Disease

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

On 12 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of the Islamic Republic of Iran reported to WHO an additional laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Brain disease kills scores in India’s east

An outbreak of encephalitis has killed 60 people in two weeks in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, a top health official has said, calling the situation “alarming”.

Hundreds of mainly children die across India each year from the mosquito-borne virus, but West Bengal is not normally one of the worst-hit states.

Only five people died last year in West Bengal from Japanese encephalitis, one form of the virus which normally hits during the monsoon season when mosquitos breed.

West Bengal health services director Biswaranjan Satpathy said late on Monday there had been a sudden rise in cases and deaths between July 7 and 20.

Disease

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

On 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for Saudi Arabia reported an additional 7 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the death of a previously reported case.

On 10 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

The evolution of the Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia remains a serious concern as primary and secondary viral transmissions continue to occur in both urban and rural communities. Analyses of the current trend and the potential risk factors for the continuing spread of this epidemic have been conducted. The major factors responsible for continuous propagation of EVD outbreak in the sub-region include:

1. Some negative cultural practices and traditional beliefs, resulting into mistrust, apprehension and resistance to adopt recommended public health preventive measures. The implication of this include poor health care seeking behaviour such as hiding of EVD patients, home-based management of EVD patients, and customary treatment of dead bodies. These are very high risk practices leading to extensive exposures to Ebola virus in the community. Consequently, community deaths continue to be reported. In addition, the potential contacts to the EVD patients managed at home and exposures during customary burial procedures are not systematically identified and put under observation (very critical measures for containment of community transmission of Ebola virus). This is therefore a major factor amplifying the outbreak.

2. The extensive movement of people within and across borders has facilitated rapid spread of the infection across and within the three countries. The homogeneous community living along the border areas have common socio-cultural activities that enhance viral transmission e.g. visiting sick relatives or attending to burial ceremonies of relatives across the border. In addition, the cross border movement has complicated tracking and follow up of contacts, with several contacts loss to follow up.

3. Currently, the coverage of effective outbreak containment measures is not comprehensive. The unprecedented geographical expanse of the EVD outbreak in the three countries requires enormous and robust response capacity and structures in terms of human capital, financial, operational and logistics requirements. This is the first major EVD outbreak in West Africa and the affected countries had weak capacity and structures for epidemic preparedness and response, particularly for viral haemorrhagic fever. Lastly, the apprehension of some communities limits access to affected population with effective outbreak control measures.

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

On 30 June and 1 July 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for Saudi Arabia reported an additional 3 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and a death in a previously reported case.

Disease

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

On 22 June 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Islamic Republic of Iran reported to WHO an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. On 25 and 27 June 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported the diagnosis of an additional 3 cases of MERS-CoV infection.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

On 22-23 and 25 April 2014, Taipei Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9). These are the third and fourth cases with infection of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus reported from Taipei CDC.

Disease

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

On 3 June 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported 113 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), including 34 deaths. These cases and deaths were identified through retrospective review of hospital records, dating between 5 May 2013 and 6 May 2014.

The majority of the cases (84) occurred after 1 March 2014; and the rest of cases (29) occurred between 5 May 2013 and 28 February 2014.

On 19, 20, 22 and 23 June 2014, National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 4 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Disease

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

On 17 June 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia notified WHO of 2 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Update on polio in central Africa

On 17 March 2014, WHO elevated the risk assessment of international spread of polio from central Africa, particularly Cameroon, to very high. A new exportation event from Equatorial Guinea demonstrates that the risk of international spread from central Africa remains very high (http://www.who.int/csr/don/2014_03_17_polio/en/). On 18 June 2014, Brazil reported that wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) had been detected in a sewage sample collected in March 2014 at Viracopos International Airport in Sao Paolo state. Genetic sequencing indicates that this virus is most closely related to the virus that is circulating in Equatorial Guinea.

Four wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) cases have been reported in Equatorial Guinea in 2014. The index case – Equatorial Guinea’s first case to be reported since 1999 – had onset of paralysis on 28 January 2014; the country’s most recent case occurred on 3 April 2014. Genetic sequencing indicates these cases are linked to an ongoing WPV1 outbreak in Cameroon (Cameroon’s most recent case was on 31 January 2014). Equatorial Guinea is implementing outbreak response activities, with three National Immunization Days (NIDs) with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) in April and May, and plans for further NIDs in July and August. NIDs are deemed essential to stop the outbreak as an estimated 40% of children are fully immunized against polio through the routine immunization programme in the country.

Disease

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

On 31 May 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of Algeria notified WHO of two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This is the first report of laboratory-confirmed cases in Algeria.

Globally, 699 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV including at least 211 related deaths have officially been reported to WHO.

Whooping Cough Epidemic in California

The number of whooping cough cases in California has officially reached epidemic proportions, the California Department of Public Health reported.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, has experienced a resurgence this year with more than 3,400 new cases reported between January 1 and June 10, according a statement released by the department.

The department said whooping cough is cyclical, peaking every three to five years. The last big spike in cases was in 2010.

Los Angeles County has experienced around 350 new cases so far this year with Long Beach being hit especially hard. The city has seen more than 90 new infections, making up nearly 20 cases per 100,000 people.

Pertussis is a highly infectious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. Symptoms of the disease vary by age group.

Adults can find themselves beset with respiratory problems that can last for weeks, while infants who are too young to be vaccinated are in danger of serious illness or death. The common name for the disease comes from the “whooping” sound children can make when experiencing the violent coughing attacks associated with the disease.

Chikungunya Outbreak in El Salvador

At least 1,200 people have been formally diagnosed with the chikungunya viral disease in El Salvador.

Disease

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

The National IHR Focal Points of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Islamic Republic of Iran recently reported additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) to WHO.

Between 11 April and 9 June 2014, 515 cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported from Saudi Arabia to WHO. This includes 402 laboratory-confirmed cases reported on various dates, and 113 cases that have been identified through retrospective review of hospital records, and which was reported by Saudi Arabia on 3 June. Further information on these cases will be provided as information becomes available as part of the collaboration between the Saudi authorities and WHO on the MERS-CoV response.

Outbreak of malaria in northern India

At least 20 people have died from malaria in a remote corner of India in the past week, putting medical authorities on high alert at the start of the monsoon season, an official said Friday. Tripura health minister Badal Choudhury said deaths so far in the northeast state were unusually high, with doctors ordered to contain the mosquito-borne disease before it “gets out of hand”.

Disease

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

On 26 May 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of the Islamic Republic of Iran reported to WHO the first 2 laboratory confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Leprosy in the Solomon Islands.

24 cases of leprosy have been diagnosed in people living in temporary accommodation following April’s floods while 18 people have died from an outbreak of rotovirus.

Disease

100 More MERS Cases Found in Saudi Arabia

The number of people known to be infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) just jumped by more than 100 after Saudi Arabian officials reexamined old medical records.

The new review identified 113 additional cases of MERS that had not been previously reported, bringing the total number of cases to 688, according to Reuters. Of these, 282 people, or 40 percent of those infected, died.

The news comes just a day after Saudi Arabian officials announced that the deputy health minister had been fired.

Cases of MERS first appeared in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and most cases have been in the Middle East. The virus that causes MERS belongs to the same family as the virus that causes SARS, known as coronaviruses.

Australia – Mysterious virus outbreak worries doctors

Dozens of Australian babies are infected by a virus that has no cure, doctors say.

Professor Theo Sloots says 46 babies are infected with parechovirus, which has spread to Queensland. At least 11 cases have been confirmed in the state since December.

“The outbreak is Australia-wide now and we believe there are at least four types of the virus,” the Queensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases (QPID) laboratory director told reporters in Brisbane.

“We don’t know what type is in Queensland compared to other states.”

Parechovirus is a respiratory and intestinal disease that causes fever, irritability, rash and diarrhoea, but severe cases can develop into hepatitis or encephalitis.

QPID Associate Professor Michael Nissen said the virus infected mainly infants, but no one was sure where it came from, how often it occurred or how to fight it.

“This virus does not respond to common antibiotics,” he said.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

From 23 May 2014 to 27 May 2014, 4 new districts reported 14 new clinical cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 5 deaths as follows: Boffa, 5 cases and 1 death; Telimele, 7 cases and 4 deaths; Boke, 1 case and 0 death; and Dubreka, 1 case and 1 death. Community and nosocomial transmission are still occurring in Gueckedou, Macenta, and Conakry.

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

On 25 May 2014, the National IHR Focal Point of Jordan reported to WHO an additional Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) case in Amman, Jordan.

Human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus – update

On 26 May 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China notified WHO of 3 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus.

Disease

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

On 15 May 2014, the National IHR Focal Point for the Netherlands notified WHO about a second laboratory confirmed case of MERS-CoV infection in the Netherlands. The case was discovered during the national contact investigation, performed in relation to the first MERS-CoV case in the Netherlands reported on 14 May 2014.

Disease

Chikungunya Disease Outbreak in Haiti

According to Ronald Singer, a spokesman for Haiti’s health ministry, at least 1,529 cases of the chikungunya virus have been confirmed. Of these, about 900 of them, were found in the west department, where the capital of Port-au-Prince is located. Another 300 cases were confirmed in northwestern Haiti.

This is up dramatically from the 14 confirmed cases just less than a week ago.

MERS emergency meeting held by World Health Organization

A panel of experts at the World Health Organization is debating whether the increase in MERS virus cases in the Arabian Peninsula and its global spread amount to a “public health emergency of international concern” that warrants greater awareness and precautions.

Worldwide, the MERS virus has sickened more than 530, including 145 deaths since September 2012, according to WHO. It was in late March that the 200-cases mark was crossed.

“It’s pretty clear we’re not seeing all of the cases, we’re not hearing about all of the cases and also we’re now seeing seeding from places like Saudi Arabia to other countries,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at the University Health Network in Toronto.

Symptoms of Middle East respiratory syndrome include cough, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia. It is caused by the MERS coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus that killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. Coronaviruses are also a cause of the common cold.

Disease

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

As of 18:00 on 10 May 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Guinea has reported a cumulative total of 233 clinical cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), including 157 deaths. Since the last update of 9 May 2014, there have been no new cases confirmed by ebolavirus PCR and no new deaths bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 129, including 83 deaths.

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

On 3 and 6 May 2014, the IHR National Focal Point of Jordan notified WHO of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) infections.

A second case of a relatively new and deadly virus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus has been reported in the United States, the CDC said.