Category Archives: Health Alerts

TEXAS reports first locally acquired case of CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER ~ FLORIDA reports locally acquired case of DENGUE FEVER ~ EEE puts three HORSES down in CENTRAL FLORIDA ~ TULAREMIA reported in ALASKAN HARES and MINNESOTAN CATS.

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Texas 06/01/16 click2houston.com: The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed Tuesday the first locally acquired case of chikungunya, a mosquito borne illness. A Cameron County resident got sick with the illness in November 2015 and was diagnosed in January. The case was reported to the local health department in April. The investigation performed by the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services determined the patient had not traveled, and the case was confirmed last week by testing at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – For complete article see http://www.click2houston.com/health/first-texas-acquired-chikungunya-case-announced

Dengue Fever:

dengue-fever_10459Florida 06/01/16 abcnews.com: Florida health officials say a tourist contracted dengue fever while visiting Key West. A statement Wednesday from the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County says the person, who is not a Florida resident, is recovering. It adds “all indications are that this infection was locally acquired,” and mosquito control officials have intensified their activities in the southernmost city in the continental U.S. Dengue fever is rarely fatal but causes debilitating pain. The virus is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that can carry Zika and chikungunya. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/health-officials-tourist-contracted-dengue-key-west-39531823

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

eee-threat-249x187Florida 05/31/16 wmfe.org: by Abe Aboraya- Three unvaccinated horses in Central Florida have caught eastern equine encephalitis. There have been two cases in Polk County and one in Osceola County. All three horses were euthanized or put down in May, and are the first three cases for the state. – For complete article see http://www.wmfe.org/eastern-equine-encephalitis-an-often-fatal-virus-shows-up-in-c-fla-horses/60388

Tularemia:

Alaska 05/28/16 outbreaknewstoday.com: A sick hare with signs of Tularemia was killed by a North Pole resident on May 11th. The disease was present based on observations during a necropsy performed today by ADF&G wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen. In addition, a Fairbanks veterinarian reported a suspected case of Tularemia in a dog from the Chena Hot Springs area last week. The dog was found eating a hare two days prior to becoming severely ill with fever. – For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/alaska-reports-tularemia-in-sick-hares-48103/

tularemia33987ir6Minnesota 05/27/16 kstp.com: by Sarah Thamer – The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has confirmed three cases of Tularemia in Minnesota since April. Tularemia, a wildlife disease normally found in rabbits, squirrels and other rodents, has now been found in a cat in the Twin Cities. It is a disease that both people and animals can get through tick and fly bites or contact with infected animals. According to the University of Minnesota, three cases of tularemia or rabbit fever in domestic animals have been found since April. The cases have been identified in a cottontail rabbit and two cats – all in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The disease is rare in Minnesota.

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Latest ConsumerReports ratings for INSECT REPELLENTS ~ LONE STAR TICK invading MICHIGAN ~ SOUTH CAROLINA vets urge HORSE owners to vaccinate against EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ DEER tests positive for RABIES in FLORIDA ~ ALASKAN survives BROWN BEAR attack.

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Global 2016 consumerreports.org: Consumer Reports’ tests have found several insect repellents that provide excellent or very good protection against mosquito and tick bites. Consumer Reports’ insect repellent reviews will give you honest advice that you can trust. Use their insect repellent buying guide to discover what to consider, including whether you need protection from mosquitoes or ticks, or both pests, and how long you’re going to be out of doors. They also provide unbiased insect repellent Ratings and reviews to help you choose the best insect repellent for your needs, including whether you should buy a product containing the ingredient deet. That chemical can help keep mosquitoes and ticks away, but our safety experts worry that the products might pose risks to people and the environment. Recommended insect repellents are both aerosols and pump sprays, and all provide at least five hours of protection against bites from Aedes and Culex mosquitoes and deer ticks. – See http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/insect-repellent.htm

Lonestartick.usda.A female Lone Star tick is on the right, a male is on the left.

Lone Star Tick – Female on left, male on right.

Michigan 05/23/16 mlive.com: by John Agar –  A tick that can cause meat allergies is turning up in Michigan more frequently, an entomologist says. The Lone Star tick, found in the South and eastern part of the U.S, was once rarely found Michigan’s Lower Peninsula but is now becoming more common, the Associated Press reports. It is a concern because it appears to cause a meat allergy for some who get bit, Howard Russell, a Michigan State University Extension entomologist, told the Times Herald of Port Huron. He told the newspaper that he has received almost daily complaints about the ticks. Jean Tsao, an associate professor in the Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University, says Lone Star ticks have been moving to the North, the AP reported. According to MSU Diagnostic Services, Amblyomma americanum gets its common name because a silvery spot on females looks to some to be shaped like Texas. The bite is considered “quite severe,” and is followed inflammation and lesions. It is linked to tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and a bacterial disease. It is not known to spread Lyme Disease. – See http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/05/tick_that_can_cause_meat_aller.html

thumbnailCAL5IYPMSouth Carolina 05/24/16 wfxg.com: by Dal Kalsi – South Carolina veterinary officials are urging horse owners to vaccinate their animals after an unusually early case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis was discovered on the coast, according to a report from Clemson University. “This is the earliest in the spring that we’ve seen this disease in many years,” said Adam Eichelberger, a veterinarian overseeing animal health programs for Clemson University Livestock-Poultry Health.  He said a horse in Horry County was euthanized after becoming infected with the mosquito-borne illness in horses that can also affect humans. In unvaccinated horses, Eastern Equine Encephalitis is almost always fatal. “Nine of 10 exposed, unvaccinated horses will succumb to the disease. However, with proper vaccine use the risk of disease is minimized,” Eichelberger said. – For complete article see http://www.wfxg.com/story/32051724/sc-horse-vaccinations-against-deadly-mosquito-borne-illness

White-tailed deer fawn_NPSFlorida 05/27/16 wfla.com:  Health officials have issued a rabies alert in a Sarasota subdivision after a deer tested positive for rabies. The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County received laboratory confirmation on Monday, May 23,of rabies in a fawn that was found by a property owner in the Myakka Valley Ranches Subdivision on Monday, May 16. A local veterinarian who lives in the area considered that this low-risk animal could be rabid. She recalled that Sarasota County had two low-risk goats test positive for rabies last spring. There was no obvious injury to the fawn. However, the animal was showing signs of illness including twitching in the face, poor muscular coordination, salivating and had no apparent fear of humans. The deer was euthanized and tested positive for rabies. At this point, authorities are not sure how the deer contracted rabies. DOH-Sarasota has issued a rabies alert for 60-days in the Myakka Valley Ranches Subdivision.

Brown_Bear_-_Ursus_Arctos_600Alaska 05/22/16 abcnews.go.com: by Aditi Roy and Emily Shapiro – An Alaska man says he feels lucky to be alive after coming face-to-face with a brown bear and surviving its terrifying attack. Kenny Steck, his wife Hannah and six family members were hiking in Southeastern Alaska May 13 when he encountered the predator while filling up water bottles. Steck, an experienced outdoorsman, had left his bear repellent back at camp. The massive animal then came charging at him. “It was a feeling of complete hopelessness and helplessness, really. I felt like I couldn’t do anything to make it stop or make the outcome change,” he told ABC News today. When Steck lifted his leg up to protect himself, the bear clawed it. He tried yelling, but the bear crushed his shoulder and put Steck’s head in his mouth. “All I could do was just hope and pray,” he said. “It was terrifying.” Then suddenly the bear let go and ran away. Luckily, his wife and three other family members on the trip are nurses and were able to treat his wounds right away. Steck suffered injuries to his leg, shoulder and head, but the bear miraculously avoided his skull, his wife Hannah said. He’s expected to make a full recovery. – For complete article, photos and  video see http://abcnews.go.com/US/man-survives-terrifying-bear-attack-alaska-miracle-wife/story?id=39289589

Invasive TICK species moving into MICHIGAN ~ NEW MEXICAN dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ PENNSYLVANIA reports number of DEER with CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE doubled in 2015 ~ APPALACHIAN TRAIL shelter in NORTH CAROLINA closed after BEAR bites camper ~ Five VIRGINIANS exposed to RABIES by STRAY DOG.

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Image compliments of CDC.

Michigan 05/17/16 wwmt.com: A new tick species is spreading throughout Michigan. Entomologists say the Lone Star tick is relatively new and can spread diseases like the Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia and can cause tick paralysis. Experts are also warning of increase tick activity during the warmer months. This is because of the resurgence in the white-tailed deer and wild turkey populations which can serve as hosts for the ticks. – See http://wwmt.com/news/local/new-tick-spreading-in-michigan

Hantavirus:

hantavirus.339988iidNew Mexico 05/17/16 kcbd.com: State health officials say a 30-year-old man from San Juan County has died of hantavirus. New Mexico Department of Health officials also announced Tuesday that an 84-year-old man from Santa Fe County currently is hospitalized with hantavirus. It’s the third and fourth cases of hantavirus in New Mexico this year. An environmental investigation will be conducted at each patient’s home to help reduce the risk to others. Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. Authorities say the deer mouse is the main carrier for the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico. – For complete article see http://www.kcbd.com/story/31998276/state-health-dept-san-juan-county-man-dies-of-hantavirus

 

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):

HEADERPennsylvania 5/12/16 pennlive.com: by Marcus Schneck – In announcing that a record 12 white-tailed deer were found to be infected with chronic wasting disease in 2015, the Pennsylvania Game Commission said targeted removal of deer may be on the table as it considers options to fight the spread of the disease. The commission outlined possible “active control measures” that could involve targeted removal of deer in locations where CWD-positive animals have been found. The 12 free-ranging deer with CWD were found in Disease Management Area 2, which last year covered all or parts of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties, but has now been expanded by 437 square miles. Special rules regarding the hunting, transport and feeding of wild deer apply within all DMAs. CWD is an always fatal neurological disease of white-tailed tree and other members of the deer family. – For complete article see http://www.pennlive.com/pa-sportsman/2016/05/with_deer_disease_doubling_in.html

Bear:

black-bear-backcountry-movie_hNorth Carolina 5/12/16 wlos.com: by Krystyna Biassou & Rex Hodge – A backcountry camping area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is closed after a bear attack on a hiker. Rangers say 49-year-old Bradley Veeder of Las Vegas was bitten on his leg late Tuesday night while sleeping in his tent near the Spence Field shelter. That’s along the Appalachian Trail. Fellow hikers rendered aid. “He had 2 puncture wounds on his leg and we just did some First Aid, wrapped it up, called the park rangers, let them know it wasn’t life-threatening. They came in on horses in the morning and picked him up and brought a horse for him to ride down,” says Derek Roecklein. Veeder, an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, was transported out of the backcountry by horseback and taken to Blount Memorial Hospital by Rural Metro Ambulances Service on Wednesday. The bear initially ran off, but returned and tore up two tents. – For video and complete article see http://wlos.com/news/local/shelter-closed-after-bear-bites-sleeping-hiker

Rabies:

Dog_1Virginia 5/13/16 scnow.com: Five people have been referred to their health care providers for consultation after potentially being exposed to rabies in the Lynchburg area of Lee County by a stray dog that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported Friday. The stray dog began showing neurological symptoms and was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on May 9. Rabies was confirmed in the dog on May 11. During care and handling of the dog, a total of five people were potentially exposed. It is unknown how the dog contracted the rabies virus, however, bite wounds were discovered on the animal. In addition, five pet dogs were potentially exposed to the rabies virus by the stray dog. None of these pets was current on its rabies vaccination and is required to undergo a 180-day quarantine period or be euthanized per the Rabies Control Act. – For complete article see http://www.scnow.com/news/local/article_ed05db96-1944-11e6-9e7c-4f06dc166821.html

 

TEXAS reports first locally acquired probable case of CHIKUNGUNYA ~ PUPPY exposes 32 people to RABIES in MISSOURI ~ Wild RABBIT found with TULAREMIA in COLORADO ~ Sportsmen’s group in WISCONSIN wants crack down on DEER farms to fight CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ CANADA: SASKATCHEWAN woman fights off BLACK BEAR.

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Texas 05/02/16 rgvproud.com: Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services has been investigating a probable case of Chikungunya virus infection. This case initially presented to a doctor’s office in November 2015 and tested in January 2016; however, it was not reported to the health department until April 2016. The investigation has since determined that the case was acquired locally and is being considered the first locally acquired probable case of Chikungunya in the State of Texas. Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites and cannot be spread from one person to another person. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Should anyone experience any of these symptoms, a visit to the health care provider should be scheduled. “While this is the first reported locally acquired probable case of Chikungunya, the overall risk of being infected with Chikungunya virus in South Texas is very low and we have no additional evidence that the virus is circulating in the local mosquito population,” stated James W. Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority. “A critical key point to also remember here is the importance of physicians reporting these conditions. It would have allowed us to work with our local municipalities to assess the mosquito issue and appropriately respond.” – For complete article and preventive measures see http://www.rgvproud.com/news/local-news/cameron-county-reports-probable-case-of-chikungunya-in-texas

Rabies:

78483649Missouri 05/06/16 ozarksfirst.com: The first confirmed case of rabies has been reported to the Howell County Health Department by the Missouri State Public Health Lab in Jefferson City. The case involved a rabid 8 week old puppy near the Moody area, which became ill and died. Howell County Health Department officials say the puppy had exposure to 32 people who have started Post Exposure Prophylactic shots. The puppy’s mother, 5 littermates, and 2 other dogs have had to be euthanized due to exposure to a rabid animal, all of which were not current on rabies vaccinations.- For complete article see http://www.ozarksfirst.com/news/rabies-confirmed-in-howell-county-8-dogs-euthanized-32-people-exposed

Tularemia:

baq4ijctzixmuu7acvc5Colorado 05/05/16 fox21news.com: by Angela Case – A wild rabbit found in Pueblo West has tested positive for tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. The rabbit was found in the Liberty Point area. The Pueblo City-County Health Department said it had no contact with people. Tularemia is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans by the handling of sick or dead animals. Infection can also occur from the bite of infected insects, including ticks and deer flies, and exposure to soil and vegetation. Dogs and cats get tularemia by eating infected rabbits or other rodents and through tick and deer fly bites. – See http://fox21news.com/2016/05/05/wild-rabbit-found-in-pueblo-west-tests-positive-for-tularemia/

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):

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Deer with CWD

Wisconsin 05/05/16 startribune.com: by Todd Richmond – A prominent sportsmen’s group wants Gov. Scott Walker to crack down on captive deer farms as he considers revising the state’s chronic wasting disease tactics. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s letter to Walker, announced Thursday, asked him to impose regulations designed to keep CWD from spreading from captive deer to wild deer. The recommendations include requiring farms to double fence, installing warning devices that can detect open gates and annual fence inspections by the state or an independent inspector. The letter also suggests that farmers be required to inspect their own fences at least monthly and immediately after any major wind storms. They would have to kill their herds within a month if they haven’t double fenced and one of their deer tests positive for CWD. They also would have to maintain liability insurance to cover any damages to the state resulting from escapes. The DNR recorded 29 escapes from deer farms in 2015 alone. Nevertheless, the agency in December adopted an emergency rule allowing farmers to opt of the state’s CWD program without upgrading their fences. – For complete article see http://www.startribune.com/wildlife-group-proposes-deer-farm-crackdown-to-fight-cwd/378266561/

CANADA

Black Bear:

black-bear-backcountry-movie_hSaskatchewan 05/05/16 cbc.ca/news: by Stefani Langenegger – A Saskatchewan woman says it was both her scariest and her luckiest day — she fought off a black bear after it bit her on the leg during an afternoon walk. Raschel Zeschuk lives in Paradise Hill, northeast of Lloydminster, and goes on daily walks with her two dogs. But on April 21 the walk was anything but routine. Zeschuk had just reached the end point of her usual route and turned around to return home when she heard rustling behind her. Behind her dog was a black bear in hot pursuit. She says she started to scream in an effort to scare the bear off and looked around for higher ground. “All I could kind of think of was, ‘Get up on something,'” Zeschuk said. She began running towards some poplar trees which had fallen over in the bush.  “The bear immediately turned away from my dog and started chasing me,” Zeschuk said. “It caught up to me pretty fast.” The bear grabbed her leg, scratching it on one side and biting it on the other. Zeschuk scrambled up on the poplar tree, which gave way and she fell backwards. “This is where it’s kind of hazy,” she said. Her dog, Cosmo, began barking and Zeschuk had time to scramble back up on the tree. “It started trying to climb up after me and that’s when I kicked it in the nose as hard as I could and it ran off,” she said. Zeschuk says she then ran home as quickly as she could. She has six stitches in her leg and is getting her last rabies shot today.  Zeschuk says she loves hiking and is working with someone to overcome her anxiety about future walks, given her recent experience. Mostly she just feels very grateful. – For complete article and photos see http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-woman-fights-black-bear-1.3567714

PUERTO RICO reports sharp rise in ZIKA VIRUS cases ~ OREGON county reports first-ever case of HANTAVIRUS

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Puerto Rico 02/12/16 washingtonpost.com: by Brady Dennis – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday detailed a sharp rise in Zika virus infections in Puerto Rico, from a single case involving an 80-year-old late last year to nearly 30 confirmed patients by the end of January. One case involved a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy, and another occurred in a patient hospitalized for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially paralyzing condition that has followed Zika infections in some patients. The CDC said the commonwealth has not reported any Zika-associated cases of microcephaly — the congenital defect, characterized by abnormally small head size and brain damage, that is suspected in hundreds of newborns at the outbreak’s epicenter in Brazil. Public health officials expect the prevalence of the virus to only increase in Puerto Rico in coming weeks and months. One big reason: The mosquito that most commonly transmits it, Aedes aegypti, is present throughout the island. “The risk to Puerto Rico is significant,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said recently. The U.S. territory has experienced previous widespread outbreaks of dengue fever, another virus spread by the same type of mosquito. Most of the people infected with Zika so far live on the the eastern side of the island or around the populous capital of San Juan, according to the CDC. Four patients have been hospitalized, but most have reported only minor symptoms, such as rash, joint pain or eye pain. – For complete article see https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/02/12/cdc-puerto-rico-seeing-mounting-cases-of-zika-virus-infection/

HANTAVIRUS:

hantavirus.339988iidOregon 02/12/16 eastoregonian.com: Hantavirus is here. The sometimes fatal rodent-borne virus has been diagnosed in a Umatilla County resident for the first time ever. The county health department wouldn’t give details about the victim to protect the person’s privacy, but the case prompted Umatilla County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Jon Hitzman to issue a warning. “Hantavirus is a rare but serious disease spread by rodents,” Hitzman said. “This disease can frequently become fatal, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure.” The virus lurks in enclosed areas such as barns, outbuildings and sheds where mice nest. Since hantavirus was first identified in 1993, 588 cases showed up nationally, 21 of them in Oregon. About two thirds of cases in Oregon were contracted through direct contact with rodents or rodent droppings. Other cases came through indirect exposure while camping or farming. – For complete article see http://www.eastoregonian.com/eo/local-news/20160212/first-ever-umatilla-county-hantavirus-case-diagnosed

WHO expects ZIKA VIRUS to reach most countries of the AMERICAS ~ CDC expands ZIKA VIRUS TRAVEL WARNING ~ CDC officials says big ZIKA VIRUS outbreak unlikely in US ~ ARIZONA officials confirm HANTAVIRUS fatality ~ ARIZONA scientist says DEER are developing genetic resistance to CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE.

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South, Central and North America 01/25/16 wcvb.com: by Emily Smith – The World Health Organization anticipates that the Zika virus will spread to all but two countries in South, Central and North America. The mosquito-borne disease has raged in South America and other regions for several months. Twenty-one countries and territories of the Americas have reported cases of the virus since Brazil reported the first cases of local transmission in May 2015, WHO’s regional office for the Americas said in a statement. “Aedes mosquitoes — the main vector for Zika transmission — are present in all the region’s countries except Canada and continental Chile,” the statement said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged pregnant women to postpone travel to Bolivia, Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Samoa, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. The CDC also recommended that women who have recently traveled to these places during their pregnancy be screened and monitored for the virus. – For complete article see http://www.wcvb.com/health/who-expects-zika-virus-to-spread/37620996

Caribbean 01/26/16 cdc.gov: Media Release – Today, CDC added the following destinations to the Zika virus travel alertsUnited States Virgin Islands and Dominican Republic.  Previously, CDC issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Barbados; Bolivia; Brazil; Cape Verde; Colombia; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Martinique; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Saint Martin; Samoa; Suriname; and Venezuela.  Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to continue to change over time. As more information becomes available, CDC travel alerts will be updated. – For complete release see http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0126-zika-travel-guidance.html

National 01/27/16 npr.org: by Rob Stein – The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil and other countries has raised concern that the pathogen could start spreading widely in the United States, as well. But federal health officials and other infectious disease specialists say so far that seems unlikely. “Based on what we know right now, we don’t think that widespread transmission in the United States is likely,” says Dr. Beth Bell, director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are several reasons for Bell’s cautious optimism that isolated cases that show up in the U.S. could be contained. The first is that the two species of mosquitoes that could be capable of transmitting the virus, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, live mostly in the southern, more tropical parts of the U.S. That makes it likely that transmission would be limited primarily to these areas. And for various reasons, the chain of events and conditions the virus needs in order to spread is more easily disrupted in the U.S. than elsewhere. For example, many people in the U.S. have air conditioning in the summer, so aren’t as likely to leave windows open at the times of day when mosquitoes are especially active. Open windows also tend to have screens. And many counties and other municipalities spray to kill mosquitoes and are vigilant in trying to eliminate pools of standing water where the insects can breed. “These are all conditions that make it less likely for ongoing, large-scale spread to occur,” Bell says. – For complete article see http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/01/26/464459350/big-zika-virus-outbreak-unlikely-in-the-u-s-officials-say

Hantavirus:
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Arizona 01/25/16 lakepowelllife.com: by John Christian Hopkins – A 17-year-old Cameron girl is the first victim of the Hantavirus on the Navajo Nation in 2016. The death was confirmed by the Navajo Department of Health and the Navajo Epidemiology Center on January 19. . . . The girl was active in her community and had a 4.0 GPA. She had Hantavirus symptoms when she visited the Tuba City Hospital, and died en route to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. – For complete article see http://www.lakepowelllife.com/navajo-girl-dies-from-hantavirus/

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):

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National 01/22/16 greatfallstribune.com: by Nicholas Haley, DVM, PhD – Perhaps no issue is as controversial in the hunting community right now as Chronic Wasting Disease. There’s constant finger-pointing and a lot of theories about how it will change hunting forever for the worse. But fortunately, emerging scientific research suggests that CWD doesn’t have to be the scourge that many fear. Last year, a herd at an Iowa ranch was depopulated after one of the animals tested positive for CWD, as is standard U.S. Department of Agriculture protocol. However, the situation took years to resolve as the ranch owner fought for a more equitable solution. As such, CWD naturally spread among the animals. This provided a unique opportunity for testing of the animals, since depopulation normally occurs relatively quickly. After testing and euthanizing the entire herd, sadly a large percentage were identified as CWD positive. The silver lining was that 20 percent were negative, and we are currently looking at a genetic link to resistance in these animals. If we can further characterize this resistance in deer, that’s very promising. As CWD spreads — and it will, since you can’t stop free-ranging deer from moving around — then the deer that are more genetically susceptible to the disease will die off at higher rates than those that are less genetically susceptible. The net result will be a hardier population of deer that is more resistant to CWD. With farmed deer, there’s the potential to select for this resistance faster than nature herself could. – For complete article see http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/opinion/guest-opinions/2016/01/22/chronic-wasting-disease-prognosis/79199086/

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

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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