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05-03-2008 - International disease monitoring, October to December 2007

International disease monitoring, October to December 2007

M. Sabirovic1, L. Raw1, S. Hall1, H. Elliott1 and N. Coulson1

1 Food and Farming Group, International Trade Core Function, DEFRA, 1A Page Street, London SW1P 4PQ

  • New serotype of African horse sickness causes outbreaks in Senegal
  • African swine fever spreading in the Caucasus region, and its first introduction into Mauritius
  • Bluetongue virus serotype 8 spreads further south, east and west in Europe
  • Bluetongue virus serotype 1 spreading northwards in Europe
  • Rabies - introduced cases in western Europe

- These are among matters discussed in the international disease monitoring report for October to December 2007, prepared by DEFRA's Food and Farming Group, International Trade Core Function


Since 1993, African horse sickness (AHS) has been reported from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Senegal, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The disease still remains confined to sub-Saharan Africa.

Historically, outbreaks of AHS have been reported from the Iberian Peninsula, north Africa, the Middle East, Cyprus, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. The disease, however, has not persisted in these areas.

Fifty-six new outbreaks of AHS serotype 2 were reported in the north and east of Senegal. The outbreaks, affecting race-horses and draft horses in villages and farms, started in August, and were all resolved by early November. While AHS serotype 9 is endemic in Senegal, this was the first incidence of serotype 2 in the country. It remains uncertain how the virus was introduced into Senegal. The spread of the disease out of the endemic region is usually attributed to wind dispersal of infected vectors (Culicoides species), or the transportation of infected horses or other Equidae.


African swine fever (ASF) is present in many sub-Saharan countries, where infection in natural hosts (warthogs, bush pigs and giant forest hogs) is usually asymptomatic. Historically, sporadic incursions have been recorded in northern parts of southern Africa, the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) and some European countries (Russia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy). While the disease was eradicated from all affected countries in mainland Europe, it has remained endemic in the island of Sardinia since 1982.

Italy reported that ASF continues to be present in Sardinia, with one outbreak in Nuoro and three outbreaks in Sassari.

Caucasus region
Following the first ever recorded detection of ASF in Georgia in June 2007, two new outbreaks of ASF in village pigs in Georgia were reported in November. These outbreaks started in May and August and were in the central part of the country. Control measures including stamping out are in place. The number of cases is reported to have decreased significantly during September and October (from 49 outbreaks and 64,394 cases reported in June to seven outbreaks and 5001 cases in August, and two outbreaks and 786 cases in November). No new outbreaks were reported in December.

In Armenia, eight outbreaks of ASF were reported in free-range backyard pigs during September and October. The disease was confirmed in November. An outbreak that commenced in September in free-range backyard pigs was resolved by late November. This was reported in December. No further outbreaks have been reported.

Russia reported the first cases of ASF since 1977 from Chechenskaya Respublika in December. The disease was found in wild boar, which move freely between Georgia and Russia in subalpine grassland along the Argoun and Shatoy-Argoun rivers in the Caucasus region.

The disease appears to be spreading relatively quickly in the Caucasus region. Reports from Russia suggest that the disease may be circulating in the wild boar population in the region, thus increasing the potential for further spread.

Africa and Malagasy region
Zambia reported four new outbreaks of ASF in pigs in villages spread across North-Western province in December. The last ASF outbreak in Zambia was reported in 2006.

Following the ASF outbreaks first reported in May, Kenya advised in a final report that the outbreaks were resolved in mid-November.

Mauritius reported three outbreaks of ASF from three locations in the south and east of the island. The outbreaks started in late September and were confirmed as ASF on October 17. The disease affected village pigs. This is the first recorded outbreak of ASF in Mauritius. Control measures include stamping out and movement controls. Details of the preliminary outbreak assessment can be found at


North-west Europe
Belgium reported a significant number of new outbreaks of bluetongue virus (BTV) serotype 8 (BTV-8) from across the country throughout the period.

The Czech Republic reported the first outbreak of bluetongue (BTV-8) in cattle on a farm in Karlovarsky in the extreme west of the country, adjacent to Germany, in November. Parts of the western Czech Republic were already under movement restrictions due to outbreaks in Germany.

Denmark reported the first ever outbreak of bluetongue (BTV-8) in the country in October. Denmark has been partially within the European Commission (EC) BTV restriction zones as a result of earlier outbreaks in Germany. The outbreak occurred in sheep on an island in Storstrøms, within the bluetongue restriction zones. There have been no further detections.

France reported a number of new outbreaks as the disease continued to move south and east across the country during the period.

Germany reported numerous outbreaks across the country during the period.

Luxembourg continued to report new outbreaks in October, November and December.

Switzerland reported outbreaks of bluetongue (BTV-8) in cattle and goats in late October and November. The whole of Switzerland has been in an EC BTV restriction zone since October 9. The preliminary outbreak assessment can be viewed at

Following the first four outbreaks of BTV-8 in cattle reported in late September from eastern England, the disease spread more widely in cattle and sheep during October. The UK continued to report outbreaks of BTV-8 from eastern England during November.

A map showing the latest bluetongue control areas in Europe can be found at The latest information on bluetongue in the UK can be seen at

South-west Europe
France reported two outbreaks of BTV serotype 1 (BTV-1) in sheep from Pyrenees-Atlantiques, south-west France, in the first half of November, and a further new outbreak in Landes in December (see There are now two serotypes (BTV-1 and BTV-8) present in France.

Following the first outbreak of BTV-1 in September, Portugal reported more outbreaks during October.

Spain reported new outbreaks of BTV-1 in the south and south-west as well as the north-central parts of the country throughout the period. Following the 10 outbreaks reported in September, there were another six BTV-1 outbreaks in the northern half of the country in October (see


Continuing reports of classical swine fever (CSF) in wild boar in Europe continue to be of concern. Bait vaccination of wild boar populations in specific areas of some countries continues. Sporadic cases of CSF in domestic pigs have also been reported in some countries in Europe, Asia and South America.

CSF continued in domestic pigs in Croatia, with two outbreaks on small farms in Medimurska during October. One of these was very close to the border with Slovenia.

The outbreaks of CSF in wild boar in Hungary have been ongoing since January. There were two more cases in early and mid-October, three cases during November and 11 new outbreaks in wild boar during December, of which six were in northern Pest, adjacent to Nograd and Slovakia. The remainder were in Nograd.

Romania reported a new outbreak of CSF in wild boar in Sibiu in November and another in free-range domestic pigs in Braila in December.

Slovakia reported three outbreaks of CSF in wild boar in Nove Zamky and Zvolen in December. All outbreaks in wild boar have been within the established restricted zones.

East Asia
Russia reported an outbreak of CSF detected in late September in newly introduced, unvaccinated 45-day-old pigs on a farm in Primorskiy Kray in the far east of Russia (near to the borders with North Korea and China). Russia is considering vaccinating all pigs at the national level this year. Russia also reported outbreaks of CSF in wild boar in the Moscow region (Moskovskaya Oblast) that were detected in October and mid-November.

South America
Following the outbreak of CSF reported on the north-east coast of Brazil in January, the final report confirmed that no further outbreaks were detected.

No further cases of CSF have been detected in Guatemala since the first outbreak in September.


Two outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) serotype O in sheep and goats were reported from Larnaca, Cyprus, after being first detected in October but only confirmed at the beginning of November. No active disease was found. Control measures included stamping out. Vaccination is prohibited.

In the UK, there were eight infected premises, with FMD confirmed at 11 fragmented sites in total. These were detected in two clusters (August and September). All infected premises were located in the county of Surrey in England. The last confirmed case of FMD in the UK was on September 30. No new outbreaks have been reported since the last case at the end of September. Further details can be found at

Following the outbreak of FMD type O in Kirklareli in September, Turkey has confirmed that there have been no new outbreaks and that stamping out and vaccination have been undertaken. Vaccination in response to the outbreak has been completed.

Middle East
No new outbreaks in Jordan had been reported by December. This was the final report concerning the outbreak first reported in mid-October 2006.

Botswana reported an outbreak of FMD serotype SAT1 in cattle in Maun, northwest Botswana. (The original outbreak has now been confirmed as being due to serotype SAT2 rather than SAT1 as previously reported.) The outbreak started on October 9 and was confirmed on October 16. No further outbreaks have been reported. The outbreak occurred after floods destroyed the disease control fencing in the area. Control measures including modified stamping out and movement restrictions on the area are in place. Cattle in the area are vaccinated twice a year with trivalent vaccine effective against FMD serotypes SAT1, SAT2 and SAT3. No new outbreaks have been detected since the incident in October. The disease appears to be confined to the identified infected area. Details of the preliminary outbreak assessment can be found at

An outbreak of FMD (serotype SAT2) was reported in cattle on communal grazing in eastern Caprivi in Namibia in early November. Three new outbreaks of FMD in vaccinated village cattle on communal grazing in Caprivi were reported in late November. This area has wild African buffaloes.

South America
Following the outbreaks that started in September 2005, Brazil reported in November that cleaning and disinfection was completed and that there was no FMD virus circulation or further outbreaks.

In Guayas, in south-west Ecuador, an outbreak of FMD serotype O was detected in young unvaccinated beef cattle in late October. No further outbreaks have been reported.

An outbreak of FMD serotype Asia1 in cattle was reported in Qinghai in central China in late October. Vaccination and stamping out are among the control measures implemented.

Laos reported an unexpected increase in morbidity and mortality in cattle infected with FMD serotype O in the country in December. FMD is endemic in Laos.


Sporadic outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 continued to be reported in both wild birds and domestic poultry over the wider geographic area (Fig 1). In some regions, the disease appears to be endemic in domestic poultry populations, with subsequent spread linked to certain types of trade and movements of domestic poultry and their products. In some cases, these outbreaks appear to be associated with either migratory movements of wild waterfowl to their wintering grounds, or movements associated with temporary unfavourable weather conditions.

Since June 2007, infection has been reported in both wild birds and domestic poultry in the EU. It would appear that the cases in wild waterfowl in Germany, the Czech Republic, France and the UK relate to a new introduction of the virus to these populations.

Germany reported new outbreaks of H5N1 in a small backyard flock in Oberhavel, Potsdam-Mittelmark and Ostprignitz-Ruppin in Brandenburg that started in mid-December. There had been no subsequent outbreaks related to the earlier outbreaks in Schwandorf and Erlangen-Höchstadt in Bayern and in Saalfeld-Rudolstadt in Thuringen reported in July, August and September 2007.

Poland reported new outbreaks of H5N1 that started in Mazowieckie with two outbreaks in turkeys in late November. In December, there were three outbreaks reported in backyard poultry and laying hens, and one in wild birds at a wild animal shelter. All of these were reported in Mazowieckie. Three outbreaks were reported in backyard poultry in Warminsko-Mazurskie. Details can be found at

Romania reported an outbreak of HPAI H5N1 in backyard poultry in Tulcea, on the Black Sea coast, in late November. No further outbreaks have been reported.

The UK reported that final cleansing and disinfection of the infected premises following the outbreaks in turkeys in early 2007 was completed in June 2007, and was declared free of HPAI at the beginning of October 2007. However, two new outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 were reported in free-range turkey flocks in eastern England in November. The epidemiological report on this outbreak is available at

Russia reported five new HPAI H5N1 outbreaks in December: one in commercial layer chickens, three in backyard poultry in Rostovskaya Oblast, and the fifth in replacement layer chickens in Krasnodarskiy Kray.

Benin reported its first outbreak of HPAI H5N1 in December. The outbreak occurred in village chickens in the south-eastern coastal area of Adjara in early November. Other outbreaks affected layer chickens in Cotonou in early December and village poultry in Akpro-Misserete, Dangbo and Porto Novo in early to mid-December. Stamping out was applied and no further outbreaks had been detected by the end of December.

Egypt provided details of 579 outbreaks of H5N1 that had been detected in 2006 and 2007 and were confined to farm and backyard poultry in a number of provinces across the country. Nearly all of these had been resolved by early December.

The last outbreak of HPAI recorded in Sudan was in early September. No further outbreaks have been detected and Sudan declared that it had regained its status as a HPAI-free country in November.

Middle East
Saudi Arabia reported five outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in broiler, breeder and layer chickens on farms in Ar Riyad in the centre of the country in November.

Bangladesh provided details of 36 previously unreported outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 that took place between March and December 2007. The outbreaks affected both farm poultry and backyard poultry in villages in Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna and Rajshahi Divisions. They were all reported to have been resolved by mid-December.

Following the outbreak of HPAI H5N1 reported in July, India applied stamping out, disinfection and cleaning. No further outbreaks were reported and India declared that it had regained its status as a country free from notifiable avian influenza in November.

Myanmar reported a new outbreak of H5N1, mainly in quails, in Bago in the second half of October. Two more outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 were detected in backyard village poultry in Shan State in November and December.

The last outbreak of HPAI H5N1 in Pakistan was reported in February 2007. A further two outbreaks in broilers were detected in October. The outbreaks continued in December with two new outbreaks that started in late November in a commercial broiler flock in Punjab and in a commercial broiler breeder flock in North-West Frontier. These two outbreaks were relatively close to each other geographically. Ring vaccination is ongoing.

Outbreaks of HPAI H5N1 in Vietnam that started at the end of 2006 continued in provinces across the country. Vietnam reported six new outbreaks in unvaccinated ducklings and chickens in October and four new outbreaks in early November.

North America
Following the outbreak in Canada that was reported in September there were no further outbreaks of HPAI H7N3 in this period. Testing of birds in the control zones continued. Control measures remain in place.


Italy reported new outbreaks of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) in October. Three outbreaks of LPAI H5 were reported in commercial poultry in Portugal in December.

Central America
Outbreaks of LPAI H5N2 were reported in village poultry and in a live bird market in the east of the Dominican Republic in December.

East Asia
An outbreak of LPAI H7N8 was reported in a meat duck farm in the south-west of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) in November.


Belgium reported Newcastle disease (ND) outbreaks in pigeons in Antwerp and Namur in October.

ND continued in village poultry in Bulgaria, with four new outbreaks in Vraca and one in Dobric in late September.

A new outbreak of ND was detected in commercial poultry at Harju, north-central Estonia, in October. Stamping out has been applied.

An outbreak of ND in broiler chickens on a farm on Crete (Greece) was detected in late October. Stamping out was applied.

Italy reported one ND outbreak in pigeons in Piemonte (north-west Italy) and another in layer chickens and pigeons in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (north-east Italy). Both outbreaks started in the second half of November.

Following the July outbreaks of ND in Romania that were reported in September there were four further outbreaks, one in an unvaccinated backyard flock in central Romania in late September, another in backyard poultry in the centre of Romania in October, and two in backyard poultry in Buzau and Prahova in December.

South America
Following the initial notification of ND in Chile in July, there have been no further outbreaks and a final report has been issued.

Japan has declared that it has regained freedom from ND after the outbreak reported in March had been controlled.


Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is present in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The first occurrence of the disease outside Africa was reported in Israel in 1989. Since then, sporadic cases continue to be reported in some areas of the Middle East. Control of the disease includes vaccination.

Middle East
The LSD outbreak that started in Israel in June continued, with another outbreak in early November being reported from Hadarom. No new outbreaks had been detected by the middle of December. This was the final report on this incident. Details can be found at


Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is wide-spread in many parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In Asia, the disease appears to be mainly present in a narrow area with a dense population of ruminants that extends from south Asia to the Mediterranean region.

Following an outbreak reported in July 2007, another outbreak of PPR was reported from China (Tibet) in September. No further outbreaks were reported. Details can be found at


Following the outbreaks of Rift Valley fever (RVF) that started in December 2006, Kenya has not reported any new outbreaks since the last outbreaks were considered to be resolved in June 2007.

Sudan reported an outbreak of RVF in sheep in White Nile Province (east-central Sudan) in November. The outbreak started in early October. The previous occurrence of RVF in Sudan was in 1973. This was apparently an isolated outbreak and no further outbreaks have been detected following investigation. No new outbreaks were reported in December.


Mongolia issued a final report on the sheeppox and goatpox outbreaks that occurred in late 2006. The outbreaks were resolved in October. There have been no further outbreaks. It was reported that more than 1·5 million sheep have been vaccinated since the outbreaks.


Italy reported three outbreaks in Brescia in October and one new outbreak in Salerno in December.


The first case of rabies in Belgium since 1999 was detected in a young dog euthanased in Vlaams Brabant in central Belgium in mid-October. The animal had been imported from Morocco as a four-week-old puppy in July 2007. A second dog in the same household was also euthanased and samples are being tested for rabies.

A case of the Indian strain of rabies was detected in a puppy imported from India into Finland in early November. The puppy had been under veterinary control due to health certificate deficiencies.

France reported a case of European bat lyssavirus 1A in a cat from Vendee in the west of the country in November.


The authors thank Dr Ian Brown, of Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Wey-bridge, for his comments on HPAI.

Unless otherwise stated, this article summarises official information on disease outbreaks received from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Commission. DEFRA's Food and Farming Group, Inter national Trade Core Function (FFG-ITCF) reports on these diseases in countries that trade with the UK and EU member states; it also notes new epidemiological developments which may give an early warning of emerging threats to the UK. Where a new disease outbreak could pose a threat, the FFG-ITCF carries out a qualitative analysis of the risks to UK livestock. These analyses are available on DEFRA's website (

The FFG-ITCF notes that the EU and the UK take appropriate safeguard measures to mitigate the potential risks of disease being introduced through legal trade. It points out that it is also important to recognise the continuing threat to the UK through illegal imports from countries with endemic disease and other routes, for example, highly pathogenic avian influenza or Newcastle disease from migrating birds.

Information sources

World Organisation for Animal Health (Office International des Epizooties [OIE]), Paris, France

European Commission, Brussels, Belgium

Animal Disease Notification System. Weekly Reports CVO Emergency notifications/SANCO documents EUR-Lex (

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