Tag Archives: cdc

A cat virus discovered at the University of California-Davis in 1986 called Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is said to be similar to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV); and an invitation to watch a CDC broadcast about the progress being made to eliminate Rabies in the 21st century.

Photo by G. Brunet. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Michigan 01/12/11 candgnews.com: by Eric Czarnik – Some pet owners let their cats go outside to catch birds and vermin. But Sherman the cat likely caught something else while braving the outdoors: the feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV.  The cat’s West Bloomfield owner, who asked not to be named, said she first learned about the dangers of FIV after noticing a puncture wound on Sherman last July.  The owner suspected that the wound came from an animal bite while Sherman was outside in a neighborhood not too far from Civic Center Drive. After she took the cat to the clinic, veterinarians took blood and learned that he had FIV.   The disease was news to the owner, who said people need to be aware that the virus is out there.

FIV is a virus similar to the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, according to Dr. Michael Redmer, staff veterinarian of the Michigan Humane Society. After a long latency period, both diseases suppress the immune system and can cause the victim to die from other illnesses.  Redmer said young cats should be tested for FIV because they can get it from their mothers during birth. A cat’s

Photo by Hannibal Poenaru. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

exposure to other cats’ infected saliva or blood can also pose risk.  “The only (other) confirmed way of transmission is either a blood transfusion or a bite wound from an infected animal to a negative animal,” he said.  Redmer said there are no documented cases of FIV spreading to humans, though he said it could theoretically be possible among people with severely compromised immune systems.

After Sherman was diagnosed, the prevailing belief was that the disease could have come from an earlier bite, and no one knew how much longer Sherman would live. But according to the owner, the cat’s condition worsened over the next few months, and he was put to sleep in December at the age of 12 1/2.  “It was horrible,” the owner said. “His kidneys were failing; he wasn’t even eating the last day. It was really quick.”

Oakland County Animal Control’s Sgt. Joanie Toole recommended that pet owners forbid their cats from venturing outdoors, and not just because of disease.  “We’ve got an increase in coyotes,” she said. “And (cats) can get hit by a car; they can get poisoned; and there’s no real reason why you need to let your cat out outside.”  While Toole said cats can be happy indoors all year round, owners who insist on letting them indulge their so-called wild instincts should make sure that their vaccinations are up to date.  The animal should also wear identification, either through a microchip ID or a breakaway collar that prevents the cat from getting caught on anything, she said.

For more information about the history of FIV and preventive measures, go to http://cats.about.com/cs/vaccination/a/fiv_vaccine.htm

“Rabies Elimination in the 21st Century?”

CDC Grand Rounds, January 20 at 1 pm (EST) 

Click here to watch the live broadcast of

“Rabies Elimination in the 21st Century?

 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, has extended anopen invitation to wildlife professionals, veterinarians, and others who are interested in following the scientific community’s progress in the fight against Rabies to watch a live broadcast of the next session of CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds, entitled “Rabies Elimination in the 21st Century?”

This session of Grand Rounds will address traditional and new approaches to disease prevention and control, the importance of evidence-based strategies and interventions for human prophylaxis and animal control, and will highlight current opportunities and challenges in eliminating this disease in both developed and developing countries.

Presenters (Left to Right) Dr. Charles Rupprecht, Chief, Rabies Program, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Dennis Slate, National Rabies Management Coordinator, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr Fernando Leanes, Advisor, Veterinary Public Health Unit, Pan American Health Organization, Dr Deborah Briggs, Director, Global Alliance for Rabies Control.

Click here to watch the live broadcast of “Rabies Elimination in the 21st Century?

A newly published account of a stray dog found in Minnesota and taken to North Dakota that resulted in the need for Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis for 21 people, and the euthanization of 36 dogs; and Rabies reports from New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Courtesy FEMA. Photo by Jocelyn Augustino.

Minnesota  01/06/11 hon.ch: by Robert Preidt – A newly published case history highlights the importance of rabies vaccinations for pets and animal shelter workers.  The report details a situation involving a stray dog found in rural Minnesota and taken to a North Dakota animal shelter in March 2010. When it was later learned that the dog had rabies, public health officials began an investigation using animal shelter records and a public notification to identify people and animals that may have had contact with the rabid dog.  As a result, post-exposure rabies vaccine was given to 21 people, including nine animal shelter workers and one volunteer. Because of potential contact with the rabid dog, 36 dogs were euthanized, including some that had been housed with the rabid animal and others that might have been exposed and were not up-to-date on their rabies shots.  As of December 2010, there had been no reported cases of rabies in any of the humans or dogs included in the investigation.  Rabies is a fatal disease. Animal shelter workers who may come into contact with rabid animals should consider receiving rabies vaccination before starting their duties, the report authors recommended.  In addition, the case report, which appears in the Jan. 7 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasizes the importance of giving domestic animals routine rabies vaccinations. CDC-MMWR January 7, 2011 / 59(51);1678-1680.

New Jersey 01/06/11 northjersey.com: by Maxim Almenas – Edgewater – A rabies test has come back positive for a raccoon that attacked one resident and charged police officers who were trying to capture it.  On the morning of Dec 31, a resident of the Shadyside section of the borough was confronted by the raccoon as it was trying to enter his apartment. After the raccoon latched its teeth onto the man’s boot, a neighbor was able to bat it off with a broom.  A witness near the intersection of Thompson Lane and Old River Road called 911.  “It actually tried to attack our police officers, too,” said Patricia Dalton, head of the Edgewater Health Department. “It was a very sick animal.”  After the raccoon charged the officers, including James Dalton, Patricia’s son; Ed Ring and Ed Goodwin, they cornered it atop a hill near the Aventine Condominiums.  They were able to subdue the disoriented animal until Bergen County Animal Control officers arrived, but they couldn’t initially find the man who was attacked. Dalton said she and Lt. Dennis Ring canvassed the neighborhood.  Realizing the man might be unaware he could be at risk, she asked the police to contact the county and initiate a reverse 911 call to residents in the area.  “This guy was the third person that called in,” Dalton said, adding that he called in by 3 p.m. the same day. “So we were very fortunate he was home. He didn’t realize what a big deal it was.”  The test results came back from a laboratory in Trenton on Jan. 4.  The night before the attacks, a resident reported hearing two raccoons fighting near the area where the first raccoon was spotted.  Dalton fears there could a second rabid raccoon on the loose.  Any resident who notices unusual behavior by any animal should contact the police immediately.

New York 01/07/11 newschannel34.com: From Tioga County Health Department – There have been confirmed Rabies cases in wild and domesticated animals with in Tioga County.  If your family dog, cat, or ferret is not vaccinated it is at risk of contracting rabies.  Animals that typically carry the Rabies Virus are bats, skunks, Red Fox and Raccoons.  If your pet comes into contact with either of these animals, the incident needs to be reported immediately to the health department at 687-8565.

Texas 01/06/11 sansabanews.com: San Saba County Sheriff’s Department – A case of rabies was confirmed in the Cherokee area during the Christmas break. A female was bitten by a donkey and was transported to the hospital for the bite. The donkey was then tested for rabies and it was confirmed by the lab in Austin.  The investigation of the case showed that the donkey, which was a pet had been bitten by a skunk. Several individuals had to take the rabies vaccine shots due to contact with the donkey.

Virginia 01/05/11 dailypress.com: A raccoon found in Hampton was confirmed for rabies, the Hampton Health Department announced.  The raccoon was attacked by family dogs and was picked up on Scott Drive, in the Virginia Heights section of the city.  To protect your pets from rabies, make sure they have current rabies shots, said John Schellenberg, environmental health manager. Residents should not feed wild animals or leave food outside for their pets that may attract wild animals. Avoid all contact with wild or stray animals.  If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately wash the wound thoroughly and contact your physician or the Health Department for further advice. If you see a sickly animal, particularly a raccoon, call Hampton City Animal Control at 727-8311 with its location.

Announcement: Interactive CDC DengueMap Available Online.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report August 13, 2010 / 59(31);993

CDC, in collaboration with HealthMap, has created a new online tool for displaying global dengue activity. The interactive DengueMap shows areas where CDC considers dengue to be endemic and sites of recent, location-specific reports of disease. Unlike the CDC map that is compiled every 2 years for the CDC Travelers’ Health Yellow Book to characterize general dengue risk based on traditional public health data sources, HealthMap reports are updated hourly and include both professional sources, such as the World Health Organization and ProMED-mail, and informal sources such as local media reports. Combined, these data provide a more dynamic and immediate picture of where transmission of dengue viruses might occur and where disease is actually occurring. DengueMap is available at http://healthmap.org/dengue   and http://www.cdc.gov/dengue. Additional information regarding HealthMap is available at http://healthmap.org .

CDC Report: West Nile Virus Activity — United States, 2009.

Raptors (owls, falcons, eagles, hawks, kestrels, etc.) are being hard hit by this virus in several areas around the country, according to reports from avian vets in practice. http://www.exoticpetvet.net

West Nile virus (WNV) was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 1999 in New York City and has since caused seasonal epidemics of febrile illness and neurologic disease across the United States, where it is now the leading cause of arboviral encephalitis.  This report updates a previous report and summarizes WNV activity in the United States reported to CDC in 2009.  A total of 38 states and the District of Columbia (DC) reported 720 cases of WNV disease.  Of these, 33 states and DC reported 386 cases of WNV neuroinvasive disease, for an incidence of 0.13 per 100,000 population.  The five states with the highest incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease were Mississippi (1.05 per 100,000), South Dakota (0.74), Wyoming (0.73), Colorado (0.72), and Nebraska (0.61).  Neuroinvasive disease incidence increased with increasing age, with the highest incidence among persons aged ≥70 years.  A total of 33 WNV deaths were reported, 32 from neuroinvasive disease.  Calculating from the number of neuroinvasive disease cases and projections from 1999 serosurvey data, CDC estimated that 54,000 persons were infected with WNV in 2009, of whom 10,000 developed nonneuroinvasive WNV disease.  The continuing disease burden caused by WNV affirms the need for ongoing surveillance, mosquito control, promotion of personal protection from mosquito bites, and research into additional prevention strategies.

Barn Owl

Since introduced into the United States in 1999, WNV has become the leading cause of arboviral encephalitis in the country.  However, in 2009, the reported incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease in the United States was 0.13 per 100,000 population, the lowest recorded since 2001 .  During 2004–2007, WNV had appeared to reach a stable incidence of approximately 0.4 per 100,000, but incidence dropped to 0.2 per 100,000 in 2008 and continued to decline in 2009.  This trend might be attributed to variation in populations of vectors and vertebrate hosts, accumulation of immunity in avian amplifying hosts, human behavior (e.g., use of repellents and protective clothing), community-level interventions, reporting practices, or environmental factors (e.g., temperature and rainfall).

Great Horned Owl

In 2009, evidence of WNV human disease again was detected in all geographic regions of the continental United States.  The highest incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease continued to occur mainly in the west-central United States, likely because of the high efficiency of Cx. tarsalis as a WNV vector.  Mississippi (31 cases, 1.05 cases per 100,000) continued to be among those states with the highest incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease.  Arizona, which had the second highest incidence of WNV neuroinvasive disease in 2008 (62 cases, 1.0 per 100,000), reported an 81% decrease in cases with 12 cases and an incidence of only 0.18 per 100,000 in 2009.  After reporting its first two neuroinvasive disease cases in 2008, Washington reported the seventh highest state incidence in 2009 (26 cases, 0.39 per 100,000).  These findings illustrate the wide annual variability and focality of WNV transmission.

Snowy Owl

The findings in this report are subject to at least two limitations.  First, ArboNET is a passive surveillance system that depends on clinicians to consider the diagnosis of an arboviral disease, obtain the appropriate diagnostic test, and report any positive results.  Diagnosis and reporting likely are incomplete, leading to underestimation of the true incidence of disease.  Second, arboviral surveillance programs, testing capacity, and reporting can vary by county, state, or region, affecting incidence estimates.

In the absence of an effective human vaccine, prevention of WNV disease depends on community-level mosquito control and promotion of personal protective measures.  Such measures include use of mosquito repellents, barrier protection (e.g., long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks), avoiding outdoor exposure, or using personal protection from dusk to dawn.  Household measures, such as window screens and covering or draining peridomestic water-holding containers can further decrease the risk for WNV exposure.

Additional information on prevention of WNV infection is available from CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm .  An overview of current year WNV transmission activity is available at http://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/wnv_us_human.html .

To read the full report, go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5925a1.htm?s_cid=mm5925a1_e .

(Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 2, 2010 / 59(25); 769-772.)

New study shows cats four times more likely than dogs to have rabies


According to Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2008, a recent study published in the 15 September 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats were four times more likely to be infected with rabies than dogs last year. The report suggests that this may be due to the fact that cats are less likely to be vaccinated, and they are allowed to roam outdoors unsupervised more often than dogs, which are much more restricted by leash laws.

The study also notes that 93% of reported rabies infections involved wild animals, while most post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment for rabies in humans was necessary because of exposure to cats and dogs that had been suspected or confirmed to be infected with rabies.

(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected the data, which is included in an AVMA rabies backgrounder published in recognition of World Rabies Day, September 28, 2009:   < http://www.avma.org/reference/backgrounders/rabies_bgnd.asp > .)


Latest reports…………………………….. 

Rochester, New Hampshire  09/23/09  fosters.com:  Two dead pet birds have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, according to City Manager John Scruton.The birds were indoor pets, Scruton said. The manager would not disclose the location within the city, but added it is not near a school. He said additional information would be provided by the state.

Rhode Island  09/23/09  whjjtalkradio920.com:  A second sample from a mosquito pool in Rhode Island has tested positive for West Nile virus. State environmental authorities say the positive test came from a trap set in Pawtucket and from a species of mosquitoes that bites both birds and humans. Two mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile virus so far this year, and two have tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis.

Connecticut  09/23/09  theday.com:  Mosquitoes trapped in Voluntown have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis virus, the state Department of Public Health announced Tuesday. EEE-positive mosquitoes were also found in South Windsor, Shelton and Darien in testing of mosquitoes caught in traps Sept. 14 to 16. EEE-positive mosquitoes have been found thus far this year in 16 towns, mainly in eastern and central Connecticut, including Lyme and Old Lyme. Mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus have been found in 11 towns, including Old Lyme.

Virginia  09/23/09  nbc12.com:  Virginia has confirmed a third case of West Nile Virus in a horse this year. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Wednesday that the 20-year-old quarter horse from New Kent County was euthanized after symptoms began on Sept. 12. The horse hadn’t been vaccinated for the mosquito-borne disease. The earlier cases were reported in Pittsylvania County and Augusta County.

Washington  09/23/09  nwsource.com:  A 71-year-old Sunnyside woman may be the first West Nile virus death in Washington. The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Ruth Rosalee Rogers died Saturday at a Yakima hospital and her husband says doctors told him his wife died of the West Nile virus. Howard Rogers says his wife became ill after returning from a trip to Denver on Sept. 1. She entered Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center on Sept. 4.

Virginia  09/22/09  whsv.com:  The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has confirmed another positive case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in horses for 2009, bringing the total statewide to eight. Most cases have been in the Tidewater area of Virginia, which is typical.

CDC’s 2008 figures for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever up 15% over last year…..

Child's right hand and wrist displaying the characteristic spotted rash of Rocky Mountaispotted fever.

Child's right hand and wrist displaying the characteristic spotted rash of Rocky Mountaispotted fever.

The number of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) cases reported to the CDC reached the historical high in 2008 of 2,563. That’s a 15% increase over 2007’s figures, and a whopping 418% over the 495 cases reported in 2000. State’s with the highest incidence in 2008 include NC (511), MO (407), OK (268), TN (233), VA (155), AR (129), and IL (110). Some of this is likely due to improved diagnostic and reporting methodologies, but there is little doubt that the annual number of cases has been increasing.

The figure for 2009, as of the week ending August 8, 2009, is 804, which is 316 cases less than the number reported last year within the same time period, but the same states are among the heavy hitters NC (212), MO (116), TN (106), AR (44), OK (41), VA (38), and IL (27), the summer isn’t over yet, and these numbers are likely to be revised. RMSF is the most severe and most frequently reported tick-borne illness in the United States. (See entry for August 6, 2009).

2008 RMSF cases by state: AL (93), AZ (17), AR (129), CO (1), DE (33), DC (6), FL (19), GA (78), ID (1), IL (110), IN (6), IA (8), KY (1), LA (6), ME (1), MD (92), MA (2), MI (3), MS (11), MO (407), MT (3), NE (20), NV (3), NH (1), NJ (85), NM (4), NY (54), NC (511), ND (1), OH (31), OK (268), OR (3), PA (15), RI (3), SC (57), SD (3), TN (233), TX (62), VT (7), VA (155), WV (10), WY(10).                    (Source: CDC, MMWR Vol. 58, No. 31, August 14, 2009).


Chronic Wasting Disease in wildlife now identified in 11 states……..



Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is classified as a prion disease, otherwise known as a transmissible spongiform (sponge-like) encephalopathy (TSE). It is a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects both animals and humans. Characteristically, TSEs have a long incubation period, spongiform changes associated with nerve cell loss, and a failure to induce an inflammatory response. The causative agent of TSEs is not well understood but is believed to be a prion, which is an agent capable of causing abnormal folding of normal cellular prion proteins in the brain leading to brain damage and the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, is classified as a TSE first identified in cows in the United Kingdom during the 1970s. It is thought to be the result of feeding cattle a meat-and-bone meal containing BSE or scrapie-infected sheep products. Scrapie is a prion disease found in sheep. BSE reached epidemic proportions in the United Kingdom that peaked in January 1993 at almost 1,000 new cases per week.Through 2008, more than 184,500 cases of BSE had been confirmed in the U.K. alone in more than 35,000 herds.

Through May 2009, there have been 20 identified cases of BSE in North America: 17 in Canada, and three in the United States. The U.S. cases were identified in cows in Washington (2003), Texas (2005), and Alabama (2006).                                                                   



Mule Deer

Mule Deer

CWD is known to affect North American hoofed, ruminant mammals such as mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and moose. It was first identified as a fatal wasting syndrome in captive mule deer in Colorado in the 1960s, and in the wild in 1981. By the mid-1990s, CWD had been diagnosed among free-ranging deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming, where the disease is now endemic. Currently, the geographic range of diseased wild animals includes 11 U.S. states: CO, IL, KS, NE, NM, NY, SD, UT, WV, WI, and WY.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (vCJD), is a human prion disease first described in the United Kingdom in 1996. There is now strong scientific evidence that the agent responsible for the outbreak of BSE in cows is the

Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer

 same agent responsible for the outbreak of vCJD in humans. Both are fatal brain diseases with long incubation periods measured in years, and both are caused by an unconventional transmissible agent.  The human risk, however, is thought to be low even after consumption of contaminated meat.

To date, no strong evidence of CWD transmission to humans has been reported, but several human cases of prion disease have been considered suspect. A study published by the CDC (Vol. 10, No. 6, June 2004) titled Chronic Wasting Disease and Potential Transmission to Humans concluded that “The lack of evidence of a link between CWD transmission and unusual cases of CJD, despite several epidemiologic investigations, and the absence of an increase in CJD incidence in Colorado and Wyoming suggest that the risk, if any, of transmission of CWD to humans is low.” It goes on to state that though studies indicate the possibility of transmission to humans, “no human cases of prion disease with strong evidence of a link with CWD have been identified. However, the transmission of BSE to humans and the resulting vCJD indicate that, provided sufficient exposure, the species barrier may not completely protect humans from animal prion diseases.”

According to the CDC, “Specific studies have begun that focus on identifying human prion disease in a population that is at increased risk for exposure to potentially CWD-infected deer or elk meat. Because of the long time between exposure to CWD and the development of disease, many years of continued follow-up are required to be able to say what the risk, if any, of CWD is to humans.”

The median duration of illness for CJD is 4-5 months, and the symptoms include dementia and early neurologic abnormalities. The median duration of illness for vCJD is 13-14 months, and the symptoms include prominent psychiatric/behavioral problems, a painful sense of touch, and delayed neurologic abnormalities. Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal.

 The CDC recommends that hunters consult with state wildlife agencies to identify areas where CWD occurs. They should avoid eating the meat of deer, mule deer, moose, and elk that look sick, and may wish to have susceptible animals harvested from known CWD-positive areas tested for CWD before consuming the meat. Gloves should be worn when field-dressing carcasses, the meat should be boned-out, and handling of the brain and spinal cord tissues should be minimized.

(Sources: http://www.cdc.gov, http://www.cwd-info.org/index.php/fuseaction/recommendations.gmu , and the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance www.cwd-info.org .



Two new cases of tularemia in Alaska this month – 123 nationally in 2008…….

Snowshoe hare tracks

Snowshoe hare tracks


Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare

Alaska state public health authorities announced earlier this month that two Fairbanks residents have been diagnosed with tularemia (rabbit fever), a potentially fatal bacterial infection that can be transmitted to humans from snowshoe hares. Alaska Department of Fish and Game veterinarian Kimberlee Beckmen said the hare population has been high in the Interior this summer. Fish and Game spokesperson Cathe Harms said both patients were treated with antibiotics and are doing well.

 It’s not clear how the Fairbanks residents contracted the disease.  The bacteria can penetrate the skin of humans when they handle sick rabbits, beavers, or muskrats, but people can also be infected by bites from ticks, mosquitoes, or other vectors that have fed on sick animals.  Tularemia can also be transmitted via water contaminated by the carcass of a dead animal, by the consumption of the undercooked meat of an infected animal, or by inhaling contaminants left by an infected animal’s droppings. (Source: JuneauEmpire.com, 08/06/2009).

 As of August 8, 2009, there have been 39 cases of Tularemia reported to the CDC nationally.  Four of these cases were reported during the week ending August 8, 2009, in Nebraska, Florida, and Oklahoma (2).

 During 2008, there were 123 cases of Tularemia reported nationally:

 AR(11), CA(2), CO(2), ID(2), IL(1), KS(2), KY(2), MD(1), MA(19), MN(2), MO(21), NE(7), NV(2), NJ(2), NM(1), NY(1), NC(3), ND(3), OK(7), OR(4), SD(10), TN(2), UT(8), VA(1), WA(4), WI(1), WY(2) 

 (Source: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol 58, No. 31, August 14, 2009).

CDC reports two cases of human rabies in 2008……



Earlier this week the CDC reported that two cases of human rabies were confirmed in the United States in 2008; one in California and another in Missouri.

California:  On March 17, 2008, a 16-year-old male who had recently entered the U.S. illegally from Oaxaca, Mexico, was brought to an emergency room in Santa Barbara County, CA. His family said he had complained of a sore throat and was not eating or drinking. He was awake and alert, but agitated and crying. IV fluids were administered and the patient was discharged with a diagnosis of pharyngitis and abdominal pain.  Several hours later the patient’s family brought him back to the same hospital complaining of nausea, vomiting, fever, and sore throat, however, he was now uncooperative and was observed to spit frequently. He was again given IV fluids for dehydration and was discharged with a diagnosis of viral pharyngitis, depression, and anorexia.  The next day the patient experienced vomiting and shaking and then collapsed.  When paramedics arrived, he was not breathing and was unresponsive.  Resuscitation efforts were not successful.

After the patient’s death, the attending physician reevaluated the diagnosis and because of the exhibited hydrophobia and aggressive behavior, as well as the fact that the patient had come to the U.S. from a canine rabies enzootic region in Mexico, he considered the possibility of rabies as a cause of illness and death.

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department and health officials in Mexico interviewed family members and friends of the patient regarding potential rabies exposures. It was learned that the patient had received two animal bites in December of 2007.  Both occurred in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The patient has been bitten by a dog, and in the same month, by a fox.  Several others also bitten by the fox received rabies post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), but the patient did not.

On March 21, brain tissue obtained from the patient postmortem was determined to be positive for rabies virus antigen.  Viral characterization testing further determined the rabies virus variant was most closely related to those found in Mexican free-tailed bats, rather than a canine variant.  Of 29 contacts and family members, 20 were deemed to be potentially exposed and received PEP. (Source: CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 10, 2009, Vol. 58).

Missouri:  In mid-October of 2008, a 55-year-old man from Texas County was bitten on the ear by a bat. The man captured the bat and kept it for observation but, because it was still alive after a period of three days, he released it and did not seek rabies PEP.  However, on November 19, he became ill and sought treatment.  Unfortunately, the delay proved fatal and he died on November 30, 2008.

 Tissue submitted to the CDC later confirmed the man had a rabies virus associated with the silver-haired and eastern pipistrelle bats.  The man’s death was the first in the state of Missouri due to rabies since 1959.  (Sources: OzarksFirst.com, 12/02/2008; JoplinGlobe.com, 12/17/2008; and ISVMA.org, Jan 2009).

Silver haired bat 2

Range of silver-haired bat.

Range of silver-haired bat.

2008 Lyme Disease cases up by 28% nationally…….

The CDC has released its final 2008 reports of nationally notifiable infectious diseases. Some of the most stunning figures relate to the number of Lyme Disease cases reported in 2008. The national figure is 35,198 compared to 27,444 cases reported in 2007; a 28% increase. The numbers for individual states are as follows:

AL (9), AK (6), AZ (8), AR (0), CA (74), CO (3), CT (3,896), DE (772), DC (74), FL (88), GA (35), HI (*), ID (9), IL (108), IN (42), IA (109), KS (16), KY (5), LA (3), ME (908), MD (2,218), MA (4,582), MI (92), MN (1,282), MS (1), MO (6), MT (17), NE (12), NV (12), NH (1,601), NJ (3,485), NM (8),NY (7,794), NC (47), ND (10), OH (45), OK (2), OR (38), PA (3,818), RI (210), SC (29), SD (3),TN (31), TX (153), UT (5), VT (404), VA (933), WA (23), WV (135), WI (2,034), WY (3)            * Not reportable.