Category Archives: Investigation

1000 people to be evaluated for exposure to RABIES at SOUTH CAROLINA hospital ~ MAINE newspaper reports huge increase in state’s ANAPLASMOSIS cases over a decade ~ Other RABIES reports from TX, & VA.

Big brown bat. Common in South Carolina. Bing free use license.

Big brown bat. Common in South Carolina. Bing free use license.

South Carolina 02/17/14 wistv.com: by LaDonna Beeker – Governmental agencies are asking more than 1,000 patients and employees at The Regional Medical Center to get a health assessment immediately since the hospital reported bat sightings. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control asks patients who stayed overnight in the hospital’s east wing between Jan. 1 and Feb. 16 to contact DHEC to assess their health risk for possible exposure to bats, which can sometimes transmit rabies to people. DHEC and Centers for Disease Control are currently notifying more than 800 patients and Big_brown_bat28834300 hospital staff to encourage individuals who had direct contact with a bat or who awakened to find a bat in a room to call DHEC at 1-800-868-0404 to assess their potential risk for rabies exposure and provide referrals for further medical evaluation, if needed. DHEC is working with The Regional Medical Center and the CDC to investigate reports of recent bat sightings and contact with bats. To date, the joint investigation has not identified any reports of bites from bats by The Regional Medical Center patients or employees. – For complete article see http://www.wistv.com/story/24745074/dhec

Anaplasmosis:

Deer tick, aka Blacklegged Tick.

Deer tick, aka Blacklegged Tick.

Maine 02/16/14 kjonline.com: Epidemiologists in the state are paying close attention to a steady rise in patients presenting with anaplasmosis, yet another tick-borne virus that can cause fever, chills, fatigue, a headache or muscle pain and in some cases, death, particularly if contracted by a person whose immune system has been compromised. The disease infects white blood cells and cases have increased by a factor of ten over the past decade. According to the CDC, about one in 200 people diagnosed with the disease does not survive.

ana_incid.cdcAnaplasmosis was first recognized in the U.S. in the 1990s. In  2004, the state of Maine reported one case, its first. Eight years later, in 2012, the number of cases in Maine had increased to 52. Preliminary figures for 2013 suggest that number in Maine has now risen to 94 in a single year. – For complete article, relative statistics and preventive measures see http://www.kjonline.com/news/Anaplasmosis__Maine_s_other_tick-borne_disease_.html

Other Rabies Reports:

Texas 02/17/14 Tarrant County: A skunk captured near the Oak Lake Park area of east Fort Worth in ZIP code 76103 has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/02/17/5576511/rabid-skunk-caught-88e779r0ekilled-in-east.html?rh=1

Virginia 02/17/14 Gloucester County: A raccoon that wandered into a yard on Mark Pine Road in Bena last week exposed three dogs to rabies. One of the dogs was current on its vaccination, but two of the dogs were not. – See http://www.dailypress.com/news/gloucester-county/gloucester-blog/dp-raccoon-exposes-three-bena-dogs-to-rabies-20140217,0,7324709.story

Jury is in on HANTAVIRUS outbreak at CALIFORNIA’s Yosemite National Park in 2012 ~ RABIES reports from AR, CA, FLx2, & NJ.

Deer mouse. Courtesy CDC.

Deer mouse. Courtesy CDC.

Abstract of report by the Yosemite Hantavirus Outbreak Investigation Team published in the CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 20, Number 3 – March 2014: In summer 2012, an outbreak of hantavirus infections occurred among overnight visitors to Yosemite National Park in California, USA. An investigation encompassing clinical, epidemiologic, laboratory, and environmental factors identified 10 cases among residents of 3 states. Eight case-patients experienced hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, of whom 5 required intensive care with ventilatory support and 3 died. Staying overnight in a

Damage from rodents tunneling in the foam insulation of a signature tent cabin, Yosemite National Park, summer 2012. CDC

Damage from rodents tunneling in the foam insulation of a signature tent cabin, Yosemite National Park, summer 2012. CDC

signature tent cabin (9 case-patients) was significantly associated with becoming infected with hantavirus. Rodent nests and tunnels were observed in the foam insulation of the cabin walls. Rodent trapping in the implicated area resulted in high trap success rate (51%), and antibodies reactive to Sin Nombre virus were detected in 10 (14%) of 73 captured deer mice. All signature tent cabins were closed and subsequently dismantled. Continuous public awareness and rodent control and exclusion are key measures in minimizing the risk for hantavirus infection in areas inhabited by deer mice. – See http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/3/13-1581_article.htm

Author’s Note: Sin Nombre virus is a hantavirus first recognized in 1993 when an outbreak of unexplained respiratory deaths occurred in the southwestern United States.

 Rabies:

800px-Striped_Skunkby_www.birdphotos.comWC-2Arkansas 02/14/14 Pulaski County: Two skunks found within one mile of each other in the western part of the county have tested positive for rabies. This is the first time in over 30 years that a ground animal has tested positive for the virus in this particular region. – See http://www.thv11.com/news/article/298033/2/Rabies-alert-for-west-Pulaski-County

HELP (2)California 02/13/14 Yolo County: by C. Johnson – A woman bitten by a Labrador retriever at a Davis park last Friday hopes the dog’s owner comes forward to verify their pet has been vaccinated against rabies. Otherwise, she may have to undergo post-exposure rabies treatment. A woman was walking the black female lab in North Star Park about 10 o’clock Friday morning when the dog bit the victim who had stopped to pet her, according to the Animal Services Section of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. The woman walking the dog told the victim the lab was healthy but did not provide information about its vaccination status. It is an owner’s responsibility to inform Animal Services if their dog bites someone, so vaccinations can be verified. Anyone with information about this was urged to contact Animal Services at (530) 668-5287 24 hours a day or email animal.bite@yolocounty.org. – See http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/davis/2014/02/13/davis-biting-dog/5460743/

8942410_448x252Florida 02/13/14 Hamilton County: A Rabies Alert has been issues for the East region of the county after a cat tested positive for the virus on February 11th. -  See http://www.suwanneedemocrat.com/local/x1783669529/Rabies-alert-for-Hamilton-County

batwarningFlorida 02/12/14 Martin County: A sick bat that scratched a woman who found it near her home in South Stuart and picked it up has tested positive for rabies. The woman is now receiving post-exposure treatment. – See http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2014/feb/12/bat-tests-positive-rabies-stuart/

by_Svdmolen_WCNew Jersey 02/12/14 Middlesex County: A raccoon trapped last week in the vicinity of 186 Leesvile Avenue, in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Township, has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20140212/NJNEWS/302120060/Rabid-raccoon-found-in-Woodbridge?nclick_check=1

TRAVEL WARNINGS: CDC warns of deadly Novel (New) CORONAVIRUS in the ARABIAN PENINSULA and UNITED KINGDOM ~ RABIES VACCINE still in short supply ~ RABIES reports from GA, MO, OH, TXx2, & WV.

Bat colony. Courtesy National Park Service.

Bat colony. Courtesy National Park Service.

Travel Warnings:

Middle East

Middle East

Global 03/08/13 cdc.gov: News Release – From April 2012 to February 2013, a total of 14 people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Kingdom (UK) were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus; 13 cases were severe and one case was mild. Eight of these 14 people died. In the UK, an infected man likely spread the virus to two family members. He had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and got sick before returning to the UK. This cluster of cases provides the first evidence of person-to-person transmission. The UK’s Health Protection Agency is continuing to investigate this. Also, clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia and Jordan are being investigated.

cdc_logoCDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of these cases of the novel coronavirus. CDC recommends that US travelers to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula monitor their health and see a doctor right away if they develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath. They should tell the doctor about their recent travel. Coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold. A coronavirus also was the cause of the severe respiratory illness called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). SARS caused a global epidemic in 2003, but there have not been any known cases of SARS since 2004. This novel coronavirus is not the same coronavirus that caused SARS. – For further information see   http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/in-the-news/coronavirus-arabian-peninsula-uk.htm

CDC Coronavirus Investigation:

Author’s Note: According to CDC, the reservoir and route of transmission of 95673687hnvwVS_phthe novel coronavirus are still being investigated. Genetic sequencing to date has determined the virus is most closely related to coronaviruses detected in bats. CDC is continuing to collaborate with WHO and affected countries to better characterize the epidemiology of novel coronavirus infection in humans. – For further information see http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv/case-def.html

Mountain Lion Sightings:

s_mountain-lion-0002California 03/08/13 Los Angeles County: Two separate incidents involving a mountain lion, perhaps the same one, were reported in Sierra Madre. Two pets, a cat and a dog, were killed. On Tuesday of this week the lion was spotted in the vicinity of Santa Anita and Oakwood avenues, then Foothill Avenue and Camillo Road, and finally in the 500 block of Los Rocas Drive where a resident saw a house cat in its mouth. On Thursday evening a lion killed a small dog in the backyard of a home on Vista Circle Drive. Residents have been urged to keep a close eye on small children and pets. – See http://sierramadre.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-kills-small-dog-reportedly-attacks-other-animals

Rabies:

IMOVAXNational 03/07/13 cdc.gov: Rabies vaccine supplies remain restricted in the United States. Rabies vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur (IMOVAX), is currently available for post-exposure prophylaxis only. Vaccine produced by Novartis (RabAvert), imagesCAPUQ0PZcontinues to be available for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis. CDC continues to work with partners to monitor the status of the rabies vaccine supply. This status is not expected to change moving into spring, however, additional updates will be released as available.

Author’s Note: On February 20, 2013, the CDC reported that Sanofi Pasteur’s rabies vaccine shortage is due to “increased demand and manufacturing delay.”

5704860-portrait-of-gray-fox-barkingGeorgia 03/08/13 Richmond County: Health officials have confirmed a fox that attacked a man on February 27th in the vicinity of Mike Padgett Highway and Goshen Industrial Boulevard in Augusta has tested positive for rabies. When it later tried to attack a second person, it was put down. – See http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2013/mar/08/rabid-fox-attacks-man-south-augusta-ar-5759477/

Horse%20MouthMissouri 03/05/13 Wayne County: A horse stabled in the vicinity of Williamsville that began to deteriorate and became aggressive before dying has tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed case of animal rabies in the state this year (including three skunks in Douglas, Howell, and Ste. Genevieve counties) prompting officials to issue a Rabies Alert. – See http://www.semissourian.com/story/1946780.html

bat-in-sink-2Ohio 03/08/13 Medina County: A bat found alive Wednesday in the kitchen sink of an East Liberty Street home in the City of Medina has tested positive for rabies. – See http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2013/03/08/health-department-bat-found-in-medina-home-tests-positive-for-rabies/

Texas 03/08/13 Somervell County: For the second time in two weeks a skunk found in the Rainbow area has tested positive for rabies. – See surfeit of skunkshttp://www.yourglenrosetx.com/news/community/article_1974c465-672f-5885-a24d-b71cf51b1e52.html

Texas 03/07/13 Coryell County: Two skunks shot in separate incidents in Gatesville have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.kwtx.com/ourtown/home/headlines/Gatesville-Two-Skunks-Test-Positive-For-Rabies–195689141.html

RaccoonDEC_NY.govWest Virginia 03/08/13 Mercer County: A raccoon picked up on Princeton Avenue in Bluefield has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wvnstv.com/story/21557507/first-rabies-case-of-2013-confirmed-in-mercer-county

ALASKA report confirms WOLVES killed 32-year-old jogger Candice Berner last year

Wolves. Courtesy National Park Service.

Alaska 12/06/11 alaska.gov: News Release – Today, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) released a report presenting findings related to the March 8, 2010, wolf attack that killed 32-year-old Candice Berner near the village of Chignik Lake on the Alaska Peninsula. The report summarizes agency response and subsequent investigation. “All lines of evidence are consistent with the conclusion that two or more wolves killed Ms. Berner. The tragic encounter occurred as she jogged down the road less than two miles from the village,” said Lem Butler, principal investigator for ADF&G, and one of four authors of the report.

Candice Berner

ADF&G’s investigation included on-scene evaluation of wolf tracks, interviews of those first to arrive at the scene, collection of wolves from the nearby area, and analyses of DNA and of other forensic evidence. Wolf DNA was recovered from the victim and her clothing. DNA test results provided by the U.S. Geological Survey lab in Anchorage indicated that two to four wolves were most likely involved, excluded other animals, and connected one of the wolves killed by the department to the incident.

The broader investigation indicated Ms. Berner was on the road, likely jogging away from town, while the wolves traveled toward town by moving along the road and openings in the brush. It could not be determined if this was a surprise encounter for both Ms. Brenner and the wolves, but evidence clearly shows a predatory response from the wolves. ADF&G personnel and Alaska State Troopers shot two wolves and contracted trappers later killed six more within 15 miles of the village. The wolves were taken for public safety and for evaluation of biological factors that may have been associated with the attack.

ADF&G veterinarian Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen performed necropsies and collected samples for disease testing and DNA analyses on each of the eight wolves taken. One wolf was clearly implicated in the attack through DNA evidence. It was in apparent good health with very large fat reserves. All but two wolves were in good to excellent condition. There was no DNA evidence linking the two wolves in poor condition to the attack. Investigators found no evidence in any of the wolves of contributing factors to the attack such as rabies, disease, defense of food, or habituation to human food.

Chignik Lake

“We hope that the report’s findings help bring closure to Ms. Berner’s family, to the community of Chignik Lake and others affected by this sad incident.” said Butler. He also pointed out that wolf attacks on humans are rare and people should not be unnecessarily fearful. People should always maintain a safe distance and healthy respect when encountering wolves or other wild animals. Bear and moose encounters pose more risk to travelers in Alaska than wolves, but all wild animals can be unpredictable. Bob Berner, Candice Berner’s father, said he hopes that people will learn from his daughter’s death through an increased awareness of the potential danger and by taking steps to increase safety. “People should be mindful of the potential harm that wolves and other wild animals are capable of inflicting,” he said.

The report, “Findings Related to the March 2010 Fatal Wolf Attack Near Chignik Lake, Alaska” is available at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/home/news/pdfs/wolfattackfatality.pdf (PDF 967 kB) . Additional information on safety in wolf country is available at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=livewith.wolves.