BEAR mauls two guides hired by cruise line in ALASKA ~ FDA advises testing all blood donations for ZIKA ~ FLORIDA governor confirms ZIKA is spreading ~ ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS case confirmed in NEVADA ~ RABID CAT reports from Canada- ON, NJ, and VA.

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Alaska 08/25/16 washingtonpost.com: A bear that mauled two cruise ship wilderness guides during a hiking excursion in Alaska attacked so quickly that there was little time to defend against the animal, the CEO of the cruise ship company said. The attack occurred after the guides and a group of hikers from the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer rounded a “semi-blind corner” and found themselves between the bear and her cub, UnCruise Adventures CEO Dan Blanchard told the Juneau Empire in an interview published Tuesday. “I can’t express enough about how rapidly this happened,” Blanchard said. The guides are crew members of the 74-passenger vessel and receive training on bear safety and other topics each spring, he said. The Coast Guard rescued the injured guides, who were identified by Alaska state troopers as 41-year-old Anna Powers of Hawaii and 26-year-old Michael Justa of Juneau. Justa was treated and released the in Sitka. Powers was in satisfactory condition Wednesday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The Aug. 18 hike in Tongass National Forest has been part of the Wilderness Explorer’s regular eight-day itinerary since the early 2000s. – For complete article see https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/cruise-line-ceo-details-alaska-bear-mauling-of-2-workers/2016/08/24/c8d5535e-6a5d-11e6-91cb-ecb5418830e9_story.html

Blogger’s Note: According to an earlier report, the guides were attacked by a Brown bear.

Zika Virus:

a_us$1_zika_test_in_the_worksx_could_be_available_within_months.jpg_1718483346National 08/26/16 fda.gov: Media Release – As a further safety measure against the emerging Zika virus outbreak, today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a revised guidance recommending universal testing of donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus in the U.S. and its territories. “There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.”

US-fdaThe FDA first issued guidance on Feb. 16 recommending that only areas with active Zika virus transmission screen donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus, use pathogen-reduction devices, or halt blood collection and obtain Whole Blood and blood components from areas of the U.S. without active virus transmission. All areas with active transmission in the U.S. are currently in compliance with this guidance. The revised guidance announced today recommends that all states and U.S. territories screen individual units of donated Whole Blood and blood components with a blood screening test authorized for use by the FDA under an investigational new drug (IND) application, or a licensed test when available. Alternatively, an FDA-approved pathogen-reduction device may be used for plasma and certain platelet products.

The FDA is updating its guidance after careful consideration of all available scientific evidence, consultation with other public health agencies, and taking into consideration the potential serious health consequences of Zika virus infection to pregnant women and children born to women exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy. Testing of donated blood is already underway in Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as in other areas, and it has shown to be beneficial in identifying donations infected with Zika virus. Expanded testing will continue to reduce the risk for transmission of Zika virus through the U.S. blood supply and will be in effect until the risk of transfusion transmission of Zika virus is reduced.

GM-mosquito-release.zika.flFlorida 08/23/16 tampabay.com: by  Christopher O’DonnellMichael Auslen and Megan Reeves – Health officials on both sides of Tampa Bay are scrambling to contain a potential new outbreak of the Zika virus after the first locally transmitted infection was confirmed in Pinellas County Tuesday. The Florida Department of Health is planning to conduct door-to-door testing and outreach in the neighborhood where the infection was detected. However, officials do not plan to reveal the location unless more cases are discovered. The effort to track down people who had contact with the infected person, known as an epidemiological investigation, will also extend into Hillsborough County, officials said. Targeted mosquito spraying to limit the spread of the virus is also taking place both in Pinellas and at an undisclosed Hillsborough County location.

afp_2d56e5b2c324070551df8a44124ce4835f24ad0b-e1472053951402-640x480Gov. Rick Scott announced the new infection, the first locally transmitted case of the virus confirmed outside South Florida, at a Zika roundtable with Pinellas County health officials and political leaders Tuesday. “This person did not travel to an infected area with Zika; we are looking at a number of locations,” Scott said. “Hopefully something good will happen and it will just be a single case. But if we do find out, what we will do is we will be very aggressive.”

No information was released about the infected resident who Scott referred to as “she.” Dr. Celeste Philip, the state surgeon general, said the resident likely contracted the virus, which is also sexually transmitted, through a mosquito bite. Yet, the state does not believe mosquitoes are actively spreading Zika in the county. That won’t be known for certain until the state’s investigation is complete, which could take a week or more.- See http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/gov-rick-scott-confirms-non-travel-zika-virus-case-in-pinellas-county/2290623

St. Louis Encephalitis :

Title_St._Louis_EncephalitisNevada 08/26/16 dailyprogress.com: Las Vegas health officials say they’ve identified the first human case of St. Louis encephalitis in nearly a decade. The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday announced that a man over the age of 50 has been infected by a more serious, neuroinvasive form of the mosquito-borne virus. The man who isn’t being identified has already been treated and released from the hospital. He marks the first human case of St. Louis encephalitis in Clark County since 2007. – See http://www.dailyprogress.com/vegas-case-of-st-louis-encephalitis-is-the-first-in/article_6d22465a-f13d-5fcd-837b-c804c0763790.html

Rabies:

Canada:

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Not a photo of the cat in this report.

Ontario 08/26/16 ctvnews.ca: Health officials say an Ontario man is undergoing treatment after being bitten by a cat that tested positive for rabies. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it was notified Thursday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that a stray cat had bitten someone in Caledonia. They say they are working with Hamilton Public Health to see if anyone else was exposed to the same cat because it came from a rural part of the city.- See http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/cat-with-rabies-bites-man-in-hamilton-ont-1.304600

New Jersey 08/26/16 shorenewstoday.com: A kitten that had been taken in and cared for by a Hammonton couple has been confirmed as Atlantic County’s ninth rabies case of the year. The Atlantic County Division of Public Health reports that the couple’s outdoor cat brought home three kittens in June that were cared for by a couple living on Washington Street. One kitten became ill and was taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment on August 18. It displayed neurological symptoms consistent with rabies and soon died. It was confirmed positive for rabies by the state lab on August 24.- See http://www.shorenewstoday.com/mainland/hammonton-kitten-confirmed-as-th-rabies-case/article_77a95bfa-6aea-11e6-a1e3-13828b61db0f.html

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Not a photo of the cat in this report.

Virginia 08/26/16 wishtv.com: by Kevin Green – A cat that reportedly chased and a bit a person in Chesapeake tested positive for rabies, health officials confirmed Thursday. Officials say a cat “aggressively chased and bit” at least one person in an industrial park in the Greenbriar section of the city. “He saw the cat and kinda dismissed it, turned around and started walking away,” Abe Rivera, who worked with the man said. “It came up behind him and bit it him on the leg.” The cat was reportedly captured and is no longer a threat, but officials say it tested positive for rabies. Officials say there are numerous feral cats and animals in the area that could have been exposed. “Those cats like go to the same food sources, they mate, they fight, so yes we are concerned about maybe more,” Lisa Engle of the Chesapeake Health Department said. – See http://wishtv.com/2016/08/25/rabid-cat-aggressively-chases-bites-person-in-virginia/

WASHINGTON woman dies after contracting STREP bacteria from a HORSE ~ CDC issues warning for second ZIKA zone in FLORIDA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS claims lives in AZ & WA ~ RABID CAT reports from GA(2) & SC

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Image: bohringer friedrich WikimediaCommons

Washington 08/17/16 healio.com: In a rare case, investigators say a woman died after contracting Streptococcus zooepidemicus from a sick horse in Washington state. The woman, aged 71years, died within a week after having close contact with a horse that later tested positive for S. zooepidemicus, a subspecies of S. equi, the investigators said. “S. zooepidemicus is a zoonotic pathogen that rarely causes human illness and is usually associated with consuming unpasteurized dairy products or with direct horse contact,” they wrote in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “In horses, S. zooepidemicus is a commensal bacterium that can cause respiratory, wound, and uterine infections.” The woman was visiting her daughter’s horse boarding and riding facility in King County, Washington, where three of the facility’s six horses later tested positive for S. zooepidemicus, including the one that infected her. The daughter also was infected by one of the horses and developed a mild sore throat and cough, but recovered. Soon after, on Feb. 29, she began administering 10 days of sulfa-based antibiotics to a horse that showed symptoms of S. zooepidemicus infection, and the horse fully recovered. Her mother, who had symptoms consistent with an upper respiratory infection at the same time her daughter was ill, had contact with one of the horses on at least Feb. 25 and Feb. 29 and later developed vomiting and diarrhea on March 2, the investigators said. She was found unconscious the next day and died after being transported to a hospital. According to the investigators, a blood culture from the woman and throat culture from her daughter both grew isolates of S. zooepidemicus that matched isolates from two of the horses at the facility. They said the woman’s age and possible upper respiratory infection might have made her more vulnerable for invasive disease by S. zooepidemicus- See http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7B3a92fc1f-94ce-4a16-9f59-1225489258c6%7D/woman-dies-after-contracting-s-zooepidemicus-from-horse

Zika Virus:

4e02d4cc-78d5-46f5-9fdb-8a4d4ea435be-large16x9_ZikaFloridaFlorida 08/19/16 cdc.gov: Media ReleaseThe Florida Department of Health has identified two areas of Miami-Dade County where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. In addition to the previously identified area in the Wynwood neighborhood, there is now mosquito-borne spread of Zika virus in a section of Miami Beach. This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to the identified area of Miami Beach any time after July 14. This guidance also still applies for those who live in or traveled to the previously identified Wynwood area any time after June 15. These timeframes are based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus. Pregnant women and their partners who are concerned about being exposed to Zika may want to consider postponing nonessential travel to all parts of Miami-Dade County. – For complete release see http://www.cdc.gov/zika/intheus/florida-update.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Arizona 08/18/16 azcentral.com: Health officials say Maricopa County has reported its first two deaths this season from the West Nile virus. There have been 26 human cases of West Nile so far this season in Arizona’s most populous county. The two people who died both were over 50 years old — the age group most at risk for serious complications of West Nile virus. Last year, Maricopa County had 62 West Nile cases with two deaths. – For complete article see http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2016/08/18/2-deaths-from-07cd7361057a7994e7e590e1fb0d3868ed6ff5ad-1west-nile-virus-in-maricopa-county-this-season/88967118/

Washington 08/17/16 http://kimatv.com/: by Hannah Vogel – The Washington State Department of Health confirmed the first death in our state from the West Nile virus. Officials say a 70-year-old woman from Benton County died after being exposed to infected mosquitoes. – For complete article see http://kimatv.com/news/local/health-officials-west-nile-virus-claims-life-of-benton-county-woman

Rabies:

FeralCats681508/18/16 whitecountynews.net:by Debbie Gilbert – A woman in the Sky Lake community in northern White County is receiving medical treatment after being bitten by a rabid cat on Saturday, Aug. 13. Sean Sullivan, White County environmental health manager, said the woman is an animal devotee who recently began feeding a stray cat that showed up near her home. “But after a day or two, it bit her,” Sullivan said. “I don’t think she had the cat long enough to know its normal behavior, so she may not have recognized symptoms of rabies.” He said the woman began receiving prophylactic medical treatment on Sunday, even before tests results were available, to prevent her from possibly developing rabies. Sullivan sent the cat’s remains to the Georgia Public Health Lab, but did not receive confirmation of rabies until Wednesday. On Thursday, he began posting signs in the Sky Lake area, alerting residents that there had been a rabies case in the vicinity. – See http://www.whitecountynews.net/breaking-news/rabid-cat-bites-woman-sky-lake

Georgia 08/17/16 http://wfxl.com/:by Kerri Copello – A case of rabies has been confirmed in the City of Cordele (Crisp County). The Cordele Police Department confirms that a stray kitten died suddenly and positively tested for rabies. The Cordele Police Department and animal control want to remind everyone of the importance of getting your pets vaccinated every year for rabies because it is the law. Sgt. Jeremy Taylor, with the Cordele Police Department, wants to remind people not to approach a stray animal. If citizens see strays, even baby animals, call The Cordele Police Department and let animal control pick them up. – See http://wfxl.com/news/local/kitten-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-cordele

0South Carolina 08/18/16 indexjournal.com: Four people have started treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies by a pet cat with the disease in Troy, according to a release from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. The cat began to act irregularly Aug. 11 and died the next day, the release said. It was confirmed to have rabies Monday. The people were bitten or exposed to the cat’s saliva while trying to provide it with care. The cat is the fifth animal in Greenwood County to test positive for rabies this year. – See http://www.indexjournal.com/news/RABIES-ALERT–Cat-likely-exposes-four-people-to-disease-in-Greenwood-County-17841766

IDAHOAN family saves toddler from jaws of MOUNTAIN LION ~ CANADIAN girl survives BLACK BEAR attack ~ U.S. declares ZIKA emergency in PUERTO RICO ~ LA CROSSE ENCEPHALITIS near fatal for NORTH CAROLINA lad.

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Idaho 08/13/16 http://idahostatejournal.com/: By Debbie Bryce – Quick thinking by an Eastern Idaho family most likely saved the life of their 4-year-old girl after she was snatched by a mountain lion during a family camping trip Friday, according to Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In a press release Saturday, Senior Conservation Officer Gregg Losinski said the incident occurred near Green Canyon Hot Springs east of Rexburg. Losinski said the family spotted the lion early Friday, which in itself is unusual. He said that when the cat appeared later in the evening and attempted to snatch the child, the family began yelling at the cougar, and it dropped the girl and fled. According to the family, the child sustained minor injuries in the attack. After the incident, the family packed up camp and took the child to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls to be examined. Jennifer Jackson with Idaho Fish and Game said mountain lion sightings are rare, and reports of attacks on humans are even more uncommon. – For complete article see http://idahostatejournal.com/members/family-saves–year-old-daughter-from-east-idaho-mountain/article_f74210ab-a124-5682-8cdb-9fec52839759.html

Black Bear Attack:

Canada:

Black-Bear-Cub-and-Mom-BingFreeUseLicenseBritish Columbia 08/14/16 ctvnews.ca: A 10-year-old girl walking with her father on a hiking trail in Port Coquitlam, B.C. on Saturday was attacked by a black bear that witnesses say tried to drag her off into the woods. The girl’s father and others successfully fought the bear off with rocks and sticks. She was rushed to hospital with critical injuries, according to a spokesperson for B.C. Ambulance Service. “It didn’t want to let go,” one witness told CTV Vancouver. “It pulled her into the bush and was trying to pull her further and people were whacking its head, eventually it let go but tried to bite her again.” The bear, which officials say was with its cub at the time, was later located by wildlife authorities and killed. Conservation officers tranquilized the nearby bear cub and said the animals were likely drawn to the area by the smell of garbage. It’s unclear what happened to the cub. – See http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/it-didn-t-want-to-let-go-girl-10-attacked-by-black-bear-in-b-c-1.3028064

Zika Virus:

VIRUS-ZIKA-44National 08/12/16 wsj.com: by Thomas M. Burton – The federal government on Friday declared a public health emergency in Puerto Rico because of the spread of Zika, saying the island’s pregnant women were particularly at risk because of the possible birth defects linked to the virus. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell took the step at the request of Gov. Alejandro García Padilla,underscoring the urgency of dealing with the spread of Zika. The island has reported more than 10,000 confirmed cases of Zika infection, about 10% of whom were pregnant women. HHS said the declaration enables the use of public funds to hire workers to eradicate mosquitoes in an effort to reduce the spread of the infection and to educate women of childbearing age on how best to avoid the virus. – For complete article see http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-declares-health-emergency-in-puerto-rico-over-zika-virus-1471040670

La Crosse Encephalitis:

lacrosse (2)North Carolina 08/12/16 wfmynews2.com: An 11-year-old Asheville boy is now recovering at Levine Children’s Hospital because of La Crosse Encephalitis. His mother says he could have died if it wasn’t caught soon enough. JJ Wise’s mother says he was playing outside, was bitten by a mosquito and quickly developed severe headaches that didn’t seem to go away with treatment. “They did some MRI’s, they did some more tests and they did another spinal tap on him,” said Kim Wise. Doctors eventually determined the boy was bitten by a mosquito infected by the La Crosse encephalitis virus.  He was rushed to Charlotte and was hospitalized. Friday the family invited NBC Charlotte into the hospital to share his story. JJ suffered a stroke, which triggered speech issues and weakness. Now he’s learning to keep his balance while walking down the hallway. JJ says, “I’m good, I’m getting stronger and stronger.” He says he has a message for his friends back home.  “I hope all of you are doing better and hopefully no mosquitoes bite you.” – For complete article see http://www.wfmynews2.com/news/health/north-carolina-boy-nearly-dies-from-mosquito-bite/296419115

 

BEAVER attacks two people in CONNECTICUT ~ COYOTES attack humans in CALIFORNIA, PENNSYLVANIA and RHODE ISLAND ~ COLORADO reports first WEST NILE VIRUS fatality of 2016.

 

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Image: Bing.com Free Use License.

Connecticut 08/10/16 http://wtnh.com/: Two people were attacked by a beaver on the Quinebaug River near the Pomfret/Killingly line. DEEP officials are warning swimmers and boaters to stay away from the area.  “It appeared to be one animal that bit and injured two people,” said Dennis Schain the Communications Director with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Karen Greb and Gahrett Bond were attacked Monday evening as they were standing in the river.

Greb wrote in this Facebook post:

“Beavers do attack. I was swimming in the Quinebaug River just standing there when something clamped down on my rib cage. I shoved my hand in its mouth to get it to release me and tore the ligament in my thumb.”

Her boyfriend Gahrett Bond jumped in to help her and that’s when the beaver attacked Bond latching onto his leg.

“We did nothing to this beaver. But they do attack viciously just be careful. This is truly what nightmares are made of.”

Forest_Animals_Wallpaper_-_BeaverThe couple ended up in the hospital with serious injuries. “Both of them required them multiple stitches and we understand the woman who was attacked actually is going to need on surgery her hand. Depending on where you got bitten and how prolonged an attack was which is even rare to happen the injuries could be serious,” said Schain. As a precaution, the couple is undergoing treatment for rabies. “This attack was very unusual. Healthy beaver usually don’t go after people and beaver don’t often get infected with rabies,” said Schain. DEEP officials did encounter a beaver with aggressive behavior, but have been unable to capture the animal. – See http://wtnh.com/2016/08/10/beaver-attacks-two-people-on-the-quinebaug-river/

Coyote Attacks:

127e83b7d11bf0a4e4d2de638e42016fCalifornia 08/09/16 .latimes.com:  by Erica Evans – Police have ordered the closure of a popular Montebello park and petting zoo after three people were attacked recently by coyotes. Although incidents of coyotes attacking small dogs and cats are a fact of life in Southern California, attacks on people are rare, and officials and neighbors alike expressed worry Tuesday over the animals’ brazen behavior. Two of the victims were forced to seek treatment for possible rabies infection. “People are not food for coyotes,” said Andrew Hughan, information officer for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Generally, they’re afraid of us.” Wildlife personnel shot and killed four coyotes at Grant Rea Park Monday night and one more Tuesday evening, officials said. They also set up traps with bait but did not capture any animals that way. The park, a grassy recreational area that covers about one square mile at 600 Rea Drive, features a petting zoo filled with ducks, goats, donkeys, sheep and other animals, as well as a playground, several baseball diamonds and picnic tables. Officials ordered the park closed Monday night and said it will remain closed until the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines that it is safe for the public.  The three victims — two men and a teenage girl — all suffered unprovoked attacks. – For complete article see http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-coyote-attacks-20160809-snap-story.html

coyote-2Pennsylvania 08/09/16 post-gazette.com: by Andrew Goldstein – A coyote that tested positive for rabies was shot and killed hours after it bit a man Monday night in Lincoln Borough, according to the Allegheny County Health Department. The coyote was shot Tuesday by officers with the Lincoln Police Department, the county said, and Pennsylvania Game Commission employees took its carcass to the health department lab, where it tested positive for rabies. The bite victim, who was identified only as an adult male, has already begun post-exposure treatment, the health department said. Even though the rabid coyote was killed, the health department warned that because coyotes are pack animals, others may be infected. – For complete article see http://www.post-gazette.com/local/south/2016/08/09/Coyote-tests-positive-for-rabies-after-attacking-Lincoln-man/stories/201608090198

WLD-08-RK0017-01PRhode Island 08/08/16 http://turnto10.com/news: by Jessica A. Botelho – A Warwick apartment complex is warning residents to be aware of coyotes after police said they received reports that a person was bitten in the area. “Over the last 24-48 hours, we have received multiple reports of coyotes approaching buildings, pets, and humans in the areas of buildings 1-8,” Cowesset Hills Management wrote in a letter to residents Monday. Cowesset Hills, which is located on Greenwich Bay at 3595 Post Road, also told NBC 10 News during a brief phone interview that management is working with Warwick police and environmental authorities “to resolve the issue as fast as possible.” Police confirmed that they received reports that a coyote bit someone at the complex on Sunday. Authorities said they were again called to the area on Monday, as a coyote was behaving erratically. According to police, the coyote was shot and killed as a result, and the Department of Environmental Management is investigating whether it was the same coyote. – For complete article see http://turnto10.com/news/local/person-reportedly-bitten-by-coyote-at-warwick-apartment-complex-authorities-say

West Nile Virus (WNV):

West-Nile-death-1024x576Colorado 08/11/16  denverpost.com: by John Ingold – Thirteen people in Colorado have tested positive for West Nile virus so far this year, including one who died from the disease, the Colorado Health Department announced Wednesday. Three of the cases were in Boulder County, according to a news release by that county’s public health department. The cases in Boulder County involved a 74-year-old woman, a 47-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy. None of the three were hospitalized. It is unclear where the other cases have been reported, and health officials would not release more information about the death. The first case of West Nile virus was reported this year in June in Larimer County, said Jennifer House, the state public health veterinarian. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in its announcement Wednesday that people, animals or mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile in 14 counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Bent, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Gunnison, La Plata, Larimer, Mesa, Morgan, Rio Blanco and Weld. – For complete article see http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/10/west-nile-cases-death-colorado/

Study shows CARDINALS are “Super-Suppressors” of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA and northern TEXAS report first WEST NILE VIRUS deaths of 2016 ~ More than 1,000 new cases of ZIKA weekly in PUERTO RICO ~ UTAH reports second HANTAVIRUS death of 2016 ~ RABID PET reports from PA, SC.

Northern cardinal pair photo by Ilona L on Flickr noncommercial use permitted with attribution  share alike.

National 08/08/16 seeker.com: Authors of a new study took a closer look at a puzzling circumstance in Georgia: low rates of human infection with the West Nile virus (WNV), even as about a third of Atlanta’s birds carry the disease. The same situation — many infected birds, not so many infected people — applied to the broader American southeast, a team of researchers from Emory University, Texas A&M, the University of Georgia and Georgia’s department of transportation noted. Indeed, they said, Georgia’s WNV infection rate, over the last 15 years, was only about 3 people per 100,000.

Northern cardinal; photo by Jen Goellnitz on FlickTo try to shed light on the discrepancy, the scientists spent three years testing birds and mosquitoes for WNV in Atlanta, analyzing the blood of the insects to determine on which birds they had fed. The scientists were keeping a sharp eye for the number of American robin infections. They consider that species a “super spreader” of WNV, for its capacity to store enough of the virus in its blood to pass along to other mosquitoes. While robins were certainly carriers, the researchers found a twist in the tale, one concerning a favorite of backyard birders everywhere: the cardinal.

Cardinal.female.atoztheusa.com.blog“What we found is that, for some unknown reason, around the middle of July, mosquitoes in Atlanta seem to decide that they have had their fill of robins and they switch to feeding on cardinals,” said the study’s lead author, Rebecca Levine, in a statement.  “But cardinals, even though they can be infected with West Nile virus, are much less likely to have enough virus circulating in their blood to transmit the disease back to feeding mosquitoes,” said Levine, now with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but at Emory University during the research. “That is why we called them ‘super suppressors’.” . . . But, her team’s findings don’t suggest cardinals are a magic red bullet against WNV, Levine said. The birds might not have the same roles elsewhere, depending on the local ecosystems in which they live.  Findings from the study have just been published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  – For complete article see http://www.seeker.com/cardinals-super-suppressors-of-west-nile-virus-1964581023.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

07cd7361057a7994e7e590e1fb0d3868ed6ff5ad-1California 08/05/16 mercurynews.com: by Tracy Seipel –  California public health officials on Friday said that an elderly Sacramento County resident is the state’s first confirmed death from West Nile virus this year. No other information about the victim was provided. susceptible, as this unfortunate fatality illustrates,” Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state’s health officer, said in a statement. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites.” The state reported 53 deaths from West Nile virus in 2015, the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003. – For complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_30210998/sacramento-county-senior-citizen-is-californias-first-west

imagesCAWX5STJTexas 08/09/16 nbcdfw.com: Dallas County health officials confirm the first death related to West Nile virus for the 2016 season in North Texas. The victim – a person in their 60s – lived in the 75006 ZIP code in Carrollton and was previously diagnosed with the West Nile neuroinvasive disease, officials said in a press release Monday afternoon. – See http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/Dallas-County-Confirms-First-West-Nile-Virus-Death-of-2016-389529131.html

Zika Virus:

dt_160309_puerto_rico_map_zika_mosquito_800x600Puerto Rico 08/05/16 npr.org: by Jason Beaubien – The Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico is expanding rapidly. Recently, the island has been reporting more than a thousand new cases of Zika each week. The situation is expected to get worse before it gets better. “We are right now probably in the month or 6 weeks of peak transmission,” saysTyler Sharp the lead epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Zika operation in Puerto Rico. Previous outbreaks of dengue fever and chikungunya, which are transmitted by the same mosquito as Zika, Aedes aegypti, suggest the hot, wet summer months in Puerto Rico now are just right for Zika to flourish, Sharp says. “The more rains you get, the more mosquitoes you get. The more mosquitoes, the higher the rate of transmission,” he says. “And also the mosquitoes like warmer temperatures and are able to replicate the virus more efficiently at at least slightly higher temperatures.” He calls August in Puerto Rico the “Goldilocks zone” for Zika virus replication. The island has already had more than 8,000 confirmed cases of Zika. The CDC predicts that by the end of the year, 20 percent to 25 percent of the roughly 3.5 million people on the island could be infected with the virus. – For complete article see http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/05/488864340/zika-cases-surge-in-puerto-rico-as-mosquitoes-flourish

Hantavirus:

892008Utah 08/09/16 utahcountyonline.org: Media Release – Utah County Health Department (UCHD) officials are investigating the death of a female Utah County resident related to hantavirus. The female was between the ages of 18 – 44, from Utah County, and had no other apparent health issues. This is the second death related to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the state in 2016, and tenth case since 2006. Hantavirus infection is a virus transmitted by infected rodents through fresh urine, droppings or saliva. The main way the virus is spread to people is when they breathe in the air contaminated with the virus. Other transmissions can include an infected rodent biting a person, touching objects or eating food contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent. – For complete release see http://www.utahcountyonline.org/dept2/health/UtahCountyHantavirusDeath2016Aug9.pdf

Rabies:

5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armsPennsylvania 08/05/16 wearecentralpa.com: A cat in Huntingdon County has tested positive for Rabies. We’re told a family in who lives on Metztown Road in Brady Township took their unvaccinated farm cat to a veterinary clinic after they say it started to act restless and panting. The veterinary told them to keep the cat contained, but the next day the cat escaped  the enclosure they had it in and bit a child. At that point the cat was euthanized and submitted for rabies tests. They came back positive. Several people are receiving post exposure treatment for rabies. – See http://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies

555f5f5South Carolina 08/05/16 wyff4.com/ : At least five people were potentially exposed to rabies by a puppy that tested positive for the disease in Chesnee, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today. The puppy was a Germany Shepherd-mix puppy that was being sold at Burr’s Trading Post on Old Stage Road, June 20 from an individual not affiliated with the store. The puppy began to show neurological symptoms at the end of July, and was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Aug. 1. DHEC said several other puppies were for sale. DHEC recommends that anyone who obtained or was exposed to a puppy there around this time should watch the animal for signs and symptoms of rabies and immediately seek veterinary care if the animal becomes ill. – See http://www.wyff4.com/news/upstate-dog-potentially-exposes-at-least-5-people-to-rabies-dhec-says/41072124

New STUDY shows the GRAY WOLF is the only true WOLF species in NORTH​ AMERICA ~ COYOTES reported stalking hikers on popular CANADIAN trail ~ TULAREMIA case prompts warning in WYOMING ~ SOUTH CAROLINIAN hospitalized after exposure to brain-eating AMOEBA ~ CDC issues unprecedented travel warning related to FLORIDA destination with active Zika spread.

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North America 08/01/16 mnn.com/earth-matters/animals: by Jaymi Heimbuch – A new study shows that the various wolf species we know in North America all link back to the gray wolf, and this is the continent’s only true wolf species. The finding could completely change how the Endangered Species Act is used to protect species. A team of researchers analyzed the genomes of 12 pure gray wolves and three coyotes from areas where the two species do not overlap. They also analyzed the genomes of six Eastern wolves and three red wolves. What they found is that the two latter species are actually genetic hybrids of the two former species. “We found that the red wolves are about 75 percent coyote ancestry, and the Eastern wolf has more gray wolf ancestry, about 75 percent,” Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA and author on the study, told the Los Angeles Times.

5-interesting-facts-about-the-grey-wolf1The findings could shake up conservation efforts for wolves. According to the New York Times: The gray wolf and red wolf were listed as endangered in the lower 48 states under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s and remain protected today, to the periodic consternation of ranchers and agricultural interests. In 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the Eastern wolf as a separate species, which led officials to recommend delisting the gray wolf. Conservationists won a lawsuit that forced the agency to abandon the plan. The new findings could help ensure the gray wolf stays on the Endangered Species List and continues to receive protections. It also could change the way we protect wildlife, potentially opening up room for adding hybrid species to the list. This would reflect how nature really works, as species constantly change and adapt — and hybridize — yet still need protections to survive and continue to fill beneficial roles their ecosystem. – For complete article and video see http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/theres-only-one-true-wolf-species-north-america-says-new-study

CANADA:

1334248032_4291c473d5.jpgOntario 08/01/16 therecord.com/news-story: People walking along the popular Niska Trail in Guelph’s west end are urged to be vigilant after two recent coyote sightings. A coyote was spotted stalking people and dogs in two separate incidents this month, report the City of Guelph and Guelph Humane Society. In the first incident, a coyote attacked a dog while the owner was hiking on the trail. In the second, a coyote attempted to attack a hiker walking two dogs. It’s unknown if the same coyote was involved. Trail users are urged to keep their dogs leashed to ensure the pet’s safety, clean up after their dog because coyotes are attracted to feces, and avoid using the trail at dawn, dusk or in the dark when coyotes are most active. – For complete article see http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6790287-guelph-trail-users-warned-about-coyotes/

Tularemia (Rabbit Fever):

zoonosis_tularemia (2)Wyoming 08/01/16 http://wyomingbusinessreport.com/: by Ann Jantz – With the recent report of a man in Sweetwater County contracting tularemia, Sweetwater County Health Officer Jean Stachon asks people to be aware and take precautions. “This is the season for tularemia and other diseases like giardia,” Stachon said. “The rule of thumb is don’t take a rabbit before it freezes.” Tularemia (too-LUH-ree-MEE-uh) can be a serious disease and, in rare cases, deadly, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever, frequently affects rabbits, hares and rodents and has been associated with rabbit and rodent die-offs. People may acquire tularemia when bit by infected ticks, deer flies or horse flies. It can also be transmitted by handling infected animals, or through ingestion or contact with untreated, contaminated water or insufficiently cooked meat. – For complete article including symptoms and recommendations see http://wyomingbusinessreport.com/tularemia-case-prompts-warning/

Brain-Eating Amoeba:

RS-Amoeba-1South Carolina 08/03/16 http://abcnews.go.com/: by Catherine Thorbecke – A South Carolina resident has contracted an infection from rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in the Edisto River in Charleston County, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Lab tests conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the infection resulted from exposure to the organism Naegleria fowleri. The infection is fatal in about 95 percent of cases, according to the SCDHEC. “Naegleria fowleri causes the disease primary amebicmeningoencephalitis  (PAM), a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. In its early stages, symptoms of PAM may be similar to symptoms of bacterial  meningitis,” the CDC states on its website. “The disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days.” Dr. Linda Bell, an SCDHEC epidemiologist, said in a statement, “This organism occurs naturally and is all around us and is present in many warm water lakes, rivers and streams, but infection in humans is very rare. In fact, there have been fewer than 40 cases reported nationwide in the past 10 years.”  Naegleria fowleri is found only in freshwater bodies, not in saltwater. Infection can result if water containing the organism enters a person’s nose. To prevent infection, Bell advises avoiding swimming in or jumping into bodies of warm freshwater when water levels are low. She also recommends holding one’s nose underwater or using a nose plug. A person cannot be infected by drinking water containing the amoeba, she says. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/sc-resident-hospitalized-exposed-brain-eating-amoeba/story?id=41091440

 

Zika Virus:

zika.fl.88d8d7Florida Undated cdc.gov: Media Release – The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami (Wynwood) where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to this area any time after June 15 (based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus). – For complete release and recommendations see http://www.cdc.gov/zika/intheus/florida-update.html and also http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0801-zika-travel-guidance.html

Florida 08/01/16 medscape.com: by Robert Lowes – Florida Governor Rick Scott today said that 10 more individuals in the Miami area have been infected with Zika, likely through mosquito bites, which has quickly brought the total to 14 since the first four cases were announced on July 29. Florida is the first state to report local transmission of the virus, which causes birth defects, most notably, microcephaly. In a sign of a rapidly developing outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory cautioning women who are pregnant to avoid unnecessary travel to the one-square-mile neighborhood just north of downtown Miami that is experiencing local Zika transmission. If any pregnant women have visited this area since June 15, they should be tested for the virus. And if women and men considering pregnancy choose to visit it, they should wait 8 weeks after they return home to attempt to conceive. Furthermore, pregnant women and their partners living in the Miami neighborhood should take precautions against mosquito bites and sexual transmission of the virus. Six of the 10 newly identified individuals who contracted the virus from mosquitos were asymptomatic. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) identified them through a door-to-door survey of its Zika zone. In a news conference today, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said there is no evidence yet of widespread virus transmission, “but there could be sustained transmission in small areas.” – For complete article see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/866880?nlid=108696_3901&src=wnl_newsalrt_160801_MSCPEDIT&uac=218349HV&impID=1171105&faf=1

CDC reports it’s likely four cases of ZIKA VIRUS in FLORIDA were locally acquired ~ RABID DOG report from CA – RABID CAT reports from AZ, MD & NY.

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Florida 07/29/16 cdc.gov: Media Release – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been informed by the State of Florida that Zika virus infections in four people were likely caused by bites of local Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.  The cases are likely the first known occurrence of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States.  CDC is closely coordinating with Florida officials who are leading the ongoing investigations, and at the state’s request, sent a CDC medical epidemiologist to provide additional assistance. State officials have responded rapidly with mosquito control measures and a community-wide search for additional Zika cases.  Under the current situation, there are no plans for limiting travel to the area.

“All the evidence we have seen indicates that this is mosquito-borne transmission that occurred several weeks ago in several blocks in Miami,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. “We continue to recommend that everyone in areas where Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are present—and especially pregnant women—take steps to avoid mosquito bites. We will continue to support Florida’s efforts to investigate and respond to Zika and will reassess the situation and our recommendations on a daily basis.”

zika-and-pregnancyZika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus), but can also be spread during sex by a person infected with Zika to their partner.  Most people infected with Zika won’t have symptoms, but for those who do, the illness is usually mild.  However, Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other severe fetal birth defects.

“We have been working with state and local governments to prepare for the likelihood of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States and Hawaii,” said Lyle Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., incident manager for CDC’s Zika virus response. “We anticipate that there may be additional cases of ‘homegrown’ Zika in the coming weeks.  Our top priority is to protect pregnant women from the potentially devastating harm caused by Zika.” – For complete release see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0729-florida-zika-cases.html

Rabies:

555f5f5California 07/28/16 northcoastjournal.com: by Kimberly Wear – Health officials are stressing the importance of vaccinating pets after a Humboldt County dog tested positive for rabies for the first time in more than five years. “The animal is known to have traveled to several locations throughout the county. Public Health officials are working to assess the possibility of exposure to other domestic animals and humans,” a release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services state. DHHS reported the dog is believed to have been exposed during a fight with a rabid skunk.

UPDATE:
The 11-month-old dog that was euthanized after contracting rabies earlier this month had undergone its first round of rabies vaccination, which starts at around 3 months old with series of subsequent boosters, and was “legally vaccinated for its age,” said Amanda Ruddy, consumer protection supervisor with the division of Environmental Health. – See http://www.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2016/07/28/humboldt-dog-tests-positive-for-rabies

Arizona 07/29/16 tucsonnewsnow.com: by Elizabeth Walton – Several months ago a skunk tested positive for rabies, according to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office at a property south of Sierra Vista off of San Mateo and now the county has its first domestic animal with the virus.  CCSO and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife returned to the area where the skunk was found and trapped several feral cats and a kitten.  According to a recent CCSO release the animals were tested for rabies due to their proximity to the rabid skunk and the kitten was found to be positive for the rabies virus.   The resident at the location had repeated contact with the kitten and is undergoing rabies vaccinations. – See http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/32576987/kitten-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-cochise-county

Looking-for-Kittens-001Maryland 07/21/16 oceancitytoday.net: by Greg Ellison – One rabid cat in West Ocean City, and the fate of other feral cats at the same location have generated hundreds of emails and even spurred a small protest by feline protection activists last Thursday at the government center in Snow Hill. During Tuesday’s Worcester County Commissioner meeting, however, Worcester County Health Officer Debbie Goeller said the department plans to remove and euthanize a colony of feral cats near the Ocean Village condominiums in West Ocean City. The rabid cat reported to the department came from that colony. Goeller said her department was contacted on June 11 by a veterinarian’s office after a cat that appeared to be rabid was spotted by a family renting an Ocean Village unit. “This cat needed to be euthanized and was sent to the state rabies laboratory for testing.” Four days later, the state confirmed that the cat was rabid, Goeller said, at which time her department posted rabies advisory notices in the complex. – See http://www.oceancitytoday.net/p/following-confirmed-rabies-case-county-to-raze-colony/1551118

New York 07/22/16 .localsyr.com: The Oswego County Health Department issued a warning that two adults and a pet dog were recently attacked by a rabid cat on DeMass Road near the Durham Bus Garage in Minetto. The small black female cat was captured and euthanized, and test results showed it was infected with the rabies virus. The dog, which had not been vaccinated for rabies, will need to be quarantined for six months or euthanized, in accordance with New York State Public Health Law. – See http://www.localsyr.com/news/rabid-cat-found-in-minetto-clinics-for-pet-vaccinations-offered-