Financial woes fuel Brucella outbreak in Northern Cyprus

Brucellosis hotspot?

Brucellosis hotspot?

Cyprus made the news a while ago because of its crushing debt crisis requiring a 10 billion Euro bailout.

Less known is that Cyprus is actually two countries, one of which is Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. It’s safe to say, though, that Northern Cyprus’ financial health is deeply connected to that of Cyprus’.

Northern Cyprus apparently doesn’t have enough money in it’s budget to adequately monitor, test and deal with an rapidly spreading outbreak of Brucellosis among its livestock because of the Cypriot financial collapse.

Brucella is a nasty bacterial disease which I’ve written on before which includes outcomes such as fever, malaise, miscarriage, chronic arthritis and heart disease, depression, mania and death. It can infect all mammals and is highly transmissible; any contact with a bacterium will result in infection. Though only one case of human to human transmission has ever been recorded (sexual transmission), Brucella is well known as a public health threat to people who work with livestock.

Brucella is ranked among the most economically important zoonotic diseases globally, and presents threats to humans, animals and wildlife.

The chairman of the union of livestock producers, Mustafa Naimoglulari, confirmed that the brucellosis microbe has been discovered at 60 farms and criticized the authorities for not launching a fight against the disease.

He said that blood should have been taken from the animals for analysis in order to establish which of them are contaminated.

In statements to Kibris, the official responsible for agriculture in TRNC, Onder Sennaroglu said that they have taken money from UNOPS to deal with the issue, but they could not eliminate brucellosis.

He noted that he knows that money should not be an excuse, but the cost of this issue is very high. “I have to say that resources are needed, and we have no resources at the moment,” he admitted, adding that they have applied to the EU for money.

The Cypriot financial crisis has its roots in the US subprime mortgage crisis. In fact, the pattern of the precentage of debt to GDP of Cyprus follows that of the Eurozone, but rapidly increases after 2012, where the EU flattened out. Cyprus previously relied heavily on a tourism fueled real estate bubble in addition to revenues from tourism itself. As debt went bad in the US and the Eurozone, debt went bad in Cyprus. Having no other sectors to depend on, the Cypriot economy collapsed.

Now, we are seeing that the financial collapse and the loss of government revenues to support public health efforts and having deleterious effects on animal and, likely, human health.

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About Pete Larson

Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Nagasaki University Institute for Tropical Medicine

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