Mississippi reports first human case of West Nile Virus for 2011; Connecticut hospital seeks participants for Lyme Disease research; and Rabies reports from Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. International: CDC scientist says mice in Canada and certain U.S. states previously free of Hantavirus are carrying the disease.

Mississippi 05/24/11 wjtv.com: The Mississippi Health Department says the state’s first human case of West Nile virus of 2011 has been confirmed in Tallahatchie County. Health officials say Tuesday there were eight confirmed cases last year. That’s down from the previous year, but that’s not an indication of a trend. In a small number of cases, infection can result in encephalitis or meningitis, which can lead to paralysis, coma and possibly death.

Connecticut 05/24/11 danburyhospital.org: The Western Connecticut Healthcare Lyme Disease Registry (WCHLDR)  is the first hospital-based Lyme disease registry in the nation to focus multidisciplinary research on the impact of Lyme disease. The WCHLDR is not a treatment option.  It’s a gathering of information to understand the mysteries of this devastating disease. The WCHLDR is a landmark research project that may help explain the complex aspects of this poorly understood disease.  If you’ve been diagnosed with Lyme disease and meet the eligibility requirements, you’re invited to learn more about registering to participate in this real-time landmark research project.  Those who wish to participate must be able to visit Danbury Hospital for an initial registration. Feel free to contact the Lyme Disease Registry with any questions you might have.  Ramin Ahmadi, MD, MPH, Director, Medical Education and Research.

Maryland 05/23/11 wtop.com: by Kate Ryan – Clinton – The children bitten and scratched in a dog attack at a school bus stop last week will have to get shots to prevent rabies. Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Donald Shell explains that “the attempt by the state to get samples from the brain of the animal were insufficient, so therefore there’s a need to protect the children and for them to receive a rabies vaccination.” Last Wednesday, an American Bulldog appeared at a stop where children who attend Fort Washington Forest Elementary School were boarding a school bus. At first, the dog appeared friendly, but then it became aggressive, eventually biting and scratching at least four children. Police eventually shot and killed the dog.

Massachusetts 05/23/11 heraldnews.com: by Auditi Guha – A Cambridgeport family is searching for a Chihuahua that bit their daughter last Thursday to see if the girl should continue painful anti-Rabies shots, according to a Cambridge Police alert. On May 19, between 7 and 9:30 p.m., the child was allegedly bitten near the corner of Putnam and Pearl streets, diagonally across the street from the Organic Furniture Store, in front of a red fence, the parents reported. The dog is described as a chocolate brown Chihuahua on a leash, about 12 inches high. The owner was described as an “older Caucasian woman with grayish brown hair, wearing a black coat. She also had a second small black-and-white dog on a leash with her.” The family is seeking information about the dog so that they can contact the owner to find out if the dog has an up-to-date Rabies certificate.  If not, the child will need to continue the anti-Rabies shots. The family is asking the public to call them with any information or leads about the owner or information on Chihuahuas in the Cambridgeport area. Officials are asking the public to contact the Cambridge Animal Control Office at 617-349-4376 if they have any information.

New Jersey 05/24/11 patch.com: by Jessica Mazzola – Mahwah – Two separate rabid raccoon sightings, one in April and one this month, have been confirmed by the township’s Health Department. Both raccoons were captured and tested positive for rabies, according to a release by the Health Department. “The first rabid raccoon was located in the vicinity of Island Road. The most recent incident took place on Surrey Lane,” the release said. All bites should also be reported to the Health Depatment, at 201-529-5757, option 2. More information on rabies can be found at the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services website

North Carolina 05/24/11 the-dispatch.com: Two dogs in the Welcome community were destroyed after they killed a rabid raccoon Thursday, according to a press release from the Davidson County Health Department. The dogs were destroyed because they were not properly vaccinated. There was no human exposure reported. The incident marked the seventh case of rabies for the year in Davidson County.

Virginia 05/24/11 roanoke.com: Rabies cases are increasing in the New River Valley. The New River Health District said Tuesday that 15 cases have been confirmed this year. That matches the 15 cases confirmed in all of 2010. Two cows and a bobcat are among this year’s cases. The other cases were raccoons, skunks and cats. Health district director Dr. Molly O’Dell says there were a cluster of cases in Giles County.

Wisconsin 05/23/11 wsaw.com: The Marathon County Health Department is asking for your help finding a dog that bit a man in Rib Falls. It happened at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, May 22nd. The department says the man was at the corner of 2nd and 21st Street when a husky mix bit him. The dog is described as black, tan and white with blue eyes. It’s between 60 and 70 pounds and was wearing a silver choke collar. If you have any information, call Marathon County Dispatch at (715) 849-7785. It could prevent the man from having to get a series of rabies shots.

International:

White footed mouse

North America 05/24/11 boston.com: by Chelsea Conaboy – Maine health officials announced last week that a man in his 70s had contracted a rare mouse-borne virus that causes a potentially fatal pulmonary infection. It was that state’s first-ever case of hantavirus and it got us wondering how a virus like this — transmitted by mice, not by people — can suddenly appear where it had never been before. Was it latent in the environment somewhere and suddenly stirred up? Could it be that mice stowaways on tractor trailers traveling east from southwestern states that have seen dozens of cases brought the disease with them?

Dr. Pierre Rollin

Not so, says Dr. Pierre Rollin, a scientist with the viral special pathogens branch of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, the mouse that carries the disease in the southwest is distinct from the one that carries it in Northeast, the white-footed mouse. New York and Pennsylvania have reported a handful of human cases and, while there have been none in New England until now, mice in Canada have tested positive for the disease, Rollin said. He said it’s certain that mice in Massachusetts are carrying hantavirus too.“We know that the rodent is there and certainly the virus,” he said. That means it is important to keep mice out of the house and to clean up droppings and nests, wetting them first with a detergent or bleach spray, he said. But don’t fret too much. The hantavirus is not easily spread. It does not survive long outside the body. To catch the disease, you would have to disturb fresh mouse droppings to create a dust cloud and then “put your nose in it,” Rollin said. A bite from an infected mouse is another transmission route. Rollin said state officials told him the man who caught the virus in Maine was a dairy farmer who had been cleaning out a grain silo — an enclosed, dusty space.

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