Ebola response in Butembo resumes after 5 days; 4 new cases noted
The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC's) ministry of health confirmed that Ebola outbreak response activities partially resumed today in Butembo, after being suspended for 5 days due to several acts of violence.
Four cases of Ebola were confirmed, and 5 new deaths were recorded, raising the outbreak's total to 1,604 cases, including 1,074 deaths. A total of 264 suspected cases are still under investigation. The low number of reported cases, after a month of increased activity, likely reflects a lag in reporting caused by the security incidents.
Yesterday, DRC officials said two Katwa health workers—including one who had been vaccinated—had contracted Ebola, raising the number of health workers infected in this outbreak to 97.
In an update today, the World Health Organization (WHO) said more violent attacks will likely expand the outbreak beyond North Kivu and Ituri provinces. In the past 21 days, 93% of cases have originated in Katwa, Butembo, Mandima, Mabalako, Musienene, Beni, and Kalunguta health zones.
"The ongoing violent attacks sow fear, perpetuate mistrust, and further compound the multitude of challenges already faced by frontline healthcare workers," the WHO said.
May 8 DRC update
May 9 DRC update
May 9 WHOupdate
WHO profiles recent Saudi MERS cases as country notes new one
The WHO today provided more details on 36 MERS-CoV cases, 12 of them fatal, reported from Saudi Arabia between Mar 1 and Apr 8 that weren't part of a large outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir.
Of the 36 cases, 10 were in Khafji and 6 in Riyadh. Nine patients had a history of exposure to camels or camel milk, and 12 had been exposed to another MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) patient. Five involved healthcare workers, all from Eastern region, presumably linked to the illnesses in Khafji.
Patient ages ranged from 22 to 80, and all but 8 of them were male. Three apparently had asymptomatic infections, and 24 had underlying medical conditions.
The WHO said the new cases don't change its overall MERS-CoV risk assessment. The agency added that it expects cases to continue to be reported in the Middle East, along with possible exported cases involving people who contract the virus from camels, animal products such as camel milk, and humans, especially those in healthcare settings.
Since 2012 when the virus was first detected in humans the WHO has been notified of 2,419 MERS-CoV cases, at least 836 of them fatal. The vast majority are from Saudi Arabia.
May 9 WHO update
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a new illness in a 31-year-old man from Riyadh, according to a May 7 update to its epidemiologic week 19 report. It's not known if the man had contact with camels, and the source of his exposure is listed as primary, meaning he probably wasn't exposed to sick patients. The case raises the 2019 Saudi total to 137 infections.
May 8 Saudi MOH epi week 19 report
CWD confirmed on deer farm in Crow Wing County, Minnesota
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH) announced yesterday that at least seven animals at Trophy Woods Ranch, a captive deer farm in Crow Wing County, Minnesota, suffered from chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the last 2 years, and the animals likely spread the prion disease to deer in the wild.
On Apr 16, animals at Trophy Woods Ranch were depopulated and tested for CWD after the ranch closed when a wild female deer near the property was found dead from CWD. A total of 102 deer were removed from the farm, and all viable samples were sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory for CWD testing.
Seven animals tested positive for CWD, which raised the total number of CWD-infected animals associated with Trophy Woods to 14, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Thirteen animals were too decomposed for testing.
"The results give us a clearer picture of the disease prevalence on the farm as we continue our efforts to contain and eliminate any remaining infectious CWD prions in the enclosed property," said Linda Glaser, DVM, the assistant director of MBAH, in an MBAH news release.
CWD is a fatal prion disease in cervids, and has been documented across the United States, and in Canada, Scandinavia, and South Korea. The disease likely spreads when infected animals shed prions in saliva, feces, urine, and other fluids or tissues. No human cases have been recorded, but eating contaminated meat is not advised.
May 8 MBAH news release
May 8 Star Tribune article
H9N2 avian flu infection reported in Oman
Oman has detected H9N2 avian flu in a 13-month-old baby girl from South Batinah governorate, according to a post yesterday from ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
The post cited a WHOvirus traceability notification that said H9N2 had been obtained from a nasopharyngeal swab, as well as a mention in a May 7 Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection weekly avian flu report that noted the baby's infection and said the illness onset was Mar 17.
No information on the source of the virus or the patient's clinical details were available. A moderator's comment on the post noted a 2015 medical literature report of low-pathogenic H9N2 in mynah birds in Oman.
May 8 ProMED Mail post
Singapore sees first monkeypox case — in Nigerian national
Singapore's ministry of health confirmed the countrys first case of monkeypox, in a Nigerian man who traveled to Singapore for a workshop last week.
As of yesterday the man, 38, was hospitalized and in stable condition in an isolation ward at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. An additional 22 case contacts are under quarantine, health officials said.
The Singapore Times reported the man had attended a wedding in Nigeria shortly before his trip, and may have consumed bush meat during the celebration. Monkeypox is often transmitted from animals to humans via contaminated meat or rodents who have come into contact with infected animals.
Though human-to-human transmission is possible, it requires very close contact. Monkeypox is a self-limiting disease, with most symptoms resolving within 3 weeks.
May 9 Singapore Times story