Fatal ‘zombie’ deer disease could spread to humans
A fatal neurological disease that turns deer into zombies could spread to humans, health experts are warning.
The sickness, called chronic wasting disease, affects deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer and moose and causes the animals to dramatically lose weight and walk in repetitive patterns. Other symptoms include loss of fear of humans, stumbling and listlessness.
Experts are concerned that it is probable that human cases of CWD associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead, and that the number of human cases will be substantial and will not be isolated events.
Lassa Fever – West Africa
An escalating outbreak of Lassa fever in five west African countries is concerning public health experts, who are stepping up their efforts to contain the disease before it spreads to other countries. The virus, which is spread by rodents and claims roughly 5,000 lives a year, is endemic in the region. While the cases are occurring during the Lassa fever season, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is alarmed at the “speed of escalation”. Cases have been recorded in 16 states in Nigeria, where the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) declared an outbreak of Lassa fever on January 22, 2019.
The 213 confirmed cases to date, including 42 deaths, mark a significant increase – already a third of the total cases for all of last year, when Nigeria experienced its worst outbreak of the disease.
African Swine Fever – China
China has reported a new outbreak of African swine fever that is threating the country’s vital pork industry. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported Friday the disease had been detected on a farm in Yongzhou in the central province of Hunan, where 4,600 pigs were being raised.
Although just 171 of the pigs had died and 270 were found sick, ministry regulations require all pigs on an affected farm must be culled and disposed of and the area quarantined and decontaminated.
First detected in August, the disease has killed more than 1 million pigs in China, prompting restrictions on shipments of most of China’s 700 million swine, even healthy ones.