Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Wisconsin kills two Alpacas and sickens Horse; Florida’s Marion County issues Dengue Fever warning; Florida’s Duval County confirms three more human cases of West Nile Virus; Virginia’s first human case of West Nile Virus found in Richmond; a West Nile Virus report from Indiana; and Rabies reports from New York, and North Carolina. Follow-Up Reports on Hiker attacked by Grizzly in Montana, and Woman attacked by Black Bear in Ontario. Travel Warnings for Panama.

Alpaca. Photo by Alpaca. Wikimedia Commons.

Wisconsin 08/09/11 leadertelegram.com: Two alpacas have died in Dunn County and a horse has been sickened by Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, a mosquito-borne illness caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system. Although humans may also contract EEE, no human cases have appeared in Wisconsin, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “Horse owners who have not already had their animals vaccinated this year for EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases should take this as a warning, and those who have vaccinated should check with their veterinarians to see whether a booster is indicated,” said state veterinarian Robert Ehlenfeldt. There is no approved vaccine for alpacas. Alpaca owners should consult their veterinarians about preventive measures, he said. Blood samples were sent to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory July 9. Initial positive results there were confirmed by the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System, which reported final positive results today.

Marion County

Florida 08/09/11 ocala.com: The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday reissued its dengue fever prevention message after a confirmed case of the disease in Marion County. County government, at the request of the Marion County Health Department, will conduct a mosquito spray at 8 p.m. Wednesday south of Ocala. Beekeepers and residents who are sensitive to chemicals and pesticides are asked to take the necessary precautions. This case of dengue fever — Marion County’s first this year — was contracted outside of the U.S., the county Health Department said in a news release. However, “because dengue fever can be transmitted to another human from a mosquito that has bitten a person with the disease, citizens should take every precaution to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” the release said. “We have requested the mosquito spray as a precautionary measure,” said Dr. Nathan Grossman, director of the county health department. “The risks of transmission from this mosquito-borne disease are very low, but as part of our mission to protect the health of Marion County citizens, we are taking additional steps to further reduce possible transmission.” There is no vaccine for preventing dengue. The best defense is prevention, and the best preventive measure “for residents living in areas infested with mosquitoes that carry a dengue virus is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, primarily artificial containers that hold water,” the release said.

Florida 08/09/11 firstcoastnews.com: by Rachel Leitao – The Duval County Health Department (DCHD) continues its mosquito-borne illness alert for Duval County. Additional human cases of West Nile Virsus (WNV) have been confirmed. The most recent cases involve a 38 year-old male and 57 and 38 year-old females. Duval County has eight confirmed cases of WNV in 2011. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the website http://www.MyFWC.com/bird. For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your DCHD at 904-253-1850.

Virginia 08/09/11 washingtonpost.com: Virginia’s first human case of West Nile virus this year has been reported in Richmond. Dr. Danny Avula with the Richmond City Health District says the patient was a Richmond man in his 60s. Avula tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the man spent a lot of time working outdoors. West Nile is commonly spread by mosquitoes infected with the virus. The man was hospitalized for more than a week after he reported getting sick on July 3. Five human West Nile cases were reported in Virginia last year. One person in Alexandria died.

Allen County

Indiana 08/09/11 news-sentinel.com: The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health will spray areas where mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus this evening. Vector crews will spray in a half-mile radius around the 5000 block of Webster Street in Wayne Township. The department sprayed the same area last week, part of its ongoing efforts to control the West Nile virus. A map of the proposed spray area is available on the department’s Web site: www.allencountyhealth.com.

New York 08/08/11 theithacajournal.com: The Tompkins County Health Department is trying to contact the owner of a dog named Lucy that bit a 20-year-old female between 6 and 7 p.m. Sunday evening in front of a restaurant on Aurora Street between State and Seneca streets. Lucy is 2 years old and mostly black with pit bull features, according to the Health Department. The bite victim described the dog owner as a 6-foot-tall middle-aged man with gray hair. If the dog can be located and remains healthy until Aug. 17, the risk of rabies infection can be ruled out and rabies post-exposure shots will not be needed. The Health Department urges anyone with information regarding this dog to call the Environmental Health Division immediately at 274-6688.

North Carolina 08/08/11 fayobserver.com: Cumberland County has just reported its 11th case of rabies since Jan. 1 – in a raccoon picked up on Stonehaven Drive. That’s well over twice the number that made news in all of 2010. It’s too early to start calling this an epidemic, and the protocols don’t change much even when an epidemic is confirmed.

Follow-Up Report:

Montana 08/08/11 nps.gov: News Release – The 50-year old hiker from St. Paul, Minnesota that was attacked by a grizzly bear on Friday, August 5 was treated and released on Friday, and continued with his travel itinerary. His injuries, bites to his left thigh and left forearm, were not life threatening. The hiker said he was carrying bear spray, but was unable to deploy it before the bear attacked, and that he was making noise as he hiked. According to park rangers, the bear’s response to the hiker was defensive in nature and consistent with a surprise encounter with a hiker. No action will be taken with the bear. The trail from Piegan Pass to Feather Plume Falls remains closed, and is anticipated to open by the end of the week. All visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Hikers are advised to carry bear spray, and know how to use it. Hikers are also encouraged to hike in groups and make noise when hiking. (See August 8, 2011, post: Hiker in Glacier National Park, Montana Survives Grizzly Attack.)

Ontario 08/09/11 tbnewswatch.com: The black bear believed to have attacked a woman at Pukaskwa National Park near Marathon has been killed. Park staff and MNR conservation officers found the bear about two kilometres from the site where a 57-year-old Michigan woman was injured last Friday. Officials say the animal matches the physical and behavioral descriptions provided by the victim. Tests are being conducted, and until a match is determined the park’s backcountry area will continue to be closed and patrolled. (See August 8, 2011, post: Canada: Ontario hiker survives Bear attack.)

Travel Warnings:

Panama 08/08/11 newsroompanama.com: Another death from hemorrhagic dengue occurred in Panama Monday, this time in the National Hospital (Panama City). The Gorgas Memorial Institute for the Study of Health is conducting tests on the tissues of the dead patient to confirm the diagnosis. The death comes after the weekend admission of seven new suspected dengue cases to different hospitals. Meanwhile, ten patients were discharged according to a report from the Ministry of Health. Eight patients under observation are in stable condition.

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