Rabies Alert

Rabies Alert

Rabies Alert


Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe (VAWZ) is deeply concerned with the increasing number of confirmed Rabies cases throughout Zimbabwe. Recently a dog from Arcturus was tested positive, as well as a feral cat from Sussex Road (Avondale West).

Tragically a young boy in Chegutu has died from the disease, two months after being bitten by his neighbour’s dog. We cannot stress enough the importance of having ALL your pets vaccinated annually against this deadly disease.

Should you come into contact with an unknown animal, particularly one displaying unusual behaviour, please seek medical advice immediately. Children must be warned not to interact with strange animals.

RABIES IS 100% FATAL, DON’T TAKE A CHANCE! Please report sightings of suspect animals to VAWZ (0778431528 / 0775722449) or your nearest veterinary surgery.

Rabies (“madness”) is a viral disease that causes acute inflammation of the brain in humans and other warm-blooded animals. The time period between contracting the disease and the start of symptoms is usually one to three months; however it can vary from less than one week to more than one year.

The time is dependent on the distance the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system. Early symptoms may include fever and tingling at the site of exposure. This is then followed by either violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, and fear of water or an inability to move parts of the body and confusion followed by loss of consciousness. In both cases once symptoms appear it nearly always results in death.

Trailer for the Final Hobbit Movie Is Ready for Battle

Trailer for the Final Hobbit Movie Is Ready for Battle

Welcome back, Bilbo

The final movie of the Hobbit series is The Battle of the Five Armies, Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adaptation is living up to its title with a suitably aggressive first teaser trailer, which premièred for a live audience at the resent Comic-Con over the weekend.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is due in theatres on Dec. 17, 2014

Ebola Kills Liberian Doctor and infects 2 Americans

(MONROVIA, Liberia) — A high profile doctor in Liberia, Dr. Samuel Brisbane has died of the deadly Ebola disease while an American physician was being treated for virus. This brings to the forefront the risks facing health workers trying to fight a deadly outbreak that has killed more than 680 people in West Africa — the largest ever recorded.

Ebola by the Numbers:

ebola by the numbers

ebola by the numbers

Dr. Kent Brantly, left, cares for Ebola patients at the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia Samaritan's Purse—Reuters

Dr. Kent Brantly, left, cares for Ebola patients at the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia
Samaritan’s Purse—Reuters

Another American, a missionary working in the Liberian capital, has also contracted the virus and is currently being treated, said the sponsor of her work, a pastor of a North Carolina church.

While treating Ebola patients at the country’s largest hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia, Dr. Samuel Brisbane contracted the virus and died on Saturday reported Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister. A Ugandan doctor had already died earlier this month.

33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, an American physician, was helping to treat patients when he also fell ill with the deadly virus. Currently in a stable condition, he is receiving intensive medical care in a Monrovia hospital.

Early treatment improves a patient’s chances of survival, and Dr Brantly recognized his own symptoms and began receiving care immediately so while he is stable it is not clear if he will fully recover yet.

The American missionary, Nancy Writebol, is dangerously ill and in isolation in a Monrovia hospital, her husband, David Writebol, told a church elder via Skype, according to the Rev. John Munro, pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C.

Despite the deadly Ebola threat, Munro said the couple, who had been in Liberia for about a year, insisted on staying. “These are real heroes — people who do things quietly behind the scenes, people with a very strong vocation and very strong faith,”

Ebola is one of the deadliest viruses in the world and is also highly contagious with no known cure. At least 1,200 people have been infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the World Health Organization, and 675 have died. Besides the Liberian fatalities, 321 people have died in Guinea and 226 in Sierra Leone.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is the human disease caused by ebola viruses. Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, throat and muscle pains, and headaches. There is then nausea, vomiting and diarrhea along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. At this point some people begin to have problems with bleeding.

Ebola is first acquired when a person comes into contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal such as a monkey or fruit bat. Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the disease without being affected by it. Once infection occurs, the disease rapidly spreads from one person to another. Men who survive may be able to transmit the disease sexually for nearly two months

Nigerian authorities have reported that a Liberian man died of Ebola after flying from Monrovia to Lagos via Lome, Togo. The incident showed how difficult it is containing the disease and preventing Ebola victims from travelling considering the symptoms resemble of a fever and sore throat resemble many of illnesses.

Health workers working with patients are among those at greatest risk of contracting the disease, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids.

Photos of Dr Brantly show him swathed head-to-toe in white protective coveralls, gloves and a head-and-face mask that he wore for hours a day while treating Ebola patients.

Ironically, earlier this year, Dr Brantly was quoted in a posting about the dangers facing health workers trying to contain the disease. “In past Ebola outbreaks, many of the casualties have been health care workers who contracted the disease through their work caring for infected individuals,” he said.

The WHO says the disease is not contagious until a person begins to show symptoms. Brantly’s wife and children who had been living with him in Liberia had luckily flown home only the week before he showed any signs of the illness.

In addition to Dr Kent Brantly, a doctor in Liberia’s central Bong County has also fallen ill.

The situation “is getting more and more scary,” said Nyenswah, the country’s assistant health minister.

The fact that a sick Liberian could board a flight to Nigeria raised new fears that other passengers could take the disease beyond Africa.

Nigeria’s international airports, ports and land borders are now on high alert and screening passengers arriving from foreign countries. Togo’s government also said it was on high alert to stop the spread of the disease.

Security analysts were skeptical about the effectiveness of these measures.

“In Nigeria’s case, the security set-up is currently poor, so I doubt it will help or have the minimum effectiveness they are hoping for,” said Yan St. Pierre, CEO of the Berlin-based security consulting firm MOSECON.

An outbreak in Lagos, a megacity where many lived in cramped conditions, could be a potential major public health disaster.

The West Africa outbreak is believed to have begun as far back as January 2014 in southeast Guinea, however the first cases weren’t confirmed until March.

Since then, officials have tried to contain the disease by isolating victims and educating populations on how to avoid transmission, however, weak border control and widespread distrust of health workers has made the Ebola outbreak difficult to bring under control.

News of the Liberian Doctor’s (Brisbane) death first began circulating on Saturday, which was also a national holiday marking Liberia’s independence in 1847.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf used her Independence Day address to discuss a new taskforce to combat Ebola. Information Minister Lewis Brown said the taskforce would go “from community to community, from village to village, from town to town” to try to increase awareness.

Saudata Koroma, a hair dresser in Sierra Leone fell ill in the Capital, Freetown is said to be the first case in the area. She was forcibly removed from a government hospital by her family, sparking a frantic search that ended on Friday. The chief medical officer, Kargbo, said that Koroma had died while being transported to a treatment centre in the east of the country.

ebola virus breakdown

ebola virus breakdown

More reading:

Could deadly Ebola virus reach Britain?

Ebola virus disease

Nibali wins 2014 Tour de France

Nibali wins 2014 Tour de France
Race leader Astana team rider Nibali of Italy rides near the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the final 21st stage of the Tour de France in Paris

PARIS — After a 16 year drought, an Italian, Vincenzo Nibali has won the Tour de France on Sunday. He won the iconic race by chiselling a lead over his main rivals a few minutes at a time and then leaving them all in his wake in the mountains.

The 29-year-old Sicilian cyclist, who called himself “a flag-bearer of anti-doping” during the race, finished in the pack behind German Marcel Kittel, who won the prised final 21st stage on the Champs Elysée in a sprint finish.

The 2014 Tour was all set for a battle between the 2013 champion Chris Froome and two-time winner Alberto Contador, however, both crashed out with injuries in the first half of this year’s Tour leaving the Italian climber largely uncontested as he was clearly the strongest of the rest.

Astana team leader Nibali is only the sixth rider ever to win all three Grand Tours — France, Italy and Spain. The last Italian to win the Tour de France was Marco Pantani in 1998 just before the Lance Armstrong era.

Kittel was delighted with his 4th stage win while Nibali who also won 4 stages got pats on the back, kissed his wife and infant daughter, and was mobbed by cameras.

The last Tour winner to win 4 stages was Lance Armstrong who actually won five a decade ago. Incredibly, Nibali wore the yellow jersey for all but two stages since Stage 1. His 7 minute, 52 second margin over runner-up Jean-Christophe Peraud is the largest since Jan Ullrich of Germany beat second-placed Richard Virenque by just over 9 minutes in 1997.

Another piece of history in the making was Peraud and third-placed Thibaut Pinot who became the first Frenchmen to reach the Tour podium since Virenque in 1997.

It is difficult to compare further as Armstrong, Ullrich and Virenque were three of the big-name riders caught in nearly a generation of doping scandals in cycling.

Nibali and many others in the peloton say that a new era of clean cyclists has begun. However, his own victories in the 2010 Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and the Giro (Tour of Italy) in 2013 were tarnished by high-profile doping cases involving other riders. While cycling’s governing body is fighting hard to halt use of performance enhancing drugs, few cycling fans and observers believe the pack is fully clean yet.

While some may argue that Nibali was the best of the riders still in this Tour, the fact was he was in it and he won it. 2nd place in the 2013 Tour De France, Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, who also won this years Giro d’Italia back in May, did not ride. Much to the British public’s disgust and his own, Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour champ, was passed over so his Sky Team could focus on Froome. Then Froome and Contador pulled out due to injuries and Richie Port failed to live up to expectations to salvage the Tour for Team Sky.

But even before the two hot favourites left, Nibali had gained a 2-second advantage on them by winning Stage 2, surprising even himself. Then, in Stage 5 after Froome crashed out, the Italian roared off on the cobblestones and put 2 and 1/2 minutes into Contador.

On a long downhill in Stage 10, Contador crashed and fractured his tibia. Contador did try to continue but had to pull out a few km further on as the pain was too great for him to bear. Nibali, who is known as “The Shark of the Strait” — went on to win the stage into La Planche des Belles Filles. It was the first of three stages with uphill finishes that he won, adding one in the Alps (Chamrousse) and another in the Pyrenees (Hautacam).

Nibali said the 2014 edition of the Tour was pretty much made for him.

The 101st edition began in Yorkshire, England, and guided riders over 3,664 kilometers (2,277 miles) including cobblestones, wind-swept flats and climbs in the Vosges, Alps and Pyrenees.

With the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as the final showdown, other riders on the winner’s podium included Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who won the sprinters green jersey; Rafal Majka of Poland, claimed the best climber Jersey and Pinot, the white Jersey for the best young rider born since the start of 1989.

Hopefully there will be no drug bombshells post the Tour De France and we can look forward to an exciting star studded Vuelta in September this year.

Flight 772 returns to Toronto after passenger threatens bomb

Flight 772 returns to Toronto after passenger threatens bomb

Two American fighter jets escorted Sunwing Flight 772 which was on route to West Virginia back to Toronto after a 25 year old man became extremely agitated and started ranting about his home country. The video below shows a SWAT team board the plane on the tarmac and order the 183 passengers to put their heads down and hands up as the plane is cleared.

The Canadian man on board the passenger flight Sunwing 772 which was cruising above West Virginia threatened to bomb Canada itself and forced the pilot to make the decision to turn around

Flight 772 was only 45 minutes into its Friday morning flight to Panama City when Ali Shahi began ranting and “made a direct threat against the aircraft,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.

Two F-16 fighter jets on a training run outside Toledo, Ohio, were scrambled to escort the plane carrying 183 passengers and 6 crew members back to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, CBC News reported.

“We heard him speaking, we heard him yelling. He was being pretty belligerent, using a lot of cuss words,” Phil Thompson told Global News. “He said he didn’t care what happened to the plane or the people on it and he didn’t like Canada and didn’t care about Canada. He didn’t care about the consequences of his actions, he literally didn’t care if the plane went down.”

Flight was over West Virginia en route to Panama City when the pilot turned around

Local SWAT team boarded the jet after it landed just before 9am local time and cleared the plane while arresting the suspect.

The man’s father who remained unnamed, told CBC News that his son has dealt with mental health issues.

“I am sorry for what happened on the flight, but Ali is not at fault,” he told the news outlet. “I blame the police and health system. We called the police for help more than 23 times in the last two to three years, but unfortunately they did nothing to help us or help my son.”

The shaken passengers were rebooked on a later flight to Panama City.

TransAsia Flight GE222: Taiwan Airways plane crash kills at least 40

TransAsia Flight GE222: Taiwan Airways plane crash kills at least 40

TransAsia Flight GE222: Taiwan Airways plane crash kills at least 40

A Taiwanese passenger plane has crashed after a failed emergency landing in Taiwan, killing more than 40 people.

10 survivors, 48 dead in Taiwan’s worst air disaster in 12 years

The domestic flight crashed near Magong airport on the outlying Penghu island with a total of 54 passengers and four crew on board.

Flight Route of GE222TransAsia Flight GE222: Taiwan Airways plane crash kills at least 40

Flight Route of GE222

The flight GE222 aborted its initial landing but then still crashed. It was a very stressful scene with around 190 military personnel joining rescuers in the search for survivors.

‘Plane in flames’

11 people were sent to hospital with injuries while a few empty apartment buildings adjacent to the runway caught fire. Luckily no-one was inside at the time and the fire was extinguished.

Flight GE222 was an ATR 72 turboprop aircraft which departed from the southern municipality of Kaohsiung at 17:43 however lost contact with controllers at 19:06.


Local media reported that the plane was found at Penghu island’s Xixi village in flames.

TransAsia Airways’ The General Manager of TransAsia Airways; Hsu Yi-Tsung has tearfully apologised for the accident and promised to spare no effort in the rescue operation and to transport relatives of passengers on the flight to Magong on Thursday morning.

The day before a tropical storm call Typhoon Matmo had battered Taiwan relentlessly.In spite of this, an official at the Civil Aeronautics Administration told Reuters that bad weather at the time of the crash did not exceed international regulations for landing.

The Typhoon caused a lot of flights to be cancelled however this embargo was lifted only 15 minutes before Flight GE222 took off.


In May 2002 a China Airlines jet broke apart shortly after take-off from Taipei killing all 225 people onboard. Investigators put this down to the aircraft having had fatigue cracks and corrosion near where it was repaired after an earlier accident.

Rough weather

Officials have assured it was safe for the flight to take off despite over 200 flights being cancelled during the day due to the weather.

The mother of one of the victims, her 27 year old son, screamed at TransAsia Chairman Vincent Lin when he arrived to pay respects at the funeral hall Friday.

The plane’s black box has been recovered and sent to the main island of Taiwan for analysis. One of the flight recorders was damaged in the fire after the plane crashed and for this reason it wasn’t immediately clear when results of the investigation would be made public.


Algerian Flight #AH5017 has crashed with no survivors

Algerian Flight #AH5017 has crashed with no survivors

This is truly beyond the joke. Another week and another plane goes missing with strong suggestions that it has crashed with no survivors. Two French fighter jets where dispatched to look for the missing flight AH5017.

The flight was bound for Algeria and carrying 116 passengers. 6 of which were crew and the rest passengers. The news has shocked the world as yet another aviation disaster hits the headlines after such a short space of time since the MH17 flight was blown out the sky as it flew over Eastern Ukraine.

The aircraft took off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso at 0117 hrs, local time, and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 hrs, local time, but never reached its destination.

The flight had been asked to change route because of a storm, half an hour after its departure. Satellite imagery from Eumetsat clearly shows a large storm in the flight’s path at the time of the apparent diversion.

Algerian Flight #AH5017 has crashed with no survivors

Weather Map of Flight AH5017

It is thought that the aircraft re-routed over a remote and uninhabited mountainous region of Mali.

Location where communication of Flight AH5017 was lost

Location where communication of Flight AH5017 was lost

The BBC’s Alex Duval-Smith in Mali says there was “very bad weather” in the area, as well as “armed groups”

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal reportedly told Algerian radio: “The plane disappeared at Gao (in Mali), 500km (300 miles) from the Algerian border.”

The area leading up to the Algerian border is vast and sparsely populated.

Flight path of AH5017

Flight path of AH5017

The plane is operated by Air Algerie and chartered from Swiftair who said the aircraft was an MD83. 

According to reports, the aircraft was not far from the Algerian border when the captain was requested to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route.

It was after this change in the flight path that contact was lost.

Flight AH 5017 flies the Ouagadougou-Algiers route four times a week. It has also been reported that the plane was quite old according to aviation experts.


Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: MH17

Malaysia Airlines Ukraine Crash: MH17

Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region

Emergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, MH17, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, on July 17, 2014. Maxim Zmeyev—Reuters

The FAA has banned U.S. Flight Routes Over Region and other nations’ air carriers have also adjusted flight routes to avoid the region:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially sent a Notice to all US flight operators barring all operations within the Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk regions of Eastern Ukraine following the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. The plane is though to have been shot down over the war-torn area.

The FAA has already barred flights in April 2014 throughout the Crimean region of Ukraine, the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It seems that they were too late in this instance. I am guessing that other Nations follow what the FAA does in the US to protect their own airlines and passengers.

Flight MH17 is a Boeing 777 plane which was flying to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. It crashed between the Luhansk and Donetsk regions on Thursday the 17th of July. While the official reason is still unconfirmed, Ukrainian and U.S. officials say that it is highly likely a missile hit the plane. It also also unknown who is responsible for the action.

In their statement, the FAA said there are currently no U.S. flights scheduled or allowed to fly through eastern Ukraine. This will be reviewed again in October.

The route over conflict zones in Eastern Europe was “approved” and “safe,” says Malaysia’s Transport Minister.

In hindsight and with some common sense, flying a passenger aircraft over a conflict zone should probably have been avoided. Especially as a no fly zone was put in place above the Crimean region back in April.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, Liow Tiong Lai, the Malaysian Transport Minister denied that Malaysia Airlines had ignored any security warnings and had earlier approved Flight MH17′s request to fly the shorter route over conflict zones in Eastern Europe in order to save time, fuel and money.

Apparently, 15 of the 16 international air carriers from the Asia-Pacific region rely on the flight path over Eastern Ukraine.

According to maps provided by FlightAware.com, in the wake of the horrendous disaster Malaysia Airlines has rerouted its Europe-to-Malaysia flights over the Middle East and India. A flight that departed for Kuala Lumpur from Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport shortly before news of the crash broke appears to have been quickly diverted southward while crossing Poland and heading towards the conflict zone above the Ukraine.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said “The government over whose territory it occurred is responsible for this terrible tragedy,” The fact he has troops and supports in Ukraine is appears to be irrelevant.

About 100 people traveling to a global AIDS conference in Australia were on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed and killed 298 people in eastern Ukraine. The huge loss may stall HIV/AIDS research.

The researchers, health workers and activists were on route to the International AIDS Conference being in Melbourne. Among the victims planning to attend was Dutch national Joep Lange, a top AIDS researcher and former International AIDS Society president. Additionally, Briton Glenn Thomas, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization and a former BBC journalist, was also on flight MH17.

SAA Flight to Hong Kong drops out the sky

SAA Flight to Hong Kong drops out the sky

Cape Town – A Zambian national, Miyanda Siamoongwa, flying to Hong Kong on SAA flight SA 286 was terrified when the flight suddenly hit massive turbulence half-way through the 14 hour long haul flight from Johannesburg.

Despite SA 286 being a large Airbus A340-300, the aircraft was tossed around like a toy in the sky and dropped like a stone for several hundred feet before finally gaining stability once again.

During the aircraft’s plummet, Siamoongwa watched “an infant literally fly out of the bassinet and being caught by her mother” as it was about to hit the floor.

The drop out the sky caused massive damage to the overhead compartments with people’s luggage strewn all over the aircraft.

SAA Flight to Hong Kong drops out the sky

According to reports, one passenger who did not have his safety belt on was severely injured when his head hit the cabin roof causing damage to himself and the cabin roof itself.

The sudden turbulence left a scene of devastation and destruction with luggage everywhere, toilets destroyed and a lot of passengers with serious neck and spinal injuries.

Miyanda said “The cabin crew were looking pretty shaken and I overheard a supervisor tell an injured guy in front of me that, in all her years of flying, she’s not encountered turbulence on this scale”

The Captain of the SAA flight apologised to everyone on-board but did point out it was not possible to predict the severe turbulence they had just encountered.

SA 286 was declared an emergency and given priority landing in Honk Kong due to the extensive damage to the aircraft and numerous injuries to it’s passengers.

As soon as the aircraft landed, fire crews and ambulances rushed over to meet the stricken plane. A number of make shift beds where setup in close proximity to deal with the injured passengers.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali, reported 20 passengers were injured (17 passengers and 3 crew members); two of which were serious and were taken to the Prince Margaret Hospital and the North Lantau Hospital in Hong Kong” They have since been discharged.

The SA 286 flight experienced a severe case of Clear-Air Turbulence (CAT) On board weather Doppler radar systems are able to identify weather patterns and alert operators to the severity of clouds.

Doppler Radar System

Doppler Radar System

CAT is usually impossible to detect and even more difficult for aircraft pilots to avoid.

Research indicates that CATs could be caused by global warming as high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide increases susceptibility at jet stream altitude level.

Axelle Despiegelaere, World Cup Model, kills Oryx

Axelle Despiegelaere, World Cup Model, kills Oryx

Axelle Despiegelaere, World Cup Model, kills Oryx

Axelle Despiegelaere

L’Oreal, who only recently signed a contract with 17-year-old World Cup fan Axelle Despiegelaere, has now terminated the contract. Photos of the attractive teen cheering Belgium in the World Cup 2014 went viral.

However, Axelle’s undoing was recently posting a proud photo of herself to Facebook in which she is holding a rifle, proudly sitting behind what appears to be a dead oryx she shot while hunting.


The caption, in reference to the World Cup match, read: “Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It’s much more important than that..this was about 1 year ago…ready to hunt Americans today haha.”

Axelle subsequently apologized in the comments section of her post after getting heated responses from fans, saying “i didn’t mean to offend anyone..it was a joke.”

However, it was too late for L’Oreal who failed to see the funny side who informed The Independant that Axelle’s contract has been “completed.”

“L’Oréal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium,” said a representative. “The contract has now been completed.”

The announcement came soon after fans took to social media to express their outrage that L’Oreal would be affiliated with Axelle after her controversial post.

I am not sure if the controversy relates to the shooting of a beautiful, innocent animal or her comment regarding hunting Americans. Personally, I and many of my African colleagues will be more offended and disgusted by the killing of the animal.

Interestingly, while L’Oreal is aware of the photograph, it would not comment on whether it was the specific reason behind the decision to cut the model’s contract.

That said, the representative did point out that L’Oréal “no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.”

Indeed, in 2012 alone, the beauty giant donated $1.2 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help improve the testing of safe chemicals. Perhaps this implies it was the shooting that offended them the most?

Upon arriving home to Belgium after becoming the World Cup Model, Axelle posted to Facebook that she had “Made my decision..signed my contract with L’Oreal!”

It would appear L’Oreal also made their decision and unsigned their copy.