WHO says ‘serious’ outbreak of pneumonic plague in US state of New Jersey
Public health officials say an outbreak of a plague-like illness has taken hold in New Jersey and the United States.
The disease, which has killed more than 40 people in the state, has been linked to a small-scale farming operation, and it’s not known whether the outbreak is related to a cluster of cases in northern New York City.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an outbreak is possible in up to two-thirds of the states where the disease has been detected.
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said Thursday that more than 400 cases had been reported.
It said that in the last month, it has tested more than 4,500 people and is treating more than 2,400.
The department says it is treating two cases of plague in the New York metropolitan area.
In the United Kingdom, a new coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 10 people and infected nearly 300.
The UK government said Thursday it has shut down a farm in the UK, but officials say it will reopen in time to resume normal operations.
The outbreak of the plague in New York is a reminder that there is still a long way to go, the director of the US Centers for Diseases Control and Protection, Dr. Tom Frieden, said Thursday.
Frieden said the state’s outbreak of plague should not be compared to other large outbreaks that have struck the United Nations, like in the 1930s or the 1950s, when outbreaks were contained to the US and others.
New York’s health department said it has opened its own testing centers and is working with coronaviruses experts around the country.
“It is critical to have a robust, coordinated response to the new coronovirus, and we are actively working to ensure this is achieved,” said Dr. Robert H. Lipps, director of New York State’s Department of Public Health.
“We need to continue to work closely with state, local, and federal partners to bring the virus under control.
We also need to maintain public health and public safety to ensure the public has access to high quality, affordable health care and our ability to provide treatment for those who need it most.”
The coronaviral pandemic has been a public health challenge, with some countries reporting an unusually high number of new cases.
In Britain, where there are now more than 100 confirmed cases, the government said Wednesday that it would reopen the city’s main public health hospital.
The health department will reopen the emergency room in the city in a few days, with the main building in an emergency lockdown, it said.
The virus has killed about 4,000 people, including more than 3,000 in the United Arab Emirates, where authorities say it is still not clear how the outbreak started.
In India, the Indian government said it is taking steps to contain the spread of the disease.
The government said on Thursday that it will shut down nearly 20 public hospitals and two other facilities that handle infectious diseases, as well as close schools and offices, and impose a ban on the public wearing masks.
The WHO says the coronavivirus pandemic could pose a health threat to millions of people, and experts say it could be devastating to economies and to global health.
The agency has warned that the virus could spread faster than it has been able to control it.
In Australia, the country’s health minister said Thursday the state has opened a 24-hour public health alert and is “taking every possible measure to stop any further spread of disease.”
In New York, the mayor’s office said Thursday, the city is “preparing for the possibility of a potential outbreak.”
“The NYPD will continue to enforce the law and ensure the safety of the public,” the statement said.
In Germany, authorities said Thursday they would open an outbreak isolation center in a northern city that has been hit hard by the disease, as officials look to contain it in a manner that would be least disruptive to public transport.
Authorities say more than 5,000 cases of the coronivirus have been recorded in Germany, and the country is on track to see a new peak of about 10,000 new cases in the coming days.
In a statement, the health ministry said it would close the city hospital where more than 800 patients have been treated.
The center will be closed to people with severe or chronic illness and is expected to reopen later this week, said the ministry.