Sunday, 27 April 2014

Death from Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in Turkey

حمى القرم - الكونغو القرمزيه في تركيا
Location of recent CCHF in Turkey
CCHF In Iran 2000-2010 (738 Cases)
CCHF virus is endemic in many countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Outbreaks have recently been recorded in Russia, Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mauritania, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan and South Africa
The Turkish Press has reported that on April 16th a 56 year old man from Kavak, in the Boyabat district of the Sinop Province near the Black Sea, had died from CCHF. He had removed ticks from his cow(s) on April 4th and the following day started to vomit and felt weak. He was treated in a hospital in Kastamonou  and when CCHF was suspected he was sent to a hospital in Istanbul where efforts to save him failed.
The Tick which Cary the Virus
القراد الناقل لفيروس المرض

CCHF is caused by a virus of the genus Nairovirus and is spread by ticks of the genus Hyalomma and are found on cattle, sheep and goats in throughout the Middle East . Livestock show no outward signs of infection but humans develop dizziness, muscular pain, stiffness and bleeding. Mortality rates in humans lies between 10 to 40%. People are unaware that they have been bitten by an infected tick until the onset of symptoms. Turkey confirmed a case of CCHF in 2002 and the number of cases has increased steadily since then and together with Iran, Russia and Uzbekistan Turkey reports more than 50 cases a year. This may be due to good surveillance procedures and proper diagnostics in these countries.

Heamorrhagic  Fever in Man
With CCHF reported in our neighbouring countries( Iran & Turkey) we cannot be complacent and should be extremely vigilant for symptoms of this disease in people in contact with livestock. Where the livestock is we can be sure that ticks will be too and any human coming into contact with animals carrying ticks is at risk. This includes farmers, livestock owners, slaughtermen, traders and veterinarians and we are placed at greater risk because of the ever increased  illegal movement of animals across our borders.

We in Iraq need, stringent import and export control, efficient surveillance procedures and proper diagnostic facilities to fight zoonotic diseases.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS..داء كرونا الخطير في الخليج









Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is caused by the coronavirus MERS-CoV and is the causative agent of a serious respiratory illness that since September 2012 has infected 250 people globally and in 93 of the cases death has resulted. While some cases were reported from Europe all the patients had recently been in the Gulf countries. Research has revealed that MERS-CoV is widespread in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and that the virus, or a closely related form of it, has been present in camels in KSA for the last twenty years. Infection of camels is determined by nasal and rectal swabs or by antibodies in the blood and examination of archived samples has now shown the presence of MERS-CoV, or its related form, in camels from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tunisia.

Adult camels are more likely to carry antibodies to the virus while young animals carry the live virus. The first known case in humans was a Saudi Arabian man who had four pet camels and spread of the virus to humans is thought to be the result of poor hygiene. Some individuals had had contact with confirmed cases of MERS while in some cases camel milk was implicated but there are cases of human infection where the patient has not been in contact with camels. More that 80% of adult camels in KSA showed antibodies to the virus while 90% aged 2 or under were infected indicating that the camel can be a reservoir host for the virus.
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In the last week 50 cases of MERS have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia and there have been 7 deaths. Between 16th and 21st of April 9 cases were reported in the United Arab Emirates. The KSA government is treating the situation seriously and the Minister for Health resigned on Monday. The government has issued recommendations to all those considering pilgrimage to Mecca and advising that the elderly, those under 15 years or those with health conditions do not go. In addition farms producing camel milk in the vicinity of Mecca and Medina have been relocated. Increasing concern in the country has led to a suggestion in the media that ‘if there is something wrong with our camels then we should kill them.
As the evidence that the dromedary camel can form a reservoir host for the MERS virus increases the possibility of these animals rapidly losing their value and an increased likelihood that camel meat is illegally moved across international boundaries. In other words we need to be aware of the increased risks we face from the Illegal  Transboundry Animal Trade( ITAT)

It has to be remembered that when drought and outbreaks of disease occur the value of livestock rapidly drops and they are move to wherever there is a market. 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

فلتنحر الإبل إن كانت الناقل-كورونا


عندما تظهر بوادر وباء، من حق الناس أن تعرف ما يحدث بشفافية كاملة، فالمسألة حياة أو موت، لا تفيد فيها التطمينات، ولا التسويف، وبالتأكيد يكون التجاهل أسوأ أسلوب لأنه يثير الشائعات، وينشر الخوف، فالغضب. وفوق هذا، فإن المسؤولية الرسمية حول سلامة الناس وقائيا وعلاجيا كاملة، بل إن الحكومة مسؤولة أمام العالم، حتى لا ينتشر ولا ينتقل إلى خارج حدودها، وليست مسؤوليتها فقط مواطنيها، فالقضية بالغة الخطورة على أكثر من مستوى.

«كورونا»، مرض وبائي سمعنا به فقط قبل أقل من عامين، ظننا في البداية أنه «سارس» الصيني، ثم قيل إنه نسخة أكثر خطورة ينتقل بسهولة عن طريق التنفس، حتى سمي «متلازمة التنفس». وما زاد الخوف في الآونة الأخيرة هو الارتفاع المفاجئ في حالات الإصابة به، التي بلغت في السعودية مائتين وأربعا وأربعين إصابة، توفي 18 منهم.

كما أشعل القلق تضاربُ الأقوال حول أن الإبل هي المصدر الناقل له. وكان التعجل في نفي التهمة من بعض الجهات يوازي خطأ ترويجها، بحجة أنه لا يوجد دليل علمي، وهو لا يكفي لطمأنة الناس. هل تتحمل الجهات الصحية غدا المسؤولية إن ثبت أن الإبل هي الناقل، وما قيمة هذه المسؤولية بعد أن يكون انتشار الوباء قد زاد ومات المزيد من الناس؟ على وزارة الصحة، التي لم تنف أو تؤكد، أن تكون واضحة وصريحة لأن غضب تجار الإبل لا يوازي قيمة إنسان. صحيفة «الاقتصادية» نسبت لمصدر في منظمة الصحة العالمية قوله باحتمال «نقل فيروس مرض (ميرس) الشرق الأوسط (كورونا) عبر حليب النوق أو الاتصال المباشر بالإبل».

فقد سبق للعالم أن شهد فترات خوف مماثلة؛ بارتباط الأوبئة مرة بالبقر، وثانية الخنازير، وثالثة الدجاج، والآن ربما الجمال. وقد اضطرت حكومات العالم إلى اتخاذ إجراءات احترازية صارمة، بما فيها منع القادمين من دول معينة لفترات مؤقتة، وحظر الاستيراد منها. وتمت إبادة الحيوانات المشتبه في أنها بمناطق موبوءة. هذا ما حدث للأبقار في فترة محاربة مرض جنون البقر، ولاحقا في وباء أنفلونزا الخنازير تم سلخ ملايين منها، وتكرر الأمر في مواجهة وباء أنفلونزا الطيور، وغيرها. الأمر لا يختلف كثيرا عن الإبل، إلا إذا كانت الجهات الطبية واثقة تماما بأنه لا علاقة لها أبدا بالطفرة الطارئة للفيروس، الذي أخاف العالم.

ومشكلة وزارة الصحة ليست تطويق الوباء بعلاجه والوقاية منه، بل أيضا ترميم العلاقة والسمعة والمصداقية، التي هي ضرورية في منع الانهيار النفسي عند الناس، وتوجيه الرأي للتعامل بشكل صحيح مع الوباء.

Monday, 21 April 2014

ته به لاس - جٌله - Cowpats-


In the old days the first you saw on arriving at a village was a heap of animal dung where hens scratched for food while the women of the village busy making flat cakes from the dung of the village’s cattle. Left to dry in the sun the animal dung was then burnt as a source of heat and cooking. When mixed with mud and straw the dung formed building material for their houses and animal sheds. The use of dung to make building material dates back to prehistory and many cultures traditionally used dung as a source of heat such as the tribes of Native Americans who roamed the prairies and it is still used in the villages of India (Photo above). Buffalo, cow and camel chips were the source of heat for countless generations. In dry countries dung was also a source of cash and all members of families that kept flocks and herds would collect dry animal droppings in sacks for sale in towns and cities.

 No doubt there are young people today who have no knowledge of this and would be disgusted at the thought of using dung to cook their food yet this was a vital source of heat and village women worked hard not only to feed their family but to produce the means of cooking the food.

Today we are all too dependent on gas, oil and electricity to give us heat but we are then relying on fossil fuels which are a limited resource. In addition burning gas and oil is polluting our planet and causing global changes in our weather and that all countries are looking to alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity, wind and solar power, but the village women were always using a renewable energy source.

Today we are reliant on the oil industry for power and today’s villages have no dung heaps where the cockerel’s crow heralds the dawn of another day and the village women gather to make the fuel they need. Indeed there are no cockerels or hens to be seen in most of our villages and the outskirts of a village is marked by piles of plastic waste that litters the once productive land. I am sure that a time will come when people will look once more to the traditional source of power that was used in villages and will also turn again to agriculture. Then we may see villagers using gas and heat produced in their village from the dung of their flocks that is processed in a digester system to give methane. There are villages in the developing world where this system has already been developed. After all necessity is the mother of invention.


Women were, and still are, the power behind the villages’ existence. Salutations to those ladies.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Turkey is planning to build three more dams on the Tigris River


This article reveals that Turkey is planning to build three dams on the Tigris River as it flows through the Kurdish region on its way into Iraq. The article highlights the concerns of those living within the region that the environment will be destroyed, threatening the regions wildlife and the way of life for the Kurdish people living there. The dams will produce
 hydroelectric power but the lakes formed will attract the development of tourist centres, land development and related businesses at a cost to the environment and also threatens historical sites.

In this short article the author endeavours to highlight the threat that the proposed dams represent to the Kurdish region within Turkey. He is right to do so as the area has already suffered from the development of dams on the Euphrates now it seems attention is turning to the waters of the Tigris. Environmental damage, loss of wildlife, and the threat to historical sites are all raised in opposition to developments that threaten to destroy the Kurdish region of Turkey. Yet there is a major argument that should be raised against Turkey's endless development of dams along the Tigris and Euphrates, and one that receives little publicity, it is quite simply that Turkey's dams are reducing the flow of water into Iraq.

It is high time that the government in Baghdad, and the KRG, raised their concerns as to Turkey's actions in damming the rivers that are the lifeblood of Iraq. At the present time it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that is responsible for Iraq's water supplies. Why? It is unusual to say the least that such an important sector is under the control of this ministry where there are no experts with the relevant knowledge in the water sector. We need an Office for Water, collaboration between the governments on Baghdad and Erbil, to form a united front to deal with this vital issue and raise international awareness of the threat Turkey's action pose to Iraq's population. We should raise the issue at the UN and, as Turkey still hopes to become part of the EU, the matter should be raised there too. We must make a stand and fight to maintain our rivers, without water there is no life.


At present it seems that we are content to purchase all the goods that Turkey sends across its borders and ignore the reduction in our rivers. If this state of affairs continues it will not be too long before we are forced to buy water from Turkey as well as our food!! 

Sunday, 6 April 2014