Massachusetts 09/03/13 ack.net: by Jason Graziadei – Four island residents have been diagnosed with the infectious disease tularemia, commonly known as rabbit fever, according to the Nantucket Health Department. Town officials are urging island residents to avoid touching dead rabbits or other small animals, or approaching any animal that appears to be disoriented or sluggish. The Health Department is also advising landscapers to wear respirator masks when cutting grass over six inches tall to reduce the risk of exposure in the event a hidden animal is struck and the bacteria becomes aerosolized. Tularemia, caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, can be transmitted to humans who handle sick or deceased animals or are bitten by infected ticks or deer flies, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also be transmitted by inhaling contaminated dusts or aerosols.
The disease, which can cause fever, skin ulcers, pneumonia, and is potentially life-threatening in rare cases, is most often treated and controlled successfully with antibiotics. “We need the public to be aware,” Nantucket Health Department director Richard Ray said. “If there’s a dead animal near the side of the road, ignore it, do not let your animal go near it, and call the DPW to remove it. Please be careful about where your lawnmower goes and what it runs over. We’ve had a few cases over the years, but not four at one time.” – See: http://www.ack.net/Tularemiadiagnosedinfourislandresidents090313.htm#sthash.qSvgYTzP.dpuf
West Nile Virus (WNV):
Louisiana 08/30/13 LA Dept of Health: Officials are reporting eight new human cases of WNV this week, bringing this year’s total number of human cases to 21. This week’s new infections include four cases of West Nile neuro-invasive disease, one each from Caldwell, Lafayette, Ouachita and Rapides parishes and four cases of West Nile fever, with two cases from Lafayette parish and one each from Calcasieu and Ouachita. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2859
New Jersey 09/03/13 NJ Dept of Health: Officials have announced that two residents have died of complications related to WNV. A 78-year-old Gloucester County woman developed fever, blurred vision, weakness and diarrhea in mid-August, was hospitalized and died on August 24. The death was reported to the state Health Department today. A 92-year-old man from Morris County developed fever and muscle weakness in mid-August, was admitted to the hospital with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and died on August 31. Six New Jersey residents have tested positive for WNV: One each in Bergen, Burlington, Gloucester and Morris counties and two in Camden County. All counties except Cumberland and Salem have detected WNV activity in mosquitoes. – See http://www.state.nj.us/health/news/2013/approved/20130903b.html
NH, NY, OH, VT, WV 09/03/13 US Dept of Agriculture: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is tossing marshmallow-flavored plastic packets of rabies vaccine out of airplanes in northern New York and parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Ohio, and West Virginia. The work is part of a third U.S. field trial of a vaccine to control rabies in raccoons, skunks and other wildlife. Biologists are evaluating the safety and immune effects of the vaccine. So far, they’ve found it effective in raccoons, coyotes and foxes, but it hasn’t proven effective in combating rabies in skunks. The plastic blister packs are being distributed this month by airplane drop and by people on the ground. The olive green rectangular packets are a little bigger than a quarter. The USDA says pets won’t be harmed if they find and eat a vaccine packet.
ME, NH, NY, VT 09/02/13 US Dept of Agriculture: The Wildlife Services program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is distributing an oral rabies vaccination bait to inoculate wildlife and help stop the further spread of rabies. The Plattsburgh project will cover parts of New York, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and distribute 372,900 baits by fixed-wing aircraft and 4,680 by hand. – See http://pressrepublican.com/0100_news/x335461355/Rabies-baits-being-dropped-in-area