July 05, 2021 (Virtual): An outbreak of unknown camel disease reported from Ethiopia, in the regions of Oromia and Somalia in the months of May and June, 2021. The outbreak in camels is also suspected to have linked to infections in humans, affecting nearly 200 people according to World Health Organization 2021 field report of 12th June, 2021. Symptoms in humans included diarrhea, fever and vomiting associated with the consumption of camel meat. Samples from camels and human cases collected for laboratory investigation at National Animal Health Disease Investigation Center (NAHDIC) but so far, no definitive causative agent identified, though suspect either bacterial or viral infections. A similar outbreak of unknown camel disease occurred in the Republic of Somalia but with no human infections. Some sick cases detected early in Ethiopia and Somalia responded well to common antibiotics such as Penstrep, Tetracycline etc. Kenyan also witnessed a similar outbreak first week of May 2020, that occurred along the crossborder areas with Ethiopia and Somalia; same ecosystem for transhumance and trade. The clinical signs in camels included: Thick, white mucopurulent discharge, lacrimation, difficult/labored breathing, extended neck, enlarged cervical and parotid lymph nodes, recumbence and death in 3-4 days which were similar to those of infected in Ethiopia and Somalia, an indication of might be same causative agent though requires further investigation for definitive diagnosis. ILRI supported diagnosis of samples collected from camels in Kenya, and causative agent diagnosed as Mannheimia Haemolytica.
Due to the related nature of the unknown camel disease along the borders of Somalia –Ethiopia and Kenya; IGAD/ ICPALD convened a regional meeting in collaboration with FAO/SFE and attended by CVOs and technical teams from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda, FAO, OIE, AU-IBAR and ILRI. The key objectives of the meeting were to document the status of the outbreak; preliminary findings and deliberate on how to arrive at definitive causative agent of the disease, its relationship to human infection and control. The deliberations attended by 33 participants. The meeting also developed road map detailing immediate and future actions to identify and control the disease.
The main actions agreed in the roadmap are: Regional task force establishment; develop camel disease standard methods and procedures (SMPs); Coordinated diagnosis for confirmation of zoonotic nature; Supply of the kits and reagents; harmonized surveillance, and Information sharing/ awareness and vaccine development.