Category Archives: Viral disease

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

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

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

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

Virginia opossum

Virginia opossum

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

CHIKUNGUNYA:

States reporting imported ChikV.

States reporting imported ChikV.

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

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

thumbnailCA84UOUZGlobal 03/11/15 virology.ws: Dr. Vincent Racaniello, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columba University, and author of the Virology Blog, has posted a blog about Chronic Wasting Disease, a prion disease of deer, elk and moose. Hunters and others who have an interest in the topic will want to read it. – See http://www.virology.ws/

EBOLA VIRUS:

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

RABIES:

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

Canada:

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

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/

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

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

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

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

Elk feeding ground.

Elk feeding ground.

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

COYOTES:

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

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

RABIES:

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

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

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/