Another NEW JERSEY resident attacked by a COYOTE ~ LYME DISEASE a risk in all PENNSYLVANIA counties ~ Death in COLORADO confirmed as HANTAVIRUS ~ POWASSAN VIRUS alerts in MASSACHUSETTS and PENNSYLVANIA

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

New Jersey 04/20/15 by Myles Ma – For the second time this month, a man walking his dog has been attacked by a coyote in Bergen County. On Sunday night, a coyote attacked a Norwood resident as he walked his dog on McClellan Street and D’Ercole Court, Norwood Police said in a Nixle alert just before midnight. Police did not immediately respond to a call seeking more information. Earlier in April, a rabid coyote attacked a 77-year-old man in Saddle River. Authorities tracked down and euthanized the animal. – See


green-tick-logoPennsylvania 04/21/15 MEDIA RELEASE – For the first time, blacklegged (deer) ticks have now been observed in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, according to researchers at The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The range expansion took place in just decades, as similar studies conducted in the mid-1960s found no specimens. DEP’s Vector Management Program, in collaboration with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, published the findings on the risk of tick-borne disease in Pennsylvania in the Journal of Medical Entomology on April 14. The study was authored by the DEP Vector Management team of Mike Hutchinson, Maria Strohecker, Andy Kyle, and Matt Helwig and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Professor of Biology Dr. Tom Simmons. The research found Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick, and Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, present in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. The research also found that in recent years the blacklegged tick has become imbedded in western Pennsylvania, though the prevalence rate of Lyme disease still remains relatively lower than the rest of the state. The blacklegged tick is the primary carrier of Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by the bite of an infected tick that can cause fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain. – For complete release see


Hantavirus-OutbreakColorado 04/21/15 by Deanna Herbert – Health officials from the Northeast Colorado Health Department have just learned that a former resident of Phillips County, who passed away in January, died from hantavirus. The death, which was originally attributed to influenza, was confirmed as hantavirus late last Friday, April 17, through testing performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While hantavirus is not new to Colorado — the state health department has documented over 90 cases across the state since they began tracking the disease in 1993 — it is the first time hantavirus has been identified in a northeast Colorado resident. This case marks the third case of hantavirus in Colorado this year; all have been fatalities. “In this instance the attending physician did not suspect hantavirus at the time of death as the individual had tested positive for Influenza A via rapid testing in the hospital,” said Dr. Tony Cappello, NCHD’s public health director. – For complete article see


Deer tick.

Deer tick.

Massachusetts 04/18/15 by Elaine Thompson – A rare but potentially fatal tick-borne disease has been reported in Massachusetts the past two years. Five cases of Powassan virus, which is transmitted by the black-legged or deer tick, which also causes Lyme disease, have been reported in the state between 2013 and 2014, Dr. Catherine M. Brown, the state public health veterinarian said. “A couple of cases” were reported in previous years. None so far this year. “The way we generally learn about diseases is when they’re listed as being reportable. When doctors are required to call and tell us. Powassan was not reportable and there was not a really good access to testing until quite recently,” she said. The virus was first diagnosed in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, in a 5-year-old boy who died from encephalitis. The first case in the U.S. was reported in 1972, in a New Jersey woman. To date, there have been more than 60 cases of Powassan in the U.S., mostly in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include headache, fever, vomiting, weakness, confusion, memory loss, seizures and long-term neurologic problems. Powassan is more dangerous than Lyme, a bacterial disease that can be successfully treated with antibiotics, if caught early. There is no treatment for Powassan virus. People with severe conditions are usually hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids, respiratory support or medications to reduce brain swelling. There are two forms of PV: non-neuroinvasive, that has a higher recovery rate; and neuroinvasive, the most dangerous, which can lead to encephalitis, meningitis and death. The cases reported in Massachusetts are neuroinvasive. The fatality rate of the more serious form is between 5 and 25 percent, according to some experts. – For complete article see

dont_feed_the_ticksPennsylvania 04/18/15 by Stacy M. Brown – While New Jersey authorities appeared stunned by the death of a 51-year-old Warren County woman who contracted the deadly Powassan virus, Pennsylvania officials and experts said the tick-borne virus isn’t on its way to the Keystone State. It has already been here. “Pennsylvania had one confirmed case of the Powassan virus in 2011,” said Wes Culp, the deputy press secretary for the state Department of Health. “We have not had any confirmed cases in the state since then.” While Tadgh Rainey, the Hunterdon County Public Health Division director, told that the Powassan virus “has no business being here in New Jersey,” Culp said Pennsylvania health experts have continued to monitor the virus. The state Department of Health works with local health partners and communicates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify potential health risks to the public, Culp said. “We are aware of the Powassan cases in the northeast United States and will continue to keep abreast of the disease and review the CDC guidance on the matter,” he said. State health officials said that because Powassan is a rarely identified arboviral infection that’s familiar to most clinicians, they’ve distributed information on the virus and also encouraged health care providers to consider the diagnosis when seeing patients with meningoencephalitis. – For complete article see


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