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Disease Outbreak News

Human infection with avian influenza A (H5N8) – the Russian Federation

On 18 February 2021, the National IHR Focal Point for the Russian Federation notified WHO of detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) in seven human clinical specimens. These are the first reported detection of avian influenza A(H5N8) in humans. Positive clinical specimens were collected from poultry farm workers who participated in a response operation to contain an avian influenza A(H5N8) outbreak detected in a poultry farm in Astrakhan Oblast in the Russian Federation. The laboratory confirmation of the seven specimens were performed by the State Research Centre for Virology and Biotechnology VECTOR (WHO H5 Reference Laboratory). The age of seven positive cases ranged between 29 to 60 years and five were female. Between 3 and 11 December, a total of 101 000 of 900 000 egg laying hens on the...

Ebola virus disease – Guinea

Disease outbreak news 17 February 2021 On 14 February 2021, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea informed WHO of a cluster of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in the sub-prefecture of Gouécké, Nzérékoré Region, Guinea between 18 January and 13 February 2021. The cases showed symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding after attending the burial of another relative (a 51 year-old nurse) on 1 February 2021. The index case of the cluster was a nurse who had originally presented at a health centre in Gouécké on 18 January 2021 with headache, physical weakness, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and fever. She was diagnosed with typhoid. She sought a second consultation at a health facility in Nzérékoré on 23 January 2021 for fever, vomiting, liquid stools, and physical weakne...

Rift Valley fever – Kenya

Rift Valley fever (RVF) has been reported in Kenya in humans in Isiolo and Mandera counties and in animals in Isiolo, Mandera, Murang’a and Garissa counties. As of 4 February 2021, there were a total of 32 human cases (14 confirmed positive), and 11 deaths (CFR 34 %). Isiolo County The event is believed to have started on 19 November 2020, with deaths among herders presenting with symptoms of fever, headache, general malaise with or without nausea, epistaxis/hematemesis, and abdominal pain/diarrhoea reported to the County Department of Health in Isiolo. The first human case was reported in late November 2020 from Sericho ward in Garbatulla Subcounty. Deaths have been reported in Gafarsa and Erisaboru within Garbatulla subcounty as well Korbesa in Merti subcounty. On 16 December, RVF was co...

Ebola virus disease – Democratic Republic of the Congo

On 7 February 2021, the Minister of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) after the laboratory confirmation of one case in Butembo, North Kivu Province. The case was a 42-year-old female living in Masoya Health Area, Biena Health Zone. She was a spouse of an EVD survivor, who has been followed up and whose biological samples have tested negative since 28 September 2020. On 25 January 2021, the case presented with nasal bleeding. From 25 January to 1 February, she reportedly received outpatient care in Ngubi health center. From 1 to 3 February, she was admitted to Masoya health center with signs of physical weakness, dizziness, joint pain, epigastric pain, liquid stools, headache and difficulty breathing. On 3 February, a blood samp...

Influenza A (H3N2) variant virus – United States of America

Disease Outbreak News 5 February 2021 On 13 January, 2021, a child under 18 years of age in Wisconsin developed respiratory disease. A respiratory specimen was collected on 14 January. Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing conducted at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene indicated a presumptive positive influenza A(H3N2) variant virus infection. The specimen was forwarded to the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on 21 January for further testing. On 22 January, CDC confirmed an influenza A (H3N2)v virus infection using RT-PCR and genome sequence analysis. Investigation into the source of the infection has been completed and revealed that the child lives on a farm with swine present. Sampling of the swine on...

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Disease Outbreak News: Update 1 February 2021 Between 1 June through 31 December 2020, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported four additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) with one associated death. The cases were reported from Riyadh (two cases), Taif (one case), and Al-Ahsaa (one case) Regions. The link below provides details of the four reported cases. MERS-CoV cases reported from 1 June through 31 December 2021xlsx, 24kb From 2012 through 31 December 2020, a total of 2566 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV and 882 associated deaths were reported globally to WHO under the International Health regulations (IHR 2005). The total number of deaths includes the deaths that WHO is aware of to date through follow-up with affected member states. WHO risk...

Influenza A(H1N2) variant virus – Brazil

Disease Outbreak News 4 January 2021 On 15 December 2020, the Brazil Ministry of Health reported the second confirmed human infection with influenza A(H1N2) variant virus [A(H1N2)v] in Brazil in 2020. The case was a 4 year-old female who lives on a farm which also functions as a swine slaughter in Irati municipality, Paraná state. On 16 November 2020, the case had illness onset with a fever, cough, coryza, headache and dyspnea, and was provided ambulatory care on the same day at Darcy Vargas Hospital. He was treated with medication for fever and headache and has recovered. No symptomatic contacts were found among the case’s family. On 18 and 19 November, respiratory samples were collected for testing. The Parana State Laboratory detected an unsubtypeable influenza A virus and the samples w...

Cholera – Togo

Disease outbreak news 4 January 2021 From 11 November to 28 December, 2020 a total of 67 suspected cholera cases presenting with diarrhea and vomiting, including two deaths a case fatality ratio (CFR: 3%) were reported from the municipalities “Golfe 1” and “Golfe 6” in Lomé, Togo. A total of four health areas (Katanga, Adakpamé, Gbétsogbé in Golfe 1, and Kangnikopé in Golfe 6) in the affected municipalities reported at least one case. On 17 November, cholera was confirmed by culture in the laboratory of the National Institute of Hygiene (INH) in Lomé, Togo and WHO was informed. On 19 November, the Minister of Health, Public Hygiene and Universal Access to Care of Togo issued a press release declaring a cholera outbreak and on 24 November WHO was officially notified. From 11 November to 28 ...

SARS-CoV-2 Variants

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has had a major impact on human health globally; infecting a large number of people; causing severe disease and associated long-term health sequelae; resulting in death and excess mortality, especially among older and vulnerable populations; interrupting routine healthcare services; disruptions to travel, trade, education and many other societal functions; and more broadly having a negative impact on peoples physical and mental health. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has received several reports of unusual public health events possibly due to variants of SARS-CoV-2. WHO routinely assesses if variants of SARS-CoV-2 result in changes in transmissibility, clinical presentation and severity, or if they impact on countermeasures, includi...

Yellow fever – Senegal

From October to December 2020, a total of seven confirmed cases of yellow fever (YF) have been reported from four health districts in three regions in Senegal. The outbreak consists of a cluster of four confirmed cases from three health zones in Kidira health district, Tambacounda region; one case in the neighbouring Kedougou health district, Kedougou region; one case in Saraya health district, Kedougou region; and one case in Thilogne health district, Matam region. In Tambacounda region, on 18 October 2020, a sample was collected from a 40 year-old female living in Kidira district during an investigation for West Nile virus infection. On 29 October, Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) confirmed the case as yellow fever. On 31 October, IPD reported results of a second confirmed case of YF to n...

Yellow fever – Guinea

Between 6 November and 15 December 2020, 52 suspected cases of yellow fever (YF), including 14 deaths were reported in Guinea. A total of 50 cases were reported from the health district of Koundara in north-west Guinea, one from the health district of Dubreka (near Conakry, in the south-west) and one from the health district of Kouroussa, in the center of the country. Analysis performed at the Nongo, Conakry Laboratory of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers revealed that 10 cases of suspected YF were IgM positive for YF. Of these, 8 were from unvaccinated suspect cases from Koundara, 1 was from Dubreka, and 1 from Kouroussa. Additional testing at the Institut Pasteur de Dakar (IPD) in Senegal similarly found that 8 samples from Koundara had signals positive for YF. The two cases from Dubreka and Kour...

SARS-CoV-2 Variant – United Kingdom

On 14 December 2020, authorities of the United Kingdom (UK) reported to WHO that a new SARS-CoV-2 variant was identified through viral genomic sequencing. This variant is referred to as SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01 (Variant Under Investigation, year 2020, month 12, variant 01). Initial analysis indicates that the variant may spread more readily between people. Investigations are ongoing to determine if this variant is associated with any changes in the severity of symptoms, antibody response or vaccine efficacy. A total of 1108 cases infected with SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01 have been detected in the UK as of 13 December 2020. The variant was picked up as part of an epidemiological and virological investigation initiated earlier in December 2020 following an unexpected rise in COVID-19 cases in S...

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