Category Archives: Prion disease

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

OPOSSUMS eat TICKS and FOXES eat RODENTS so both help control LYME DISEASE ~ 55 cases of CHIKUNGUNYA imported to U.S. so far this year ~ Is CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE a threat to HUMANS? ~ U.S. healthcare worker with EBOLA in Sierra Leone to be treated at NIH Bethesda, MARYLAND ~ RABIES reports from SC & Canada-ON.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Global 03/14/15 poughkeepsiejournal.com: by John Ferro – They come out at night. They have scary teeth. They have a weird name with an extra vowel most people don’t pronounce. And they are where Lyme disease goes to die. Say hello to the opossum, the American marsupial with a pointy nose and prehensile tail that dines on ticks like a vacuum dines on dust. (Most people drop the first vowel when speaking of ‘possums, but possums actually belong to a different species native to Australia.) . . . (T)iny adolescent ticks that carry Lyme disease bacteria are most active during the late spring months, typically May and even as early as April during warmer years. But whereas these ticks can be found in large numbers on mice, shrews and chipmunks, they are eaten in large numbers by opossum. Research led by scientists based at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook placed different species into cages, covered them with ticks and waited for the biting arachnids to jump off. The scientists then counted how many survived. Opossums can eat or remove as much as 96 percent of the ticks that land on them.

Virginia opossum

Virginia opossum

Cary scientists are continuing to examine the correlation between the frequency of different types of mammals, and the infection rates of ticks found in the same area. The initial thought? Where foxes thrive, Lyme doesn’t. That’s because foxes are good hunters of the small mammals that serve as the most effective reservoirs of the Lyme pathogen. – For complete article see http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/03/14/lyme-disease-opossum-ticks/70221442/ and for relative video about foxes see http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/videos/news/health/lyme-disease/2014/10/27/18000483/

CHIKUNGUNYA:

States reporting imported ChikV.

States reporting imported ChikV.

National 03/12/15 outbreaknestoday.com: by Robert Herriman – In an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week, there has been a total of 55 chikungunya virus disease cases that have been reported to ArboNET from 14 U.S. states, as of Mar. 10. Of the 55 travel associated cases seen this year, 60 percent of cases are from three statesFlorida, New York and Maryland. No locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states. Chikungunya became a nationally notifiable disease in the United States in 2015. Last year, there were 2,481 travel associated cases reported from all states except, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alaska. Eleven locally-transmitted cases were reported from Florida. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/us-reports-55-imported-chikungunya-in-2015-to-date-89590/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

thumbnailCA84UOUZGlobal 03/11/15 virology.ws: 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/

EBOLA VIRUS:

ebola-virus32Maryland 03/12/15 medscape.com: by Robert Lowes – An American healthcare worker who has tested positive for the Ebola virus is expected to arrive tomorrow from Sierra Leone at an infectious-disease containment unit of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, the federal agency announced today. The American had been volunteering in an Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone, one of three nations bearing the brunt of the disease’s outbreak in West Africa since it began in December 2013. A chartered aircraft will transport the individual while in isolation to the Special Clinical Studies Unit (SCSU) at the NIH Clinical Center. The NIH did not release any further details about the identity of the American. The SCSU is one of a handful of high-level containment units in the country designed to treat patients with a virulent infectious disease such as Ebola and prevent further disease transmission. The healthcare worker, due to arrive tomorrow at the SCSU, will be the second patient with Ebola treated there. – See http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/841408?src=wnl_edit_newsal&uac=218349HV

RABIES:

rabiesAlert521d4-1South Carolina 03/11/15 Abbeville County: A stray cat found in the City of Abbeville that came in contact with at least four people has tested positive for rabies. – For further information see http://www.wyff4.com/news/dhec-cat-exposes-south-carolinians-to-rabies/31743790

Canada:

help7689Ontario 03/12/15 Grey Bruce Health Services: Officials are looking for the owner of a cat that bit a man in Owen Sound on Saturday. Staff at the health unit need to confirm that the cat, found in the 1500 block of 3rd Ave. E. at approximately 12:30 p.m., has had a current rabies vaccination. The grey cat was hiding under a vehicle and when the man reached under the vehicle to remove it, he was bitten. The cat is believed to be an indoor cat. If it is determined the cat has been vaccinated, the man can avoid post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the health unit at 519-376-9420. – See http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2015/03/12/health-unit-seeking-cats-owner

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE moves closer to YELLOWSTONE ~ Upscale NEW YORK suburb fears COYOTE incursion ~ 20 COLORADANS fear exposure to RABIES ~ FERAL CAT in MARYLAND had RABIES

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park 03/04/15 bosemandailychronicle.com: by Laura Lundquist – Southwestern Montana is no stranger to wildlife diseases, but so far, it hasn’t had to confront chronic wasting disease, a scourge that continues to make headlines elsewhere. That might change in a few years. On Monday, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates released a map of Wyoming showing the rapid spread of chronic wasting disease over the past decade. It also illustrates that fewer than 40 miles separate Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming’s elk feed grounds from known infected areas. To slow or halt the march of CWD, conservationists are lobbying to close Wyoming’s elk feedlots, including one at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole that feeds almost 8,400 elk during the winter. “If we want to minimize the effect of CWD on the greater Yellowstone herds, the time to act is now. Failure to do so risks very real damage not only to wildlife but also to the tourism- and wildlife-dependent economies of the area,” said WWA executive director Kent Nelson. The group based the map on 14 years of data gathered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other research projects.

Elk feeding ground.

Elk feeding ground.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a protein that attacks the nervous systems of deer, elk and moose. Similar to mad cow disease, it results in a slow deterioration of the brain and other nerve tissue so it is eventually fatal. It doesn’t affect livestock or people as long as they don’t consume the brain or certain other organs of infected wildlife. But it has caused havoc with wildlife populations in states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. – For complete article and map showing spread of disease see http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/yellowstone_national_park/fatal-deer-and-elk-disease-moves-toward-yellowstone-park/article_6983a108-b344-5d05-97bb-77884cf19120.html

COYOTES:

Coyote_closeup.wikimediaNew York 03/01/15 abcnews.go.com: by Jim Fitzgerald – This well-heeled hamlet north of New York City is embroiled in an increasingly nasty debate that seems oddly out of place amid the stately homes and tony boutiques: What should be done about coyotes? Self-styled coyote spotters in and around Chappaqua have counted 160 incursions into backyards and streets over the last two years and at least 10 recent attacks on pets. That’s been enough to stir animal passions among residents over the question of when and if a coyote deserves to be killed. Email and social media have swirled with such teeth-baring terms as “coyote jihad” and “death map.” And members of a local task force that advocates trapping and killing some of the animals announced they were staying away from a recent public hearing on the issue “in the interest of our personal safety.” “I envisioned going down there and having blood thrown on me,” said task force member Joyce Stansell-Wong, who has since resigned.

LupeCaonTranscoyotesChappaqua, about 35 miles north of the city, is better known as the home of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton than as a playground for coyotes. But wildlife officials say the demise of such predators as wolves and cougars over the last few decades has led to a spread of coyotes into more populated areas across the East Coast, including suburbs. Instagram and Facebook are replete with pictures of the canines scampering across sidewalks and among backyard playsets. Coyotes have even been spotted in New York City’s Central Park and the Bronx. Robert Greenstein, supervisor of the Town of New Castle, which has about 18,000 residents in Chappaqua, Millwood and unincorporated areas, said that in general, the debate is between two camps: “One group is concerned with protecting the coyotes and the other group is more concerned with protecting our pets.” The pet-protection camp, represented by the New Castle Coyote Management Task Force, argues for quicker use of “lethal solutions.” Even though there have been no attacks on humans, they fear the skulking canines may start to attack small children. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/upscale-ny-suburb-embroiled-wily-debate-coyotes-29309326

RABIES:

13744331Colorado 03/02/15 El Paso County: A stray 6-month-old kitten taken in by a Colorado Springs family residing near Woodmen and Union boulevards has tested positive for rabies. So far, officials have identified 20 people who were potentially exposed to the virus and are receiving post-exposure treatment. – For article and video see http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27625916/colorado-springs-kitten-tests-positive-rabies-20-people

56f8f5b7-d73f-4e37-9493-aab16238fcecMaryland 03/04/15 St. Mary’s County: A feral cat found in a subdivision of Breton Bay has tested positive for rabies. Residents are asked to also discuss this with their children and report any animal exposures involving people to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Suspected animal bites to pets or livestock should be reported to St. Mary’s County Animal Control at 301-475-8018. – See http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0315/feral-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-.html

COLORADAN succumbs to HANTAVIRUS ~ CANADA confirms new case of MAD COW DISEASE ~ A Smithsonian Science Q & A about TICKS ~ CANADA reports H5N1 AVIAN FLU outbreak ~ STUDY shows LYME DISEASE costs may top $1 billion annually ~ RABIES report from FLORIDA ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: Call for papers in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

Colorado 02/13/15 chaffeecountytimes.com: by Maisie Ramsay – Hantavirus caused the death of 53-year-old Buena Vista resident Chris Banning, Chaffee County health officials confirmed Friday. “Chris Banning’s official cause of death was hantavirus pulmonary syndrome,” Chaffee County Coroner Randy Amettis said. Banning died Jan. 11 at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida. “It was a very sad situation because he was an extremely healthy person,” Chaffee County Public Health director Susan Ellis said. “Your heart just breaks for these types of things. They happen so quickly.” Hantavirus is contracted from exposure to feces, urine or saliva from infected rodents such as deer mice. The disease is rare, but has a high mortality rate, killing about 40 percent of those who contract the virus.

CO-CDPHE_logoFifty cases of hantavirus were reported in Colorado between 2003 and 2013, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. During that 10-year period, CDPHE reported only one case in Chaffee County. Chaffee County Public Health evaluated sites where Banning may have contracted hantavirus, but none were identified as the specific source of contamination. None of the sites were public locations, Ellis said. The coroner alerted Banning’s family and others to their risk of exposure. They were advised to watch their symptoms for six weeks following potential exposure. It takes 1-5 weeks before those exposed to hantavirus show symptoms, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is not transmittable between humans, cats or dogs. – For complete article with symptoms and precautions see http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/free_content/article_31f01628-b3d8-11e4-9a2a-8b2a52d556a8.html

MAD COW DISEASE:

CANADA:

madcowAlberta 02/13/15 bnn.ca: Canada confirmed its first case of mad cow disease since 2011 on Friday but said the discovery, which helped drive cattle prices higher, should not hit a beef export sector worth C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) a year. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said no part of the animal, a beef cow from Alberta, had reached the human food or animal feed systems. Mad cow is formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a progressive, fatal neurological disease. “The CFIA is seeking to confirm the age of the animal, its history and how it became infected. The investigation will focus in on the feed supplied to this animal during the first year of its life,” the agency said. Canadian exports were badly hit in 2003 after the first case of BSE was detected. Canada subsequently tightened its controls and many nations have since resumed the beef trade with Canada, despite the discovery of more cases since then. Asked whether he was concerned about exports being harmed, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz told reporters in Calgary: “Not at this time, no.” He added though that markets in South Korea and Japan were generally very concerned about the potential risk from BSE. A fresh discovery of BSE may not close borders to beef, given the tougher measures, but it could delay Canada’s efforts to upgrade its international risk status from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Ritz said Canada’s current OIE risk status meant it could report up to 12 outbreaks in a calendar year. – For complete article and video see http://www.bnn.ca/News/2015/2/13/Mad-cow-disease-confirmed-in-Alberta-cow.aspx

TICKS:

Ticks_KnownDiseases_HorizGlobal 02/11/15 smithsonianscience.org: – Have you ever wondered how many species of ticks have been identified? Or given any thought at all to whether ticks are insects or arachnids? For a Smithsonian Science Q & A about ticks with Lorenza Beati, curator of the U.S. National Tick Collection, see http://smithsonianscience.org/2015/02/tickstick/

H5N1 AVIAN FLU:

Canada:

H5N1_46225British Columbia 02/0-9/15 reuters.com: by Sybille de la Hamaide – Canada reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus in the province of British Columbia, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday. The outbreak was detected on Feb. 2 in a backyard poultry flock in the province, where bird flu cases of the separate H5N2 strain had been reported in December, OIE said, citing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The agency stressed that H5N1 avian influenza had not been reported in a commercial poultry flock in Canada and that the virus found in British Columbia was different from a strain circulating in Asia. No human infections have been reported with the H5N1 virus detected in Canada, unlike the genetically different Asian strain, an OIE spokeswoman said. H5N1 bird flu, which first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong, has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths. “Based on the limited partial sequence of the H5 and N1 gene segments obtained this far, it appears very likely that this is the same or a very similar virus to the … H5N1 virus in Washington state, but more sequencing will be needed to make a final conclusion,” the CFIA said in its report. – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/09/us-canada-birdflu-idUSKBN0LD1QL20150209

LYME DISEASE:

dollar-signlyme-disease-awareness-ribbon-mdNational 02/06/15 healio.com: Researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported that the long-term consequences of Lyme disease infection is having a significant impact on the United States health care system — costing upwards of $1.3 billion annually, or almost $3,000 a patient on average. “Routine follow up of patients after initial treatment of Lyme disease may be important to identify those who go on to develop post-treatment Lyme symptoms,” John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Infectious Disease News. “Symptoms of unusual fatigue, new musculoskeletal symptoms, or other unexplained symptoms in a patient recently treated for Lyme disease should raise the question of possible Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.” Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or PTLDS, continues to be a controversial topic. Some physicians and patient advocacy groups claim that PTLDS is a chronic condition lasting weeks, months or even years after initial antibiotic treatment has been dispensed, calling it “chronic Lyme disease.” Others argue that there is insufficient evidence of the persistence of viable Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in PTLDS, and that long-term symptoms like fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and neurological manifestations are unrelated to the infection.

jhu-logoaaCDC-LogoAccording to the CDC, 10% to 20% of patients treated for Lyme disease with the recommended 2- to 4-week course of antibiotics have PTLDS. After initial antibiotic therapy, there are limited treatment options for patients reporting persistent symptoms of Lyme disease. “Our study looks at the actual costs of treating patients in the year following their Lyme diagnosis,” Emily R. Adrion, MSc, a PhD candidate in the department of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a press release. “Regardless of what you call it, our data show that many people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease are in fact going back to the doctor complaining of persistent symptoms, getting multiple tests and being retreated. They cost the health care system about $1 billion a year and it is clear that we need effective, cost-effective and compassionate management of these patients to improve their outcomes even if we don’t know what to call the disease.” – For complete article see http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7Beb7cb6ca-f815-4412-a75f-0ea8ac60b01d%7D/ptlds-costs-estimated-at-1-billion-annually-in-us

RABIES:

520bc0501588c.preview-300Florida 02/06/15 Alachua County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after an unvaccinated dog belonging to a local business owner tested positive for the virus. At least 10 people were treated for potential exposure after it was learned they had been in contact with the 30-pound, black-and-white bull terrier near Gateway Farms at 22413 NW 227th Drive in High Springs. Others who may have been in contact with the dog are being urged to seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.gainesville.com/article/20150206/ARTICLES/150209708

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BLACK BEAR attacks FLORIDA teenager ~ TEXAS reports fifth HANTAVIRUS case this year ~ NEW YORK scientists develop VACCINE to fight CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ LYME DISEASE cases in NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND remain high.

Black bear. Photo by Cephas. Wikimedia Commons.

Black bear. Photo by Cephas. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 12/21/14 mypanhandle.com provided by FL Fish & Wildlife: A 15-year-old is currently undergoing surgery after being attacked by a bear in Eastpoint, Florida. According to her mother the teenager sustained significant injuries to her legs, back, neck and face and was transported to Bay Medical Sacred Heart in Panama City. “Even as I sit here now I can’t believe what happened,” said Sherry Mann, the girl’s mother. “The bears are all over the place and I know how hard I would fight to protect my kids, but a momma bear can do so much more damage than me with just one swipe.” Mann says her daughter was walking her dog by the Big Top Supermarket off Highway 98 when she says she saw a dark shadow and then black. She says her daughter was dragged into a nearby ditch by the bear and tried screaming for help. Sherry Mann said her daughter Leah Reeder remembered to “play dead” and as she did her dog came to her rescue lunging at the animal. The bear retreated to the nearby woods and Reeder was able to walk home to her father’s house, which was a block away. “The worst injuries are to her face,” said Mann. “She has a huge laceration on top of her head and one across her forehead and deep, deep puncture wounds to the side of her head.” As of midnight Monday morning Reeder had been in surgery nearly two hours. – See http://www.mypanhandle.com/story/d/story/15-year-old-reportedly-attacked-by-bear-in-east-po/13441/COd76GVsPkK409SP2VqWJw

HANTAVIRUS:

rodents.44k498Texas 12/22/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)is reporting a case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in a resident of the Golden Crescent region along the central Texas coast. This is the fifth case of hantavirus this year in the state. Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice that shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus can be transmitted to people by stirring up nesting materials or contaminated dust, allowing the virus to be breathed in by humans. Cases have been linked to cleaning out buildings where rodents live and working in dusty environments like ranches and oilfields . . . A total of 43 HPS cases have been confirmed in Texas since 1993, the first year the disease was detected. Of those, 14 were fatal. – For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/texas-reports-5th-hantavirus-case-of-2014/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

white_tail_doeGlobal 12/21/14 medicalxpress.com: Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere say that a vaccination they have developed to fight a brain-based, wasting syndrome among deer and other animals may hold promise on two additional fronts: Protecting U.S. livestock from contracting the disease, and preventing similar brain infections in humans. The study, to be published in Vaccine online Dec. 21, documents a scientific milestone: The first successful vaccination of deer against chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal brain disorder caused by unusual infectious proteins known as prions. Prions propagate by converting otherwise healthy proteins into a disease state.

jjg8877gEqually important, the researchers say, this study may hold promise against human diseases suspected to be caused by prion infections, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, familial insomnia, and variably protease-sensitive prionopathy. Some studies also have associated prion-like infections with Alzheimer’s disease. “Now that we have found that preventing prion infection is possible in animals, it’s likely feasible in humans as well,” says senior study investigator and neurologist Thomas Wisniewski, MD, a professor at NYU Langone. CWD afflicts as much as 100 percent of North America’s captive deer population, as well as large numbers of other cervids that populate the plains and forests of the Northern Hemisphere, including wild deer, elk, caribou and moose. There is growing concern among scientists that CWD could possibly spread to livestock in the same regions, especially cattle, a major life stream for the U.S. economy, in much the same manner that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, another prion-based infection, spread through the United Kingdom almost two decades ago. – See http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-successful-vaccination-mad-cow-like-disease.html

LYME DISEASE:

green-tick-logoNew England 12/21/14 bostonglobe.com: by Patrick Whittle – Environmental factors and improved reporting methods led to another year of high totals for Lyme disease in northern New England. Reported cases are expected to be on par with, or exceed, records set recently in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Maine is likely to exceed last year’s record of 1,384 cases of the tick-borne illness, said Sheila Pinette, director of the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Vermont officials said their state is on track for its second- or third-highest total on record, following the 2013 high of 671. In New Hampshire, officials said numbers are falling in line with recent years, which included a record in 2013. – For complete article see http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/21/numerous-reports-lyme-disease-new-england/IxOdrlSz0P8MQjQu2U8t7J/story.html

DEER HUNTERS in PENNSYLVANIA face new reality: CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ NORTH DAKOTA researchers confirm local TICKS carrying LYME DISEASE ~ US Army enlists COWS with human genes to fight HANTAVIRUS.

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Pennsylvania 11/30/14 citizensvoice.com: by Kent Jackson – Hunters entering the woods in Pennsylvania on Monday for the start of the rifle deer season face a new realty. Some of the deer that they pursue carry an incurable, fatal disease. Chronic wasting disease appeared in a deer in Pennsylvania in 2012 after advancing through 21 other states and two provinces of Canada. “From other states regardless of what you do, you can’t eliminate it. It is there to stay once it’s on the landscape,” Matthew Hough, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said during a conference call with reporters on Nov. 19. The commission set special rules for three areas of the state where deer tested positive for the disease. Hunters cannot transport parts of the deer such as the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, spleen and eyeballs out of those areas. Nor can they feed deer or use urine-based lures, which bring deer close together where the risk of spreading the disease heightens.

Whitetail buck with CWD.

Whitetail buck with CWD.

In the rest of the state, hunters should take precautions such as wearing gloves, boning out meat, and minimizing contact with high-risk parts when they field dress deer. The rifle season starts Monday and concludes Dec. 13. In most of the state, hunters can take bucks through Friday, but they can hunt a buck or a doe from Saturday to the end of the season. The buck-only territory for the first five days includes Hazleton and parts of Schuylkill, Carbon and Columbia counties in Wildlife Management Unit 4C and 13 other WMUs. Nine WMUs have buck and doe hunting throughout the two-week season. While there is no evidence that chronic wasting disease affects humans, research isn’t conclusive, and hunters are advised not to eat meat from infected animals. – For complete article including PA contacts for CWD testing see http://citizensvoice.com/sports/it-is-here-to-stay-here-to-stay-1.1795223

LYME DISEASE:

lyme_disease_hidden_epidemic_poster-p228833588305763989t5wm_400North Dakota 11/25/14 prairiebizmag.com: by Anna Burleson – Lyme disease has been found in ticks in the Red River Valley by several researchers at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. The disease is transmitted through the bites of a certain breed of infected tick and if left untreated can spread throughout a person’s nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

und-logo-20116UND Biology Department professor Jefferson Vaughan led a team with assistant professor Catherine Brissette from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to look into the prevalence of the disease after he discovered local veterinarians had seen “different-looking” ticks on pets they were treating. “People are beginning to really realize particularly that dogs and sometimes cats are sentinels for types of diseases that are normally wildlife diseases, but can also cause diseases in humans,” Vaughan said.

American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick

The breed of tick most frequently found in the Red River Valley is commonly called an American Dog Tick and is known for its large brown appearance.Vaughan and graduate student Nate Russart began investigating the appearance of the much smaller Deer Tick, as it’s commonly known, in 2010 and discovered the ticks were carrying Lyme disease.

Deer Tick

Deer Tick

But Vaughan said the discovery simply means people should be more diligent about searching themselves for the presence of ticks after being in fields or forests. “It used to be an annoyance, just like mosquitoes were ten years ago, but now they’re more than an annoyance,” he said. “It’s a public health issue.” – For complete article see http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/21810/#sthash.zBpHdMsR.dpuf

HANTAVIRUS:

09 Antibody StructureGlobal 11/26/14 sciencemag.org: by David Shultz – Humans have been using antibody therapies to treat infectious disease for more than 100 years. Blood plasma from influenza survivors administered to sick patients in 1912 may have contributed to their dramatic turnaround. In the years since, immune proteins from survivors have been administered to infected individuals in an attempt to combat diseases like Lassa fever, SARS, and even Ebola.

300px-USAMRIID_LogoIt’s hard, however, to find survivors who can donate plasma containing these lifesaving immune proteins. Now, a team led by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Maryland, has used genetically engineered cows to produce large amounts of human antibodies against hantavirus, an often deadly disease mainly transmitted from rodents to people. In animal models, at least, these antibodies provided robust protection against the virus, opening the door to therapies to treat and prevent hantavirus, for which there is no cure. The bioproduction technique also holds promise for generating antibodies against other infectious agents. – For complete article see http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/11/cows-human-chromosomes-enlisted-fight-hantavirus