China has reported the world’s first case of a human infected with the H10N3 bird flu, which is usually found in poultry. Health authorities said the risk of a large-scale outbreak is “extremely low.”
The patient is a 41-year-old man from Zhenjiang, a city in the eastern coastal Jiangsu province, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) announced on Tuesday. The man was originally hospitalized on April 28 after having fever and other symptoms.
“No human cases of H10N3 have been reported in the world, and the H10N3 virus among poultry is low pathogenic,” the NHC said, adding that the risk of large-scale spread of the infection among the human population is “extremely low.”
The NHC said the man became infected from poultry but did not provide any details regarding how it happened. The patient’s condition is stable, and he is ready to be discharged from the hospital, the health agency said.
H10N3 is a subtype of the avian influenza virus, which is lethal to wild birds and poultry, and can spread by air among animals through breathing just like the normal flu.
There are several strains of the bird flu of varying contagiousness that lead to sporadic outbreaks and usually affect poultry workers.
A major infection of humans by avian viruses in China was last observed during outbreaks of the H7N9 strain in 2013 and 2016-17. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 616 people have died from H7N9 since early 2013.
Courtesy of rt.com
More than a dozen Nebraska counties have been designated as disaster areas because of drought.
Over the past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued disaster declarations for 17 counties, mostly in northeast and western Nebraska, the two areas where drought conditions have been the worst.
The counties designated as primary natural disaster areas were: Banner, Box Butte, Cheyenne, Deuel, Dundy, Garden, Hitchcock, Keith, Kimball, Madison, Morrill, Pierce, Perkins, Platte, Scotts Bluff, Sheridan and Wayne.
Lincoln saw one of its coldest Octobers ever
They join Colfax, Cuming, Dawes, Dodge, Stanton and Thurston counties, which were declared as disaster areas last month.
Counties with a disaster declaration are eligible for emergency loans for losses caused by drought, which can be used for purposes such as paying to replace equipment or livestock or refinancing debts.
That eligibility also extends to more than two dozen counties that are contiguous to the counties with disaster declarations.
6 Nebraska counties named disaster areas because of drought
Nebraska is seeing its worst drought conditions since 2013. As of Thursday, nearly 86% of the state was in some level of drought, with 12% — all in the Panhandle — in extreme drought.
Both severe and extreme drought can lead to lowered crop yields, scarce hay supplies and serious declines in groundwater levels.
The one thing the dry weather has helped with is harvest. As of Monday, the soybean harvest was essentially done in the state, while about 86% of corn had been harvested. That’s well ahead of the five-year average.
Drought tightens grip on Nebraska as hot, dry spell looms.
Courtesy of norfolkdailynews.com
Humans could catch another coronavirus strain that has been causing pigs to have severe diarrhoea and vomiting in China.
Swine acute diarrhoea syndrome coronavirus – known as SADS-CoV – is thought to have come from bats and has been threatening the livestock industry since 2016.
A widespread outbreak of the virus, which poses greatest risk to piglets, could have a devastating effect on economies that rely on pork production and sales.
In 2019, America was the world’s third largest producer of pork and a spread of SADS-CoV would be the biggest to hit the industry since 2012’s swine flu.
Researchers from North Carolina have now shown that SADS-CoV can infect and replicate itself within the human airway, liver and intestinal cells.
SADS-CoV belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV-2 – the agent behind the COVID-19 pandemic.
SADS-CoV which has so far only spread between pigs, is an “alphacoronavirus” compared to SARS-CoV-2 which is a “betacoronavirus”.
Paper author and epidemiologist Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said: “Many investigators focus on the emergent potential of the betacoronaviruses like SARS and MERS.
“Actually the alphacoronaviruses may prove equally prominent – if not greater – concerns to human health, given their potential to rapidly jump between species.’
The researchers also explained that SADS-CoV is distinct from two common cold alphacoronaviruses in humans, HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63.
In their study, Professor Baric and colleagues investigated the risk of so-called ‘spillover’ — that SADS-CoV could jump from pigs and infect human population, reports MailOnline.
To do this, they infected various types of synthetic cell with the swine coronavirus and monitored how the virus replicated and spread.
The researchers found that a wide range of mammalian cells — including primary human lung and intestinal cells — are susceptible to SADS-CoV infection.
The team discovered that unlike SARS-CoV-2, swine coronavirus is capable of replicating faster in intestinal cells, rather than in the lungs.
So as far as SADS-CoV is concerned, humans do not have the cross-protective herd immunity that can prevent us from contracting coronaviruses from animal populations.
Paper author and public health expert Caitlin Edwards, also of the University of North Carolina, said: “SADS-CoV is derived from bat coronaviruses called HKU2, which is a heterogenous group of viruses with a worldwide distribution.
“It is impossible to predict if this virus, or a closely related HKU2 bat strain, could emerge and infect human populations.
“However, the broad host range of SADS-CoV, coupled with an ability to replicate in primary human lung and enteric cells, demonstrates potential risk for future emergence events in human and animal populations.”
Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk
Coronavirus: Pet cat becomes first animal to test positive for COVID-19 in UK #COVID19 #coronavirus #UK #pandemic #Cat
A pet cat has become the first animal to test positive for coronavirus in the UK.
The only details known about the feline are that it lives in England and was tested at a laboratory in Weybridge, Surrey, last week, on 22 July.
Evidence suggests it contracted the virus from its owners, who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 – but both the animal and family have since made a “full recovery”, the government said.
It added there is “no evidence” the cat transmitted coronavirus to its owners or that any other domestic pets are able to either.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss explained it was a “very rare event” and infected animals detected so far only show “mild clinical signs” and recover “within a few days”.
Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, said the finding “should not be a cause for alarm”.
“In line with the general advice on fighting coronavirus, you should wash your hands regularly, including before and after contact with animals,” she added.
The cat was initially diagnosed with feline herpes – a common respiratory infection – by a private vet, the environment department said on Monday.
A sample was then tested for coronavirus as part of a research programme by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the feline was also found to have SARS-CoV2 – the virus known to cause COVID-19 in humans.
The case has been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health in line with international commitments, the government confirmed.
It added there have been “a very small number of confirmed cases in pets in other countries” in Europe, North America and Asia.
Professor Margaret Hosie from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research was part of the team that led research into the cat.
She said there have been “sporadic reports” of felines having coronavirus in households that also tested positive for the virus in Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and the USA.
“All available evidence suggests that the cat was infected from its owners, who had previously tested positive,” she said.
“The cat and its owners have since made a full recovery and there was no transmission of the virus to other animals or people in the household.”
Courtesy of Sky News
Squirrel tests positive for the bubonic plague in Colorado, USA #BubonicPlague #Squirrel #Colorado #USA
Public health officials have announced that a squirrel in Colorado has tested positive for the bubonic plague.
The town of Morrison, Colorado, in Jefferson County, which is just west of Denver, made the announcement saying that the squirrel is the first case of plague in the county this year.
“Plague is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and can be contracted by humans and household animals if proper precautions are not taken,” officials from Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) said in a statement released to the public.
MORE: Police look for woman who deliberately coughed on a 1-year-old baby after argument with mother
It is possible for humans to be infected with the bubonic plague through bites from infected fleas and by direct contact with blood or tissues of infected animals such as a cough or a bite.
Jefferson County Public Health said that cats are highly susceptible to the plague from things like flea bites, a rodent scratch or bite, and ingesting an infected rodent. Cats can die if not treated quickly with antibiotics after contact with the plague.
Officials also said that dogs are not as susceptible to the plague as cats are but still may pick up and carry plague-infected rodent fleas. Any pet owner who suspects that their pet is ill should contact a veterinarian immediately.
“Symptoms of plague may include sudden onset of high fever, chills, headache, nausea and extreme pain and swelling of lymph nodes, occurring within two to seven days after exposure. Plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics when diagnosed early. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should consult a physician,” said JCPH.
Risk for contracting the bubonic plague is extremely low as long as the proper precautions are taken and JCPH published a list of them including eliminating all sources of food, shelter and access for wild animals around the home, not feeding wild animals, maintaining a litter and trash-free yard to reduce wild animal habitats, having people and pets should avoid all contact with sick or dead wild animals and rodents, using precaution when handling sick pets and having them examined by a veterinarian, consulting with a veterinarian about flea and tick control for pets and keeping pets from roaming freely outside the home where they may prey on wild animals and bring the disease home with them.
“All pet owners who live close to wild animal populations, such as prairie dog colonies or other known wildlife habitats, should consult their veterinarian about flea control for their pets to help prevent the transfer of fleas to humans,” JCPH said.
According to the CDC, even though there is no vaccine for the plague, it can be treated successfully with antibiotics if caught within 24 hours of exhibiting symptoms.
“Arguably the most infamous plague outbreak was the so-called Black Death, a multi-century pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe,” according to National Geographic. “It was believed to start in China in 1334, spreading along trade routes and reaching Europe via Sicilian ports in the late 1340s. The plague killed an estimated 25 million people, almost a third of the continent’s population. The Black Death lingered on for centuries, particularly in cities. Outbreaks included the Great Plague of London (1665-66), in which 70,000 residents died.”
However, the CDC says that there is now only an average of seven human plague cases per year and the WHO says the mortality rate is estimated to be between 8-10%.
Courtesy of abcnews.go.com