FLORIDA scientist finds SNAKES harboring EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ EEE & WNV reports from MN, NV, & RI ~ RABIES reports from NJ, & TN.

Water Moccasin. Photo by Ltshears. Wikimedia Commons.

National 10/01/12 nbcnews.com: by Maggie Fox – (Excerpts) “Snakes may provide a winter hiding place for a virus that’s causing an unusually severe outbreak in the U.S. northeast this year, and this could be good news for control efforts, researchers said on Monday. They found eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE for short) in cottonmouths and copperhead snakes and said it’s likely the reptiles incubate the virus while they hibernate over the winter. When they come out in spring, mosquitoes feast on the snakes and then pass it to birds.

The study, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, explains why EEE keeps coming back in northern states where mosquitoes hunker down for the winter and where many birds take off for warmer climes. “There must be a way that the virus manages to overwinter. We think it’s the snakes, because they do overwinter in these sites,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch of the University of South Florida, who led the study.”

Dr. Thomas Unnasch.

“Tests on cottonmouths in the Tuskeegee National Forest in Alabama confirmed a fairly high percentage were infected with EEE, as well as at least one copperhead. It doesn’t make the snakes sick and they seem to stay actively infected for months on end, Unnasch said. So when it gets cold up north and the migrating birds leave, the snakes are still infected with EEE and they hibernate. In the spring, newly hatched mosquitoes feed on the snakes and get infected. “They act as the Typhoid Mary of the virus,” Unnasch said. Copperheads are related to rattlesnakes and there are plenty of both in the north, Unnasch noted.”

Northern Copperhead. Photo by Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

“Is there a lesson here for West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne infection that’s causing an unusual amount of trouble this year? CDC reports 3,545 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 147 deaths. Unfortunately not, says Unnasch — West Nile is not related to EEE and while it passes from birds to mosquitoes to people, it has a different cycle of infection.” – For complete NBC News article by Maggie Fox see http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/01/14172867-snakes-may-harbor-deadly-virus?lite

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

Minnesota 10/01/12 dglobe.com: Four more human cases of WNV have been reported this past week. So far this year 65 human cases and one death have been attributed to the mosquito-borne virus in the state. – See http://www.dglobe.com/event/apArticle/id/DA1KVEKO2/

Nevada 09/28/12 Washoe County: Health officials report that a 6-year-old feral horse in Reno was put down after testing positive for WNV. This is the first animal or human case of the virus in the county this year, but two human cases have been reported elsewhere in the state, one each in Clark and Churchill counties. – See http://www.kolotv.com/home/headlines/Horse-in-Washoe-County-Positive-for-West-Nile-171765551.html

Rhode Island 10/01/12 Newport County: A batch of mosquitoes captured in Tiverton has tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode-island/2012/10/01/eee-found-mosquitoes-west-nile-detected/y9C728lONohFY8qOJT9kTI/story.html

Rabies:

New Jersey 09/30/12 Hudson County: Health officials have confirmed that a sick raccoon reported just blocks from Franklin School in North Bergen on September 12th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.hudsonreporter.com/view/full_stories_home/20308415/article-Rabid-raccoon-caught-blocks-from-school-Creature%E2%80%99s-bite-could-have-killed-children-passing-by-?instance=north_bergen_story_left_column

Tennessee 09/29/12 theleafchronicle.com: The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin distributing an oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons in selected areas of the southeast, including 15 counties in East Tennessee. – See http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20120929/SPORTS/309290033/Outdoors-notebook?nclick_check=1

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One response to “FLORIDA scientist finds SNAKES harboring EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ EEE & WNV reports from MN, NV, & RI ~ RABIES reports from NJ, & TN.

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