Two MISSOURI farmers lead scientists to new, possibly TICK-borne, disease called HEARTLAND VIRUS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS deaths in U.S. now at 66 ~ COLORADO MAN likely contracted BUBONIC PLAGUE at San Juan National Forest campground ~ DOG euthanized in MICHIGAN after contracting EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from CO, NE, & WY ~ COYOTE report from MASSACHUSETTS ~ LA CROSSE ENCEPHALITIS report from NORTH CAROLINA ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IN, MAx2, NH, NM, SD, & WA ~ RABIES reports from GA, IA, LA, NY, NC, & VAx2.

This photograph depicts a dorsal view of a female “lone star tick”, Amblyomma americanum. Note the characteristic “lone star” marking located centrally on its dorsal surface, at the distal tip of its scutum. Courtesy CDC.

National 08/30/12 discovery.com: Two men in Missouri who became severely ill after sustaining tick bites were found to be infected with a new type of virus, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both men were admitted to hospitals after experiencing high fevers, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They were originally thought to be suffering from a bacterial infection, but doubts arose when they didn’t improve after being treated with antibiotics. Further tests revealed their blood contained a new virus, which the researchers dubbed the Heartland virus. It belongs to a group called phleboviruses, which are carried by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, and can cause disease in humans. While the genetic material of Heartland virus appears similar to that of other phleboviruses, the particular proteins it produces are different enough to call it a new species, said study researcher Laura McMullan, a senior scientist at the CDC. Because the Heartland virus causes such general symptoms, it could be “a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized,” the researchers wrote in the Aug. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. More studies are needed to identify the natural hosts of the virus, learn how many people are infected with it and find risk factors for infection, McMullan said. Because both men experienced tick bites shortly before they became ill — one man, a farmer, reported receiving an average of 20 tick bites a day — the researchers said it’s likely that the Heartland virus is spread by ticks, although more research is needed to confirm this. The new virus’s closest relative is another tick-borne phlebovirus, called SFTS virus, which was identified last year in China, and causes death in 12 percent of cases.

The Missouri men, who were both infected in 2009, recovered after 10 to 12 days in the hospital, although one of the men has reported recurrent headaches and fatigue in the two years since his hospitalization. The researchers suspect a species of tick commonly found in Missouri, called Amblyomma americanum, is one of the hosts of the Heartland virus. For now, taking precautions to prevent tick bites is the best way to avoid the virus, McMullan said. To prevent tick bites, the CDC recommends using repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET, as well as avoiding wooded areas or areas with high grass.

Culex sp. mosquito. Known carrier of West Nile Virus.

National 08/29/12 reuters.com: by Sharon Begley – A total of 1,590 (human) cases of West Nile Virus, including 66 deaths, were reported through late August this year in the United States, the highest human toll by that point in the calendar since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the country in 1999, health officials said on Wednesday. The toll is increasing quickly. “We think the numbers will continue to rise,” said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases. Through last week, 1,118 cases and 41 deaths had been reported. The updated figures represent a 40 percent increase in the number of cases and a 61 percent spike in the number of deaths, but are short of the all-time record for a full year: 9,862 cases and 264 deaths in 2003. – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/29/us-usa-health-westnile-idUSBRE87S0WC20120829

Colorado 08/29/12 durangoherald.com: by Dale Rodebaugh – In the first confirmed (human) case of bubonic plague in the state since 2006, an Archuleta County resident has tested positive for the disease. The last human case in Archuleta County was in 1998. Although the investigation is ongoing, it is believed that the person contracted the plague during a family outing in the Cimarrona Campground northwest of Pagosa Springs, a news release from the San Juan Basin Health Department said. The department declined to give the gender or age of the victim.

Warning signs are being posted in the campground and environs in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Forest Service. The plague often spreads through rodent populations. – For complete article see http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120829/NEWS01/708299897/Plague-case-reported-in-Archuleta-County

Michigan 08/29/12 Paw Paw, Van Buren County: Health officials confirmed on Wednesday that an 8-week-old puppy has contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis. It may be the first known incident of a dog contracting the mosquito-borne virus in the state. The puppy was euthanized. – See http://www.freep.com/article/20120829/NEWS06/120829065/Authorities-Paw-Paw-puppy-gets-equine-encephalitis

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Colorado 08/29/12 Boulder, Boulder County: Two mountain lions were spotted in city neighborhoods Monday night. The first, seen in a backyard near Folsom and Walnut streets, responded to hazing and ran away. The second, seen near Maapleton Avenue and 26th Street, killed a house cat and allowed rangers to get within a distance of 10 feet. It’s lack of fear of humans prompted the rangers to shoot it. The two lions are thought to be siblings about 2-years-old. – See http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/31393945/detail.html

Nebraska 08/29/12 Scotts Bluff County: A 110 pound mountain lion found dead in the Wildcat Hills is believed to have been struck by a truck or other large vehicle on State Highway 71. This is the second lion reported in the area recently. – See http://www.omaha.com/article/20120829/NEWS/120829671/1707

Wyoming 08/30/12 Pavillion, Fremont County: Wildlife officials have confirmed that a mountain lion jumped from a homeowners pine tree and fled when the man came from the house to turn off a lawn sprinkler. Because the lion fled, officials don’t believe there is any reason for concern. – See http://county10.com/2012/08/30/mountain-lion-reappears-in-pavillion-wednesday-night-g-bears-now-active-in-lower-elevations/

Coyote Attacks:

Massachusetts 08/28/12 Newton, Middlesex County: A small, off-leash dog was attacked and carried off by a coyote on August 10th in the vicinity of William Street in West Newton. Neighbors reported that at least two area cats were also attacked by coyotes recently. A coyote sighting was more recently reported on Vista Avenue. – See http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/x821894346/Coyote-attacks-reoccur-in-West-Newton#axzz24yRn4tKI

La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC):

North Carolina 08/30/12 Macon County: Health officials have confirmed that two children have been diagnosed with LAC. One child is from the Highlands and the other is from Franklin. Both children were hospitalized but have been released and are recovering. – See http://www.maconnews.com/features/health-a-wellness/3510-la-crosse-encephalitis-in-macon-county

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) & West Nile Virus (WNV):

Indiana 08/29/12 Jeffersonville, Clark County: Health officials confirmed that mosquitoes found in a routine sampling tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.wdrb.com/story/19409290/west-nile-virus-discovered-in-mosquitoes-in-southern-indiana

Massachusetts 08/28/12 Fall River, Bristol County: Health officials confirm that mosquitoes collected from the Oak Grove Cemetery have tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/se_mass/eee-found-in-mosquitoes-in-fall-river

Massachusetts 08/30/12 Newton, Middlesex County: Health officials confirm that a woman in her 50s is the first reported human case of WNV in the city so far this year. – See http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/newton/2012/08/newton_has_its_first_human_cas.html

New Hampshire 08/3012 Sandown, Rockingham County: State health officials have announced that a batch of mosquitoes trapped in Sandown has tested positive for EEE.  – See https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/139780871d4dc70b

New Mexico 08/29/12 Doña Ana County: A second county resident has been diagnosed with WNV, bringing the total in the state to eight human cases this year. – See http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_21429006/west-nile-strikes-2nd-do-241-ana-county

South Dakota 08/28/12 doh.sd.gov: Update – Health officials confirm 98 human cases of WNV, and one related death, have been reported in the state so far this year. In addition, 8 horses, 1 bird, and 62 positive mosquito pools have been identified. – See https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/139735a4e93e7650

Washington 08/30/12 Grandview, Yakima County: The state Agriculture Department has confirmed that a horse with WNV has been euthanized. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/30/4771496/grandview-horse-with-west-nile.html

Rabies:

Georgia 08/29/12 Murrayville, Hall County: A rabies alert has been issued after a skunk that came in contact with two dogs in the Tony Peck Road area tested positive for rabies. This is the 17th confirmed rabies case in the county this year. – See http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/19406657/rabies-alerts-in-hall-dekalb-counties

Iowa 08/29/12 Keokuk, Lee County: A case of rabies in a pet cat has prompted area veterinary clinics to host vaccination clinics. – See http://www.wgem.com/story/19407070/hancock-county

Louisiana 08/28/12 South Mansfield, DeSoto Parish: A skunk picked up in the vicinity of Saunders Street has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ksla.com/story/19399038/skunk-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-desoto-parish

New York 08/29/12 St. Lawrence County: Two raccoons, one found in Potsdam and the other in Gouverneur, have tested positive for rabies. – See http://northcountrynow.com/news/raccoons-potsdam-and-gouverneur-test-positive-rabies-health-officials-warn-public-again-065156

North Carolina 08/29/12 Guilford and Davidson counties: A raccoon found on Church Street in Greensboro, and a fox found in Reeds, have both tested positive for rabies. Three dogs, a cat, and a person were all potentially exposed to the virus. – See http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/article/242881/57/Triad-Counties-Report-More-Rabies-Cases

Virginia 08/28/12 Ware Neck, Gloucester County: A skunk killed by two dogs last week has tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed case of the virus in the county this year. – See http://www.dailypress.com/news/gloucester-county/dp-nws-gloucester-rabid-skunk-0829-20120828,0,950529.story

Virginia 08/29/12 Virginia Beach: A fox that bit a man several times while he was working in his yard Tuesday, and two hours later attacked another man working in his yard, has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Fox-tested-for-rabies-after-attacking-2-men-in-Va-3824547.php

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