News Scan for Dec 29, 2017

UAE screening finds MERS case
Polio in Pakistan and DRC
More avian flu outbreaks in 5 countries

UAE reports MERS in Omani camel worker

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Dec 11 reported another MERS-CoV infection, in a man from Oman whose asymptomatic case was found during screening when he was transporting camels, some of them infected, into the UAE, according to a Dec 22 update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 39-year-old man is in home isolation in Oman, and so far his contacts have tested negative for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

On Dec 2, the man transported camels through the Al Ain-Mezyed entry point at the border with Oman. Ten dromedary camels were screened for MERS-CoV, and five tested positive. Veterinary officials are investigating camels on the affected farm, and infected camels have been quarantined. The infection marks the fifth MERS-CoV case to be detected in the UAE this year. The WHO said so far globally it has received reports of 2,122 MERS-CoV illnesses, at least 740 of them fatal.
Dec 22 WHO statement

In a related development, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported that a patient has died from the disease, a 50-year-old man from Al Bukayriyah. The Saudi man is not a health worker and had an underlying health condition. All told, Saudi Arabia has reported 1,760 cases, 713 of them fatal. Three people are still being treated for their infections.
Dec 29 Saudi MOH statement


Polio case reported in Pakistan; DRC notes pair of vaccine-derived cases

In its latest weekly report, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said Pakistan has reported one more wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has reported two more vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases.

Pakistan's case, which GPEI noted in a brief advance report last week, involves a patient from Balochistan province, who had a Nov 13 paralysis onset. Pakistan has now reported eight WPV1 cases for 2017.

The DRC's two new cVDPV2 cases are from different districts in Tanganika province and had Nov 9 and Nov 19 paralysis onsets. The new illnesses lift the DRC's number of cVDPV2 cases for 2017 to 12.
Dec 29 GPEI update


H5N6 reassortant turns up in Switzerland

In the latest avian flu outbreak development, Switzerland reported its first detection of a new highly pathogenic H5N6 reassortant, as South Korea reported two more outbreaks on duck farms and Hong Kong reported a second recent detection in a wild bird, according to separate reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Also, Russia reported its first outbreak involving highly pathogenic H5N2, and Saudi Arabia reported the spread of H5N8 to poultry farms beyond the Riyadh region.

Switzerland's detection involves a wild swan found sick near Lake Biel, not far from the French border, according to a government report translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog. The OIE report said the bird was found on Dec 18 and that preliminary test results from the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute suggest the virus is related to H5N8 and H5N6 strains recently detected in Europe. In mid December, identification of the reassortant in the Netherlands marked the first detection in Europe.

Also, South Korea reported two more H5N6 outbreaks that began on Dec 26, both on duck farms in previously affected South Jeolla province. The events led to the culling of nearly 27,000 birds. And Hong Kong today said H5N6 was detected in a black-faced spoonbill found dead on Dec 21 in a wetland park, its second report this week of the virus in a wild bird.
Dec 29 OIE report on H5N6 in Switzerland
Dec 28 AFD post on
H5N6 in Switzerland
Dec 28 OIE report on
H5N6 in South Korea
Dec 29 OIE report on
H5N6 in Hong Kong

In news about other strains, a recent outbreak on a commercial poultry farm in Russia's Kostroma Oblast that was recently attributed to highly pathogenic H5N8 has now been linked to highly pathogenic H5N2, the country's agriculture ministry said in an OIE report today.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian officials said H5N8 has been linked to an outbreak at a poultry facility in Al Ahsa in Eastern province, about 186 miles east of Riyadh province, where the virus was first confirmed in poultry earlier this month, according to a government report translated and posted by AFD.
Dec 29 OIE report on H5N2 in Russia
Dec 28 AFD

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation Unorthodox Philanthropy logo and text 'Leading Underwriter'3M logoGilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»