Turkey hunter attacked by BOBCAT in MISSOURI ~ NASA helps forecast ZIKA risk ~ CANADA: Scientists say TICK that spreads LYME DISEASE has reached ONTARIO.


Missouri 04/29/16 fox2now.com: Rick Ankoviak showed us his injuries from a bobcat attack early Friday morning. He has three or four very distinct claw marks on his back. Ankoviak said he was attacked while turkey hunting in Pea Ridge Conservation Area in Washington County. “Gave him a turkey call,” Ankoviak said. “I got a brand new one and hit it about three times. Heard a lot of rustling, thought it was just squirrels. Then the squirrels started barking and I heard leaves rustling. Next thing I know, I got slammed in the shoulder and it knocked me out of the tree. I spun around, just in case I was going to get attacked again, and saw a bobcat running away. Saw its pointy ears and stubby little tail, hauling butt over a ridge.”

Wild TurkeyAnkoviak said while he was at the hospital, a report was filed with Missouri Conservation Department. “By the time I got home they had already called wanting to know where I was at, what happened,” he said. “The guy kept saying, ‘I’ve never heard of such a thing.’” Ankoviak estimated the bobcat to be around 30 pounds, about a medium-sized dog. “It was just following its prey,” he said. “And I just happened to sound good enough that it wanted to come over and try to take a look.” When Ankoviak went out into the woods early Friday morning with his 12-guage shotgun in tow, he had no idea how effective his turkey call would be. “I don’t know about my calling as much as it is the turkey call was that good,” he said. “I’m not sure.” Ankoviak said he and his wife are concerned that if the bobcat was willing to attack a full-size adult, they worry about what it would do to a child. – For video see http://fox2now.com/2016/04/29/affton-man-says-he-was-attacked-by-a-bobcat-while-turkey-hunting/

Zika Virus:

zika_riskmap_us_ncar_ucar_2016_800.pngNational 04/27/16 nasa.gov: Media Release – NASA is assisting public health officials, scientists and communities to better understand Zika virus and try to limit the spread of the disease it causes. Scientists at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, and other institutions to forecast the potential spread of Zika virus in the United States. The research team looked at key factors — including temperature, rainfall and socioeconomic factors — that contribute to the spread of Zika virus to understand where and when a potential outbreak may occur. Their final product, a Zika risk map, can help government agencies and health organizations better prepare for possible disease outbreaks related to the spread of the virus. The researchers described their findings in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Current Outbreaks.

“This information can help public health officials effectively target resources to fight the disease and control its spread,” said Dale Quattrochi, NASA senior research scientist at Marshall. To determine the potential risk in the mainland United States, Morin, Quattrochi and their colleagues applied methodology being employed in their current vector-borne disease project to potentially identify and predict the spread of Zika in 50 cities across the U.S. in or near the known range of the species. The team has studied this mosquito species for years, because it also transmits the dengue and chikungunya viruses. The research team found that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the virus, will likely increase in number across much of the southern and eastern U.S. as the weather warms across those regions in the coming months. Summertime weather conditions are favorable for populations of the mosquito along the East Coast as far north as New York City and across the southern tier of the country as far west as Phoenix and Los Angeles. – For complete release see http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2016/nasa-helps-forecast-zika-risk.html


227757 Ontario 04/23/16 theweathernetwork.com: by Leeanna McLean – Warm weather in Ontario has created the ideal conditions for ticks to thrive and officials are warning people to keep an eye on their loved ones, including furry friends. Black-legged ticks, which are the primary vectors of the Lyme disease bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, are present in the Hamilton-Wentworth region of Ontario, according to a recent study published by the International Journal of Medical Sciences. The insects have also been spotted in York Region. – For video see http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/study-warns-ticks-that-spread-lyme-disease-are-in-ontario/66865




Deer mouse

Colorado 04/19/16 denverpost.com: by David Olinger – A San Luis Valley resident has died of hantavirus, a rare but often fatal illness spread by deer mice. The death was announced Tuesday by Ginger Stringer, Saguache County’s public health director. She did not identify the victim or the exact location, citing confidentiality concerns. She did offer advice on avoiding a disease that kills more than one-third of the people infected. In the San Luis Valley, hantavirus is carried by deer mice, which have tawny backs, white bellies, big eyes and big ears. People get infected by breathing the virus when stirring dust from mouse nests or droppings in areas with poor ventilation. Closed spaces, such as attics, barns and sheds, may hold droppings of infected mice, as well as wood piles occupied by mice. – For complete article see http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29787096/colorado-resident-killed-by-hantavirus-disease-spread-by

Author’s Note: For more information about Ticks and Tick-borne diseases see http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/ and http://www.tickencounter.org/


1-GARRAPATA-RIKETSIA (1)Arizona 04/14/16 medscape.com: by Janis C. Kelly – Two apparent cases of Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis transmitted by the Amblyomma triste tick, which is more commonly found in neotropical areas, have been found in a mountainous region of southern Arizona, indicating the disease range has expanded, according to a new report. All previous reported cases in the United States had been linked to transmission by the Gulf Coast tickAmblyomma maculatum. Kristen L. Herrick, MPH, and colleagues report the findings in an article published online April 13 in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Both patients (one confirmed as R parkeri rickettsiosis, one probable case) became ill after tick bites sustained while hiking in a mountainous area of southern Arizona, which is outside the recognized range of A maculatum ticks. – For complete article see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/861925

CDC SCIENTISTS confirm ZIKA causes BIRTH DEFECTS ~Family DOG with RABIES exposes 27 in TEXAS ~ NEW MEXICAN second in state to die of HANTAVIRUS this year.



Global 04/13/16 cdc.gov: Media Release – Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded, after careful review of existing evidence, that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. In the report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC authors describe a rigorous weighing of evidence using established scientific criteria. “This study marks a turning point in the Zika outbreak.  It is now clear that the virus causes microcephaly.  We are also launching further studies to determine whether children who have microcephaly born to mothers infected by the Zika virus is the tip of the iceberg of what we could see in damaging effects on the brain and other developmental problems,” said Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC. “We’ve now confirmed what mounting evidence has suggested, affirming our early guidance to pregnant women and their partners to take steps to avoid Zika infection and to health care professionals who are talking to patients every day. We are working to do everything possible to protect the American public.”

The report notes that no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects. Rather, increasing evidence from a number of recently published studies and a careful evaluation using established scientific criteria supports the authors’ conclusions.  The finding that Zika virus infection can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects means that a woman who is infected with Zika during pregnancy has an increased risk of having a baby with these health problems. It does not mean, however, that all women who have Zika virus infection during pregnancy will have babies with problems. As has been seen during the current Zika outbreak, some infected women have delivered babies that appear to be healthy. – For complete release see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0413-zika-microcephaly.html


New Mexico 04/05/16 kcbd.com: State health officials say a 54-year-old man from Cibola County has died of hantavirus. The New Mexico Department of Health says it’s the second case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome in the state this year. An environmental investigation will be conducted at the patient’s home to help reduce the risk to others. The name of the victim wasn’t released Tuesday. Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. Health officials say the deer mouse is the main carrier for the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico. Since 1993, New Mexico has reported 103 lab-confirmed HPS cases with 43 deaths. That’s the highest number of cases of any state. – See http://www.kcbd.com/story/31650366/a-54-year-old-man-from-cibola-county-dies-from-hantavirus


Texas 04/08/16 hccommunityjournal.com: Peterson Regional Medical Center officials reported today that a total of 27 patients from Ingram were seen and/or treated for rabies exposure following the death of a family dog that tested positive for rabies. The patients began arriving at PRMC’s Emergency Room on Thursday, April 7. One adult and two teens have begun the series of shots required to treat rabies due to their high-risk exposure to the dog. PRMC officials are asking that anyone who might have come in contact with the dog, who resided in the 100 block of Jade Loop in Blue Ridge Mobile Home Park attend an information session set for Tuesday, April 12 at 5 p.m. at the Peterson Community Care Clinic, located in River Oaks Shopping Center at 823 Junction Highway. – See http://www.hccommunityjournal.com/article_fbc48e10-fdcf-11e5-b1f5-77cb509f3991.html

Scientists say WHITE-TAILED DEER have the MALARIA PARASITE ~ ARKANSAS reports 56 cases of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ What we KNOW and what we DON’T KNOW about the ZIKA VIRUS.


National 02/09/16 newsweek.com: by Douglas Main – A new species of malaria parasite has been found in one-quarter of the white-tailed deer living the eastern United States. The news comes as a surprise since deer are one of the better-studied wild animals; they are some of the more populous mammals and very popular game species for hunting, and they are often surveyed for disease. A team of researchers found the parasite accidentally when they were looking at DNA within the blood of mosquitoes at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. In a mosquito engorged with deer blood, they noticed the presence of genetic material that they didn’t recognize. Further analysis revealed that the genetic material came from a protozoan in the genus Plasmodium. The results of the study were published last Friday in the journal Science Advances. Species in the genus Plasmodium are known as malarial parasites. The genus includes several species that spread malaria in humans; other varieties infect nonhuman mammals, birds and reptiles. There are about 200 species worldwide in this genus. In the recent study, scientists sampled blood from deer in 17 states and found 41 infected animals in 10 states; nearly 25 percent of the deer from Virginia and West Virginia had the parasite. None of these deer seemed to have any symptoms, however. It’s unclear yet if the new species could affect people, but it seems unlikely, Ellen Martinsen, lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow, told Smithsonian.com. Although there was one scientific record of a malarial parasite found in a deer’s spleen in 1967, this is the first proof of a widely established malaria parasite in New World mammals, and it expands scientists’ knowledge of the malarial family tree.  – See http://www.newsweek.com/malaria-parasite-found-nearly-one-four-white-tailed-deer-424344

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):

whitetail deer 3Arkansas 04/01/16 arkansasonline.com: by Jaime Dunaway –  Six more deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, bringing the total number of cases in Arkansas to 56, officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said Friday. All infected deer came from a sampling area in Newton County. The final results of the sampling effort should be available late next week once the last batch of 110 samples has been processed, according to the commission. Officials said the high number of positive results, some of which came from outside the sampling area, has prompted a second sampling initiative to see if the disease is present throughout the state. The second phase of testing will continue until May 20, and anyone who sees a dead or sick deer is asked to contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. See http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/apr/01/chronic-wasting-disease-cases-climb-56/?news-arkansas

Author’s Note: The first case of CWD ever reported in Arkansas was confirmed just two months ago.

zica virus


Author’s Note: Until media sensationalism surrounding the ZIKA VIRUS issue subsides only reliable scientific information from credentialed sources will be referenced in this blog. See http://www.cdc.gov/media/dpk/2016/dpk-zika-virus.html


54494d18be0dc2e250d990c0f03b1583Author’s Note: The family history I was working on is finally done and published, though it took a bit longer than anticipated. The  I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand 4 weeks ago (March 7) and recovering very well.  Scheduled to have the left hand done on May 9. I will post a blog entry whenever possible and appropriate over the next several months but it won’t be a daily or even regular posting. Thanks!

PUERTO RICO reports sharp rise in ZIKA VIRUS cases ~ OREGON county reports first-ever case of HANTAVIRUS


Puerto Rico 02/12/16 washingtonpost.com: by Brady Dennis – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday detailed a sharp rise in Zika virus infections in Puerto Rico, from a single case involving an 80-year-old late last year to nearly 30 confirmed patients by the end of January. One case involved a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy, and another occurred in a patient hospitalized for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially paralyzing condition that has followed Zika infections in some patients. The CDC said the commonwealth has not reported any Zika-associated cases of microcephaly — the congenital defect, characterized by abnormally small head size and brain damage, that is suspected in hundreds of newborns at the outbreak’s epicenter in Brazil. Public health officials expect the prevalence of the virus to only increase in Puerto Rico in coming weeks and months. One big reason: The mosquito that most commonly transmits it, Aedes aegypti, is present throughout the island. “The risk to Puerto Rico is significant,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said recently. The U.S. territory has experienced previous widespread outbreaks of dengue fever, another virus spread by the same type of mosquito. Most of the people infected with Zika so far live on the the eastern side of the island or around the populous capital of San Juan, according to the CDC. Four patients have been hospitalized, but most have reported only minor symptoms, such as rash, joint pain or eye pain. – For complete article see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/02/12/cdc-puerto-rico-seeing-mounting-cases-of-zika-virus-infection/


hantavirus.339988iidOregon 02/12/16 eastoregonian.com: Hantavirus is here. The sometimes fatal rodent-borne virus has been diagnosed in a Umatilla County resident for the first time ever. The county health department wouldn’t give details about the victim to protect the person’s privacy, but the case prompted Umatilla County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Jon Hitzman to issue a warning. “Hantavirus is a rare but serious disease spread by rodents,” Hitzman said. “This disease can frequently become fatal, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure.” The virus lurks in enclosed areas such as barns, outbuildings and sheds where mice nest. Since hantavirus was first identified in 1993, 588 cases showed up nationally, 21 of them in Oregon. About two thirds of cases in Oregon were contracted through direct contact with rodents or rodent droppings. Other cases came through indirect exposure while camping or farming. – For complete article see http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20160212/first-ever-umatilla-county-hantavirus-case-diagnosed

New strain of LYME DISEASE complicates diagnosis ~ Mayor of HAWAII COUNTY declares State of Emergency due to DENGUE epidemic


National 02/10/16 startribune.com: by Allie Shah – Mayo researchers have discovered a new strain of Lyme disease that is raising concerns because it does not produce the bull’s-eye rash that typically alerts people to the condition. The culprit is a new species of bacteria found in the Upper Midwest and reported in the online medical journal, the Lancet Infectious Diseases. “It was a fortuitous discovery,” said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “We weren’t setting out to find a new organism.” Before the discovery, scientists believed that only one species of bacteria — called Borrelia burgdorferi — caused Lyme disease in humans. But when scientists tested samples from patients for evidence of Lyme disease they found a new bacteria in a small number of the cases. It is carried by the black-legged tick, or deer tick, as it’s commonly known. Most of the patients infected with the new bacteria showed different symptoms than the classic Lyme disease signs. A low-grade fever, body aches and chills are common symptoms. But the new bacteria caused many of the patients to experience nausea and vomiting too. “One of the most important differences was their rash,” Pritt said. Most of the patients infected with the new bacteria suffered from a diffuse rash all over their body instead of the typical bull’s-eye rash. – For complete article see http://www.startribune.com/new-strain-of-lyme-disease-produces-different-symptoms-that-could-complicate-diagnosis/368313801/


Author’s Note: Are TICKS active in the winter? See the Univ. of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center Winter 2016 Newsletter at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/152cc1ac26833141



dengue_alert548HAWAII 02/08/16 staradvertiser.com: by Craig Gima – Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi declared a state of emergency today. The emergency proclamation stated that there have been 250 confirmed cases of dengue fever on Hawaii island since Oct. 29 and that state and county officials are working on mosquito control and public education measures to break the cycle of dengue infection and transmission. The mayor said the state of emergency is needed to prevent the spread of the outbreak and eliminate dengue fever virus from the island. The immediate effect of the proclamation is to suspend a county law that prohibits the acceptance of tires at county landfills. The emergency period is in effect for 60 days and could be extended. (Governor) Ige said in a news release that the state will issue an emergency proclamation if certain conditions are met, including requiring additional resources beyond current levels; the outbreak spreading to other islands; the outbreak expands to include zika and other diseases; if there’s a need to waive laws and regulations; and if the state needs federal assistance. – For complete article and declaration see http://www.staradvertiser.com/breaking-news/hawaii-county-mayor-declares-state-of-emergency-over-dengue-fever-outbreak/

Reacting to ZIKA without overreacting ~ Outbreak of DENGUE in HAWAII now largest since statehood.


Reacting to ZIKA without overreacting ~ Outbreak of DENGUE in HAWAII now largest since statehood.

Global 02/04/16 clarke.com: posted by Rajeev Vaidyanathan –  Excellent blog article addressing

  • What we know about Zika Virus
  • How it is spreading
  • Comparing Zika to Dengue
  • Lessons from Dengue
  • What now? What’s Next?

See http://www.clarke.com/blog/zika-react/?sthash.Xnn1prqN.mjjo

Author’s Note: Who is Rajeev Vaidyanathan and what is Clarke? – Dr. Vaidyanathan is the Director of Environmental Science  at Clarke, a global environmental products and services company based in St. Charles, Illinois. Their mission is to make communities around the world more livable, safe and comfortable. They do this.by pioneering, developing and delivering environmentally responsible mosquito control and aquatic services to help prevent disease, control nuisances and create healthy waterways,


hotspotHawaii 02/04/16 hawaiinewsnow.com: Health officials identified one new case of dengue fever on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 249. Three cases are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious. Of the total confirmed cases, 225 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors; 45 have been children. As of Monday, a total of 1,100 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results or because they didn’t meet case criteria. The outbreak, which started Sept. 11, is now the largest since statehood. – For complete article see http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/30671944/new-cases-of-dengue-fever-on-hawaii-island-bring-total-to-248