Ticks raise new concerns in Tennessee; researchers say Babesiosis is spreading across the U.S. under-the-radar; Rabies reports from Colorado, Florida, New York, North Carolina (2), and Texas; and Coyote reports from Minnesota, and New Jersey. Canada: Chronic Wasting Disease report from Alberta; a Rabies report from Ontario; and a Coyote report from Ontario.

Whitetail deer. Courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tennessee 04/02/11 wmctv.com: Nashville – Ticks are raising new concerns in Tennessee as new types and infections emerge. Tick-related illnesses have more than doubled in Tennessee since 2005. There were almost 400 cases last year, most of them Rocky Mountain spotted fever. There have been six deaths from Rocky Mountain fever in the state since 2001. Certain species of ticks that were uncommon in the state are being found in new areas. Ticks that were previously rare in Tennessee, such as Gulf Coast and deer ticks, have now been found to be much more widespread, possibly because of climate change. Both are associated with tick-borne infections. “It is a big concern because it can result in a fatality,” Abelardo Moncayo of the Tennessee Department of Health told The Tennessean.

Angela Doss said she lost three months to a tick bite. After camping at Old Hickory Lake, she woke up with a stiff neck and a blinding headache. Her brain was swelling from a bacterial infection from a tick. Doss was hospitalized for six days and saw a neurologist weekly for three months. She missed months of work. “I don’t go camping anymore,” she said with a laugh. “Or if I do, I am adamant about checking (myself) for ticks. Not everybody who gets bit by a tick gets ill. I was just the one who got it.”

Blacklegged or Deer tick.

Graham Hickling, a University of Tennessee research professor who is studying Lyme disease and other tick illnesses, said some tick-borne illnesses, if untreated, “could go very bad, very fast.” Nationally, Lyme disease gets the most attention. It has been concentrated in the Northeast, where deer ticks, also called black-legged ticks, transmit it. Hickling helps lead a five-state research group on Lyme. His students have found black-legged ticks throughout Tennessee, but in low numbers. And tests have not found the ticks carrying the pathogen that causes Lyme in humans.

Lonestar tick

Tick-borne issues in the Southeast are other things, he said. “If you are getting infected, the first candidate is the Lone Star tick, which is common and aggressive.” Lone Star ticks have been linked to ehrlichiosis, the illness that felled Doss. They also may carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which is being renamed as spotted fever rickettsiosis. Tennessee is among four Southeast states that have accounted for almost half of all nationwide cases of spotted fever since 1995.

In 2009, the state recorded its first case of babesiosis. The patient was a deer hunter, and the state tracked where he had been and found the Babesia parasites in deer ticks there, Moncayo said. Babesia requires different drugs than other tick infections. It can be spread through, and there is no screening for donors, Moncayo said. All those factors have prompted the state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin tracking Babesia cases for the first time this year. People are probably encountering ticks more often as suburban growth pushes into tick habitat, Moncayo said. Ticks typically get active when weather becomes warm in the spring. Infection reports peak in June and July.

Treatment is most successful within five days of symptoms. That’s why anyone who feels ill and has been around ticks needs to go to a physician and start treatment, even before blood tests show an infection. Most people recover fully, but some infections can cause lasting damage. And the longer an infection goes untreated, the more harm can be done. Moncayo said ticks are part of life in Tennessee. “You should still be able to enjoy the outdoors, but be aware they’re out there,” he said. “If you have a tick bite, don’t shrug off symptoms if they develop. But if you get a tick, don’t worry if you don’t feel sick.”

National 03/10/11 pctonline.com: by Maryn McKenna – An MSNBC story “Under-the-radar tick diseases spreading across the U.S.,” details the spread of babesiosis, which is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells and are spread by certain ticks. The article notes that babesiosis used to be rare, except off the Massachusetts coast, where decades ago it earned the name Nantucket fever. In 2001, only five cases were reported in the lower Hudson Valley, where infected resident Jacqueline Moore lives. But the year she got sick (2008), doctors diagnosed 120 cases — a 20-fold increase. “It is so new

Gary Wormser, M.D.

in our area, it has flown under the radar,” says Moore’s physician Gary P. Wormser, M.D., the chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center and New York Medical College and head of a team researching tick diseases. “A lot of patients haven’t heard of it, and a lot of doctors don’t know about it.” In fact, babesiosis is one of a raft of under-the-radar tick diseases spreading across the United States. “We’ve seen pretty dramatic increases,” says Jennifer McQuiston, an epidemiology team leader in the vector-borne disease division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “We’re told to get out and exercise and enjoy nature, so we need to be aware.” (For complete article go to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41973641/ns/health-infectious_diseases/ )

Colorado 04/01/11 trinidad-times.com: Las Animas-Huerfano Counties District Health Department officials announced Tuesday a skunk tested positive for rabies in the area southeast of Trinidad. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates their Web site every Friday with rabies data at www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/zoonosis/rabies/

Florida 04/01/11 patch.com: by Roy Wilson The note on the door read, “This is to inform you that a stray cat in the area of Yale Circle in Riverview, Fl. 33578 has tested positive for rabies.  Protect your pets and family by following the suggestions listed below”.  The note is enough to scare anyone, regardless of whether there is a pet in the house. But for pet owners it is the reason to have your animals vaccinated and keep the shots up to date. Rabies is deadly.

Minnesota 03/31/11 kstp.com: by Gail Brown – Edina officials say there have been regular sightings of coyotes in two city parks and today, a woman reported a coyote attacked her dog nearby in a fenced yard. The dog owner said her miniature dachshund named Ruby had just been let out in the backyard.  Less than two minutes later, she heard the dog yelping, looked out the window and saw a coyote. The dog had two puncture wounds and is expected to be okay.  The dog owner told 5 EYEWITNESS News she was surprised how big and fluffy and vibrant the coyote was. The woman lives near Pamela Park.  Edina officials say the wild animals have been seen there and in the Melody lake area. They also say coyotes are capable of jumping five-foot fences and they don’t advise leaving small pets outside or unsupervised for long periods of time. City animal control officials are asking residents to report sightings by calling (952) 826-0494, or call 911 if an immediate response is needed.

New Jersey 04/02/11 northjersey.com: by Karen Sudol – Oakland — A Seminole Avenue homeowner investigating a draft in his home was surprised Saturday morning to discover a coyote resting in the basement, police said. At some point during the night, the coyote broke through a basement window of the home, Lt. Chris Eldridge said. The homeowner felt a draft and found the full-grown coyote lying in the corner, Eldridge said. The animal didn’t appear to be injured, police said. Police responded at about 9:30 a.m. and, with the help of an animal control officer, were able to chase the coyote out a door leading to the garage, he said. The coyote then ran off, Eldridge said.

New York 03/30/11 herkimertelegram.com: Two dogs that had an encounter with a rabid skunk in the town of Manheim will have to be confined for 45 days, according to Herkimer County Public Health. Public Health Director Gregory O’Keefe said Wednesday state Conservation Police shot the skunk after they were called by a homeowner in Manheim. A local veterinarian sent the skunk’s brain to the state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Laboratory for confirmation of rabies, said O’Keefe.
“The two dogs had previously received rabies vaccinations, have received booster shots and will be confined for 45 days as a precaution,” O’Keefe said in a news release. “If the dogs had not been vaccinated, a six month, double cage quarantine, or euthanization, would have been necessary.” O’Keefe said the skunk is the second rabid animal to be found in Manheim in March and urged all residents of Herkimer County to vaccinate their pets and domestic animals against the disease. He also asked residents to consider any strange acting wild animal to be rabid until proven otherwise.

North Carolina 04/02/11 reflector.com: A case of rabies was found in a local raccoon after it attacked a family pet outside of Greenville on March 23. The creature was killed by the homeowner after the fight and Michele Whaley, director of the Pitt County Animal Shelter, confirmed that it tested positive for rabies.

North Carolina 03/31/11 luminanews.com: by Jenny Yarborough – After what appeared to be a scrap with a dog, a stray cat reported by residents of the Bryan Road area in Wilmington was confirmed as the county’s first rabies case of 2011 by New Hanover County Animal Control on March 19. Based on clinical signs, the feline may have been suffering from the deadly viral disease since March 8. In 2010, New Hanover County reported 13 confirmed cases of rabies. To report a suspected case of rabies, call NHC Animal Control Services at (910) 798-7500.

Texas 04/01/11 kxan.com: by Terra Sullivan – A public health notice has been

Mexican free-tailed bat

issued after a rabid Mexican Free Tailed bat was found in front of a middle school Thursday. According to Round Rock ISD, a teacher at Chisholm Trail Middle School discovered the bat near the school’s entranceway, behind a couple of cedar trees and halfway up a brick wall. The bat was captured and submitted for rabies testing to the Department of State of Health Services. The bat tested positive for rabies. It is unknown how long the bat was near this area. If you have knowledge of someone that may have come into contact with this bat, call Round Rock Animal Control, 512-218-5500.


Alberta 04/01/11 winnipegfreepress.com: Edmonton – Nineteen new cases of chronic wasting disease were identified among more than 5,000 hunter-

Mule deer with CWD

killed deer tested in Alberta since Sept. 1, 2010. The new cases involve 17 mule deer and two-white tailed deer. While testing on the deer received to date is now complete, the surveillance program continues year-round. Four new cases in wild deer were detected along the Red Deer River near Dinosaur Provincial Park — the furthest west the disease has been found in the province. As well, a new case east of Derwent is the first directly linked to the main valley of the North Saskatchewan River. Current strategies for monitoring the spread of chronic wasting disease include maximizing the harvest of deer in risk areas and tracking the change in geographic and numerical distribution of the disease.

Ontario 04/01/11 bayshorebroadcasting.ca: by Manny Paiva – A rabid bat has been found in the Walkerton area. The Grey Bruce Health Unit says test results confirm rabies in a bat found in Brockton. Officials say there was no human involvement with the animal. It is the first rabid animal report in Grey Bruce this year. Rabies cases are in decline across Ontario – but it remains a concern in Grey Bruce. Last year there were 39 confirmed cases province-wide – but 10 of the cases, or 25 per cent, were from Grey Bruce – and they were all skunks.

Ontario 04/01/11 insidehalton.com: by Eileen Lanigan – Oakville – I want to report an incident that occurred with my dog while walking in Bloomfield Park (Westoak Trails) on Sunday at around 7 p.m. I was followed and circled by a hostile and persistent coyote.  The incident began when the coyote appeared on the path behind me (about three feet away). I screamed and waved my arms to scare it away, but it would not go away. I attempted to run onto the soccer field and it still followed. I turned to face it and kicked snow and continued to scream, but it continued to come closer. I then yelled ‘help’ for what seemed a few minutes as I continued to wave my arms and kick snow. The coyote continued to keep trying to come closer. Finally, a man jumped over his backyard fence and came running with a broom. He began waving the broom at the coyote and helped to chase the coyote away. The coyote slowly went away and ran through the playground area to some bushes as the man walked with me back to the sidewalk. I’m not sure what would have happened if the kind gentleman did not come to my aid. This incident occurred in a very open area near the playground, which is a little unnerving to think that coyotes feel very comfortable so close to the park and are not afraid of people. I have also left a message with the Oakville & Milton Humane Society about this incident. I think it is important to let other people know that coyotes are present in this area. I have a 40-lb. English bulldog, I can’t imagine what would have happened if someone was walking a much smaller dog.


One response to “Ticks raise new concerns in Tennessee; researchers say Babesiosis is spreading across the U.S. under-the-radar; Rabies reports from Colorado, Florida, New York, North Carolina (2), and Texas; and Coyote reports from Minnesota, and New Jersey. Canada: Chronic Wasting Disease report from Alberta; a Rabies report from Ontario; and a Coyote report from Ontario.

  1. Hello. just saw your comment about the coyote , I live in Calgary, AB.. we have many coyotes here near where I live as well.. it seems I read somewhere that in Ontario they discovered coyote/wolf crosses, or some such, and this could be why this particular coyote was more brazen than a normal coyote..?.. although wolves are not known to want to be near humans much , not that I know anyway.. . Here we all are noticing the coyote’s are much larger than normal this past couple years, many neighbours are wondering what they are breeding with,, usually a coyote is not so huge.. Bless that man for coming to your aid with a broom! Angel on your shoulder there.. a wild canine’s teeth are like razors, not like domestic dogs that are dull.. you were so very lucky.. blessed be. This Coyote also could have been sick,, which could cause unusual behavior .. glad you and your dog are OK.! …. its been a year, did animal control catch that coyote I wonder ?

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