Tag Archive | outbreak

27,000 birds dead due to avian flu in Aboisso, Cote d’Ivoire, Africa

Bird Flu

There has been another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Cote D’Ivoire.
 
The outbreak affected both broilers and layers, and was of the H5N1 serotype.
 
There were 20,286 deaths from the disease out of a susceptible population of 27,652. Another 7366 birds were slaughtered.
 
The outbreak occurred in Aboisso region, in the south of the country.
Courtesy of thepoultrysite.com

South Korea reports 32nd MERS death

MERS Virus Alert

South Korea on Sunday reported its 32nd death from MERS as the virus’s mortality rate continued to rise even as the pace of the outbreak appeared to slow. 
 
A 55-year-old man died Saturday of Middle East Respiratory Disease, the health ministry said, putting the latest mortality rate at 17.5 percent. 
 
That is up from 15 percent a week ago and 10 percent two weeks ago, though still lower than World Health Organization figures which put the mortality rate for the disease at around 36 percent. 
 
The man was diagnosed on June 9 after contracting the virus at Samsung Medical Centre in Seoul — the epicentre of the outbreak where about 90 patients, visitors and medical staff had been infected. 
 
The total number of infections remained unchanged at 182 and fifteen patients were in critical condition, the health ministry said. 
 
A total of 91 patients have recovered and been released from hospital, including one on Saturday, according to the ministry. 
 
As of Sunday, a total of 2,562 people were under quarantine either at state facilities or at home, it added. 
 
The outbreak started on May 20 when a 68-year-old man was diagnosed after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia. 
 
Since then the potentially deadly virus — for which there is no vaccine — has spread at an unusually rapid pace in the Asia’s fourth-largest economy, becoming the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia and sparking public alarm at home and elsewhere in Asia. 
 
South Korea’s government is facing criticism for failing to stop the outbreak.
Courtesy of indiatimes.com

160,000 birds killed due to avian flu in Taiwan, China

H5N8 Virus Alert

A major outbreak of avian flu in Taiwan has spread to 19 more farms with a total of 160,000 birds slaughtered in the island’s worst bout of the disease in a decade, authorities said Wednesday.

The number of poultry farms infected with the virus has almost doubled since Tuesday, jumping from 21 to 40. More than 10,000 geese have been killed since Tuesday afternoon.

“We have been adopting stringent measures so that we can limit the further spread of the outbreak as soon as possible,” Chang Su-san, head of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine, told reporters Wednesday.

She would not specify how many more birds would be slaughtered but said that samples had been taken from another 47 suspect farms where around 340,000 birds are kept.

The outbreak is a new variant of the H5N2 and H5N8 strains of the disease which are not deadly to humans.

Agriculture minister Chen Bao-ji has said he expected the number of infected farms to keep growing and more birds to be culled.

The first outbreak was confirmed at a chicken farm in southern Pingtung county last week then at a goose farm in the northern city of Taoyuan on Tuesday, leading to the slaughter of 1,900 birds.

Most infected farms are in the south, which is home to the majority of the island’s goose and duck farms.

Experts say the outbreak is likely to have been caused by migratory birds bringing the virus onto farms, which have been told to strengthen their nets to prevent contact between poultry and wild birds.

The authorities have adopted stringent measures to stop the outbreak including a ban on transportation of the birds at the suspect farms and a Tw$1 million ($31,250) fine for farmers if caught dumping infected poultry.

Angry farmers have accused the authorities of attempting to cover up the outbreak and being too slow to respond, an allegation they have denied.

Taiwan has reported several outbreaks of H5N2 but has no recorded cases of the potentially deadly H5N1 strain, although authorities said pet birds smuggled from China tested positive for the strain in 2005 and 2012.

Taiwan authorities in 2004 slaughtered 467,000 birds after H5N2, a less virulent form than the H5N1 strain deadly to humans, was discovered in farm chickens.

Courtesy of The Daily Mail – UK

Black plague outbreak kills 40 in Madagascar

Bubonic Plague Alert

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people and infected almost 80 others, the World Health Organization has said
The WHO warned of the danger of a “rapid spread” of the disease in the capital, Antananarivo.
 
The situation is worsened by high levels of resistance among fleas to a leading insecticide, the WHO added.
 
Humans usually develop the bubonic form of the plague after being bitten by an infected flea carried by rodents.
 
If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics.
Men spraying insecticide in Madagascar
But 2% of the cases in Madagascar are the more dangerous pneumonic form of the disease, which can be spread person-to-person by coughing.
 
The first known case in the outbreak was a man in Soamahatamana village in the district of Tsiroanomandidy, about 200km west of Antananarivo, at the end of August.
 
There have been two confirmed cases in the capital, including one death.
 
“There is now a risk of a rapid spread of the disease due to the city’s high population density and the weakness of the healthcare system,” the WHO said.
 
A task force has been activated to manage the outbreak.
 
Last year health experts warned that the island was facing a plague epidemic unless it slowed the spread of the disease. It said that inmates in Madagascar’s rat-infested jails were particularly at risk.
A map of Soamahatamana

Deadly Ebola Virus; The Second Ebola Outbreak is Just As Strange as the First

Ebola Virus

Exactly one month ago I wrote about, and charted the alarming spread of the Ebola virus. As I explained in the article, the virus is behaving very strangely. It doesn’t become infectious until the person shows symptoms, it isn’t airborne and it’s extremely lethal; all conditions that would normally keep a virus from reaching an epidemic status. And yet it continues to spread like wild fire.
 
By the time I had the opportunity to write about it, 800 people had died in the span of over 5 months. Now one month later, the number of deaths has nearly doubled to over 1500 people. Extrapolating on that trend, it would not be surprising to see the virus infect over a hundred thousand people by December.
 
Despite the uncharacteristic spread of the virus, it  isn’t the oddest thing to come out of the news lately. Recently it was found that the Ebola virus had spread to the Congo, and a total of 31 people have died of the infection. In a strange twist however, that outbreak ended up being completely unrelated to the Ebola in Western Africa:
The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
 
A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory. They report today that, “the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in west Africa.”
What are the odds? I mean, Ebola outbreaks don’t just happen every day. While it could be completely coincidental, this Ebola strain happens to be spreading just as fast as the West African outbreak. The first confirmed death in Congo occurred on August 11th, from a woman who was supposedly infected from eating bushmeat. Now, just shy of a month later there have been 53 cases and 31 deaths.
 
To put that in perspective, the last Ebola outbreak in the DRC killed 36 people between June and November of 2012. Another Congo outbreak killed 14 people between December of 2008 and February of 2009. 31 deaths over the course of 3 weeks is completely out of the ordinary, especially in the rural isolated community where this outbreak first occurred.
 
I think now may be a good time to strap on our tinfoil hats, because this is downright creepy. The rapid infection rate of the West African virus leads me to believe that this is a mutated strain, with a greater capability of infecting humans. Researchers in the field have come to the same conclusion:
For starters, the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. “We’ve found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we’re watching,” Sabeti says.
 
While moving through the human population in West Africa, she says, the virus has been collecting mutations about twice as quickly as it did while circulating among animals in the past decade or so.
 
“The more time you give a virus to mutate and the more human-to-human transmission you see,” she says, “the more opportunities you give it to fall upon some [mutation] that could make it more easily transmissible or more pathogenic.”
Meanwhile the Congo Virus is also infecting humans at a rate far above previous outbreaks. Mind you, this is a separate strain existing roughly 2000 miles away from the West African virus. And yet it’s behaving in a similar manner.
 
It may be safe to assume that this virus is also unique in its ability to mutate, adapt, and infect humans. Again, what are the odds? While I’m no scientist, I can only assume two possibilities. Perhaps there is a very broad and natural process at work that we have yet to witness with our own eyes, or there is something much darker behind this “anomaly”.
 
I think there’s only one thing that needs to be said here. Among the academics and the elite, Ebola is a pretty popular candidate for global depopulation. If this is an engineered virus, released with the intent of culling the human population, then the timing is perfect to introduce a new strain in a remote region. The West African outbreak is pushing local relief efforts to the brink. As for the global relief effort, another outbreak in a completely different region would divide their dwindling resources, ensuring the infection has no boundaries. The virus could quickly spiral out of control, allowing it to go global. For once, I pray that I’m only paranoid.

215 Ostriches dead from outbreak of Avian flu in Western Cape, South Africa

alert-now.gif

Two new outbreaks of H7N7 low-pathogenic avian influenza have affected commercial ostriches in the Western Cape this year; in the more recent case, more than 200 birds are reported to have died.

The veterinary authority sent Follow Up Report No. 3 dated 13 June to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

It describes two new outbreaks of low-pathogenic H7N7 virus in commercial ostriches in the same area of Western Cape Province.

The first outbreak started at the end of January 2014 with 38 birds out of 467 affected; no birds died. This outbreak is described as ‘resolved’.

With the second outbreak, however, 215 birds died; 306 of the 465 ostriches showed symptoms. This outbreak started on 1 April and is continuing. Weekly reports will be published.

Deadly Ebola Virus Hits 85 Deaths In West Africa And Is Set To Rise

West African Virus Death Toll Rises Above 80

West Africa is bracing itself for the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in nearly a decade. CNN is reporting that the death toll has risen to 85 with dozens more ill. The deaths are among 137 cases reported by the World Health Organization, which said the outbreak has “rapidly evolved” since starting in southeastern Guinea. Other suspected affected areas include Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Doctors Without Borders is calling the outbreak “unprecedented” in a press release because of the spread of the virus, a virus which is usually confined to a smaller area.

“We are facing an epidemic of a magnitude never before seen in terms of the distribution of cases in the country,” said Mariano Lugli, coordinator of MSF’s project in Conakry. “MSF has intervened in almost all reported Ebola outbreaks in recent years, but they were much more geographically contained and involved more remote locations. This geographical spread is worrisome because it will greatly complicate the tasks of the organizations working to control the epidemic.”

According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus disease has a case fatality of up to 90 percent and outbreaks typically occur in Central and West Africa, near tropical forests. It first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It’s transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, generally through close contact with blood, secretions, or other bodily fluids.

It is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. It is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases internal and external bleeding.

There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for use in people or animals.

Doctors Without Borders says that field workers include doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, and water and sanitation experts. More than 40 tons of equipment has been flown into Guinea to try to curb the spread of the disease.

To break the chain of the transmission of the virus, isolation of the patient is oftentimes necessary.