According to a (translated) report in Free News Volga, the Saratov regions remains active for the transmission of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS). In January 2015, as many as 121 people were identified to be suffering from HFRS, which represents a four fold increment to the number of cases reported in January 2014.
HFRS is a group of symptomatologically similar diseases caused by a group of viruses belonging to the family Bunyaviridae. The viruses that cause HFRS include Hantaan, Dobrava, Saaremaa, Seoul and Puumala viruses.
These viruses are primarily carried by rodents and human beings get affected when they come in contact with rodent urine or saliva or even aerosolized dust from rodent nests. Known carriers
include the striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius), the reservoir for both the Saaremaa and Hantaan virus; the brown or Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), the reservoir for Seoul virus; the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus), the reservoir for Puumala virus; and the yellow-necked field mouse (Apodemus flavicollis), which carries the Dobrava virus.
Control measures, therefore, center around measures for rodent control and exposure limitation. None of the HFRS have a specific treatment and supportive therapy, with maintenance of hydration, electrolytes, appropriate antibiotics to treat any secondary infections and dialysis for renal support being the pillars of disease management. Depending on the causative virus and the patient profile, mortality varies from as low as 1% to as high as 15%.
The causative bacterium of plague, Yersinia pestis, has been detected in fleas in Picture Canyon, Arizona. Deaths of prairie dogs in this region alerted officials to the possibility of the disease.
Prairie dogs are especially vulnerable to this bacterium as they live in social burrows which may be infested with rodents that carry the fleas bearing the disease causing bacteria. Once the host rodent dies, the fleas seek out new hosts to feed off as they are sanguinivorous. It has been noted that even a single infected member of a prairie dog colony may lead to the death of as many as 90% of the members of the colony.
Human cases have been known to develop from close contact with cats that have preyed on infected rodents, and adequate advisory is being issued, especially to campers and hikers in the region, about the risks of plague. In addition, the prairie dog burrows at the affected place, Picture Canyon, are being sprayed with insecticide to kill the fleas that may host the plague bacillus.
The Times of Zambia reports that three persons have died from suspected bubonic plague in the Nyimba District of the Eastern Province. Reportedly 13 people from the Kavyeni village have been affected by the disease in what seems like an ongoing outbreak.
The neighboring countries of Mozambique and Malawi are also suffering from an outbreak of cholera and typhoid, which have broken out in the Mchinji and Kasungu areas of Malawi and since these areas are in close proximity to Chipata, the health authorities have warned the public to be on high alert for the possibility of these diseases occurring within the nation.
While more information is not available according to this report, it needs to be followed up to confirm the outbreak of bubonic plague and institute control measures as needed.