News Scan for Sep 20, 2018

California has 2nd low-path H7N3 avian flu outbreak in turkeys

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials have confirmed a second outbreak of low-pathogenic H7N3 avian flu in a California turkey flock in the same county—Stanislaus—as one reported a week ago, according to a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) report yesterday.

The commercial operation, located in Stanislaus County, houses 35,000 turkeys susceptible to the virus. Officials detected the H7N3 strain as part of routine pre-slaughter surveillance within a 10-kilometer radius of the first outbreak. Tests on Sep 11 and additional testing on Sep 12 and 14 confirmed the finding.

The report says that partial sequencing data connect the virus to isolates obtained from the earlier outbreak, which involved more than 26,000 turkeys. “State officials have quarantined the affected premises and implemented movement controls,” the report notes. “Depopulation and disposal of the birds on the premises is near completion.”
Sep 19 OIE report
Sep 14 CIDRAP News scan on earlier outbreak


Zimbabwe seeks $35 million to fight growing cholera epidemic

Suspected cholera cases in Zimbabwe have now reached 3,621, with 71 confirmed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in an update, and the country is seeking $35 million to fight the epidemic.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) of Zimbabwe said the outbreak began on Sep 6 in Harare (Zimbabwe’s capital), after 25 hospital patients in that city presented with symptoms of the diarrheal disease. The index patient was identified as a 25-year-old woman who died in Harare.

As of Sep 15, the MoHCC has recorded 3,621 suspected cases, including 71 confirmed cases and 32 deaths (case-fatality rate, 0.8 %). Ninety-eight percent (3,564 cases) were reported from Harare.

The WHO said contaminated boreholes and wells are the suspected sources of the outbreak, and identified the suburb of Glen View as the epicenter of the outbreak.

“The country’s available response capacities are overstretched as authorities are already responding to a large typhoid outbreak which started in August 2018,” the WHO said.  “The water supply situation in Harare remains dire due to the high demand of water that is not being met by the city supply.”

According to the Zimbabwean, the country is seeking $35 million from businesses and individuals to fight the outbreak. The government has already allocated $29 million to response efforts.
Sep 20 WHO report
Sep 20 Zimbabwean story


Study finds coconut oil effect against mosquitoes, ticks, other biting bugs

A USDA-led study reports that compounds derived from coconut oil matched or outperformed DEET in repelling mosquitoes and other biting insects, as well as ticks.

The researchers, as detailed in Scientific Reports yesterday, tested medium-chain-length fatty acids derived from coconut oil against mosquitoes, biting flies, bed bugs, and ticks. They found that the substance strongly repelled stable flies, horn flies, and bed bugs, with levels of repellence even better than DEET, often considered the gold standard.

Likewise, lab tests showed no significant difference between coconut fatty acids and DEETS in repelling the lone star tick. And the fatty acids likewise matched DEET in repelling Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which transmit yellow fever, malaria, Zika, and other diseases.

The researchers write, “The present study represents the first report of a natural product repellant having more than one week of residual activity against biting flies, ticks, and bed bugs. In contrast, catnip oil, the best natural product repellent identified against biting flies so far, has less than 24-h of residual activity.”

They add, “A relatively high concentration of the coconut fatty acids was required at the minimum effective dosage in comparison to DEET in order to prevent biting from yellow fever mosquitoes. However, in our study no significant differences in biting protection was observed between the coconut fatty acids and DEET at concentrations above 25%.”
Sep 19 Sci Rep study

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