01 July, 2011

Hendra Virus Outbreak, Polio Crisis in Pakistan, Egypt Link in E. coli Outbreaks, La Crosse Encephalitis and Rabies

Hendra Virus in Queensland and NSW
Eight people have potentially been exposed to the deadly Hendra virus outside of Brisbane, Australia after a horse that died was confirmed to be positive for the disease. It’s believed that horses become infected after eating food contaminated by flying fox (bats of the genus Pteropus found in Australia) urine, saliva, or birth fluids.  Humans can acquire the disease after having contact with respiratory secretions or blood from infected horses. Of 7 people ever diagnosed with Hendra virus only 3 have survived.  In response to the confirmed Hendra horse death, the area’s mayor has issued that flying fox bats in the area of Kerry and Beaudesert, Queensland be culled despite their protected status.

It was also discovered today that a 2nd horse was infected with the Hendra virus in Wollongbar, New South Wales, and has since been euthanized. The case is unrelated to the horse that died in Queensland earlier this week on June 28th.  

The Polio Crisis in Pakistan
Yesterday, another polio case was discovered in Pakistan’s Khuzdar district, bringing this year’s total to at least 57 for the country. Although Pakistan is now just one of four countries still with endemic polio transmission, the other three countries have reported much lower disease burdens - with 11 cases in Nigeria, 5 in India, and 4 in Afghanistan for the same period. Most concerning is the discovery of cases in regions within the country long-believed to be polio-free. Last week, a 2 year old was found to have polio in Diamer District of northern Pakistan, an area that has not reported cases for over 12 years. Many believe that internal displacement, problem with the vaccine cold chain, and refusal by parents to have their children vaccinated as a result of misinformation have all contributed to the resurgence of cases within the country. Pakistan now is subjected to much international pressure as many European countries are considering imposing travel restrictions on Pakistani citizens and the World Bank has warned that it will convert a grant on polio vaccination for the country into a loan if Pakistan fails to eradicate by 2012.

Egyptian seeds named as source of German and French E. coli outbreaks
Investigators at the European Food Safety Authority have found a common link in Germany’s and France’s recent E. coli outbreaks: contaminated fenugreek seeds originating in Egypt. German health officials have confirmed the farm at the center of the outbreak had received fenugreek seeds from Egypt. Experts warn that additional contaminated seeds are likely still in circulation and may lead to additional outbreaks. The death toll from the German outbreak has risen to 50 (48 in Germany, 1 in Sweden and 1 in the US); over 4,000 were sickened.

La Crosse Encephalitis case in North Carolina
Although West Nile Virus gets much of the press, mosquitoes carry other diseases as well. This week, North Carolina saw its first confirmed case of La Crosse Encephalitis this summer. Like West Nile Virus, most people who are infected with La Crosse Encephalitis do not become ill. In a small number of people the infection affects the nervous system  and can lead to seizures, coma, and paralysis. North Carolina has one of the highest rates of La Crosse Encephalitis in the US.

Rabies in Azerbaijan
In the Sheki region of Azerbaijan there was an outbreak of rabies among domestic animals. Measures have been taken to remove the infected animals which were infected by attacking  wolves. Ten animals have been slaughtered while another 8 are suspected to be infected with the virus. In addition, a human case of rabies has been identified in the same village. That person was one of five injured and possibly infected when the attack occurred on June 8. According to the deputy chief physician of the Central Hospital of Sheki, the villager underwent treatment for approximately 20 days with no results.

В Шекинском районе отмечена эпидемия бешенства среди домашнего скота, проводятся мероприятия по  уничтожению зараженных животных. Причиной возникновения болезни стало нападение на домашний скот  диких животных.  В селе было уничтожено свыше 10 животных, а у 8 животных есть вероятность заражения бешенством.

Кроме того, в селе Кунжут отмечен случай заражения бешенством человека. Житель села является одним из  5 человек, подвергшихся нападению волков 8 июня.

По словам заместителя главного врача Центральной больницы Шекинского района, проводящееся около 20 дней лечение не дало никаких результатов.

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