Welcome to the official web site of the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association, a professional organization representing veterinarians across Jamaica. We invite you to explore the site and see for yourself who we are and why we do what we do.
DISEASE OF THE WEEK
NEW! The Disease of the Week feature will highlight a disease of interest which may occur locally or anywhere in the world.
EBOLA - A Global Public Health Emergency
The outbreak of Viral Haemorrhagic Fever caused by the Ebola Virus in countries in West Africa has become a global concern in recent weeks. It is a zoonotic disease and so is of concern to the veterinary community which needs to be aware of the role animal transmission plays in its epidemiology.
The Ebola Virus, first identified in 1976 in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Central Africa, belongs to the family Filoviridae which also includes the Marburg Virus – the cause of another form of haemorrhagic fever first described in Europe in the 1960’s. Ebola infection in humans results in a severely debilitating illness which has a case fatality rate of 60-90%.
The natural reservoir of the virus is the fruit bat (multiple species) from which infection may from time to time “spill over” into non-human primates (various species of apes and monkeys). The animal-human interface occurs when these animals are handled or consumed by humans – the bats in a soup, and the primates as “bush meat- allowing further “spill over” to the human population after which human to human transmission occurs.
Previous Ebola outbreaks have been usually confined to small communities in which the high mortality rate combined with strict control measures have prevented spread to wider areas. The current outbreak has spread to large population centers where control measures have been hampered by what appears to be a lack of understanding by the public, with some infected individuals avoiding proper medical care and quarantine, thereby spreading the virus more widely. Certain cultural practices have also facilitated spread.
Ebola victims become contagious when they become clinically ill and this continues even after death. Transmission occurs by direct contact with an infected individual, or their body fluids, or indirectly through contaminated materials. Aerosol transmission is NOT an established mode of transmission. Because the early clinical signs and symptoms are shared with so many other diseases, health care personnel or any care-givers are at high risk. Those involved in the burial process of the deceased are also at high risk.
The clinical course of the disease begins following an incubation period of 2 to 21 days (average 8 to 10). Initial symptoms are fatigue, severe headache, fever, myalgia and anorexia which progress to nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, dysphagia, chest and abdominal pain, a skin rash, petechiation, overt haemorrhage (internal, via body orifices), hiccups, somnolence, coma and ultimately death. The blood profile includes leukopenia, thrombocytopenia and elevated liver enzymes.
The Ebola virus. Photo Frederick MurphyDPA - Click the photo for a detailed WHO/PAHO document on Ebola.
Treatment is virtually entirely supportive. The experimental treatment known as ZMapp2 has been used in some patients in the current outbreak with variable success thus far. It is a monoclonal antibody preparation and so attempts to introduce a form of passive immunity to prevent or reduce virus activity until the victim’s own immune system can recover and eliminate the virus. Males that survive the disease may shed virus in their semen for several weeks.
The Caribbean is considered a low risk area for the introduction of Ebola, but nevertheless, given the extent of international travel, the heath authorities must exercise vigilance in the education and monitoring of travelers, as well as establishing protocols to handle any introduced cases, based on international guidelines.
EBOLA VIRUS IN DOGS
A study, conducted in Gabon in during an outbreak in 2001-2002, found that dogs exposed to Ebola by eating infected animal carcasses or licking up body fluids from infected people became infected and seroconverted yet remained asymptomatic. The conclusion drawn from the research is that dogs could potentially be a risk factor for humans during outbreaks, although there is no direct evidence of dog to human transmission. Dogs could also be monitored as a sentinel species.3 Click here for a detailed article.
For a detailed look at Ebola Virus Disease, its epidemiology, clinical course, treatment and control measures please click on the photograph above for a WHO/PAHO/CARPHA presentation1.
1 - WHO/PAHO/CARPHA – Virtual Session for National Authorities in the Caribbean Sub-region
2 - Zmapp - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZMapp
3 - Allela et al. - Ebola Virus antibody prevalence in dogs and human risk : http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/3/pdfs/04-0981.pdf
Chikungunya Virus - the Animal Connection
Due to the current situation with the introduction of the Chikungunya virus into Jamaica, this feature will, for the time being, remain on our home page for easy reference.
Chikungunya virus particles: The virus is an Alphavirus of the family Togaviridae (http://www.topnews.in/health/files/Chikv.jpg)
The Chikungunya virus which has been spreading through the Caribbean is primarily a clinical disease of humans, spread by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It is believed to have emerged around 1952 in Tanzania, making the jump from chimpanzees to humans1. Subsequently, transmission became human to human via the mosquito vector. There is some evidence that non-human primates, rodents and some wild birds could potentially harbour the virus3.
Animal owners however can rest easy that their pets, livestock, horses etc. will not be at risk of illness.
Animal models, partcularly involving mice and non-human primates have been used to study the pathogenesis of the disease and in ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine2. There is currently no vaccine available and preventive measures are heavily based on vector control to limit transmission.
For more information on the Chikungunya Virus, please click the links to the left for fact sheets from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States.
Five veterinarians, all graduates of the University of the West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine at St. Augustine in Trinidad & Tobago, have recently been registered by the Jamaica Veterinary Board, having been successful in the July sitting of the National Examination for the Registration of Veterinarians and, subsequently, having completed the registration process.
They are Drs. Farrah Bailey, Ryan Chanona, Denise Cole, Terrina Jones and Kristin Moses. Dr. Chanona is from Trinidad & Tobago. Congratulations and welcome to all!
DR. KEVIN WALKER is the new JVMA President
Dr. Kevin Walker
New Executive elected at Annual General Meeting
The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Veterinary Medical Association was held on Sunday, July 6, 2014 at the Tree House meeting room at the Hope Zoo. The meeting saw the election of a new Executive Committee to conduct the Association’s business over the next twelve months.
The newly elected President is Dr. Kevin Walker, a 2008 graduate of the University of the West Indies School of Veterinary Medicine, St. Augustine, Trinidad. It is a historic moment for the JVMA as Dr. Walker is the first graduate from UWI-SVM – the first from any Caribbean veterinary school for that matter – to lead the Association. He works with the Jamaica Broilers Group.
Dr. Walker replaces Dr. Robert Thomas who, having led the JVMA for the past three years, had completed his term limit. Dr. Thomas automatically remains on the Executive for the coming year as Immediate Past President.
Returning to another term as Vice-President is Dr. John Josephs while former President Dr. Sarah Wilkinson-Eytle is once again in the post of Secretary, having held that position in the past. Assistant Secretary went to Dr. Julie-Anne Small and another former President, Dr. Graham Brown, took over the post of Treasurer from the long-serving Dr. Natalie Burnett.
Executive sub-committee chairpersons were elected as follows: Nominations & Membership - Dr Natalie Burnett, Rights & Welfare – Dr. Rayon Gregory, Judicial & Parliamentary – Dr. Kareen Robinson, Education & Research – Dr. Roxanne Bennett, Public Relations – Dr. Paul Cadogan. Dr. Wintorph Marsden remains as Commonwealth Veterinary Association representative.
The position of Ethics & Discipline Chairperson is vacant as the elected member subsequently indicated inability to accept the position due to personal circumstances.
FALMOUTH SPAY-NEUTER CLINIC
A free spay & neuter clinic was held in Falmouth, Trelawny on the weekend of June 21-22, 2014. An all-local cadre of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and volunteer staff gave their time and energy to assist with the control of the population growth of dogs and cats in the area.
The clinic was held at the Ellison Wakeland Community Centre, next door to the Falmouth Hospital. 100 dogs and 41 cats were spayed or neutered over the two days, with 21 of the cats being feral, trapped from three locations (Falmouth Hospital, Duncans-Silver Sands, Sunflower Inn, Runaway Bay).
Organized by Dr. Lesley Robson (US-based Jamaican veterinarian) and Pamela Lawson (Executive Director, JSPCA) with the support of eight local vets and a number of veterinary technicians and other support staff/volunteers, the clinic was the first to be carried out entirely without temporarily registered overseas volunteers since 2008.
For a list of sponsors, participating veterinarians, technicians and staff, plus a detailed breakdown of the animals that had surgery, please click on the PDF link to the left.
THE NEXT JSPCA SPAY NEUTER CLINIC WILL BE HELD IN TREASURE BEACH ST. ELIZABETH, SEPTEMBER 20 & 21, 2014. Click Here for Flyer.
Dr. Wendy Witbeck
A mini-symposium on prophylactic practices to avoid economic losses in poultry flocks was held on Thursday July 17, 2014 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. Sponsored by the Caribbean Broilers group, the meeting consisted of a series of presentations by poultry experts Dr. Wendy Witbeck and Dr. Carlos Gomez from IDEXX Laboratories covering the use of serological and other diagnostics for flock monitoring to aid in early detection and hopefully prevention of major disease problems.
The presentations included a review of Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), monitoring immunosuppressive disease (Infectious Bursal Disease, Chick Anemia Virus) and the use of the Deventer formula to devise vaccination strategies, developing a personalized baseline study for small and medium poultry enterprises, and the use of serological surveys to protect against economic losses. Brochures covering diagnostics from IDEXX Laboratories were distributed.
The primary atendees were veterinarians and laboratory technicians from the poultry industry and the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. However a number of private veterinarians also took advantage of the opportunity for continuing education.
The symposium began at about 4:00 pm and concluded at about 8:00 pm. These hours were chosen to facilitate "after work" attendance by the participants.
Four Continuing Veterinary Medical Education credits were awarded to each of the veterinarians present.
POSITION PAPER ON ANIMAL WELFARE - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
WEEKLY DISEASE REPORT. Please click on the logo above to check on important infectious diseases occurring around the world
POSITION PAPER ON ONE HEALTH - CLICK ON LOGO ABOVE
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We want this web site to be one that will make all Jamaican veterinarians proud. It's still a work in progress. If you have any advice or you want to assist us in any way please email the Secretary of the Association. Click here to send us your advice and/or comments.