News Scan for Jul 20, 2018

Polio in Afghanistan, Nigeria
Longhorned ticks in NY
Avian flu in wild birds

Afghanistan and Nigeria record new polio cases

Both Afghanistan and Nigeria reported new cases of polio this week, according to the weekly update from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Both cases are under advanced notification and will likely be confirmed next week.

In Afghanistan, officials noted one wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case in Kunar province. The patient experienced paralysis onset on Jun 22. This is the 10th WPV1 case recorded in Afghanistan this year.

Nigerian health officials confirmed one new case of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in Yobe state. The patient experienced paralysis onset on Jun 16. This is the second cVDPV2 case reported in Nigeria this year. The first was found in Jigawa state in April.

"In response to cVDPV2 detection, the country has conducted additional acute flaccid paralysis surveillance strengthening activities including enhanced active surveillance visits and community sampling," GPEI said.
Jul 20 GPEI report


Longhorned ticks found in Westchester County, New York

New York's Department of Health and its Department of Agriculture & Markets announced the presence of the longhorned or bush tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis)—an invasive tick from East Asia—in multiple locations in Westchester County. The discovery makes New York the sixth US state to detect the ticks.

The ticks pose a threat to New York's visitors, residents, and farmers, the departments said, noting that the bug may also infect the state's livestock.

"Farmers should continue to work with their veterinarians to check their animals, particularly cattle, sheep and horses, for exposure to ticks and to ensure their parasite control plans are up to date and working," a press release said. "Symptoms of tick-borne disease in cattle include fever, lack of appetite, dehydration, weakness and labored breathing. The Department of Agriculture and Markets encourages livestock owners and veterinarians to also be vigilant for unusually heavy tick infestations."

The tick was first found in the United States on a sheep in New Jersey last September. It has since been identified in Arkansas, Virginia, West Virginia, and, just 9 days ago, in North Carolina.

The longhorned tick, which can reproduce without male fertilization, can transmit both livestock and human diseases but has yet to be associated with human disease in the United States.
Jul 17 New York state press release


High-path avian flu strikes wild birds in Denmark and South Africa

Over the past few days, two countries reported more highly pathogenic avian flu detections in wild birds, according to notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Denmark, the agriculture ministry reported H5N6 in a common eider found dead among several other dead birds on Jul 8 on an island in the southwest of the country. Samples from the other birds, mostly eiders, weren't suitable for testing.

Elsewhere, South Africa reported H5N8 in wild birds, both found dead. One was a sacred ibis found on May 25 in Gauteng province in the northeast and the other was a blue cane found on Jul 13 in Western Cape province in the southwest. The outbreaks are part of sporadic H5N8 outbreaks in wild birds that have been occurring over the past year. The virus has also been detected in South African poultry outbreaks.
Jul 19 OIE report on H5N6 in Denmark
Jul 19 OIE report on H5N8 in South Africa

In research developments, German scientists reporting in Emerging Microbes and Infections yesterday described lab experiments to test virulence, pathogenicity, and transmission of an H5N8 virus that caused widespread outbreaks in Europe and other world regions in 2016.

They found that the isolate showed increased virulence with rapid disease onset and deaths in ducks. H5N8 was highly virulent for mice, but virulence and transmissibility were greatly reduced in ferrets. In tests on cultured human lung cells, replication was marginal.

The researchers concluded that the virus is avian-adapted with heightened virulence in waterfowl, but appears to have low zoonotic potential.
Jul 19 Emerg Microbes Infect abstract

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