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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