Florida, Texas, Hawaii 12/21/12 businessinsider.com: by Jennifer Welsh – The viral infection dengue fever is usually associated with tropical areas, but the disease has been spreading, even into the tropical areas of the United States: Texas, Florida and Hawaii. Dengue is common in other areas, infecting 100 million people a year. 500,000 of them end up hospitalized, and about half of those die. There are also huge costs to the labor force, because the infection can last for months. It is spread by mosquitoes.
At the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene last month, researchers from the University of Florida revealed that dengue has reappeared in Key West, Fla. The virus they found was not a one-time visitor imported by a tourist or a stray mosquito; it has been on the island long enough to become a genetically distinct, local strain. The Florida researchers didn’t want to talk about their presentation because they hope to get it published soon in a medical journal. But it turns out other tropical-disease experts have been watching dengue’s return to the United States for a while and wondering what it will mean. “It really is just a matter of time until dengue re-establishes itself in certain areas here,” says Amesh Adalja of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The U.S. has been lucky that it has escaped so far.”
122 people were infected with dengue in Hawaii in 2001, the first time that the disease has been seen there since 1944. A separate outbreak in Brownsville, Texas, in 2005 infected 25, and 90 cases were reported in Key West between 2009 and 2010. “It may not swamp the entire U.S.,” Adalja told McKenna. “But the entire South already harbors those mosquitoes, and that is bad enough. Dengue shouldn’t have to swamp the entire country for us to make it a priority.
New Mexico 12/19/12 mvtelegraph.com: A local veterinarian has recently diagnosed two dogs in the Edgewood area with tularemia, according to former East Mountain Coalition president Linda Barbour. The disease can easily be treated but is potentially fatal and can be transmitted to humans. It is recommended that people wear gloves when handling or removing dead animals and make sure their pets have flea and tick protection. Although the disease is rare in New Mexico, it and bubonic plague are both present in the East Mountains, Barbour points out. For more information about tularemia, go to http://www.cdc.gov/tularemia.
West Nile Virus (WNV):
Nevada 12/21/12 Clark County: A 51-year-old woman has tested positive for WNV. Health officials said WNV positive mosquito pools have been found in the 89121 and 891243 Las Vegas zip codes. – See http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/20403872/health-district-reports-case-of-west-nile-virus
Florida 12/20/12 Polk County: A bat that was brought into a home on Cleveland Heights Boulevard in Lakeland by the family’s dog has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2012/12/20/ninth_case_of_rabies.html
South Carolina 12/20/12 Spartanburg County: A raccoon that walked into a crowded neighborhood and bit a Woodruff teenager has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www2.wspa.com/news/2012/dec/20/woodruff-teen-bitten-rabid-raccoon-ar-5211724/
Madeira 12/22/12 cdc.gov: As of December 9, 2012, 2,050 cases of dengue fever have been reported from the Portuguese island of Madeira. There have been 58 cases of dengue reported in European travelers returning from Madeira. At this time, CDC does not advise against travel to Madeira. However, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites. – For further details and advice on how travelers can protect themselves see http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/outbreak-notice/dengue-madeira-portugal.htm