WEST NILE VIRUS partially paralyzes ARIZONAN ~ RABIES test strips found unacceptable ~ RABID CAT reports from CT, NJ & PA.

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Arizona 07/05/16 nydailynews.com: by Keri Blakinger – An Arizona father is partially paralyzed after contracting West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. “It was extremely terrifying — and it still is,” Nick Cornelius told the Daily News. Problems started after the Phoenix man got a mosquito bite one day when he was tinkering with a project in his garage. “It was not an average mosquito bite. It pinched and it hurt,” the 32-year-old said. But he didn’t really think anything of it. A few days later he got sick. At first, it seemed like it was just the flu — so he went to urgent care. Doctors there told him it was probably a sinus infection and sent him home with some meds. “I thought it would be gone in a couple days,” he said. But when he woke up the next morning, his legs didn’t work. He was vomiting and spiked a 103-degree fever. His wife had to carry him to the car so they could go to the hospital. Doctors did some tests and found that he was having a rare reaction to West Nile.

wnv1_clip_image002At least 70% of people infected with the virus have no symptoms, while around 20% have nothing more serious than fever and vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than 1% develop severe symptoms, like the paralysis that struck Cornelius. There is no cure for the virus. Now, a month after the initial bite, he’s home from the hospital and on the mend. He’s already regained motion in his right leg and he can wiggle his toes on his left foot.  “They said that they can’t guarantee anything, but the best chance he has of walking again is with inpatient therapy — which we can’t afford,” his wife Tiana Spitali told the News.  The family launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for his overwhelming medical bills. So far, it has raised close to $4,000. With Cornelius unable to walk, the family has been forced to hire a nanny to care for their 5-month-old and the 3-year-old Spitali has from a previous relationship.  “It’s put a huge burden on our family,” Cornelius said. “It’s heartbreaking. Something like this can just end everything.”  – For video see http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arizona-man-paralyzed-west-nile-virus-bug-bite-article-1.2699676

Rabies Test Strips:

how_to_recognize_a_false_positive_pregnancy_testGlobal 07/04/16 http://archynety.com/: by Jesse G. McNeil Jr.  Rabies kills about 60,000 people annually, most of them children in Africa and Asia. Rapid tests for that infection are badly necessary for poor nations. The research, the authors authored, wasn’t completed to discredit rapid tests “but rather to inspire producers to substantially improve and assure the caliber of their items.” But diagnostic test strips produced by six companies for this function are “unsatisfactory” and “cannot be suggested,” based on recent evaluations by researchers in the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Germany. The kits are utilized to test your pet, not the bite victim. It should be found and wiped out so a dilution of their brain could be dripped into the well from the package. No six testing kits, made as a result of an appeal in the World Health Organization, had high false-positive rates. However, they had unacceptably high false-negative rates, and therefore someone bitten by a rabid animal may not be found to want treatment. The evaluations were detailed recently in PLOS Neglected Tropical Illnesses. In poor nations, the price of treatment varies enormously, but it’s sometimes greater than a family earns in several weeks. Treatment frequently involves five doses of vaccine into the arm over several days, and often several shots of immunoglobulin into the wound. Within the U.S., that may easily cost $3,000. Test results varied by batches, the evaluators found, recommending that some producers had low-quality control. The kits were created by companies in China, Germany, India, Columbia and also the U.S., and price $3 to $11. – See http://archynety.com/global-health-rabies-test-strips-are-found-to-be-unsatisfactory/

Rabid Cats:

kid and kitten - googleConnecticut 07/07/16 theday.com: Police are warning residents to avoid contact with stray animals after a badly injured cat that bit a person Tuesday morning tested positive for rabies. According to police, Animal Control Officer Karen Stone responded to the North Chestnut Street area of Wauregan around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday after a caller reported that a badly injured cat had bitten a resident. The cat, which was captured and euthanized, was then sent to the state lab for testing. The state lab confirmed on Wednesday that the cat had tested positive for the rabies virus. – See http://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20160707/police-cat-that-bit-plainfield-resident-has-tested-positive-for-rabies

girl-kittenNew Jersey 07/08/16 nj.com: by Sallie Graziano – A cat found in the area of Frontage Road in Union Township on Thursday tested positive for rabies, according to a notice on the Health Department’s website. A few days earlier, Clinton Police reported a rabid cat had been found in downtown Clinton. The cat in Union Township was female, mainly black with white on the front (tuxedo-like markings). Residents who may have contacted the cat between June 18 and July 4 should notify a doctor to see if treatment is advised. – See http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2016/07/another_rabid_cat_found_in_hunterdon_caution_urged.html

cat-breeds-kids-250x150Pennsylvania 07/08/16 post-gazette.com: A small tabby kitten found Sunday, July 3, in the parking lot of the Penn Center West Office Complex in Robinson has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who may have come in contact with the kitten is asked to the county health department at 412-687-2243. – See http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2016/07/08/Kitten-in-Robinson-tests-positive-for-rabies/stories/201607080186

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MONTANAN killed by BEAR in Flathead National Forest ~ Hiker attacked by GRIZZLY in ALASKA’s Denali National Park ~ NEW MEXICO confirms fourth HANTAVIRUS fatality this year ~ ARIZONAN dies of TULAREMIA ~ CDC data for 2014 indicates MAINE is worst state for LYME DISEASE ~ GA RABID DOG report, MD, NJ, NY, NC & SC RABID CAT reports ~ Eleven HORSES down with EEE in FLORIDA.

 

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Montana 06/26/16 kbzk.com: By Dax VanFossen – Wildlife officials and law enforcement officers are continuing to search for a bear or bears that attacked and killed a 38 year old West Glacier resident on his bicycle on Wednesday near the town of West Glacier. The attack on the pair of bicyclists took place about a mile up the trail leading to Half Moon Lake, and according to Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Lieb, it was a very sudden attack. The victim has been identified at Brad Treat of West Glacier, a career law enforcement officer with the Flathead National Forest. It appears that Treat and his companion surprised the bear on the trail which may have led to the attack. A press release from Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says that Treat was “taken off his bike” by the bear, and was pronounced dead on the scene. The second rider was able to escape the area to get help and was not injured or involved in the attack.  Authorities are asking visitors and area residents to stay out of the area until the bear in question is captured.  Initially, authorities believed it was a grizzly bear that attacked, but now are not certain whether it was a grizzly or a black bear. – For video and complete article see http://www.kbzk.com/story/32340403/multiple-people-attacked-by-grizzly-bear-near-west-glacier

grizzly56578BingFULAlaska 07/03/16 newsminer.com: by Weston Morrow – A hiker was bitten by a grizzly bear on the Savage River Alpine Trail on Friday, the same day Denali National Park staff reopened the Savage River area from earlier bear closures. The hiker, 28-year-old Fangyuan Zhou, was hiking the trail along with two friends when they encountered an adolescent grizzly bear about one-quarter mile from the trailhead. Zhou’s group had seen the bear earlier and made efforts to avoid it, but when the bear charged them they played dead. The bear bit and scratched Zhou before walking away. It returned several minutes later, but a group member was able to scare it off by throwing rocks in its direction. National Park Service staff provided Zhou with initial medical care, but Zhou chose to take herself to a hospital in Anchorage for additional treatment. The bear that bit and scratched Zhou was one of the same bears involved in several other incidents in the Savage River area in the last two weeks. Those earlier incidents caused park staff to close much of the Savage River area near 15 Mile Denali Park Road on June 24. – For complete article see http://www.newsminer.com/mobile/grizzly-bites-hiker-at-denali-national-park/article_9a60c0ea-40bd-11e6-a4d6-b782070bf083.html

Hantavirus :

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Deer mouse.

New Mexico 06/30/16 abqjournal.com: by Olivier Uyttebrouck – A 20-year-old Torrance County woman has died of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome — the state’s sixth case and fourth death this year from the viral illness, the New Mexico Department of Health announced today. Hantavirus infection is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. The deer mouse is the main carrier for Sin Nombre virus, the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico. Deer mice can be found throughout New Mexico, said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s public health veterinarian. “Cleaning up rodent droppings and nesting material in enclosed spaces can concentrate the virus in stirred up particles that can be breathed in, so people need to be very careful when cleaning up mouse-infested areas,” Ettestad said. “Using a disinfectant spray on areas with rodent droppings and waiting 15 or 20 minutes before cleaning will kill the virus and decrease your risk.” – For complete article see http://www.abqjournal.com/801259/nm-reports-fourth-hantavirus-death.html

Tularemia:

zoonosis_tularemia (2)Arizona 07/08/16 http://azdailysun.com/: by Emery Cowan – An individual in the Flagstaff area who contracted tularemia, also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever, has died from the illness, the Coconino County public health department announced Thursday. This is the first confirmed case of tularemia in Coconino County this year and the first fatal case in more than a decade. There have been four human cases of tularemia in Coconino County since 2005, two confirmed cases in 2005 and two in 2015, none of which were fatal. Tularemia is a bacterial disease that infects rabbits and other mammals. It does not spread from person to person but can be transmitted to humans through the skinning and cleaning of game animals, usually rabbits, through deer fly and tick bites, by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by pets who have contracted the disease. In Arizona, tularemia activity occurs at elevations above 3,000 feet. The disease can be severe and fatal if not treated properly and immediately with antibiotic therapy. – For complete article see http://azdailysun.com/news/local/rabbit-fever-death-confirmed-in-coconino-county/article_f00711cf-ff4a-5ef3-8622-1bba095b05bc.html

Lyme Disease:

1553355554National 07/02/16 http://247wallst.com/ by Samuel Stebbins  – Lyme Disease is a debilitating, sometimes deadly infection, transmitted to humans through bites of blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks. Lyme disease typically induces flu-like symptoms, including sore joints, and headaches. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme  disease each year. In the last 10 years, Lyme disease has been diagnosed in every state except for Hawaii. However, 96% of all confirmed cases of Lyme were isolated to only 14 states in 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed CDC data on confirmed cases of the disease to determine the worst states in the country for Lyme disease. In Maine, there were 87.9 confirmed cases of Lyme disease for every 100,000 state residents, the most of any state and more than 11 times the nationwide diagnosis rate of 7.9 cases per 100,000 Americans.  – For video, complete article and link to the 12 worst states for Lyme Disease see http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/07/02/the-states-with-the-most-lyme-disease/

Rabies:

78483649Georgia 07/05/16 dawsonnews.com: by Michele Hester – A Dawson County woman is receiving treatment after being bitten by a rabid dog June 24. County officials confirmed the rabies case June 29, saying the public should not be alarmed as the dog in question has been euthanized. “The Georgia Public Health Laboratory tested brain tissue from the dog for the presence of the rabies virus,” said Bill Ringle with the department of public health. Two other dogs belonging to the same owner were also put down as a precaution, according to Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg. “The two other dogs came back negative for rabies,” he said. Ringle said the decision to euthanize the two dogs was made “because one had injuries from when it was attacked by the confirmed rabid dog and the other dog had a leg injury that could not be accounted for.” None of the three dogs had been vaccinated for rabies, according to Ringle. – See http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/1/article/18946

New Jersey 07/06/16 newjerseyhills.com:  A black stray adult female cat with an injured rear leg, which lived in the area of Old Highway 22 between New and , tested positive for rabies on Tuesday, July 5, according to the Clinton Police. Area residents who may have had contact with this cat at any time between June 15 to June 29 should notify their primary care physician immediately or the Hunterdon Medical Center Emergency Room to discuss concerns regarding possible exposure and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. – See http://www.newjerseyhills.com/hunterdon_review/news/stray-female-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-police-say/article_9af2b718-0edf-51fd-bbec-a34e26e96ad9.html

5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armsMaryland 06/30/16 oceancitytoday: By Katie Tabeling – Worcester County Health officials are reminding residents to exercise caution with wild and feral animals following the discovery of a rabies-infected cat prowling around West Ocean City last month. The cat was found at Ocean Village at Old Bridge, a townhouse community on Old Bridge Road on June 11. According to county officials, the small orange and white tabby feline was being fed as part of a colony of cats at the property. “The cat appeared [to be] sick to a Good Samaritan, and it was taken to a veterinary office for treatment,” said Angela Richardson, the environmental sanitarian with the health department. “The veterinarian determined the cat’s symptoms were indicative of rabies.” The feline exhibited neurologic deficits, was dragging a hind leg and was aggressive when handled. After a preliminary diagnosis, the veterinarian reported to the Worcester County Environmental Health and requested rabies testing. Public officials confirmed that the cat tested positive and was later euthanized. Richardson said that the cat bit or scratched three people when it was handled. – For complete article see http://www.oceancitytoday.net/p/rabid-cat-caught-in-west-ocean-city-neighborhood/1543527

New York 07/01/16 recordonline.com: by Amanda Loviza-Vickery – A cat in the Town of Bethel has tested positive for rabies, prompting Sullivan County Public Health Services to remind residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets. The household cat, which spent time indoors and outdoors, is the second confirmed case of rabies in Sullivan County this year. Domestic animals account for less than 10 percent of reported rabies cases, but when they are not vaccinated and are allowed to roam freely, pets can be exposed to rabies by wild animals, Public Health Services said. Keep pets up to date on rabies vaccinations, and don’t leave them outside unattended, the department said. Don’t try to separate two fighting animals, and wear gloves to handle a pet after a fight. Keep property free of bird seed and food garbage that could attract wild animals. Don’t feed, touch, or adopt wild animals, don’t allow children to do so. – See http://www.recordonline.com/news/20160701/bethel-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies

Looking-for-Kittens-001North Carolina 07/07/16 fayobserver.com: by Chick Jacobs – The State Public Health Lab in Raleigh today reported a positive rabies result in a kitten from Cumberland County. It was the fifth positive case in the county this year. Animal Control picked up a kitten Wednesday at the Animal Hospital of Fayetteville on Fort Bragg Road. The kitten, approximately 4 months old, got into an alteration with an unknown animal sometime around May 25. The owner took the kitten to the Animal Hospital of Fayetteville for treatment of bite wounds to the rear limb and a fractured tibia. Veterinarian staff reported that neurological symptoms appeared Monday or Tuesday. The kitten’s owner resides on Pecan Drive, off McPherson Avenue, in Fayetteville. Animal Control has notified eight people that they must receive rabies post-exposure treatment. The owner and three employees of the animal hospital were bitten or scratched. Two other employees, the owner’s roommate and a friend also handled the cat. – See http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/kitten-has-rabies-people-possibly-exposed/article_a0a8e4b6-c24d-565e-98c1-e7f1e254cd96.html

South Carolina 06/29/16 http://outbreaknewstoday.com/: One person has started post-exposure treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies near the Town of West Union by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.  The victim was attacked and potentially exposed to rabies by the stray cat on June 22, 2016. The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on June 24 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 27. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/south-carolina-stray-cat-that-attacks-person-is-rabies-positive-13804/

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

d98b45080e6bba0549d1647bc320576aFlorida 07/06/16 http://outbreaknewstoday.com/: by Robert Herriman – The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported on July 5, a new EEE case was confirmed in Jefferson County, Florida. The 1 year old colt had received one previous vaccine against EEE and had no recent travel history. Clinical signs began on June 24 and the horse was euthanized for humane reasons the following day. To date, eleven confirmed EEE cases have been reported in Florida in six counties– Jefferson (2), Osceola (2), Palm Beach (1), Polk (4), Walton (1) and Washington (1). No human EEE cases have been reported in Florida this year to date. For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/eastern-equine-encephalitis-in-florida-11-horses-affected-to-date-57098/

COLORADO toddler attacked by MOUNTAIN LION in backyard ~ Officials warn of SQUIRRELS carrying PLAGUE at two CALIFORNIA campgrounds ~ CONNECTICUTT and SOUTH CAROLINA report CATS with RABIES ~ NIH gives UT $11 million to study CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE.

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Colorado 06/22/16 starherald.com:  As he raced to the hospital with his injured son in his car, a Colorado father called 911 to let emergency room staff know to prepare for something unusual. “I am driving from Lower River Road to (the) emergency room. My 5-year-old has got attacked by (a) mountain lion,” Val Loboda told the dispatcher, speaking quickly but calmly. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s office released the recording of the 911 call days after Friday’s attack outside Loboda’s home in a low-rise block of apartments squeezed between a major road and a river on a mountainside about 10 miles northwest of Aspen. The sheriff’s office released its report Wednesday, identifying the family for the first time. Yuri Loboda and his older brother were playing outside when the mountain lion attacked. Alerted by her older son, Anastasia Yukhtenko ran outside, snatched Yuri’s head from the cat’s jaws. She scooped up the child and ran with him. Loboda then returned from his run and set out with his family for the hospital. In a series of brief 911 calls that were repeatedly cut off, Loboda said he “just wanted to give you a heads up to get ready.” Neither Loboda nor Yukhtenko immediately responded to calls from The Associated Press on Wednesday requesting comment. Earlier this week, they released a statement through a Denver hospital where Yuri was taken with deep but not life-threatening cuts to his head, face and neck after initial treatment in Aspen. They said then that he was improving and they requested privacy. A Pitkin County sheriff’s officer had praised Yukhtenko as a hero. She suffered scratches and bites. – For complete article see http://www.C/news/regional_statewide/son-attacked-by-mountain-lion-dad-tells-er-to-prepare/article_a2c2b738-38d0-11e6-8d55-372d92dc2e4b.html

Bubonic Plague:

California_Ground_Squirrel_Dana_Point_Harbor_2007_2California 06/28/16 http://www.pe.com: by Alex Groves – Ground squirrels from two campground sites in the San Jacinto Mountains tested positive for plague earlier this month, prompting Riverside County officials to encourage precautions. Squirrels from both Dark Canyon Campground and Marion Mountain Campground had antibodies which showed they had been exposed to the disease, according to a news release from the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health. The squirrels from Dark Canyon were tested June 8 and the squirrels from Marion Mountain were tested June 13, officials said. County officials consider the risk to the public low and the two campsites will remain open as they conduct follow up investigations, according to the county release. “If I had reservations for those campgrounds, I would still go camping,’ said Dottie Merki, program chief for the Riverside County Environmental health. “But I would definitely take the precautions.” Those include keeping tents away from rodent burrows, not feeding or interacting with wild animals and keeping pets on a leash or even leaving them home. John Miller, spokesman for San Bernardino National Forest — which operates both campgrounds — said that even though county officials have not made any recommendations that the campgrounds be closed, National Forest employees are prepared for that possibility. In the meantime, he said, signs have been posted advising campers of the discovery. – For complete article see http://www.pe.com/articles/prompting-806935-jacinto-riverside.html

Rabies:

cat-child445778Connecticutt 06/25/16 http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/: The Hartford Police Department and Department of Health and Human Services are notifying residents that a stray cat recently tested positive for rabies in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Hartford. The stray cat was captured and tested positive for rabies after biting two individuals who had been feeding the stray cat. Both individuals received appropriate medical treatment. – For complete article see http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2016/06/25/captured-stray-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies/

IMG4336e-L-001South Carolina 06/28/16 http://www.wfxg.com/: By Amanda Shaw – Some residents in Oconee County are being asked to make sure their pets are up to date on veterinary checks and vaccinations. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said a rabid cat was discovered near Main Street and Torrington Road in West Union recently. Deputies said the infected cat was captured and euthanized. – See http://www.wfxg.com/story/32328417/rabid-cat-in-west-union-prompts-call-for-pet-vaccinations

nih.logo_.thumb_National 06/29/16 eurekalert.org: Media Release –  Led by Claudio Soto, Ph.D., researchers from McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have been awarded $11 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the pathogenesis, transmission and detection of prion diseases – such as chronic wasting disease in deer – that can potentially spread to humans. Soto will explore the zoonotic – the ability to transfer from animal to human – potential of CWD and factors that may alter the resistance of humans to that transfer. His team at McGovern Medical School will also investigate the possibility that prions accumulate in the environment in plants and other surfaces where they may concentrate and remain infectious for years. Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, CYN05aiUAAAkKOLwhich includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle, scrapie in sheep, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose. All are fatal brain diseases with incubation periods that last years or even decades. “Prion diseases are rare but because of their incurability, lethality and potential to spread from animals to humans, we need to better understand them from how they replicate to the development of efficient detection methods,” said Soto, principal investigator and director of The George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Research in Alzheimer’s disease and Related Brain Disorders. – For complete release see http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoth-na062916.php

NEW YORK couple attacked by RABID BOBCAT ~ Another BOBCAT in NEW YORK tests positive for RABIES ~ Researchers discover how WEST NILE VIRUS triggers memory loss ~ Case of ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER in MICHIGAN first since 2009.

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Bobcat. Courtesy National Park Service.

New York 06/23/16 timesunion.com: By Lindsay Ellis – A bobcat attack in New Scotland left a husband and wife with deep cuts Wednesday afternoon, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. Both are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at St. Peter’s Hospital. A deputy responded to Rock Hill Road at about 4 p.m., where a man and woman were bleeding and a bobcat was shot dead on a house’s deck, Apple said. The woman, sitting outside a neighbor’s house, had heard a hissing noise, Apple said. The bobcat then lunged to bite her multiple times in the arms and legs. Her husband, hearing screaming, left the neighbor’s house, and the animal bit him multiple times. The homeowner, after trying to pin down the bobcat, shot it in the head, Apple said. Apple called the attack “an extremely atypical incident.” – See http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Bobcat-attacks-New-Scotland-couple-is-then-shot-8319752.php

Author’s Note: According to Spotlight News ” A necropsy was performed Thursday morning at the DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit at the Wildlife Resources Center in Delmar; the adult male bobcat smelled of skunk spray and its face was covered in porcupine quills. Its head was sent to the NYS Rabies Lab at Wadsworth Lab in Guilderland, where it tested positive for the disease (rabies).” – See http://spotlightnews.com/news/2016/06/23/new-scotland-couple-attacked-by-rabid-bobcat/

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Bobcat. Courtesy National Park Service.

New York 06/22/16 wbng.com/news: A Bobcat has tested positive for rabies in the town of Tompkins, Delaware County. This is the first animal that has positive for rabies in 2016, according to Delaware County Public Health Services. According to a news release, the Bobcat was sent to NYS State Rabies Laboratory for testing. The positive test results were received Thursday June 22, 2016, 2016. There was no human exposure, officials said. – See http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Bobcat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-Delaware-County-384014311.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

breakingnews-360wNational 06/22/16 http://medicalxpress.com/: Media Release – Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered how the most severe forms of West Nile virus cause memory loss and mood disorders, opening the door to potential new treatments for the mosquito-borne illness. The study, published in the journal Nature, says 50 percent of patients who survive the most damaging kind of West Nile infection often go on to develop memory loss, learning difficulties, a lack of concentration and irritability. Exactly why this happens has been a mystery until now. Researchers discovered that the virus doesn’t kill off neurons but sparks inflammation that prunes synapses, the connections that carry messages between nerve cells. “What we found in mice, and later confirmed in humans, is that it’s not the death of cells that causes memory loss, it’s the loss of nerve cell connections,” said study co-author Kenneth Tyler, MD, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “The viral infection activates microglial cells and complement pathways which are helping to fight the infection but in turn end up destroying synapses.” – For complete release see http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-west-nile-virus-triggers-memory.html

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF):

P_infectionK_rockymount_01 (2)Michigan 06/21/16 healthline.com:  by Emily Gadd  –  Besides sunburn and dehydration, there is another thing for hikers and parents to worry about this summer. Michigan has confirmed  that a child has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) since 2009. RMSF is a tick-borne illness caused by the Rickettsia rickettsii bacterium. Its most distinctive symptom is a red, spotted rash that doesn’t itch. However, not every person who comes down with the infection will get a rash. Other early symptoms include headache, abdominal pain, fever, and confusion. People who receive prompt treatment usually make a full recovery. Untreated,RMSF can cause serious damage to internal organs such as the kidney and heart. Three different types of ticks carry the R. rickettsii bacteria: the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. RMSF is considered a  rare disease, but according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious diseases physician at the University of Kansas Hospital, rare is a matter of where you are. – For complete article see http://www.healthline.com/health-news/concerns-resurface-over-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever#1

BLACK BEAR attacks marathon runner in NEW MEXICO ~ COLORADO mother rescues toddler from MOUNTAIN LION ~ NEW MEXICAN dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ First case of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE confirmed in WYOMING’s STAR VALLEY.

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New Mexico 06/20/16 koat.com: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officers tracked and killed the bear that attacked a woman running in a marathon Saturday afternoon in the Valles Calderas National Preserve near Los Alamos. The victim apparently surprised a mother bear, whose cub ran up a nearby tree, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish officials said. The woman’s upper body, head and neck were bitten and scratched several times, but her injuries were not considered life-threatening. Her condition was not released. Nearby runners helped the victim until an emergency crew arrived. The victim was airlifted to an Albuquerque area hospital. The bear is to be transported to the state Veterinary Diagnostic Services center for necropsy. State law requires any wild animal that attacks or bites a human be euthanized and tested for rabies which is spread when an infected animal scratches or bites another animal or human.  “It is regrettable when a wildlife encounter results in human injuries and requires we euthanize the animal,” Department Director Alexandra Sandoval said in a statement. “We are thankful that the injuries sustained by the victim were not worse and are hopeful that she is able to recover quickly.” The bear was located not far from where the attack occurred and matches the information given by the victim. The bear was part of a study involving wild bears and was collared with a GPS tracking device which helped Officers confirm the bear’s location at the time of the incident. Officers are confident they caught the right bear. – See http://www.koat.com/news/marathon-runner-injured-in-bear-attack/40126104

Mountain Lion:

Powerful defensive mountain lion guards its kill in the winter snow.

Cougar. Bing Free Use License.

Colorado 06/18/16 cnn.com: by Andreas Preuss – A 5-year-old boy is recovering in a Denver hospital after being attacked by a mountain lion, officials said. The attack happened Friday night about 10 miles northwest of Aspen, Colorado, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. A man called 911 dispatchers to report that his son had been attacked by a mountain lion and he was driving to the Aspen Valley Hospital, police said in a statement. The boy’s mother told police that the boy was playing outside with his older brother when she heard screams. The mother ran out and “physically removed her son from the mountain lion,” according to the statement. After initial treatment in Aspen, the boy was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Denver. He’s in fair condition with injuries to his face, head and neck. His mother was treated and released for minor injuries to her hand and legs. The family has not been identified. After the attack, deputies and an officer with the U.S. Forest Service located a mountain lion in the area and the animal was put down, police said. Investigators are also looking into reports of a second mountain lion in the area earlier in the day. Though mountain lions are not uncommon in Colorado, sightings are rare. – For video and complete article see http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/18/us/colorado-mountain-lion-attack/index.html

Hantavirus:

Hantavirus-OutbreakNew Mexico 06/14/16 lcsun-news.com: State health officials say a 25-year-old man from McKinley County in western New Mexico has died of hantavirus. The Health Department said Tuesday it marks the state’s fifth case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome this year. An environmental investigation will be done at the patient’s home to help reduce the risk to others. The patient’s name wasn’t released. Hantavirus is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. Health officials say the deer mouse is the main carrier for the strain found in New Mexico. Public health veterinarian Paul Etttestad says due to more precipitation, people are seeing a larger than usual number of mice and that’s leading to increased chances of being exposed. – See http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/new-mexico/2016/06/14/new-mexico-man-25-dies-hantavirus/85872692/

Chronic Wasting Disease:

cwd01deerWyoming 06/15/16 wyomingpublicmedia.org: by Liam Niemeyer – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has confirmed the first ever case of Chronic Wasting Disease in Star Valley. Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose. The disease has mostly been reported in southeastern Wyoming, particularly in Albany and Laramie counties, and cases of CWD are relatively rare west of the continental divide. Two other infected deer were also found near Cody this past April. Scott Edberg of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said the department isn’t sure how the disease reached Star Valley, but the department plans to monitor the deer population there as a precaution. “It’s a very tough disease to control. So our initial plan is to get an idea, keep our eyes on them, and closely monitor the deer in the area where this one was found and see if there are any other deer that are showing the same symptoms,” Edberg said. Animals with the disease often show symptoms like salivating excessively, not running away from humans, having a rough coat and appearing malnourished. There were 98 confirmed cases of CWD in Wyoming last year. – For complete article see http://wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/first-case-chronic-wasting-disease-confirmed-star-valley

Researchers map MOSQUITOES that transmit ZIKA, CHIKUNGUNYA, DENGUE and YELLOW FEVER by U.S. county.

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Aggressive MOUNTAIN LION prompts shut-down of CALIFORNIA park ~ ZIKA VIRUS spreading rapidly across PUERTO RICO ~ NANTUCKET residents consider genetically engineered MICE to halt spread of LYME DISEASE ~ HANTAVIRUS claims life of UTAH man ~ NEVADA confirms PLAGUE found at public campground ~ COLORADO confirms FERAL CAT found with BUBONIC PLAGUE.

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California 06/07/16 mercurynews.com: by Marisa Kendall – Santa Clara County deputies found themselves in an unusual standoff Saturday — instead of waiting for a criminal to emerge from a hideout, they were waiting for a mountain lion to come down from a tree. The Sheriff’s Office evacuated McClellan Ranch Preserve as a precaution after a mountain lion growled at children in the park and then ran up a tree, said Captain Rick Sung. Experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who also responded decided against tranquilizing and relocating the animal. Instead, they waited for the cougar to come down and leave of its own accord — which it did, without incident, after night fell. Sung said he was “very concerned” about the mountain lion’s presence, based on a report from a park visitor that it had behaved aggressively toward local children. The animal was camped out in the branches of a tree near McClellan Road and Club House Lane, across the street from a residential neighborhood. “We had a lot of deputies pretty much surrounding the park area just to make sure our residents are safe,” he said. Sung said there were several hundred children in the park with their families when it was evacuated. While the Sheriff’s Office occasionally receives calls about mountain lion sightings, Sung said it’s rare to hear of an animal displaying aggression. “Usually what it is, is people will see it and the mountain lion will just walk away,” he said. There have been 14 reported mountain lion attacks in California since 1986, including three fatal attacks, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A 6-year-old boy was attacked near the Picchetti Winery in Cupertino in 2014 and survived. – For video and complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_29981034/mountain-lion-prompts-park-evacuation-near-cupertino

Zika Virus –

dt_160309_puerto_rico_map_zika_mosquito_800x600Puerto Rico 06/08/16 wsj.com: by Betsy McKay – The Zika virus is creeping north toward the continental U.S., and Alberto de la Vega has started to detect its signs. In ultrasounds he gives pregnant women who are infected with the virus in this American territory, he has seen a 22-week-old fetus with serious brain damage and two others with stunted growth. He is bracing for more. “If you ask me in a month,” says Dr. de la Vega, an obstetrician-gynecologist and chief of a high-risk-pregnancy unit at the capital’s University Hospital, “we may have 10 times the detection rate.” Zika has blanketed three-quarters of this lush island over the past six months, say health authorities, who expect it to keep spreading now that it is prime mosquito season. More than 1,350 people have tested positive for Zika since the beginning of the epidemic here, including 168 pregnant women. One patient died. Thousands more are likely infected without symptoms, health authorities say. Puerto Rico’s battle with Zika is giving local and U.S. health authorities a rare chance to better understand the disease as it makes its relentless march across the Americas. The island has advantages over Latin American and Caribbean nations that lack its modern medical system. It has strong public-health surveillance and anticipated Zika’s arrival, unlike Brazil, where the virus spread unnoticed for months. – For complete article see http://www.wsj.com/articles/zika-swamps-embattled-puerto-rico-1465395531

Lyme Disease –

Tick-Infested-Area-500Massachusetts 06/07/16 statnews.com: by Ike Swetlitz – Nantucket – This exclusive summer playground could become the site of an unprecedented experiment to combat Lyme disease by releasing genetically modified mice on the island. Nantucket boasts some of the highest Lyme infection rates in the country, and the idea unveiled Monday would involve modifying the genes of tens of thousands of mice to keep them from spreading the Lyme bacterium to ticks, which in turn infect people. Any release is years away, but an MIT professor presented the idea to the Nantucket board of health and an audience of about 20 residents and scientists, who were broadly favorable. If the project is realized, it might be the first release into the wild of animals modified with the cutting-edge gene-editing technique CRISPR. Other types of gene-editing have been used, for instance, to make farmed salmon grow faster and to make disease-carrying mosquitoes unable to reproduce. “This is something new,” said Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab and the project’s organizer. “We are considering deliberate alteration of the local environment.” Lyme disease is a significant problem for residents of Nantucket: The island had the highest rate of Lyme of any county in the US from 1992 to 2001, and finished in third place from 2002 to 2006, according to government data. – For complete article see https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/07/nantucket-lyme-genetic-engineering/

Hantavirus –

892008Utah 06/02/16 sltrib.com: by Bob Mims – State health officials say that a Utah man died after exposure to hantavirus last month. Medical privacy policies prohibited release of the man’s identity, but Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko did confirm Thursday that the victim was between the ages of 45 and 64, and that he died in late May. “I can’t provide anything more specific than that,” he said. “We’ve worked with the family to provide information on how to safely clean rodent droppings from properties they frequent.” Rats, mice, and other burrowing and nesting rodents are known to carry the deadly disease, which can be spread to humans through contact with the animals’ urine, saliva, or feces. Hudachko said his agency now has recorded six hantavirus-related fatalities in Utah since 2009. – See http://www.sltrib.com/news/3959672-155/state-health-officials-confirm-may-hantavirus

Bubonic Plague –

Nevada 06/08/16 http://myfox8.com/: A flea from a yellow chipmunk in the Lake Tahoe area tested positive for plagueUSA Today reports. On Tuesday, the Lake Tahoe Basin Unit of the Forest Service, El Dorado County, Calif., officials and the California Department of Public Health reported they confirmed the presence of plague in the flea taken from Fallen Leaf Campground. The campground is about a quarter mile north of Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe. – For complete article see http://myfox8.com/2016/06/08/bubonic-plague-detected-at-lake-tahoe-area-campground/

2006-06jun-tigger-plus-mouse2Colorado 06/02/16 nbc11news.com:  The Delta County Health Department is warning residents of plague after a feral cat tested positive for the disease over the Memorial Day weekend. Health officials said the cat was found on Hanson Road near Cedaredge, then taken to Surface Creek Veterinary Center where it tested positive for plague before being euthanized. Officials said this is the first plague activity detected this season. “Plague is commonly transmitted by fleas, so taking steps to avoid fleas will help prevent spread of the disease,” said Ken Nordstrom, Delta County Health Department Environmental Health Director. – See http://www.nbc11news.com/content/news/Plague-found-in-Delta-County-health-officials-say-381664391.html