Global & Disaster Medicine

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A United States-FAO partnership working to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to manage outbreaks of diseases in farm animals has in just 12 months succeeded in training over 4,700 veterinary health professionals in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

FAO

March 2018, Rome – A United States-FAO partnership working to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to manage outbreaks of diseases in farm animals has in just 12 months succeeded in training over 4,700 veterinary health professionals in 25 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The FAO-provided technical trainings covered a gamut of key competencies, including disease surveillance and forecasting, laboratory operations, biosafety and biosecurity, prevention and control methods and outbreak response strategies.

All told, 3,266 vets in Asia, 619 in West Africa, 459 in East Africa, and 363 in the Middle East benefitted. They are on the front line of the effort to stop new diseases at their source. (Full list below)

“Over the course of this relationship we’ve learned that there are many mutually beneficial areas of interest between the food and agricultural community and the human health community,” said Dennis Carroll, Director of USAID’s Global Health Security and Development Unit.

“A partnership with FAO not only enables us to protect human populations from future viral threats, but also to protect animal populations from viruses that could decimate food supplies. It’s not just a global health, infectious disease issue, but also a food security, food safety, and economic growth issue,” Carroll added.

“Some 75 percent of new infectious diseases that have emerged in recent decades originated in animals before jumping to us Homo sapiens, a terrestrial mammal. This is why improving adequately discovering and tackling animal disease threats at source represents a strategic high-ground in pre-empting future pandemics,” said Juan Lubroth, FAO Chief Veterinary Officer

“A proactive approach is absolutely critical, and for that, the world needs well-trained, up-to-speed professionals — biologists, ecologists, microbiologists, modellers, physicians and veterinarians — which is why the United States’ consistent support for building up that kind of capacity has been invaluable,” Lubroth said.

Viral risks

Population growth, agricultural expansion and environmental encroachment, and the rise of inter-continental food supply chains in recent decades have dramatically altered how diseases emerge, jump species boundaries, and spread, FAO studies have shown.

A new study just published by USAID’s Dennis Carroll and experts from several institutions including FAO suggests that just  0.01 percent of the viruses behind zoonotic disease outbreaks are known to science.  The authors have proposed an international partnership, The Global Virome Project, aimed at characterizing the most risky of these. Doing so would allow more proactive responses to disease threats, with benefits not only for public health but also for the livelihoods of poor, livestock-depending farming communities.

Partnering for global health security

The close FAO-USAID partnership on animal health goes back over a decade.

Experts from the two organizations are meeting in Rome this week to review progress achieved in the past year and how to respond to threats like species-jumping zoonotic illnesses and the growing trends of antimicrobial resistance and options for intervention measures in food production and protection of public health.

In addition to trainings, via the USAID- Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) programme, FAO conducts research and advises on policy in order to help countries increase their resilience to disease emergence and protect animal and human health.

And to enable rapid responses by governments to disease events FAO has leveraged USAID support to work with the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depots to establish a series of emergency equipment and gear stockpiles in 15 countries that facilitate rapid and adequate responses to outbreaks.

FAO is also key player and advisor to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a growing partnership of over 60 countries, NGOs and international organizations working to improve early detection of and responses to infectious disease threats. USAID support under the GHSA umbrella is helping FAO engage with 17 countries in Africa and Asia to strengthen capabilities to detect and respond to zoonotic diseases.

Thanks to USAID support for the EPT and GSHA, FAO is actively tackling disease issues and building national capacities in over 30 countries

Economic impacts as well as health consequences

Beyond the risks posed to human health, animal diseases can cost billions of dollars and hamstringing economic growth.

The most damaging outbreaks of high impact disease in recent decades all had an animal source, including H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza, H1N1 pandemic influenza, Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

For example, the H5N1 outbreak of the mid-2000s caused an estimated $30 billion in economic losses, globally; a few years later, H1N1 racked up as much as $55 billion in damages.

Not to mention that for millions of the world’s poorest people, animals are their primary capital assets — “equity on four legs”. Losing them can push these families out of self-reliance and into destitution.

Note to editors.  The countries where the trainings took place were: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Laos People’s Democratic Republic , Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, Nepal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda and Viet Nam.


Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Agbeni Infections Linked to Pet Turtles, 2017

CDC

People infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Agbeni, by state of residence, as of November 2, 2017


Multistate Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Heidelberg Infections Linked to Contact with Dairy Calves

CDC

Since the last update on August 2, 2017, eight more ill people have been reported from six states.

People infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg, by state of residence, as of October 30, 2017

  • CDC, several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections.
  • A total of 54 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 15 states.
    • Seventeen (35%) people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 27, 2015 to October 15, 2017.
    • Eighteen (33%) people in this outbreak are children under the age of 5.
  • Epidemiologic and laboratory investigations linked ill people in this outbreak to contact with calves, including dairy calves.
    • In interviews, ill people answered questions about contact with animals and foods eaten in the week before becoming ill. Of the 54 people interviewed, 34 (63%) reported contact with dairy calves or other cattle. Some of the ill people interviewed reported that they became sick after their dairy calves became sick or died.
    • Ongoing surveillance in veterinary diagnostic laboratories showed that calves in several states continue to get sick with the outbreak strains of multidrug resistant Salmonella Heidelberg. ‎
    • Information collected earlier in the outbreak indicated that most of the calves came from Wisconsin. Regulatory officials in several states are now tracing the origin of the calves that are linked to the newer illnesses.
  • Antibiotic resistance testing(https://www.cdc.gov/narms/resources/glossary.html) conducted by CDC on clinical isolates from ill people shows that the isolates were resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.
    • Antibiotic resistance may be associated with increased risk of hospitalization, development of a bloodstream infection, or treatment failure in patients.
    • Whole genome sequencing has identified multiple antimicrobial resistance genes in outbreak-associated isolates from 43 ill people, 87 isolates from cattle, and 11 isolates from animal environments.
    • These findings match results from standard antibiotic resistance testing(https://www.cdc.gov/narms/resources/glossary.html) methods used by CDC’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS)(https://www.cdc.gov/narms/index.html) laboratory on clinical isolates from eight ill people in this outbreak.
    • All eight isolates from ill people were resistant to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ampicillin, cefoxitin, ceftriaxone, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline, and had reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. Seven isolates were also resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Five were also resistant to nalidixic acid. Three were also resistant to chloramphenicol. All eight isolates tested were susceptible to azithromycin and meropenem.
  • Follow these steps to prevent illness when working with any livestock:
    • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching livestock, equipment, or anything in the area where animals live and roam. Use dedicated clothes, shoes, and work gloves when working with livestock. Keep and store these items outside of your home.
    • It is especially important to follow these steps if there are children under age 5 in your household. Young children are more likely to get a Salmonella infection because their immune systems are still developing.
    • Work with your veterinarian to keep your animals healthy and prevent diseases.
  • This investigation is ongoing and we will provide updates as more information becomes available. Livestock owners should continue to watch for increased sicknesses in dairy calves and consult their veterinarian if needed.

 


What do zoos and aquariums do during a hurricane?

NPR

“….The skeleton of a zoo disaster plan is similar across the board: Staff members remove loose debris from the park, tarps and signs are taken down, generators and gas tanks are prepped. Cleaning supplies and food for animals and staff are stockpiled in advance — basically anything the zoo can prepare to operate without any outside assistance.

Facilities will also often choose members of a ride-out crew: select facilities staff, animal nutritionists and other key team members who will bunker down at the zoo through the storm. Lee Ehmke, CEO of the Houston Zoo, says 15 team members stayed on the first night of Hurricane Harvey last month.

“We were sleeping here at the zoo, on cots or on the floor,” he says. “We prepared food so everyone was fed … There was a lot of radio and Internet communication to make sure the right diets were given to the animals.”…..In preparation for Hurricane Irma this week, Zoo Miami’s plan is to stay put, too, says communications director Ron Magill. The reasoning, in part, is because the path of hurricanes can change quickly, and transporting an animal could actually mean moving it into more danger.
“That’s probably the No. 1 question I get asked: ‘Oh my God, when are you going to evacuate animals?’ We are never going to evacuate animals,” Magill says.
He says the stress of evacuating alone can be enough to kill an animal. Instead, the birds and small mammals of Zoo Miami will ride out the storm in independent kennels or buildings. The larger residents, particularly the carnivores and great apes, will bunker down in their usual indoor holding areas.”


FEMA: Pet Preparedness

Pet Preparedness Infographic

 

Humane Society

High Tech: Identifying Lost Pets With Microchips

Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If he’s wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get him back.

But what if the collar comes off?

To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet’s skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.

Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one. Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it’s likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That’s why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet’s first ticket home.

That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses his collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.

How and where are microchips placed?

Microchips are implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades. This is done with a large-bore needle and doesn’t require anesthesia.

How they work

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.

Can a microchip get lost inside my pet?

Your pet’s subcutaneous tissue usually bonds to the chip within 24 hours, preventing it from moving. There’s a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can’t actually get lost.

How long do microchips last?

Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.

Where can I get my pet microchipped?

Many veterinarians and some animal shelters implant microchips for a small fee. But—and this is very important—just getting a microchip isn’t enough—you also need to register your pet with the microchip company.

How do I register my pet?

Complete the paperwork that comes with the chip and send it to the registry, or do it online if that option is available.  Some companies charge a one-time registration fee while others charge an annual fee.  You’ll also receive a tag for your pet’s collar with the chip number and registry phone number.

Are there different types of chips?

Yes, and that used to be a problem. Competing microchip companies use different frequencies to send signals to scanners, and until recently there was no universal scanner that could read all the different frequencies. That was a problem if a pet had a microchip that a particular scanner couldn’t detect.

Many microchip companies now produce universal scanners and provide them to animal shelters and animal control agencies at no or very low cost. If your local shelters don’t have scanners, they can contact some of the major manufacturers to ask about getting one.

Are there different registries?

Yes, and that, too, used to be problematic. Different chip companies maintained separate databases. Now, some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip Also, the American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of the registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

Can a microchip replace my pet’s collar and tags?

No. Despite advances in universal scanners and registry procedures, microchips aren’t foolproof, and you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively to protect your pet. Universal scanners can detect a competing company’s chip, but they may not be able to read the data. And if shelter or vet clinic personnel don’t use the scanner properly, they may fail to detect a chip.

What if I move?

You need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.

What do I do if I adopt a pet who’s already been microchipped?

If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.


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