Date: Wed 20 Mar 2019
From: Lucille Blumberg, John Frean, Evan Shoul <>,
<>, <> [edited]

A game hunter working in an area close to the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia has been admitted to a Johannesburg hospital with laboratory confirmed East African trypanosomiasis (EAT) [_Trypanosoma rhodesiense_] following an acute febrile illness.

He has a typical trypanosomal chancre on the dorsum of his hand, and a scanty parasitaemia was noted on a Giemsa- stained blood smear in Lusaka and Johannesburg laboratories.

On admission, he was moderately hypotensive with a tachycardia, had a mild acidosis, but no definite myocarditis, no ARDS, or clinical CNS pathology. He had a profound leucopaenia (WBC: 1.5) and thrombocytopenia (but no bleeding), moderately deranged hepatic transaminases (chronic hepatitis B infection) but normal renal function.

Suramin treatment was commenced promptly after admission. A CSF examination will be carried out later this week once the peripheral parasitaemia has cleared and the thrombocytopaenia has improved.

This is the 3rd case of EAT admitted to the unit in the past 4 months, one person working in game park, Malawi reserve (fatal case) and one person working in a game management area close to the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia.
Prof Lucille Blumberg
John Frean
Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases
GeoSentinal Site
National Institute for Communicable Diseases
Johannesburg, South Africa
Dr Evan Shoul
Infectious Diseases Specialist
Johannesburg, South Africa
[ProMED thanks Lucille Blumberg, John Frean, and Evan Shoul for this report.

The South Luangwa National Park is in eastern Zambia, the southernmost of 3 national parks in the valley of the Luangwa River (see map at: <>).  African trypanosomiasis is a zoonotic disease with a reservoir in wild game animals and is a risk throughout game parks in Africa including Zambia. More information can be found on the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) website on African trypanosomiasis: <>.
The case story presented here shows that trypanosomiasis is a differential diagnosis to malaria and indeed haemorrhagic fever in endemic areas. Thus, such patients with a negative malaria blood film should be suspected and investigated for trypanosomiasis, also called African sleeping sickness. - ProMED Mod.EP]

[HealthMap/ProMED maps available at:
South Africa: <>
Zambia: <>]
Date: Sat 29 Dec 2018
Source: Zambia Daily Mail Limited [edited]

Fake World Health Organisation (WHO) yellow fever certificates of vaccination are being openly sold at Inter-City Bus Terminus in Lusaka to travellers who cannot afford to pay K450 [about USD 38] to get vaccinated.

Because of the high cost of the vaccine, some travellers prefer acquiring the certificate from the bus terminus, where one can easily get the medical document for K50 [about USD 4].

Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The "yellow" in the name of the ailment refers to the jaundice (yellowing of skin) that affects some patients.

Under the guise of a traveller, this reporter managed to easily buy the document at Inter-City Bus Terminus by simply asking where one can buy the yellow fever certificate.  [Byline: Caroline Kalombe]
[The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Zambia a yellow fever (YF) free zone. The WHO found from scientific research that Zambia had reduced cases of yellow fever. The Tourism Council of Zambia (TCZ) indicated that the long-awaited WHO decision would significantly increase international tourist arrivals. The South Africa requirements for proof of vaccination status had led to the sale of fake YF vaccination cards in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The change in South African requirements should end this illegal and unfortunate practice, but apparently it has not. In the absence of internal risk of YF within Zambia, the motive for sale of YF vaccination cards presumably is economic on the part of travelers that may be going to countries where there is a risk of infection and evidence of vaccination may be required for entry.  Fake yellow fever (YF) vaccination cards have been a recurring problem in several African countries in the recent past. The sale of fake yellow fever vaccination cards to individuals who did not receive the vaccine presents a serious public health problem inside and outside of Zambia. An unvaccinated, viremic individual with a fake card who becomes infected outside Zambia could carry YF virus to localities in the country where vector mosquitoes are present and initiate an outbreak of this serious disease.
One wonders, if the practice of issuance of fake YF cards continues, whether countries that are currently YF-free but are most at risk of ongoing transmission should the virus be introduced, in Central and North America, South and South East Asia, will deny visas to or admittance of individuals coming from Zambia unless they can prove that their cards are legitimate. The Zambian government authorities should put a stop to these practices immediately. - ProMED Mod.TY]

[HealthMap/ProMED-mail map of Zambia:
Date: Mon 24 Dec 2018
From: Lucille Blumberg <> [edited]

East African trypanosomiasis [EAT] has been confirmed in 2 patients admitted to a Johannesburg Hospital over the past week. Both presented with acute febrile illness, and progression of illness to multi-system involvement prompted medical evacuation. Both patients required admission to a critical care unit for supportive care and suramin therapy.

Patient 1 is a 24-year-old working in the Luauno Game Management Area, adjoining the northern boundary of the Lower Zambezi Game Park, Zambia. He self-tested for malaria (negative RDT) after developing a fever, and travelled to Lusaka, the capital, after no response to empiric malaria treatment. He had a typical trypanosomal chancre.

The diagnosis of EAT was promptly confirmed on a peripheral smear; suramin was commenced, and medical evacuation to South Africa was arranged for management of complications of EAT. These included profound thrombocytopaenia but no bleeding, raised transaminases 3 times normal, ARDS requiring nasal oxygen, and some initial confusion. This patient has responded very well to treatment, including diureses, platelet transfusion, and suramin. An examination of the cerebrospinal fluid will be performed to exclude CNS involvement.

Patient 2 is a 24-year-old from the United Kingdom working as a volunteer on an elephant census project in the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, Malawi. He developed an acute febrile illness and was seen at a number of clinics over several days; malaria tests were reported as negative. He was treated with antibiotics but deteriorated and was transferred in a critical condition with liver failure (transaminases 100 times normal value), shock (but no myocarditis), encephalopathy, severe lactic acidosis, lower lobe pneumonia and ARDS, DIC with bleeding, and renal failure. He had a typical trypanosomal chancre. The diagnosis was confirmed on a peripheral blood smear.

The intense parasitaemia initially seen on admission reduced significantly in response to initial suramin therapy. Despite ventilatory and inotropic support, dialysis, platelet and clotting factor replacement, the patient's condition has continued to deteriorate. Liver failure, possibly as a result of a period of severe hypotension prior to admission, would seem to be the major problem.

While malaria is still the most important infection to consider, trypanosomiasis must be considered urgently in the differential diagnosis of persons presenting with progressive, acute febrile illness in persons living, working or travelling to trypanosomiasis-endemic areas.

A history of tsetse bites, the presence of a skin lesion -- the trypanasomal chancre (often misdiagnosed as an eschar of African tick bite fever, a spider bite, or cellulitis) -- and negative malaria RDTs should strongly suggest a diagnosis of EAT.

The diagnosis can be confirmed on a peripheral blood smear, but this may not always be performed in the setting where the patient is 1st seen, and repeat smears may be required. While the disease is uncommon, early consideration for its diagnosis is critical, as rapid progression to complicated disease is typical, and patients require urgent treatment with suramin and supportive care. WHO-supplied stocks of suramin are available in Johannesburg, South Africa; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Lusaka, Zambia.
Lucille Blumberg, John Frean and Evan Shoul
National Institute for Communicable Diseases
GeoSentinal Site
Johannesburg, South Africa
[ProMED thanks Dr Lucille Blumberg, John Frean and Evan Shoul for informing us about these cases.

African trypanosomiasis is a zoonotic disease with a reservoir in wild game animals and is a risk throughout game parks in Africa. More information can be found on the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations) website on African trypanosomiasis: <>.

The cases presented here show how urgent the development of the clinical disease can be and emphasize that persons with an exposure in a trypanosomiasis-endemic area with a negative malaria test should be considered to have trypanosomiasis. - ProMED Mod.EP]

[HealthMap/ProMED maps available at:
South Africa: <>
Zambia: <>
Malawi: <>]
Date: 18 Nov 2018
Source: Lusaka Times [edited]

Hippos in Luangwa River in Chama district in Muchinga Province are reportedly dying from suspected anthrax disease. Confirming the development to ZANIS, Chama district commissioner Leonard Ngoma said a team from the University of Zambia (UNZA) has since visited the affected areas to collect samples for testing.

Mr Ngoma said results from the samples taken are yet to be released to confirm whether or not the hippos are dying from suspected anthrax or whether it is because of overpopulation. He said the affected areas are mainly in Chikwa and Chifunda Chiefdoms involving close to 8 villages.

The district commissioner has since discouraged people in the area from eating meat from the carcasses and any other animal that may have died from unknown causes, as this could be a source of infection which could lead to severe illness and even death. In October of 2016, anthrax broke out in Chama district affecting over 40 people. The outbreak was blamed on people handling, cutting, cooking, and eating meat from hippos that had died from anthrax in the Luangwa River.

Last month [October 2018], the cabinet approved 3 bills and resolved to reduce the hippo population along the Luangwa River following reports of damage to the environment. The current population of the hippos in Luangwa River is 13,000, which is beyond the carrying capacity of 9000 on a 270 km stretch. This has caused considerable damage to the environment and river banks and continues to threaten the sustainability of the river system.
[A map showing the Luangwa River (red) Valley through eastern Zambia and to where it joins the Zambezi River (blue) can be seen at
<>. For additional
maps, go to

Culling the Luanga River hippo population has caused some controversy in Zambia. From the number given in this report, it has some point. For other related news reports on this culling, see: "Outrage as killing of hippos in South Luangwa is revealed":
"In a secretive move, government overturns decision on culling 2000 hippos in the Luangwa Valley":
"150 000 Kwacha to kill hippos in Luangwa Valley":
<>. - ProMED Mod.MHJ]

[HealthMap/ProMED map available at:
Muchinga Province, Zambia: <>]
Date: 22 May 2018
Source: UN Children's Fund [edited]

More than 17,479 cholera/acute watery diarrhoea [AWD] cases and 268 deaths (case fatality rate, 1.5%) have been reported in 10 of 21 countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) since the beginning of 2018. These countries include Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zambia accounts for 23.4% of the total case load reported this year [2018] followed by Kenya at 22.5%.

Currently, 7 out of the 21 countries in ESAR are reporting active transmission of cholera/AWD (Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Uganda, Somalia, Zambia and Zimbabwe). During the week under review, Kenya reported the highest number of new cases (302 cases), followed by Somalia (296 cases). Apart from Somalia, all countries with active transmission have recorded CFR above 1% in 2018, with Zimbabwe (CFR, 4.2%) and Uganda (CFR, 2.1%) recording the highest CFR.

Kenya: An increase in the epidemic trend has been noted. During week 19 (week ending 13 May 2018), 302 new cases were reported compared to 58 cases reported in week 18 (week ending 6 May 2018). These new cases emerged from the following counties; Garissa (202), Nairobi (29), Isiolo (24), Elgeyo Marakwet (17), Turkana (14), Kiambu (8), West Pokot (7) and Meru (1). Cumulatively, a total of 24 741 cases including 414 deaths have been reported as from December 2014. Of these, a total of 3931 cases and 71 deaths have been reported since the beginning of 2018.

Somalia: An increase in the epidemic trend has been noted. During week 18, 296 new cases including 4 deaths (CFR, 1.4%) were reported compared to 212 cases including 2 deaths (CFR, 0.9%) reported in week 17 (week ending 29 Apr 2018). New cases emerged from Banadir (132 cases and 2 deaths), Lower Jubba (127 cases and 2 deaths) and Lower Shabelle (37) regions. Cumulatively, a total of 2967 cases including 17 deaths have been reported as from December 2017.

Tanzania: A decline in the epidemic trend has been noted. During week 19, 44 new cases were reported compared to 89 cases including 3 deaths (CFR, 3.4%) reported in week 18. New cases emerged from Longido District, Arusha region (33) and Songwe region (11). Cumulatively, a total of 30 468 cases including 502 deaths have been reported as from August 2015. Of these, a total of 1837 cases and 36 deaths have been reported since the beginning of 2018.

Uganda: A decline in the epidemic trend has been noted. During week 17, 42 new cases were reported compared to 110 cases including 2 deaths (CFR, 1.8%) reported in week 16 (week ending 22 Apr 2018). These new cases are concentrated in the following districts Kagadi (19), Amudat (12), Hoima (9) and Kyegegwa (2). Cumulatively, a total of 2376 cases including 49 deaths have been reported since the outbreak started in February 2018.

Zambia: The country has been reporting an average 2 cases per day, mainly from Chelston sub-district of Lusaka district. During epidemiological week 19, the country reported 16 cholera cases and no deaths. Cumulatively, a total of 5905 cases including 115 deaths have been reported since the outbreak started on 6 October 2017. Lusaka district accounts for 92% (4768) of the cumulative reported cholera cases countrywide.

Zimbabwe: Sporadic cases continue to be reported, mainly from Chitungwiza and Stoneridge (an informal settlement in Harare right next to Chitungwiza). Both places have extremely erratic access to tap water (from Harare city) and largely depend on well water. During week 19, 9 new cases were reported compared to 4 cases reported in week 18. Cumulatively, 167 cases including 7 deaths have been reported as from January 2018 when the outbreak started.

Angola: 7 new cases were reported in week 19 compared to 6 cases reported in week 18. These new cases are concentrated in Uige district. Cumulatively, 944 cases including 15 deaths have been reported as from 15 Dec 2017. Of these, 839 cases and 9 deaths have been reported since the beginning of 2018.
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