National 09/27/13 wisconsinwatchdog.com: by Ron Seely – Prions — the infectious, deformed proteins that cause chronic wasting disease in deer — can be taken up by plants such as alfalfa, corn and tomatoes, according to new research from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison. The research further demonstrated that stems and leaves from tainted plants were infectious when injected into laboratory mice. The findings are significant, according to the researchers and other experts, because they reveal a previously unknown potential route of exposure to prions for a Wisconsin deer herd in which the fatal brain illness continues to spread. The disease has also become a pressing issue nationwide: The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified the deer disease in 17 states and predicts it will spread to other states.
In Wisconsin, where the state Department of Natural Resources has scaled back its efforts to slow the spread of CWD, some critics say the new research should cause the agency to revisit its approach. Michael Samuel, a CWD researcher and wildlife ecology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in the plant research, said the new study is significant. Previous studies have shown the disease can be transmitted animal-to-animal and via soil. “It’s important because it identifies a potential pathway,” Samuel said of the study. Christopher Johnson, who conducted the study, wrote in the abstract: “Our results suggest that prions are taken up by plants and that contaminated plants may represent a previously unrecognized risk of human, domestic species and wildlife exposure to CWD.” The research has not yet been submitted for publication in a scientific journal. The study focused on those prions similar to those causing CWD in deer.
The disease is one of a class of neurological, prion-caused diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, including scrapie in sheep and goats, bovine spongiform encephalopathy — or mad cow disease — in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. – For complete article see http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2013/09/27/prions-in-plants-new-concern-for-chronic-wasting-disease/
Texas 09/28/13 victoriaadvocate.com: by Elena Watts – Craig Slaughter, 47, forgot to bring his bedding on a fishing trip with his buddies near Port O’Connor on Aug. 1. So he brushed rat droppings aside and slept on sheets in an old bay house – a decision that nearly turned fatal. The El Campo insurance agent who lives in Palacios contracted hantavirus and developed symptoms of both hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Since the virus was initially identified in 1993, only 616 cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been reported in the United States through 2012. Of those, 37 were in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mice and rats shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva, and it spreads when people breathe infected air. Researchers also believe the virus is transmitted when people touch something infected with the virus and then touch their noses or mouths, according to the center. – For complete article see http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/sep/28/hantavirus_ew_092913_221015/?counties
West Nile Virus (WNV):
Colorado 09/27/13 Mesa County: Health officials have confirmed a male resident of the county is the first WNV-related fatality in the county this year. – See http://www.kansascity.com/2013/09/27/4511816/west-nile-virus-death-in-mesa.html
Illinois 09/28/13 Livingston County Public Health: Officials have confirmed a male resident in his 50s is the first human case of WNV in the county this year. – See http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/livingston-county-confirms-west-nile-virus-case/article_322fcb50-27df-11e3-ac8d-001a4bcf887a.html
Louisiana 09/27/13 LA Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed a resident of Ouachita Parish is the state’s second WNV-related fatality this year. DHH is reporting six new WNV human cases this week, bringing this year’s total number of human cases to 45. This week’s new infections include four cases of neuro-invasive disease, with three cases from Ouachita Parish, and one case from Lafayette parish, and two cases of West Nile fever, with one case each from St. Landry and St. Martin parishes. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/2879
Nebraska 09/27/13 Saline County: A Public Health Solutions of Crete official has confirmed the first WNV-related fatality in the state this year is a male resident of Wilber in his 50s. Statewide, 86 human cases have been reported this year. – See http://journalstar.com/news/local/wilber-man-is-nebraska-s-first-west-nile-death-this/article_9a7a02dd-ab97-5396-abe7-eb57a77e4276.html
New Jersey 09/27/13 Camden County: Officials have confirmed the county’s fifth human case of WNV this year is a woman in her 70s who was hospitalized on September 2nd . Her condition remains unimproved. – See http://www.nj.com/camden/index.ssf/2013/09/sixth_case_of_west_nile_virus_reported_in_camden_county.html
Oklahoma 09/27/13 Garfield County: Officials confirmed Thursday that a male county resident in his 80s is the second WNV-related fatality in the state this year. – See http://enidnews.com/localnews/x703125451/West-Nile-virus-kills-county-man
Pennsylvania 09/28/13 readingeagle.com: Officials have confirmed four human cases of WNV have been reported in the Philadelphia region this week bringing the total to 11 human cases in the commonwealth this year. – See http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=514832
Texas 09/26/13 El Paso Health Dept: Officials have confirmed the 10th human case of WNV was reported in the city’s 79932 ZIP code. – For ZIP code locations of other human cases in the city see http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/tenth-case-west-nile-virus-reported-total-cases-down-compared-last-year-1789.shtml
Illinois 09/27/13 Marshall County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a bat found in the county tested positive for the virus. – See http://newstrib.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=28&ArticleID=31776
South Carolina 09/27/13 Laurens County: Two adults and two children in the Ware Shoals area are undergoing post-exposure treatments after being potentially exposed to rabies by a puppy that tested positive for the virus. The puppy was bitten on the nose by a skunk and died ten days later. – See http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20130927/NEWS/309270047/Puppy-exposes-4-people-to-rabies-in-Laurens-County?nclick_check=1