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Rampant Myiasis outbreak in Mahwit expected to spread (Local).

SANA'A, Dec 23 -- As the spread of myiasis, a condition where animal or human tissue is infested with fly larvae or maggots, in the Mahwit governorate rapidly accelerates, field teams from the General Department for Animal Resources (GDAR) have ceased working towards combating this potentially fatal disease.

The teams stopped work three weeks ago because, according to Ahmed Al-Hasibi, director of the Animal Wealth Administration in Mahwit governorate, "the vector is out of control, it is a fly in the air."

However, two teams in Bani Sa'ad, one in Al-Khabt and another in Milhan are still working towards eradicating the disease.

"At the moment, GDAR field teams have stopped fighting the epidemic. Because they have not received their salaries from the Ministry of Agriculture since the 3rd December, they have decided to quit," Al-Hasibi said.

The team members took leave for the Eid vacation, but due to the lack of pay they are yet to return to work, according to Mohammed Al-Sormi, director of the agriculture and irrigation office in Mahwit.

Al-Hasibi also revealed that the epidemic has caused the death of 1465 camels, cows, and sheep in the Mahwit governorate, and that those numbers are increasing.

Mohammed Yahya Abdo, Secretary General of the local council in Milhan said, "Last week 22 sheep and 2 cows died in the area of Badh."

The infected animals in Mahwit treated by the field teams include 180 cows, 351 camels, 848 sheep, 998 goats and 295 donkeys and dogs. The animals that were saved from the epidemic include 9407 cows, 93489 sheep, 133080 goats, 1502 camels and 5086 donkeys and dogs. Also, 8445 barns were dealt with by the teams, according to Al-Hasibi.

He added that two human cases in Mahwit were reported.

Al-Hasibi calls on the Ministry of Agriculture and the other bodies concerned to quickly take action against the spread of the disease. He maintained that multiple areas should be treated at once, in a bid to effectively manage the vector transmission.

Al-Sormi noted that the disease is widespread in four districts in the Mahwit governorate; in Al-Khabt, Milhan, Bani Sa'ad, and Hofash. Climatic factors are to blame, such as the frequent wet weather found in the many valleys of the region.

In addition, he explained that the spread of infection is out of control in Mahwit, since the teams lack sufficient manpower to effectively cover all the affected regions. He added that there is no coordination between the institutions involved, such as the Ministry of Agriculture. He explained that those working in environmental protection must find a suitable solution for the stray animals that help to spread the disease. He also noted that the Mahwit governorate needs 20 teams to cover all the affected areas at once.

Al-Sormi observed that this event has been totally ignored by the mass media, and questioned the role played by television and radio in covering this situation. He demanded that they broadcast suitable content to raise awareness of the issue.

Al-Sormi explained that myiasis is caused by a blue fly that lays her eggs in the soft tissue of the host. These then hatch, resulting in a parasitic infestation that lives within the host body, gradually moving to vital sections of the animal, such as the liver and blood vessels.

He recommended the following tips: first, clean and disinfect any apparent wounds. Second, if you ever see any worms, they are to be removed and burned. Third, keep your everyday environment clean, and use bug-spray on the fly that spreads this disease.

Al-Sormi explained that the animal most often afflicted is the goat, but that there are also many cases in sheep and cows. He stressed that the field teams should go to the affected areas as soon as possible, suggesting that their on-site campaigns should include the distribution of awareness brochures and leaflets that instruct people in how to deal with this disease.

The Hodeidah governorate, which has a long coastal bar alongside the Mahwit borders from the west, will be adversely affected by the outbreak in Mahwit. "Myiasis in Hodeidah is currently under control and the teams are working well, but if the situation in Mahwit continues to deteriorate then the Tehama will be greatly affected, since a large section of the Tehama borders Mahwit," said Dr. Fadel Al-Amri, director of the Veterinary Office in Hodeidah.

He revealed that by 21st December, in Hodeidah alone there had been cases of myiasis detected among 92 cows, 627 sheep, 94 goats, 14 camels and 110 donkeys and hens.

He added that these cases were distributed among 143 villages, from a sample of 633 villages.

"Within Hodeidah, Al-Mighlaf, Al-Dehi, Al-Ziadya and parts of Al-Kanawis district have all been infected with myiasis," Al-Amri said.

Myiasis entered Yemen in February this year, and hit three governorates simultaneously; Hodeidah, Hajjah, and Sa'ada, and by November this year the epidemic had appeared in Mahwit on a huge scale.

"Yemen requires YR 22 billion to curb the spread of myiasis," as Dr. Galib Al-Eryani, General Manager of the Agriculture Ministry's Animal Wealth Administration told Yemen Times earlier this year.

In February of this year, 5 human cases were recorded in Hajjah and Hodeidah.

Myiasis is widespread in the tropics and subtropics of Africa and the Americas, but occurs with significantly less frequency in most other areas of the world. The disease is also known as 'fly-strike', 'fly-blown' or 'New World'....

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Jul 29, 2009
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