Category Archives: Prion disease

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.

zika_map.4tt768.

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:
Hantavirus-Outbreak

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):

CWD-Title

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/

CANADIAN toddler attacked by MOUNTAIN LION ~ Texan hunting moose in ALASKA mauled by BROWN BEAR ~ CANADIAN sheep hunter attacked by GRIZZLY ~ CA, MD, MI, MO and OK confirm WEST NILE VIRUS fatalities ~ COLORADO reports two more human cases of TULAREMIA ~ NEW MEXICO reports fourth human case of PLAGUE ~ More DEER escape from WISCONSIN farm where CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE was found ~ Second CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE-infected deer in TEXAS breeder herd confirmed ~ RABIES reports from PA, SC, VA & WV. ~ ANNOUNCEMENT – Natural Unseen Hazards Blog will not be published for several months

Mountain Lion. Courtesy U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Mountain Lion. Courtesy U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Canada:

British Columbia 09/21/15 vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca: A two-year-old girl sitting with her parents in deck chairs in their backyard on Vancouver Island last Monday was attacked by a mountain lion that pounced on her from behind. The cat released the child when her father punched it. The girl was treated for lacerations on her earlobe, chest and back. – For photos and article see http://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/b-c-dad-slugs-cougar-that-attacked-two-year-old-daughter-1.2574512

Bear Attack:

887897spNPSAlaska 09/23/15 abcnews.go.com: by Rachel D’Oro – A Texas man who was mauled by a brown bear while moose hunting in Alaska was expected to survive serious injuries, authorities said Wednesday. The bear with two cubs attacked 47-year-old Gregory Joseph Matthews of Plano, Texas, as he hunted Tuesday with his brother in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, authorities said. Fishermen in the area alerted Alaska State Troopers shortly after 6 p.m. and Matthews was flown to Central Peninsula Hospital in nearby Soldotna. Matthews was listed in good condition Wednesday. He declined requests from The Associated Press for an interview. It was the third bear attack on the Kenai Peninsula in recent weeks. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/brown-bear-cubs-mauls-texas-moose-hunter-alaska-33980023

Canada:

British Columbia 09/24/15 prpeak.com: by Chris Bolster – Conservation officers are searching for a bear responsible for sending a 51-year-old man to hospital in the early hours of Thursday, September 24. Powell River RCMP have confirmed that a man walking his dog on the 4700 block of Redonda Avenue, behind the Town Centre Mall, was attacked by a bear at approximately 5:30 am. The man sustained only minor injuries in the attack and did not require BC Ambulance Service paramedics to transport him to Powell River General Hospital, Constable Tim Kenning told the Peak at 9 am. Kenning said that the unnamed man told him “the bear came out of nowhere. “He stepped in trying to protect his animal, thinking the bear was going after his dog,” said Kenning. “Next thing he knew he was on the ground with a bear on top of him.” Kenning added that a neighbour came out to see what happening after hearing the man yell and saw the bear and two cubs running away. The attack likely occurred because the bear was protecting its two cubs, said Kenning. – See http://www.prpeak.com/articles/2015/09/24/news/doc560430aba9e53331700834.txt

grizzly5Alberta 09/22/15 edmontonsun.com: by Trevor Robb – An Alberta hunter was sent to hospital over the weekend after being attacked by a grizzly bear near Hinton. Alberta Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Michelle Davio said in a statement that a male hunter -who was reportedly legally hunting bighorn sheep in the area — had called the Report-A-Poacher telephone line and 911 at 8 p.m. on Saturday night after he was injured during a confrontation with a female grizzly . Davio says the man suffered undisclosed, non-life threatening injuries when the grizzly charged at him and knocked him over. “The hunter played dead and after the bear stood over the hunter for a moment, the bear moved on,” said Davio. Upon getting the call, Davio says a team consisting of Fish and Wildlife officers, two emergency medical technicians and two civilian guides were deployed to rescue the hunter. However, he was in a remote location near Cadomin, near the Teck mine site, which is approximately 55km south of Hinton, in rugged terrain, which made the hunter not accessible by vehicle. – For complete article see http://www.edmontonsun.com/2015/09/22/hunter-survives-bear-attack-near-hinton

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

07cd7361057a7994e7e590e1fb0d3868ed6ff5ad-1California 09/20/15 loscerritosnews.net: A Norwalk resident is the second person to die of WNV-related causes in Los Angeles County this year. – See http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2015/09/19/norwalk-man-dies-of-west-nile/

Maryland  09/19/15 patch.com: An elderly woman from Laurel in Prince George’s County is the second WNV-related fatality in the state so far this year. There have been 29 human cases of WNV reported this year including two deaths. – See http://patch.com/maryland/bowie/west-nile-virus-cause-laurel-womans-death-icymi-0

Michigan 09/25/15 detroitnews.com: by James David Dickson – An Oakland County woman, 81, has become Michigan’s first West Nile Virus-related death this year, the Oakland County Department of Health announced Friday morning. Oakland County hadn’t suffered a West Nile-related virus death since 2003.  – See http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/oakland-county/2015/09/25/west-nile/72796238/

Missouri 09/19/15 stltoday.com: Officials have confirmed three WNV-related deaths: two in St. Louis County and one in Pettis County. – See http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/two-deaths-in-st-louis-area-from-west-nile-virus/article_95ff8dba-bf77-55e7-91f2-8c201e41ffd9.html

Oklahoma 09/24/15 newsok.com: The Oklahoma State Department of Health is reporting the fourth West Nile virus death of 2015 in the state. The department says the latest death was a Kingfisher County resident. Previous deaths were reported in Rogers, Stephens and Carter counties. There have now been 53 confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Oklahoma this year — up from 18 in 2014 when there were no deaths due to the virus. – See http://newsok.com/oklahoma-has-4th-death-of-year-due-to-west-nile-virus/article/5449060

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

tularemia.332oe998Colorado 09/22/15 canyoncourier.com: Two more human cases of tularemia have been reported in Jefferson and Clear Creek counties. – See http://www.canyoncourier.com/content/tularemia-surfaces-jeffco-clear-creek

PLAGUE:

Santa_Fe_attacks_plagu48f91501New Mexico 09/23/15 kcbd.com: The New Mexico Department of Health announced today a laboratory confirmed case of plague in a 73-year-old woman from Santa Fe County. The case was confirmed at the Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division.  This is the fourth human case of plague in New Mexico this year and the second in Santa Fe County.  The woman was hospitalized and is back home recovering. The other cases in the state occurred in a 52-year-old woman from Santa Fe County, who died from the illness, and in a 65-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman, both from Bernalillo County, who have recovered. – For complete article see http://www.kcbd.com/story/30100644/human-plague-case-confirmed-in-santa-fe-county

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD):

HEADERWisconsin 09/18/15 wqow.com: by Keith Edwards –  A concern about chronic wasting disease in Eau Claire County is growing, after more deer escaped from a deer farm near Fairchild where CWD was found.  Officials confirmed on Friday that 12 deer escaped early last week from the farm. The DNR said they reportedly got out through (an) open gate. Most were captured, but three remain missing in addition to the two deer that escaped in May. The DNR said the public and media were not immediately notified of the most recent escape because they give the owner a reasonable amount of time to try to find them on his own. The DNR is now asking residents around Fairchild and Augusta to report any sightings of the deer, which all have ear tags.  After the first escape, the DNR planned to kill all of the deer at the farm to prevent any possible spread of CWD, which hasn’t happened yet due to a shortage of funding. More federal money is expected to be available Oct. 1.  – See video at http://www.wqow.com/story/30065987/2015/09/18/more-deer-escape-from-farm-where-cwd-found

Texas 09/23/15 wilsoncountynews.com: The Texas Animal Health Commission and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced that a captive white-tailed deer in a Lavaca County deer breeding facility has been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station detected the presence of CWD in samples submitted, and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the findings Sept. 15. The newly quarantined Lavaca County facility is a result of testing trace out animals that originated from a Medina County index captive white-tailed deer herd where the disease was first detected June 30. CWD was first detected in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in far West Texas in the Hueco Mountains. The Lavaca County herd is the second infected breeder herd detected in Texas. – See http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=68201&n=section-general-news-cwd-confirmed-lavaca-county

RABIES:

imagesCAMMOSTLPennsylvania 09/24/15 Allegheny County: Members of an entire family in Wilmerding that took in two stray kittens are now being treated for potential exposure to rabies after the kittens tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/kittens-test-positive-rabies-wilmerding-family-pos/nnm8R/

South Carolina 09/18/15 Spartanburg County: Six people in the Woodruff area have been potentially exposed to rabies because the family cat’s rabies vaccination was not current. The cat had been wounded but was not immediately taken to a veterinarian until it had bitten five family members and one other individual. On September 15th the cat tested positive for the rabies virus. – See http://www.wyff4.com/news/cat-exposed-6-people-to-rabies-in-upstate/35351186

Virginia 09/23/15 Virginia Beach: Four people who were in contact with a black and white cat at the Virginia Beach Sports Complex on Landstown Road are being treated for potential exposure to rabies after the cat tested positive for the virus. – See http://wtkr.com/2015/09/23/rabid-cat-found-at-virginia-beach-sports-complex/

West Virginia 09/21/15 Ohio County: A kitten dropped off at Long Run Pet Hospital on GC&P Road in Wheeling has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wtov9.com/shared/news/features/top-stories/stories/wtov_cat-tests-positive-rabies-ohio-county-10275.shtml

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~ ANNOUNCEMENT ~~~

With the possible exception of very unusual

reports, such as a rabid human attacking

a grizzly in downtown Manhattan, the

NATURAL UNSEEN HAZARDS

blog will not be published for several months

while its blogger completes a book project.

CONNECTICUT warns TICK disease called BABESIOSIS is spreading ~ CALIFORNIA confirms first WEST NILE VIRUS death this year ~ Second COLORADAN dies of PLAGUE ~ CALIFORNIA child recovering from PLAGUE ~ COLORADO pet CAT dies of PLAGUE ~ New data shows LYME DISEASE becoming more common in MINNESOTA ~ ALASKAN mauled by GRIZZLY while jogging ~ BEAR attacks man walking on Lewis-McChord military base in WASHINGTON ~ MICHIGAN confirms third DEER found with CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ EBOLA VACCINE tests 100% effective in phase III trial ~ RABIES reports from CT, NJ & PA.

Courtesy US National Park Service.

Courtesy US National Park Service.

Connecticut 08/07/15 wtnh.com: by Kent Pierce – As you make plans to enjoy the great outdoors this weekend, keep this in mind: More and more ticks in Connecticut are testing positive for a disease called babesiosis. It spreads like Lyme disease, but acts more like malaria, and scientists say this past winter’s weather has brought out a bumper crop of ticks this summer. If deer are around, deer ticks are probably around, too. For years in Connecticut, we’ve known the danger of getting Lyme disease from deer ticks. Now there is a rising new threat. “Babesiosis was first documented in Connecticut in 1988,” according to State Entomologist Dr. Kirby Stafford III. “It has been slowly spreading across the state ever since.” Now that slow spread is picking up.

tick.44958749The Agricultural Experiment Station just started testing ticks for babesiosis, and it is finding about one in seven ticks has it. Babesiosis attacks our red blood cells. The elderly are especially susceptible. “You’re talking about high fever, you’re talking chills, headache and shakes,” explained Dr. Stafford. “You know, it’s kind of like having malaria.” If untreated, babesiosis can even be fatal. Connecticut had about 400 confirmed human cases in the past two years, but many more probably had it and didn’t know it. You can also get it from blood transfusions, because no one tests donated blood for babesiosis yet. If you get bit by a tick, it’s like Lyme disease in that it takes a day for tick to infect you. So the key is to find the tick as soon as possible. Or don’t get bitten at all. “Wear long pants, tuck them into pants,” advises Dr. Stafford. “I know it sounds geeky, but it works. Use a repellant, something Deet based or a clothing repellant.” Just as important as prevention is checking for ticks. If you’ve been hiking, camping, even gardening, check yourself, your kids, and your pets for ticks and remove them with tweezers right away. – See  http://wtnh.com/2015/08/07/new-tick-disease-found-in-connecticut/

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

07cd7361057a7994e7e590e1fb0d3868ed6ff5ad-1California 07/31/15 turlockcitynews.com: A senior citizen from Nevada County has been confirmed as the first human death caused by WNV so far this year. – See https://turlockcitynews.com/news/item/5284-first-human-west-nile-virus-death-reported-in-california

PLAGUE:

Colorado 08/05/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – For the third time in two months, Colorado has reported a human plague case in a resident. Health officials with  The Pueblo City-County Health Department  confirmed an adult died from plague. This is the first Pueblo County resident to contract plague since 2004. This is the second fatality due to plague this year in Colorado. On June 8, 16-year-old Poudre High School student in Larimer County, Taylor Gaes, died from septicemic plague. . . While the investigation is still ongoing, the individual may have contracted the disease from fleas on a dead rodent or other animal. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/plague-strikes-colorado-for-the-3rd-time-this-year-50236/

Plague ecology, epizootic cycles, enzootic cycles

Plague ecology, epizootic cycles, enzootic cycles

California 08/06/15 ocregister.com: by Jenna Chandler – A child from Los Angeles County has contracted human plague after visiting wilderness areas in Northern California last month, including Yosemite. The child, whose age was not disclosed, is recovering after being treated in a hospital. He or she became ill after visiting Stanislaus National Forest and camping at Crane Flat Campground in Yosemite National Park in mid-July, state public health officials said Thursday. Plague – which leads to a high fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin – is caused by a bacteria and is infectious. But it does not usually spread person to person, and human cases of plague are rare, said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health. – See http://www.ocregister.com/articles/plague-676248-health-child.html

Colorado 08/06/15 San Miguel County: – by Mary Slosson – A domestic cat tested positive for the plague and died while in isolation at the San Miguel County Veterinary Clinic in Norwood last month, the San Miguel County Department of Health and Environment announced Wednesday. Nobody in the cat owner’s family has become ill following the death. The owners brought their cat to the vet after it started showing signs of illness. The cat was isolated and lab samples were sent to state health officials, who confirmed a diagnosis of the plague. The plague is spread by infected fleas, which can be carried and transmitted through animals like squirrels, chipmunks, prairie dogs and mice. Domestic animals can become infected if bitten by an infected flea or if they eat an infected rodent. – See http://www.telluridenews.com/news/article_4673f7d4-3c8d-11e5-9a87-1b3495c373a4.html

LYME DISEASE:

green-tick-logoMinnesota 08/06/15 kimt.com: by Katie Huinker – New data is available indicating Lyme disease is becoming more common in Minnesota. It is one of 14 states that has the majority of cases in the country. The number of Lyme disease cases varies from year to year, but overall the trend shows an increase since 2000. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, the highest number of cases was in 2013, with more than 1,400 cases reported. Each year numbers can be very different, it depends on public awareness, infection rates in ticks and tick distribution. – See http://kimt.com/2015/08/06/new-lyme-disease-data/

BEAR:

Alaska 08/06/15 nbcnews.com: by Kathryn Robinson – An Alaskan woman is recovering after being mauled by a grizzly bear while jogging with a co-worker late Tuesday night, authorities said. Gabbriele Markel, 20, and Kaitlin Haley, 26, were running on a trail along Skilak Lake, 50 miles south of Anchorage, when an adult grizzly bear came out of the thick brush next to the trail and attacked Markel, knocking her to the ground, police said. Police told NBC News the two women work at Alaska Wildland Adventures lodge and were about three-quarters of a mile from the lodge. Police spokeswoman Megan Peters said Haley ran back to the lodge for help while the bear was still on top of Markel.

grizzleysjfksaHaley and several other employees ran back from the lodge, armed with bear spray, and saw Markel walking towards them. The employees transported Markel across the lake via boat and met with emergency officials, Peters said. “She didn’t appear to have life-threatening injuries at the time but they can turn life threatening,” Peters said. “It’s always important to get them to the hospital as soon as possible.” Markel was airlifted to Providence Hospital and staff told NBC News she was upgraded to good condition Wednesday afternoon. – For complete article see http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/alaskan-woman-mauled-bear-while-running-co-worker-n404821

Washington 08/01/15 washingtontimes.com: A man walking in a restricted area on Lewis-McChord military base near Tacoma on Saturday was attacked by a bear but sustained only some scratches. Officials now want to know why the man was in that area. – See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/1/man-attacked-by-bear-at-joint-base-lewis-mcchord/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD):

20110816__Identity_HuntHarvestHelpMichigan 08/06/15 hollandsentinel.com: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that a third free-ranging deer in Meridian Township in Ingham County tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The deer was a 5-year-old doe. All three CWD-positive deer detected thus far have been discovered within a mile of one another. Genetic analyses carried out by Michigan State University’s Molecular Ecology Laboratory indicate that all three positive animals were related as part of an extended family. Previous research has shown that CWD is often transmitted within family groups because of their close contact. Hunters are critical to helping the DNR understand the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease. ”We need individuals who have always hunted in Ingham County and surrounding counties to keep hunting,” said Steve Schmitt, DNR wildlife veterinarian in a press release. “The DNR can’t fight this disease without their support. Hunters need to have their deer checked and tested so we can determine if this disease is established over a broad area or just persisting in a local pocket.” – For complete article see http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20150806/NEWS/150809512

EBOLA VACCINE:

ebola_Merck_SL.CDCGlobal 08/06/15 fiercevaccines.com: by Amirah Al Idrus – Merck’s Ebola vaccine, developed in tandem with NewLink Genetics and tested in a novel “ring study,” has protected 100% of patients from Ebola infection, according to interim results published in The Lancet on Friday. In the aptly named “Ebola ça suffit,” or “Ebola, that’s enough,” trial, all vaccinated individuals were protected against Ebola infection within 6 to 10 days of vaccination. The trial, conducted by a team that includes researchers from the WHO, the Health Ministry of Guinea, and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health among others, is ongoing, with more than 4,000 patients having already received the jab. – See http://www.fiercevaccines.com/

RABIES:

This is not the kitten in either of these reports.

This is not the kitten in either of these reports.

Connecticut 08/03/15 New Haven County: A stray kitten found in the vicinity of North High and Mill streets in East Haven has tested positive for rabies. The kitten was found on July 9. Anyone in this area who may have seen or taken in any stray kittens or cats is asked to contact the department at 203-481-4233 or animal control at 203-468-3249 immediately. – See http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20150803/stray-kitten-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-east-haven

New Jersey 08/06/15 Hunterdon County: by PC Robinson – County health officials urge (Union Township) residents in the Baptist Church Road area to seek medical advice if they came in contact with a stray male calico kitten that tested positive for rabies on Aug. 4. Rabies is an often fatal disease spread through contact with an infected animal’s saliva. For more information, call 908-788-1351.

Forest_Animals_Wallpaper_-_BeaverPennsylvania 08/06/15 Lycoming County: by Marcus Schneck – A beaver  found along Pine Creek, near Ramsay, has tested positive for rabies, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department also called for anyone who may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids or tissue from a beaver to call the Lycoming County State Health Center at 570-327-3400 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays, or 1-877-724-3258 at any time.

FLORIDA confirms 9 human cases of LEPROSY so far this year ~ New study suggests CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE may be transmissible to HUMANS ~ WYOMING confirms three cases of TULAREMIA ~ Officials confirm first CALIFORNIA death due to WEST NILE VIRUS in 2015 ~ RABIES report from VIRGINIA

Armadillo. Photo by Vlad Lazarenko. Wikimedia Commons.

Armadillo. Photo by Vlad Lazarenko. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 07/23/15 cnn.com: by Jareen Imam – There are an unusually high number of leprosy cases cropping up in Florida. Experts said they believe the spike is because of people coming into contact with armadillos. Florida typically sees two to 12 cases of leprosy a year, but so far there have been nine cases in 2015, according to the Florida Department of Health. The latest case was diagnosed in Flagler County three weeks ago. Some armadillos, placental mammals with leathery armor, are naturally infected with leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Armadillos are one of the only known animals to carry leprosy, an age-old disease that causes skin and nerve damage. The CDC says it is possible to contract leprosy through contact with armadillos, but it is usually unlikely. Leprosy is a rare disease, and there are on average 50 to 100 cases in the United States every year, according to Dr. Sunil Joshi, president-elect of the Duval County Medical Society in Florida. Joshi said leprosy, much like tuberculosis, is spread through coughing and sneezing, but 95% of the human population is immune to the disease. For video and complete article see http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/21/health/florida-leprosy-cases-armadillos-irpt/index.html

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

Deer with CWD.

Deer with CWD.

Global 07/24/15 superiortelegram.com: by Rich Kremer – A forthcoming study shows that chronic wasting disease may be able to infect humans.  A team of researchers from universities in the United States and France say they’ve found new evidence that it’s possible for humans to contract the agents that cause CWD. They injected mice, whose DNA had been modified to resemble humans, with mutated proteins called prions.  Testing showed two out of 20 mice tested positive for prion infection. But former Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Member Dave Clausen advised the results are not cause for alarm.  “This study does not mean that human infection is a foregone conclusion,” Clausen said. “All it does is demonstrate that it is possible.”  Clausen said more research is needed but the results show that hunters in CWD zones should take the disease seriously. The Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health Services did not respond to requests for comment on this story. – See http://www.superiortelegram.com/news/wisconsin/3803717-chronic-wasting-disease-possibly-transmissible-humans-study-suggests

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

imagesCAC3YRG5Wyoming 07/23/15 Crook/Weston County: The WY Department of Health is advising people to steer clear of wild rodent corpses found, especially in the eastern part of the state. Three human cases of Tularemia have been reported so far this year. The disease can be spread by deer flies and ticks that have been on dead rodents. Even breathing the air around an infected animal can transfer the disease. – For video and complete article see http://www.kotatv.com/news/wyoming-news/rabbit-fever-hits-wyo-and-you-do-not-want-to-catch-it/34324894

WEST NILE VIRUS:

887877f77fCalifornia 07/20/15 contracostatimes.com: A Nevada County woman was California’s first confirmed death this year due to West Nile virus, state public health department officials announced Monday. The woman was 65 or older, according to the department; no other details were provided. “This death is a tragic reminder of how severe West Nile virus disease can be,” Dr. Karen Smith, the state’s public health director, said in a statement. “West Nile virus activity is more widespread in 2015 than in years past. Californians need to be vigilant in protecting themselves.” Last year, 31 Californians died from the virus — the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003. – For complete article see http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_28513009/nevada-county-woman-is-first-reported-west-nile

RABIES:

14410-Boy+child+kitten+music+catVirginia 07/23/15 Yorktown: A black feral cat 3-9 months old found in the vicinity f the 100 block of Old Railway Road has tested positive for rabies. Anyone exposed to this animal should contact the Peninsula Heath District Newport News Environmental Health office at 757-594-7340. – See http://wtkr.com/2015/07/23/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-yorktown/

Twenty treated for MURINE TYPHUS in TEXAS ~ COLORADO now confirms 15 human cases of TULAREMIA this year ~ Captive DEER in TEXAS found with CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from CAx2 & SC.

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Texas 07/01/15 khou.com: by Lauren Talarico – A disease rarely seen since the 1940s has turned up again in the Galveston area. Murine typhus is spread by fleas on rats and opossums to people. At least 20 people have been treated for the disease at (University of Texas Medical Branch) UTMB. Infectious disease expert Dr. Lucas Blanton first noticed its comeback in 2012 when a patient displayed a fever and rash. “It looked and smelled like it could be murine typhus. Then months later, we diagnosed another one,” Dr. Blanton said. “So when you have one case, it is interesting. When you have two cases, well that gets even more interesting,” Dr. Blanton has worked with Galveston’s animal control officers to take blood and flea samples from opossums. Two out of three tested positive for murine typhus. The disease had been close to eradication since the 1950s thanks to a pesticide called DDT. It’s widely used to kill fleas on rats. “I don’t think there’s any cause for mass hysteria,” said Dr. Blanton. “We love our pets. We should keep our pets, but perhaps flea control.” Murine typhus mimics the flu. Although it’s rarely deadly, without antibiotics the disease takes its time to clear up and leaves patients miserable. – See http://www.khou.com/story/news/health/2015/07/01/rare-disease-linked-to-fleas-returns-to-galveston/29589859/

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

80ab05b3670e2bdcb7165060f8167dfd (2)Colorado 07/07/15 ifreepress.com: So far this year, 15 people have been infected with tularemia, or rabbit fever in Colorado. The microorganism is often carried by wild animals, especially hares, rabbits and rodents. Fed by unusually lush vegetation, rabbits have been breeding like rabbits about Colorado, escalating the risk for what is typically a uncommon bacterial illness in the state. It is then transmitted to humans through insect bites from ticks and deerflies. Doctors in Colorado are being told to keep tularemia in mind with patients who have fever, chills, and headaches. As per a data, rabbit fever can be found across the nation and on yearly basis, around 135 cases are reported and majority of them are reported in the south central United States. – For complete article see http://www.ifreepress.com/health/5024-15-cases-of-rabbit-fever-in-colorado-west-texas-news

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD):

HEADERTexas 07/02/15 dailyjournal.net: A Texas official says no white-tailed deer can be bought or sold at the facility where an animal with chronic wasting disease was found. Texas Animal Health Commission spokeswoman Kyle McNulty said Thursday that the case involving a 2-year-old white-tailed deer at a Medina County breeding facility was confirmed by a federal lab in Iowa. CWD was first detected in Texas in 2012 in free-ranging mule deer in far West Texas. The disease is caused by proteins believed to be spread through deer urine, saliva and feces. CWD has been found in deer in 23 states and two Canadian provinces since first being recognized in Colorado in 1967. There is no evidence humans are at risk. Medina County is just west of San Antonio. – See http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/7388a63d74bb4fdbb19635cabfa1cbe8/TX–Chronic-Wasting-Disease

RABIES:

California 07/02/15 Mendocino County: A cat in the Fort Bragg area has tested positive for rabies, and is the first animal to do so within Mendocino County since 2012, according to the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency . . . In California, most cases of rabies occur in skunks and bats, but also in a variety of wild animals including foxes, according to the HHSA. – See http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/general-news/20150702/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-fort-bragg

Looking-for-Kittens-001California 07/08/15 Monterey County: A domestic cat owned by a resident of the City of Monterey has tested positive for rabies. Officials are investigating to determine if all those who were exposed to the virus are being treated. – See http://www.kionrightnow.com/news/local-news/monterey-county-warning-over-rabies-case/34024662

South Carolina 06/29/15 Richland County: The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has referred 11 people to their private health care providers for post-exposure treatment after being potentially exposed to a rabid cat in Richland County near Chapin. After roaming outdoors, the family cat returned home on May 29,  with visible wounds caused by an unknown animal, DHEC officials said.  The incident was reported to DHEC once the cat began showing symptoms of rabies around June 25. During that period, the cat exposed family members and the veterinary clinic staff who treated the animal. The cat was not current on its rabies vaccine. It was confirmed rabid on June 26. – For complete article see http://www.wistv.com/story/29434501/family-cat-exposes-11-people-to-rabies-in-richland-county

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:


RcG6LEReiGeorgia
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

Can DEER droppings transmit CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE to HUMANS? ~ UNIV OF MONTANA criticized for handling of HANTAVIRUS case – RABIES reports from FL & NC.

Image: Whitetail deer. Public Domain.

Image: Whitetail deer. Public Domain.

Global 03/28/15 triblive.com: by Jessica Walliser – Question: I have a problem and hope that you can help me. My sizable flower garden has deer droppings all through the beds. There are huge piles in some instances. I cannot possibly remove them. Can I just hoe them into the soil like fertilizer? Is there any health issue connected with this? I wear gloves all the time, but I also transplant a lot of perennials and move them around. Any input?

Answer: This is a very good question. The biggest potential problem you face in having so many deer droppings in your garden is the potential for the transmission of E. coli and chronic wasting disease (CWD), a deer and elk disease similar to mad cow disease. The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website notes that CWD has been detected in several Pennsylvania locations since it was first found in the state in 2012. After a bit of investigating, I discovered that the jury is still out on whether and how chronic wasting disease can be transmitted to humans. That being said, both the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website and the Center for Disease Control’s website note that there’s no evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans. But they do not recommend eating meat from a deer that has tested positive for CWD. From what I found, fecal-to-oral transmission from deer to humans has not been completely ruled out, meaning the disease could possibly be transmitted to a human if she were to touch contaminated deer excrement and then inadvertently introduce it into her mouth, but no cases of this type of transmission have ever been recorded.

Jessica Walliser

Jessica Walliser

So what does that mean for gardeners? In my mind, it means “better safe than sorry.” Handle deer waste as you would any animal waste — with extreme care. Use gloves when working in the garden and try to remove as much waste as possible, using a shovel to bury it elsewhere, if possible. Scoop it out of the garden very carefully, and certainly do not allow it to come into contact with any edibles. Do not use the contaminated “manure shovel” for any other tasks. Even if CWD is not transmissible to humans via contact with fecal matter, E.coli is. Deer carry dangerous strains of E. coli in their guts. Because of this, deer waste should be composted in a “hot” compost pile (165 degrees F) for a minimum of three months to kill any E. coli bacteria that is present in it. Composting, however, does not kill the disease prions for CWD. Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.

HANTAVIRUS:

Deer mouse. USDA.

Deer mouse. USDA.

Montana 03/29/15 mtstandard.com: The University of Montana is being criticized for the way it handled a case of hantavirus on campus earlier this month. The response consisted of a “vague email sent out late on a Friday afternoon, and lacked crucial information such as when the infection occurred or became known, what locations might be suspected sources of exposure, or even that it was a student who had been infected.” It is now known that “(s)ometime during the first week of March, Antonio Morsette, 20, began showing symptoms of hantavirus, including intense headaches, fatigue, and hot and cold flashes. He was likely exposed one to five weeks earlier. A junior in environmental studies who hails from Rocky Boy, Morsette returned to classes this week, stronger but not fully recovered. After all, he had to be put into a medically induced coma for four days, and nearly died of hantavirus . . . Morsette believes he was exposed to hantavirus while power-washing recycled materials at the recycling center on campus. The virus can be found in the droppings of contaminated rodents, and can be transmitted to humans when they breathe air containing the virus. Morsette told the Missoulian that the Missoula City-County Health Department said that he and his colleagues at the recycling center should have worn masks while power-washing the recycled materials.” – See http://mtstandard.com/news/opinion/guest/at-um-hantavirus-case-exposed-communication-failure/article_29dfa58a-b3c1-503a-8acf-a1a48b8e17c7.html

RABIES:

a898778rabies-alertFlorida 03/26/15 Sarasota County: A Rabies Alert has been issued for the area within a 1.5-mile radius of Honore Avenue and Bahia Vista Street in the City of Sarasota after a goat tested positive for the virus. A local veterinarian who treated the goat for injuries said it is likely that it was attacked by a rabid fox or raccoon. – See http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20150326/article/150329784

rabies_tag_small_websiteNorth Carolina 03/28/15 Union County: A dog found dead in the area of Mullis Newsome and New Salem roads in Monroe has tested positive for rabies. People and pets who may have been exposed to the dog, described as a brown and white female Husky, should immediately be examined and evaluated for possible treatment.- See http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article16640846.html