Global 02/25/14 nytimes.com: by Denise Grady – A new study suggests that camels are the major source of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, a viral disease that has sickened 182 people and killed 79 of them since it was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The animals are most likely to infect people through respiratory secretions — from coughing, sneezing, snorting or spitting — that travel through the air or cling to surfaces. People with chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung disease or kidney failure, or other conditions that weaken their immunity, seem to be most susceptible, and should avoid close contact with camels, researchers say.
Saudi Arabia has had the most cases, other Middle Eastern countries have had a few and a handful of travelers from that region have taken the disease to Europe. There have been no cases in the United States. Although people have infected one another, the disease is not highly transmissible among humans, so researchers say that unless the virus changes to become more contagious in people, the risk of global spread does not seem high.
The new study provides the first evidence that the virus is widespread in dromedary camels (the kind with one hump) in Saudi Arabia, and has been for at least 20 years. Younger animals are more likely than older ones to be infected and contagious. The virus invades the camels’ nose and respiratory tract, but does not kill them. It is not known whether it even makes them sick. “It would be very difficult to know if they were ill, since these are creatures that slobber a great deal,” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, the senior author of the study and a virus expert at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York. The results, by researchers from Saudi Arabia and the United States, were published last Tuesday in mBio, an online journal. – For complete article see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/health/camels-linked-to-spread-of-deadly-virus-in-people.html?emc=edit_tnt_20140225&tntemail0=y&_r=0
Colorado 02/24/14 Boulder County: A skunk that bit a horse stabled near Terry Lake north of Longmont on February 14th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.timescall.com/longmont-local-news/ci_25216262/skunk-found-near-longmont-tests-positive-rabies
Maryland 02/24/14 Frederick County: Authorities are looking for a female, white boxer type dog with dark spots on its skin that bit a woman on February 19th at the Ballenger Creek Dog Park in the City of Frederick. If the dog’s vaccination status is not made available in time the woman will have to receive a series of post-exposure rabies shots. Anyone with information should contact health officials at 301-600-1717, or Animal Control at 301-600-1544. – See http://www.wfmd.com/pages/localnews2.html?feed=119935&article=12096558
Virginia 02/21/14 Henrico County: A skunk that attacked several dogs in the 11000 block of Greenwood Road in Glen Allen on Wednesday has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.nbc12.com/story/24788744/rabies-case-confirmed-in-glen-allen