Ontario 05/29/12 ottawacitizen.com: by Tom Spears – (Excerpts) “For much of the 20th century, southern and eastern Ontario had almost no Canada geese. Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s, wildlife managers decided to reintroduce the species — just a few geese here and there. The population has since exploded. They’re everywhere”.
“Health research is pointing to geese as sources of bacteria. A 2005 study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes: ‘The large amount of feces produced by geese congregating around surface water bodies is a source of environmental contamination and, potentially, zoonotic pathogens. Feces from large flocks are major contributors to fecal coliform levels in reservoirs that supply drinking water for some cities, and free-living bird populations can serve as reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), campylobacter, listeria, and chlamydia. Thus, wild bird populations can amplify and eventually transmit infectious microbes to humans by directly contaminating agricultural fields or surface waters used for drinking, recreation, or crop irrigation. Free-living and domestic bird populations can also be reservoirs of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens or resistant genetic elements.’
‘It’s a huge problem. Big ecological problem for the river,’ says Dan Brunton, a naturalist who lives a short walk from the Ottawa River.” (according to National Geographic magazine) “ . . . a flock of 50 geese will deposit 2.5 tonnes of droppings annually.” – For complete article see http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Temperatures+soaring+geese+dropping/6691859/story.html
Maine 05/30/12 bangordailynews.com: by Jackie Farwell – The tiny deer ticks marching northward through Maine may be hard to spot, but the diseases they carry are hard to miss. Maine is recording increasing numbers of illnesses transmitted by the bite of the eight-legged deer tick, including two lesser-known germs following in Lyme disease’s footsteps. Cases of anaplasmosis, which affects white blood cells, have spiked from nine in 2007 to 26 in 2011, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears. Already in 2012, 15 cases have been reported. “Although those numbers are very small compared to Lyme, the fact that it’s increasing, and it seems to be increasing pretty significantly each year, suggests to me that we really all need to become aware of all these diseases,” Sears said. Also on health officials’ radar is babesiosis, a less common but potentially serious tick-borne disease in which microscopic parasites infect red blood cells. It can especially sicken those with weak immune systems and people who have had their spleen removed.
Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis cause fever, headache, and muscle aches, though some people infected with babesiosis experience no symptoms. “If [people] get fevers and chills in the summer and they don’t have a rash, that could be Lyme disease without a rash, it could be anaplasma, it could be something else,” Sears said. “If they had tick exposure, that’s especially important.” The deer tick can transmit Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis. With one bite, a tick could infect its host with all three diseases. The dog tick, meanwhile, which is larger with characteristic white markings, can carry Lyme but doesn’t transmit it.
Numbers wise, anaplasmosis and babesiosis still pale in comparison to Lyme disease. The most conspicuous of the tick-borne diseases, Lyme sickened about 1,000 Mainers in 2011 and more than 180 so far this year. But the two emerging diseases are shadowing Lyme’s progression from southern to northern New England. “Anaplasmosis and babesiosis are emerging in southern Maine the way we saw Lyme disease emerge several decades ago,” said Susan Elias, a clinical research associate at Maine Medical Center’s Vector-borne Disease Laboratory in South Portland. “We’re now seeing those two diseases moving inland and up the coast in the same pattern as Lyme.” – For complete article see http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/30/health/lyme-disease-and-other-tick-related-illnesses-on-the-rise-in-maine/
Massachusetts 05/30/12 wbur.org: by Carey Goldberg – Surely you know that Lyme Disease is endemic all across Massachusetts. Surely you didn’t need any further incentive to guard against tick bites — to wear insect repellent, do tick checks after being outdoors, and more. But just in case, I’m passing along some worrisome statistics I just learned from Dr. Catherine Brown, the state public health veterinarian, about the rise of two other tick-borne diseases. They’re both far rarer than Lyme Disease but don’t relax; they’re also both potentially fatal. They’re called babesiosis and anaplasmosis, and confirmed cases of both effectively doubled from the 2010 numbers to 2011. They still remain extremely uncommon. Even after the doubling, there were 191 confirmed Massachusetts cases of babesiosis in 2011, and 140 confirmed cases of anaplasmosis. But when numbers rise so dramatically, Dr. Brown said, “It makes us notice.” – For complete article (with map and graphs) see http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/05/tick-borne-disease-babesiosis
Texas 05/30/12 Parker County: State epidemiologist Jim Schuermann confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse earlier than normal.
Tennessee 05/30/12 Shelby County: The mosquito-borne virus that causes West Nile disease has been found in seven county zip codes. It was initially detected on May 8th, the earliest it has ever been found in the county. – See http://www.wbir.com/news/article/221407/2/Earliest-ever-detection-of-West-Nile-virus-in-Shelby-County
National 05/29/12 umn.edu: News Scan – Extrapolating from surveillance data, US researchers estimate that, from 1999 through 2010, more than 3 million Americans were infected by West Nile virus (WNV), which resulted in 780,000 illnesses and more than $800 million in medical costs. Writing in Epidemiology and Infection yesterday, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fargo, N.D., San Francisco, and Madison, Wis., noted that the nationwide ArboNET surveillance system has detected 12,823 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) since 1999. They point out that a 2012 study in Emerging Infectious Diseases on blood donors in North Dakota suggested that, for every WNND case detected, 213 to 286 infections likely occurred. From these statistics, the investigators estimated that almost 2.8 million WNV infections occurred in the study period in adults. They note that estimates of infection rate vary for children, but, if they assume the rate to be similar to the adult rate, the number of US WNV infections grows to about 3.2 million. Assuming that 26% of infections lead to clinical disease, they estimated about 780,000 cases of WNF, for a total acute-care medical cost of about $832 million. May 28 Epidemiol Infect abstract April Emerg Infect Dis report on WNND cases