Global 10/06/13 nytimes.com: by Donald G. McNeil Jr. – Zoos all around the world love penguins. They’re cute, they don’t require much space, they never eat zookeepers. And children adore watching them, especially at feeding time. But as carefree as they might look, torpedoing through the water or rocketing into the air like a Poseidon missile, zoo penguins are stalked by an unrelenting killer: malaria. “It’s probably the top cause of mortality for penguins exposed outdoors,” said Dr. Allison N. Wack, a veterinarian at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which is building a new exhibit that will double its flock to a hundred birds. If left untreated, the disease would probably kill at least half the birds it infected, though outbreaks vary widely in intensity.
The avian version is not a threat to humans because mosquitoes carrying malaria and the parasites are species-specific; mosquitoes that bite birds or reptiles tend not to bite mammals, said Dr. Paul P. Calle, chief veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs New York City’s zoos. And avian malaria is caused by strains of the Plasmodium parasite that do not infect humans. But for penguins in captivity, the threat is so great that many zoos dose their birds in summer with pills for malaria, said Dr. Richard Feachem, director of global health at the University of California, San Francisco.
Emperor penguin. Photo by Samuel Blanc. www.sblanc.com
Last year, six Humboldt penguins in the London Zoo died of malaria. London is also where the first case of penguin malaria was diagnosed almost a century ago; it was found in a King penguin in 1926. Since then, there have been many outbreaks of avian malaria, including at zoos in Baltimore, South Korea, Vienna and Washington, D.C. The last major American one was at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines during the hot, wet summer of 1986. From May to September of that year, 38 of the 46 Magellanic penguins the zoo had just imported from Chile succumbed. – For complete article see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/science/earth/zoos-aim-to-ward-off-a-penguin-killer.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131006&tntemail0=y
Texas 10/09/13 chron.com: by Todd Ackerman – Dengue fever, a virulent tropical disease thought to be eradicated from the United States in the 1950s, has re-emerged in Houston, according to a new study. Baylor College of Medicine scientists are reporting the mosquito-borne virus has recently been transmitted in Houston, the first evidence the disease so prevalent in the developing world has spread to a major U.S. city in large numbers. In the past decade, it has been identified in Hawaii, south Florida and along the Texas-Mexico border. “Dengue virus can cause incredibly severe disease and death,” said Dr. Kristy Murray, a professor of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and the study’s principal investigator. “This study shows that Houston may be at risk of an outbreak, that people need to be on the lookout.”
Murray’s team investigated the possibility that dengue might be in Houston because the area has the type of mosquitoes known to carry the virus and a dense population full of frequent travelers south of the border, where the virus is endemic. But the study, published Wednesday in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, found that most of the infections were transmitted in Houston. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus. A pandemic outside the United States – hot spots are in India and Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico – dengue infects more than 100 million people a year, killing at least 25,000. Identified in nine tropical countries before 1970, it has spread to more than 100 today. – For complete article and precautions see http://www.chron.com/news/health/article/Dengue-virus-identified-in-Houston-4883103.php
Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) & West Nile Virus (WNV):
Florida 10/09/13 Jackson County: Officials have confirmed that a deer found off Firebird Lane, south of Marianna, has tested positive for EEE. A resident notified authorities after his dog was exposed to a deer that was behaving abnormally. – See http://www.wmbb.com/story/23650822/deer-tests-positive-for-eee-in-jackson-county
Kansas 10/09/13 KS Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed 12 additional human cases of WNV in the past week bringing the total number of human cases so far this year to 32, including two fatalities. As of Oct. 7, the case count by county in Kansas is: Sedgwick-7, Barton-6, Johnson-3, Sherman-2, Wyandotte-2, Atchison-1, Butler-1, Chautauqua-1, Decatur-1, Ellis-1, Logan-1, Marshall-1, Republic-1, Rice-1, Rush-1, and Saline-1. – See http://www.kdheks.gov/news/web_archives/2013/10092013.htm
New Hampshire 10/09/13 NH Dept of Health: Officials today confirmed that a horse stabled in the Belknap County town of Belmont has tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/media/pr/2013/10-oct/10092013horse.htm
Texas 10/09/13 Tarrant County: Officials have confirmed a second county resident has died after contracting WNV. The victim was a male from Arlington in his 70s. The other fatality was a male resident of South Fort Worth in his 30s. So far this year five human cases of WNV have been identified in the county, including the two fatalities. – See http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/Arlington-Man-Dies-After-Contracting-West-Nile-Virus-227078781.html
Texas 10/08/13 Dallas County Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed the ninth human case of WNV in the county so far this year. The resident lives in ZIP code 75149 and is diagnosed with West Nile Neuro-invasive Disease. See http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/press/documents/PressRelease_NinthPositiveHumanCase10082013.pdf
Maryland 10/09/13 Anne Arundel County: A raccoon found Monday at the Fort Smallwood Park gate house has tested positive for rabies. The park is in Pasadena and officials are advising anyone who may have had contact with the raccoon to seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/anne-arundel/pasadena/bs-md-ar-rabid-racoon-20131009,0,1700238.story
Michigan 10/08/13 Tuscola County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a bat found in the county tested positive for the virus. – See video and article at http://www.wnem.com/story/23642583/bat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-local-community
Virginia 10/08/13 Accomack County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a raccoon found roaming Cropper and Church streets in Chincoteague tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20131008/ESN01/310080073/CHINCOTEAGUE-Officials-concerned-after-third-case-rabies-year-found-island