Tag Archives: Mosquitoes

COLORADAN dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ Second person in SASKATCHEWAN dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ CHIKUNGUNYA cases in the CARIBBEAN top half-million mark ~ ARIZONA warns of PSITTACOSIS in LOVEBIRDS ~ RABBITS and CATS in COLORADO positive for TULAREMIA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) numbers NATIONALLY and WNV reports from ND, SD & TX ~ Interesting RABIES cases reported in GAx2, KS, MDx2 & NJ.

Deer Mouse. Courtesy CDC.

Deer Mouse. Courtesy CDC.

Colorado 08/05/14 Eagle County: A 41-year-old man had lived in Eagle County for only two months before hantavirus killed him. Manuel Hernandez was from Mexico and was here on a work visa. His death makes him Eagle County’s first case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome since 2005, said Jennifer Ludwig, the county’s public health director. Coroner Kara Bettis said Hernandez’s manner of death was natural. He died a couple weeks ago, Bettis said. The investigation took that long because the Centers for Disease Control requires two sets of lab results to confirm a hantavirus death. “Hantavirus causes death in approximately 40 percent of cases,” Ludwig said. – For complete article and more re Hantavirus see http://www.vaildaily.com/news/12488973-113/hantavirus-rodent-areas-cases

Canada 08/05/14 Saskatchewan: An adult in the northern tier of the province has died after contracting hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. It is the second death and fourth case reported in the province so far this year. Hantavirus can be transmitted by breathing in contaminated airborne particles from the droppings, urine and saliva of infected deer mice and certain other rodents that carry the disease. – For complete article and precautions see http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Second+hantavirus+death+reported+Saskatchewan/10091160/story.html

Chikungunya Fever:

image[3]Western Hemisphere 08/04/14 cidrap.umn.edu: by Robert Roos – The tally of chikungunya cases in the Caribbean climbed by nearly 38,000 last week, topping the half million mark, with the Dominican Republic again contributing most of the increase, according to an Aug 1 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The total reached 513,393 cases, compared with 473,523 a week earlier, an increase of 37,870, or 8.0%. Those numbers include suspected and confirmed illnesses that are locally acquired and imported cases. The vast majority of them—508,122 as of Aug 1—are suspected local cases. The Dominican Republic accounted for 26,012 of the new cases last week and more than half of all cases, with an overall total of 307,933, according to PAHO. Neighboring Haiti had only 50 new cases last week, all classified as suspected, for a total of 64,709. The death toll in the epidemic, which began last December, grew by 6, to 32. All 6 deaths were in Martinique, where the toll is now 19. The country’s overall case count reached 54,075, or 3,620 more than the week before. The total of confirmed local cases actually dropped by 524 last week, from 5,260 to 4,736, largely because of a decrease in French Guiana. The tally of confirmed local cases there sank from 665 to 89, while suspected cases jumped from zero to 1,194 and imported cases dropped from 216 to zero. Another Caribbean country that had a sizable jump in cases was Guadeloupe, where the total rose by 6,740, to 71,068.

joint_painIn Central America, El Salvador reported 376 new cases for a total of 2,353. Puerto Rico reported 390 new suspected cases for a total of 1,033. The numbers of confirmed and imported cases stayed the same at 215 and 17, respectively. As for the United States, PAHO listed 380 imported cases, or 18 fewer than the 398 reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Jul 30. The nation has had four locally acquired cases, all in Florida, including two reported last week. Meanwhile, imported cases in Mexico reached 380, an increase of 98, with local cases staying at 2. Venezuela reported 86 cases, with 30 local confirmed and 56 imported ones, compared with 57 a week earlier, according to PAHO. – See http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/08/caribbean-chikungunya-cases-climb-8-top-500000

Psittacosis:

Agapornis_-probably_a_hybrid-5iArizona 08/05/14 azcentral.com: by Chris Williams – Arizona Game and Fish Department officials want the public to be aware of a potential health threat following the discovery of the disease psittacosis, also known as parrot fever, in dead lovebirds in Scottsdale. Recently a Scottsdale homeowner reported finding 20 dead lovebirds in his yard. Game and Fish test results came in Friday, showing the birds had psittacosis. The disease can spread to humans and be difficult to diagnose. Last summer, it infected an east Mesa woman who used a leaf blower to clean up after some messy lovebirds, according to Game and Fish. She came down with a mysterious respiratory condition doctors had a tough time figuring out. When Game and Fish discovered psittacosis in dead birds on her property, that gave doctors the information they needed to diagnose her. – For complete article and precautions see http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/scottsdale/2014/08/05/12news-parrot-fever-psittacosis-scottsdale/13624329/

Tularemia:

imagesCAC3YRG5Colorado 08/03/14 Montrosepress.com: Wild rabbits and two domestic cats in Montrose County have tested presumptively positive for tularemia, which can be transmitted to humans, most commonly through handling infected animals. – See http://www.montrosepress.com/news/county-warns-of-tularemia-after-cats-turn-up-positive/article_c1f3e8e8-1acd-11e4-8967-001a4bcf887a.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

West+Nile+Virus55447National 08/01/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – California has accounted for 33 percent of the at least 60 confirmed human West Nile virus (WNV) cases reported nationally, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Golden State has reported 20 human WNV cases to date from the following counties: Butte (1), Contra Costa (1), Fresno (4), Kern (1), Lake (1), Orange (3), Solano (1), Stanislaus (5) and Tulare (3). . . . To date, three people have died from complications due to WNV–Arizona, Louisiana and Missouri. – For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/california-accounts-for-a-third-of-all-human-west-nile-virus-cases-99491/

North Dakota 08/05/14 ND Dept of Health: Media Release – Officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the state so far this year. The patient is a female in her 50s residing in Richland County. – For complete release see http://www.ndhan.gov/data/mrNews/2014-08-05-WNV%20First%20Human%20Case%202014%20NR%20-%20v%20FINAL.pdf

South Dakota 08/05/14 SD Sept of Health: Officials have confirmed 12 human cases of WNV statewide so far this year. – For details, including counties reporting one or more cases see http://doh.sd.gov/documents/diseases/WNVupdate8-5.pdf

Texas 08/06/14 TX Dept of State Health: Officials have confirmed 15 human cases of WNV statewide so far this year. Seven cases are the more severe neuro-invasive form and eight cases are the milder fever form of the disease. Montgomery County alone has reported a total of six cases. – For a list of the other eight counties reporting WNV, and more re WNV, see https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/updates.shtm

Rabies:

RabidgoatGeorgia 08/04/14 Pike County: A goat, which was part of a herd of 17 stabled on McCrary Road in Molena has tested positive for rabies. Family members have received post-exposure vaccinations. – See http://www.pikecountygeorgia.com/archives/4765-Case-of-rabies-confirmed-in-Molena.html

Looking-for-Kittens-001Georgia 08/05/14 Hall County: A cat in the Gillsville Highway area of the eastern part of the county has tested positive for rabies. Two people are being treated after being exposed to the virus. – See http://www.cbs46.com/story/26201097/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-hall-county

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAKansas 07/29/14 Lyon County: A cow stabled in the county has tested positive for rabies. – http://cjonline.com/news/2014-07-29/rabies-confirmed-lyon-county-cow

 

3610192083_22eaf9db7aMaryland 07/28/14 Wicomico County: A feral kitten that scratched a Pittsville resident on Friendship Road has tested positive for rabies. Area residents are reported to have said “the (feral) cat population has become a big problem in town.” – See http://www.wboc.com/story/26132372/rabies-clinic-scheduled-after-rabid-cat-found

help_signMaryland 07/28/14 Frederick County: (Health officials are) searching for the owner of a dog that repeatedly bit a man Saturday night in Frederick.  The incident happened Saturday, July 26, 2014 around 10 p.m. near Hillcrest Drive at Hill Street Park. The FCHD said they need to speak with the owner of the dog so that the bite victim may avoid receiving unnecessary post-exposure rabies vaccinations.  The dog is described as a brownish, medium-sized, medium hair length, possible pit bull-mix that was not leashed. The dog was wearing a collar, officials say.  Anyone who has information about the owner’s identity is asked to call the FCHD at 301-600-1717 or Frederick County Animal Control at 301-600-1544.  Human cases of rabies are fatal if untreated. If you or someone in your family is bitten or scratched by a dog or cat, you should contact FCAC for assistance.  – See http://www.your4state.com/story/d/story/man-bitten-by-dog-in-frederick-officials-search-fo/27729/sDWUr9x_M0mhe3VD1SEH0g

IMG4336e-L-001New Jersey 07/30/14 Burlington County: A kitten in the township of Medford that has tested positive for rabies has reportedly exposed at least 13 people to the virus, all of whom must now receive post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. At least three other cats and a dog were also exposed and will be quarantined for six months. – See http://www.burlingtoncountytimes.com/news/local/rabies-alert-issued-in-medford-after-kitten-tests-positive/article_9e211201-9ad0-5474-980d-8d7f128dfe1e.html

 

FLORIDA reports first case of CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER acquired in the United States ~ CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER outbreak in CARIBBEAN REGION now exceeds 355,000 hum an cases.

Chikungunya Fever causes "bonebreaking" pain in joints

Chikungunya Fever causes “bonebreaking” pain in joints

National 07/17/14 cdc.gov: Media Release – Seven months after the mosquito-borne virus chikungunya was recognized in the Western Hemisphere, the first locally acquired case of the disease has surfaced in the continental United States. The case was reported today in Florida in a male who had not recently traveled outside the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working closely with the Florida Department of Health to investigate how the patient contracted the virus; CDC will also monitor for additional locally acquired U.S. cases in the coming weeks and months. Since 2006, the United States has averaged 28 imported cases of chikungunya (chik-un-GUHN-ya) per year in travelers returning from countries where the virus is common. To date this year, 243 travel-associated cases have been reported in 31 states and two territories. However, the newly reported case represents the first time that mosquitoes in the continental United States are thought to have spread the virus to a non-traveler.

Aedes aegypti . CDC

Aedes aegypti . CDC

Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people by two species of mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both species are found in the southeastern United States and limited parts of the southwest; Aedes albopictus is also found further north up the East Coast, through the Mid-Atlantic States and is also found in the lower Midwest. It is not known what course chikungunya will take now in the United States.

Aedes albopictus

Aedes albopictus

CDC officials believe chikungunya will behave like dengue virus in the United States, where imported cases have resulted in sporadic local transmission but have not caused widespread outbreaks. None of the more than 200 imported chikungunya cases between 2006 and 2013 have triggered a local outbreak. However, more chikungunya-infected travelers coming into the United States increases the likelihood that local chikungunya transmission will occur. Infection with chikungunya virus is rarely fatal, but the joint pain can often be severe and debilitating. This virus is not spread person to person. There is no vaccine and no specific treatment for infection, but research is underway in both areas. Patients recover in about a week, although long-term joint pain occurs in some people. – For complete rmedia release see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0717-chikungunya.html

Chikungunya988405Caribbean Region 07/14/14 cidrap.umn.edu: by Lisa Schnirring – The number of chikungunya infections in an ongoing outbreak in the Caribbean region saw another steep rise last week, with the Dominican Republic again accounting for much of the new activity, along with Guadeloupe and Martinique, according to the latest update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). The total number of suspected and confirmed cases rose to 355,617, an increase of 48,780 from the week before, according to PAHO’s Jul 11 update. Nearly 28,000 of the new cases were reported from the Dominican Republic, while new case numbers were not listed from neighboring Haiti, another outbreak hotspot. Other areas that contributed sizable parts of last week’s increase are Guadeloupe with 11,600 new cases and Martinique with 8,550, according to the PAHO report.

ecdc.logoThe European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in its communicable disease threat update today that most of the affected outbreak areas continue to report cases, “but the situation is particularly severe in the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic).” Elsewhere, the first locally acquired chikungunya cases have been detected in Trinidad and Tobago, according to a Jul 13 report from the Trinidad Express newspaper. James Hospedales, MD, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, said the outbreak appears to be spreading to one new country per week, according to the report. PAHO said the only US territory that saw a notable increase was Puerto Rico, which reported 177 more suspected or confirmed cases for a total of 405 so far. The number of deaths held steady at 21. – For complete article see http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/07/chikungunya-outbreak-exceeds-355000-cases

Will the CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS become a threat in the U.S.? Scientist says “it’s only a matter of time”. ~ TULAREMIA killing RABBITS in COLORADO ~ FLORIDA reports five HORSES down with EEE ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from CO, SD & TX ~ RABIES reports from CO & NY.

Aedes aegypti biting human. Courtesy U.S. Dept of Agriculture.

Aedes aegypti biting human. Courtesy U.S. Dept of Agriculture.

Global 07/01/14 nationalgeographic.com: by Karen Weintraub – Chikungunya (pronounced chick-un-GOON-ya) has plagued other parts of the world—particularly Asia and Africa—for decades, becoming more prevalent in recent years. But it arrived in the Caribbean only in December and has already infected as many as 250,000 people there. The virus is generally not lethal and can’t pass from person to person. But the pain it brings can be horrible—some who have weathered its wrath have said they wished the virus had killed them. In rare cases, the agony can last for months or even years. Public health officials in the Caribbean are struggling to contain the outbreak, in part because of the difficulty of limiting mosquito breeding grounds and because the disease is so new to the area. Paola Lichtenberger, director of the Tropical Medicine Program at the University of Miami, says she is sure the epidemic is more widespread than official numbers suggest simply because making the diagnosis is so difficult. Public health officials in the U.S. and around the world, meanwhile, are tracking cases carefully and encouraging people in affected areas to take precautions to avoid infections and to clean up areas of standing water. Airports in ten major American East Coast cities with Caribbean-bound flights have posted warnings to passengers about chikungunya.

81343_990x742-cb1404168438So far, 73 American travelers have brought the disease home from abroad and another 15 have been infected by mosquitoes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, though it hasn’t yet reached mosquitoes in the continental United States. But it’s only a matter of time before that happens, according to Lichtenberger, who has helped treat three chikungunya patients since the outbreak began. – For complete article see http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140701-chikungunya-caribbean-mosquitoes-world-health/?rptregcta=reg_free_np&rptregcampaign=20140623_t1_rw_membership_r1p_us_dr_w

Tularemia:

colojackColorado 07/04/14 Larimer County: Officials confirmed on July 3rd that a rabbit found in Fort Collins has tested positive for tularemia, aka Rabbit Fever, a bacterial infection that is potentially life-threatening to humans. A die-off of rabbits has been reported in the area over the past few weeks. – For complete article including risks, symptoms and precautions see http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2014/07/03/tularemia-found-southeast-fort-collins-area-rabbit/12205939/

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

eee-threat-249x187Florida 07/03/14 wcjb.com: A fifth horse has tested positive for EEE in North Central Florida. Three of the infected horses were reported stabled in Marion County, and two in Alachua County. – See http://www.wcjb.com/local-news/2014/07/fifth-case-eastern-equine-encephalitis-north-central-florida

West Nile Virus (WNV):

1184134480-mosquito2Colorado 07/03/14 CO Dept of Public Health & Environment: Officials have confirmed the state’s first two human cases of WNV so far this year reported in Saguache and Pueblo counties. – See https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/news-release-human-cases-west-nile-virus-identified-colorado

South Dakota 07/03/14 SD Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed two new human cases of WNV in Codington and Lincoln counties. – See http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/wnv/documents/WestNileupdates2014.pdf

Texas 07/03/14 TX Dept of State Health: Officials have confirmed the state’s first human case of WNV this year was reported in Travis County. – See https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/releases/20140703.aspx

Rabies:

rabiesAlert521d4-1Colorado 07/02/14 Yuma County: Officials have confirmed that a feral cat found near the Morgan Community College campus in Wray has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.yumapioneer.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6060&Itemid=39

New York 07/02/14 Tompkins County: A bat captured earlier this week in Montgomery Park in the town of Dryden has tested positive for rabies. It is known, and was reported, that three children using sticks poked at the bat on Monday, but no one knows who the children are. Officials need to determine as soon as possible if any or all of these children were exposed to the virus. The health department urges anyone who had contact or knows of anyone who had contact with a bat in Montgomery Park in Dryden to immediately contact them at 607-274-6688. – See http://ithacavoice.com/2014/07/officials-scramble-find-kids-poked-rabid-bat-dryden-park/

 

Celebrity WOLF OR-7 has fathered pups in OREGON – GRIZZLY attacks car on CANADIAN highway – TRAVEL WARNING: CDC places CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER on Level 1 Watch List in CARIBBEAN – MISSISSIPPI confirms second HUMAN case of WEST NILE VIRUS – NORTH DAKOTA confirms HANTAVIRUS fatality – RABID STRAY CATS found in NY & PA.

OR-7's pups. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

OR-7’s pups. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Wolf OR-7:

Oregon 06/04/14 chicoer.com: by Jeff Barnard – Oregon’s famous wandering wolf has fathered pups with a mate in the southern Cascade Range — the first confirmed wolf pack in those mountains since the 1940s, officials said today. Biologists made the determination after traveling Monday to a site on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest east of Medford, where photos and a GPS tracking collar showed the wolf known as OR-7 has been living with a mate. They saw two pups peering out from a pile of logs and may have heard more, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said. OR-7 and his mate were nowhere to be seen but could well have been nearby in the dense timber, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist John Stephenson said. “It was pretty exciting seeing the pups,” he said. “OR-7 was probably off getting some food. We saw a couple deer (and elk) legs that had obviously been getting chewed on.” Scientists also saw some ground disturbance where the pack “clearly had been playing around,” Stephenson said. The discovery marked the farthest west and south a wolf pack has established itself since the animals were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies in the 1990s, he said. – For complete article see http://www.chicoer.com/breakingnews/ci_25897080/wandering-wolf-or-7-has-fathered-pups

Canada:

Grizzly Bear:

Not related to article. For size comparison only. National Geographic image.

Not related to article. For size comparison only. National Geographic image.

Alberta 06/12/14 huffingtonpost.ca: A female resident of Jasper reported that her vehicle was attacked by a GRIZZLY when she slowed down on Highway 16 to let two bears cross in front of her car. The female decided to cross, she said, and the male stopped so she proceeded slowly between them. The male charged her car hitting it full force and rocking it violently. “I could see his teeth, the drool on his face,” she said. She told The Fitzhugh, a Jasper newspaper, she heard the bear’s claws scrape against the metal of her car as he sped away. About a kilometer down the road she stopped and could see the bears chasing after her. She told the Edmonton Journal that repairing the dents left in the car’s side panels would cost about $5,500.00. Parks Canada confirmed a similar incident about an hour earlier near the same location and they suspect the same GRIZZLY was involved.  – For complete article and video see http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/06/12/grizzly-attacks-car-jasper_n_5488751.html

Travel Warning:        

Chikungunya Fever:

chikVCaribbean06/02/14 travelweekly.com: by Gay Nagle Myers -U.S. and Caribbean health officials report that chikungunya, a viral disease spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, now has reached 17 Caribbean countries with 4,406 confirmed cases and more than 103,000 suspected cases. The mosquito-borne disease first appeared in French St. Martin in December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Florida has reported 10 cases coming from travelers returning from Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Martinique and St. Maarten/Martin. To date, no case has been reported of people contracting the disease in Florida, “but there is a high likelihood, as we continue to monitor and investigate, that we will find some,” according to Roger Nasci, a CDC expert on vector-borne diseases. The CDC has placedchikungunya on its Level 1 Watch List in the Caribbean, urging travelers to follow precautions. The risk to travelers “is slightly above the baseline risk,” the CDC said. – For complete article see http://www.travelweekly.com/Caribbean-Travel/Mosquito-borne-illness-spreads-in-Caribbean/

West Nile Virus:

imagesGW02ZP9VMississippi06/05/14 vaccinenewsdaily.com: A second human case of West Nile virus (WNV) in the state this year had been confirmed. The WNV case was confirmed in NewtownCounty. The first case was confirmed in HindsCounty in February. “This serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of preventing mosquito exposures, particularly as we approach the historically active summer months,” Thomas Dobbs, an epidemiologist for MSDH, said. – See http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/medical_countermeasures/330914-second-west-nile-case-confirmed-in-mississippi/

Hantavirus:

504f618286f53_preview-300North Dakota06/12/14 ND State Health Dept: State officials have confirmed the death of an adult resident due to Hantavirus, which is found in the feces and urine of rodents and can be inhaled while cleaning poorly ventilated areas. No other information was provided. – See http://www.theolympian.com/2014/06/12/3178016/death-in-central-nd-attributed.html?sp=/99/988/

Rabies:

imagesPG7OKBFQNew York06/06/14ErieCounty: An apparently ill feral cat found by children on Cedar Road in Newstead has tested positive for rabies. No description of the cat was provided. – See http://wivb.com/2014/06/06/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies/

Pennsylvania06/06/14AdamsCounty: A feral cat that attacked a woman in the 400-block of Sibert Road in StrabanTownship has tested positive for rabies. No description of the cat was provided. – See http://www.gettysburgtimes.com/news/local/article_0098850e-2937-5739-bcc2-97ac223bc623.html

 

 

 

 

 

First U.S. case of MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (MERS) confirmed in INDIANA ~ CHIKUNGUNYA now an epidemic in the CARIBBEAN ~ RABIES report from ONTARIO, CANADA.

Dromedary by Trisha. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Dromedary by Trisha. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Global 05/02/14 cdc.org: Media ReleaseMiddle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed today in a traveler to the United States. This virus is relatively new to humans and was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. “We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state health officials to find people who may have had contact with this person so they can be evaluated as appropriate.  This case reminds us that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.  We can break the chain of transmission in this case through focused efforts here and abroad.”

OCDC-Logon April 24, the patient traveled by plane from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, England then from London to Chicago, Illinois.  The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana.  On the 27th, the patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency department in an Indiana hospital on April 28th and was admitted on that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated; the patient is currently in stable condition. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials tested for MERS-CoV. The Indiana state public health laboratory and CDC confirmed MERS-CoV infection in the patient this afternoon. “It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation, but this first U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.  In some countries, the virus has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

arabian camel 1CDC and Indiana health officials are not yet sure how the patient became infected with the virus.  Exposure may have occurred in Saudi Arabia, where outbreaks of MERS-CoV infection are occurring. Officials also do not know exactly how many people have had close contact with the patient. So far, including this U.S. importation, there have been 401 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date, all reported cases have originated in six countries in the Arabian Peninsula.  Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died. Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus. “In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make its way to the United States,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “We have been preparing since 2012 for this possibility.” Federal, state, and local health officials are taking action to minimize the risk of spread of the virus.  The Indiana hospital is using full precautions to avoid exposure within the hospital and among healthcare professionals and other people interacting with the patient, as recommended by CDC. – For complete release and links to more information see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0502-US-MERS.html

Author’s Note: Researchers have isolated live MERS virus from single-humped camels also known as dromedaries, and almost 75% of the camels in Saudi Arabia have tested positive for prior exposure to the MERS virus. However, even though camels are suspected to be the primary source of infection for humans, the exact routes of direct or indirect exposure remain unknown.

Chikungunya:

carphaWestern Hemisphere 05/01/14 Caribbean Basin: The head of the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, has declared the Chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean. “By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” Dr Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). The mosquito-borne illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and last week Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines became the latest countries to declare an outbreak. According to Dr Hospedales, as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region. . . . . To date the Chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Anguilla, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Maarten (Dutch) and St Martin (French). – For complete article see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Chikungunya-now-an-epidemic-in-the-Caribbean

Rabies:

Canada:

HelpCardOntario 05/01/14 Bruce County: Yet another dog biting incident is reported in the area. The Grey Bruce Health Unit is asking for your help in tracking down the owner of a dog involved in a biting incident in Chesley. It happened Wednesday at about 9 PM. A man was attacked by a dog while walking on the Chesley Rail Trail near the cemetery. The dog was loose and was not being watched by anyone. The Health unit says the dog is described as large and dark-coloured. Staff of the Grey Bruce Health Unit need to confirm that the dog is not infectious with rabies. By verifying the health of the dog, the victim can avoid receiving the post-exposure rabies treatment. If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420. – See http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=65812

Bill Gates declares this week MOSQUITO WEEK ~ LYME DISEASE on the rise in CANADA ~ Consumer Reports INSECT REPELLENT ratings ~ FOLLOW-UP: Infections in VIRGINIA were not HANTAVIRUS.

Mosquito-Week-Infographic

Global 04/26/14 mashable.com: by Bill Gates – This week over at my blog, TheGatesNotes, we’re hosting Mosquito Week. It’s modeled on the Discovery Channel’s annual fear-fest, Shark Week. But compared to mosquitoes, sharks are wimps. In fact, when it comes to killing humans, no other animal even comes close. Take a look: (see above). For many of us, mosquitoes might seem more pests than predators. But in a large part of the world, particularly among the poor, mosquitoes are a blight. There are more than 2,500 species of mosquito, and they’re found in every region of the world except Antarctica. During the peak breeding seasons, they outnumber every other animal on Earth, except termites and ants. Despite their innocuous-sounding name—Spanish for “little fly”—they carry devastating diseases. The worst is malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people every year; another 200 million cases incapacitate people for days at a time. It threatens half of the world’s population and causes billions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Other mosquito-borne diseases include dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis. So we’re taking a lesson from the sharks, and hosting Mosquito Week on the Gates Notes. Everything I’m posting this week is dedicated to this deadly creature. You can learn about the ingenious researchers who may have found a way to combat dengue fever by inoculating not people, but mosquitoes. (Somehow this story involved me offering up my bare arm to a cage full of hungry mosquitoes so they could feed on my blood.) You can read a first-hand account of what it’s like to have malaria and hear from an inspiring Tanzanian scientist who’s fighting it. And I’ve shared a few thoughts about why I’m still optimistic that we can eradicate this disease, which would be one of the greatest accomplishments in health ever. In an average year, sharks kill a half dozen people. Mosquitoes kill 50,000 times as many people. Seemed worth paying attention to. So, I hope you’ll have a look around. I can’t promise that Anopheles Gambiae will be quite as exciting as hammerheads and Great Whites. But maybe you’ll come away with a new appreciation for these flying masters of mayhem.

Lyme Disease:

lyme-awareness5128Canada 04/27/14 theglobeandmail.com: by Adriana Barton – Most Canadians think of Lyme disease as a rare illness that afflicts hikers bitten by ticks in the deep woods. Infected individuals develop a bull’s-eye rash and go on antibiotics for a few weeks to clear it up. Problem solved The trouble with this picture – promoted for years by Canadian health authorities – is that it does not begin to capture the true threat of Lyme disease, which in its chronic form can turn into a life sentence of debilitating joint pain and neurological problems. Disease-carrying ticks in Canada have increased tenfold in the past two decades, spread by migratory birds and nurtured by warming climates that allow them to thrive in our own backyards. While reported cases jumped 146 per cent between 2009 and 2012, advocates say that testing is inadequate and doctors lack awareness of Lyme, resulting in gross underreporting and underdiagnosis of this rapidly emerging infectious disease. Jim Wilson, president of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation (CanLyme), says Canada lags far behind the United States in testing for the multiple strains of bacteria that can cause Lyme. Canadian tests and clinical exams are “way too narrowly focused for what we’re running into in the wild,” Wilson said. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), only 315 cases of Lyme disease were reported in 2012. The actual number is likely in the thousands, Wilson said, noting that 3,000 patients contact his organization each year. A 2013 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year – 10 times the reported number of 30,000. – For complete article see http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/lyme-disease-on-the-rise-in-canada-linked-to-ticks/article18232442/

Insect Repellent Ratings:

Consumer_Reports_Insect_Repellents_Update_5-13See http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/05/best-way-to-stop-bug-bites/index.htm

Follow-Up Report:

Hantavirus:

(See HANTAVIRUS suspected in six VIRGINIA infections, two fatal – post dated April 29, 2014)

microscope8776dVIRGINIA 04/30/14 Pulaski County: by Jacob Demmitt – The illness that hospitalized a Snowville family of five — killing two — was not hantavirus as previously suspected, according to health officials. Instead, it was a combination of two common and treatable illnesses — influenza B and strep A — that together claimed the lives of Julie Simpkins and her 14-year-old daughter, Ginger Simpkins, on April 25. Individually, neither the flu nor strep cause tremendous concern, but together they are “extremely, extremely rare” and serious, New River Health District Director Molly O’Dell said. During a media teleconference on Wednesday, O’Dell said both the flu and strep are circulating in the region, but there doesn’t seem to be any threat to the community because it is so rare to become infected with both simultaneously. The health department has not made an official cause of death finding – that can come only from the medical examiner’s office – but health officials on Wednesday’s call talked about how the combination  of flu and strep could be deadly. Doctors have not identified anyone else in the area who has been co-infected, O’Dell said. No one in the Simpkins family had received a flu shot, and all five members tested positive for the flu and showed signs of strep. It’s impossible to know where they picked it up or if they contracted both at the same time, O’Dell said. “A lot of times what we’ll say in medicine is just because you have one thing doesn’t mean you can’t have another, a second thing,” she said. “So if someone gets influenza, it certainly makes them more vulnerable to pick up bacterial infections.” The kind of co-infection that struck the Simpkinses is so rare that it hasn’t been studied by scientists, and only about 10 cases have ever been reported in all the medical literature Tom Kerkering, Carilion’s chief of infectious diseases, could find. “I’ve been doing infectious diseases for 35 years. This is the first time I’ve seen the combination,” Kerkering said during the teleconference. – For complete article see http://www.roanoke.com/news/rare-combination-of-flu-and-strep-killed-members-of-pulaski/article_b11e22fa-d0ad-11e3-8801-0017a43b2370.html

Will CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER spread to the U.S.? ~ TRAVEL WARNINGS: CHIKUNGUNYA spreads throughout eastern CARIBBEAN ~ MISSISSIPPI reports first WEST NILE VIRUS case of 2014 ~ MEXICAN GRAY WOLD population highest since reintroduction 16 years ago ~ RABIES reports from AZ, & GA.

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Western Hemisphere 02/10/14 livescience.com: by Marc Lallanilla – Health experts are concerned that chikungunya fever — a debilitating mosquito-borne disease that was once confined to Africa and Asia — has now spread to the Caribbean and may soon begin to make its way across North and South America. An infection with the chikungunya (chik-un-GUN-ya) virus causes severe pain, high fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and rash. The name is derived from an East African word for “that which bends,” a reference to the hi_4333.chikungunyaposture adopted by infected people who are stooped over from severe joint pain. And though the disease can’t be spread directly from person to person, a mosquito that bites a person who’s infected with the virus can easily spread the disease by biting another person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The spread of chikungunya was first reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2013, after 10 residents on the Caribbean island of St. Martin were confirmed to have the disease. In the months since then, chikungunya has spread to other Caribbean countries, including popular tourist destinations such as Guadeloupe, Martinique and the British Virgin Islands.

Will chikungunya spread to the US?

0209-web-subCARIBBEANmap.chikungunyaThe disease isn’t unknown in the United States, but all previous documented cases have been in people who traveled outside the U.S. to countries where chikungunya is established, and were not caused by infected mosquitos within the U.S. That may change, however, since the mosquitos that carry the virus —Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus — are already found in the U.S. Some experts worry that it’s only a matter of time before chikungunya fever spreads to the U.S. “We definitely should be concerned,” said Laura Harrington, a professor of entomology at Cornell University who specializes in the spread of chikungunya and other tropical diseases. The death rate from chikungunya is fairly low — about 1 to 2 percent — “but it does cause a lot of discomfort,” Harrington told LiveScience. Most of the deaths caused by the disease are among the elderly or people with compromised immune systems.- For complete article see http://www.livescience.com/43241-what-is-chikungunya-fever-virus-mosquito.html

TRAVEL WARNINGS:

saim-LMAP-mdEastern Caribbean 02/08/14 theglobaldispatch.com: Since the chikungunya virus first made it’s appearance in the Western Hemisphere in early December on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, the outbreak has continued to grow and spread throughout many parts of the region showing little sign of slowing. The newest numbers released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Feb. 7 shows that the total case count is pushing 1,500, up several hundred from just one week ago. According to European authorities, as of Friday the numbers are as follows: Saint Martin (FR):  601 probable or confirmed cases, Sint Maarten (NL): 60 confirmed cases, Saint Barthélemy: 83 probable or confirmed cases, Martinique: 518 probable or confirmed cases, Guadeloupe: 175 probable or confirmed cases, British Virgin Islands, Jost Van Dyke islands: six confirmed cases and Dominica: 3 confirmed cases and 1 imported confirmed case probably originating from Saint Martin. The Dominica number may be updated very soon as at least one news source from the island, Dominica News Online reported Friday the case count is now actually 13. In addition to the autochthonous cases reported above, imported cases have been reported from French Guiana: 4 confirmed imported cases: 3 from Martinique and 1 from Saint Martin, with no evidence of local transmission, one imported confirmed case on the Island of Anguilla probably originating from Saint Martin and one imported case reported on the Aruba.

lancet80-4-5ui76In a paper in The Lancet published today, researchers state:

It is likely that the chikungunya epidemic will extend to other Caribbean islands, and it also has substantial potential for spreading from this region visited yearly by millions of tourists to the American mainland where A aegypti is endemic. Assuming that this strain will be transmitted efficiently by A albopictus mosquitoes, its persistence in the Caribbean would also represent, as a consequence of seasonal synchronicity, a great threat for southern European countries where the mosquito has recently dispersed. This situation warrants reinforced epidemiological surveillance and specific preparedness.

CDC-LogoThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an updated travel notice for those going to the Caribbean islands on Thursday saying, “Travelers who go to these islands in the Caribbean are at risk of getting chikungunya.” Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of chikungunya are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.

West Nile Virus (WNV):

HindsCountyMSMississippi 02/10/14 Hinds County: Officials have confirmed the state’s first human case of WNV for 2014. Last year, 45 human cases of WNV were reported in the state, including five fatalities. – See http://www.wjtv.com/story/24681817/first-west-nile-virus-human-case-of-2014

 

Mexican Gray Wolves:

MW_Header_5Arizona & New Mexico 02/10/14 wmicentral.com: by Terence Corrigan – The population of Mexican gray wolves has reached its highest level since the reintroduction program released the first wolves 16 years ago near Alpine. The Interagency Field Team recently completed its annual count and determined that the minimum number of Mexican wolves is 83 –  43 in New Mexico and 37 in Arizona. The population of wolves in the wild has nearly doubled in the last four years. The count was 75 in January 2013, and 58 in 2012. In 2013, seven packs produced 17 pups that survived through December. The gain in wolf numbers was offset by seven deaths, four were killed illegally. The official number is expressed as the “minimum count” because it’s a number they’re sure of. It’s entirely likely that there are additional animals that were not seen. Preparation for the annual survey begins in September and October on the ground with field team members confirming locations of animals that are fitted with telemetry collars. In January the official count begins with an aerial telemetry survey from an airplane. The airplane survey is followed by a visual count from a helicopter.

r_gray_wolf_pups1The field team currently has a pair of wolves in a pen in the forest and plans to release them sometime in the early spring. There is also a pair being held in captivity that Fish and Wildlife plans to release this year. The management policy now is to release only a pair with newly born pups which tends to keep them near the release site. In the past newly released single animals have bolted from the release site and strayed far outside the boundaries where wolves are currently allowed to be. All of the wolves counted were born in the wild, which program personnel say bodes well for success. Wild born pups “seem to have what it takes to survive … and not get into trouble as relates to human interactions,” said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife. – For complete article see http://www.wmicentral.com/news/apache_county/wolf-population-increases-to/article_119b47ba-8f8c-11e3-bea4-001a4bcf887a.html

 Rabies:

striped-skunks-01_000Arizona 02/10/14 Pima and Santa Cruz counties: State officials have issued a Rabies Alert in two southern counties effective immediately. Thirteen skunks have tested positive for the virus in these areas. – See https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/14423701dbe07afc

Georgia 02/09/14 White County: A skunk that was in contact with a female dog and her litter of puppies has tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred in the 4700 block of Highway 254. An earlier case of the virus was reported last month just two blocks away. – See http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=270963