Monday, August 20, 2007

Mysterious Camel deaths in Saudi Arabia

About 250 camels have died in a 4 day period in Saudi Arabia in the Dawasir Valley. From an Epidemiology standpoint....that's a lot in a short amount of time. The Saudi Government is pointing towards contaminated feed whereas camel owners/traders ( mostly Bedouin herders) think it's something infectious. There has been concern in the Middle east about the H5N1 "bird Flu" and it has been found twice this year. I always look at mass deaths with concern as was the case of the recent Foot and Mouth disease outbreak in England. In that case it was a security breach from a local lab and may have even been deliberate. It is still under investigation. I doubt this outbreak in Saudi was FMD as the animals died so fast, this points to either poison,toxin or a very serious infectious agent(ie. Botulism, Viral (encephalitis, influenza) . They are asking for outside help and my guess is that the CDC already has samples in Atlanta. With the rapid transit of pathogens I watch for these outbreaks as they could always be our problem next year.

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