Washingtonians urged to avoid biting and stinging insects, and rodents; Idaho kills five Wolves so far in effort to protect Elk City pets and livestock; Georgia investigates possibility of human West Nile Virus infection; other West Nile Virus reports from Connecticut, and Illinois; and CDC zoonotic disease summary for week ending July 23, 2011.

Deer Fly. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Washington 08/02/11 wa.gov: Press Release – Summer has arrived – a little later than usual – and with a relatively long stretch of warmer weather in the forecast for Washington comes a variety of bugs that sting and bite.

Female Tabanus Horse Fly. Photo by Thomas Shahan. Wikimedia Commons.

Knowing how bugs behave can help avoid bug bites and stinging. Deer flies and horse flies can deliver painful, itchy bites as well as transmit tularemia, a bacterial disease. Horse and deer flies are active during the day. They’re common around ponds, streams and marshes, so cover exposed skin and use a repellent.

Honeybee. Photo by Nam Nguyen. Wikimedia Commons.

Honey bees and bumble bees will sting to protect a hive or nest, but they’re important pollinators of flowering plants. Bees looking for nectar or pollen away from the hive or nest will rarely sting, except when stepped on or deliberately provoked. If a bee stings you, remove the stinger by scraping the back of a straight-edged object like a credit card across the stinger.

Bumblebee. Photo by Trounce. Wikimedia Commons.

Don’t use tweezers to remove stingers — these may squeeze the venom sac and increase the amount of venom released. If you’re bitten or stung, immediately remove nearby rings and constricting items because the affected area may swell.

Bald Faced Hornet

Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can be easily provoked. Most stings cause only mild discomfort, but some may result in severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical care and may cause death, so take precautions to avoid being stung. If you’re allergic to wasp and bee stings, carry identification that details your allergy and any medication you’re taking.

Yellow Jacket

Severe reactions can affect the whole body and may occur quickly, often within minutes. They may be fatal if untreated. Call 9-1-1 if someone who is stung has chest pain, face or mouth swelling, trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, or goes into shock.

Summer also brings out ticks. Washington is home to two types of ticks, hard and soft. Hard ticks are most often encountered when hiking on trails. They attach to their victim’s body for two to six days to get their blood meal. Although the risk is low, hard ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia, as well as cause tick paralysis. Dogs are favorite tick victims, so be sure to check your dog carefully for ticks. Check yourself, children, and outdoors partners, too. Soft ticks are in mountainous areas where they will feed only at night. Soft ticks can transmit relapsing fever, Washington’s most prevalent tick-borne disease. If you have fevers with chills, aches, or sweats within a few weeks after a stay at a mountain cabin or home, see your health-care provider and say you may have been exposed to a relapsing fever tick.

Aedes aegypti carries West Nile Virus

To avoid insect bites and stings, use insect repellents, following the directions on the label. Cover up when outside and bugs are out. Wear long pants, socks, and long sleeves. Try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus (www.doh.wa.gov/wnv). Stagnant water is excellent mosquito habitat. Don’t let it collect around your home, in ditches, gutters, containers, or pools. Use insect screens on doors and windows. Don’t leave litter or food where it may attract yellow-jackets, hornets, or wasps. Get experts to deal with nests when you find them.

Deer mouse carries Hantavirus

Rodents seldom bite and don’t sting, but some of them do carry and transmit potentially deadly hantavirus (http://www.doh.wa.gov/EHSPHL/factsheet/hanta.htm). A recent case of hantavirus in Yakima was fatal (yakimahealthdistrict.org/w/news/). The virus is found in droppings, urine and saliva of deer mice. People can be exposed when they breathe in contaminated air. Keep rodents out of your home and take safety precautions when cleaning up after them. Wear gloves, avoid stirring up dust, and thoroughly disinfect contaminated areas. More information on summer pests is on the Department of Healthzoonotic disease website (www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/zoo.htm).

Idaho 08/02/11 standard.net: by Eric Barker – Four more wolves were killed near Elk City last month as part of an ongoing effort to push the animals away from the small mountain hamlet. Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Clearwater Region at Lewiston, said four wolves have been caught in foot-hold traps since late June when another wolf was shot and killed by Idaho County deputies. The traps were set by agents from the federal Wildlife Services Agency and are being monitored by the agents, conservation officers from the department and sheriff’s deputies. “It’s so far up there and Wildlife Services is so undermanned,” he said. “The local guys are checking the traps on a daily basis.” Cadwallader issued kill permits to the deputies shortly after Congress removed Endangered Species Act protections from Idaho and Montana wolves last May.

The effort to target wolves there came following months of complaints from Elk City residents who reported frequent wolf sightings over the winter. Those reports included domestic dogs and cattle being attacked by wolves. In June, after only one wolf had been shot by deputies, Cadwallader approved the trapping effort. He said Monday two large calves were attacked and killed within the Elk City Township even after the four wolves were trapped and killed. The town of Elk City sits within the 36-square-mile township that is a mix of private property, state land and federal ground overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. The city sits in the southeastern corner of the township, and Cadwallader said the trapping occurred about two miles north of the town. He extended the order that allows the trappers, deputies and conservation offices to kill wolves until Aug. 29, just a few days before the start of wolf hunting season. “I didn’t see any reason to continue the kill order once the season opens,” he said.

Last week the Idaho Department of Fish and Game approved a wolf hunting season that will run from Sept. 1 to March 31 in most of the state, including the Dworshak-Elk City Zone. The Lolo and Selway zones will remain open through June 30. Trapping will be allowed in the Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork zones and parts of the Dworshak-Elk City and Panhandle zones. The season will run from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15.

Glynn County

Georgia 08/02/11 news4jax.com: Coastal Health District officials are currently investigating a possible case of West Nile virus in a person in Glynn County. Health District officials said they have received preliminary test results, but follow-up testing is required to confirm the diagnosis. Health officials said the virus is circulating among the mosquito population in parts of southeast Georgia and in other parts of the state. That’s why Glynn County Health Department officials are urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Connecticut 08/02/11 ct.gov: Press Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in two locations in Westport on July 21, 2011 and one location in New Britain on July 20, 2011 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Westport and New Britain by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

Jackson County

Illinois 08/02/11 wpsdlocl6.com: by Jay Marchmon – Mosquitoes can be pests, but they can also carry a variety of viruses and diseases. One of the most discussed in recent years is West Nile virus, and a sample of mosquitoes recently tested positive in Southern Illinois. According to Miriam Link-Mullison, Public Health Administrator for Jackson County Health Department, “Routine mosquito testing has identified our first West Nile virus positive batch of mosquitoes for 2011. People need to ensure they are protected from mosquito bites.”  Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site (click here), or people can call the West Nile Virus Hotline at (866)369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CDC MMWR Week ending July 23, 2011 /60(29);994-1007

Anaplasmosis . . . 35 . . . Georgia, Maine, Missouri, New York (26), North Carolina (6),

Babesiosis . . . 42 . . . Maryland, New Hampshire, New York (32), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (7),

Ehrlichiosis . . . 65 . . . Florida (2), Georgia, Maryland (3), Missouri (3), New York (5), North Carolina (17), Oklahoma (26), Tennessee (2), Texas, Virginia (5),

Giardiasis . . . 178 . . . Alabama (2), Arizona (2), Arkansas (4), California (30), Colorado (14), Florida (26), Georgia (3), Idaho, Louisiana (4), Maine (7), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (5), Michigan, Missouri (4), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), New York (20), Ohio (21), Pennsylvania (12), Vermont, Virginia (2), Washington (7), Wisconsin (2),

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . California,

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 4 . . . Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia,   

Lyme Disease . . .  767 . . . California, Delaware 11), Florida (2), Georgia, Maryland (22), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (214), New York (217), North Carolina, Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (215), Rhode Island (9), Texas, Vermont (14),  Virginia (42), West Virginia (12),

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 1 . . . Florida,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 41 . . . Alabama (2), Idaho, Illinois (2), Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, New York (11), Ohio, Virginia (21),

Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 3 . . . Georgia, New York, Ohio,

Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 20 . . . Arkansas (2), Maryland (3), Missouri (6), Oklahoma, Tennessee (4), Virginia (3), Wyoming,

Tularemia . . . 4 . . . Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina.

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