Category Archives: Author’s Note

CDC issues ZIKA TRAVEL ALERT ~ HAWAIIAN baby’s brain damage tied to ZIKA VIRUS ~ ZIKA VIRUS confirmed in TEXAS traveler – DENGUE FEVER outrbreak prompts HAWAII officials to close recreational area ~ ARIZONA officials confirm HANTAVIRUS death

countries-reporting-autochthonous-zika-virus-cases.cdc

National 01/15/16 medscape.com: by Robert Lowes – Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to 14 countries and territories in South and Central America and the Caribbean where mosquitos are spreading the Zika virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced tonight. Viral infection in pregnant women has been associated with microcephaly in infants. In what it calls a level 2 travel alert, the CDC also advises women who are thinking about becoming pregnant to consult with their physician before traveling to these areas, and if they do, follow strict precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Safeguards include wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants and using insect repellent. The 14 countries and territories covered by the travel alert are Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. – For complete article see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/857389?nlid=97363_3901&src=wnl_newsalrt_160115_MSCPEDIT&uac=218349HV&impID=957011&faf=1

Author’s Note: For “Short Answers to Hard Questions About Zika Virus” see http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/01/16/health/what-is-zika-virus.html?emc=edit_tnt_20160117&nlid=57949252&tntemail0=y

Hawaii 01/18/16 cbsnews.com: Health officials say a baby born in a Hawaii hospital is the zikavirus.symptom77884first in the United States born with Zika virus.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday it’s also the first infant born in the country with microcephaly associated with Zika virus, a birth defect where a baby’s head is smaller than expected. Babies with the condition often have smaller brains that might not have developed properly, often resulting in mental retardation. The virus, which is transmitted through mosquito bites, has affected between 440,000 and 1.3 million people in Brazil since last May, officials estimate. Researchers say they’ve found strong evidence that a recent surge in microcephaly in the country — 3,530 babies have been born with the condition since October, up from fewer than 150 in 2014 — is linked to Zika virus. – For complete article see http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hawaii-baby-born-with-brain-damage-linked-to-zika-virus/

National 01/11/16 medscape.com: by Janis C. Kelly – Zika virus, a mosquito-borne infection believed to cause microcephaly in infants born to infected mothers, has crossed from Latin America into Texas, experts reported today. The case of Zika in a traveler recently returned from El Salvador was confirmed through investigations by Harris County, Texas, health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The case is expected to result in major new surveillance and vector-control initiatives. Peter Hotez, MD, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and Texas Children’s Hospital Endowed Chair of Tropical Pediatrics, Houston, told  Medscape Medical News, “There is a perfect storm brewing for Zika virus in the US. I was never worried that Ebola would take off here, but I am worried about Zika. We have 2 species of Aedes mosquitoes that can transmit Zika in our area. We also have high levels of poverty, resulting in people living without window screens and near discarded tires and other water-catching containers where the mosquitoes can breed.” Dr Hotez said that Zika infection usually produces nonspecific, influenza-like symptoms Zika-Virus-2.rashin pregnant women, with the associated birth defects becoming apparent only 9 months later. “By that time, it is too late,” Dr Hotez said. “This first case of Zika infection in Harris County is a wake-up call, a warning that we should immediately start implementing programs of active surveillance. As we move into the spring and summer months, if we start seeing cases among people who have never traveled outside of the country, we need to implement aggressive mosquito control measures as well as health advisories for people to implement personal protection measures.” – For complete article see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/857072?nlid=96603_3901&src=wnl_newsalrt_160112_MSCPEDIT&uac=218349HV&impID=953397&faf=1

Author’s Note: According to numerous reports, the infected traveler is a resident of the City of Houston, Texas.

Dengue Fever:

Hawaii 01/15/16 abcnews.go.com: by Marina Riker – Hawaii officials closed a Big Island a_48road, campground and hiking trail in an effort to stop the spread of a  dengue fever outbreak that has sickened 223 residents and visitors as of Friday. Five of those cases could be potentially infectious, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the Muliwai hiking trail on the far cliff side of Waipio Valley and its Waimanu Valley campground on Friday. Hawaii County’s Civil Defense Agency blocked all traffic to Waipio Valley Access Road on Thursday and limited access to residents. The road closure comes three weeks after health officials closed access to state lands near Milolii and Honomalino Bay, which were “hotspots” for the mosquito-borne virus. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/dengue-fever-prompts-hawaii-campground-trail-road-closures-36327566

Hantavirus:

Arizona 01/13/16 azdailysun.com: A resident of the Navajo Nation who lived in the east central part of Coconino County has died of complications of Hantavirus Pulmonary imagesCAULAVUQSyndrome. The rare but potentially fatal disease, which has no vaccine or cure, is spread by infected rodent droppings. It is the fourth confirmed case of hantavirus reported in Coconino County since 2006. Two of those cases resulted in death. It is not known at this time where the recently deceased individual contracted hantavirus. Studies show that wild mice throughout Arizona have been infected with hantavirus. It is transmitted to humans when they breathe air contaminated with the virus. If fresh rodent droppings, urine or nesting materials from infected animals are stirred up, tiny droplets containing the virus get into the air. Exposure to mouse droppings in enclosed areas such as cabins, sheds and outbuildings poses the greatest potential risk for contracting hantavirus. – For complete article including symptoms and recommendations see http://azdailysun.com/news/local/officials-confirm-hantavirus-death/article_9542f93e-6fb6-57c5-a401-6a19dfe9b1c1.html

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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 cnn.com: 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 http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/26/health/lassa-fever-death-new-jersey-liberia/

aaCDC-LogoAuthor’s Note: According to Rachael Rettner, writing in livescience.com 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 cdc.gov: 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 http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/

BOURBON VIRUS:

dl3l4l34d9Oklahoma 05/27/15 tecxomashomepage.com: 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 http://www.texomashomepage.com/story/d/story/payne-county-resident-diagnosed-with-rare-tick-dis/40871/8pwzPq-ctU2L8VFqGKvpEw

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

Deer with CWD

Deer with CWD

Michigan 05/26/15 wlns.com: 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 http://wlns.com/2015/05/26/dnr-warns-of-chronic-wasting-disease-in-whitetail-deer-first-case-seen-in-ingham-county/

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 http://www.virology.ws/

AVIAN FLU:

avian.flu647Global 05/26/15 thepoultrysite.com: 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 http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/35134/kansas-state-researchers-develop-avian-flu-vaccine/

RABIES:


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05/8/15 myfoxatlanta.com: 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 http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/29183571/family-of-eight-treated-for-rabies

Study projects how EBOLA VIRUS will spread ~ Promising EBOLA VACCINE abandoned a decade ago ~ NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY to quarantine all travelers with EBOLA contacts ~ CANADIAN killed when GRIZZLY invades cabin ~ First case of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE found in OHIO captive DEER ~ FLORIDIAN contracts ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from CA, LA, PA & SD ~ COYOTE attacks weed eater before biting NORTH CAROLINA MAN and other RABIES reports from CA & NC.

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Global 10/20/14 wsj.com: by Gautam Naik – Up to three Ebola-infected people could embark on overseas flights every month from the three most-affected African countries, according to a new study that projected travel patterns based on infection rates and recent flight schedules. The findings, published Monday in the journal Lancet, suggest that Ebola cases could be spread overseas by unwitting travelers from the worst-hit countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra who-logoLeone. The World Health Organization has estimated that, by early December, there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in west Africa. The upshot is “that controlling the outbreak at the source is the most important thing that needs to happen” to prevent the international spread of the ECE_522805_St-MichaelsHospitalvirus, said Kamran Khan, an infectious disease physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and lead author of the study.

Dr. Kamran Khan

Dr. Kamran Khan

The researchers’ analysis assumed no exit screening in the airports of the three African nations. In reality, exit screenings occur, but the authors contend that this doesn’t change their conclusion because screenings can miss travelers who don’t yet show signs of Ebola. A person can incubate the virus for up to 21 days without exhibiting signs of the disease. – For complete article see http://online.wsj.com/articles/ebola-study-projects-spread-of-virus-on-overseas-flights-1413846023?tesla=y

Money-vaccineGlobal 10/23/14 nytimes.com: by Denise Grady – Almost a decade ago, scientists from Canada and the United States reported that they had created a vaccine that was 100 percent effective in protecting monkeys against the Ebola virus. The results were published in a respected journal, and health officials called them exciting. The researchers said tests in people might start within two years, and a product could potentially be ready for licensing by 2010 or 2011. It never happened. The vaccine sat on a shelf. Only now is it undergoing the most basic safety tests in humans — with nearly 5,000 people dead from Ebola and an epidemic raging out of control in West Africa. Its development stalled in part because Ebola is rare, and until now, outbreaks had infected only a few hundred people at a time. But experts also acknowledge that the absence of follow-up on such a promising candidate reflects a broader failure to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that afflict poor countries. Most drug companies have resisted spending the enormous sums needed to develop products useful mostly to countries with little ability to pay. – For complete article see http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/health/without-lucrative-market-potential-ebola-vaccine-was-shelved-for-years.html?emc=edit_tnt_20141023&nlid=57949252&tntemail0=y

0New York/New Jersey 10/24/14 medscape.com: by Robert Lowes – In the wake of New York City’s first Ebola case, New York and New Jersey will quarantine all healthcare workers arriving at two key airports from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia for 21 days if they have treated patients with the deadly virus in those countries. The quarantine will extend to all travelers from the three countries who have had direct contact with an infected individual. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the decision to impose quarantines this afternoon. Calls for this stringent measure have grown louder since Craig Spencer, MD, tested positive for the Ebola virus yesterday after he returned to New York City on October 17 from an assignment with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea. – For complete article see http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/833879?src=wnl_edit_newsal&uac=218349HV

Quarantine-Sign-NHE-18384_600Blog Author’s Note: Definitely a step in the right direction, but the people of the U.S. would be much better served if all travelers from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia using all modes of transportation were quarantined for 21 days under penalty of prison terms and/or deportation. In addition, all commercial flights to and from these countries should be stopped until the virus is no longer a threat. Healthcare workers and other emergency personnel could travel in and out of these countries on military flights, which would also provide an optimal level of control. Yes, this would be costly to enforce, but if we can spend trillions protecting the American public from terrorists, we can afford a comparative pittance to protect them from the Ebola virus, which at the current survival rate could wipe out half of the U.S. population.

BEAR ATTACK:

Canada:

1306540277907_ORIGINAL.gRIZZLY.Yukon Territory 10/21/14 calgarysun.com: Claudia Huber, 42, a native of Switzerland and naturalized Canadian, died on October 18th as a result of injuries sustained when she was mauled by a 170 kg. older, male grizzly near her home in Johnsons Crossing, about 136 km southeast of Whitehorse. The grizzly climbed through a rear window into her cabin when Claudia and her husband, Matthias Liniger, fled but the grizzly caught up with Claudia. Matthias shot the grizzly, but not before Claudia was badly mauled. A little later that day, some 50 km away in theTeslin health center, Claudia died. The couple has lived in Johnsons Crossing since they came to Canada from Switzerland eight years ago to start a year-round adventure touring company offering like-minded Europeans an opportunity to experience their isolated lifestyle in the Canadian wilderness for short periods of time. – For complete article see http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/10/20/claudia-was-my-soulmate-says-husband-of-grizzly-attack-victim

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

whitetail deer 3Ohio 10/25/14 OH Dept of Natural Resources: Media Release – State officials have confirmed the first positive case of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the state in a captive deer herd in Holmes County. The state continues to take quarantine action to control the further spread of the disease. There is no evidence that CWD has affected the wild deer population in the state. The positive sample was taken from a single buck on a hunting preserve in Millersburg and tested as part of Ohio’s CWD monitoring program for captive white-tailed deer operations. The preserve had been under quarantine since April 24, 2014, and was subject to intensive monitoring and sampling protocols because of a known connection to a captive deer operation in Pennsylvania that tested positive for CWD earlier this year. The quarantine will remain enforced until the state is satisfied that disease transference can no longer occur. The disease is fatal in deer, elk and moose, but there is no evidence CWD can be transmitted to humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The World Health Organization. Though no human disease has been associated with CWD, the CDC recommends, as a precaution, that people or other animals do not eat any part of an animal diagnosed with or showing signs of CWD. – For complete release see http://ohiodnr.gov/news/post/first-case-of-chronic-wasting-disease-confirmed-in-ohio-on-private-preserve

ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS:

Mosquito_08849rt77Florida 10/22/14 Duval County: A 58-year-old female resident of the county contracted St. Louis Encephalitis but has fully recovered following treatment. This is the first human case of the mosquito-borne virus reported in the state of Florida since 2003. – See http://members.jacksonville.com/news/health-and-fitness/2014-10-22/story/first-st-louis-encephalitis-case-florida-03-found-duval

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

imagesCACMXFDXCalifornia 10/24/14 CA Dept of Public Health: Media Release – There were 46 new WNV human cases reported in California this week from the following counties: Colusa (1), Kern (1), Los Angeles (23), Orange (15), Placer (2), San Diego (1), Stanislaus (2), and Yolo (1). Twenty WNV-related fatalities have been reported to CDPH from ten local health jurisdictions: Glenn (1), Long Beach City (2), Los Angeles (3), Orange (5), Placer (1), Sacramento (2), Shasta (1), Stanislaus (2), Sutter (2), and Tehama (1). Six hundred and eight (608) human cases from 29 counties have tested positive for WNV thus far in 2014. – See http://westnile.ca.gov/

Louisiana 10/17/14 LA Dept of Health & Hospitals: Media Release – Officials have confirmed two (2) new cases of WNV this week, but no new deaths. One (1) new case with fever was reported from Caddo Parish and one (1) new case with fever was reported from East Baton Rouge Parish. – For summary see http://www.dhh.state.la.us/assets/docs/SurveillanceReports/wnv/weekly2014/ARBO_1441.pdf

Pennsylvania 10/18/14 PA Dept of Health: The number of WNV cases statewide has now reached seven and Philadelphia has recorded  the first WNV-related fatality this year. – For a summary see http://www.westnile.state.pa.us/

South Dakota 10/22/14 SD Dept of Health: Media Release – 57 human cases of WNV disease have been reported statewide.   Status:  meningitis/encephalitis 21%, fever 79%; hospitalized 25%; deaths 0.   Counties with cases:  Beadle, Brown(6), Charles Mix(2), Codington(5), Day, Dewey(3), Edmunds(2), Faulk, Grant(2), Hamlin(3), Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hughes(4), Hutchinson, Jackson, Lawrence, Lincoln(3), Marshall, McPherson, Meade(2), Minnehaha(5), Sanborn, Shannon(2), Spink, Tripp, Union(3) and Walworth. – See http://doh.sd.gov/documents/diseases/WNVupdate10-24.pdf

RABIES:

HelpCalifornia 10/23/14 San Diego County: On Tuesday, a bat found near Pizza Nova on North Twin Oaks Road (in San Marcos) was found to be positive for rabies, according to county health officials. Five children spotted the bat under a tree near the restaurant a few days before the County Public Health Laboratory’s rabies result was confirmed. Concerns are that the children or others may have touched the bat, possibly exposing them to the disease. The county is looking for help in finding the five children and any others that might have been in the area and have come into contact with the animal, according to Craig Sturak, communications officer with the County Health and Human Services Agency. Contact the County’s Health and Human Services Agency by calling (619) 692-8499. – See https://thecoastnews.com/2014/10/county-looking-for-kids-that-may-have-handled-rabid-bat/

4904540_GNorth Carolina 10/17/14 tryondailyubulletin.com: by Leah Justice – A man weed eating his yard last Thursday evening was attacked by what he reported to be a coyote, according to Polk County Animal Control. Officers from the sheriff’s office said the man was weed eating around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 on King Stepp Road, off Grassy Knob Road (in Sunny View), when all of a sudden, the animal attacked the weed eater, then bit the man on the leg. The man immediately went to the hospital, where he received rabies shots and several stitches in his leg. Officers described it as a substantial wound. The man described the animal as a small coyote. The coyote was not captured. – See complete article at: http://www.tryondailybulletin.com/2014/10/17/sunny-view-man-attacked-by-suspected-rabid-coyote/#sthash.gcecZrlx.dpuf

North Carolina 10/23/14 Randolph County: A stray cat found in the vicinity of Robbins Farm and Kennedy roads in Trinity has tested positive for rabies. – See http://myfox8.com/2014/10/23/cat-in-trinity-area-tests-positive-for-rabies/

FLORIDA WOMAN diagnosed with first locally acquired case of DENGUE FEVER this year ~ NEW MEXICO WOMAN contracts TULAREMIA ~ RABIES report from CT, NY & NC.

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Florida 07/09/14 FL Dept of Health/Miami-Dade County: Media Release – Officials have confirmed the first locally acquired case of Dengue Fever in the county so far this year. The individual has fully recovered. – See http://www.dadehealth.org/public/PUBLICnewsarticle.asp?newsID=2219&typeID=&news_type=Press+Releases

Author’s Note: According to Local10 News, the individual is a 50-year-old woman, and there were 23 confirmed cases of locally acquired dengue in Florida last year. – See http://www.local10.com/news/dengue-fever-case-confirmed-in-miamidade-county/26864992

Tularemia:

ico_TularemiaNew Mexico 07/10/14 krwg.org: State officials today confirmed a case of tularemia in a 65-year-old female resident of Bernalillo County. The woman was hospitalized but has since recovered. At least 7 household pets have also been diagnosed with tularemia so far this year, 4 dogs and 3 cats from Santa Fe, Bernalillo and Los Alamos counties. – See http://krwg.org/post/serious-illness-found-people-and-pets-new-mexico

Rabies:

6183687956_0905f1bf96_oConnecticut 07/09/14 New Haven County: A 3-month-old gray tabby kitten that bit two people has tested positive for rabies. The kitten was found screeching and acting strangely on a lawn along Hickory Road in Derby on July 5th. About ten others have had direct contact with the kitten’s saliva and other body fluids, and at least three dogs were also exposed. – See http://wtnh.com/2014/07/09/several-come-in-contact-with-rabid-kitten/

help7689New York 07/10/14 Erie County: Steve Goodwin of Buffalo is looking for the owner(s) of a pit bull that attacked his dog on July 6th in the Nottingham Woods area of Delaware Park, near Lincoln Parkway. Goodwin grabbed the pit bull by the mouth to free his dog. which was being bitten on the throat. Now his concern is whether or not the pit bull has been vaccinated for rabies. The two people the pit bull was with drove away without providing Goodwin with any information. – For more details see http://wivb.com/2014/07/09/couple-searches-for-pit-bull-owner-after-attack/

redfox-aug09North Carolina 07/08/14 Cumberland County: A fox that attacked a woman, her 2-year-old son and their dog on July 6th at the family’s home on Spinnaker Drive in Hope Mills has tested positive for rabies. The family was playing with the dog when the fox attacked first biting the mother, and then attacking the dog. – See video and complete article at http://www.wncn.com/story/25965704/toddler-attacked-by-rabid-fox-in-hope-mills?clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass

First U.S. case of MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME (MERS) confirmed in INDIANA ~ CHIKUNGUNYA now an epidemic in the CARIBBEAN ~ RABIES report from ONTARIO, CANADA.

Dromedary by Trisha. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Dromedary by Trisha. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Global 05/02/14 cdc.org: Media ReleaseMiddle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed today in a traveler to the United States. This virus is relatively new to humans and was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. “We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state health officials to find people who may have had contact with this person so they can be evaluated as appropriate.  This case reminds us that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.  We can break the chain of transmission in this case through focused efforts here and abroad.”

OCDC-Logon April 24, the patient traveled by plane from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, England then from London to Chicago, Illinois.  The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana.  On the 27th, the patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency department in an Indiana hospital on April 28th and was admitted on that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated; the patient is currently in stable condition. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials tested for MERS-CoV. The Indiana state public health laboratory and CDC confirmed MERS-CoV infection in the patient this afternoon. “It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation, but this first U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases.  In some countries, the virus has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

arabian camel 1CDC and Indiana health officials are not yet sure how the patient became infected with the virus.  Exposure may have occurred in Saudi Arabia, where outbreaks of MERS-CoV infection are occurring. Officials also do not know exactly how many people have had close contact with the patient. So far, including this U.S. importation, there have been 401 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date, all reported cases have originated in six countries in the Arabian Peninsula.  Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died. Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus. “In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make its way to the United States,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “We have been preparing since 2012 for this possibility.” Federal, state, and local health officials are taking action to minimize the risk of spread of the virus.  The Indiana hospital is using full precautions to avoid exposure within the hospital and among healthcare professionals and other people interacting with the patient, as recommended by CDC. – For complete release and links to more information see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0502-US-MERS.html

Author’s Note: Researchers have isolated live MERS virus from single-humped camels also known as dromedaries, and almost 75% of the camels in Saudi Arabia have tested positive for prior exposure to the MERS virus. However, even though camels are suspected to be the primary source of infection for humans, the exact routes of direct or indirect exposure remain unknown.

Chikungunya:

carphaWestern Hemisphere 05/01/14 Caribbean Basin: The head of the Caribbean Public Health Authority (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, has declared the Chikungunya virus has reached epidemic proportions in the Caribbean. “By definition this is an epidemic since it represents an unusual number of cases of this problem where we would never have it before,” Dr Hospedales told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC). The mosquito-borne illness was first detected in the Caribbean in December 2013, in St Martin, and last week Antigua and St Vincent and the Grenadines became the latest countries to declare an outbreak. According to Dr Hospedales, as of April 28, there were 4,108 probable cases in 14 countries across the region. . . . . To date the Chikungunya virus has been confirmed in Anguilla, Aruba, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barthelemy, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Maarten (Dutch) and St Martin (French). – For complete article see http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Chikungunya-now-an-epidemic-in-the-Caribbean

Rabies:

Canada:

HelpCardOntario 05/01/14 Bruce County: Yet another dog biting incident is reported in the area. The Grey Bruce Health Unit is asking for your help in tracking down the owner of a dog involved in a biting incident in Chesley. It happened Wednesday at about 9 PM. A man was attacked by a dog while walking on the Chesley Rail Trail near the cemetery. The dog was loose and was not being watched by anyone. The Health unit says the dog is described as large and dark-coloured. Staff of the Grey Bruce Health Unit need to confirm that the dog is not infectious with rabies. By verifying the health of the dog, the victim can avoid receiving the post-exposure rabies treatment. If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420. – See http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=65812

NEW YORK ecologist says OPOSSUMS are very efficient TICK killers ~ TEXAS reports first case of HANTAVIRUS in 2014 ~ RABIES reports from CA, PAx2, VAx2 & CANADA: ONTARIO.

Opossum. Photo by Cody Pope. Wikimedia Commons.

Opossum. Photo by Cody Pope. Wikimedia Commons.

National 04/22/14 newstimes.com: by Robert Miller – At night, when you catch sight of an opossum in your car headlights, you are allowed to think, “That is one ugly little animal.” But what opossums lack in looks, they make up in originality. They’re America’s only babies-in-the pouch marsupial. They’re a southern species — proper name Virginia opossum — that’s adapted to New England winters. They’re one of the oldest species of mammal around, having waddled past dinosaurs. They eat grubs and insects and even mice, working over the environment like little vacuum cleaners. “They really eat whatever they find,” said Laura Simon, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Humane Society. And they’re an animal whose first line of defense includes drooling and a wicked hissing snarl — a bluff — followed by fainting dead away and “playing possum.” “They are just interesting critters,” said Mark Clavette, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. And now ecologists have learned something else about opossums. They’re a sort of magnet when it comes to riding the world of black-legged ticks, which spread Lyme disease.

Dr. Richard Ostfeld.

Dr. Richard Ostfeld.

“Don’t hit opossums if they’ve playing dead in the road,” said Richard Ostfeld, of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millerton, N.Y. Ostfeld is forest ecologist and an expert on the environmental elements of infectious diseases like Lyme disease. Several years ago, scientists decided to learn about the part different mammals play in the spread of the ticks and the disease. They tested six species — white-footed mice, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums and veerys and catbirds — by capturing and caging them, and then exposing each test subject to 100 ticks. What they found, is that of the six, the opossums were remarkably good at getting rid of the ticks — much more so

Blacklegged Tick.

Blacklegged Tick.

that any of the others. “I had no suspicion they’d be such efficient tick-killing animals,” Ostfeld said. Indeed, among other opossum traits, there is this: They groom themselves fastidiously, like cats. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it. (The research team on the project went through droppings to find this out. All praise to those who study possum poop.) Extrapolating from their findings, Ostfeld said, the team estimated that in one season, an opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks. – For complete article see http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Robert-Miller-Opposums-killers-of-ticks-5413872.php

Hantavirus:

hantavirus1542Texas 04/13/14 Swisher County: Health officials have confirmed the state’s first case of hantavirus reported this year. The exposure is believed to have occurred in a rodent-infested barn when dust was stirred up. It was reported that the individual recovered. Hantavirus infection has a mortality rate of 38% according to the CDC. – See http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/texas-reports-first-hantavirus-case-of-2014-2014/

Rabies:

Author’s Note: Beginning with this post, Rabies Reports will be limited to those that are in some way unusual and/or of particular importance in terms of service to the general public.

Help_button_2California 04/19/14 Yolo County: Animal services officials seek the public’s help in finding a dog that bit a child in a park in Dunnigan. The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. April 11. A 3-year-old child was with his mother in a park near the 29000 block of Main Street when the youngster attempted to approach a small dog running loose in the park and was bitten, according to county news release. The mother told animal services officials that she had not seen the dog in the area before and has not seen it since the child was bitten. Animal services employees also have been unable to find the animal. The dog was described as a small gray and white terrier type. The mother did not recall seeing a collar on the dog. Identifying the dog to verify current rabies vaccination could help spare the child post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with knowledge of the incident, or the location of dog or its owner, is asked to call the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287, or email animal.bite@yolocounty.org. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/18/6336279/yolo-officials-seek-dog-that-bit.html

5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armsPennsylvania 04/22/14 Montgomery County: A stray cat found on East Fifth Avenue in Collegeville has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who has been bitten, scratched or had saliva exposure to a stray cat should seek medical advice and also call the Montgomery County Health Department at 610-278-5117. This is the third confirmed case of rabies in the county in 2014. – See http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140422/rabid-cat-found-in-collegeville

3610192083_22eaf9db7aPennsylvania 04/17/14 Lancaster County: A Penn Township woman is receiving post-exposure rabies treatments as a precaution after being bitten by a stray, black cat on April 16th in the 1000 block of White Oak Road in Manheim. The cat remains at large. – See http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/woman-undergoing-rabies-shots-after-being-bit-by-cat/article_ecc54d9e-c633-11e3-88e6-001a4bcf6878.html

400px-RK_0808_278_Marmota_monax_groundhog_ReinhardKraaschWCVirginia 04/15/14 Fairfax County: A groundhog that fought with a dog in the 900 block of Welham Green Road in Great Falls on April 6th has tested positive for rabies. The dog was quarantined. – See http://mclean.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/dog-quarantined-after-tangling-with-rabid-hedgehog-in-great-falls

Wildlife-GrayFoxVirginia 04/15/14 Newport News: A man in the city’s Lakeside neighborhood who was bitten by a fox on April 14th has begun post-exposure rabies treatments as a precaution. The fox bit into his arm and wouldn’t let go until he started slamming his pickup truck door on it. The fox was not captured and remains at large. – See http://www.wvec.com/news/Woman-bit-by-fox-in-Newport-News-255385821.html

Canada:

untitled (2)Ontario 04/15/14 Grey Bruce Health Unit: Officials are asking for your help in finding the owner of a dog involved in a biting incident in Walkerton. It happened last Friday morning, when a girl walking to school near the corner of Hinks Street and Johnstone Boulevard was bitten by a dog being walked by a man. The man kept on walking. The dog is described as medium-sized, mixed breed, with black and white markings. Staff of the Grey Bruce Health Unit need to confirm that the dog is not infected with rabies. By verifying the health of the dog, the victim can avoid receiving the post exposure rabies treatment. If you have any information related to this incident, you are asked to contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420. ­ – See http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=65460

 

FLORIDA woman attacked by BLACK BEAR ~ TICK taken from CALIFORNIA park carrying TULAREMIA ~ IOWA reports first case of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE in a wild DEER ~ RABIES reports from CT, GAx2, MA, NH, NJx2, NYx2, NC, TXx4, VT, VA & WI.

Black bear. Courtesy freepik.com.

Black bear. Courtesy freepik.com.

Florida 04/13/14 Seminole County: Officials are investigating a black bear attack that occurred in Lake Mary on April 12th around 8 p.m. Firefighters say they were called to a home at 1900 Brackenhurst Place after one of five bears rooting through trash at the residence attacked a woman identified as Terri Franna who was taken to a local hospital for treatment and later released. Wildlife officials say they have since put down four bears that did not appear to be fearful of humans, which is considered dangerous. The director of the state’s bear management programs said bears are looking for food this time of year and, if they can’t find it in your neighborhood, they’ll move on. – See http://www.clickorlando.com/news/woman-attacked-by-bear-in-lake-mary/25453094

Tularemia:

th777389546ddCalifornia 04/10/14 San Diego County: Officials have issued a warning to hikers and others who work or play in the great outdoors that a tick taken during routine monitoring in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, an urban park in San Diego, has tested positive for tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever”. Ticks in the U.S. that can transmit the F. tularensis bacteria include the dog, wood and long star varieties. Deer flies can also transmit the bacteria. Tularemia can be very difficult to diagnose. It is a rare but potentially serious disease. During 2001-2010, a total of 1,208 cases were reported from a total of 47 states, but more than half of the total number of cases were in MO, AR, OK, MA, SD and KS. – See http://poway.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/county-urges-public-to-protect-against-ticks-after-tularemia-find-poway

Author’s Note: For more information about Tularemia see http://www.cdc.gov/tularemia/index.html

Chronic Wasting Disease:

CWD-TitleIowa 04/09/14 IA Dept of Natural Resources: Media Release – The first case of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a wild Iowa deer has been confirmed. The deer was reported as harvested in Allamakee County during the first shotgun season in early December. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is currently working to obtain as much information as possible about the infected deer to implement its CWD response plan. “We have been testing for CWD in Iowa’s deer herd for more than a decade and are optimistic, given the extensive data we have collected, that we have caught this early,” said Chuck Gipp, DNR director. “The next step will be to focus our monitoring efforts in the area where the animal was harvested and work closely with local landowners and hunters to gather more information.” said Gipp.

Deer infected with CWD.

Deer infected with CWD.

CWD is a neurological disease affecting primarily deer and elk. It is caused by an abnormal protein, called a prion that attacks the brains of infected animals, causing them to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. Signs include excessive salivation, thirst and urination, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, listlessness and drooping ears and head. The only reliable test for CWD requires testing of lymph nodes or brain material. There is currently no evidence that humans can contract CWD by eating venison. However, the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that hunters do not eat the brain, eyeballs or spinal cord of deer and that hunters wear protective gloves while field dressing game and boning out meat for consumption. Prior to the positive detection in Iowa, CWD had been detected in every bordering state.

Rabies:

batinlaundryConnecticut 04/07/14 New London County: A bat captured in a Gales Ferry home on April 4th in the Eagle Ridge Drive area of Ledyard has tested positive for rabies. – See http://groton.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/bat-captured-in-gales-ferry-tests-positive-for-rabies-groton

Georgia 04/11/14 Hall County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert for the Persimmon Tree Road area after a raccoon that was in contact with a dog tested positive for the virus. This is the fifth confirmed case of rabies found in the county this year. – See http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/98112/

Georgia 04/10/14 Henry County: A raccoon that was killed by a dog on April 2nd in the City of McDonough has tested positive for rabies. Officials have issued a city-wide quarantine. – See http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/25214076/henry-county-issues-rabies-quarantine-88e779r0efor-mcdonough#axzz2ydBtnx7b

Massachusetts 04/07/14 Middlesex County: A skunk found near the Framingham/Southborough town line has tested positive for rabies. – See http://framingham.wickedlocal.com/article/20140407/NEWS/140406953

4541357140foxNew Hampshire 04/11/14 Rockingham County: A fox that attacked two children at the Don Ball Park in Derry on April 10th has tested positive for rabies. The animal knocked a boy down, and then bit a 5-year-old girl after she came down a slide. Police and wildlife officials finally cornered the animal in nearby woods and killed it, but in the interim the fox also attacked a porcupine and dog. – See http://www.wmur.com/news/fox-that-attacked-children-tests-positive-for-rabies/25438202

New Jersey 04/11/14 Monmouth County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert for the Middletown area after two raccoons tested positive for the virus this week. The first was found in the vicinity of Michael Drive off Nutswamp Road, and the second was found in the vicinity of Essex Street and Bray Avenue in the northern section of the township. – See http://www.ahherald.com/newsbrief/local-news/17351-rabies-alert-in-middletown

111009110345_Raccoon3 - CopyNew Jersey 04/09/14 Hunterdon County: A raccoon captured in the vicinity of Brown Street in Flemington has tested positive for rabies. The animal might have been in contact with several stray cats in the area. – See http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2014/04/raccoon_cuaght_in_flemington_t.html

New York 04/11/14 Niagara County: A raccoon killed by two dogs on Stone Road in Hartland has tested positive for rabies. – http://wivb.com/2014/04/11/niagara-co-reports-first-rabies-case-of-2014/

rabidcatNew York 04/07/14 Oneida County: A man who tried to help what he thought was an injured cat was bitten on the hand last week when he picked the animal up. The cat later tested positive for rabies and the victim is receiving post-exposure treatment. – See http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Oneida-County-man-exposed-to-rabies-by-injured-cat-254233751.html

GA_Gray_Fox_6869North Carolina 04/10/14 Cumberland County: A fox that attacked two unvaccinated dogs on April 9th outside their owner’s home on Lake Upchurch Road in Parkton has tested positive for rabies. The owner of the dogs is being treated for potential exposure to virus when he grabbed the fox and broke its neck. – See http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/article_3ca95f9e-f7c3-5939-99fa-678cb761daaf.html

Texas 04/11/14 Wichita County: A second skunk has tested positive for rabies in the city of Wichita Falls within two weeks. The first was in the southern part of the city while this latest case is in the northern sector. – See http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2014/apr/10/second-case-rabies-wichita-falls/

2195804032_bb25565f77-copyTexas 04/11/14 Young County: Two skunks found in the City of Graham have tested positive for rabies. One was found near Pioneer Cemetery and the other in the northeast part of the city. – See http://www.grahamleader.com/ci_25546497/rabies-cases-reported-graham

Texas 04/10/14 McClellan County: A skunk found in the 600 block of Regina Drive in Hewitt on April 7th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.kcentv.com/story/25206822/skunk-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-hewitt

Texas 04/08/14 Bell County: A skunk that scratched a dog in the 4500 block of Lonesome Dove in Killeen has tested positive for rabies. – http://www.kxxv.com/story/25197702/rabid-skunk-spurs-caution-in-bell-county

lottaraccoons - CopyVermont 04/11/14 Chittenden County: Four raccoons trapped in Burlington and South Burlington in the last ten days have all tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/2014/04/11/animal-rabies-found-near-vermont-largest-city/OTbD8fi44nBSYDmPkeRrDO/story.html

Rabid-cat-4-11-14 VaVirginia 04/11/14 Virginia Beach: A stray cat that was following children waiting for the school bus in the 1200 block of Warwick Drive has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who came in contact with the cat is advised to seek medical advice immediately. – See http://wavy.com/2014/04/11/cat-found-near-school-bus-stop-tests-positive-for-rabies/

help7689Wisconsin 04/09/14 Marathon County: Officials are looking for the owner of a large Rottweiler-type dog that bit a seven-year-old boy around 7:30 p.m. on April 8th near the corner of S. 5th Avenue and West Street in Wausau. The dog was wearing a dark green or black harness and was being walked by a woman with brown, shoulder length hair. She is believed to have been in her 30s and was wearing running pants and a bright pink shirt. Anyone with information should call the health department at (715) 849-7785. – http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/Health-Dept-Searching-for-Dog-to-Prevent-Boy-from-going-through-Rabies-Shots-254575171.html?ref=171