Disease

Measles cases in Italy surge

The outbreak of measles continues to spread across Italy, with more than 1,600 cases of the disease reported in 2017, across 19 of the country’s 21 regions.

The outbreak adds to concern among European health officials who have been monitoring an ongoing outbreak in Romania, where almost 4,800 cases have been reported since the start of 2016. The country has also seen 21 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Disease

Italy – Measles Outbreak Update

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Italy, health officials have reported 1603 measles cases since the beginning of the year through Apr. 16, according to the Ministero della Salute today.

Nigeria – Meningitis Outbreak Update

The meningococcal meningitis numbers keep piling up in parts of Nigeria as officials now put the case count at 8,057 suspected cases and 745 deaths as of Monday, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Disease

Niger – hepatitis E outbreak

Officials with the Niger Ministry of Health notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a hepatitis E outbreak in the eastern part of the country.

Dengue deaths top 1000 in the Philippines in 2016

For the second year in a row, the Philippines reported more than 200,000 dengue fever cases, according to the Department of Health, National Epidemiology Centre, Philippines.|

After reporting 200,415 suspected cases of dengue, including 598 deaths in 2015, health officials on the archipelago report 211,108 suspected cases of dengue reported in 2016, including 1019 deaths.

Measles prompts travel advisory for Belgium, Italy and Germany

Measles has been reported in increased numbers in several European counties, most notably Romania. In addition to Romania, Belgium, Italy and Germany has been affected by measles into 2017. This has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue new travel notices for the above countries.

In Belgium, through Mar. 31, Wallonia reported 266 measles cases. The outbreak affects all provinces of Wallonia, with the exception of the province of Luxembourg. All age groups are affected and 53% of cases are over 15 years. Most of the cases were not vaccinated or did not know their vaccination status. Nearly 40% were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

In Italy, since the beginning of 2017 and as of 4 April 2017, Italy reported 1,333 cases of measles, with 131 cases among healthcare workers. The cases are reported from 19 of the 21 regions in Italy. A majority of the cases (93%) are from Piedmont, Lazio, Lombardy, Tuscany, Abruzzi and Sicily. Most of the cases are above 15 years and 88% of the cases were not vaccinated.

According to the German National Public Health Institute, since the beginning of 2017 and as of 12 March 2017, Germany reported 272 cases. In the same period in 2016, Germany reported 18 cases.

Nigeria – Meningitis – Update

In a follow-up on the meningococcal meningitis outbreak in several Nigerian states, the number of suspected cases has increased by another 1000 and the death tally has topped 600, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Health officials put the officials numbers at a total of 5,695 suspected cases.

Leprosy in Florida, USA – Update

In a follow-up to the number of leprosy, or Hansen’s disease cases in Florida in 2017, Florida state health officials have reported five additional confirmed cases since late February, bringing the total to seven.

Disease

Measles in Europe: Romania and Italy hit hardest

In a follow-up on the measles outbreaks among several countries in Europe, European health officials say outbreaks continue to occur in EU/EEA countries, and there is the risk of spread and sustained transmission in areas with susceptible populations.

The countries hardest hit are Romania and Italy. Poor vaccination coverage is huge problem.

Romania – Between 1 January 2016 and 31 March 2017, Romania reported 4,025 cases of measles, including 18 deaths. Infants and young children are the most affected population. Some of the previous and ongoing measles outbreaks in other EU countries have been epidemiologically linked to the current outbreak in Romania.

Italy – Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 4 April 2017, Italy reported 1,333 cases of measles, with 131 cases among healthcare workers. The cases are reported from 19 of the 21 regions in Italy. A majority of the cases (93%) are from Piedmont, Lazio, Lombardy, Tuscany, Abruzzi and Sicily. Most of the cases are above 15 years and 88% of the cases were not vaccinated.

Elephantiasis outbreak in Uganda

Since 2015, health officials in Uganda have received reports of increasing numbers of people suffering from elephantiasis, a debilitating disease characterized by severe swelling in the limbs.

The disease is typically caused by infection with parasitic worms, transmitted through certain mosquito species. But an investigation by the country’s Ministry of Health has revealed a new root cause: volcanic soil.

The region’s soil comes from volcanic rocks formed more than 2.5 million years ago, and irritant minerals in remaining volcanic soil can cause itching, pain and eventual swelling and scarring after prolonged exposure.

Officials believe the current epidemic has been happening silently for more than 30 years.

Disease

Malaria in Burundi: 2 million cases in first three months

On March 13, the Burundi government declared a malaria outbreak and the data on the outbreak shows the cases continue to mount in the East African country. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the cumulative number of malaria cases reported during the first 10 weeks of 2017 is 1,960,620 with 869 deaths.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Saudi Arabia

Between 23 February and 16 March 2017 the national IHR focal point of Saudi Arabia reported 18 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) including two fatal cases. Four deaths among previously reported MERS cases were also reported.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Qatar

On 21 March 2017 the national IHR focal point of Qatar reported one additional case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Zika in US pregnant women

Of the 250 pregnant women who had confirmed Zika infection in 2016, 24 – or about 1 in 10 of them – had a foetus or baby with Zika-related birth defects, according to a new Vital Signs report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Measles in Nova Scotia

Thirteen measles cases have now been confirmed in the province, all believed to be linked in this most recent outbreak. All of the cases currently confirmed have been linked in some way – primarily with people having been in the same location as someone who was infected with measles.

Leprosy: Rare case reported in Iowa

Leprosy is still found in the United States where a couple hundred cases are reported annually mostly from Florida, Texas, Louisiana and California. It is not an infectious disease you see everyday in Woodbury County, Iowa, or in Iowa generally.

Leishmaniasis outbreak reported in Cameroon

The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) of Cameroon reported in mid-February cases of acute fever and rash syndrome of unknown etiology being reported from the Far North and North regions of the country.

The major clinical manifestations of the illness included skin rash, persistent fever, malnutrition, anemia, hepato-splenomegaly and adenopathy. Laboratory results by the Centre Pasteur of Cameroon in Yaoundé have since shown this illnesses were due to cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Retrospective investigation indicated that 48 cases with similar clinical features including 17 deaths (case fatality rate of 35.4%) had been registered between January 2016 and 24 March 2017.

Disease

Portugal reports hepatitis A outbreak

Earlier this month, European health officials reported on a several hepatitis A outbreaks linked to adult men who have sex with men (MSM). One of the 13 countries affected is Portugal, where since January, 105 hepatitis A cases were reported, according to Portuguese media.

Nigeria: Meningitis outbreak grows

According to Nigerian health officials, the meningococcal meningitis outbreak in the country has now claimed 328 lives to date, mostly affecting states in the part of Nigeria which fall within the African Meningitis Belt. Reports of vaccine shortages from affected areas have also been received.

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Italy measles outbreak

In a follow-up on the measles outbreak in Italy this year, the number of cases reported to date in 2017 already surpasses the total number reported in the country in all of 2016. 1,010 individuals contracted the disease in the country this year, while in all of 2016 there were 844 infections.

The massive increase in measles has been blamed on the growing number of people who do not believe in vaccination.

Of this total, 90% of the patients were not vaccinated. The balance still indicates that 57% of cases occurred in the age range between 15 and 39 years, while 6% reached babies under one year, that is, when the vaccine can not yet be administered.

Disease

New cholera outbreak flares up in Malawi

Malawi health officials reported a new cholera outbreak in Nsanje district, located in the southern region of Malawi. The outbreak began on Mar. 11 and laboratory testing revealed that the agent was Vibrio cholerae Ogawa O1. As of 24 March 2017, a total of 14 cases with no deaths have been reported.

Lassa fever in West Africa: Outbreaks confirmed in 5 countries

Lassa fever outbreaks have been confirmed across five West African countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Burkina Faso.

Nigeria – In Nigeria, the index case emerged on 16 December 2016 in Ogun state. Since then, the outbreak has remained active. During the week ending 19 March 2017), 15 suspected cases were reported, with two testing positive for Lassa fever. Between 16 December 2016 and 19 March 2017, a total of 283 suspected cases including 56 deaths (case fatality rate of 19.8%) have been reported. Of the suspected cases, 99 were confirmed by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Lassa laboratory in Nigeria. The cases have been distributed across 13 states: Ogun, Bauchi, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ondo, Edo, Taraba, Nasarawa, Rivers, Kaduna, Gombe, Cross-River and Borno.

Benin – The outbreak of Lassa fever in Benin started on 12 February 2017 from Tchaourou district, Borgou province, close to the border with Nigeria. It was established that this case had epidemiological link with the ongoing Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria. On 23 February 2017, another suspected case from L’Atacora province was reported. Samples obtained from the two cases tested positive for Lassa fever in the laboratory in Cotonou, Benin and in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Lassa laboratory. Both cases died, giving a case fatality of 100%.

Togo – In Togo, Lassa fever was confirmed on 23 February 2017, with the case having established epidemiological linkage to Benin. A total of 12 suspected were subsequently reported, seven of them were confirmed at the Institut National d’Hygiène in Lomé, Togo. Four of the confirmed cases died, giving a case fatality rate of 57%. The cases originated from Oti and Kpendjal districts.

Burkina Faso – On 26 February 2017, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso notified WHO of a confirmed Lassa fever case admitted in a hospital in the northern part of Togo. The case originated from Ouargaye district, central eastern part of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso has not had any other case.

Sierra Leone – Sierra Leone has been reporting sporadic suspected cases of Lassa fever since 28 December 2016. However, the outbreak situation escalated in the months of February and March 2017 when a cluster of 24 cases were reported and investigated. Out of these, four cases were laboratory confirmed and all of them died, thus giving case fatality rate of 100% among the confirmed. The outbreak has since subsided.

Measles in Damascus, Syria

A “major outbreak” of measles is hitting the encircled, rebel-controlled Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta, with doctors telling Syria Direct that vaccine shortages are to blame for more than 350 cases of the easily preventable disease in under two months. As a result, hundreds of East Ghouta children now suffer from dangerously high fevers, severe respiratory issues and, in at least two instances, death.

In patients with access to quality health care, measles can be managed. But for populations with malnutrition and inadequate health care, “mortality can be as high as 10 percent,” the France-based Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) reported earlier this month. Children affected by measles within East Ghouta face an added risk of serious health complications given the dire food and medical shortages resulting from the opposition-held area’s five-year encirclement.

Disease

Measles in Italy

The number of measles cases recorded in Italy since the beginning of this year has increased considerably, a phenomenon that worries health authorities because of parents’ resistance to the vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, 700 cases were registered in the first three months of 2017.

India – Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) has affected Karani village on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district. It is feared that all of the village’s 500 cattle may be affected.

Disease

Guinea – Measles Outbreak – Update

In a ReliefWeb update Friday on the measles outbreak in Guinea in West Africa the report notes that the measles outbreak that was declared one month ago has grown to affect 2,100 children since January. The outbreak has affected 17 of the 33 prefectures in the country with the southeastern prefecture of N’Zérékoré reporting the most cases at 675 this year to date.

Anthrax outbreak in Tanzania

Authorities in Tanzania are reporting an anthrax outbreak in the Northern District of Hai, in which at least 36 people were infected with the serious bacterium after consuming anthrax-tainted cow, according to a Premium Times report.

Hai District council executive director, Yohana Sintoo confirmed the outbreak saying it affected three villages of Sanya Station, and Tindigani in Kia ward and Nkwasira village in Masama West ward.

The victims presented at the hospital with symptoms of swollen eyes, lesions on the face, hands, cheeks and fingers.

Disease

Guinea – Measles Outbreak – Update

In a ReliefWeb update Friday on the measles outbreak in Guinea in West Africa the report notes that the measles outbreak that was declared one month ago has grown to affect 2,100 children since January. The outbreak has affected 17 of the 33 prefectures in the country with the southeastern prefecture of N’Zérékoré reporting the most cases at 675 this year to date.

Anthrax outbreak in Tanzania

Authorities in Tanzania are reporting an anthrax outbreak in the Northern District of Hai, in which at least 36 people were infected with the serious bacterium after consuming anthrax-tainted cow, according to a Premium Times report.

Hai District council executive director, Yohana Sintoo confirmed the outbreak saying it affected three villages of Sanya Station, and Tindigani in Kia ward and Nkwasira village in Masama West ward.

The victims presented at the hospital with symptoms of swollen eyes, lesions on the face, hands, cheeks and fingers.

Disease

Anthrax: Queensland, Australia

80 cattle die from bacterial disease in Queensland. Biosecurity Queensland is working with the managers of a St George cattle property following the death of approximately 80 animals. Testing has indicated the presence of the bacteria that cause anthrax and authorities are working toward containing any further cases in line with the agreed national protocol.

Romania: Measles outbreak

In a follow-up on the ongoing measles outbreak in Romania, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports from September 2016 to 17 February 2017 the Romanian National Institute of Public Health received reports of 3 071 cases of measles. To date, 16 deaths have been reported, all of which occurred in persons who were immunocompromised or had other co-morbidities.

Disease

Measles epidemic declared in Guinea

A measles epidemic has been declared in 14 of the 38 health districts in Guinea. 13 districts have been put on alert. Since the beginning of the year, 1,527 cases of measles have been diagnosed, of which 1,517 were cured. Two patients have died and eight remain under treatment.

Nigeria: Borno State reports 1st Lassa fever outbreak in decades

Borno state in northeast Nigeria has recorded its first Lassa fever outbreak in almost five decades. The last confirmed outbreak of the deadly disease was in 1969. WHO is supporting the government to contain the outbreak in an area of the country which is already coping with a humanitarian crisis resulting from years of conflict.

China reports 21 more H7N9 avian influenza cases, 3 deaths

The Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission reported 21 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), including three deaths, from February 24 to March 2.

The 17 male and four female patients, aged from 10 to 77, had their onset from February 10 to 27. The cases were from Guangdong (six cases), Anhui (four cases), Jiangsu (three cases), two cases each in Guangxi and Jiangxi, and one case each in Hubei, Hunan, Shanghai and Zhejiang. Among them, 18 were known to have exposure to poultry or poultry markets.

Disease

Measles in Spain

Health officials in Catalonia have reported twelve measles cases among young adults in Barcelona, according to a La Vanguardia report. The twelve cases diagnosed so far in the metro Bracelona area are linked to the same original patient, a person who became infected in China in early January.

Disease

Romania – Huge Increase in Measles Cases

Romania saw 15 measles cases in 2015. Since 2016, this number has blown-up to 2,165, including 13 fatalities. This is largely due to bogus claims from anti-vaccination campaigns in the country.

Mercury in vaccines, vaccines introduce foreign elements and vaccines cause asthma are some of the arguments made by the anti-vaccination movement. This misinformation has resulted in vaccination rates in the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine falling from 95% of children in 2013 to 80% in 2016, and it continues to drop.

The Ministry of Health has been denouncing “the irresponsible campaigns against the vaccination of children” for months; however, there are many parents who do not vaccinate their children for lack of confidence towards the authorities.

Vanuatu dengue outbreak

The South Pacific Ocean nation island chain of Vanuatu has had an increase in dengue cases since November that exceeds the trends in recent years. The island country has reported 919 suspected and 142 confirmed dengue fever cases as of Jan. 23, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) Friday.