Disease

Dengue Fever – Thailand

Thailand health officials reported an additional 4,500 dengue fever cases during the past week, which has brought the total case tally to 49,174 cases with 64 deaths.

African Swine Fever – Myanmar

Myanmar is now the 7th Asian country to report confirmed African swine fever (ASF) cases. The ASF virus was confirmed in Wan Nwet Village, Mongla, Keng Tung, Shan State on the Myanmar/China border where 15 cases were reported, including 12 deaths.

Banana-killing virus reaches Latin America

Officials in Colombia declared a national emergency after confirming the presence of this deadly fungus, known as Fusarium oxysporum Tropical Race 4 (TR4), in the country. This is the first time the fungus has been detected in Latin America. However, the fungus isn’t new — for decades, it has been devastating banana plantations in Asia, Australia and East Africa.

Although this fungus isn’t harmful to humans, it is a “serious threat” to banana production, according to the United Nations. The fungus attacks the plant’s roots and blocks its vascular system — the network used to transport water and nutrients — and ultimately kills the plant. Once the fungus finds its way into soil, it can’t be treated with fungicides, and it’s very difficult to remove.

What’s more, the fungus attacks the most commonly exported banana, the Cavendish banana. Cavendish bananas reproduce asexually, meaning that the plants are essentially clones of their parents. This means banana crops lack genetic diversity, and infections can spread quickly.

Ebola – DR Congo

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo continued this week with similar transmission intensity to recent weeks, with an average of 81 cases per week (range 68 to 91 cases per week) in the past six weeks.

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