Date: Mon 30 Oct 2017
Source: Ultima Hora [in Spanish machine trans., edited]
<http://www.ultimahora.com/se-confirman-cuatro-casos-brucelosis-y-mas-40-son-sospechosos-n1115822.html>

The Directorate of Health Surveillance on Mon 30 Oct 2017, confirmed 2 new cases of brucellosis and with those there are 4 officially diagnosed cases [3 students and a teacher - ProMED Mod.LL]. In addition, there are 44 people suspected of being infected with the bacterium. The director of Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Public Health, Águeda Cabello, reported that students from the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the National University of Asunción (UNA) were infected with _Brucella_ after being in contact with livestock goats from the practice center of the San Lorenzo campus. All confirmed cases had contact with animals between the months of July and September 2017.

After the zoonotic disease in veterinary students became known, 420 samples were taken within the Faculty. Health Surveillance received 129 results, of which only 2 cases tested positive. Subsequently, 125 samples were tested and from that group the 2 additional positive cases were confirmed, this Mon 30 Oct 2017, adding to 4 officially. For this reason, the Public Prosecutor's Office accused the dean of the faculty of the crime of commercialization of harmful foods, since the outbreak occurred in 14 goats and despite being aware of it the sale of milk from these animals continued. For her part, the dean denied hiding the cases and said that as soon as she found out, she suspended the sale.
====================
[ProMED would like more information about how many of the diagnosed and suspected cases of brucellosis had symptoms consistent with clinical brucellosis and how many were asymptomatic but with positive _Brucella_ serology alone. Likewise, whether the organism is known to be _B. melitensis_.

The symptoms and signs of brucellosis may develop from days to months after the initial exposure to the organism. While some individuals may develop mild symptoms, others may go on to develop long-term chronic symptoms. The signs and symptoms of brucellosis are extensive and they can be similar to many other febrile illnesses, so recognition of potential exposure -- from ingestion of unpasteurized milk or cheese, employment as a veterinarian or veterinary student, in a slaughter house or meat processing plant, or working in a microbiology lab -- is vital.

Maps of Paraguay can be seen at
<http://www.nationsonline.org/maps/paraguay-administrative-map.jpg>
and <http://healthmap.org/promed/p/4191>.

The City of Asuncion, Ciudad de Asuncion, (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asunci%C3%B3n>) is an autonomous capital district, not a part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asuncion, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lumbar, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Nemby, San Antonio, Limpio, Capiata, and Villa Elisa, which are part of the Central Department. The Asuncion metropolitan area has around 2 million inhabitants. - ProMED Mod.LL]
Date: Mon 16 Oct 2017 11:36
Source: EFE [machine transl, edited]
<http://www.ultimahora.com/estudiantes-veterinaria-se-contagiaron-brucelosis-n1113386.html>

Students of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the National University of Asuncion were infected with brucellosis and they accused the authorities of not having been warned in time. The disease has its origin in animals. A veterinary student reported in Monumental AM that 2 of her colleagues were infected with brucellosis, a disease caused by a bacterium present in horses, cows and goats.

According to their statements, the authorities of the Faculty were aware that the animals were sick and, although they made a notification, it only arrived 2 days later to the students. Meanwhile, the students continued their practices. So far only 2 of them have been infected, but this week [week of Sun 15 Oct 2017] tests will be done to other students to see if they are in the same condition.

In addition, the veterinary student said that several people bought products of animal origin from the Faculty so there is a concern that they might have been infected as well. They requested the National Service of Quality and Animal Health (Senacsa) supplies and to have the corresponding quarantine appropriately applied.
==================
[Brucellosis (<http://www.medicinenet.com/brucellosis/article.htm>) is a disease that is thought to have existed since ancient times, as it was 1st described more than 2000 years ago by the Romans and Hippocrates. It was not until 1887 that a British physician, Dr David Bruce, isolated the organism that causes brucellosis from several deceased patients from the island of Malta. This disease has had several names throughout its history, including Mediterranean fever, Malta fever, Crimean fever, Bang's disease, and undulant fever (because of the relapsing nature of the fever associated with the disease).

The symptoms and signs of brucellosis may develop from days to months after the initial exposure to the organism. While some individuals may develop mild symptoms, others may go on to develop long-term chronic symptoms. The signs and symptoms of brucellosis are extensive, and they can be similar to many other febrile illnesses, so recognition of potential exposure -- from ingestion of unpasteurized milk or cheese, employment as a veterinarian or veterinary student, in a slaughter house or meat processing plant, or working in a microbiology lab -- is vital. In this outbreak, it is not clear what symptoms the students had or whether they were just seropositive. ProMED would like more information about this episode.

The City of Asuncion, Ciudad de Asuncion, (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asunci%C3%B3n>) is an autonomous capital district, not a part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asuncion, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambare, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Nemby, San Antonio, Limpio, Capiate, and Villa Elisa, which are part of the Central Department. The Asuncion metropolitan area has around 2 million inhabitants. - ProMed Mod.LL]

[While the posting does state horses can acquire the disease, brucellosis in horses should be noted is not a frequent occurrence. Horses can pass the disease to humans, but it is rare. - ProMED Mod.TG]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
<http://healthmap.org/promed/p/4191>.]
Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2016 19:48:46 +0200

Asuncion, July 27, 2016 (AFP) - Paraguay reported its first two cases Wednesday of babies born with microcephaly linked to the Zika virus, which is blamed for a surge in the birth defect across Latin America.   "The central laboratory confirmed the birth of two babies with microcephaly caused by Zika," health ministry official Agueda Cabello told a press conference.

Since Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, was detected in Latin America last year, health authorities have sounded the alarm over a sharp rise in the number of infected mothers giving birth to babies with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads.

The World Health Organization has declared an emergency over the apparent link between the virus and the potentially debilitating or deadly birth defect.   Brazil has been the country hardest hit, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases of microcephaly blamed on Zika.

Spain reported the first case Monday of a baby born in Europe with microcephaly linked to Zika. The mother had caught the virus during a trip abroad, though authorities did not say where.   Zika, which causes flu-like symptoms and a rash, is mainly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It has also been shown to spread through sexual contact.
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2016 19:29:28 +0200

General Díaz, Paraguay, July 4, 2016 (AFP) - A drought in northern Paraguay has driven thousands of thirsty alligators to crowd around lakes and wells, scaring off cattle from the dwindling water sources, environmentalists and locals say.   Parched leathery corpses of the reptiles lie on the cracked earth near the Pilcomayo River where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia meet.   The Chaco region is suffering its worst drought in 19 years, Public Works Minister Ramon Jimenez Gaona said recently.

Trying to survive, the reptiles are on the move.   "When they find themselves in very dry conditions they tend to walk long distances in the wood in search of food," said Aida Luz Aquino, a biologist with the Paraguay branch of the World Wildlife Fund.   The alligators are scaring off local residents and livestock.   "Cattle cannot approach to drink for fear of being attacked by alligators," said Alcides Gonzalez, a local herdsman.   Dozens of environmentalists have come to the region to try to help.   The head of the state environment department Rolando De Barros insisted "there are different parts of the river where there is still a lot of water."

But Aquino rejected suggestions that the alligators be rounded up and taken away from areas where they pose a threat.   "It is not advisable to move alligators from one place to another," she said.   "Some of them have already gone back into the woods. Others are waiting by the water to save energy nd stress. Moving them would stress them more."   The Pilcomayo's waters usually diminish at this time of year.

But this time authorities have been accused of failing to dredge sediment from the riverbed which has blocked up its course in places.   President Horacio Cartes said it was a "critical ituation." But he accused the media of exaggerating a natural phenomenon "that happens all the time."   Locals have been drilling new wells and leaving meat on the riverbanks to feed the alligators.   "We prefer to do that than see our animals devoured," Gonzalez told AFP.
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 2015 20:52:57 +0100
By Hugo OLAZAR

Alberdi, Paraguay, Dec 31, 2015 (AFP) - Residents of a Paraguayan village that risks being submerged in floodwater were defying authorities' calls to evacuate on Thursday as a nearby dike threatened to burst, officials said.   The Paraguay River bordering Argentina has broken its banks at various points in recent rainstorms, forcing 130,000 people from their homes.   But in the southeastern village of Alberdi, many of the 10,000 locals were hunkering down rather than shipping out.

Floodwater has transformed the village into an island.   "The dike is leaking. Water is gushing out of it and our experts say there is a big risk that it will burst open like a tsunami," the country's emergencies minister Joaquin Roa told AFP.   "There is a wall of water heading south. We cannot wait any longer. We have to evacuate."

Experts say the tropical extreme weather phenomenon known as El Nino and unseasonably hard rain are to blame for widespread flooding in South America in recent weeks.   Floods have displaced 170,000 people overall in Paraguay, neighboring Brazil and Argentina, and Uruguay, officials say. At least 12 people have been killed by flooding in Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.   Despite the risks, Alberdi's mayor, Federico Centurion, said about 50 families were not heeding his calls for them to evacuate.   "We are in the hands of God and the Virgin."

- Fearing a flood 'tragedy' -
Instead of fleeing, residents were piling up sandbags to protect their homes.   "The inhabitants of Alberdi do not want to believe that the dike can collapse," Centurion said.   "The speed of the water is striking. Added to that are the waves caused by big container boats that are constantly passing along the river. All of that is putting pressure on the dike."

One resident, shopkeeper Gabriela Gonzalez, reckoned however that "the authorities are exaggerating."   Disembarking from a boat in Alberdi with bags of merchandise, she said the water will not burst through the dike.   One of the soldiers helping evacuate villagers, Lieutenant Colonel Catalino Benitez, said they were meeting resistance among locals.   "They tell us, 'What happened in such-and-such a year was worse. That is their consolation," he said.   "They don't even like us to be here, although we have come to help."

Among those who did heed the warnings was Juana Vargas, who agreed to flee with her family across the river to the Argentine city of Formosa.   "We have not had a good Christmas," she told AFP.   "We have children. They are playing in the mud. There are mosquitoes. It's not safe to drink the water so they are getting sick," she said.   "I'm afraid there'll be a flood in the night while we are sleeping."

Roa said that if the river kept rising, he would "be obliged to apply to state prosecutors to order the use of force" to evacuate residents.   "If the dike breaks during the night, there will be a tragedy."   El Nino strikes every few years, associated with a sustained period of warming in the central and eastern tropical Pacific.   Last month, the UN's World Meteorological Organization warned the current El Nino was the worst in more than 15 years, and one of the strongest since 1950.
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