After 8 cattle and over 100 pigs were found dead in villages around the Simlipal Biosphere of Odisha in India, the villagers were gripped with an anthrax scare. This is based on the fact that in December 2014, an elephant died of suspected anthrax in the range, and later, investigation confirmed the presence of Bacillus anthracis in the elephant’s organs.
Though the cattle were vaccinated against the disease, pigs are usually not vaccinated, and vaccine failure has been noted in cattle. Teams of Veterinary Surgeons have visited the affected areas and blood and visceral samples have been collected from a dead calf. Now, as calves are rarely vaccinated against anthrax, if the bacillus turns up on investigation, then a fresh round of vaccinations and other public health measures need to be initiated to stop further spread of the disease.
The death of villagers from Goa (Pali village) and Kerala (Ezhupathimoonnu Kattunayakka tribal hamlet) has been attributed to KFD. While the disease transmission is established in Kerala and Karnataka, this is the first report of a fatality from KFD from Goa. The problem with KFD in peri-sylvatic areas seems to be spreading wider.
The CDC Fact Sheet on KFD provides a lot of vital information on this matter.
The case from Kerala seems to belong to the subset of patients (around 10-20%) who experience a biphasic manifestation of KFD. The disease abates after initial symptoms suggestive of a viral hemorrhagic fever which runs its course in two weeks or so. From the third week onward, there is a fresh wave of symptoms, accompanied by neurological manifestations and severe complications, which may even result in death.
If this Pune Mirror article is to be believed, then Kyasanur Forest Disease, a viral hemorrhagic fever, caused by the KFD virus, which belongs to Falviviridae, and is spread most commonly by the tick Haemaphysalis spinigera is spreading to areas where it was traditionally not found. Most commonly associated with Karnataka, with newer foci developing in Kerala, this disease is threatening to spill into the Western Ghats and into the state of Maharashtra.
First reported from the Kyasanur forest area in 1957, this disease has slowly and surely started to increase in its geographic range.
According to a report in the Times of India, the highly pathogenic avian influenza strain H5N1 has struck the poultry in the Ranga Reddy district of Telengana, about 20 km from Hyderabad. In response to this outbreak a decision to cull 200,000 birds and impose a ban on consumption of poultry products (chicken and eggs) has been placed. Protocols for culling and burial of infected birds are being followed and gunny sacks to dispose of the dead birds being obtained.
The outbreak happened in a rather dramatic fashion after a local veterinarian sounded the alarm when he noticed hundreds of dead birds in a farm.
Previously this HPAI strain was detected in wild crows but this is the first instance of HPAI in poultry in Telangana this year.