News Scan for Sep 27, 2017

Avian flu in Vietnam, Korea
Yellow fever immunization
Global MERS agreement

H5N6 strikes again in Vietnam; H7N7 found South Korea

Animal health officials in Vietnam have detected a highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu outbreak in poultry, and South Korean authorities have found the H7N7 strain in wild bird droppings at a location in the south, according to media reports flagged by Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog.

In Vietnam, the virus was found on a family farm in Kon Tum province in the central part of the country after poultry deaths were first noted on Sep 22. District official ordered 4,700 ducks, geese, and chickens to be destroyed, as well as 3,000 eggs. The report said the same farm was hit by an H5N6 outbreak in 2016.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Vietnam's last H5N6 outbreak occurred in April.

Meanwhile, officials in South Korea's North Gyeongsang province said tests have found H7N7 in excrement in wild birds from the city of Yeongcheon. Tests are under way to assess the pathogenicity of the virus. Authorities have quarantined the area and placed a temporary ban on poultry movement.

South Korean officials last reported H7N7 in December 2016, when it appeared alongside H7N2 in wild bird samples.
Sep 26 Avian Flu Diary post


Nigeria launches yellow fever vaccination campaign

A Nigerian news report flagged by ProMED Mail, an infectious disease news message board, reported the beginning of a yellow fever vaccination campaign in Ifelodun, Nigeria, in response to a yellow fever case diagnosed there 2 weeks ago. Ifelodun is located in Kwara state.

Kwara is north of Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. Like many African metropolises, Lagos has been identified as a prime spot for a yellow fever outbreak because of its dense urban population and the presence of Aedes aegypti mosquitos.

Recent media reports from Nigeria have noted two yellow fever cases in Kwara state.
Sep 26 ProMED Mail post

In other yellow fever news, researchers reporting in Emerging Infectious Diseases describe a new test that distinguishes vaccine-related yellow fever cases from wild type yellow fever. The test was used during the recent outbreak of the disease in Brazil.

The recent outbreak was the country's largest in decades, with a total of 3,240 suspected cases reported, including 435 deaths. The new assays showed high sensitivity in identifying wild type yellow fever, which, the authors said, could be useful as more countries begin using a live-attenuated yellow fever vaccine.
Sep 26 Emerg Infect Dis study


Countries agree to tackle MERS

At a technical meeting this week in Geneva hosted by global health and veterinary organizations, health and agricultural leaders from 33 countries at risk for MERS transmission agreed to next steps taken to combat the coronavirus.

Though 80% of MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) cases have been documented in Saudi Arabia, several countries in Africa and Asia are at risk because of the presence of dromedary camels, a known reservoir for the disease.

"It is in our common interest to address the disease in the human-animal interface, work across sectors and disciplines, together for the sake of our shared goals, healthy people and healthy animals," said Ahmed El Idrissi, MD, senior animal health officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in a World Health Organization (WHO) press release. "In doing so we recognize the importance of a One Health approach to health threats of animal origin."

Moreover, because MERS-CoV thrives in hospital settings, a traveler could bring the disease to any country. This was seen in South Kora in 2015, when a traveler infected dozens of staff and patients

According to the WHO, there have been 2,081 laboratory confirmed cases of MERS-CoV since 2012 in 27 countries. The case-fatality rate for MERS is 35%.
Sep 27 WHO press release

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