Date: Sat, 2 Jul 2016 11:03:38 +0200

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, July 2, 2016 (AFP) - At least 30 homes and a school were destroyed in an earthquake that caused no injuries or deaths in Tajikistan, the ex-Soviet country's state emergencies committee reported Saturday.   A committee spokesman told AFP an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude struck in the remote Rasht region roughly 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of the Central Asian country's capital Dushanbe at around 1500 GMT on Friday.   A full assessment of the damage is still being carried out by the committee's team on the ground, the spokesman added.   Mountainous and poverty-struck Tajikistan is prone to regular natural disasters including landslides and earthquakes.   Last week in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan a stronger quake of 6.7 magnitude struck close to the nations' shared border according to the Kyrgyz emergency services ministry, but did not cause damage or casualties.
Date: 9 Dec 2015
Source: [edited]

Despite 60 years of vaccination and its near-eradication from the face of the planet, 2 polio cases popped up last week in Russia, a rare occurrence in an industrialized nation, according to news sources.

On Fri [11 Dec 2015], Central Asia Online reports, Russia confirmed a case in Moscow in an infant from Tajikistan -- the 2nd confirmation that week, both in infant girls, after 13 years without a trace of the disease in the country. The earlier case was found in a city called Irkutsk.

Though the diagnosis breaks Russia's long streak without a confirmed case of the disease, polio is nothing new for Tajikistan, which has had 12 to 15 polio deaths and 52 recorded cases since January [2015] alone, Central Asia Online reports.

The Eurasia Review reports that the number of recorded Tajikistan cases is 278 since last December [2014], and calls its appearance an "outbreak," saying the Russian government has taken measures to stem the spread of the disease, including restricting visits from Tajik migrant workers. Other sources say children in Irkutsk will receive additional vaccinations for protection.

Polio is a disease that spreads in areas of poor sanitation and attacks the central nervous system when a person is infected. All but eradicated in most of the world, the malady hangs on in several areas in Central Asia.

A Russian health minister was quoted on Fri [11 Dec 2015] saying the latest spread of the disease was contained, and there was no threat of it spreading through Russia.

The National Post, citing Reuters, also reported that new vaccinations will begin in Tajikistan under an initiative from UNICEF, but quoted a WHO spokeswoman who called the appearance of polio there a "huge outbreak."

On Mon [7 Dec 2015], the Global Polio Eradication Initiative also reported that the World Health Assembly has reexamined ways to stamp out the disease in other areas of the globe, releasing the "Strategic Plan 2010-2012" [sic; but see comment below] for the eradication of polio.  [Byline: Ben Murray]
[While 1 case was a visiting child from Tajikistan, there is no information on the 1st case in Irkutsk, Russia.

This report refers to Strategic Plan 2010-2012 for the eradication of polio, but an Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 exists, as described here.

Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018
<> [edited]
The Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 (see below) is a comprehensive, long-term strategy that addresses what is needed to deliver a polio-free world by 2018.
The plan was developed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in consultation with national health authorities, global health initiatives, scientific experts, donors and other stakeholders, in response to a directive of the World Health Assembly.
A mid-term review was conducted for the plan in mid-2015. Working in some of the most difficult environments in the world has presented major challenges to reaching children with vaccines. The review concluded that while the strategic plan remains a strong framework for ending polio, there is an urgent need to re-focus certain priorities and activities. This includes strengthening surveillance, improving the quality of immunization campaigns and building capacity to respond to outbreaks. Based on these recommendations, the review also evaluated the deadline for eradication, and any resulting financial implications.
The Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 addresses the eradication of all polio disease, whether caused by wild poliovirus or circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, while planning for the backbone of the polio effort to be used for delivering other health services to the world's most vulnerable children.

The Plan has 4 objectives. 1) Detect and interrupt all poliovirus transmission, 2) Strengthen immunization systems and withdraw oral polio vaccine. more... 3)  Contain poliovirus and certify interruption of transmission, 4) Plan polio's legacy. more...
 Polio this week as of 9 December 2015
2 cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus were confirmed in Myanmar this week. The Ministry of Health is implementing an urgent outbreak response with the support of the partners of GPEI. [Note the 2 cases in Russia are not mentioned. - ProMed Mod.LK]
In 2015, wild poliovirus transmission is at the lowest levels ever, with fewer cases reported from fewer areas of fewer countries than ever before. In 2015 so far, 66 wild poliovirus cases have been reported from 2 countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan), compared to 324 cases from nine countries during the same period in 2014. 
A map of Tajikastan may be accessed at
<,66.7575596,6z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x38b176737abcb3cd:0x25c331844f1988b5> - ProMed Mod.LK]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2015 09:19:45 +0100

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Dec 8, 2015 (AFP) - At least two people were killed and dozens injured when a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck dangerously close to a high-altitude lake in eastern  Tajikistan, authorities in the Central Asian state said Tuesday.   The tremor hit at 7:50 GMT in the ex-Soviet country on Monday, 109 kilometres (67 miles) west of the town of Murghob at a depth of 28 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.   Those known to have been killed include  a truck driver and a policeman who were travelling along perilous mountain roads in the remote region after the quake triggered landslides, the country's emergency services committee told AFP.

Dozens more are feared injured, the committee spokesman said.    A statement by the presidential press service also said that "more than 500 homes" were destroyed in the quake.    The epicentre of the quake was just 22 kilometres from the high altitude Lake Sarez, formed following an earthquake in 1911 and containing some 17 cubic kilometres of water, according to Tajikistan's seismological service.    Sarez is considered a major threat to the region if its dams break as a result of seismic activity.   The quake occurred some 345 kilometres east of Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe and was also felt in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to the north, as well as northern parts of Afghanistan to the south, Pakistan and India.
Date: Tue 27 Jan 2015
Source: Ca-News [trans. Mod.NP, edited]

6 members of a family were hospitalized with symptoms of botulism in the town of Isfara [in the Sogdi (or Sughd) province - ProMED Mod.NP] in northern Tajikistan, and a 7-year-old girl died.

The reason for the poisonings of the family members was the eating of canned foods. All other members of the family are currently in serious condition.
[Almost every year, large clusters of cases of botulism are registered in Sogdi province of Tajikistan. In 2014, more than 18 people contracted botulism after eating pickled tomatoes in celebration of Nowruz in Asht district. In autumn 2012, botulism was recorded in 27 residents in the village of Zafarbod in the Sogdi province; one of them died. - ProMED Mod.NP]

[Nowruz celebrates the start of the Persian spring festival on 21 March every year. - ProMED Mod.JW]

[A map of Tajikstan and its provinces can be found at
<> and a
ProMED HealthMap at <>. - ProMED Mod.LL]
Date: Tue 1 Apr 2014
Source: Asia-Plus [edited]

A 10-year-old boy died in the Asht central district hospital on 31 Mar 2014 of botulism poisoning. The boy was one of 33 residents of the Qahramon village in Sughd [Sogd]'s Asht district who have contracted botulism poisoning by eating home-canned tomatoes.

According to the Sughd Center for Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision, 4 of them were in the intensive care unit. "On 21 Mar 2014, some 95 residents of the village of Qahramon gathered to celebrate the Navrouz holiday, and 33 of them contracted botulism poisoning by eating home-canned tomatoes," said the source. "On 23 Mar 2014, they were taken to the Asht central district hospital, where they were treated for botulism."

Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal paralytic illness caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium _Clostridium botulinum_. The disease begins with weakness, trouble seeing, feeling tired, and trouble speaking. This may then be followed by weakness of the arms, chest muscles and legs. The disease does not usually affect consciousness or cause a fever.

Botulism can occur in a few different ways. The bacterial spores that cause it are common in both soil and water. They produce botulinum toxin when exposed to low oxygen levels and certain temperatures. Foodborne botulism happens when foods containing the toxin are eaten. Foodborne botulism results from contaminated food in which _C. botulinum_ spores have been allowed to germinate in low oxygen conditions. This typically occurs in home-canned food substances and fermented uncooked dishes. Given that multiple people often consume food from the same source, it is common for more than a single person to be affected simultaneously. Symptoms usually appear 12-36 hours after eating, but can also appear within 2 hours to 10 days.
[Tomatoes can be at the borderline of what is considered a low-acid food, which makes canning them somewhat hazardous for the risk of botulism. It is generally suggested to add a few drops of lemon juice prior to the canning procedure to lower the pH further. - ProMed Mod.LL]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
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