Friday, March 06, 2015

APHIS: HPAI H5N2 In A Minnesota Turkey Farm

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1st Detection of HPAI H5 In the Mississippi Flyway

 

# 9786

 

In what can only be viewed as an troubling sign for the poultry industry, the recently arrived HPAI H5N2 avian flu virus – a new reassortant of the H5N8 virus which first appeared in Asia in early 2014 – has dramatically leapfrogged hundreds of miles east and has infected a commercial turkey farm in Minnesota.


Although this subtype is not known to infect humans, this is a highly pathogenic virus in domestic poultry, and it continues to spread quickly around the world via asymptomatic wild and migratory birds.

 

Since November we’ve seen H5N8 and/or H5N2/H5N1 turn up in six western states as well as in British Columbia – all of which lie either beneath, or adjacent to, the Pacific Flyway.  

 

While these flyways are predominately north-south corridors, their overlapping allows for a lateral (east-west) movement of avian viruses as well – often via shared nesting areas and ponds – something we’ve looked at recently in The North Atlantic Flyway Revisited & FAO On The Potential Threat Of HPAI Spread Via Migratory Birds.

 

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Credit FAO

The Mississippi Americas Flyway covers 2/3rds of North America, and is overlapped by the Pacific Flyway on its western border, and the the Atlantic Americas Flyway on the east.

 

With HPAI H5 now detected in the upper Midwest, the concern has to be how much farther will these viruses spread, and how well entrenched will they become in North American birds.

 

We’ve the following announcement, issued late yesterday, from the USDA’s APHIS, after which I’ll be back with a bit more:

USDA Confirms H5N2 Avian Influenza in Commercial Turkey Flock in Minnesota


First Finding in the Mississippi Flyway

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minnesota. This is the first finding in the Mississippi flyway. It is the same strain of avian influenza that has been confirmed in backyard and wild birds in Washington, Oregon and Idaho as part of the ongoing incident in the Pacific flyway.

Samples from the turkey breeder replacement flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding. APHIS is partnering closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and the remaining birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the involved flock will not enter the food system.

CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time. The Minnesota Department of Health is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure they are taking the proper precautions. As a reminder, the proper handling and cooking of poultry and eggs to an internal temperature of 165 ˚F kills bacteria and viruses.

Federal and State partners are working jointly on additional surveillance and testing in the nearby area, following existing avian influenza response plans. The United States has the strongest AI surveillance program in the world, and USDA is working with its partners to actively look for the disease in commercial poultry operations, live bird markets, and in migratory wild bird populations.

USDA will be informing OIE and international trading partners of this finding. USDA also continues to communicate with trading partners to encourage adherence to OIE standards and minimize trade impacts. OIE trade guidelines call on countries to base trade restrictions on sound science and, whenever possible, limit restrictions to those animals and animal products within a defined region that pose a risk of spreading disease of concern. These virus strains can travel in wild birds without them appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard enthusiasts, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and to report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to State/Federal officials, either through your state veterinarian or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov

(Continue . . . )

 

Over the past year we’ve seen the unprecedented global spread of HPAI H5 viruses (primarily H5N8 & H5N2), with novel reassortants winging their way from Asia, to Europe and North America via wild and migratory birds.

 

While none of these North American reassortants appears to pose a threat to human health, the CDC remains cautious and has issued specific guidance documents (see CDC Interim Guidance For Testing For Novel Flu  & CDC Interim Guidance On Antiviral Chemoprophylaxis For Persons With Exposure To Avian Flu).

 

The concern – beyond HPAI H5’s considerable threat to the poultry industry – is that these viruses are constantly changing.  They can hook up with other influenza viruses and reassort – producing new hybrid strains - possibly with unpredictable results. 

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Shift, or reassortment, happens when two different influenza viruses co-infect the same host swap genetic material. 

 

This  rapid emergence and spread of a variety of H5 avian viruses (H5N1, H5N2, H5N2, H5N5, H5N6, H5N8) over the past 12 months recently prompted the World Health Organization to issue a pointed warning (see WHO: H5 Currently The Most Obvious Avian Flu Threat).

 

While no one can predict the future for any of these viruses - the greater the diversity of novel viruses in circulation - the greater the chances of someday seeing one successfully adapt to humans.

.

For more on this rapidly expanding array of novel flu viruses you may wish to revisit:

 

The Expanding Array Of Novel Flu Strains

EID Journal: Predicting Hotspots for Influenza Virus Reassortment

Viral Reassortants: Rocking The Cradle Of Influenza

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Saudi MOH Adds 3 New MERS Cases, 1 Death

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# 9785

 

The number of new MER cases reported by the Saudi MOH jumps to 3 today, with cases reported from Riyadh, Shakra and Unazah in the central region of the Kingdom. 


The Riyadh case is being investigated as a possible nosocomial infection, while the Unazah case may have had some form of animal contact.

 

Also noted are three recoveries and one death.

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The Caribbean’s Hidden Tsunami Potential (Revisited)

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# 9784

 

Although little appreciated outside of the Indian and Pacific Ocean basins, tsunamis are a rare, but genuine threat to almost any coastal region of the globe.  Today we’ve word of a new study that finds evidence that a major tsunami struck the Yucatan coastline between 1500 and 1900 years ago.

 

A little over a year ago – in The Caribbean’s Hidden Tsunami Potential – we looked at a brief history of some of the destructive waves that have been spawned in the tropical waters to our south. 

 

In that blog I presented a  list of known or suspected Atlantic & Caribbean Tsunamis, starting off with the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 (see A Look At Europe’s Seismic Risks), which also included:

 

    • November 1, 1755 - Lisbon, Portugal
    • October 11, 1918 - Puerto Rico
    • November 18, 1929 - Newfoundland
    • August 4, 1946 - Dominican Republic
    • August 18, 1946 - Dominican Republic
    • November 14, 1840 - Great Swell on the Delaware River
    • November 17, 1872 - Maine
    • January 9, 1926 - Maine
    • May 19, 1964 - Northeast USA

      POSSIBLE TSUNAMI

    • June 9, 1913 - Longport, NJ
    • August 6, 1923 - Rockaway Park, Queens, NY. An article on triplicate waves."
    • August 8, 1924 - Coney Island, NY. Contains a discussion, “An Observed Tsunami Building In Coastal Waters?"
    • August 19, 1931 - Atlantic City, NJ
    • September 21, 1938 - Hurricane, NJ coast.
    • July 3-4, 1992 - Daytona Beach, FL

 

The last suspected entry – the infamous Daytona Beach `rogue wave’ of 1992 - was described by witnesses as being between 10 and 18 feet tall, slammed onto a 27 mile stretch of Florida Beaches without warning and smashed hundreds of cars, causing as many as 75 (mostly minor) injuries.

 

In A Brief History of Tsunamis in the Caribbean Sea (2002), researchers James F. Lander, Lowell S. Whiteside, and Patricia A. Lockridge of NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center  list descriptions of of  91 reported  waves over the past 500 years that might  have been  tsunamis  within  the Caribbean  region. 

 

Of  these, the authors judged 27 to be actual tsunamis, while nine more were considered `likely’ tsunamis’.

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Credit - A Brief History of Tsunamis in the Caribbean Sea

 

Adding to this list, today we’ve a press release from the University of Colorado at Boulder which describes recently discovered evidence suggesting  a major tsunami struck along the eastern shore of Yucatan, Mexico within the past 2,000 years.

 

Public Release: 5-Mar-2015

Evidence indicates Yucatan Peninsula hit by tsunami 1,500 years ago

University of Colorado at Boulder

The eastern coastline of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, a mecca for tourists, may have been walloped by a tsunami between 1,500 and 900 years ago, says a new study involving Mexico's Centro Ecological Akumal (CEA) and the University of Colorado Boulder.

There are several lines of evidence for an ancient tsunami, foremost a large, wedge-shaped berm about 15 feet above sea level paved with washing machine-sized stones, said the researchers. Set back in places more than a quarter of a mile from shore, the berm stretches for at least 30 miles, alternating between rocky headlands and crescent beaches as it tracks the outline of the Caribbean coast near the plush resorts of Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

Radiocarbon dates of peat beneath the extensive berm indicate a tsunami, which may have consisted of two or even three giant waves, likely slammed the coastline sometime after A.D. 450. In addition, ruins of Post-Classic Mayan structures built between A.D. 900 and 1200 were found atop parts of the berm, indicating the tsunami occurred prior to that time.

<SNIP>

One implication of the Yucatan tsunami is the potential destruction another one could cause. While the geologic evidence indicates tsunamis in the region are rare -- only 37 recorded in the Caribbean basin since 1492 -- the Yucatan coastline, which was only lightly populated by Mayans 1,500 years ago, is now home to a number of lavish resort communities and villages inhabited by some 1.4 million people.

"If such an event occurs in the future, it would wreak havoc along the built-up coastline, probably with a great loss of life," said Benson. But it's far more likely that powerful hurricanes like the Class 5 Hurricane Gilbert that made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula in 1988, killing 433 people in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and causing more than $7 billion in damage, will slam the coastline, said the researchers.

 

In 2013 the  USGS warned the Earthquake/Tsunami Hazard in Caribbean Higher Than Previously Thought, stating `Enough strain may be currently stored in an earthquake zone near the island of Guadeloupe to cause a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Caribbean’

 

Beyond damage to local islands, it is not inconceivable that a large Caribbean or Atlantic origin tsunami could negatively impact the coastlines of the Gulf states, the Eastern Seaboard, Mexico, Central and South America, and even parts of Africa and Europe.

 

You can access current Tsunami warnings and arrival times at the  Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

 

As far as what to do before a tsunami threatens, READY.GOV has a Tsunami Awareness Page with helpful hints.NOAA  provides several useful documents, including a Tsunami Zone PDF (see below) and Tsunami Web page.

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Tsunamis, while comparatively rare, are just one of scores of possible disaster scenarios that one can find themselves suddenly thrust into.

 

When you add in the risks from earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, and other – even more common – emergencies, it makes sense to maintain a general level of preparedness against `all threats’.

Everyone needs an appropriate disaster plan, just as everyone should have a good first aid kit, a `bug-out bag’, and sufficient emergency supplies to last a bare minimum of 72 hours.

 

As the graphic above from NOAA advises, people should consider maintaining a 2-week supply of supplies in their home.  A topic I address in When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough.

 

As we move into the spring severe storm season, and ultimately back into the Atlantic Hurricane season, now is a good time to review and refresh your emergency preparedness plans.

An Egyptian H5N1 Roundup

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# 9783

 

Although details are often absent from official statements and media reports, we continue to see signs that Egypt’s bird flu crisis continues to worsen, both in poultry and in humans. 

 

New emergency committees are formed seemingly on a weekly basis, new cases (suspected and confirmed) are announced daily in the media, and repeated warnings go out to the public to seek medical care if they suspect avian flu infection.

 

Since the MOH has become increasingly uncommunicative on the subject over the past six weeks, we are left with gleaning what we can from local media reports.   Today I’ve included a few examples:

 

First, the formation of yet another high level committee to address the crisis (see Egypt: Government Statements On H5N1 Response & Latest Fatality & Egypt MOH: Three H5N1 Statements & Confirmation Of 17th Case for other committee announcements).

 

A supreme committee to combat the "bird flu" in Fayoum

Thursday 05 / March / 2015 - 10:19

Print Issued adviser Wael Makram, the governor of Fayoum, a decision No. 100 for the year 2015 to form a higher committee under his chairmanship to combat bird flu in Fayoum. committee shall take all necessary measures to combat bird flu and prevention measures, as well as follow-up to provide the necessary vaccinations to citizens and birds, and patient follow-up cases and the work of inventory Comprehensive their numbers, as well as assigning competent hospitals to lift the state of emergency for the reception of these cases.

The Commission in its membership, secretary general of the province , Assistant General Secretary, and Chairman of the Central Department for the governor's office as a member of the National Committee of crises and disasters, and the agents and the Ministries of Health and Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Fayoum, and general manager IDSC, and Director of Crisis Management, and Director of Environmental Affairs, and President of the bodies of water police, and the heads of local units of cities and centers.

 

Next, a report on the setting up of roadblocks to interdict the illegal transporting of poultry in and out of Menofia:

Menofia facing bird flu ambushes # Police

Monofia announced the face of bird flu tighten ambushes on the roads to monitor the tanker cars for birds and stop the transfer of birds to and from the provinces.

 (continue . . . )

 

And this report, which indicates that 359 outbreaks of avian flu have been detected in Egypt since the first of the year, and that also concedes that  Egypt is only capable of producing roughly 10% of the vaccine that would be required to fully immunize their nation’s poultry. .  

 

Ministry of Agriculture: the arrival of the hotbeds of infection with bird flu to focus 359

Latest update: Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 12:48

Lightning News - Egypt, announced the report, issued by the Central Department of Preventive Medicine, attached to the Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture, the arrival of the foci of infection with bird flu, observed from the fact teams disease, to 359 focus, from the first of January, until last Monday.

The report, that one of the outposts 0.236 of highly pathogenic type, and 123 weak virulence, and that the total bosses of poultry in rural education, arrived at the 6 million birds, just last month in the nursery education and wards of Education municipal birds such as chickens, ducks, ranging from ages between 15 days to 45 days.

(Continue . . . )

 

While greater vaccination coverage is often cited as a major component of their bird flu response, a couple of weeks ago in Egypt H5N1: Poultry Losses Climbing, Prices Up 25%, we looked at the impact that H5N1 has had on their poultry industry, and reports that a growing number of outbreaks are occurring among vaccinated poultry.

 

For a discussion on the limitations of poultry vaccination, you may wish to revisit yesterday’s blog Study: Recombinant H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus Strains In Vaccinated Chickens or 2012’s Egypt: A Paltry Poultry Vaccine.

 

Today, the creation of an emergency hotline to report suspected bird flu outbreaks was also announced.

 

Activate the service hotline for reporting bird flu and queens

Thursday 05 / March / 2015 - 13:52

General Authority for Veterinary Services, announced the Ministry of Agriculture and land reclamation for the activation of the hotline 19561 service, to report any emergency to the pathogenesis of animal and poultry bird flu. For its part .. said Dr. Amal Abdel-Fattah, Director General of Veterinary Medicine, and queens, he was the service support a team of doctors and Aladrain for two morning starting at nine in the morning until two o'clock pm, and the evening Tbdomn o'clock pm and finished seventh pm.

 

And of course we continue to see a steady parade of media reports on suspected or confirmed human cases, which may or may not be eventually confirmed by the MOH.  Some examples from the last 24 hours include:

 

Egypt announces the death of a woman infected with bird flu

Injury to a child by «bird flu» lake

High injured bird flu Sharqia for 13 cases

 

While we are hampered by the Egyptian MOH’s reluctance to discuss or divulge case information (except, presumably to the WHO per the IHR), we know from the FAO, media, and World Health Organization reports that over the past four months Egypt has seen the largest outbreak of H5N1 in humans since the virus emerged nearly 20 years ago.


The MOH (and by extension, the Egyptian press) stopped updating case counts in January, and so we get dubious headlines and reportage like this week’s Two die from bird flu bringing Egypt's 2015 death toll to 10, which doesn’t even come close to reflecting reality.

 

FluTracker’s conservatively curated Egypt - 2015 WHO/MoH/Provincial Health Depts H5N1 Confirmed Case List puts the number at nearly 80 cases, and at least 21 deaths since the start of the year (note: deaths are harder to quantify because follow up reports are less likely to be printed in the media).

 

Numbers which tally pretty well with recent FAO and WHO dispatches.

 

The most recent FAO/EMPRES Animal Influenza Update # 637 contains the following update on Egypt.

EGYPT
 
12, 17, 22 & 23/02/2015 - H5N1 infections in humans, Behera, Cairo, Giza, Dakahlia, Fayoum, Iskandariyah, Menia, Menoufia,Qina, Sharkia, Sohag and Sharkia Governorates

Source: National Authorities


According to the Ministry of Health, between 9 January and 2 February 2015, 22 new human cases of H5N1 infection were detected in 13 out of Egypt’s 27 governorates namely: Asyiut (1), Behera (3), Cairo (6), Damietta (1), Fayoum (4), Giza (1), Menia (4), Menoufia (2), Qalyubia (3) and Sharkia (4), of which 8 have died. Patients affected are aged between 0.8 and 42 years old, 13 of them are less than 6 years old, and 29 cases had contacts with backyard or market poultry few days prior to illness. Of the 285 confirmed human cases in Egypt since 2006, 102 were fatal.


 

Since the WHO case count sat at 177 cases and 63 deaths last October, these numbers reflect a net gain of 108 cases and 39 deaths since November 1st, 2014.  Of those (based on the WHO report of January 26th), roughly 27 cases and 9 deaths reportedly occurred between November 1st and Dec 31st, 2014.


All of which leaves us in the ballpark of 80+ cases, and approximately 30 deaths in Egypt since the start of the year.  

 

These numbers are as of a couple of weeks ago, and as we continue to see (unconfirmed) media reports of new suspected and `confirmed’ cases on a daily basis,  today’s total is no doubt even higher.

 

The World Health Organization and the FAO are reportedly scheduled to arrive in Egypt later this month to assist the government in their bird flu response this month (see Media: WHO H5N1 Mission To Egypt). 

 

Hopefully their after-mission reports will provide us with a better understanding of the scope of Egypt’s H5N1 outbreak.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Are You Ready For Tornado Season 2015?

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# 9782

 

With another winter storm dumping snow and ice across the southland this week it may seem a bit early to be thinking about tornado season, but the spring thaw is only a few weeks away and with it will come the storms of spring.

 

We’ve actually been pretty lucky the past three years, as tornado activity has run  below average - but nothing guarantees that streak will continue.

 

During a three day period (Apr 25th-28th) of 2011 a storm system of epic proportions spawned 351 confirmed tornadoes across five southern states, killing 338 persons in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  This was the the third deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. History. More than a dozen of these twisters reached intensities of 4 or 5 on the Enhanced Fujita [EF] scale, which can produce near total devastation.

Before and after imagery depicting tornado damage in the vicinity of the intersection of 15th St. E. and McFarland Blvd. E. in southeast Tuscaloosa, AL.

Before and after imagery depicting tornado damage in the vicinity of the intersection of 15th St. E. and McFarland Blvd. E. in southeast Tuscaloosa, AL. The before imagery is courtesy of Google, the after imagery was acquired from an altitude of 5,000 feet above ground level by the NOAA King Air April 29, 2011.

 

All but a small part of the United States is vulnerable to these storms, but the strongest generally occur in an area we call Tornado Alley (below Left), which runs from middle Texas north though Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.

 

This is the area where you will generally find the largest and most powerful tornadoes; the F5 wedge type

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TORNADO ALLEY                       DIXIE ALLEY

Fortunately, much of the mid-west is sparsely populated, and so the number of tornado deaths that occur here are actually less than in other areas of the country.   

 

DIXIE ALLEY (above right) sees more frequent, albeit usually less severe tornadoes.  Due to a higher population density, more deaths occur in Dixie Alley than in Tornado Alley most years.

 

Which is why every home and office should have a NOAA weather radio. Once thought of as mainly a source of local weather information, it has now become an `All-Hazards' alert system as well.

 

No one can say with any confidence how many destructive storms 2015 will bring - but when it comes to tornados - you only have to be hit by one to ruin your whole day.

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NOAA’s Are You Weather-Ready? Severe Weather Preparedness has a lot of good information, and three tornado specific videos.

Get Weather-Ready: Before a Tornado

Get Weather-Ready: During a Tornado


GGet Weather-Ready: After a Tornado

 

In 2012 the CDC’s MMWR issued an analysis of the 2011 massive tornado outbreak, that stressed the importance of safe rooms.  Due to the length of the report, I’ve only reproduced a few excerpts. 

Follow the link to read:

Tornado-Related Fatalities — Five States, Southeastern United States, April 25–28, 2011

Weekly

July 20, 2012 / 61(28);529-533

(Media Synopsis)

Individuals who work or live in a tornado-prone area should develop a tornado safety plan prior to severe weather.

During April 25–28, 2011, the third deadliest tornado disaster occurred in the southeastern U.S. despite modern advances in tornado forecasting, advanced warning times, and media coverage.  CDC reviewed data from the American Red Cross, death certificates and the National Weather Service to describe the fatalities by demographic characteristics, shelter used, cause of death, and tornado severity in the affected states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Of the 338 deaths, approximately one-third were older adults, almost half occurred in single-family homes, and a quarter happened in mobile homes.  One-half of the 27 tornadoes were rated powerful (EF-4 or EF-5) and were responsible for almost 90 percent of the deaths. The use of safe rooms is crucial to preventing tornado-related deaths.

(Continue . . . .)

 

FEMA has a good deal of advice on exactly how to construct a safe room – either above or below ground.

Residential Safe Rooms

 

The information below will help you understand how having a safe room in your home can protect your family and save the lives of those you care about.

Find answers to your Questions about Building a Safe Room, including:

  • What is the cost of installing a safe room?
  • Can I install a safe room in an existing home?
  • Can I build the safe room myself?
  • Where is the best location for the safe room?
  • Where can I find plans for safe room construction?

And more....

Building a Safe Room in Your House

For more details about how you can build a safe room in your home, go to the FEMA P- 320, Taking Shelter from the Storm: Building a Safe Room for Your Home or Small Business page before downloading it from the FEMA Library.   

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Having a good (and well rehearsed) family emergency plan is essential for any emergency. Even with a safe room, family members could become separated (they may be sent to different hospitals or shelters) in the post-disaster chaos.

 

Some may be injured and unable to provide information about their families.

 

So it is important to set up a plan, including meeting places and out-of-state contacts, and individual wallet information cards -  before you need it. To that end READY.GOV has some advice, and tools, to help you do just that.

Plan to Protect Yourself & Your Family

Family Emergency Plan

(PDF - 3Mb)

Prepare yourself and your family for a disaster by making an emergency plan.

Download the Family Emergency Plan (FEP) (PDF - 750Kb), print the pages and fill them in offline.

Your emergency planning should also address the care of pets, aiding family members with access and functional needs and safely shutting off utilities.

You may also want to inquire about emergency plans at work, daycare and school. If no plans exist, consider volunteering to help create one. Read more about school and workplace plans.

Once you’ve collected this important information, gather your family members and discuss the information to put in the plan. Practice your plan at least twice a year and update it according to any issues that arise.

Together with adequate emergency supplies, a solid first aid kit, and an emergency battery operated NWS Weather Radio, these steps will go a long ways to protecting you, and your family, from a wide variety of potential disasters.

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Basic kit : NWS radio, First Aid Kit, Lanterns, Water & Food & cash


This weekend, when we `spring ahead’ into Daylight Savings Time, is the perfect time to take a good hard look at your emergency plans, and supplies, and make any adjustments necessary.

 

For more on all of this, a partial list of some of my preparedness blogs include:

When 72 Hours Isn’t Enough

In An Emergency, Who Has Your Back?

An Appropriate Level Of Preparedness

The Gift Of Preparedness – 2014 Edition

Saudi MOH: 1 New MERS Case & New Awareness Campaign

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# 7981

 

For the second day in a row, the Saudi MOH has only announced 1 new MERS cases (along with 1 recovery, and 1 death), again from Riyadh.

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Meanwhile, there’s a new hash tag, and MERS meme, on twitter this morning   (#نقدر_نوقفها  aka "we stop") courtesy of the Saudi MOH promoting their new MERS prevention social media campaign.  This appears to be an extension of the awareness campaign begun last month (see Saudi MOH: New MERS Awareness Video PSAs).

 

Already several hundred tweets (and re-tweets) with links to videos, brochures, and infographics have been posted over the past few hours.

 

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This (translated) statement from the Saudi MOH website:

 

Under the slogan (#نقدر_نوقفها) health awareness campaign continues with the coronavirus

13 April 1436

Under the slogan "we stop" Ministry of health today launched a new phase of its campaign to raise awareness of health disease HIV/AIDS Middle East respiratory Corona (MERS-COV) and the Ministry of these steps aim to engage all members of society with different classes and strata in the further definition of the disease, and provide them with updates and prevention methods through a combination of media playback and broadcast in addition to social media such as Twitter, Facebook and text messages as part of an integrated plan to achieve the goal of reaching all segments of society in the various categories Depending on the disease.

This phase involves the preparation of a set of affinity means of brochures about the disease and ways to prevent it, and also the surface plates and roll for use in healthcare facilities and locations of assemblies, and plan the use of advertising and informational beeps on the radio and television channels, in addition to awareness advertisements in a number of newspapers and media and social media.

This stage to complement the health awareness campaign with the previous stages of coronavirus, which included several events and activities including press conferences of Ministry and who experts and television meetings and interviews on TV and radio, in addition to issuing press releases on a regular basis.

And harness the Health Ministry representative in the command and control of all their potential and expertise in tracking the disease, find out ways of transmission and protection, providing comprehensive health care to the injured. The Ministry in cooperation with the World Health Organization and the Centers for disease control and prevention, USA and a number of specialized medical centers to learn more about the disease. as with many sectors of Government to strengthen the efforts and goals of the campaign.

It is worth mentioning that this campaign is a direct follow-up of his Excellency Mr. Ahmed Ibn Aqeel Al-Khatib as they come further to the efforts undertaken by the Ministry of health throughout the year to tackle the virus and to protect all members of society with God from infection.

 


While public awareness is important, we are nearly three years down this MERS road and are still largely in the dark regarding how it is being spread on the Arabian peninsula (see WHO MERS Update & The Community Transmission Mystery).