Paralyzed Ravens and Crows in Canada

Ravens and crows in eastern British Columbia are being afflicted by a mysterious paralysis that has left at least dozens dead.

Wildlife rehabilitation expert Leona Green said the first reports of the mysterious avian ailment started coming in from around the Peace Region from Fort St. John to Tumbler Ridge in late May.

“They are all feathered out, there’s no wing damage and they seem quite bright, and if you feed them by hand they will eat,” Green told the Vancouver Sun. “But their legs are completely paralyzed and their claws are clubbed with no feeling from their spines to their legs.”

She added that without the use of their legs, they can’t launch themselves into flight.

It’s feared the birds are suffering from the effects of West Nile virus, of which they are especially susceptible.

University of B.C. professor Patrick Mooney, who specializes in biodiversity and urban birds, said the deaths of such birds can act as an early warning system that the virus — which also affects humans — has arrived.



Rabies in Taiwan

In recent weeks, rabies has emerged in Taiwan, around 80 wild Formosan ferret-badgers have been found dead and there has also been a case in which a man was bitten by a rabid Formosan ferret-badger.

These are all signs that rabies, which had been wiped out in Taiwan for more than 50 years, is spreading throughout the country.

Cyclospora Outbreak USA – Update

The multistate Cyclospora outbreak increased by 36 cases since yesterday’s update to a total of 321 cases, according to the Centres for Disease Control.


Cholera in Nigeria

An outbreak of a cholera epidemic has been reported in two local government areas of Ogun State, Pigeria. private and public hospitals across the Abeokuta metropolis have witnessed an increase in the number of patients on admission for the disease.


Legionnaires’ disease outbreak claims 2 more lives

Two more people have died from Legionnaires’ disease at a Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA retirement community, bringing total deaths to four and those sickened to 35.

CDC Warns Of Rare Parasite Outbreak – USA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials are warning about potentially tainted produce that may have caused sickness in over 250 people across several US states.

The produce, which would have been shipped across state lines, is believed to have been contaminated with a rare parasite known as cyclospora. Almost 120 people have reportedly tested positive for the rare protozoan in Iowa, an additional 65 tested positive in Texas and another 68 in Nebraska, according to state officials. Several other cases have been reported in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kansas, although the Illinois case may yet be traced back to Iowa.

Officials have yet to formally identify a source for the illnesses. Cyclospora are not known to thrive in the US – making the possibility that imported produce may be the culprit highly likely.


Cholera in Burundi

17 people have died in what has been described as a cholera epidemic in Burundi.

Anthrax Outbreak in Ghana

Veterinary officers in the Builsa North district in the Upper East region in Ghana have placed a ban on the slaughtering of animals in the area following the latest outbreak of anthrax.

Some residents are reported to have contracted the disease, after eating the meat of infected animals.

69 animals who contracted the disease have died so far.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

WHO has been informed of two additional laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.

Bird Flu – China – Update

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, China notified WHO of an additional laboratory-confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus. This is the first new confirmed case of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) since 29 May 2013.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

WHO has been informed of six additional laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Of these, two cases have been reported from Saudi Arabia and four from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

An Emergency Committee convened by WHO’s Director-General under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to assess the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – coronavirus (MERS-CoV) situation today unanimously decided that conditions for a public health emergency of international concern have not yet been met.

Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak in Milwaukee Co, USA

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has sickened 20 people in Milwaukee County.

No deaths have been reported. But four of the Milwaukee patients are still hospitalized.

The disease takes its name from an outbreak at a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion in 1976. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacterium known as legionella. The disease does not spread person to person. People get sick by inhaling the bacterium.


CDC Travel Warnings

People planning to travel domestically or abroad are advised to take precautions against insect-borne and viral diseases after several cases of scrub typhus were reported in Taiwan, while Southeast Asia, Europe and England are experiencing outbreaks of dengue fever and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) respectively, the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.

The CDC said that as of Monday, there have been 147 confirmed cases of scrub typhus in Taiwan this year, one of which was fatal. Scrub typhus is endemic to tropical and subtropical regions and is transmitted through the bite of chiggers — scrub mite larvae — carrying the Orientia tsutsugamushi parasite.

The CDC added that while the mortality rate of the diseases is less than 5 percent if treated promptly, the probability can go up to 60 percent if the infected person fails to seek medical assistance.

For travellers going to Southeast Asia, the CDC warned them to be aware of the serious outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever currently afflicting the region. It said that the epidemic this year is so far proving to be a lot worse than those seen in the previous years.

The CDC also urged caution for those visiting Europe as the region is experiencing a rubella outbreak exacerbated by low vaccine coverage and England is suffering the largest measles outbreak of the past decade.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

The Ministry of Health (MoH) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has notified WHO of another laboratory-confirmed case of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

Poliovirus Detected in Israel – Update

Wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) has been isolated in 30 sewage samples from 10 sampling sites in Israel. The samples were collected from 3 February 2013 to 30 June 2013. Most positive WPV1 samples were detected from southern Israel. All viruses have been detected in sewage only; no cases of paralytic polio have been reported.

Dutch elm tree disease outbreak in Auckland, New Zealand

More than 200 elm trees, the oldest of which were planted in Kingseat, near Drury, in the 1930s, have been wiped out by the disease in what is the largest outbreak since its discovery in New Zealand in 1989.


Hepatitis A in Italy

The ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection that has affected travelers to Italy from Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, as well as local residents in Italy, may now be affecting Ireland according to the European Centre for Diseases.

Swine Flu – South Africa

The Health Department in KwaZulu-Natal has played down fears of a new outbreak of the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) virus – commonly known as swine flu – despite at least 100 cases of the disease having been reported across the province. One woman is thought to have died as a result of the virus.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Saudi Arabia has announced an additional laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in the country.

MERS Virus May Be Turning Less Deadly

The World Health Organization (WHO) said recent victims of the MERS virus have suffered less severe symptoms than those in the initial cases, and some of those infected during the past few weeks had no symptoms at all.

The new details mean that the previous estimated death rate of 50 percent from infection is likely to be too high.

Most of the victims have been in, or recently visited, Saudi Arabia and adjacent countries.

The WHO stopped short of issuing a public health emergency declaration, which would place governments around the world on heightened alert to protect against the spread of the virus.

This is of particular concern in the lead-up to the October “hajj” in Saudi Arabia, when more than 3 million Muslims from around the world will take part in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

MERS belongs to the same broad family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In the early 2000s, SARS killed roughly 800 people worldwide and triggered a global health scare.

The symptoms of both MERS and SARS include fever, coughing and respiratory difficulties. Some MERS patients also experience kidney failure.


Newcastle Disease Spreads in Cyprus

The Cypriot veterinary authorities have reported seven further outbreaks of Newcastle disease in Lefkosia and Paphos.

Chikungunya Disease Outbreak in the Philippines

Officials of Tampakan town in South Cotabato have declared the entire area under a state of calamity due to the continuing outbreak of the mosquito-borne chikungunya disease.

Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes and causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. There is no cure for the disease.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

International health experts began urgent talks on the Middle East coronavirus (MERS) on Tuesday amid concerns about larger numbers of milder infections possibly going undetected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Eight of the latest infections in Saudi Arabia were reported to be in people not displaying any symptoms of the disease, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, the WHO said. Half of them were female health workers, and the rest children under 15 who had contact with confirmed cases.

Saudi Arabia’s health ministry announced at the weekend that two more people had died of the virus, shortly before Islam’s Ramadan fast when many Muslim pilgrims visit.

Millions are also expected to travel to Mecca for the main pilgrimage, the haj, that will take place in October, although Saudi authorities have cut the number of visas this year, citing safety concerns over expansion work at the main mosque site.

MERS is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, because the virus that causes it is from the same coronavirus family. SARS emerged in China in 2002 and then spread around the world, killing about a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected.

Calls to Keep Deadly Disease Out of Britain

NPA has asked everyone in British agriculture to help keep a new pig disease out of Europe. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus has been present in this country in a mild form for over 40 years. But new strains which have spread from China to the United States are wiping out whole generations of newly-born pigs — and there is no effective treatment. It is essential the new strains are kept out of Britain, says NPA. It is calling for everyone involved in farming to adopt a number of extra-precautionary measures for the time being.

NPA says that as a matter of principle no meat products should ever be allowed onto pig units, because of their potential to introduce serious diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Classical Swine Fever, African Swine Fever, and perhaps the new virulent strains of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea.

If the new acute strains of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus spread to Britain they could have an impact every bit as bad as PMWS (Postweaning Multisystemic Wasting Syndrome) which arrived in Britain from mainland Europe about 13 years ago and contributed to a halving of the national herd, only coming under control in recent years, here and around the world, following the introduction of highly effective vaccines.

The current outbreak in the States, which is still spreading, is causing losses of up to 100 per cent of affected piglets and has been reported on over 200 units in 13 states since May. The virus from the outbreak in the States is said to be 99.4 per cent similar to an outbreak in China which has killed more than a million piglets since October 2010.


Novel Coronavirus – Saudi Arabia – Update

The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Saudi Arabia has announced one additional laboratory-confirmed case and two deaths in previously confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.

Congo Fever in South Africa

A farmer who has been diagnosed with Congo fever, a life-threatening haemorrhagic disease, has been admitted to a Pretoria hospital.