and one of the authors of the study, tells SciDev.Net that while traditionally the mosquito bite is the primary cause of WNV infection, blood transfusion is an important mode of transmission in Pakistan. "Transmission through human blood transfusion poses grave risks," he said.

Saqib and his fellow researchers from Pakistan and China warn that Pakistanis will be increasingly vulnerable to WNV infection unless surveillance, screening and reporting facilities are immediately put in place.

Since the 1990s, WNV infections and related outbreaks of neurological disease have grown to become increasingly serious public health problems. Genetic analyses have identified multiple lineages, but most studies have focused on Lineage 1. This particular lineage 1st emerged in 1999 in New York (USA) and has a propensity to cause neuroinvasive disease.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the Jan. 28-Feb. 3 reporting week, 68 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (20), Ondo 22), Ebonyi (7), Bauchi (4), Plateau (4), Nasarawa (1), Taraba (3), Benue (1), Kaduna (1), Kwara (1), Oyo (2), Delta (1), and Rivers (1) states, with 14 new deaths in Edo (2), Ondo (1), Rivers (1) Plateau (2), Oyo (1), Ebonyi (4 ), Enugu (1), Taraba (1), and Nasarawa (1).

From Feb. 1-3, a total of 731 suspected cases have been reported from 19 states. Of these, 275 were confirmed positive, 3 probable, and 453 negative.

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 57 deaths in confirmed cases. Case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 20.7%.

Nineteen states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba, FCT [Federal Capital Territory], Adamawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kwara, Benue, Rivers, Kogi, Enugu, Imo, Delta, and Oyo) have recorded at least one confirmed case.

In the reporting week 5, 4 new healthcare workers were affected in Edo state. A total of 9 health care workers have been affected since the onset of the outbreak in 4 states -- Ebonyi (1), Ondo (2), Enugu (1), and Edo (5), with one death in Enugu.

Ninety-eight patients are currently being managed at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Centre (42), Federal Medical Centre Owo (25), Federal Teaching Hospital Abakiliki (8), Bauchi (5), Plateau (7), and other (11) states.

A total of 2,791 contacts have been identified from 9 states. Of these 2,080 (74.5%) are currently being followed up, 647 (23.2%) have completed 21 days follow up. 23 (0.8.1%) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 13 (0.4%) have tested positive.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated February 9:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 811, of which 750 are confirmed and 61 are probable

In total, there were 510 deaths (449 confirmed and 61 probable) and 276 people cured.

One hundred forty-eight suspected cases are under investigation.


Australia: Anthrax

At least 350 sheep have died from anthrax poisoning on a property near Nyngan. NSW [New South Wales] Department of Primary Industries confirmed biosecurity measures had been put in place on a Central West property after a large number of livestock deaths. These included restricted animal movements, vaccination of stock, carcass disposal and decontamination.

This comes after a number of major outbreaks in southern Queensland recently, with 120 head of cattle killed from a soil disturbance in March 2017 and another 30 sporadic deaths from October 2017 to January 2018. In 2013, dozens of cattle were killed on two properties near Moree.

Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by the disturbance of soil-borne bacteria and can kill sheep, cattle, horses, pigs and other livestock instantly.

Recent research identified the 'anthrax belt', previously from Moree and Walgett to the Victorian border from Corowa to Deniliquin, had expanded further north into central southern Queensland.

A NSW DPI spokesperson said there was an increased risk of anthrax when feed was short and animals were grazing close to the ground.


Mayotte: Rift Valley Fever

Since the discovery of a first case in November 2018, Rift Valley fever (RVF) continues to circulate in the department of Mayotte. To date, 31 human cases of RVF have been reported by the CHM laboratory to the ARS Indian Ocean.

RVF mainly affects domestic ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), but can occasionally infect humans. The Prefecture of Mayotte, in collaboration with the ARS Indian Ocean and the Directorate of Food, Agriculture and Forestry of Mayotte (DAAF) reminds the population of the importance of implementing recommendations and actions of prevention to protect against the disease.

As of Feb. 6, 31 human cases of RVF were reported to the monitoring and health emergency platform of the ARS OI (CVAGS) of Mayotte by the CHM laboratory.

Samples taken by the veterinary services in sick animals or during abortions have also made it possible to identify 23 outbreaks of infected animals (comprising from 1-6 animals) including 7 in sheep/goats, mainly located in the center of the island.


Pakistan: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Karachi’s first case in 2019 of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), commonly known as Congo virus, was reported Feb. 10 as a woman tested positive for the disease at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC).

The patient is currently under treatment at an isolated ward of the JPMC.

She is the first CCHF patient brought to any hospital in Karachi in 2019, health officials said. They added that CCHF cases are mostly reported during Eid-ul-Azha [Festival of Sacrifice] days as people come in contact with cattle and sacrificial animals, which carry the tick that spreads the deadly disease to human beings.

CCHF is a tick-borne viral disease, which is acquired when a person comes in contact with an animal infected with the Congo virus due to the presence of the parasite on its skin. Mostly butchers, sheep and animal herders, and those who are associated with cattle-farming become victims of the CCHF, which has a 40 to 50 percent mortality rate.

"Many people have contracted this disease in Karachi during their interaction with cattle. People should take precautionary measures while dealing with the cattle and livestock," Dr Jamali said, adding that red spots on body, high fever, and blood coming from mouth and nose were the symptoms of Congo virus, and any patient exhibiting such symptoms should immediately be rushed to a major hospital.


India: Avian Influenza

Authorities in Bokaro are rushing quick response teams to 9 blocks in the district in the wake of bird flu confirmation in Gomia.

The state animal husbandry department had on Feb. 9 said samples of dead crows sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, had tested positive for the H5N1 virus that is responsible for the highly infectious scourge in avian species.

Besides Gomia, where crows began dropping dead in the last week of January, Bermo, Chandrapura, Kasmar, Chas, Nawadih, Chandankyari, Jaridih, and Petarwar blocks have been put on high alert, said Bokaro animal husbandry officer Arun Kumar Sinha.

"We have sent special teams to these areas. But, there is no need to panic, as bird flu has not been reported in poultry yet. No poultry death has taken place so far. Besides, we have sent poultry samples to the Bhopal lab as a precautionary measure," he said, adding that reports were expected in a couple of days.

The animal husbandry officer nonetheless advised poultry farmers to isolate and cull sick birds, restrict access to healthy ones, clean cages and equipment regularly, disinfect footwear/gloves of workers, and stop borrowing supplies from other farms.


Belgium: African Swine Fever

Between Jan. 29 and Feb. 7, 52 carcasses were found positive for African swine fever (ASF). Most animals, which were all found within the kernel zone in the southern Belgian province Luxembourg, had died of the virus according to the latest report to the OIE.

Worryingly, however, 2 cases of ASF were found in wild boar that were shot close to the village of Orsinfaing. These animals were killed about 3.5 km north of the latest known ASF location, and close to the border of the kernel zone.

In addition, local media report a positive case of ASF found in wild boar near Mussy-la-Ville, which is at 2 km of the French border, more toward Longwy. This case, however, has not been shared by the OIE yet.

The first outbreak of ASF was reported in September 2018 near the village of Etalle. So far, the virus has not been found in domestic pigs.

Meanwhile, the Belgian authorities in Luxembourg province have arrested 2 men in the context of the African swine fever outbreaks in Belgium. The arrest followed the interviewing of four of them last week. In the context of the investigating authorities, officially no further statements have been made about the arrests.

It has been confirmed that 1 of these 4 persons interviewed is a forestry ranger, employed by the Public Service of Wallonia. According to Belgian press agency Belga, that person was working for the Walloon Department of Nature and Forests (DNF).

February 8, 2019

Mayotte: Rift Valley Fever

In the Indian Ocean, between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique, sits the archipelago of Mayotte, a Department of France.

Health officials have reported an increase in autochthonous Rift Valley fever (RVF) cases in the past 6 weeks. Since the first human case was detected in December, health officials have reported 19 human cases. Most of the cases were located in the western part of the island.

Samples made on ruminants present around human cases were analyzed at CIRAD in Reunion for the search for the RVF virus. The results identified several positive animals in different villages located in west and center of the island.

In addition, an IgM-positive cattle has been reported in Mamoudzou. This 2-year-old cattle belongs to a breeding herd of 8 cattle, including 4 adults and 4 2-month-old calves. Biological control and investigations are underway.

ECDC reports that the detection of autochthonous Rift Valley fever cases on Mayotte is not unexpected, but the occurrence of 19 cases within a short time period is of concern, as current weather conditions (rainy season from November to March) are favorable for the vectors.

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is an illness that is primarily spread by direct contact with blood, fluids, or tissues of infected animals such as cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels. Less commonly, it can also be spread through mosquito bites.


Guinea: Lassa Fever

Guinea's government has reported one case of a 35-year-old man with Lassa fever in the central town of Mamou, some 260-kilometers from the country's capital of Conakry.

An investigative mission will be deployed to the region to support health authorities, the government said in a statement posted on the website of the National Health Security Agency. No other Lassa fever cases were reported.

Lassa fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic illness, transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated by infected rodents.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

The Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo, Ondo State, is said to have run out of bed spaces to accommodate victims of the Lassa fever outbreak in the state.

Investigation carried out by SaharaReporters showed that the disease which has been ravaging the state for almost 2 weeks, has found its way into Akure, the state capital. Although the outbreak had been reported in border cities of the northern senatorial district of the state, such as Edo and Kogi, sources at the FMC in Owo area told our correspondent that many victims are hospitalized in the center.

One of the sources revealed that the current situation at FMC was getting out of control, adding that isolation wards of the hospital could no longer contain the patients due to lack of bed spaces to quarantine them.

Another source at the state Ministry of Health also confirmed that the current situation in Ondo State was "very terrible", and called for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state.

Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, the Ondo State Epidemiologist, had said at a forum that the state should prepare for war against Lassa fever. He said about 27 states were affected with Lassa fever last year and Ondo and Edo topped the list as they accounted for about 80% of those affected.

Belgium: African Swine Fever

The count of wild boar in Belgium that contracted African Swine Fever (ASF) has risen to 405. So far, no infected boars have been found outside the inner zones in southern Belgium.

The latest count by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) shows that in the last week of January, 13 new ASF-infected boar were found; 11 carcasses, and 2 infected boar got shot by hunters.

So far, all outbreaks have been confirmed in wild boar inside the kernel and buffer zones in southern Belgium. Until now, 113 positive animals have been found in January, making it the month with the most positive cases after October 2018. In that month, 139 ASF infected wild boar were reported to the OIE from southern Belgium.

In the meantime, at the French side of the border, there is a lot going on to prevent the virus crossing the border. In January, a so-called 'white zone' was created on the French side of the border in which any wild boar is supposed to be shot, in order to preventively eradicate the wild boar so the virus will not be able to hop from one boar on the Belgian side to one on the French side.

According to Didier Guillaume, the French minister of agriculture, there were between 500 and 600 wild boar to be culled in this area and it would take about 2-3 weeks to cull them all. The idea is to create a completely boar free zone which will be surrounded by a 1.5m high fence. In addition, a total of about 100km in fences will be set up at the border, costing several million Euros.

In this undertaking, even 40 soldiers of the French army have been given a task: to provide logistical support for the hunters.


Switzerland: Tick-borne encephalitis

Only 2 Swiss cantons are not considered "at-risk" zones for tick-borne diseases, the Federal Office of Public Health has announced. Vaccination is recommended.

Following a recent government call for mass vaccinations against the debilitating tick-borne encephalitis [TBE] disease, the health office said it considered the entire country -- except cantons Geneva and Ticino -- to be at risk.

The optimum time for vaccination is in winter, the office wrote, so that walkers and hikers are protected once the good weather and riskiest period (from April to October) rolls around.

Last year 380 cases of tick-borne encephalitis, a debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system and can be fatal, were reported in Switzerland, compared with 100 per year in previous years.


Japan: Classical Swine Fever

Japanese authorities were battling to contain swine flu after the virus was detected at multiple sites in central Japan.

Japanese soldiers and local government officials began slaughtering around 6,600 pigs at a farm in Toyota City in Aichi prefecture following the confirmation of an outbreak of swine fever, also known as hog cholera, there.

Since January, the farm has shipped pigs to 6 facilities in Nagano, Gifu, Aichi, Shiga, Mie, and Osaka prefectures, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It said it had found the virus at all the above places except Mie.

The Nagano prefectural government also started the slaughtering of 2,400 pigs at a farm in the village of Miyada.

The government could end up killing a total of 15,000 pigs, Kyodo News agency reported.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

Deer contaminated by chronic wasting disease (CWD) have made their way into Stone and Taney counties in Missouri. CWD is a deadly illness spread from deer to deer through direct contact with soil, food and water contaminated through feces, urine, saliva or carcasses of infected deer.

During the summer and fall deer hunting season of 2018, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) tested more than 28,000 deer for CWD. From those thousands of collected tissue samples, 28 deer, from 11 counties across Missouri, tested positive for CWD.

Hundreds of CWD cases have been identified in northwest Arkansas counties bordering southwest Missouri, but for the first time ever, positively tested deer were harvested in Stone and Taney counties. MDC Wildlife Health Specialist Keith Cordell said the deer were found in northeast Stone County, near Reeds Spring, and southern Taney County, in the Drury-Mincy Conservation area.

"Not entirely surprising," said Cordell. "I mean, seeing as what we're observing just south of the border in Arkansas, and we've really ramped up and increased our surveillance efforts on those southern border counties, I was actually kind of surprised last year when we did not detect any.

"So it was pretty much inevitable we knew we were going to find it down there eventually. That's why it was so important to find it early, so we've got something we can actually do about it before it gets too widespread."


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Feb. 4:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 788, 734 confirmed and 54 probable. In total, there were 486 deaths (432 confirmed and 54 probable) and 267 people cured.

One-hundred ninety-one suspected cases are under investigation.

February 1, 2019

Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the reporting week ending Jan. 13, 35 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (12), Ondo (12), Bauchi (3), FCT (1), Ebonyi (5), Plateau (1) and Taraba (1) States with 8 new deaths in Ondo (3), Edo (1), Ebonyi (1), Plateau (1) FCT (1) and Taraba (1).

Through Jan. 13, a total of 172 suspected cases have been reported. Of these, 60 were confirmed positive and 112 negative (not a case).

Case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 26.7%.

Eight states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba and FCT) have recorded at least one confirmed case across 17 Local Government Areas.

Forty-six patients are currently being managed at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment Centre (20), Federal Medical Centre Owo (18), Bauchi (3) and Ebonyi (5) States.

A total of 593 contacts have been identified from 8 states while 590 are currently under follow up and 3 are symptomatic positive contacts.


Pakistan: Leishmaniasis

More than 400 people affected by leishmaniasis in Pandiali administrative division of Mohmand tribal district, have been hospitalized. Local people told media persons here Jan. 22 that the affected areas included Danish Kool, Darra, Garai and Ismail Sher Kallay in Pandiali tehsil, in addition to some localities of Haleemzai tehsil.

A resident, said that his daughter was among the more than 400 affected people. Another, whose son is also suffering from the disease, said the people had shifted their children to hospitals in Peshawar and Charsadda districts because treatment of leishmaniasis was not available in Mohmand hospitals.

In Karak, local officials told Director General of Health Services, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dr. Arshad Khan that the district health department had been facing difficulties coping with the spread of leishmaniasis and other diseases because of a shortage of doctors and facilities in the local hospitals. Earlier, the Director General of Health Services, District Nazim Umer Daraz, MPA Nisar Gul, and Deputy Commissioner Mian Abidullah visited the areas affected by the disease, including Bahadarkhel and Nari Panos, and got information about the latest situation.

In response to the complaints, the Director General of Health Services assured participants of the meeting that the deficiency of staff and equipment in hospitals would be corrected. All hospitals of the province have been facing a shortage of doctors, Dr. Arshad Khan said, adding that a new policy was afoot to overcome the deficiency of doctors.

Noted skin specialist and Karachi Institute of Skin Diseases Director Dr. Iqbal Nabi Soomro said leishmaniasis is rising to an epidemic level in the Sindh-Balochistan border areas while no vaccine is available for the treatment of patients.

Talking to PPI, Dr. Iqbal Nabi Soomro said leishmaniasis cases have been reported from Dadu, Larkana, Winder and other hilly areas of Sindh and Balochistan provinces for the past several weeks. He said leishmaniasis is transmitted by a sandfly that bites and injects the germs into the body of victims.

He explained that the sandfly stings exposed parts of the human body. These flies are more active during the morning and evening, and a small leishmaniasis skin infection or wound can become lethal if not properly managed.

Dr. Soomro said that all kind of diagnostic and consultation facilities are available at the Institute of Skin Diseases, Karachi, free of cost, but vaccines are not available in Pakistan for leishmaniasis patients nor are they being imported from other countries for the management of skin diseases.


Taiwan: African Swine Fever

Another 4 cases of pork products originating in China have tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), including the first courier package found to contain meat products that tested positive for the virus, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said Jan. 24.

During a press conference organized by the government's ASF disaster response center, COA deputy chief Huang Chin-Cheng said the 4 new cases brought the total to 18.

According to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ), the 15th case was found on 14 Jan 2018 in a courier package containing ham sausages produced in China's Shandong province.

It was the first time pork products in a courier package tested positive for ASF, the BAPHIQ said, adding that this shows the virus could enter Taiwan through multiple channels, including the postal system.

The 16th case, which was dried pork jerky produced in China's Jiangsu province, was sent anonymously to inspection officials in Hsinchu.

Meanwhile, the 17th and 18th cases were found in 2 different type of sausages brought by passengers from the Chinese city of Tianjin, for which separate fines were issued.


Malaysia: Hand, foot and mouth Disease

The Sarawak Health Department has recorded a marked increase in the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) compared to the same period last year.

State Health Director Dr. Jamilah Hashim, in a press release, said 615 HFMD cases were recorded in the first 19 days of this year, a marked increase over the 112 cases recorded during the same period last year.

"As many as 77 per cent of these cases this year [2019] involved children under the age of 3 years. 42 of them were warded because of dehydration caused by sores in the mouth, making it difficult for them to eat and drink," she said, but added that there had been no reports of fatalities.

Three divisions in Sarawak recorded more than 100 cases each: Miri (143), Kuching (111) and Sibu (102).

For the 1st 3 weeks of this year [2019], a total of 44 clusters of HFMD were reported, with 31 cases occurring at private homes; 9 clusters involved pre-schoolers, and 4 at nurseries, which have been ordered to close under the relevant law.

HFMD is caused by various types of enterovirus including the dreaded Coxsackie A16 (CA16) and Enterovirus71 (EV71).

The symptoms include fever and visible ulcers in the mouth and on the hands and feet. EV71 can cause complications leading to meningitis, encephalitis, cardiorespiratory and heart failures, and also death. So far, there is no vaccine to prevent HFMD.


United States: Avian Cholera

More than a thousand birds were found dead at a lake in Southern California. But the cause of death is quite normal for this time of year.

The outbreak of avian cholera is affecting hundreds of water birds in the Salton Sea.

"Some of the species that have been affected by this bird cholera, we have the northern shovelers, ruddy ducks, seagulls, (and) black-headed stilts," said Frank Ruiz, Salton Sea program director.

From Jan 8-17, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife [CDFW] collected about 1,200 bird carcasses in the south end of the Salton Sea.

The outbreak was caused by bacteria spread among bird flocks, according to the CDFW. The disease also affects mice and rabbits but no other mammals.

Zambia: Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot and Mouth disease has broken out in Chisamba District - Central Province affecting over 180 cattle.

District Veterinary Officer Allan Lianzambi says his team has since moved in to vaccinate the cattle and that 300 have since been vaccinated. He says 11,000 animals are earmarked for vaccination.

Dr. Lianzambi who says no animal has died so far, revealed to the media that the disease has affected mainly dairy animals.


South Korea: Foot And Mouth Disease

South Korea has identified a case of foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] at a dairy cow farm, the first discovery of the disease in the country since March last year [2018], its agriculture ministry said.

The outbreak occurred at the farm of 120 cows in Anseong city, southeast of Seoul, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement.

The ministry said it will cull the cows at the affected farm and step up quarantine and disinfection measures including a temporary transport ban on livestock to contain the wider spread of the virus.

The most recent case was reported last March when the outbreak was discovered at a hog farm.


Afghanistan: Q Fever

At least 90 British military personnel have been diagnosed with confirmed cases of Q fever after serving in Helmand, Afghanistan. According to a UK military news outlet, Forces Network, a consultant in infectious diseases and tropical medicine told to the Central London Country Court that 90 confirmed cases of Q fever had been recorded among British soldiers who had served in Helmand.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Bailey's testimony was heard in the case of a private with 2nd Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, who said his life has been ruined after he contracted the disease while in Helmand in 2011/2012. During his tour, his lawyers said the private was in contact with goats and sheep and "was often required to take cover and jump through ditches and crawl along the ground -- coming into contact with animal products and excrement." The soldier was medically discharged from the Army in 2014 because of his Q fever and chronic fatigue symptoms.

Humans can catch Q fever by breathing in dust from the secretions of infected farm animals such as sheep, cattle, and goats.

Bailey, who specializes in infectious diseases and tropical medicine, and a national expert in Q fever said he has 90 military and 10 civilian cases in his care after they were referred to him. He confirmed the 90 had served in Helmand and said the number of military cases "built up from 2008", Forces Network reported. Bailey told the court: "We have seen no new cases since 2014 from Afghanistan. Occasionally we get other military cases from other locations. Cyprus most recently."


Saudi Arabia: MERS

Four new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus have been detected in Oman, according to the Ministry of Health. "This brings the total number of recorded cases from various governorates in the Sultanate to 18 since 2013," the ministry said in a statement. The new cases are receiving necessary medical care at one of the hospitals.

"The ministry affirms its continued effort to monitor and control the disease through the effective Epidemiological Surveillance System," the ministry added. "All hospitals are capable of dealing with such cases," the ministry said, "We urge all citizens and residents to comply with preventative measures to control infection and to maintain hygiene when sneezing and coughing."

MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Although most human cases of MERS-CoV infections have been attributed to human-to-human contact in health care settings, current scientific evidence suggests that dromedary camels are a major reservoir host for MERS-CoV and an animal source of MERS infection in humans. However, the exact role of dromedaries in the transmission of the virus and the exact route(s) of transmission are unknown

"The virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as when providing unprotected care to a patient. Health care associated outbreaks have occurred in several countries, with the largest outbreaks seen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Republic of Korea," the WHO added.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

Three more cases of chronic wasting disease [CWD] have been found in Mississippi deer, bringing the total to 9.

The Clarion Ledger reports the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Wildlife Bureau says one confirmed case was in Benton County, and 2 were in Marshall County. Department executive director Russ Walsh says this is Benton County's first case. The fatal neurological disease is contagious and causes deer to lose weight and have movement problems.

It is present in 25 other states, including Tennessee. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced Jan. 23 that the total number of confirmed disease cases in Fayette and Hardeman counties, which border Mississippi, has risen to 91. Those counties had confirmed 24 cases by mid-January 2019.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated 26 Jan 2019:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 733, of which 679 confirmed and 54 probable. In total, there were 459 deaths (405 confirmed and 54 probable) and 256 recoveries.

One hundred sixty-five suspected cases under investigation.

Four new confirmed cases, including 2 in Oicha, 1 in Beni, and 1 in Katwa.

Three new confirmed case deaths, including 1 community death in Oicha and 2 deaths at Butembo ETC.

Five new probable cases in Komanda

January 25, 2019

Poland: African Swine Fever

Poland's battle to control highly contagious African swine fever (ASF) is turning into a political problem for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Since Jan. 12, hunters have been out in force across the country hunting for wild boars -- many of which are carriers of the deadly disease that the Polish government wants to stamp out in order to protect domestic pigs.

It's the scale of the cull that's causing the trouble. A total of some 20,000 wild boars will be killed over the next few weekends -- bringing this season's overall cull to about 190,000. The government estimates the total wild population is about 214,000.

The plan has angered a coalition of environmental groups, scientists and the political opposition. The next few days will see protests in several Polish cities and an anti-hunt petition sent to the government has gathered more than 300,000 signatures. Defenders of the cull argue that there were also large hunts in previous years, but that they didn't raise protests then.

The outrage echos protests a few years ago over the government's earlier policy of cutting down trees in the protected Bialowieza forest -- arguing it was needed to control an outbreak of beetles. That policy got Warsaw in trouble with the European Commission.

In response, the government is slightly curtailing the scale of the hunt, and Environment Minister Henryk Kowalczyk clarified that hunters should spare pregnant sows and those caring for piglets.

But the bigger issue is whether the cull will do much to rein in ASF. The disease is lethal to pigs but does not affect humans; there is no known treatment or vaccination. Pork accounts for half of the EU's meat production and is one of the bloc's largest agricultural exports, so both the Commission and member countries are keen to protect the industry.

There is no debate that boars are carriers of ASF, but it's more questionable if they are the leading vectors for transmitting the disease to domestic pigs. Some scientists caution that a mass killing of wild boars won't help.

"Mass collective hunts across vast areas could cause wild boars to move from where they're threatened and spread the ASF virus faster and further," said Rafal Kowalczyk, director of the Mammal Research Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. "It's also unlikely that the local hunting associations tasked with culling will take care not to spread the virus by disinfecting clothes or cars and dealing with the carcasses properly."


China: African Swine Fever

China has confirmed a new outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. On a local farm in Yongning County, 26 pigs were confirmed infected with the viral disease and 13 had died as of Jan. 19, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, citing a report from the China Animal Disease Control Center.

A team has been dispatched to the area to give guidance, and local authorities have initiated an emergency response to isolate and cull the affected pigs and disinfect the venue. Transport of all pigs and related products out of or into the blockade zone is forbidden, the ministry added.

China reported its first case of the disease in August 2018 in the northeast province of Liaoning. Later outbreaks were reported in several other provincial regions. Since then, a total of 103 ASF outbreaks have been detected in 24 provinces/autonomous region/municipalities. More than 916,000 pigs have been culled in an effort to halt further spread.


United States: Newcastle Disease

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed Jan. 18 the presence of virulent Newcastle disease (VND) in a small flock of backyard exhibition chickens in Utah County, Utah. This is the first case of VND in Utah, APHIS said.

According to APHIS, this case is believed to be connected to the current VND outbreak in California, as three of the birds at the premises were recently moved to Utah from Los Angeles County. Since May 2018, 299 cases of VND have been confirmed in southern California, primarily in backyard exhibition birds, but also recently in 3 commercial egg operations.

APHIS said it is working with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) to respond to the finding. Federal and state partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.

UDAF confirmed that exhibition poultry (i.e., privately owned/non-commercial chickens) imported from California at the beginning of January and placed with a small domestic flock (250 birds) in Utah County have tested positive for VND.

UDAF said it received a report of a possible case of VND in Utah County earlier the week of Jan. 14 and quarantined the site. VND in the birds was confirmed Jan. 17 by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Iowa.

In Utah, the disease is currently contained to one domestic flock and has not been detected in any commercial poultry flocks, UDAF said. "The disease is spread when healthy birds come in contact with bodily fluids from infected birds and contaminated surfaces," UDAF state veterinarian Dr. Barry Pittman said.

This disease can be transmitted through manure, egg flats, crates, vehicles, or farming materials or equipment, or through people who have handled these materials and their clothing, hands, and shoes, UDAF said.

Tanzania: Anthrax

The Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC) has informed WHO of a suspected outbreak of anthrax in Momba District, Songwe Region, located in the western part of the country. The event was initially reported to the local health authorities on Jan. 3 by a community leader in Nzoka ward. However, epidemiological investigation established that the outbreak started on Dec. 9 when the index case, a 70-year-old woman from Nzoka village, developed illness and died later in the community.

On Dec. 10, a 13-year old girl from the same village developed similar illness and subsequently died in the community. A cluster of similar cases eventually occurred between Dec. 24 and Jan. 7, two of whom died (one in the community and the other one on arrival at a health facility).

Most of the case-patients presented with swelling and ulceration on different parts of the body. Swab specimens of the skin lesions were obtained from 4 initial case-patients and analyzed at the Vwawa Hospital (the referral hospital for Songwe Region). Of these, 2 specimens showed gram-positive bacilli on Gram staining, pointing to a probable diagnosis of anthrax. In addition, 7 blood specimens were obtained and shipped to the national laboratory for further analysis. Test results released on Jan. 17 by the Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Dar es Salaam indicated that 3 of the 7 specimens tested positive for Bacillus anthracis by polymerase chain reaction.

As of Jan. 17, a total of 81 human cases of cutaneous anthrax have been reported, including 4 deaths (case fatality ratio, 4.9%). There have been no new cases since Jan. 7. The ages of the cases range from one to 75 years, with a median age of 25 years. Females are more affected, accounting for 54% of the reported cases. The majority of the cases are farmers and livestock keepers. The cases originated from 4 different settlements in Nzoka village, namely, Chipanda, Nzoka, Kanyimbo and Manyolo.


Argentina: Hantavirus

The Jujuy provincial minister of health Jan. 14 confirmed a hantavirus case in San Pedro. This is one of the 4 suspected cases evaluated in this Ramallo city and was diagnosed in a 56-year-old patient who is being treated and is progressing well.

This was confirmed for El Tribuno in Jujuy by the subsecretariat for Health Promotion, Prevention, and Attention, Veronica Serra, who stated that there were 4 suspected hantavirus cases in the province: 3 in the public sector that were negative and one in the private sector that was positive. "Recently, yesterday afternoon, the diagnosis was confirmed for a patient hospitalized in the Santa Maria Clinic in San Pedro, who is being treated and is progressing favorably," the official stated.

She also explained that there is blocking work now, but all epidemiological research will start Jan. 15.

Serra also remarked that this specific case is different from the type of hantavirus that is circulating in Chubut province and is a milder strain. "The one circulating in Jujuy is a completely different strain [species] than the hantavirus in the south. The transmission of the hantavirus that we have in the province occurs via aspiration of urine of the rodent, not person-to-person as is occurring in the south. It is a variant of the disease that is milder as for its transmission," she said.

In Jujuy province last year, 7 cases of hantavirus were registered, the majority on the Ramal and Valles area. "In 2018 there were 4 cases in Libertador General San Martin, one in San Pedro, one in El Carmen, and the other in Cochinoca department, of which none were fatal; all were treated and progressed favorably."


Tunisia: Foot and Mouth Disease

A second case of foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] has been detected in a flock of sheep in Hassi El Ferid (Kasserine governorate) after the recording of a first outbreak in Magdoudech.

Urgent measures have been taken to deal with the spread of this disease, said Ridha Guesmi, head of animal production at the Regional Commissariat for Agricultural Development (CRDA) in Kasserine.

This includes strengthening immunization campaigns, noting that pre-emptive campaigns have already been launched for livestock in the region since the end of last week.

To benefit from these campaigns are more than 400,000 sheep and 10,000 head of cattle, he added, recalling that last year, about 350 head of sheep and goats and 7 head of cows were vaccinated in the region.

During the working session held Jan. 15 at the headquarters of the governorate, emphasis was put on the importance of implementing the circular of the Ministry of Agriculture, in particular providing the necessary logistical and human resources to ensure the smooth running of the vaccination campaign and to take necessary samples for detection and eradication of the virus, he said.

The same source said that samples have already been sent to the Institute of Veterinary Research in Tunis to check whether other cases have been infected.


Australia: Tick fever

A tick fever outbreak recently threatened cattle herds at Kendall. The outbreak has been managed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and North Coast Local Land Services.

A spokesperson from NSW DPI said that since the outbreak was detected, an infringement notice has been issued to a Victorian livestock transporter for failing to provide evidence of completing mandatory cattle tick requirements prior to bringing a bull from a tick zone to a mid-north coast property.

NSW DPI Cattle Tick operations leader Larry Falls said the notice was issued following departmental investigations of the tick fever outbreak on 3 properties, which led to the deaths of more than 60 cattle in the region.

"Our regulatory officers found no evidence a bull moved from Queensland to a Kendall property had undergone the mandatory tick inspection and treatment requirements before entering NSW," Mr Falls said.

"It's a reminder to anyone transporting cattle into NSW from tick infested areas that they must follow proper procedures."

Local landholders have worked with NSW DPI and North Coast Local Land Services staff to help manage and contain the tick threat.

Once tick fever -- a blood parasite spread by cattle ticks -- was confirmed, surviving cattle were treated with an antidote, and there have been no further incidences of tick fever in the area.

Mr. Falls said that an eradication program is well underway to successfully rid mid-north coast herds of cattle ticks and tick fever.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola Virus Disease dated Jan. 22:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 713, of which 664 are confirmed and 49 are probable. In total, there were 439 deaths (390 confirmed and 49 probable) and 247 people cured.

Two-hundred three suspected cases under investigation.

Fourteen new confirmed cases, including 9 in Katwa, 2 in Mangurujipa, 1 in Biena, 1 in Butembo and 1 in Kayina, have been logged.

Four community deaths (2 in Katwa and 2 in Mangurujipa); 2 deaths in CTEs (1 in Butembo and 1 in Beni), have been reported.

One person healed out of Butembo CTE.

 January 18, 2019

Belgium: African Swine Fever

"Two cases of boars positive for African swine fever were detected between Meix and Sommethonne [Gaume municipality, Luxembourg province, Wallonia region]", a few hundred meters from the French border, confirms René Collin, the Walloon Minister of Agriculture. These new cases are outside the buffer zone, which therefore will be extended over part of the 'enhanced observation area', to the southwest.

On Dec. 24, ProMED-mail cited a media report, informing that on Dec. 17, a carcass of a boar was found "not far from Gerouville", and that the carcass was tested and found positive for ASF. Gerouville is situated outside the buffer zone.

On Dec. 25, the case in Gerouville was reported by the Belgian authorities to the OIE.

On Dec. 27, a spokesperson of the Walloon government's Ministry of Agriculture denied the information on the case in Gerouville, claiming that Belgian local authorities had released inaccurate information. 


Malawi: Anthrax

The anthrax death toll in hippos in Liwonde has risen from 45 to 48, and officials say the situation is now under control. Director of parks and wildlife Brighton Kunchedwa said, "We have managed to contain the disease. Death is not a daily occurrence as was the case before.”

Anthrax infects hippos and is then transmitted to people through hippo consumption.

There are at least 2,000 hippos in the national park. Kunchedwa said the disease has mainly been contained because of the ban of consumption and movement of bush meat in the south and eastern regions.

"We are also doing daily surveillance by air to identify hippo carcasses; this is helping a lot," he said. The parks and wildlife director added that the onset of the rains has reduced the spread of the disease drastically, saying the over-flooding water helps to wash away the bacteria that causes the disease.


Nigeria: Lassa Fever

In the reporting week 1 (Jan. 1-6) 25 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (9), Ondo (8), Bauchi (3), FCT (1), Nasarawa (1), Ebonyi (1), Plateau (1) and Taraba (1) states, with 7 new deaths in Ondo (2), Edo (1), Nasarawa (1), Plateau (1), FCT (1) and Taraba (1) states.

From 1-6 Jan 2019, a total of 57 suspected cases have been reported. Of these, 25 were confirmed positive and 32 negative (not a case).

Since the onset of the 2019 outbreak, there have been 7 deaths in confirmed cases. The case fatality rate in confirmed cases is 28.0%. A total of 8 states (Edo, Ondo, Bauchi, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Plateau, Taraba and FCT) have recorded at least one confirmed case across 14 local government areas [see Fig. 1 at the source URL].

A total of 25 patients are currently being treated at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) treatment center (14), Federal Medical Centre Owo (6), Bauchi (3), Ebonyi (1) and Plateau (1) states.

A total of 482 contacts have been identified from 8 states and are currently under follow-up evaluation. 


Tanzania: Anthrax

A total of 4 people died and more than 70 others were hospitalized as a result of anthrax outbreaks in Momba district in southwestern Tanzania, a local health official said Thursday. Anno Maseta, a doctor in Momba district, confirmed, "So far, 4 people have died from bacterial disease; the remaining 74 are receiving treatment.”

According to Juma Irando, District Commissioner of Momba, the district management is currently working on measures to combat the anthrax epidemic, a highly infectious and deadly bacterial disease in mammals. The disease is particularly prevalent in cattle and sheep, where it typically causes either cutaneous ulcers or a form of pneumonia. Some patients admitted to the Nzoka village dispensary in the district confirmed that they had eaten meat from a dead cow that had been infected with anthrax.


Germany: Bluetongue

Bluetongue disease has reached Rhineland-Palatinate. Bluetongue of the serotype BTV-8 has been found on a cattle holding in the district of Trier-Saarburg according to the LUA. The initial result has been confirmed by the national reference lab, FLI.

This is the first confirmation of the disease since May 2009. The disease affects sheep and cattle but is not known to infect humans. The whole of Rhineland Palatinate state will be declared a restricted area, and there will be restrictions affecting the livestock trade.

The already restricted area in the south of the state, declared in December 2018 after the first outbreaks in Baden-Wuerttemberg (Ottersweiler-district) of Rastatt, will be extended. Parts of Northrhine-Westphalia and Hesse will also be affected. The restrictions will be in place for a minimum period of 2 years.


United States: Newcastle Disease

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed virulent Newcastle disease in a second commercial poultry flock in California. The latest case is in a commercial layer flock in Riverside County, APHIS said, and the finding is part of an outbreak in southern California that began in May 2018 in backyard exhibition birds.

Virulent Newcastle disease is not a food safety concern and no human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to respond to the finding, limit the disease's spread in commercial poultry and then eradicate it. APHIS said federal and state partners are conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area and are working with nearby commercial farms to increase biosecurity to prevent additional disease spread.

The initial commercial case was reported Dec. 16 in a flock of 110,000 6-week-old layer chickens in Riverside County, according to information submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Information on the second case has not yet appeared on the OIE website.

According to information from APHIS and CDFA, 231 cases of virulent Newcastle disease were reported in backyard birds between May 18 and Dec. 20, but the tally has not been updated since then because of the partial governmental shutdown.

Virulent Newcastle disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry, APHIS said. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. A death rate of almost 100% can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry.


Saudi Arabia: MERS

At the end of 2018, a total of 2,279 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), including 806 associated deaths (case fatality rate 35.3%), were reported globally; the majority of these cases were reported from Saudi Arabia (1,901 cases, including 732 related deaths with a case fatality rate of 38.5%).

During the month of December, a total of 5 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS were reported globally (all from Saudi Arabia) with no associated deaths.

The demographic and epidemiological characteristics of reported cases, when compared during the same corresponding period of 2013 to 2018, do not show any significant difference or change. Owing to improved infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, the number of hospital-acquired cases of MERS has dropped significantly since 2015.

The age group 50-59 years continues to be at highest risk for acquiring infection of primary cases. The age group 30-39 years is most at risk for secondary cases. The number of deaths is higher in the age group 50-59 years for primary cases and 70-79 years for secondary cases.


Ireland: Norovirus

Authorities in the United Kingdom and Ireland are investigating a foodborne outbreak suspected to be caused by norovirus in live oysters. The infected oysters are thought to have come from Ireland and been purified in the UK, and it is believed they are no longer on the market.

Harvesting records and purification operations at the implicated unnamed business in Ireland have been checked; so far, nothing has proven that oysters harvested at the time were contaminated. So far the investigation has pointed toward a potential norovirus outbreak linked to one restaurant in England, where a number of people fell ill.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) told Food Safety News that it has sought detailed clarification on traceability and delivery channels.

"We have started investigations in relation to this notification from the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. It is not yet certain if the oysters that were consumed by the people who became ill were actually from Ireland," said a spokeswoman.

Nevertheless, at the request of the FSAI, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) checked the harvesting records and purification operations at the implicated business in Ireland. There is nothing to demonstrate that any oysters harvested at that time were contaminated. There are also no other reports of illness. The FSAI and the SPFA are continuing inquiries."

High risk factors for shellfish-related norovirus include cold weather (low water temperatures), high prevalence of norovirus gastroenteritis in the community, and high rainfall (potentially leading to sewage system overflows). There is no regulatory limit for norovirus relating to shellfish.


Argentina: Hantavirus

The Ministry of Health in Chubut province confirmed 3 more deaths from hantavirus infection, meaning the current death toll from the outbreak has reached 9 people.

Those who lost their lives were 2 women and a 16-year-old, reported La Nación, all of whom were being treated in Esquel hospital [Chubut]. One of the women was the daughter and sister of 2 people who have already died from the outbreak which started in the small town of Epuyen, near the Chilean border. Although likely, it is unsure as yet whether one of the fatalities was due to hantavirus and tests are still being carried out to confirm this.

The primary states of hantavirus infection are very similar to that of flu, so it is not always immediately obvious whether an individual is in a life-threatening situation.

In order to mitigate the spread of the disease, the Chubut province government have cancelled all popular festivals in the region and confirmed that the illness has now gone further than just Epuyen.

Health officials in a previous report hypothesize that the outbreak is due to human-to-human transmission, which would be unusual. Andes virus is rarely transmitted directly person to person and only through close physical contact, usually within the family. Transmission of the virus person to a person at a party would seem unlikely.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

Fourteen tissue samples from wild Iowa deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease [CWD], bringing the total deer testing positive for CWD in Iowa to 44. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is waiting for results on follow-up tests for 2 suspect samples that could raise the total positives for 2018 to 16. The deer tissue was collected primarily during the fall from hunter-harvested and road-killed deer.

The way that this disease moves, these results were not unexpected, according to Todd Bishop, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau.

Eight positive deer were confirmed in Allamakee County, 4 in Clayton County, 1 (plus 2 suspects) in Wayne County, and, for the 1st time, 1 in Dubuque County. The Dubuque County deer was a roadkill, 2.5 mi [4 km] southeast of the city limits.

Bishop says hunters are doing an excellent job harvesting deer and providing samples in DNR's priority areas, areas where the disease had been confirmed before. The DNR wants to slow this down as best they can while still having high-quality deer hunting, hoping science can provide some solutions down the road, according to Bishop

More than 6,800 tissue samples were collected during the 2018 deer season. The DNR contacted each hunter whose deer tested positive and offered to collect the meat and any remaining bones and tissue. Hunters turned over the meat in every case. The collected material was bagged, sealed, then disposed in a local landfill.

CWD was first confirmed in the Midwest in Wisconsin in 2001 about 75 mi [121 km] from the Iowa state line and has since been confirmed in every other state bordering Iowa. The Iowa DNR began monitoring for the disease in 2002, with an emphasis on counties nearest where it was confirmed in the wild, and has tested more than 74 000 deer since. The disease was first confirmed in Iowa near Harpers Ferry in Allamakee County in 2013.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Jan. 13:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 649, of which 600 are confirmed and 49 are probable.

In total, there were 396 deaths (347 confirmed and 49 probable) and 237 people recovered.

One hundred twenty-one suspected cases are under investigation.

Five new confirmed cases in Katwa.

Four new confirmed deaths, including 2 community deaths in Katwa, 1 at the Ebola treatment center (ETC) of Mabalako and 1 at the ETC of Butembo.

Three new recovered cases, including 2 discharged from Butembo ETC and 1 from ETC in Beni.


France: African Swine Fever

France will cull all wild boar in a zone along the Belgian border to try to avoid an outbreak of a deadly swine disease after new cases were discovered nearby in Belgium, the French agriculture ministry said on Jan. 14. France has been on alert for African swine fever [ASF] since the virus was confirmed in September among wild boar in Belgium, not far from the French border. ASF, harmless for humans, is often deadly for pigs, and outbreaks in Eastern Europe and China have disrupted the pork industry there. 

"The confirmation of 2 cases of ASF in Belgium at about 1 km [approx. 0.6 mi] from the border, leaves our country more exposed than ever to this major risk for pig farming," a ministry statement said. "We are now at a maximum risk level." 

France would create a boar-free zone spanning several km (miles) its side of the border by culling all wild boar in the coming weeks and erecting a perimeter fence in the next few days, the ministry said. 

Poland, one of the eastern European countries to have faced cases of ASF in recent years, is planning to cull 185,000 wild boar across the country, drawing protests from hunters that the measure was excessive. 

The disease can be carried by wild boars but experts also stress that human factors such as transport, clothing and food waste can play a role in spreading the disease. No vaccination or treatment exists for the highly contagious virus. Outbreaks often lead to export restrictions on pig meat. 


Nigeria: Yellow Fever

Kwara Commissioner for Health Alhaji Usman Rifun-Kolo disclosed that a yellow fever case has been confirmed in Agunji in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara. According to him, the patient is a farmer from Kebbi State, resident in Agunji District.

He noted that the state Ministry of Health is already in touch with traditional leaders to brief them on the outbreak of the disease.

The commissioner added that samples have also been taken from the residence to confirm whether they had earlier taken the yellow fever immunization that took place in 2018. "The results showed only 25 per cent of people in that community were vaccinated for yellow fever," said the commissioner.

He pointed out that the patient is responding to treatment, though not fully recovered, and that health workers will commence a vaccination exercise, while urging people to comply with the exercise.

Also speaking, Dr Abimbola Folorunso, the Executive Secretary of Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said that international health partners such as the World Health Organization are already on the ground to assess the situation and render assistance.

January 11, 2019

Kenya: Anthrax

Three people have been hospitalized in Chuka, Kenya, after eating tainted meat. The individuals are being treated for suspected anthrax and are in critical condition, according to a local news report. In addition, some 10 others were treated at other facilities and discharged. It is believed they ate anthrax-infected cow, and officials sent livestock officers to affected areas to investigate the situation.

In December, Igembe deputy county commissioner James Kosgei cautioned area residents against consuming uninspected meat during this festive season. These cases reminds people of the wisdom of that official caution and tell us that risk of the disease is still active in that area in spite of any attempts at vaccination.


Argentina: Hantavirus

The Chubut Ministry of Health stated the child who was admitted to the Epuyen Hospital two days ago and then taken to Bariloche was confirmed as a "positive" hantavirus case after tests done by the Malbran Institute. With this case, the number affected by this disease (which is transmitted by the long-tail mouse), increases to 14 including 5 fatalities.

In the last part of the official announcement, the Chubut Ministry of Health indicated that "the contingency team continues to work in Epuyen, focusing their action on selective respiratory isolation of people classified as close contacts [of the patient]," adding that the child is currently in stable condition.

Epuyen, with a population of approximately 4,000 inhabitants and the epicenter of the outbreak, is located in the extreme northwest of Chubut province, in the Andean region. About 220 blood samples have been taken to test for those who are potentially infected.

The samples were taken from people who were at the quinceanera, where presumably the outbreak started. Samples also included the so-called "continent population," that is, those neighbors with whom the potential bearers of the virus made close contact, as well as the population at risk of the municipality and health personnel.


Algeria: Peste des Petits Ruminants

A total of six cases of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) were discovered and confirmed during the past week in the locality of Ain Kheyar (wilaya of El Tarf). The cases are being reported by the APS on Jan. 4, citing the director Agricultural Services (ASD).

The results of samples taken from sheep in Ain Kheyar confirmed that 6 head of sheep are suffering from PPR, said Kameleddine Benseghir. In the same context, he said that a suspicion of a PPR outbreak in Chihani commune was also reported, detailing that 25 head of sheep from this area have undergone the usual tests in order to confirm or deny PPR infection.

A "special device" was immediately set in motion, Benseghir added, saying that the measures include the closing of the weekly livestock markets in Bouhadjar, Ain Assel, and Drean for a month. In addition, an inter-wilayas movement ban and new regulations requiring permits for livestock transport have been implemented.

The same official also mentioned the mobilization of a monitoring brigade at the level of the dairas of the wilaya (subdivision of a province) in order to preserve the livestock.


Zimbabwe: Anthrax

At least eight people are reportedly receiving treatment after consuming meat infected with anthrax in Zvimba. Sources privy to the development alleged that the disease has affected several cattle in the area, which is home to the former president Robert Mugabe. The affected people are from Kasanze and Chirau villages, under Chief Chirau.

Last year, following reports of the suspected anthrax cases, the government received $30,000 toward the purchase of drugs and management of the disease.

Zvimba district senior veterinary animal health inspector Chemhere Nyamangara also confirmed the suspected cases at a stakeholders' meeting. He said: "It is worrying that despite efforts to educate people on the dangers of eating meat of an animal that has fallen ill or died due to unknown reasons, people still eat it, exposing themselves to danger. People should immediately notify the Department of Veterinary Services whenever they suspect anthrax symptoms both in human beings and in livestock.”

He encouraged people to avoid opening carcasses of cattle that die of natural causes to reduce contamination of pastures by anthrax.


Uganda: Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

Residents in Kingura village in Bwijanga Sub County Masindi are living in fear after a resident died of what they said was acute fever. Medical officials have confirmed an outbreak of Crimean-Congo fever in Masindi District in Western Uganda. The disease has been confirmed and the deceased patient was buried by officials from the World Health Organization and medical officials from the Ministry of Health.

"There is a health worker who died at the end of December 2018, and the blood sample tested positive for the hemorrhagic fever," said Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the senior public relations officer at the Ministry of Health. He said the deceased was given a supervised burial by medical officers to ensure that mourners are not exposed to any possible infection.

Asked about what the government is doing to handle the outbreak, Ainebyoona said medical officers are on the ground to educate the public and following up on any suspected cases that may be reported. "The public should remain calm and report to medical officers any suspected cases," he added.

The Masindi District health officer, Dr. John Turyagaruka, urged residents to stay calm, saying that the tests indicated that it was not Ebola, but instead Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever.

The Bwijanga Sub County chairperson Olivia Mugisa wants the residents to be informed on how to protect themselves from the disease. "We need health experts on the disease to screen our locals so that we can understand who is sick for emergency attention," she said.

According to WHO, onset of symptoms is sudden, with fever, myalgia, (muscle ache), dizziness, neck pain and stiffness, backache, headache, sore eyes and photophobia (sensitivity to light). There may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sore throat early on, followed by sharp mood swings and confusion. After 2-4 days, the agitation may be replaced by sleepiness, depression and lassitude, and the abdominal pain may localize to the upper right quadrant, with detectable hepatomegaly (liver enlargement).


Panama: Hantavirus

The Panama Ministry of Health has reported an increase in cases of hantavirus infection in Los Santos Province, Republic of Panama, to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization. During 2018, a total of 103 confirmed cases of hantavirus infections have been reported at the national level, 99 of which were reported in Los Santos Province. In Los Santos Province, 51 cases were classified as hantavirus fever (HF) without pulmonary syndrome, and 48 cases were classified as hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), including 4 deaths.

Of the 51 HF cases, 41 percent were female, 55 percent aged between 20-59 years, with 76 percent occurring between June 2018 and November 2018.

Of the 48 HPS cases, 56 percent were female, 67 percent aged between 20-59 years, with more than half of the cases occurring in February 2018 (17 percent) and between June 2018 and September 2018 (42 percent).

Of HPS cases, 4 deaths were reported (2 female, 2 male, all aged over 60 years).

Cases were confirmed by serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Sequencing determined that the type of virus associated with this outbreak is Choclo virus, which was was first isolated in 1999 in the western Republic of Panama.

Hantavirus cases have been reported in the Republic of Panama since 1999. In the last 5 years, transmission has been documented in Los Santos, Herrera, Veraguas, and Cocle provinces. During 2018, cases have been reported in Los Santos, Herrera, Cocle and Veraguas provinces. Since the reservoir for hantavirus is sylvatic rodents and transmission can occur when people come in contact with rodent habitats, the current increase in hantavirus cases in the Republic of Panama could be related to changes in the abundance and distribution of rodent species, as well as strengthened surveillance and laboratory capacity at the provincial level. Environmental and ecological factors affecting rodent populations can have a seasonal impact on disease trends.


Libya: Leishmaniasis

Health officials in Bani Walid municipality [Misratah district] in northwest Libya are reporting an outbreak of the disfiguring parasitic disease leishmaniasis, according to a local media report.

So far, 290 cases have been reported although it is not clear when this upsurge of cases began.

The report notes that Director of the Office Ayman al-Hawadi said that the disease has become a nightmare for residents in Bani Walid, especially in the absence of medical treatment. al-Hawadi goes on to call on competent authorities to save the city from a health disaster in the same report.

In a Libya Observer report, Chairman of the Commission for the Management of Medical Supply Service, Tahir Bakhir, said medication for leishmaniasis disease will be available by next week. However, he noted that no more than 5,000 doses will be available.

In December, Bakhir warned that leishmaniasis will increase during the months of January and February, to reach thousands of cases.

Leishmaniasis is caused by the protozoan leishmania parasites, which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies -- flies that are 3 times smaller than a mosquito. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 700,000 to 1 million new cases annually, and they cause 20,000-30,000 deaths each year.


Nigeria: Lassa fever

In the final week of 2018, 22 new confirmed cases were reported from Edo (9), Ondo (6), Bauchi (5), and Taraba (2) states with five new deaths in Ondo( 2), Bauchi (2) and Taraba (1) states. There was also one probable case from Ondo state

For the year, a total of 3,498 suspected cases have been reported. Of these, 633 were confirmed positive, 20 probable, 2,853 negative.

Since the onset of the 2018 outbreak, there have been 171 deaths in confirmed cases and 20 in probable cases. Case Fatality Rate in confirmed cases is 27.0 percent. Twenty-three states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 93 local government areas.

Eighty per cent of all confirmed cases are from Edo (44%), Ondo (25%) and Ebonyi (11%) states. Twenty patients are currently being managed at Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital treatment Center (9), Federal Medical Center Owo (6), Bauchi (3), FCT(1) and Plateau (1) States.

A total of 9,643 contacts have been identified from 23 states. Of these 421 (4.4%) are currently being followed up, 9,089 (94.3%) have completed 21 days follow up while 15 (0.2%) were lost to follow up. 118 (1.2%) symptomatic contacts have been identified, of which 38 (0.4%) have tested positive.


United States: Pigeon Paramyxovirus

As reports of mourning and Eurasian collared dove die offs in the Kuna area of Idaho filter in to Fish and Game offices, forensic testing on several dead birds from the area has pinpointed the cause of death as pigeon paramyxovirus, a strain of paramyxovirus that is common to pigeons and doves.

Similar dove die offs were recently reported in the Idaho city area, while a large pigeon die off occurred during summer in Mountain Home due to a different strain of paramyxovirus.

The disease poses no health risk to humans or pets but can impact other domestic poultry. Persons with backyard chickens are encouraged to keep their birds isolated from wild doves and pigeons and not feed chickens in areas frequented by wild doves or pigeons.

The mourning dove hunting season is closed, but invasive Eurasian collared doves continue to be harvested. Upland hunters should avoid harvesting any live birds found on the ground that appear weak or sick. As a precaution, potentially sick birds should not be handled by hunters or hunting dogs, because while there is no risk to humans or pets, birds infected with the virus could have other diseases as well.

Kuna-area residents feeding birds are advised to stop feeding doves for the next few weeks to reduce further transmission of the virus to other birds. All persons feeding birds should practice good feeder hygiene, which includes removing waste, or excess feed, every week, cleaning feeders and feeding areas using a 10-percent bleach solution followed by rinsing in clean water, and also maintaining any watering areas in clean condition.

People noticing multiple dead pigeons or doves at, or near, bird feeders can report the event at https://idfg.idaho.gov/report/doves. Because Fish and Game staff are aware of the outbreak, no follow-up calls will be made.

In the event that dead birds are encountered, wear rubber gloves or use plastic bags to handle the carcasses, which can be disposed of with other household trash. While bird virus outbreaks are occasionally seen in Idaho, they tend to be localized, affect a relatively small number of birds, and are short lived.


Togo: Lassa Fever

The Togo government confirmed last week a Lassa fever case reported in Doufelgou district [Kara region] in the north of the country, according to an Agence de Presse Africaine report. This was a hemorrhagic fever case, according to officials.

Lassa fever is a rare but potentially life-threatening viral hemorrhagic disease. The risk of infection is low but can occur if someone comes into contact with an infected person's blood or bodily fluids. Lassa fever cannot be spread through casual contact, including skin to skin contact, without exchange of bodily fluids. Those at highest-risk would be health care workers treating patients in facilities known to have Lassa fever and family members caring for infected patients.

Early diagnosis and supportive care are essential. One should consult a medical professional if he or she has been in direct contact with an infected person within the past 3 weeks and have symptoms of Lassa fever, which include: fever, chest, stomach or back pain, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, or mucosal bleeding.


Chile: Hantavirus

The Seremi de Salud [Regional Health Ministerial Secretariat] of Los Lagos has confirmed this year's first case of infection by hantavirus in the Chilean region.

The patient, a female employee of the Health Service of Chile, was taken to Santiago after it was confirmed that she had been infected with the virus in Epuyén, Argentina (which is located 4 hours from Palena). The woman resides in the city of Palena, in the Los Lagos Region, and remains hospitalized in the Puerto Montt Hospital.

"During the dawn of today we received the information on the blood tests of the patient from the province of Palena, that were undergone at the Universidad de Católica de Chile-- which is a certified center for the realization of this type of exams, and it confirmed a case of hantavirus," informed Marcela Cárdenas, a health officer in Los Lagos.

Hantaviruses are spread via the urine, saliva, and feces of infected rodents and the infection is contracted via contact with contaminated surfaces or via inhalation of contaminated air.

The most common symptoms of the virus infection are similar to those of influenza: fever, muscle aches, and fatigue. Other possible symptoms include headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and respiratory distress leading to hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome. Hantavirus infections are fatal in roughly one-third of cases.

Those present in Chile should avoid exposure to potentially rodent-infested areas. Individuals exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms are advised to seek immediate medical treatment.


India: Anthrax

The death of a male elephant calf in Similipal continues to be shrouded in mystery. The carcass of the male calf was found in TL-5 under Badamahulia beat of Badabalipusi section within Kedumunduli range two days back. The tusks were intact and there were no injury marks on the decomposed carcass. While a forest officer who was promised anonymity said anthrax could be the cause of the elephant's death, another officer attributed it to infection. Divisional Forest Officer of Karanjia Prasanna Kumar Behera offically said the elephant calf is suspected to have died of 'infection'.

A veterinary team, comprising Piyush Soren of Similipal Tiger Reserve, Khanim Tangmaiee, Harekrushna Moharana Bhandari, and Jagyandatta Pati conducted an autopsy on the carcass. In the past, anthrax has claimed 8 elephants in the region. While four adults died of the disease in Dukura and Kaptipada ranges, an equal number was killed by anthrax in Rairangpur and Karanjia forest divisions. One of them was reportedly an elephant of Dalma forest in neighboring Jharkhand, which had snuck into Karanjia.

In October 2017, a 20-year-old female elephant was found dead near Phulbadia village bordering Similipal National Park. While wildlife activists claimed that the animal died due to poaching, forest officials suspected anthrax to be the cause of its death.

The forest officials have asked the local veterinary office to vaccinate domestic animals living near the periphery areas of Similipal to prevent the spread of anthrax. Sources said the elephant population has drastically come down in the last 20 years in the park due to poaching and anthrax.


Nepal: Avian influenza

On Jan. 6, a 45-year old pregnant woman and her two family members, residents of Dandapauwa-6, Ramkot, Kathmandu visited the outpatient department of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease hospital. They presenting with a 4-day history of fever, cough, sore throat, chest pain, and weakness.

According to them, they have a poultry chicken farm, where nearly 700 chickens have died in the last week alone and are still dying at a rate of approximately 150/day. According to them, chickens are showing symptoms of coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and dying quickly. Chickens were tested positive for influenza A by rapid diagnostic test.

Samples were further sent to higher center to identify its subtypes.

It is not yet known whether the patients had also contracted with avian influenza virus from their flock, as suggested since they also developed influenza-like illness soon after their chicken have died of similar symptoms. Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus is also concurrently circulating in Kathmandu.


Congo: Ebola

The epidemiological situation of the Ebola virus disease in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri dated Jan. 7:

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is numbered 627, of which 579 are confirmed and 48 are probable. In total, there were 382 deaths (334 confirmed and 48 probable) and 221 people recovered.

Ninety-eight suspected cases are under investigation.

There are two new confirmed cases, including 1 in Oicha and 1 in Katwa.

Five new deaths are of confirmed cases, including 3 in Butembo, 1 in Beni, and 1 in Katwa.


Syria: Leishmaniasis

Years of conflict and damage to the infrastructure in Hama have contributed to creating an environment where the parasitic skin disease Leishmaniasis can spread within the local communities. The disease, known locally as the 'Aleppo Boil', is spread by the bite of infected sand-flies that thrive in the piled-up waste and damaged sewers in the streets of Hama.

UNICEF, with its partners, is helping fight Leishmaniasis through awareness-raising campaigns in 13 of the most affected villages of Hama and its rural villages. Health workers in Hama are training young people on how to lead group discussions and peer-to-peer information sessions about the causes, detection and treatment of Leishmaniasis. Young people were also trained on the behavioral changes necessary to foster an environment unfavorable for the disease.

Recurring displacement of infected children and families coupled with incorrect livestock handling practices have further spread the infection in rural Hama. "I didn't know that dung could be a place for the 'Aleppo Boil' parasite to live," says Amira, a local livestock keeper from Jarjisa in rural Hama, who took part in one of the sessions. Amira's husband and 3 children were all infected with Leishmaniasis.

UNICEF helped raise the awareness of children, families, frontline health workers, community leaders, school teachers and livestock keepers in Hama and the rural outskirts, through 13 volunteer mobile teams (comprised of health workers and young people) aiming to put an end to the epidemic.

January 4, 2019

China: African Swine Fever

African swine fever [ASF] has spread to several southern Chinese provinces, with severe and swift outbreaks that have led to the culling of scores of pigs in a country that is considered to be the world's largest consumer and producer of pork. The disease was first detected in the northernmost regions of China in early August. The virus has now spread to Guangzhou City in Guangdong Province -- the southernmost province on the mainland.

According to a Dec. 25 article by Hong Kong media Apple Daily, local authorities in Guangzhou culled more than 6,000 pigs at a farm in Huangpu District, after local authorities temporarily put the owner of the farm and her dozen employees under house arrest at an unknown hotel.

Apple Daily journalists reported seeing workers with face masks operating manning excavators in Huangpu District, trying to bury the culled pigs. The intense stench of the dead pigs could be detected a few dozen meters away.

The female farm owner, a retired soldier who wasn't identified, had recently purchased the 6,000 pigs from the nearby Guangxi region. It was determined that these pigs were infected with the virus because some of them had already died by the time they were shipped to her farm.

According to Apple Daily, the latest case in Guangzhou places the number of Chinese provinces, municipalities, and regions with known cases of the African swine fever at 23, with a total of 101 reported outbreaks.

Guangzhou isn't the only city in Guangdong affected by the outbreak. According to Taiwanese media, 11 pigs died from the disease at a farm in Zhuhai City. And China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said that at a pig farm in Huizhou City, 11 pigs died from the disease, while 11 others had been infected.

Chinese media also reported that a local food shipping company had been directed by the provincial government of Guangdong that all cross-city shipment of live pigs would be banned.


Benin: Lassa fever

Minister of health Benjamin Hounkpatin confirmed four new cases of Lassa hemorrhagic fever in Benin, including one in Cotonou. This occurred in the period of 15-26 Dec.

In the case of Cotonou, a 28-year-old has been infected. His case was detected on Dec. 24, but his illness commenced the previous week. He had a fever, a cough, a cold, and fatigue. Due to the persistence of the cough and cold, and with the appearance of traces of blood in nasal discharge, the alert was given.

The patient was placed in isolation, and his result from the laboratory came back positive for Lassa fever. Subsequently, the patient was isolated and put on treatment.

According to the details provided by Hounkpatin, there is no indication of travel by the patient to an epidemic locality of Lassa fever. According to the patient's statements, there is no known contact with rodents.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, the minister reassured the public that public health measures are underway. He also reminded people of the behaviors that will help avoid becoming infected. This involves washing hands regularly with soap and water; avoiding contact with stool, sperm, urine, saliva, vomit, and contaminated objects from a person suspected to be ill or dead from Lassa; and protecting food and keeping it in a safe place, out of reach of rodents.

It should be recalled that 7 cases have been recorded since the beginning of the epidemic to date, including 5 positive cases.


United States: Newcastle Disease

During the week of Dec. 14-20, the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed 17 additional cases of virulent Newcastle disease (vND) in Riverside County, California. This includes 16 cases in backyard exhibition birds and one commercial case.

Affected flocks are quickly euthanized. Together, these actions will help prevent additional disease spread and eradicate the disease more quickly.

USDA is announcing confirmed vND cases weekly. Cases are still being tested and confirmed as they are identified. If there is a finding in a new state or a different segment of industry, the USDA will issue an announcement for that case immediately, as we did for this week's commercial case. A complete list of confirmed cases are available at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/vnd.

vND has not been found in commercial poultry in the US since 2003. No human cases of Newcastle disease have ever occurred from eating poultry products. Properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Signs are usually mild and limited to conjunctivitis. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

Samples from the flocks were tested at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS). The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms all findings. APHIS is working closely with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to respond to these findings and to conduct an epidemiological investigation. Federal and state partners are also conducting additional surveillance and testing in the area.


Algeria: Foot and Mouth Disease

The governor of the El Bayadh province has issued a decision to close livestock markets across the country's territory for a month to avoid sheep and goats from contracting foot and mouth disease [FMD]. Governor Mohamed Jamal Khanfar told APS that the decision taken Dec. 26 is a preventive measure to avoid and prevent the spread of the disease among cattle herds.

For his part, the state director of the agricultural interests on behalf of the province, Said al-Hawari, said that the El Bayadh province has 9 livestock markets, of which 3 are large markets in Bougtob, El Bayadh and El Abiodh Sidi Cheikh, and the other 6 are located in Ghassoul, Brezina, El Maharra, Rogassa, Tismouline and Boualem. The spokesperson added that this decision comes after the detection of some cases of sheep suspected as infected with FMD, pending the outcome of veterinary tests.

The Veterinary Services launched a vaccination campaign, which will cover 50,000 sheep.


Israel: Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-mouth disease [FMD] serotype-O has been confirmed in a ranging beef cattle herd in Kibbutz Ortal, Golan Heights. This strain is similar to the one identified in other recent outbreaks.

In Kibbutz Shamir, Upper Galilee, 30 clinical FMD cases were observed in a group of 300 fattening male calves. This group was vaccinated a month ago.

An FMD outbreak in December is unusual and concerning. Farmers and practitioners are advised to verify and adhere to the timely application of primary and booster vaccinations.

Since April 2018, FMD serotype-O has been affecting cattle, sheep, wild ruminants (gazelles, captive deer), and wild boar in north and northeastern Israel.


United States: Chronic Wasting Disease

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is enacting the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) response plan, following a preliminary positive detection of CWD in white-tailed deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties. The response plan involves a coordinated effort between TWRA, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and other partners.

Seven deer in Fayette County and 3 in Hardeman County have preliminarily tested positive for CWD. Additional samples are being tested, and the TWRA is actively trying to contact the hunters who harvested these deer.

"Once arrangements are made, TWRA will be encouraging hunters harvesting deer in these areas to submit their deer for testing," said Chuck Yoest, TWRA CWD coordinator.

"Hunters are our biggest ally in managing chronic wasting disease in Tennessee if it is confirmed here," said Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian, University of Tennessee Extension. "Besides submitting deer from the to-be-defined CWD zone, the most important thing everyone needs to do is follow the regulations for moving harvested deer.

Although CWD has no known risk to the health of humans or livestock, it is a contagious and deadly neurological disorder that affects members of the deer family. It is transmitted through animal-to-animal contact, animal contact with a contaminated environment, and contaminated feed or water sources. It is the most significant threat to the deer population nationwide, as it is 100% fatal to deer and elk.

Wildlife agencies across the country are working to inform the public about CWD, its deadly results, and possible impacts to economies. Currently, 25 states and 3 Canadian provinces have documented CWD. Last week, Mississippi announced a preliminary CWD-positive, hunter-harvested deer in Marshall County, which became the closest to Tennessee and the 4th overall this year [2018] in Mississippi. Other confirmed cases have previously been made in the border states of Arkansas, Missouri, and Virginia.


Nigeria: Yellow Fever

In the Dec. 10-16 reporting week, 13 new positive cases from Edo (9), FCT (3), and Ekiti (1) states were confirmed at WHO regional reference laboratory, Institut Pasteur, Dakar (IP Dakar).

From the onset of the outbreak in September 2017 to date, 3,902 suspected cases have been reported from all 36 states and the FCT in Nigeria.

Of the 3,295 samples that were collected and tested, 185 were presumptive positive in-country and were sent for confirmation to IP Dakar.

So far, 78 positive cases from 14 states (Kwara, Kogi, Kano, Zamfara, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Niger, Katsina, Edo, Ekiti, Rivers, Anambra, FCT, and Benue states) have been confirmed at IP Dakar.

Since the onset of the outbreak, 13 deaths in IP Dakar-confirmed cases and 27 deaths in presumptive positive cases have been recorded. Case fatality rate [CFR] among presumptive positive and IP Dakar-confirmed cases is 14.6% and 16.7%, respectively.

Yellow fever preventive mass vaccination campaigns have been conducted in 6 states (Borno, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, and the FCT) between Nov.22 and Dec. 2, bringing the total states covered by preventive mass vaccination campaign to 12.

A multi-agency national emergency operations center at NCDC is coordinating the national response.


Nigeria: Monkeypox

Nigeria continues to report sporadic cases of monkeypox since the beginning of 2018.

In the reporting month, 15 new suspected monkeypox cases were reported, out of which 6 confirmed cases were recorded in 5 states (Rivers -1, Bayelsa -2, Delta -1, Cross Rivers -1, Edo -1)

A total of 114 suspected, 45 confirmed, one probable cases and one death have been reported in 2018. The 45 cases confirmed were recorded in 13 states (Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Oyo, Cross River, Edo, Enugu, Imo, Lagos, Plateau, Abia, Anambra, and Nasarawa)

Since the beginning of the outbreak in September 2017, 311 suspected cases have been reported in 26 states. Of these, 132 confirmed cases in 17 states (Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Delta, Edo, FCT, Abia, Oyo, Enugu, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau, Anambra) and 7 deaths were recorded.

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

Males are more affected with 73.3% of confirmed cases in 2018.

Persons within the 21-40 age group are more affected.


Iran: Schmallenberg Virus

A recently discovered virus known to infect ruminants in parts of Europe might infect horses, as well: Researchers have just identified antibodies to the Schmallenberg virus, transmitted by flying insects, in 10 Iranian horses.

They are the first horses worldwide to test positive for these antibodies, the scientists said.

In screening for antibodies in cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as in horses, the researchers discovered, unexpectedly, that members of the equine species tested positive along with the other species, said Mehdi Rasekh, DVM, DVSc, an assistant professor of large animal internal medicine at the University of Zabol Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, in Iran.

"The results surprised us because the positive response was expected in ruminants but detecting antibodies against Schmallenberg virus in horses was a new finding in the world," Rasekh said.

Scientists discovered the Schmallenberg virus in 2011 in Germany and The Netherlands, where it infected cattle, sheep, and goats, he said. Those infections generally led to fever, fetal malformations, and abortion.

Like African horse sickness (AHS) and bluetongue virus, Schmallenberg virus is transmitted by biting midges. With climate change and greater human and animal movement, these tiny winged insects are crossing borders and bringing with them an increased disease risk.

Concerned about the spread of midge-borne diseases into neighboring Turkey, Rasekh and his fellow researchers conducted a serological survey of at-risk species in Iran. They conducted blood tests on a random population of three species of ruminants as well as on 200 randomly selected horses.

They weren't surprised to find positive results in the cattle, sheep, and goats, given Turkey's close proximity with its seropositive population, Rasekh said. However, as many as 5 percent of the tested horses also had positive results.

"Of course, this means new challenges for the equine industry," he said.


 Congo: Ebola

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

Since the beginning of the epidemic, the cumulative number of cases is 598, of which 550 are confirmed and 48 are probable. In total, there were 363 deaths (315 confirmed and 48 probable) and 204 people healed.

47 suspected cases are under investigation.

Two new confirmed cases, including 1 in Komanda and 1 in Mabalako.

Two new deaths of confirmed cases (all community deaths): 1 in Mabalako and 1 in Komanda