News Scan for Apr 03, 2017

Healthcare MERS
Yellow fever spreads
Avian flu in Europe
More chikungunya
Russia and resistance research

Two more MERS cases confirmed in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia reported two new MERS-CoV cases over the weekend, including a case in an asymptomatic healthcare worker who contracted the virus in a healthcare setting.

On Apr 1 the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health (MOH) said a 58-year-old Saudi man from Dammam was in stable condition after showing symptoms of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) infection. The source of his infection is listed as primary, meaning it's unlikely he contracted the disease from someone else.

Yesterday, the MOH reported that a 31-year-old old Saudi healthcare professional from Abqaiq was diagnosed as having MERS. He was asymptomatic and described as acquiring the virus in a healthcare setting. Late last week, the MOH reported that a man in the same city was diagnosed as having MERS after having direct contact with camels.

The new cases raise Saudi Arabia's total to 1,584 MERS-CoV cases, 659 of them fatal, since the virus was first detected in humans in 2012. Nine people are still being treated for their infections, the MOH said.
Apr 1 MOH update
Apr 2 MOH update


Another Brazilian state reports yellow fever

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), another Brazilian state, Para, is reporting four confirmed cases of yellow fever, all of them fatal. This raises the number of states affected by the current yellow fever outbreak to five.

The ECDC, in a Mar 31 update, said that as of Mar 29 Brazil has reported 1,589 cases (1,093 suspected and 496 confirmed). The vast majority of those cases, 1,203, are in Minas Gerais. Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, home to the country's biggest cities, have 23 and 49 cases, respectively. So far, the disease has not been detected in any of the major cities along Brazil's Atlantic cost.

Five other countries in South America have reported yellow fever cases in 2017: Bolivia (1), Colombia (1 case), Ecuador (1), Peru (8) and Suriname (1). So far, the ECDC said only Haemagogus or Sabethes mosquitoes are transmitting the virus.
Mar 31 ECDC update


European countries detect more H5N8 in poultry, wild birds

Four European countries reported more avian influenza outbreaks in recent days, mostly involving highly pathogenic H5N8, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

France reported one more H5N8 outbreak involving starlings found dead at a farm on Feb 21 in Landes department, an area in the southwest of the country that has been hit hardest by the virus and other avian flu strains. Also, French agriculture officials reported a low-pathogenic H5N1 outbreak at a duck farm in Charente-Maritime department in the west central region. The event began on Mar 21 with clinical symptoms prompting testing.

Germany reported eight more H5N8 outbreaks, seven on fattening turkey farms in Lower Saxony state and one involving a wild duck found dead on Mar 21 in Bavaria. The turkey farm outbreaks began from Mar 23 to Mar 28, killing 130 of 134,374 susceptible birds.

Italy's health ministry reported an H5N8 outbreak involving backyard birds in Piedmont region in the country's northwest. The event began on Mar 28 and killed all 11 birds at the holding.

Finally, Romania reported nine new H5N8 outbreaks, eight of them in backyard birds in Teleorman County in the south and one involving a wild bird found dead in Bucharest, the country's capital. The outbreaks involving backyard birds began from Mar 22 to Mar 29, killing 134 of 276 susceptible birds.
Apr 3 OIE report on H5N8 in France
Apr 3 OIE report on low-path H5N1 in France
Mar 31 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany
Apr 3 OIE report on H5N8 in Italy
Apr 3 OIE report on H5N8 in Romania


PAHO reports more than 500 new chikungunya cases

Nations and territories in the Americas reported 526 new chikungunya cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noted in an update late last week, as the outbreak total tops 2.4 million infections.

In the previous week, the region reported 207 new cases, but the week before that, countries logged 7,091 new cases. The case count for 2017 has now reached 12,977, PAHO said in its Mar 31 update.

Bolivia accounted for the lion's share of new cases, with 297, to bring its 2017 total to 539. Guatemala reported its first 83 cases of the year, for the next largest jump. And Paraguay and Peru reported 40 and 33 new cases each, respectively. Many countries, however, have not reported on their chikungunya cases for weeks. Brazil, for example, which was hit the hardest by far in 2016 and so far in 2017, has not reported on new infections since mid-February.

The chikungunya outbreak began in late 2013 on the Caribbean island of St. Martin and has now sickened at least 2,400,004 people.
Mar 31 PAHO update


Russia funds FAO effort to address AMR in food, on farms

Russia is investing about $3.25 million in an effort led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to promote food safety and prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in food and on farms, the FAO said in a press release today.

The FAO project in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan will assist national officials in combating resistance threats. The bulk of the funding will support steps on three broad fronts:

  • Strengthening the regulatory and legal frameworks that underpin national efforts to address AMR in agriculture and food chains, including developing national response plans
  • Building the capacity of national surveillance systems to monitor and test for AMR in food systems
  • Raising awareness among farmers, animal health and human health professionals, food safety authorities, and other constituents regarding AMR risks and how to manage them

FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo commended Russia for its support. "AMR is intimately connected to health, medical care, safe food production systems, and the environment," she said. "Leaving AMR unchecked would leave a dim vision of the future."
Apr 3 FAO news release

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