NEW JERSEY man dies of LASSA FEVER ~ CDC description and history of LASSA FEVER ~ OKLAHOMAN has second case of BOURBON VIRUS diagnosed in US ~ MICHIGAN identifies first case of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE in a free-ranging DEER ~ KANSAS STATE scientists develop VACCINE for AVIAN FLU ~ RABIES report from GEORGIA.

Mastomys natalensis. Courtesy National Institutes of Health.

Mastomys natalensis. Courtesy National Institutes of Health.

New Jersey 05/26/15 by Jethro Mullen – A man who returned to New Jersey from West Africa has died of Lassa fever, a disease that’s only known to have entered the United States a handful of times in the past few decades, authorities said. The man didn’t have a fever when he left Liberia on May 17, or upon arrival at JFK International Airport in New York, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Flight path

Flight path

The next day, he went to a New Jersey hospital complaining of a sore throat, fever and tiredness. But he didn’t tell the staff there about his travel to West Africa and was sent home the same day, the CDC said. He went back to the hospital Thursday with worsening symptoms and was moved to a treatment center for viral hemorrhagic fevers. A test for Lassa fever came back positive early Monday, according to the CDC. The patient died that evening in isolation. – For complete article see

aaCDC-LogoAuthor’s Note: According to Rachael Rettner, writing in on -05/26/15, ” Although Lassa fever is common in West Africa, it is rare in the United States — there have been only five other cases of the virus in this country in the last half century, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus doesn’t spread through casual contact, or through the air, and there has never been a case of person-to-person transmission of Lassa fever in the U.S., the CDC said.”

lassa.fever.234Global 05/26/15 Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in west Africa. The illness was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Nigeria. The virus is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred. The virus, a member of the virus family Arenaviridae, is a single-stranded RNA virus and is zoonotic, or animal-borne. Lassa fever is endemic in parts of west Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria; however, other neighboring countries are also at risk, as the animal vector for Lassa virus, the “multimammate rat” (Mastomys natalensis) is distributed throughout the region. In 2009, the first case from Mali was reported in a traveler living in southern Mali; Ghana reported its first cases in late 2011. Isolated cases have also been reported in Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso and there is serologic evidence of Lassa virus infection in Togo and Benin. The number of Lassa virus infections per year in west Africa is estimated at 100,000 to 300,000, with approximately 5,000 deaths. Unfortunately, such estimates are crude, because surveillance for cases of the disease is not uniformly performed. In some areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia, it is known that 10%-16% of people admitted to hospitals every year have Lassa fever, which indicates the serious impact of the disease on the population of this region. – For information regarding Transmission, Diagnosis, Signs & Symptoms, Treatment, Risk of Exposure and Prevention see


dl3l4l34d9Oklahoma 05/27/15 Health officials say an Oklahoma resident has been diagnosed with a rare tick borne disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that a Payne County resident tested positive for Bourbon virus. This case is the first detected in Oklahoma and only the second case in the United States. Officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that since the disease is so new, more research is needed to understand the severity of Bourbon virus. Symptoms include fever, severe muscle, join pain, fatigue, disorientation, diarrhea and a rash. At this time, there is no treatment for Bourbon virus infections. Fortunately, the Oklahoma patient reported symptoms earlier this month and has since made a full recovery. – For complete article see


Deer with CWD

Deer with CWD

Michigan 05/26/15 The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is warning people today of a wildlife disease that is being tracked in the state. It’s called chronic wasting disease and it affects deer. DNR Director Keith Creagh explained today that the illness was confirmed in a female whitetail deer found in Meridian Township by DNR biologists. The DNR has set up a Chronic Wasting Disease management zone in Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties. Feeding and baiting deer is now prohibited in these counties. Hunting will still be allowed in the three counties. This is the first case of Chronic wasting disease found in a free-ranging deer. In 2008 chronic wasting disease was found in a private herd in Kent County. According to Creagh the disease is not transmitted to people. The DNR says the disease has been detected in deer, elk or moose in 23 states. If you should come in contact with deer that is unafraid of humans or appears to be listless and wandering, you are urged to contact the DNR online or call 517-336-5030. – See

CWD-TitleAuthor’s Note: Is CWD a threat to humans? Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columba University, and author of the Virology Blog, has posted a blog about Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion disease of deer, elk and moose. Hunters and others who have an interest in the topic will want to read it. – See


avian.flu647Global 05/26/15 A vaccine has been developed for the H5N1 and H7N9 strains of avian influenza, using a method based on the Newcastle disease virus, according to a study from Kansas State University and others. The strains have led to the culling of millions of commercial chickens and turkeys as well as the death of hundreds of people, though they are not responsible for the current epidemic in the US, which is caused by the H5N2 strain. The new vaccine development method is expected to help researchers make vaccines for emerging strains of avian influenza more quickly. This could reduce the number and intensity of large-scale outbreaks at poultry farms as well as curb human transmission. It also may lead to new influenza vaccines for pigs, and novel vaccines for sheep and other livestock, said Jürgen Richt, Regents distinguished professor of veterinary medicine at Kansas State University, and director of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.

ksu.logoProfessor Richt and his colleagues focused on the avian influenza virus subtype H5N1, a new strain most active in Indonesia, Egypt and other Southeast Asian and North African countries. H5N1 also has been documented in wild birds in the US, though in fewer numbers. “H5N1 is a zoonotic pathogen, which means that it is transmitted from chickens to humans,” Professor Richt said. “So far it has infected more than 700 people worldwide and has killed about 60 per cent of them. Unfortunately, it has a pretty high mortality rate.” – For complete article see


05/8/15 by Trevor Shirley – Animal control officers in Henry County say a family of eight will have to be treated for rabies, after possibly being exposed to the virus by a stray cat. Officials say that family of six children and two adults took the cat in to care for it. During that time, Henry County Rabies Control Officer Vince Faran says the animal scratched or bit all of them. Thursday morning, tests confirmed the animal was rabid. The family will likely begin treatments in the coming days, according to Faran. He says the prognosis is good since they will be starting treatment soon after the possible exposure. Faran also says there is no risk to anyone that may come into contact with the family. The cat was euthanized. – See


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