News Scan for Mar 27, 2019

More MERS in Saudi Arabia
H9N2 flu case in China
CWD in South Dakota elk

Saudi Arabia confirms 2 more MERS infections

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health (MOH) today reported two more MERS-CoV cases from different cities, according to updates to its epidemiologic week 13 report.

One of patients infected with MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) is a 57-year-old man from Al Kharj in central Saudi Arabia who had contact with camels, a known MERS risk factor. The other is a 60-year-old woman from Hofuf in the country's east whose exposure to the virus is listed as primary, meaning she doesn't have a history of contact with any known patients. She reported no recent camel contact.

The latest cases lift Saudi Arabia's MERS-CoV total for the year to 109, which includes 57 linked to a large outbreak in Wadi ad-Dawasir that has mostly involved healthcare spread.
Mar 27 MOH report


China records new human H9N2 avian flu case in Jiangsu province

A 9-year-old boy from Jiangsu province, China, is hospitalized in serious condition after contracting H9N2 avian flu, according to Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease tracking blog. 

This is the second human H9N2 infection recorded in China in 2019; in 2018, the country reported seven cases.

The boy developed symptoms on Mar 15, and was likely exposed after contact with live poultry. Though H9N2 is common in poultry throughout Asia and the Middle East, the virus threatens humans by its ability to genetically reassort with other influenza strains, making it a potential pandemic threat.
Mar 27 Avian Flu Diary post


Chronic wasting disease found in captive South Dakota elk

South Dakota's state veterinarian, Dustin Oedekoven, DVM, confirmed the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a captive elk in Clark County, near the eastern border of the state, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The owner contacted a veterinarian when his 21-month-old female elk became sick, and the United States Department of Agriculture's National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa confirmed the presence of CWD in the animal. Oedekoven said state and federal animal health officials are working with the owner of the affected herd to investigate the disease and mitigate further infection.

CWD was first documented in South Dakota in 2001, in free-ranging deer and elk near the Black Hills. This is the first case of CWD in a captive elk since 2001, the AP report said.

According to a press release from Oedekoven's office, South Dakota required mandatory CWD testing for all captive cervids (deer and elk) from 1997 until 2012. In 2012, the testing became optional, and the affected herd does not participate in the voluntary program.
Mar 20 AP report
Mar 20 South Dakota press release

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