Scientists say CROWS may transport PRIONS that cause CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ Health officials in WASHINGTON say WOMAN likely died of HANTAVIRUS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CDC NATIONAL, FL, MS, OH, & OK ~ RABIES reports from CA, GA, MD, NC, TX, & VA.

American Crow. Photo by Jack Wolf. Wikimedia Commons.

National 10/17/12 phys.org: Crows fed on prion-infected brains from mice can transmit these infectious agents in their feces and may play a role in the geographic spread of diseases caused by prions, such as chronic wasting disease or scrapie.

The new research published Oct. 17 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Kurt VerCauteren from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other colleagues, shows that prions can pass through crows’ digestive systems without being destroyed, and may be excreted intact after ingestion by the birds. According to the authors, their results demonstrate a potential role for the common crow in the spread of infectious diseases caused by prions.

Prions are infectious proteins that cause diseases in humans and other animals. Studies so far have suggested that insects, poultry and scavengers like crows may be passive carriers of infectious prions, but this is the first demonstration that prions can retain their ability to cause disease after passing through the avian digestive system.

Dr. Kurt VerCauteren.

The authors fed crows with brain samples from mice infected with prions, and found that the crows passed infectious prions up to 4 hours after eating the infected samples. When healthy mice were injected with the infected crow excretions, all the mice showed signs of prion disease. The authors state that their results support the possibility that crows that encounter infected carcasses or consume infected tissue may have the capacity to transport infectious prions to new locations. – For More information: VerCauteren KC, Pilon JL, Nash PB, Phillips GE, Fischer JW (2012) Prion Remains Infectious after Passage through Digestive System of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). PLoS ONE 7(10): e45774. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045774 Journal reference: PLoS ONE search and more info website Provided by Public Library of Science

Hantavirus:

Washington 10/17/12 Grant County: Health officials have confirmed that a woman who likely died of hantavirus last month was probably exposed to the virus in her recreational vehicle south of Moses Lake. This is the second hantavirus-related death in the county this year. – See http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/10/grant-county-reports-hantavirus-death/

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 10/16/12 cdc.gov: Update – As of October 16, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,531 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 183 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,293 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,238 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 4,531 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

Florida 10/17/12 Duval County: Two men, 19 and 46 years of age, are the most recent Jacksonville residents to be diagnosed with WNV. This brings the total of confirmed cases in the city to 25 so far this year. – See http://www.news4jax.com/news/Jax-teen-man-test-positive-for-West-Nile-virus/-/475880/17023354/-/chfsp7/-/index.html

Mississippi 10/17/12 msdh.state.ms.us: Update – State health officials have confirmed a total of 232 human cases of WNV in the state this year including 5 deaths. They have also found 52 horses, 55 mosquito samples, and 12 human blood donors infected with the virus. – For county statistics see http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,93,554.html

Ohio 10/17/12 Allen County: David Sunderhaus, 58, of Lima, died Saturday of WNV marking the state’s 6th WNV-related fatality this year. – http://www.limaohio.com/news/local_news/article_c7bc6614-187d-11e2-b88b-001a4bcf6878.html

Oklahoma 10/17/12 kxii.com: The state’s Department of Health says there have now been 170 confirmed human cases of WNV this year and 11 deaths due to the disease. – See http://www.kxii.com/news/headlines/170-West-Nile-cases-in-Okla-11-deaths-reported-174654751.html

Rabies:

California 10/16/12 Yolo County: The Sheriff’s Department is asking the public’s help to locate a dog involved in a biting incident Oct. 6 in West Sacramento. A woman was walking a dog on a leash about 11 a.m. in the area of a bike bath in the 3500 block of Bridgeway Lakes Drive when another woman jogged by on the bike path. The dog lunged at the jogger and bit her, causing moderate injury, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. The dog owner stopped and advised the victim that her dog was current on its rabies vaccination, but the victim failed to get any personal information from the dog owner at the time to be able to verify the information, officials said. Animal Services authorities received the bite report from the victim, but a search of the area has failed to locate the owner or the dog.

The dog is described as medium size, short haired, mostly black with some reddish-colored markings. The victim was unsure of the breed, but recalled that the owner or handler used a red leash to restrain the animal. The woman walking the dog was described as white, about 50 years old, with a medium build and light brown hair that reached to the middle of her back. She was wearing a white T-shirt, black spandex walking shorts and large glasses. Authorities want to identify the dog to verify the current rabies vaccination to possibly spare the victim post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with information about the dog or owner is asked to call the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287, or email animal.bite@yolocounty.org

Georgia 10/17/12 Gwinnett County: A rabies alert has been issued after two raccoons found Oct. 6th on Scenic Drive in Snellville tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/rabid-raccoons-found-in-snellville/nSfq6/

Maryland 10/16/12 Prince George’s County: by Lauren DeMarco – There is a warning from animal control after two reports of fox attacks in Bowie.  The incidents happened less than a mile apart Sunday evening in the Meadowbrook neighborhood just behind Bowie High School. The youngest victim is four years old. He received a bite to the hand. Both victims were treated for possible rabies infections. The City of Bowie Animal Services asks that residents be cautious, keep a close eye on children and pets, and be aware that any type of food or trash near your home can attract wildlife.

North Carolina 10/17/12 Iredell County: A raccoon killed by two dogs near Mocksville Highway and New Salem Road tested positive for rabies. – See http://www2.mooresvilletribune.com/news/2012/oct/17/iredells-13th-rabies-case-year-confirmed-ar-2701869/

Texas 10/17/12 Washington County: A dead skunk found last Friday near the corner of Thiel and Barbee streets in Brenham has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.brenhambanner.com/news/rabid-skunk-found-dead-in-city-limits/article_dec9384c-1877-11e2-ba22-001a4bcf887a.html

Virginia 10/16/12 Henrico County: A dead raccoon found in the 8400 block of Marroit Road in the western section of the county on Oct. 13th has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon had been killed by a vaccinated dog. – See http://www.wric.com/story/19834763/dead-raccoon-found-in-henrico-had-rabies

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