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News Scan for Jan 26, 2021

Rift Valley fever outbreak reported in Kenya

A Rift Valley fever (RVF) outbreak in Kenya that began in the middle of November has led to 21 infections, 9 of them fatal, the World Health Organization (WHO) African regional office said yesterday in its weekly outbreaks and health emergencies report.

All of the patients are male cattle herders between ages 13 and 70 years old. Of the 21 cases, 4 are lab confirmed and 17 are listed as suspected. Two neighboring counties in the east central part of the country are affected, Isiolo and Garissa.

Outbreaks in animals have occurred at the same time, and tests on sheep and one camel were positive for RVF. Livestock movement controls have been established in the affected area, and animal vaccination is planned. Efforts are under way to assess the extent of the outbreak in humans and to teach health workers and veterinarians about the disease.

The virus that causes RVF is spread by mosquitoes and mainly affects livestock, though it can cause severe infections in people. The WHO noted that heavy rains and flooding contributed to the latest outbreak by increasing the number of vectors. Kenya reported its last RVF outbreaks in 2014 and 2018.
Jan 25 WHO African regional office weekly report

H5N8 avian flu hits more poultry in 5 countries

Countries in Europe and the Middle East reported more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks in poultry, according to the latest notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

In Europe, the Czech Republic reported that the virus struck backyard birds in South Bohemian region in the southern part of the country. The outbreak started on Jan 20, killing 15 of 32 birds, and marks the first reappearance of the virus in about a year.

Denmark reported an outbreak at a mallard and pheasant breeding farm in the city of Viborg in the central part of the country. The event began on Dec 31, and all 9,415 birds were culled to curb the spread of the virus. Denmark’s last H5N8 outbreak in poultry occurred at the end of 2016.

Meanwhile, Germany reported more H5N8 outbreaks in poultry in two states, affecting a farm in Brandenburg in the north and a broiler farm in Lower Saxony state in the northwest. The outbreaks began on Jan 22 and Jan 23, respectively, and taken together, the virus killed 84 of 79,961 birds.

In the Middle East, Kuwait reported an outbreak in backyard-raised pheasants and geese in Al Jahra governorate in the east central part of the country. The event began on Nov 4, killing 8 of 112 birds. Kuwait reported its last H5N8 outbreak in December 2016.

Also, Iran reported six outbreaks in South Khorasan province in the east. The events began from Jan 1 to Jan 12, affecting layer farms, a broiler farm, and a turkey farm. Combined, the virus killed 1,480 of 269,419 birds. Iran reported an outbreak in the same province at the end of December 2020.
Jan 25 OIE report on H5N8 in the Czech Republic
Jan 26 OIE report on H5N8 in Denmark
Jan 25 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany’s Brandenburg state
Jan 25 OIE report on H5N8 in Germany’s Lower Saxony state
Jan 21 OIE report on H5N8 in Kuwait
Jan 26 OIE report on H5N8 in Iran

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