Microcephaly – Brazil

On 8 December 2015, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brazil provided PAHO/WHO with an update regarding the unusual increase in the number of cases of microcephaly among newborns in the northeast of Brazil.

As of 5 December, 1,761 suspected cases of microcephaly, including 19 deaths, have been identified. The cases are distributed across 422 municipalities of 14 federal units. Pernambuco and Paraíba are the most affected states with 804 and 316 cases, respectively. Fatal cases were reported in Rio Grande do Norte (7), Sergipe (4), Bahia (2), Rio de Janeiro (2), Ceará (1), Maranhão (1), Paraíba (1) and Piauí (1).

Cholera – Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has notified WHO of ongoing outbreaks of cholera across the country. Although the overall trend is decreasing, there are still areas reporting a high number of cases.

Since the beginning of the year, 19,705 cases have been reported in DRC. As of 29 November, the following provinces had reported cases: South Kivu (4,906), ex-Katanga (4,565), Maniema (3,971), North Kivu (3,294) and ex-Oriental (2,969). A high number of cases are still reported in the province of South Kivu where the situation is particularly worrying because of the presence of camps hosting refugees from Burundi. Furthermore, there are concerns that the epidemic in Maniema could spread to other provinces of the country as observed during the 2011 cholera epidemic when areas of Kinshasa were also affected.

Foot-and-mouth outbreak hits Limpopo, South Africa

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed in the Limpopo province.

The department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that laboratory tests had confirmed the outbreak and had also identified the virus as the SAT 3 strain. “The outbreak occurred in the Matiane community, in the Thulamela local municipality of the Vhembe District which is within the FMD protection zone of South Africa, where vaccination for FMD is routinely conducted,” the department said in a Times Live report.

The areas is reportedly close to the Kruger National Park where infected buffalo were a constant source of the infection. The department speculated that the drought in the area may be causing cattle and buffalo to come into increased contact due to limited grazing and water sources.

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