Category Archives: R & D

Researchers’ discovery may explain difficulty in treating LYME DISEASE ~ MASSACHUSETTS teenager attacked by BLACK BEAR ~ Young girl is NEW MEXICO’s first human case of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ Two RABBITS positive for TULAREMIA in NEW MEXICO ~ RABIES reports from GA & SC.

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Global 06/01/15 medicalexpress.com: Excerpts – “Northeastern University researchers have found that the bacterium that causes Lyme disease forms dormant persister cells, which are known to evade antibiotics. This significant finding, they said, could help explain why it’s so difficult to treat the infection in some patients.”

NEUniv.ggf643kjg6“In addition to identifying the presence of these persister cells, Lewis’ team also presented two methods for wiping out the infection—both of which were successful in lab tests. One involved an anti-cancer agent called Mitomycin C, which completely eradicated all cultures of the bacterium in one fell swoop. However, Lewis stressed that, given Mitomycin C’s toxicity, it isn’t a recommended option for treating Lyme disease, though his team’s findings are useful to helping to better understand the disease.

Kim Lewis, University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center in the College of Science.

Kim Lewis, University Distinguished Professor and Director of the Antimicrobial Discovery Center in the College of Science.

“The second approach, which Lewis noted is much more practical, involved pulse-dosing an antibiotic to eliminate persisters. The researchers introduced the antibiotic a first time, which killed the growing cells but not the dormant persisters. But once the antibiotic washed away, the persisters woke up, and before they had time to restore their population the researchers hit them with the antibiotic again. Four rounds of antibiotic treatments completely eradicated the persisters in a test tube.”

” Lewis and his colleagues presented their findings in a paper published online last week in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.” – For complete article see http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-06-discovery-difficulty-lyme-disease.html

BLACK BEAR:

black-bear-backcountry-movie_hMassachusetts 06/01/15 bostonherald.com: A western Massachusetts teenager says she feels lucky after suffering just minor injuries in a bear attack. Seventeen-year-old Carly Hall of Belchertown tells The Daily Hampshire Gazette (http://bit.ly/1K44KMz ) she was walking a family friend’s dog with three other teens in Amherst on Saturday night when they encountered a black bear. The teens scattered, but the bear followed Hall, who had the dog on a leash. She let go of the leash when the bear got too close, and the dog ran. She says the bear scraped her back twice before she jumped on the roof of a parked car and the bear went after the fleeing dog. – See http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2015/06/massachusetts_teen_taken_to_hospital_after_bear_attack

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

imagesCACMXFDXNew Mexico 05/29/15 Valencia County: A 12-year-old girl is the first to be diagnosed with WNV in the state this year. Though she was reported to have the more serious form of the illness, neuroinvasive disease, she is now home recovering. – See article at http://krqe.com/2015/05/29/12-year-old-girl-diagnosed-with-first-human-case-of-west-nile-in-2015/

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

tularemia.rr7788rr3New Mexico 05/29/15 Santa Fe County: Two rabbits found in the vicinity of the City of Santa Fe have tested positive for tularemia, a disease most commonly carried by rabbits and rodents in the wild. Pets such as dogs and cats often become infected. – See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/29/2-rabbits-from-santa-fe-area-test-positive-for-tul/

RABIES:

rabies18893Georgia 05/29/15 Henry County: A Stockbridge family of eight is undergoing rabies treatments after interacting with an infected cat. Henry County Animal Control supervisor Vince Farah said a rabies alert was issued Tuesday after multiple members of a family reported being bitten or scratched by a cat that later tested positive for the virus, according to multiple news outlets. Walter McElreath says he was scratched by the cat, which his family had interacted with for a few months, while trying to get it into a cage. All eight members of McElreath’s family, including six children, will begin rabies treatments in the next several days. – See http://wabe.org/post/henry-county-family-8-undergoing-rabies-treatments

South Carolina 05/29/15 Abbeville County: Four people have been referred to their health care providers for consultation after being exposed to rabies in (the city of) Abbeville by a sheep that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today. The sheep was potentially exposed to an aggressive skunk, which was not available for testing, roughly one month ago. Three of the four victims provided routine husbandry care for the sheep. The fourth victim was potentially exposed on May 25, 2015. The sheep tested positive for rabies on May 27. – For complete article see http://thetandd.com/news/sheep-exposes-four-to-rabies/article_6dfdc8f5-c118-5b93-95fb-0970d8704d8c.html

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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

COYOTE attacks NEW HAMPSHIRE WOMAN walking 90 pound DOG ~ Are GRAY WOLVES returning to GRAND CANYON? ~ Scientists say new device filters EBOLA VIRUS from patient’s blood.

Stalking coyote. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Stalking coyote. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

New Hampshire 11/17/14 seacoastline.com: by Jason Schreiber – A woman and her dog are recovering after they were attacked by a vicious coyote while walking in a field on their property Monday morning. The woman was returning to her house on Post Road in Greenland around 9:15 a.m. after taking her dog out for a morning walk when the two were attacked. “It came charging across the field and was hell-bent on attacking them,” said the woman’s husband, who was armed with a gun when he rushed to their aid. The attack happened in an open field on the property about 100 yards from the house. The woman’s husband, who asked that their names be withheld, said he was inside their house when he heard his wife screaming. He jumped into his pickup truck and raced over to help. As he drove toward them, he kept thinking, “I’ve got to get this coyote away from them and I’ve got to be careful.” Coyotes have been seen around the property many times before, but this was the first time one has attacked. He estimated the coyote weighed about 60 pounds; it was the largest he’s seen.

greenland_nh“It was very aggressive. I have never ever seen a coyote attack a person and a 90-pound dog. He was attacking them for a full 10 minutes. He was just circling and circling,” he said. His wife tried to fend it off while the couple’s dog, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, struggled to protect her. “There was something wrong with it,” she said of the coyote. “It just charged at us.” Her husband said he fired his gun at the coyote a few times but missed. The gunshots eventually scared the animal off. His wife and the dog then got into the truck while the coyote scurried away. She suffered bites on her hand and leg while the dog received multiple bite wounds. The dog was rushed to a local veterinarian while she was brought to Portsmouth Regional Hospital for treatment. – For complete article see http://www.seacoastonline.com/article/20141117/NEWS/141119277/101143/NEWS

GRAY WOLVES:

howling-wolf-wallpaper-10927-hd-wallpapersArizona 11/15/14 azcentral.com: by E.J. Montini – I picture him loping south through the forest on the Kaibab Plateau, a chill wind pushing through the ponderosa pines and blue spruce, as if whispering to the other animals — elk, deer, squirrels, even mountain lions — that an ancient presence has returned. There are roads through the forest but he does not follow them. He stays in the shadows where the ground is cold and hard. He keeps moving, alert, determined, until the trees thin out, the sky opens up and the land seems to disappear in front of him. He stops at the edge of a great chasm, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is not wise of him to be out in the open. There are buildings nearby. Solid, rough-hewn structures of stone and logs, but large and well kept, something he’s unfamiliar with. Humans visit here, although only when the weather is warm. But how could he not come out into the open with that view? That’s how the lone wolf was spotted. In the past few months, several people have reported seeing him. Or is it her? The experts don’t know for sure. But they are fairly convinced that the animal observed at the North Rim is a gray wolf. If so, it probably made the long journey to Arizona from the Rocky Mountains. Imagine that. – See complete article and video at http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/ejmontini/2014/11/15/montini-gray-wolf-grand-canyon-north-rim/19107241/

EBOLA VIRUS:

bola-Virus-MainPhotoGlobal 11/14/14 time.com: by Alice Park – Battling a virus is all about timing, and Ebola is no exception. Our immune systems are capable of destroying Ebola, but once in the body, the virus multiplies furiously, spreading like wildfire. Pretty soon the invader overwhelms the body’s immune system. In most cases, the virus wins. But what if doctors could tip the odds in the body’s favor and pull out Ebola from the blood in order to give the immune cells a fighting chance? Reporting at the Kidney Week conference of the American Society of Nephrology on Friday, doctors at Goethe University hospital in Frankfurt described their experience doing just that several weeks ago when an Ebola patient arrived from Sierra Leone.

45508Dr. Helmut Geiger and his colleagues knew they had a challenge on their hands. They made sure the patient, a Ugandan pediatrician who had been treating Ebola patients, was hydrated and received the proper nutrients. They also tried several experimental therapies, but despite their efforts, the patient quickly deteriorated. He needed a ventilator to breathe, and as the virus ravaged his body, several of his organs, including his kidneys, failed. The medical team placed him on dialysis and hoped for the best. That’s when Geiger recalled reading about a novel way of treating viruses that didn’t involved drugs. Aethlon Medical, a California-based company, was testing a way to quite literally filter viruses out of the blood of infected patients. The team had been testing their device, which attached to standard kidney dialysis machines, on hepatitis C and HIV patients in India. The German doctors, desperate to help their patient, asked to test it for Ebola. “We did not know if it was possible to retract viruses from the blood,” says Geiger. “But we knew from earlier data that viral load is directly correlated to the outcome of the patient. We thought if we could reduce the viral load through some kind of intervention, then it would be positive for the patient.”

aethlon561646Their hunch paid off. The device, called the Hemopurifier, was attached to the dialysis machine that was already filtering the patient’s blood. The specially designed filter is made of a protein that acts as glue for proteins found on the Ebola virus’s surface. Over a period of 6.5 hours, the filter extracted the virus from the blood that flows through. While most dialysis filters can pull out molecules that are less than 4 nanometers in diameter, the virus filter boasts a mesh that’s able to filter out larger viral particles that are less than 250 nanometers. That means only the virus is pulled out, and the immune cells remain in the blood, ready to fight off any remaining viral invaders. “We had no [idea] about how much [virus] would be extracted, because this was the first patient, but I was very surprised because the drop in viral load was deeper than I expected,” says Geiger. Before the filtration began, the patient’s virus count was about 400,000 per mL blood. After the session it had dropped to 1,000 copies/mL. What’s more, when Geiger’s team sent the filter, which was designed to safely contain the Ebola virus it had extracted, to the University of Marburg, which has a biosafety level 4 laboratory for safely handling the virus, they learned that the device had managed to trap 242 million copies of the virus.

aethlon25575Freed from that viral burden, the patient soon began to improve rapidly. His own immune system began fighting off the remaining virus, and he no longer needs dialysis or a ventilator. The patient is walking and waiting to be released from the hospital. – For video and complete article see https://time.com/3586271/ebola-treatment-dialysis-blood/

OTTER attacks young girl swimming in WISCONSIN lake ~ ALASKAN woman survives BROWN BEAR attack ~ COLORADAN may have contracted TULAREMIA while mowing lawn ~ New VACCINE for CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS shows promise ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from CA, ID, LA & MS ~ Notable RABIES reports from FL, PA & TX.

Otter. Photo by Peter Trimming. Wikimedia Commons.

Otter. Photo by Peter Trimming. Wikimedia Commons.

Wisconsin 08/13/14 twincities.com: by Andy Rathbun – It was a fun time at the lake — until the otter arrived. After spending about an hour swimming with friends in Bone Lake near Luck, Wis., on Saturday, Rory Kliewer began to climb a ladder onto a dock when she suddenly felt something bite her backside and thigh. “I thought it was a northern pike,” the 12-year-old Minneapolis girl said Wednesday. “I thought a fish was after me.” As she threw the creature off of her, she realized that the animal was an otter — later estimated at 3 1/2 feet long and about 40 pounds. “It was a big, nasty one,” said Rory, who had been staying at a friend’s family cabin over the weekend. The otter then bit Rory’s head and pulled itself onto her, scratching her face.

1407973737000-Otter2Rory managed to climb the ladder onto the dock and then throw the otter off her once again, screaming throughout the incident, she said. But the otter didn’t stop there. It jumped onto the dock, and Rory ran onto land with the otter in pursuit, she said. A dog and her friend’s mother tried to scare the animal away, but it rose up on its hind legs and hissed. The otter didn’t retreat until Pat Hinschberger, the cabin’s owner and Rory’s friend’s father, rushed to the scene and yelled at the animal. “As far as I’m concerned, this thing was literally trying to kill this kid,” Hinschberger said. He added that the incident lasted no more than a minute, but it felt like much longer. Rory was taken to a local emergency room, where doctors told her it was their first time treating a victim of an otter attack, she said. Speaking from her home Wednesday, Rory was still recovering from bite wounds, scratches and bruises, and possibly the most significant injury: the trauma of the experience, which she called “really frightening.” – For video, photo and complete article see http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_26331000/wisconsin-otter-attacks-swimming-girl

Bear Attack:

American Brown BearAlaska 08/13/14 adn.com: by Laurel Andrews – Thea Thomas tried to step off the trail as a brown bear sprinted toward her, chasing a friend’s dog that she had brought along for a hike in Cordova on Tuesday afternoon. Yet in an instant, Thomas was flat on the ground, face-to-face with an angry bear that bit her repeatedly during the mauling on Heney Ridge Trail. . . . Thomas, a 57-year-old commercial fisherman, has lived in the Southcentral Alaska community of Cordova for 32 years, she said. “I hike those trails all the time.” Heney Ridge Trail is a 4.1-mile trail that follows Hartney Bay before climbing up through spruce-hemlock forest, salmon-spawning streams and a mile of steep incline up above the treeline, according to the U.S. Forest Service website. . . . She described the brown bear as 6-7 feet tall on its hind legs, with a thick auburn-orange coat. The bear appeared to be in good health. “I kept thinking he was going to stop,” Thomas said. But the attack continued. The bear walked away a couple of times, but would then turn back and bite her again, she said. At one point she tried to get up, but it pulled her back, she said. . . . She was medevaced to an Anchorage hospital on Tuesday. “I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be here a while,” she said. The bear bit her around seven times, she said. The worst bites were to her back and inner thigh. – For complete article see http://www.adn.com/article/20140813/woman-mauled-brown-bear-cordova-hiking-trail-describes-attack

Tularemia:

Media.aspxColorado 08/12/14 9news.com: A Larimer County man hospitalized for tularemia may have been exposed to the disease while mowing a property outside of Windsor. He was treated with two courses of antibiotics that offered no improvement, but he was released after several days and is expected to make a full recovery. – See http://www.9news.com/story/news/health/2014/08/12/tularemia-fort-collins-weld-larimer-county/13964835/

Chikungunya Virus:

Canine-Health-Dog-Vaccinations-Bordetella-Vaccine-for-DogsGlobal 08/15 /14 techtimes.com: by Linda Nguyen – People afraid of contracting chikungunya from mosquitoes have reason to hope. A vaccine for the virus is currently undergoing its first stages of human trials. The vaccine so far has shown promise for protecting people from the chikungunya virus. The report is published online in the Lancet. “The vaccine was safe and well-tolerated, and we believe that this vaccine makes a type of antibody that is effective against chikungunya,” said Dr. Julie Ledgerwood, leader of the study. This would be the first medication to treat or prevent this virus which manifests with fever and severe arthiritis. The Chikungunya virus has spread through Africa and Asia to the Caribbean, and now to the United States. The first domestic cases of the virus were reported in Florida last month when four Americans caught the virus. Ledgerwood said the next step in the clinical trials will be to test the vaccine on more people and more age groups since the current study looked at a relatively small 25-person group. She said the vaccine also has to be tested in areas where the virus is endemic to see whether it truly protects patients. She estimates that the testing will take another five years before it is on the market for the public. She added that it could be given to people living in the areas and to travelers and military personnel if it is proven to be safe and effective. – For complete article see http://www.techtimes.com/articles/13164/20140815/new-vaccine-may-ward-off-chikungunya-virus.htm

West Nile Virus (WNV):

santaclaractyhealthCalifornia 08/15/14 Santa Clara County Public Health: Officials have confirmed that five county residents have been infected with WNV. Two of the cases are the more severe neuro-invasive form of the disease. – See http://www.sccgov.org/sites/sccphd/en-u/Newsandevents/Pages/West-Nile-Virus-First-Human-Cases-2014.aspx

IDHW_col_stack_smallIdaho 08/12/14 ID Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the state so far this year in a Blaine County woman in her 20s. The woman was not hospitalized and is recovering. – See http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/AboutUs/Newsroom/tabid/130/ctl/ArticleView/mid/3061/articleId/1777/First-West-Nile-Infection-Reported-in-Blaine-County.aspx

LA-DHHLouisiana 08/15/14 LA Dept of Health & Hospitals: Media Release – Officials have confirmed 13 new human cases of WNV, of which five are neuro-invasive disease infections, bringing this year’s total to 42 reported human cases. This week’s new infections include neuro-invasive disease cases in Caddo (3), East Baton Rouge (1) and Livingston (1) parishes. There were also new cases of West Nile fever reported from Caddo (4), Calcasieu (1) and East Baton Rouge (1) parishes, and asymptomatic cases in Ascension (1) and East Baton Rouge (1) parishes. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/3090

MS_71058_121809421211160_5406251_nMississippi 08/12/14 MS State Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed the death of a Yazoo County resident from WNV. So far this year, seven human cases of WNV have been reported in Adams, Hinds, Newton, Rankin(2), Yazoo and Wilkinson counties. – See http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/23,15486,341.html

Rabies:

Florida 08/14/14 Duval County: A stray cat that bit a man and his daughter in Jacksonville’s Southside neighborhood when they coaxed it out from under their car has tested positive for rabies. A Rabies Alert has been issued throughout their section of the Southside and Arlington effective until October. – See http://www.news4jax.com/news/man-daughter-bitten-by-rabid-cat-on-5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armssouthside/27488858

Pennsylvania 08/14/14 Northampton County: A stray cat found in by a woman in her yard in Glendon and delivered to the Center for Animal Health and Wealth in Williams Township has tested positive for rabies. Eleven people so far have been advised to receive post-exposure treatment for the virus including eight at the shelter, two at the Easton Animal Hospital, and the Glendon woman. – See http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/eight-getting-rabies-vaccine-after-contact-with-cat/27483698

austin-congress-bridge-bats_7335_large_slideshowTexas 08/14/14 Williamson County: Health officials are asking the public to help them identify a woman who may have been exposed to rabies in Round Rock when she was bitten by a bat while leaving the Wal-Mart on East Palm Valley Boulevard at about 9:15 pm, Wednesday, August 6th. She is described as white, possibly in her 20s and wearing shorts, flip-flops and a blue shirt. – See http://www.wcchd.org/news/press_releases/docs/2014_Wilco_Rabies_Incident_Release_080820114.pdf

NEW YORK woman attacked and bitten by COYOTE while walking DOG ~ CHIKUNGUNYA cases in CARIBBEAN now approaching 16,000 ~ TENNESSEE firm develops oral bait LYME DISEASE vaccine for RODENTS ~ CALIFORNIA officials confirm two cases of TYPHUS in L.A. County ~ RABIES reports from CAx2, GA, MA, NJ, NY, NC, SC, TXx3 & VA.

Coyote. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

New York 03/25/14 lohud.com: by Steve Lieberman – A woman who was attacked and bitten by a coyote while walking her dog in Orangeburg early Tuesday said she “took one for the team” after police shot and killed the possibly rabid animal. Mary Lou Gardner was walking Jasmine, her 18-pound shih tzu, near Greywood Drive about 6:30 a.m. when the coyote began to stalk them. “I saw it walking between two houses and coming at us,” the 52-year-old said. “I didn’t want to let my dog off the leash.” Gardner held her dog tight and threw her coat on the coyote as it approached. “It went after Jasmine (and) I started kicking the coyote, so (it) turned on me and started biting my leg,” she said.
Neighbors heard the attack and rushed outside, yelling and banging on things to distract the animal, which finally retreated into a back yard as Gardner ran to a house with her dog. Orangeburg police arrived a short time later and shot the coyote, which was taken to the Rockland County Medical Examiner’s Office; it will be tested for rabies at a state police laboratory. Gardner, who was given a tetanus shot at the Nyack Hospital emergency room, suffered bites to her left leg and forearm, and was waiting to find out whether she’ll need rabies shots. Her dog was given a rabies shot as a precaution. Noting that the rabies treatment isn’t as severe as it was years ago, she was philosophical about her wildlife encounter. “I’m glad it was me and not someone else,” said the mother of two grown daughters and a son. “I have a lot of elderly neighbors and there are children here. I took one for the team.” – For complete article see http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/2014/03/25/orangetown-woman-bitten-coyote-walking-dog/6871461/
Chikungunya:
5667h6h6Caribbean 03/24/14 umn.edu: The Caribbean now has 15,913 confirmed, probable, or suspected cases of chikungunya, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in an update today, up from 10,476 at the end of February. The outbreak is the first known in the Americas; it began on St. Martin in December 2013. Martinique continues to have the most cases, with 7,630 suspected and 1,141 confirmed or probable cases, the ECDC said. The French side of St. Martin is next, with 2,640 suspected and 782 confirmed or probable cases, but the pace of new cases appears to be slowing there. Guadeloupe has 1,960 suspected and 586 confirmed or probable cases. The next hardest-hit areas are: St. Barthelemy, 420 suspected and 134 confirmed or probable cases; the Dutch side of St. Martin, 115 confirmed cases; Dominica, 392 suspected and 56 confirmed cases; French Guiana, 22 confirmed locally acquired and 10 imported cases; Anguilla, 14 confirmed cases; and Aruba and St. Kitts/Nevis each with 1 confirmed case. The ECDC also reported 3 chikingunya-related deaths on the French side of St. Martin and 2 on Martinique. – See http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2014/03/news-scan-mar-24-2014
Lyme Disease:

 

White-footed mouse.

White-footed mouse.

Tennessee 03/20/14 bizjournals.com: by Michael Sheffield – Memphis-based U.S. Biologic is looking to rabies prevention as inspiration for the launch of its first product. The company, which has developed an oral bait Lyme disease vaccine that is distributed to white-footed mice in fields around the northeast, is taking a similar approach as rabies prevention with the delivery method for its product. According to Mason Kauffman, the company’s president and CEO, a similar method of leaving bait with the vaccine inside in wooded areas for wolves and raccoons was first used 15 years ago to help prevent rabies. The approach was so successful there was one reported case of rabies in 2013, he said. “We want to change it from a danger zone to a treatment zone,” Kauffman said. “If we can be half as successful (as rabies prevention has been) with Lyme disease, we’ve had a huge impact.” . . . . .
UnivMemphisUSB-Logo-for-Color-254-X-55-5.14.2012-300x59U.S. Biologic has worked with the University of Memphis to develop intimate mapping of wooded areas, soil types, parks and every demographic of every property in the U.S. “down to the square meter”, Kauffman said, in order to track where mouse and tick populations interact with humans. – See http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2014/03/20/u-s-biologic-moving-forward-with-lyme-disease.html

Typhus:
California 03/20/14 go.com: A case of flea-borne typhus was confirmed in Burbank by Los Angeles County Vector Control. The case is the first in Burbank

Flea.

Flea.

this year. – See http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9474295
California 02/27/14 go.com: A case of flea-borne typhus was reported in a neighborhood around Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach, police announced today. The L.A. County Department of Public Health contacted Manhattan Beach police about the case. – See http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=9448070

Rabies:

surfeit of skunksCalifornia 03/20/14 El Dorado County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after officials announced that more skunks have tested positive for the virus in the county than is usual for this time of year. So far, seven rabid skunks have been identified in 2014: two in Pollock Pines, one in Shingle Springs, three in Garden Valley, and one in the Pleasant Valley area. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/20/6255061/el-dorado-county-official-say.html
Help_button_2California 03/18/14 El Dorado County: Officials are looking for a dog that bit a South Lake Tahoe man on March 16th in the vicinity of Tahoe Keys Blvd. and Washington Ave. The dog, which was roaming in the neighborhood, is described as a medium-size, husky-type breed with fluffy gray and white fur, and wearing a blue collar and tags. Animals Services officials would like to speak with the dog’s owner to verify that the dog is current on its rabies vaccinations so that the man does not have to have post-exposure rabies treatments. Anyone with information is asked to call Animal Services at (530) 573-7925. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/18/6248413/dog-sought-after-biting-incident.html
Georgia 03/17/14 Habersham County: A raccoon that was in contact with a vaccinated dog on March 11th in the 3900 block of Georgia Highway 197, south of Ivy Mountain Road, between Clarkesville and Batesville, has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=272536
thumbnailCAT9WVWG - CopyMassachusetts 03/18/14 Worcester County: A raccoon that attacked a Holden man in his yard on Towle Drive last week has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.thelandmark.com/news/2014-03-20/Holden_News/Raccoon_that_bit_man_tests_positive_for_rabies.html
New Jersey 03/19/14 Atlantic County: A raccoon found on March 14th aggressively scratching at the back door of a home on Malaron Circle in Egg Harbor Township has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.nbc40.net/story/25020581/second-case-of-rabies-confirmed-in-eht-raccoon

Cow dying of rabies.

Cow dying of rabies.

New York 03/20/14 Madison County: An unvaccinated cow kept in Lebanon is the first confirmed animal to be infected with the rabies virus in the county this year. – See http://www.oneidadispatch.com/general-news/20140320/first-2014-rabies-case-in-madison-county
520bc0501588c.preview-300North Carolina 03/17/14 Cleveland County: A shepherd/husky-mix dog that was abandoned by a driver on the side of Elam Road on March 5th, became ill on March 9th, and died March 14th, has tested positive for rabies. Officials said a second dog that was released with the rabid dog, was exposed to the virus but remains at large. – See http://www.shelbystar.com/news/local/officials-dog-county-s-first-rabies-case-this-year-1.292406
imagesCAQVTCKPSouth Carolina 03/19/14 Greenwood County: A raccoon that came in contact with a person in Troy has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/25015249/person-exposed-to-rabies-by-raccoon-in-greenwood-co
Lorena rabid dogTexas 03/19/14 McLennan County: A stray dog found in the 200 block of Front Street in Lorena, a neighborhood filled with kids and pets, has tested positive for rabies. The dog, a two-year-old, female, Labrador-Pyrenees mix, has been roaming the city’s streets for almost a week. – For article and video see http://www.kcentv.com/story/25015901/lorena-dog-tested-positive-for-rabies
Texas 03/19/14 Collin and Denton counties: A skunk found injured on March 14th near the intersection of Eldorado Parkway and Preston Road in Frisco has tested positive for rabies. This is the second rabid skunk found in the city in less than one week. – See http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/frisco/headlines/20140319-frisco-reports-second-skunk89940t9skunk-tested-positive-for-rabies.ece
Texas 03/17/14 Denton County: A skunk found within the Lewisville city limits this month has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/lewisville-flower-mound/headlines/20140317-rabid-skunk-in-lewisville-city-limits-prompts-rabies-warning.ece
nm_Coyote_090722_mainVirginia 03/19/14 Williamsburg: A coyote seen March 13th near the Cedar Grove Cemetery and later on South England Street was found dead on College of William and Mary property and has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.vagazette.com/news/va-vg-coyote-tests-rabies-positive-20140319,0,7994376.story

CANADIAN survives BLACK BEAR attack by grabbing bear’s tongue ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from AZ, & MS ~ RABIES reports from VT, & WI.

Black bear. Bing free use license.

Black bear. Bing free use license.

Canada:

New Brunswick 10/12/13 cbc.ca: A woodlot owner near Grand Falls, N.B., says he’s lucky to be alive after a bear attacked him in the woods. Gilles Cyr said he was walking through his woodlot two weeks ago when suddenly something black came flying out of the woods at him. “When I opened up my eyes it was on top of me — with the friggin’ noise, it’s crazy the way it growls. Right from the stomach. It’s not from the mouth, it’s just inside. His mouth was wide open right in front of my face so the last thing I remember I had his tongue in my hand and I didn’t want to let go because he was trying to fight me off. So he was hitting me with his claws, so I says, ‘If you’re going to hurt me, I’m going to hurt you too.’ So he was biting his tongue at the same time,” he said. “For a second, I thought I was dead … that’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you open your eyes and see that friggin’ mouth full of teeth and a tongue in there. It’s like … an extreme sport,” he said with a chuckle. Cyr said grabbing the bear’s tongue was just instinct. He said he managed to escape behind a tree but not before the bear clawed his belly and bit his knee. The bear followed him but then appeared to lose interest and walked away. He was treated for superficial wounds at the hospital. Cyr said that a warden told him he has permission to track down the bear and kill it as a nuisance animal — however an official with Natural Resources said Cyr may require a permit.

Grand Falls, New Brunswick

Grand Falls, New Brunswick

This is not the first near miss with a black bear in New Brunswick. In August a forestry worker was chased and attacked while working in the woods near Oromocto Lake. Pierre Mezzetta of Fredericton required some stitches and a night in hospital following the attack. In July, a black bear chased a Fredericton man into his home. He was not injured but the bear made off with his garbage. The province’s black bear population has jumped to 17,000, up from about 12,000 eight years ago. A provincial biologist said one reason for the rise in the bear population is because of a drop in hunting. Thirty-five years ago, New Brunswick sold more than 12,500 bear hunting licences. Last year, it sold barely more than 5,000. – For photos and original article see http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/man-grabs-bear-s-tongue-during-attack-near-grand-falls-1.2021414

Dengue Fever:

graphics1Global 10/14/13 miamiherald.com: Debate and controversy surround the use of genetically altered mosquitoes designed to curb the spread of dengue fever. OX513A is a genetically modified mosquito engineered by a British biotech company, Oxitec Ltd. of Abingdon, England. The “Frankenskeeters”, as they have been called, are all male and contain a “lethality gene” that prevents offspring from surviving.

kw-map1The controversy revolves around doubts about effectiveness to concern about the impact on the ecosystem. But officials in the Florida Keys have been considering a test. Oxitec CEO Hadyn Parry said OX513A has already been tested in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, and Brazil, and he expects tests in India and in the Florida Keys, if the FDA and Florida authorities approve. An outbreak of dengue fever has been reported in Florida, and the virus is reported to be present in Texas this year. – See complete article at http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/14/3683849/debate-surrounds-use-of-gene-altered.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Pinal Cty AZArizona 10/14/13 Pinal County: Officials have confirmed the county’s first human case of WNV in an adult male resident of Casa Grande who is recovering. – See http://www.necn.com/10/14/13/Pinal-County-reports-case-of-West-Nile-v/landing_nation.html?&apID=f8419e2441794c63aca3f20a9441a806

HindsCountyMSMississippi 10/14/13 MS Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed one new human case of WNV reported in Hinds County. So far this year, 40 human cases of the virus have been reported in the state, including two fatalities. – For further details see http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/23,14399,341.html

Rabies:

84a20f8b61c4c82307683f92d3eea38dVermont 10/14/13 Windham County: A raccoon that fought with a vaccinated dog at a residence on Misty Drive in Grafton has tested positive for rabies. The dog was not injured, but when the dog was called off and the raccoon remained aggressive the homeowner shot it. – See http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_24303294/rabid-raccoon-shot-and-killed-grafton

help-298x300Wisconsin 10/14/13 Winnebago County: Police in Menasha are looking for a small dog, described as a golden Yorkshire terrier that allegedly bit an adult jogger in Jefferson Park around noon this past Sunday. The little dog was being walked by an elderly woman, who apparently continued on her way, following the bite incident; it is unclear as to why the jogger was not able to catch up to the elderly woman and her dog following the bite. The authorities are involved because they are hoping to find out if the dog responsible for the bite is current on its rabies vaccinations. – See http://www.examiner.com/article/police-search-for-tiny-canine-culprit-weekend-dog-bite-case