NEWS SCAN: Rinderpest virus destruction, H5N1 in Vietnam, polio vaccine worker killed

Jul 23, 2012

OIE, FAO call for destruction of rinderpest virus stores
The moratorium on rinderpest research declared in 2011 upon the disease's eradication is being championed with a call today from the OIE and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for laboratories across the world to destroy any live rinderpest virus samples or ship them to selected high-security OIE/FAO-approved laboratories for safe storage. Rinderpest, a highly contagious disease of animals, mainly livestock, was officially declared eradicated in May 2011; it does not affect humans but is considered a potential agroterrorism agent. Samples of the virus exist in more than 40 labs, some with insufficient levels of biosecurity. Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer at FAO, said in the release, "We must remain vigilant so that rinderpest remains a disease of the past, consigned to history and the textbooks of veterinarians to benefit from the lessons we've learned." As part of the strategy to maintain the eradication of rinderpest, FAO and OIE member countries are carrying out monitoring and surveillance programs for rinderpest outbreaks until 2020. Rinderpest is only the second disease to be eradicated, after smallpox was declared so in 1979; smallpox virus is currently stored in only two laboratories.
Jul 23 OIE/FAO press release
May 25, 2011, CIDRAP News story

Vietnam reports four H5N1 outbreaks
Vietnamese officials have reported four more outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza, according to a report posted by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) today. Three of the outbreaks occurred in Quang Binh province in central Vietnam and one struck in Hai Duong province near Hai Phong in the north, the report said. In all, 3,560 birds died of the illness, and another 13,082 were destroyed to stop the outbreaks; the report didn't specify the type of poultry involved. The source of the infections was listed as unknown. In addition to culling, quarantine, movement control, and other precautions, the response to the outbreaks will include vaccination, the report said.
Jul 23 OIE report

Polio immunization worker slain in Pakistan
Local community worker Muhammad Ishaq, who was part of the Polio Eradication Initiative in Pakistan, was shot and killed in the Gadap town area of Karachi Friday, according to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Mr. Ishaq was a Union Council Polio Worker, wherein he helped plan and implement vaccination campaigns against polio for underserved and vulnerable children in his country. Immunization activities had been suspended earlier in the week after two other people involved in the campaign were shot and wounded. Pakistan is one of only three countries in which polio is still endemic, with Afghanistan and Nigeria being the others. "Because of the dedication of every-day heroes like Mr. Ishaq, Pakistan is this year closer than ever to the eradication of polio," the statement says.
Jul 21 WHO/UNICEF statement

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