Category Archives: Safety Alerts

Another NEW JERSEY resident attacked by a COYOTE ~ LYME DISEASE a risk in all PENNSYLVANIA counties ~ Death in COLORADO confirmed as HANTAVIRUS ~ POWASSAN VIRUS alerts in MASSACHUSETTS and PENNSYLVANIA

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

New Jersey 04/20/15 nj.com: by Myles Ma – For the second time this month, a man walking his dog has been attacked by a coyote in Bergen County. On Sunday night, a coyote attacked a Norwood resident as he walked his dog on McClellan Street and D’Ercole Court, Norwood Police said in a Nixle alert just before midnight. Police did not immediately respond to a call seeking more information. Earlier in April, a rabid coyote attacked a 77-year-old man in Saddle River. Authorities tracked down and euthanized the animal. – See http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2015/04/coyote_attacks_norwood_man_police_say.html

LYME DISEASE:

green-tick-logoPennsylvania 04/21/15 pa.gov: MEDIA RELEASE – For the first time, blacklegged (deer) ticks have now been observed in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, according to researchers at The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The range expansion took place in just decades, as similar studies conducted in the mid-1960s found no specimens. DEP’s Vector Management Program, in collaboration with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, published the findings on the risk of tick-borne disease in Pennsylvania in the Journal of Medical Entomology on April 14. The study was authored by the DEP Vector Management team of Mike Hutchinson, Maria Strohecker, Andy Kyle, and Matt Helwig and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Professor of Biology Dr. Tom Simmons. The research found Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick, and Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, present in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. The research also found that in recent years the blacklegged tick has become imbedded in western Pennsylvania, though the prevalence rate of Lyme disease still remains relatively lower than the rest of the state. The blacklegged tick is the primary carrier of Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by the bite of an infected tick that can cause fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain. – For complete release see http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=196

HANTAVIRUS:

Hantavirus-OutbreakColorado 04/21/15 journal-advocvate.com: by Deanna Herbert – Health officials from the Northeast Colorado Health Department have just learned that a former resident of Phillips County, who passed away in January, died from hantavirus. The death, which was originally attributed to influenza, was confirmed as hantavirus late last Friday, April 17, through testing performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While hantavirus is not new to Colorado — the state health department has documented over 90 cases across the state since they began tracking the disease in 1993 — it is the first time hantavirus has been identified in a northeast Colorado resident. This case marks the third case of hantavirus in Colorado this year; all have been fatalities. “In this instance the attending physician did not suspect hantavirus at the time of death as the individual had tested positive for Influenza A via rapid testing in the hospital,” said Dr. Tony Cappello, NCHD’s public health director. – For complete article see http://www.journal-advocate.com/sterling-local_news/ci_27954487/phillips-county-death-attributed-hantavirus-northeastern-colorado-health-department

POWASSAN VIRUS:

Deer tick.

Deer tick.

Massachusetts 04/18/15 telegram.com: by Elaine Thompson – A rare but potentially fatal tick-borne disease has been reported in Massachusetts the past two years. Five cases of Powassan virus, which is transmitted by the black-legged or deer tick, which also causes Lyme disease, have been reported in the state between 2013 and 2014, Dr. Catherine M. Brown, the state public health veterinarian said. “A couple of cases” were reported in previous years. None so far this year. “The way we generally learn about diseases is when they’re listed as being reportable. When doctors are required to call and tell us. Powassan was not reportable and there was not a really good access to testing until quite recently,” she said. The virus was first diagnosed in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, in a 5-year-old boy who died from encephalitis. The first case in the U.S. was reported in 1972, in a New Jersey woman. To date, there have been more than 60 cases of Powassan in the U.S., mostly in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include headache, fever, vomiting, weakness, confusion, memory loss, seizures and long-term neurologic problems. Powassan is more dangerous than Lyme, a bacterial disease that can be successfully treated with antibiotics, if caught early. There is no treatment for Powassan virus. People with severe conditions are usually hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids, respiratory support or medications to reduce brain swelling. There are two forms of PV: non-neuroinvasive, that has a higher recovery rate; and neuroinvasive, the most dangerous, which can lead to encephalitis, meningitis and death. The cases reported in Massachusetts are neuroinvasive. The fatality rate of the more serious form is between 5 and 25 percent, according to some experts. – For complete article see http://www.telegram.com/article/20150418/NEWS/304189712/101116

dont_feed_the_ticksPennsylvania 04/18/15 poconorecord.com: by Stacy M. Brown – While New Jersey authorities appeared stunned by the death of a 51-year-old Warren County woman who contracted the deadly Powassan virus, Pennsylvania officials and experts said the tick-borne virus isn’t on its way to the Keystone State. It has already been here. “Pennsylvania had one confirmed case of the Powassan virus in 2011,” said Wes Culp, the deputy press secretary for the state Department of Health. “We have not had any confirmed cases in the state since then.” While Tadgh Rainey, the Hunterdon County Public Health Division director, told NJ.com that the Powassan virus “has no business being here in New Jersey,” Culp said Pennsylvania health experts have continued to monitor the virus. The state Department of Health works with local health partners and communicates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify potential health risks to the public, Culp said. “We are aware of the Powassan cases in the northeast United States and will continue to keep abreast of the disease and review the CDC guidance on the matter,” he said. State health officials said that because Powassan is a rarely identified arboviral infection that’s familiar to most clinicians, they’ve distributed information on the virus and also encouraged health care providers to consider the diagnosis when seeing patients with meningoencephalitis. – For complete article see http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20150418/NEWS/150419362

Military base employee attacked by BEAR in WASHINGTON ~ Researchers say 2012 death of TENNESSEE boy due to La Crosse virus ~ Second HANTAVIRUS fatality in COLORADO this year ~ POWASSAN VIRUS found in CONNECTICUT ~ CALIFORNIA reported record number of WEST NILE VIRUS deaths in 2014 ~ Two New EBOLA VACCINES pass early tests ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORT: COYOTE that attacked NEW JERSEY man was RABID ~ Other RABIES reports from PENNSYLVANIA (2).

Black bear. Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Black bear. Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Washington 04/16/15 Q13RFox.com: A civilian employee working in a training area at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was attacked by a bear. He was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. Base officials closed Engineer Bluff on the Lewis Main training area Thursday afternoon. – See http://q13fox.com/2015/04/16/joint-base-lewis-mcchord-employee-injured-in-bear-attack-on-base/

La CROSSE VIRUS:

lacrosse6647Tennessee 04/17/15 healthday.com: by Steven Reinberg – The death from encephalitis of a 6-year-old Tennessee boy has led researchers to a better understanding of the mosquito-borne virus that killed the child. La Crosse virus, transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, often causes no symptoms. But severe cases may involve encephalitis, a type of brain inflammation usually triggered by infection. “When [the La Crosse virus] does cause disease, it can cause fatal illness or make children very sick,” said Amy Lambert, a research microbiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The disease is almost exclusively among children,” added Lambert, lead researcher of the new paper published in the May issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. In this case, the 6-year-old Union County boy was hospitalized in July 2012 after suffering two seizures and other symptoms associated with viral encephalitis. His condition deteriorated rapidly, and he was dead within five days. Illness from La Crosse virus, which was identified in 1963 in La Crosse, Wis., is uncommon. Cases each year in the United States number just 80 to 100, Lambert said. Still, these infections have increased in parts of the southeastern United States, including eastern Tennessee, where the boy was living, the CDC pointed out. “Historically, the known center of La Crosse virus activity was in the Midwest and Atlantic states,” the researcher said. Possible reasons for the increase in infections in the Southeast include more of the virus-carrying mosquitoes — known as Aedes triseriatus — or a new more potent strain of La Crosse virus in this area, Lambert said. – For complete article see http://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/bites-and-stings-news-65/tennessee-boy-s-death-highlights-mosquito-borne-virus-698496.html

HANTAVIRUS:

Deermouse.

Deermouse.

Colorado 04/11/15 durangoherald.com: by Chase Olivarius-Mcallister – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed Friday that a La Plata County resident has died after becoming infected with hantavirus – a rare but often deadly disease carried by deer mice. Spokesman Mark Salley said it is the second confirmed case of hantavirus in the state this year. In both 2015 cases, the disease was fatal. San Juan Basin Health Department sent samples to CDPHE’s laboratory in Denver for testing earlier this week. Since 1993, the state health department has documented more than 90 cases of hantavirus in Colorado, and more than 40 percent of people died from the infection. – For complete article see http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20150410/NEWS01/150409612/La-Plata-County-resident-dies-from-hantavirus-

POWASSAN VIRUS:

tickhabitat33Connecticut 044/09/15 foxnews.com: An untreatable, and sometimes fatal tick-borne disease is turning up in parts of southern Connecticut, according to one expert. Dr. Theodore Andreadis, head of The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, told WCBS 880 that the Powassan virus has symptoms similar to those of Lyme disease, including headache, nausea and fever. Once contracted, there is no treatment for the virus, and the disease can often be fatal, Andreadis said. While there have been no reported human cases in the areas, Andreadis said that people who venture into wooded areas may encounter deer carrying ticks. “These ticks will transmit this virus when they feed within a matter of hours, whereas with Lyme disease, for example, ticks generally have to feed up to two days before they’re capable of transmitting it,” Andreadis told WCBS 880. The virus can often be symptomless before often infecting the nervous system and causing encephalitis and meningitis. Survivors can develop neurological symptoms such as muscle wasting and memory problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – See http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/04/09/untreatable-tick-borne-virus-found-in-conn/

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

080722_west_nile_genericCalifornia 04/09/15 mercurynews.com: by Christopher Weber – California saw a record number of deaths from West Nile virus last year, and the state’s drought may have contributed to the spike in infections, according to health officials. Thirty-one infected people died in 2014, the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003, the state Department of Public Health said Wednesday. There were 801 Californians who tested positive for the virus — coming close to the record of 880 cases a decade ago. Orange County recorded the highest number of cases, with 263. It’s possible the drought had a role in the increased West Nile activity because birds and mosquitoes, which spread the virus, were drawn to the same few water sources, said Dr. Karen Smith, director of the health department. “As birds and mosquitoes sought water, they came into closer contact and amplified the virus, particularly in urban areas. The lack of water could have caused some sources of water to stagnate, making the water sources more attractive for mosquitoes to lay eggs,” Smith said. – For complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_27881160/california-saw-record-number-west-nile-deaths-2014

EBOLA VACCINE:

ebola88394Global 04/08/15 nytimes.com: by Denise Grady – Two new Ebola vaccines have passed an important test, protecting monkeys against the strain of the virus responsible for the current deadly outbreak, researchers reported on Wednesday. Only one dose was needed, and there were no apparent side effects. The vaccines have not yet been tested in people, but safety trials in healthy volunteers will probably begin early this summer, said Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and the senior author of a report published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. Tests in nonhuman primates are an important step, because those animals are far more closely related to humans than are other lab animals.

The study of the new vaccines involved 10 macaques. Eight were vaccinated, and two, as controls, were not. The vaccinated animals showed no signs of side effects from the vaccine, Dr. Geisbert said. On the 28th day after the vaccines were given, all the monkeys were injected with Ebola virus from the current outbreak. No vaccinated monkeys became ill, but the unvaccinated ones both died within a week. Thomas W. Geisbert, an Ebola expert at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, in his office. Credit Michael Stravato for The New York Times The two new vaccines are improved versions of an older one that was licensed to Merck and is now being tested for efficacy in people in Liberia. The older vaccine can cause unpleasant side effects like fever and pain in joints and muscles. (Another vaccine, licensed to GlaxoSmithKline, is also being tested in West Africa, and has not had serious side effects.) – For complete article see http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/health/2-new-ebola-vaccines-pass-important-early-test-researchers-say.html?emc=edit_tnt_20150408&nlid=57949252&tntemail0=y

FOLLOW-UP REPORT:

RABIES:

(See “NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE” posted April 8, 2015)

New Jersey 04/08/15 northjersey.com: by Marina Villeneuve – SADDLE RIVER — A local man bitten by a coyote on Monday said he was feeling “fine” Wednesday while undergoing preventive treatment for rabies, as authorities confirmed that the coyote had indeed been rabid. Police and state wildlife staff had tracked down and euthanized the coyote soon after it bit John Zeug, 77, as he worked in his garden. They also had discovered its nearby den and found dead coyote pups there. But Saddle River officials and police continued to urge residents not to leave small children or pets unattended outdoors as they continue to check the area for any other sick wildlife. – For complete article see http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-that-attacked-saddle-river-man-tests-positive-for-rabies-1.1304810

RABIES:

Pennsylvania 04/13/15 Erie County: A barn cat in Washington Township that began to show signs of paralysis in its legs has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.erietvnews.com/story/28787152/erie-county-5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armscat-tests-positive-for-rabies

Pennsylvania 04/14/15 Bucks County: A feral cat found in West Rockhill Township has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.njherald.com/story/28803111/feral-cat-in-suburban-philadelphia-diagnosed-with-rabies

Three FLORIDIANS hospitalized after BEE attack ~ NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE ~ FERAL CATS pose risk of TYPHUS to general public ~ FLEA infested PRAIRIE DOG den in ARIZONA tests positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ New book updating LYME DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from GA, NY & NC.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 04/06/15 wfla.com: Pasco Fire Rescue crews responded to a report of a bee attack in New Port Richey Sunday afternoon in which three people were hospitalized. The wild bee hive was in a tree in the 7800 block of Calabash Lane. Experts believe there are between 20,000 and 30,000 bees in the hive. The neighbor Alisson Osteen saw the bees from her home. “I saw my neighbor’s brother on the ground rolling, just covered in bees all over his face, his neck, his arms. So I called 911,” she said. “He was screaming for help.” Pasco County Fire Rescue firefighters used a hose to spray the bees to get them to disperse and help the two men. They had as many as about 50 stings each. A woman who walked out of her home also received about a dozen stings but was not as seriously injured. Osteen said she didn’t see how it happened, but there was a ladder by the tree. “I don’t know if that was the bee keeper’s ladder or if that was the ladder they were using to touch the nest if they were trying to remove it themselves trying to get honey. I don’t know what they were trying to do,” she said. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Nobody on the crew was injured or stung. Crews are expected to return to the hive on Monday, however the bee expert is waiting for the bees to calm down before doing anything with the hive. – http://www.wfla.com/story/28724800/bees-sting-4-in-pasco-2-in-hospital

COYOTE:

Coyote%20stalking%20prey%20-%20note%20radio%20collar%20and%20ear%20tags%20for%20research%20projectNew Jersey 04/06/15 northjersey.com: by Jim Norman – A man working in his garden in the Twin Brooks area of (Saddle River) was attacked Monday by a coyote that was then hunted down and euthanized, authorities said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then released for recovery at home, according to a report on the Saddle River Police Department’s Facebook page. The man was attacked from behind by the animal and managed to escape, the police report said. Officers who investigated the incident learned that the same coyote had attacked a neighbor’s dog last week, requiring the dog’s owner to have it treated at a veterinarian’s office, police said. In addition, the police report said, workers in the area reported having seen the coyote several times on Monday, acting aggressively toward other dogs. Officers who responded to the attack saw the coyote running through a neighbor’s yard during daylight and called a local pest control company, which arrived, along with officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The coyote was found in a wooded area and put down, police said. The animal’s body was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officers for testing and analysis. Police asked any resident who has had an encounter with the coyote to call 201-327-5300, to document the event. Police also are reminding local residents to report aggressive wildlife behavior immediately, to head off the chance of another attack. – See http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-euthanized-after-it-attacks-saddle-river-man-1.1303757

TYPHUS:

typhus-transmission-cycleCalifornia 04/06/15 Orange County: by Matthew Cunningham – Flea-borne (endemic) typhus is carried by the common cat flea, which is found primarily on feral cats, raccoon and opossums. Common cat fleas bite people and their infected feces enters the bloodstream, causing severe illness. In 2006, there was a single reported case of flea-borne typhus infection in Orange County – the first since 2013. Between 2006 and 2014, there have been more than 100 reported cases of flea-borne typhus in OC. – See http://www.publicceo.com/2015/04/misplaced-outrage-over-anaheims-ban-on-feeding-feral-cats/

BUBONIC PLAGUE:

prairiedogUSParksArizona 04/06/15 upi.com/Health_News: by Brooks Hays – Arizona health officials and wildlife managers are monitoring flea infestations more closely after several specimens in Picture Canyon, near Flagstaff, tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the disease known as the bubonic plague. Officials grew concerned when they were alerted to a prairie dog den that appeared to features an unusually large number of dead or dying prairie dogs. Several surrounding burrows were tested, revealing the culprit to be the plague . . . Nearby burrows are now being cleared and disinfected, in an effort to stem any possible outbreak of the disease. Late last week, following the positive test, officials returned to test a much broader area for the dangerous bacteria. Those results are due back later this week. – See http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/04/06/Officials-concerned-by-plague-carrying-fleas-in-Arizona/7041428341911/

LYME DISEASE:

LymeDiseaseBookBook Review 04/06/15 washingtonpost.com: by Nancy Szokan – In in the 1970s, public health professionals began noticing a kind of rheumatoid arthritis affecting children around Lyme, Conn. Soon they began associating it with a skin rash, possibly caused by a deer tick. In 1981, researchers Willy Burgdorfer and Alan G. Barbour identified the cause of what had come to be known as Lyme disease. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases a year. So there’s probably a large audience for a new book by Barbour, who’s now a professor of medicine and microbiology at the medical school at the University of California at Irvine: “Lyme Disease: Why It’s Spreading, How It Makes You Sick, and What to Do About It.” Drawing on his decades of research and involvement with patients, he gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the disease, including the biology of the microbe that causes it and the tick that transmits it; how diagnosis is made and test results are interpreted; the use of antibiotics; disease prevention at the individual and community level; and the controversial condition called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, in which symptoms persist for years after antibiotic therapy ends. He ends with a somewhat pessimistic view of how we as a society are handling a disease that seems to be more prevalent every year. It’s not a particularly easy read; Barbour writes like the highly educated scientist he is, and he doesn’t mince technical terms. But his indisputable credentials and his clearly sympathetic concern make this a worthwhile book. – See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-a-doctor-who-helped-discover-lyme-disease-a-broad-update/2015/04/06/1fd66e9e-d893-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html

RABIES:

Georgia 04/02/15 Worth County: A dog that was adopted by a southwest Georgia resident using an online service has tested positive for rabies. Existing pets in the household didn’t have up-to-date vaccinations and “(a)s a result, this well-intentioned individual ended up losing beloved pets that had been exposed and could not be saved,” a county health specialist said. – See http://worthit2u.net/worth/2015/04/02/public-health-confirms-rabies-case-in-worth/

sidebar_RabiesAlertNew York 04/05/15 Franklin County: A second person is undergoing treatment for exposure to the rabies virus, and two more are being evaluated after caring for dogs that had attacked raccoons later found to be rabid. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your dog vaccinated,” Public Health Director Kathleen F. Strack said. Cats should also be vaccinated, she said. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/second-person-in-franklin-county-undergoing-rabies-treatment-20150405

North Carolina 04/01/15 Robeson County: A dog that was shot after attacking its owners in Pembroke has tested positive for rabies. Two victims, a father and daughter, have been advised to begin post-exposure rabies treatments. – See http://robesonian.com/news/health/152667014/Rabid-dog-attacks-its-owners

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

FERAL DOG PACK kills SOUTH DAKOTAN ~ CANADA reports 21 HUMAN CASES of WEST NILE VIRUS in 2014 ~ CHIKUNGUNYA in MEXICO tops 400 ~ CHIKUNGUNYA in the AMERICAS now at 1.3 million cases and counting ~ MONTANA confirms HUMAN CASE of HANTAVIRUS ~ RABIES reports from NY & SD.

Feral dog pack. Bing free use license.

Feral dog pack. Bing free use license.

South Dakota 03/18/15 kotatv.com: A 49-year-old woman was walking home from the Rosebud Reservation’s Lower Swift Bear community this past weekend when she was attacked and killed by a pack of feral dogs. Tribal police later captured 30 stray dogs. The attack comes just months after an 8-year-old girl was killed by a pack of dogs on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and a similar deadly attack that occurred on a Wyoming reservation last year. – See http://www.kotatv.com/news/south-dakota-news/Could-dog-attack-have-been-prevented/31854744

WEST NILE VIRUS:

phacCanada 03/18/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – While the United States saw well over 2,000 West Nile Virus (WNV) cases and 85 fatalities during 2014, our neighbors to the north saw just a tiny fraction of that amount. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, a total of 21 human clinical cases of West Nile virus were reported in Canada, all from 3 provinces. To put that number into perspective, North Dakota, in the northern plains of the US bordering Canada reported 22 WNV cases. Approximately half the Canadian cases were of the more serious neuroinvasive variety, while the other half were not. No WNV fatalities were reported in 2014. The mosquito borne viral disease was reported from Manitoba (5), Ontario (10)  and Quebec (6).v – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/canada-reports-21-west-nile-virus-cases-in-2014/

CHIKUNGUNYA:

chikungunya-symptoms66734Mexico 03/21/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – At least 79 confirmed chikungunya cases have been reported in the Mexican Pacific coast state of Guerrero, according to a El Universal report. More than 70 percent of the cases in the state have been reported in the beach resort city of Acapulco. Other areas in Guerrero reporting chikungunya cases include 15 in the region of Costa Chica, six cases in Zihuatanejo and two more in Petatlán. There has been no fatalities reported. Health authorities have launched mosquito awareness and extermination campaigns in the coastal regions of the state. Beginning in October 2014, the first locally transmitted cases of chikungunya were reported in Mexico. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in Mexico have been infected with chikungunya and are spreading it to people. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has reported 405 confirmed autochthonous and 21 imported chikungunya cases as of Mar. 20. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/mexico-chikungunya-cases-top-400-dozens-reported-in-acapulco-15359/

paho4567Western Hemisphere 03/20/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: Fifteen months ago the Western Hemisphere reported its first two human cases of Chikungunya Virus. Today, according to the Pan American Health Organization, the total number of suspected and confirmed locally acquired cases exceeds 1.3 million. Nearly 29,000 new cases were reported in the Americas during the past week. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/chikungunya-in-the-americas-1-3-million-cases-and-counting-47779/

HANTAVIRUS:       

imagesCAULAVUQMontana 03/22/15 missoulian.com: The University of Montana has notified its campus population that a human case of hantavirus has been confirmed in Missoula County. No further information has been released. – See http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/um-reports-hantavirus-case-in-missoula-county/article_1a2fad21-278c-541d-9a00-c269e91df2b8.html

RABIES:

New York 03/21/15 Franklin County: A pet dog that played with a young male member of its owner’s family in Westville has tested positive for rabies. The dog had not been vaccinated and had recently been bitten by a raccoon. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/franklin-county-youth-being-artworks-000005523137-7od8pb-croptreated-after-having-contact-with-rabid-dog-20150321

South Dakota 03/17/15 Brookings County: A feral cat that found its way inside a Southbrook Estates home and bit the owner’s hands has tested positive for rabies. The man was trying to protect the cat from his pet dog when he was bitten. – See http://www.kdlt.com/news/local-news/cat-bites-brookings-co-man-tests-positive-for-rabies/31855590

TURKEY farm in MINNESOTA infected with H5N2 AVIAN INFLUENZA ~ Two TURKEY farms in MISSOURI infected with H5N2 ~ TURKEY farm in ARKANSAS infected with H5N2 ~ MONTANAN creates backpack defense against BEAR attacks.

Turkey farm. Courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Turkey farm. Courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Minnesota 03/05/15 US Dept of Agriculture: PRESS RELEASE – The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Pope County, Minnesota. This is the first finding in the Mississippi flyway. It is the same strain of avian influenza that has been confirmed in backyard and wild birds in Washington, Oregon and Idaho as part of the ongoing incident in the Pacific flyway. Samples from the turkey breeder replacement flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the finding. APHIS is partnering closely with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and the remaining birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the involved flock will not enter the food system. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks, and commercial poultry, to be low. No human infections with these viruses have been detected at this time. The Minnesota Department of Health is working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure they are taking the proper precautions. – For complete release see http://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2015/sa_hpai_minnesota.pdf

H%N@.ii8845Missouri 03/09/15 MO Dept of Agriculture: PRESS RELEASE – The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) has confirmed that a turkey growing facility in Moniteau County has been infected by avian influenza. The facility, located at 35764 Newkirk Road in Fortuna, houses 21,000 turkeys.  The MDA is continuing its coordinated response with USDA, state health officials and industry partners.
Previously, on March 8, the Missouri Department of Agriculture confirmed that turkeys at a grower facility in Jasper County, with a commercial turkey flock of 30,100, had been infected with H5N2 avian influenza. That facility is located at 30213 Thyme Road in Asbury. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) reported the Jasper County facility was the first time H5N2 had been detected in Missouri. Outbreaks of a strain of avian flu have occurred in Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Idaho and are not considered to be a threat to public health or the food supply. While lethal to birds, no human cases of these avian influenza viruses have been detected in the United States, Canada, or internationally, and there is no immediate public health concern. – For complete release see http://agriculture.mo.gov/news/2015/MDA_confirms_avian_influenza_in_second_Missouri_facility

Mississippi Flyway

Mississippi Flyway

Arkansas 03/11/15 US Dept of Agriculture: PRESS RELEASE – The USDA-APHIS has confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza (HPAI) in a commercial turkey flock in Boone County, Arkansas. The flock of 40,020 turkeys is located within the Mississippi flyway where this strain of avian influenza has previously been identified. CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low. Samples from the turkey flock, which experienced increased mortality, were tested at the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. APHIS is working closely with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises and birds on the property will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. No human infections with the virus have been detected at this time. – For complete release see http://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2015/sa_hpai_arkansas.pdf

BEAR ATTACK DEFENSE:

back_attack_pack_standingMontana 03/10/15 kxlh.com: by Simone DeAlba – With temperatures warming and bears starting to wake up, it’s important to be safe when enjoying Montana’s outdoors, and a new tool could give you a fighting chance if you happen upon a grouchy grizzly. After a close encounter, 57-year-old Billy Lucas designed the Back Attack Pack. It could end up buying you some time if you find yourself in the midst of a bear attack. UDAP, a company in Butte, manufactures the product.

bearheadersmallUDAP general manager Tim Lynch says that the backpack should be used as a last line of defense for outdoor enthusiasts who could have less than three seconds to respond in a life-threatening situation. “It allows a person to spray bear-spray behind them,” said Lynch. “If you were to get attacked from behind you could actually pull a rip cord, kind of like a reserve on a parachute, (and) it will deploy the spray behind you.” Lucas lives in Livingston and is a former Hollywood stuntman who has appeared in movies such as “The Terminator.” Lucas said he invented the backpack after being surprised by a bear while fishing in Montana. “I’ve seen bears in Yellowstone Park walking around but never had one run out on me when I was fishing, and it scared me to death,” said Lucas.

back_attack_pack_prone “I started doing research on bear attacks and found out that most people, when they’re attacked by a bear, they do what you think a person would do. Immediate reaction was to get down and protect your vitals and get on your face on the ground. I started thinking, how can you deploy bear spray in a defensive position?” From that brainstorming was born the Back Attack Pack. It’s meant to be used in conjunction with bear spray, and can accommodate cans of all sizes. It retails for $149. – See http://www.kxlh.com/story/28357677/livingston-man-creates-backpack-to-defend-against-bear-attacks

MURINE TYPHUS reported in CALIFORNIA communities ~ Hungry COYOTES attacking large DOGS in CONNECTICUT ~ CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE within 12 miles of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK ~ HIV VIRUS traced to GORILLAS in CAMEROON ~ RABIES reports from FL, TX & VA.

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

California 03/05/15 nbclosangeles.com: by Keith Esparros – A form of typhus with flu-like symptoms that can lead to hospitalization if left untreated is popping up in parts of Southern California, and possums are the likely culprits. Cases of Murine Typhus, an infection spread by either flea bites or contact with flea feces, are being reported in the communities of Altadena, Los Feliz and Pasadena and South Pasadena, which have large possum populations, said Dr. Rachel Civen of the LA County Health Department, who calls it “a niche disease.” Symptoms include high fever, nausea, fatigue and muscle weakness. Forty — six cases were reported in LA County in 2014, three in Altadena, where crews posted notices and launched a possum search. The opossums found in Southern California are also referred to as possums. “Possums have massive proportions of fleas on them,” Civen said. “Thousands of them.” That makes them ideal carriers for the disease. Fleas carry the disease from rats, opossums or feral cats, and can infect the family pet. “It’s a pretty benign disease for dogs and cats,” Civen said, but the pet can infect other fleas, which then can bite and infect humans. Murine typhus symptoms are similar to flu, and can be difficult to pinpoint and diagnose. – For complete article see http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Possums-Likely-Culprit-as-Niche-Disease-Appears-in-SoCal-Communities-295251451.html

COYOTES:

lacy%20faces%20coyoteConnecticut 03/06/15 cbslocal.com: Coyotes were attacking in Connecticut this week, with three reports of the animals hunting down dogs. Luckily, all the dogs survived. But as CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, animal control officials said there is a big reason some big dogs are becoming prey. At least one coyote has been making the rounds in suburban Stamford – looming dangerously close to homes and setting its sights on several family dogs. “There was something following (my dog); chasing her,” said Stamford resident Karen Hart. Hart snapped a photo of her 2-year-old shepherd mix, named Kylie, running for her life “She got into the house and I slammed the door just as the coyote was approaching the front door,” Hart said. There were four attacks in a period of one week. All the dogs got away with minor cuts and scratches. But several owners have decided to keep their pets inside, alarmed at the coyotes’ brazen tactics. “This is very odd, because three of the dogs — a shepherd mix, a golden retriever and a German short-haired pointer – all obviously much larger than this coyote,” said Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin. Police said coyote attacks are so prevalent this winter because of the extremely harsh weather conditions – so much so that coyotes have even started living under people’s decks. – For video see http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2015/03/06/coyotes-seen-going-after-large-dogs-in-stamford-connecticut/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

whitetaildeernpsVirginia 03/06/15 crozetgazette.com: Chronic Wasting Disease, an always-fatal neurological disease affecting white-tail deer, mule deer, elk and moose, has been discovered at Front Royal, within twelve miles of the Shenandoah National Park’s northern boundary, Park Superintendent Jim Northup told an audience at Crozet Library February 5. In 2009 it was discovered about 23 miles away from the park. A park report describes the advance as “rapid.” “It’s significant now in West Virginia,” he said. Northup said that the character of the 105-mile Skyline Drive and the edge-habitat nature of deer likely means that once the disease invades the park, it will advance southward along the scenic road and reach southern counties bordering the park. “The only way to slow it is to thin the deer herd,” he said. – For complete article see http://www.crozetgazette.com/2015/03/chronic-wasting-disease-nears-shenandoah-park/

HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS:

Cameroon gorillas

Cameroon gorillas

Global 03/06/15 newseveryday.com: by Revathi Siva Kumar – Four strains of the AIDS virus can be sourced to gorillas in southwest Cameroon, said an international team of scientists whose report was recently published. Hence, scientists understand the origin of the HIV virus, according to france24. HIV (HIV-1) has at least four strains. Known as Groups M, N, O and P, and every virus had its own origin from ape to man, on four occasions. While two groups, ie M and N have been traced to chimpanzees in Cameroon, the origin of the O and P strains have not been traced. The team, led by Martine Peeters, a virologist at France’s Research and Development Institute (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, has released a report that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. HIV-1’s Group M is the most widespread and show more than 40 million people that are infected around the world. So far, just two humans have been found to be infected with Group P. Group O has been identified in central and western Africa, and has infected 100,000. The identification was possible through genetic samples from chimpanzees and gorillas from Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fecal samples from western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas in Cameroon, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda were screened to detect SIVgor infection. Four field sites were found in southern Cameroon with western lowland gorillas harbouring SIVgor, according to pennews.

Cameroon chimpanzees

Cameroon chimpanzees

“From this study and others that our team has conducted in the past it has become clear that both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and have the potential to cause major disease outbreaks,” Peeters said. “Understanding emerging disease origins is critical to gauge future human infection risks.” Ever since 1981, HIV has infected 78 million, which destroys immune cells and makes the body vulnerable to tuberculosis, pneumonia and other such illnesses. About 39 million have died, according to UN estimates. The team of scientists is from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Montpellier, the University of Edinburgh, and other institutions. Beatrice Hahn, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology, and others from Penn were part of the team, whose findings appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to UN estimates, the illness has claimed 39 million lives so far, reports biznews. – See http://www.newseveryday.com/articles/10425/20150306/hiv-virus-traced-gorillas-cameroon.htm

RABIES:

dog468y9i0Florida 03/09/15 Palm Beach County: A bat found in the mouth of a vaccinated pet dog in Palm Beach Gardens has tested positive for rabies and family members who handled the bat and/or were in contact with the dog are being advised to seek immediate medical advice and treatment. – See http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_24063.shtml

Texas 03/08/15 McLennan County: A stray dog offered for adoption on Facebook attacked a mother and 4-year-old daughter who arrived in a Brookshire Bros. grocery store parking lot in Lorena on Saturday offering to take it. The child was bitten in the face and the mother in the face and hands by the dog described as a possible pit bull-mastiff mix. – See http://www.wacotrib.com/news/police/lorena-police-woman-child-injured-in-dog-attack/article_c12e1272-ba6b-555f-96b1-fc2902d91131.html

help984-05834Virginia 03/09/15 James City County: by Becca Mitchell – The Peninsula Health District is looking for a grey-striped male tabby cat that bit a person on Saturday, March 7th in the vicinity of Forge Road and Highway 60 in Toano. If the cat isn’t found, the victims may have to undergo post exposure treatment for the prevention of rabies. If found, the cat will not be taken from its owner, only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days. Anyone who has seen an animal fitting this description should call the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Area Environmental Health Office at 757-603-4277. – See http://wtkr.com/2015/03/09/tabby-cat-sought-for-rabies-testing-in-toano-after-biting-a-person/