Category Archives: Vectors

New study IDs BIRDS that carry LYME DISEASE bacteria in CALIFORNIA ~ CHIKUNGUNYA update ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: GARC offers RABIES Educator Certificate

Golden-crowned sparrow. Photo by Dick Daniels. Wikimedia-Commons.

Golden-crowned sparrow. Photo by Dick Daniels. Wikimedia-Commons.

California 02/25/15 berkeley.edu: by Sarah Yang – Birds are more important than previously recognized as hosts for Lyme disease-causing bacteria in California, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley researchers. The findings, published today (Wednesday, Feb. 25) in the journal PLOS ONE, shine a light on an important new reservoir in the western United States for the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, responsible for Lyme disease. Wood rats, western gray squirrels and other small mammals have been identified in previous studies as wildlife hosts of the Lyme disease spirochete bacterium in California, but fewer studies have looked at the role of birds as reservoirs.

Dark-eyed Junco. PD

Dark-eyed Junco. PD

“The role of birds in the maintenance of Lyme disease bacteria in California is poorly understood,” said study lead author Erica Newman, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. “This is the most extensive study of the role of birds in Lyme disease ecology in the western United States, and the first to consider the diversity of bird species, their behaviors and their habitats in identifying which birds are truly the most important as carriers.” Moreover, the birds in the study that were found to be important hosts of Lyme disease bacteria, such as American robins, dark-eyed juncos and golden-crowned sparrows, are coincidentally ones that are commonly found in suburban environments. – For complete article see http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/02/25/birds-lyme-disease-bacteria/

CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER:

index445Global 03/01/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – The chikungunya epidemic in the Western hemisphere has increased by 3,000 cases during the past week with the new tally at 1,247,000 since the first autochthonous cases were reported on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in December 2013, 183 fatalities have been reported. Countries reporting an largest increase in cases include Puerto Rico (1,700) and El Salvador (1,383). The Dominican Republic and Colombia continue to have reported the most cumulative cases to date with 539,183 and 177,187 cases, respectively. In 2015 to date, the United States has seen 43 imported chikungunya cases from 13 states as of Feb. 24. During 2015, no locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states. In the Pacific, the French Polynesia outbreak is at more than 69,000 estimated cases since 10 October 2014, as of 25 January 2015. 728 hospitalizations, 48 severe cases, 9 fatal cases have been documented. Officials say the outbreak is decreasing. Elsewhere in the Pacific Islands, Samoa has reported 4,431 cases since 21 July 2014 as the outbreak winds down. Chikungunya outbreaks are increasing in New Caledonia (50 cases), the Cook Islands (83) and Kiribati (36). Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/chikungunya-update-for-the-americas-and-the-pacific-islands-67012/

Author’s Note: The CDC confirmed more than 2,340 cases of Chikungunya fever imported to the United States last year, and 11 locally transmitted cases last year in Florda. – See TEXAS county preparing for CHIKUNGUNYA outbreak posted on this blog January 19, 2015.

~ ANNOUNCEMENT ~

garcThe Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) is pleased to announce the launch of the first of its online education programs, the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC). This is a free web-based course for individuals such as community educators and health workers who would like to learn about rabies and how to teach others to prevent rabies and reduce deaths in their communities. The REC has been developed to help meet the need to effectively disseminate accurate, life-saving information to at-risk communities.

The course is open to anyone but aimed specifically at people who work regularly in these communities, and who are in a position to address community education on rabies. These people may be health/veterinary/community personnel who regularly visit communities, or it may be key people within the communities themselves who want to do something about rabies education.

This online course has five modules:

  • What is rabies and how do people and animals get the disease?
  • How to avoid dog bites and prevent rabies
  • Caring for animals
  • Understanding the role of a community educator in preventing dog bites and rabies
  • Communicating with people

Each module contains specific and clear information that should be applicable to all situations, regardless of geographical location and circumstances.

Participants can access the course at education.rabiesalliance.org. It is self-paced, so participants can complete it in their own time, although it should take between four and seven hours in total depending on previous knowledge and experience. For those with slow or intermittent internet access, the whole course can be downloaded and studied offline. On passing a final online assessment, participants receive a certificate of achievement and should be ready to provide life saving information to their target communities.

This is the first of GARC’s new online courses, and there are plans to provide it in other languages besides English by the end of the year.  We look forward to hearing the feedback of stakeholders and participants: please join the course at education.rabiesalliance.org and share this information with your networks. GARC is grateful to Crucell for its generous support for the development of this course. For queries or more information, please contact us here – See more at: http://rabiesalliance.org/media/news/online-course-for-rabies-educators-launched#sthash.udL5Q2tt.dpuf

Author’s Note: I asked GARC: “Will the new on-line Rabies course also cover feral cat colonies and the rabies threat they pose to local communities? You specifically mention dogs, but not cats.”

GARC’s response: ” The REC course focuses primarily on canine rabies seeing as 90% of rabies deaths in developing countries are associated with dog bite cases. The REC course does however mention the fact that any warm blooded mammal is susceptible to the disease and that any animal bite case should be treated as a potential exposure. We will be revising the course contents annually and I have noted that this is a potential focus point once we revise. Thank you for the valuable feedback. Kind regards, Andre Coetzer, Course Facilitator, GARC Education Program”

Packs of WOLVES, COYOTES and FOXES are roaming NEW JERSEY city’s streets ~ COYOTES moving into GEORGIA city neighborhoods ~ TEXAS reports first case of MURINE TYPHUS in 80 years ~ NEW YORK scientist reports TICKS carrying LYME DISEASE emerging earlier ~ RABIES report from TEXAS.

Wolf pack. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

Wolf pack. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

New Jersey 02/20/15 nj.com: by Jenna Pizzi – Packs of wild animals including wolves, coyotes and foxes are running around on city streets after dark and residents are raising concerns about their safety, according to a Trenton councilman. Councilman George Muschal said he received reports from residents about the animals and saw a gray fox cross in front of his truck last Tuesday at the corner of Hudson and Broad Streets. “If a child is out there or a dog in the yard it might be a problem,” said Muschal, speaking during a council meeting Thursday night Muschal said residents have also emailed and called his office reportedly seeing wolves in the city. Wolves haven’t been spotted in the wild in New Jersey in more than 100 years. According to information on the state Department of Environmental Protection’s website, wolves have become larger and in varying colors in the Eastern United States due to past inbreeding between coyotes and wolves. Muschal said he is not sure if it was a coyote or a wolf that was spotted by residents, but said he only took the individuals that called into this office at their word. “They just know that it doesn’t belong there,” Muschal said. “I’m not gonna say that there’s not a wolf.” Councilman Zachary Chester said he has received concerns from residents about coyotes and foxes — but not wolves. – See http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/02/wolves_coyotes_and_foxes_roaming_trenton_streets_c.html

1179coyoteGeorgia 02/24/15 myfoxatlanta.com: by Jaclyn Schultz – A number of coyotes have recently been spotted around busy neighborhoods in metro Atlanta. One woman, however, said a coyote attacked her pets. “The coyote came here close to the house. There were feathers all over the yard,” said Jennifer Ellis, who lives in Grant Park with her pet chickens, dog and rabbit. “There’s never been an attack like this one.” One Grant Park neighbor said off camera, his dogs scared another coyote away. Other neighbors said word has gotten around about other sightings. “They start to associate food with humans and remove their natural wariness,” said Professor Chris Mowry of Berry College, who started the Atlanta Coyote Project. The project has surveyed thousands of metro Atlanta residents who have reported seeing a coyote, and is trying to study if more are moving into busy urban areas. Mowry said reports of coyotes, though, have increased. He says too many people living around in-town Atlanta make their homes appealing to wildlife, such as leaving out pet food and exposing trash. “They walk by and see an easy meal and will try to take it,” he said. Though trapping a coyote is always an option for a resident, Mowry said another coyote will move in afterwards. He said the most effective prevention is eliminating what coyotes could eat on your property, installing motion sensor lights, and hanging wind chimes to create noise. He also said fencing should be higher than six feet tall and should even extend below ground to prevent digging. Pets should also be supervised while outside. – For video see http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/28182721/coyotes-spotted-in-atlanta-neighborhoods

MURINE TYPHUS:

453723837Texas 02/16/15 healio.com: Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch say murine typhus has been identified in Galveston signaling the re-emergence of the disease. Of 18 adult patients evaluated, seven cases of the disease were confirmed. Fleas that infest rats, opossums and cats are likely to be spreading the disease. Blanton LS, et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015;doi:10.3201/eid2103.140716. – See http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7B47c536b9-6693-4cac-abc0-1fa1a88a933e%7D/first-cases-of-murine-typhus-in-8-decades-reported-in-texas

LYME DISEASE:

logo66874New York 02/18/15 newsday.com: A Hudson Valley researcher says ticks that carry Lyme disease are emerging earlier in spring and spreading into new geographic regions, a trend corresponding with data on climate warming trends. The conclusions were based on 19 years of data collected at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook in Dutchess County, a hotbed of tick-borne disease. Biologist Richard Ostfeld at the Cary Institute says nearly two decades of data revealed climate warming trends correlated with earlier spring feeding by nymphal ticks, sometimes by as much as three weeks. – See http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ticks-carrying-lyme-disease-are-emerging-earlier-researcher-says-1.9949893

RABIES:       

635603854191973597-rabiesdogTexas 02/24/15 kvue.com: A dog that visited Austin’s Zilker Park Dog Park off leash between 3 and 6 p.m. on February 8th has been diagnosed with rabies. The black-and-white Border Collie mix was seen about 50 yards from the park’s sand volleyball courts and reportedly had contact with other dogs at the park. Anyone who came in contact with this dog, or whose pet did, should seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.kvue.com/story/news/health/2015/02/24/officials-warn-of-possible-rabies-exposure-at-zilker/23946897/

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

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

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

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

MAD COW DISEASE:

CANADA:

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

TICKS:

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

H5N1 AVIAN FLU:

Canada:

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

LYME DISEASE:

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

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

RABIES:

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

~ ANNOUNCEMENT ~

call4papers

Dynamics in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)

DMID is an open access journal that publishes articles in all the fields of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. All manuscripts are reviewed by the editorial board members or qualified reviewers. Our peer review process is very fast, highly rigorous and it takes just a few days to weeks, and authors are carried along adequately in all the publication processes. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscript(s) that meet the general scope and criteria of DMID. Our objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscript(s) within a few weeks of submission. Authors should submit their original manuscripts, reviews, commentaries and perspectives via email attachment to dmid@journaldynamics.org or our on-line platform a http://www.journaldynamics.org/submitmanuscript/dmid/. – See http://www.journaldynamics.org/callforpapers/dmid/

Are urban COYOTES more aggressive now? ~ Study shows CHIKUNGUNYA often misdiagnosed ~ HANTAVIRUS found in CALIFORNIA HARVEST MICE ~ RABIES report from SOUTH CAROLINA.

Coyote. Photo by Dawn Beattie of Morrow Bay, CA. Wikimedia Commons.

Coyote. Photo by Dawn Beattie of Morrow Bay, CA. Wikimedia Commons.

North America 02/01/15 utsandiego.com: by Deborah Sullivan Brennan – (Excerpts)

Coyotes have attacked at least 122 people between 1977 and 2008, including a three-year-old Glendale girl who died from the bites in 1981, according to two California professors who have chronicled the animals’ run-ins with humans in urban areas. Coyotes typically flee people, but frequent contact with humans can embolden them, with dangerous results.”

CalPolyLogo” Rex Baker, a professor emeritus of agricultural biology at Cal Poly Pomona, has spent years documenting the animals’ urban exploits, and believes the problem of coyote aggression is increasing. He and colleague Robert Timm, a researcher for the University of California’s agricultural extension, monitored reports of coyote attacks in the U.S. since 1977. California saw far more incidents of coyote aggression than any other state, with the 122 documented reports between 1977 and 2008. Arizona had 37 attacks during that time, Colorado had 12 and all remaining states had fewer than 10.”

anr445” In 1981, a three-year-old Glendale girl, Kelly Keen, was fatally attacked by coyotes while playing in her front yard. Two coyotes killed a19-year-old Canadian woman, Taylor Mitchell, as she hiked alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia in 2009. There have been other close calls. During one week in 2008, three young children were threatened or bitten by coyotes in San Bernardino County. In one of those incidents, a coyote grabbed a two-year-old girl by the head and tried to drag her from her yard in Lake Arrowhead, releasing her when the toddler’s mother approached. A week later, a nanny wrestled a two-year-old girl from the jaws of a coyote at a Chino Hills park.” – For complete article see http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2015/feb/01/san-diego-urban-coyote-bite/2/?#article-copy

CHIKUNGUNYA:

THR_Nov_2014_pp68_01Global 02/02/15 immortal.org: by Christine Layton – A new study has found that Chikungunya virus and rheumatoid arthritis present similar symptoms and even test results, emphasizing the importance of accurate diagnosis. Chikungunya is transmitted by mosquitoes and it’s typically diagnosed in Central and South America, India, the Caribbean and Africa. Symptoms include fever and a rash, as well as severe joint pain that can last for weeks or up to one year. While mosquito-borne diseases are common in humid, equatorial areas, Chikungunya has made its way through Florida in recent years. In fact, the FDA may approve an experiment to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to combat dengue and Chikungunya in the United States. Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis often have the same symptoms, which may result in an inaccurate diagnosis and treatment, according to the Voice Chronicle. The researchers recommend doctors consider the travel and medical history of patients to avoid a misdiagnosis, as patients who have Chikungunya may be treated with medication for rheumatoid arthritis, which can worsen the condition, according to Daily Science Journal. With this new information about Chikungunya virus, health officials are concerned that the disease could become a diagnostic challenge over the new few years as the virus continues to gain ground in the United States. As blood samples are similar for rheumatoid arthritis and Chikungunya virus, doctors hope immune-suppression drugs that treat arthritis may help, according to Diabetes Insider. – See http://www.immortal.org/5037/chikungunya-virus-shows-similar-symptoms-rheumatoid-arthritis-may-cause-misdiagnosis/

HANTAVIRUS:

Harvest mouse.

Harvest mouse.

California 02/01/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: Two western harvest mice tested positive for the potentially deadly hantavirus in the Fairbanks Ranch area of San Diego County, according to environmental health officials. This prompted officials to remind people to be careful whenever they find signs of rodents living in homes, sheds and garages. Officials said hantavirus is common in San Diego County, but people have very little chance of being exposed to it as long as wild rodents remain out of people’s living spaces. Infected rodents shed hantavirus through their saliva, urine and feces. Officials said people should never try to sweep or vacuum up rodent nests or droppings in homes and work places because it could stir hantavirus into the air where it can be breathed in if rodents are infected. “The best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to rodents, by keeping them out of the areas you live in and work in,” said County Director of the Department of Environmental Health, Elizabeth Pozzebon. “But if you have to clean an area, be sure to use ‘wet-cleaning’ methods — ventilate areas, spray them with bleach solutions or disinfectants and use sponges and mops.” People who inhale the hantavirus can develop hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which starts with flu-like symptoms but can grow into severe breathing difficulties that can kill. There is no vaccine or cure for hantavirus. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that hantavirus kills nearly 40 percent of the people who get it. See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/hantavirus-detected-in-two-fairbanks-ranch-mice-38381/

RABIES:

0coonvsdog422 - CopySouth Carolina 01/30/15 Buncombe County: An unvaccinated family dog that was allowed to roam has tested positive for rabies. The virus was likely contracted due to exposure to an infected wild animal, possibly a raccoon. Health officials warn this dog may have exposed other animals or perhaps people to the virus. Anyone in the Black Mountain area who has had contact with an animal that was acting abnormally should contact the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office at 828-250-6670. – See http://www.blackmountainnews.com/article/20150201/BLACKMOUNTAINNEWS/302010004/Rabies-case-reported-Black-Mountain?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

CALIFORNIA jogger attacked by COYOTE ~ CANADIAN has first documented HUMAN case of H7N9 AVIAN FLU VIRUS in NORTH AMERICA ~ RABIES reports from NC & TX.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 01/21/15 10news.com: by Preston Phillips – A San Diego area neighborhood is on alert after a jogger was bitten by a coyote Wednesday morning. The attack occurred in the 4800 block of East Alder Drive in Kensington. This kind of attack is so rare that the game warden who took the report told 10News he has never documented such a case. The coyote actually bit the woman in the leg as she was trying to run from it around 5 a.m. Wednesday. She eventually scared it off, but not before a big effort on her part. “All of a sudden, I feel something bite my leg,” said Janet Snook. “I look down, and you know, it’s a coyote.” She knew it was a coyote because of its pointed ears and how skinny it was. Snook says it was about the size of a German Shepherd and relentless. “I turned around and he was continuing to run towards me, so I started running backwards because I didn’t want to turn my back on him,” said Snook. At that point, she began fearing for her life. “I was screaming and yelling, waving my hands, you know, try to make as much noise as possible and he would pause and then he would keep running,” said Snook. She continued screaming and yelling until the coyote finally ran off into a nearby canyon. Soon after, Snook drove to an urgent care center, had her wound treated and received several shots to reduce the chance of contracting rabies. – For complete article and video see http://www.10news.com/news/woman-bitten-by-coyote-while-jogging-in-kensington-01212015

H7N9 AVIAN FLU:

Canada:

h7n9British Columbia 01/26/15 reuters.com: by Julie Gordon – A Vancouver area resident has tested positive for the H7N9 avian flu virus in the first documented case of the infection in a human in North America, the Canadian government said on Monday. The woman, who is in her 50s, had returned to Canada from China and is recovering from the illness in self-isolation, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement. “I want to emphasize that the risk to Canadians is very low because there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of H7N9,” Gregory Taylor, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said at a news conference in Ottawa. Taylor said the woman returned to Canada on Jan. 12 after visiting numerous locations in China and began to feel ill two days later on Jan. 14. “All evidence is indicating that it is likely the individual was infected following exposure in China,” he said. “We don’t know at this time how the individual contracted the virus.” The woman’s male travel partner, also in his 50s, has symptoms and was likely infected at the same time, although the second case has not been confirmed, health officials said.

h7The H7N9 virus passes between birds, but experts say there is not enough evidence to prove it passes between humans. Most cases report contact with poultry, usually in live poultry markets, the Canadian health agency said. The virus first infected three people in China in March 2013. In 2014, it infected 453 people, killing 175 of them, according to the World Health Organization. Two people reportedly died of the H7N9 virus in China’s coastal Fujian province earlier this month, and recent human cases have been reported in the Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces, and Shanghai. The H7N9 virus has not been detected in birds in Canada. – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/26/us-health-birdflu-canada-idUSKBN0KZ2A120150126

RABIES:

Looking-for-Kittens-001North Carolina 01/23/15 Robeson County: A cat, believed to be a family pet, that bit a woman in the Popes Crossing community of Lumberton has tested positive for rabies. -See http://www.robesonian.com/news/news/151441318/Woman-recovering-after-being-bitten-by-a-rabid-pet-cat

Texas 01/24/15 Harris County: A stray dog found in Tomball on January 10th has tested positive for rabies. – For complete article and photo see http://www.click2houston.com/news/stray-dog-in-tomball-area-tests-positive-for-rabies/30901806

TICK with RELAPSING FEVER found in MONTANA ~ CHIKUNGUNYA death toll reaches 10 in PUERTO RICO ~ TEXAS county preparing for CHIKUNGUNYA outbreak ~ RABIES reports from FL, GA, SC & WI.

Chipmunks carry ticks infected with bacteria that causes Relapsing Fever. Image courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Chipmunks carry ticks infected with bacteria that causes Relapsing Fever. Image courtesy of U.S. National Park Service.

Montana 01/17/15 missoulian.com: Scientists at Rocky Mountain Laboratories have discovered the Bitterroot Valley is home to a tick that carries the bacteria that causes relapsing fever. Relapsing fever is a treatable, acute, usually nonfatal disease that can make patients sick over and over again. If not treated, it can be fatal to the fetus of a pregnant woman. A paper about the Bitterroot tick was published recently in the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The soft tick is different from the larger hard-shelled tick that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. “You don’t pick them up while hiking through the woods,” Tom Schwan, a Rocky Mountain Laboratories entomologist. Schwan, who co-wrote the paper with a Missoula doctor, said the ticks feed much more quickly than the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever tick. “Most people don’t know when they’re being bitten by these ticks,” he said. He said chipmunks and squirrels are hosts to the tick.

Dr. Tom Schwan

Dr. Tom Schwan

In 2013, his team of scientists took blood samples from a chipmunk that was trapped near where a man got relapsing fever. The man was bitten by a soft tick while working in his woodpile. Schwan said that chipmunk was infected with the same bacteria that the man who fell ill was infected with. He said finding the infected chipmunk, plus infected ticks in the woodpile, explained how the man became sick with tick-borne relapsing fever. “This is an important bit of evidence to help in the future when people get infected with this disease, so they can get the proper diagnosis and prompt treatment with the appropriate antibiotics,” Schwan said. The scientist thinks these ticks may be fairly widespread in the valley. – For complete article see http://missoulian.com/news/local/tick-with-relapsing-fever-found-in-bitterroot-valley/article_678e09d4-5237-5f64-8995-fabc4c1c9a09.html

CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER:

chickV3399384Puerto Rico 01/18/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – The number of chikungunya cases reported in Puerto Rico from Nov. 26 to Dec. 23 is 431 suspected and 45 confirmed, according to the Departmento de Salud de Puerto Rico. Health officials do say that due to a delay in laboratory testing, the actual numbers may be higher for the period. This brings the cumulative total for 2014 on the Caribbean island to 25,234 suspected cases and 4,227 laboratory confirmed cases. In 2014, Puerto Rico has reported 10 deaths due to chikungunya infection. 31 cases have been seen due to travel. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/puerto-rico-chikungunya-death-toll-now-at-10-38236/

339948i5Texas 01/16/15 wfaa.com: by Janet St. James – Dallas County mosquito experts are already prepping dozens of traps specially designed to capture mosquitoes that spread the Chikungunya virus, or ChikV. “This has a lure inside that basically smells like human skin,” explains Dallas County Health and Human Services microbiologist Spencer Lockwood. People are like perfume to ChikV mosquitos. The county has purchased 30 traps for the fight against ChikV. Chikungunya is a virus passed to people by two species of mosquitoes: Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti. The infection is characterized by sudden onset of fever and severe joint pains. The most serious symptoms last from two to seven days, but patients have been known to experience joint pain for weeks or years after infection. So far, the infection is primarily spread in the Caribbean. The CDC confirms more than 2,340 cases of ChikV in the United States in the last year. However, eleven locally-transmitted cases have been reported from Florida. Health officials believe it’s only a matter of time until ChikV is transmitted locally in North Texas. So far, there have been 10 human cases diagnosed in Dallas County, all of them acquired during overseas travel. – For complete article see http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/health/2015/01/16/dallas-co-sets-mosquito-traps-for-fight-against-chikv/21886071/

RABIES:

13744331Florida 01/17/15 Pasco County: A cat that was in contact with three individuals in the vicinity of New Port Richey Estates in New Port Richey has tested positive for rabies. A Rabies Alert has been issued for the area. – See http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/local/2015/01/17/rabies-alert-has-been-issued-for-pasco/21937279/

Georgia 01/16/15 Hall County: A stray cat that bit five people in Lula including three senior citizens, a woman and a 10-year-old boy has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/107251/

South Carolina 01/15/15 Oconee County: A puppy that was attacked by a skunk in Seneca several weeks ago has tested positive for rabies. The puppy was too young to be vaccinated against the virus and the skunk was not captured. Four people who were potentially exposed to the virus have been referred for treatment. – See http://www.independentmail.com/news/puppy-exposes-four-people-to-rabies-in-oconee-county_33915632

help7689Wisconsin 01/16/15 Marathon County: Authorities are trying to track down a dog that bit a Wausau man Thursday so the man can avoid a series of painful rabies shots he will have to take unless the dog is verified to be rabies-free. The victim was walking near the intersection of West Campus Drive and North Third Avenue in Wausau at about 11 p.m. when the dog, possibly an American bulldog mix, bit him, according to a news release from the Marathon County Health Department. The dog was described as being dark-colored with a docked tail and no collar. The animal ran toward Benedictine Living Community after biting the man. Anyone with information about the dog or its owner is asked to contact the Health Department at 715-261-1908, Marathon County dispatch at 715-849-7785, or the Humane Society at 715-845-2810. – See http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/story/news/local/2015/01/16/health-department-seeking-dog-bit-man-thursday/21877235/

PORCUPINE quills kill hungry MOUNTAIN LION in WYOMING ~ COYOTE attacks three people in MASSACHUSETTS ~ OR-7, the wandering WOLF of OREGON, is granted pack status ~ RABIES reports from GA, SCx2 & WI.

Porcupine. Courtesy U.S Fish & Wildlife.

Porcupine. Courtesy U.S Fish & Wildlife.

Wyoming 01/11/15 outdoorhub.com: Even mountain lions will usually maintain a healthy distance from porcupines, but not always. They do occasionally prey on them, if they’re hungry enough. Recently, researchers with Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project found a dead mountain lion near Jackson Hole. During a necropsy, they discovered that the cat’s internal organs had been punctured by a porcupine’s quills and the resulting injuries were the cause of its death, though it was determined that the cat lingered for five weeks before it died. – For complete article see http://www.outdoorhub.com/news/2015/01/11/mountain-lion-eats-porcupine-killed-quills-inside/

COYOTE:

coyote_generic_042413Massachusetts 01/06/15 wcvb.com: Police have issued a warning in Groveland after a coyote attacked local residents, including a father who was walking with his 4-year-old daughter, on Monday. Jon McPherson had just arrived home and was walking up a sidewalk with his daughter when the coyote latched onto his leg and wouldn’t let go. “At first I thought, ‘Oh my God. I just got bit by a dog,'” he said. “I turned around and it was a big coyote. Probably waist-high. I was like, ‘Get out of here!'” McPherson said shouting at the animal didn’t work. “He wasn’t afraid of me in the slightest,” McPherson said. That’s when he hit the animal with a bag full of groceries. “I clocked him with the bag, he kind of shook his head a little bit and moved into the side yard,” McPherson said. After ripping apart the bag, the coyote took off for the woods behind Manor Drive, but minutes later it emerged on nearby Gardner Street. A man on that street said the coyote didn’t seem to have any fear. “The behavior of the coyote in these incidents is very unusual,” Groveland police Sgt. Dwight McDonald said. “Coyotes usually run from humans.” The coyote should be considered rabid and dangerous, police said. Any contact with the animal will require medical attention. – See video at http://www.wcvb.com/news/groveland-police-issue-warning-for-aggressive-coyote/30557304

WOLF:

OR-7

OR-7

Oregon 01/08/15 statesmanjournal.com: by Jeff Barnard – Oregon’s famous wandering wolf, OR-7, is now officially the leader of his own pack. State and federal wildlife agencies said Wednesday they have designated OR-7, his mate and their pups the Rogue Pack, for their location in the Rogue River drainage in the Cascades east of Medford. It’s the first pack in western Oregon and the ninth in the state since wolves from Idaho started swimming the Snake River in the 1990s. As a youngster, OR-7 left his pack in northeastern Oregon in September 2011 in search of a mate. He traveled thousands of miles across Oregon and back and forth into Northern California before finding a mate last winter in the southern Cascades on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The GPS collar that tracked his travels is still working, but biologists hope to replace it this spring. Efforts to trap OR-7, his mate or one of the pups to put a tracking collar on them were not successful last fall, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist John Stephenson. They hope to have better luck this May, when the pack dens up for more pups. Even if the GPS tracking collar fails, a separate unit on the collar that emits a radio signal that can be tracked by a directional antenna should continue working, Stephenson said . . . OR-7 has continued to stay out of trouble as far as livestock are concerned. – For more photos see http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/01/08/oregons-wandering-wolf-or-7-gets-official-pack-status/21433743/

RABIES:

Georgia 01/12/15 Hall County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after two people came in contact with a cat that has since tested positive for the virus. Thecat was found in the vicinity of 5th Street in the eastern part of the county. – See http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/107156/

Vaccinate.

Vaccinate.

South Carolina 01/08/15 Spartanburg County: A stray cat that came in contact with at least two people in Moore has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.goupstate.com/article/20150108/ARTICLES/150109751/1083/ARTICLES?Title=Stray-cat-exposes-two-people-to-rabies-in-Moore

South Carolina 01/08/15 Lee County: A stray cat that came in contact with a person in the Ashwood area of Bishopville has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wltx.com/story/news/health/2015/01/08/cat-exposes-person-in-lee-county-to-rabies/21450429/

help-mdWisconsin 01/09/15 Dane County: Police are seeking a dog that bit a woman outside a Madison mall this week. Public Health of Madison and Dane County is looking for information on a dog that bit a woman Tuesday at about 12:30 p.m. According to a release, the woman was outside the food court entrance at East Towne Mall petting a dog that was sitting inside a pickup truck. Public Health said the owner of the short-haired Dalmatian-type dog was present but left before the victim was aware of the rabies risk involved when a strange dog bites a person. The dog was described as a white and black spotted and was sitting in a dark blue mid-90s-year Ford F250 with a topper. The owner was a white man possibly in his mid-60s with gray hair. The dog was possibly named Smoky, according to the report. Anyone with information regarding the dog bite is asked to call 255-2345 and ask for the animal services officer. Public Health said If the animal is not located, the woman may be required to complete a series of painful, costly injections to prevent rabies. – See http://madisoneast.channel3000.com/news/health/464412-police-seek-dog-bit-woman-outside-mall