Tag Archives: Chikungunya Fever

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


TEXAS reports first locally acquired case of CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER ~ FLORIDA reports locally acquired case of DENGUE FEVER ~ EEE puts three HORSES down in CENTRAL FLORIDA ~ TULAREMIA reported in ALASKAN HARES and MINNESOTAN CATS.


Texas 06/01/16 click2houston.com: The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed Tuesday the first locally acquired case of chikungunya, a mosquito borne illness. A Cameron County resident got sick with the illness in November 2015 and was diagnosed in January. The case was reported to the local health department in April. The investigation performed by the Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services determined the patient had not traveled, and the case was confirmed last week by testing at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – For complete article see http://www.click2houston.com/health/first-texas-acquired-chikungunya-case-announced

Dengue Fever:

dengue-fever_10459Florida 06/01/16 abcnews.com: Florida health officials say a tourist contracted dengue fever while visiting Key West. A statement Wednesday from the Florida Department of Health in Monroe County says the person, who is not a Florida resident, is recovering. It adds “all indications are that this infection was locally acquired,” and mosquito control officials have intensified their activities in the southernmost city in the continental U.S. Dengue fever is rarely fatal but causes debilitating pain. The virus is transmitted by the same mosquitoes that can carry Zika and chikungunya. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/health-officials-tourist-contracted-dengue-key-west-39531823

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

eee-threat-249x187Florida 05/31/16 wmfe.org: by Abe Aboraya- Three unvaccinated horses in Central Florida have caught eastern equine encephalitis. There have been two cases in Polk County and one in Osceola County. All three horses were euthanized or put down in May, and are the first three cases for the state. – For complete article see http://www.wmfe.org/eastern-equine-encephalitis-an-often-fatal-virus-shows-up-in-c-fla-horses/60388


Alaska 05/28/16 outbreaknewstoday.com: A sick hare with signs of Tularemia was killed by a North Pole resident on May 11th. The disease was present based on observations during a necropsy performed today by ADF&G wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen. In addition, a Fairbanks veterinarian reported a suspected case of Tularemia in a dog from the Chena Hot Springs area last week. The dog was found eating a hare two days prior to becoming severely ill with fever. – For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/alaska-reports-tularemia-in-sick-hares-48103/

tularemia33987ir6Minnesota 05/27/16 kstp.com: by Sarah Thamer – The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has confirmed three cases of Tularemia in Minnesota since April. Tularemia, a wildlife disease normally found in rabbits, squirrels and other rodents, has now been found in a cat in the Twin Cities. It is a disease that both people and animals can get through tick and fly bites or contact with infected animals. According to the University of Minnesota, three cases of tularemia or rabbit fever in domestic animals have been found since April. The cases have been identified in a cottontail rabbit and two cats – all in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The disease is rare in Minnesota.

TEXAS reports first locally acquired probable case of CHIKUNGUNYA ~ PUPPY exposes 32 people to RABIES in MISSOURI ~ Wild RABBIT found with TULAREMIA in COLORADO ~ Sportsmen’s group in WISCONSIN wants crack down on DEER farms to fight CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ CANADA: SASKATCHEWAN woman fights off BLACK BEAR.


Texas 05/02/16 rgvproud.com: Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services has been investigating a probable case of Chikungunya virus infection. This case initially presented to a doctor’s office in November 2015 and tested in January 2016; however, it was not reported to the health department until April 2016. The investigation has since determined that the case was acquired locally and is being considered the first locally acquired probable case of Chikungunya in the State of Texas. Chikungunya virus is transmitted to people through mosquito bites and cannot be spread from one person to another person. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Should anyone experience any of these symptoms, a visit to the health care provider should be scheduled. “While this is the first reported locally acquired probable case of Chikungunya, the overall risk of being infected with Chikungunya virus in South Texas is very low and we have no additional evidence that the virus is circulating in the local mosquito population,” stated James W. Castillo, Cameron County Health Authority. “A critical key point to also remember here is the importance of physicians reporting these conditions. It would have allowed us to work with our local municipalities to assess the mosquito issue and appropriately respond.” – For complete article and preventive measures see http://www.rgvproud.com/news/local-news/cameron-county-reports-probable-case-of-chikungunya-in-texas


78483649Missouri 05/06/16 ozarksfirst.com: The first confirmed case of rabies has been reported to the Howell County Health Department by the Missouri State Public Health Lab in Jefferson City. The case involved a rabid 8 week old puppy near the Moody area, which became ill and died. Howell County Health Department officials say the puppy had exposure to 32 people who have started Post Exposure Prophylactic shots. The puppy’s mother, 5 littermates, and 2 other dogs have had to be euthanized due to exposure to a rabid animal, all of which were not current on rabies vaccinations.- For complete article see http://www.ozarksfirst.com/news/rabies-confirmed-in-howell-county-8-dogs-euthanized-32-people-exposed


baq4ijctzixmuu7acvc5Colorado 05/05/16 fox21news.com: by Angela Case – A wild rabbit found in Pueblo West has tested positive for tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. The rabbit was found in the Liberty Point area. The Pueblo City-County Health Department said it had no contact with people. Tularemia is a bacterial infection most commonly transmitted to humans by the handling of sick or dead animals. Infection can also occur from the bite of infected insects, including ticks and deer flies, and exposure to soil and vegetation. Dogs and cats get tularemia by eating infected rabbits or other rodents and through tick and deer fly bites. – See http://fox21news.com/2016/05/05/wild-rabbit-found-in-pueblo-west-tests-positive-for-tularemia/

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD):


Deer with CWD

Wisconsin 05/05/16 startribune.com: by Todd Richmond – A prominent sportsmen’s group wants Gov. Scott Walker to crack down on captive deer farms as he considers revising the state’s chronic wasting disease tactics. The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s letter to Walker, announced Thursday, asked him to impose regulations designed to keep CWD from spreading from captive deer to wild deer. The recommendations include requiring farms to double fence, installing warning devices that can detect open gates and annual fence inspections by the state or an independent inspector. The letter also suggests that farmers be required to inspect their own fences at least monthly and immediately after any major wind storms. They would have to kill their herds within a month if they haven’t double fenced and one of their deer tests positive for CWD. They also would have to maintain liability insurance to cover any damages to the state resulting from escapes. The DNR recorded 29 escapes from deer farms in 2015 alone. Nevertheless, the agency in December adopted an emergency rule allowing farmers to opt of the state’s CWD program without upgrading their fences. – For complete article see http://www.startribune.com/wildlife-group-proposes-deer-farm-crackdown-to-fight-cwd/378266561/


Black Bear:

black-bear-backcountry-movie_hSaskatchewan 05/05/16 cbc.ca/news: by Stefani Langenegger – A Saskatchewan woman says it was both her scariest and her luckiest day — she fought off a black bear after it bit her on the leg during an afternoon walk. Raschel Zeschuk lives in Paradise Hill, northeast of Lloydminster, and goes on daily walks with her two dogs. But on April 21 the walk was anything but routine. Zeschuk had just reached the end point of her usual route and turned around to return home when she heard rustling behind her. Behind her dog was a black bear in hot pursuit. She says she started to scream in an effort to scare the bear off and looked around for higher ground. “All I could kind of think of was, ‘Get up on something,'” Zeschuk said. She began running towards some poplar trees which had fallen over in the bush.  “The bear immediately turned away from my dog and started chasing me,” Zeschuk said. “It caught up to me pretty fast.” The bear grabbed her leg, scratching it on one side and biting it on the other. Zeschuk scrambled up on the poplar tree, which gave way and she fell backwards. “This is where it’s kind of hazy,” she said. Her dog, Cosmo, began barking and Zeschuk had time to scramble back up on the tree. “It started trying to climb up after me and that’s when I kicked it in the nose as hard as I could and it ran off,” she said. Zeschuk says she then ran home as quickly as she could. She has six stitches in her leg and is getting her last rabies shot today.  Zeschuk says she loves hiking and is working with someone to overcome her anxiety about future walks, given her recent experience. Mostly she just feels very grateful. – For complete article and photos see http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/sask-woman-fights-black-bear-1.3567714

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


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-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/


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


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

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/


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.


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”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Harvest mouse.

Harvest mouse.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Tom Schwan

Dr. Tom Schwan

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

COYOTE attacks two CALIFORNIANS ~ PUERTO RICO confirms 4000+ cases of CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER ~ Study confirms 1000+ human cases of PLAGUE in U.S. since 1900 ~ Wildlife professional believes MOUNTAIN LIONS are returning to NORTHEASTERN U.S. ~ RABIES reports from FL, MO, RI, SC & TX.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 12/31/14 mercurynews.com: by Natalie Neysa Alund – An apparently sick coyote that bit a man and a 5-year-old boy in the city of Fremont’s Mission San Jose neighborhood and was later fatally shot by police has tested negative for rabies, police announced Tuesday. The animal’s necropsy took place Monday and test results from a state lab were released early Tuesday, police spokesman Geneva Bosques said. Police shot and killed the coyote on Dec. 25 after it bit a 42-year-old man and the 5-year-old boy on separate streets about a mile apart that day. The coyote, who appeared injured, was initially spotted about 5:40 p.m. in the 3100 block of Starr Street, just several blocks from Highway 680, where he bit the man on his leg. An hour later, a man jogging on Montevideo Circle was chased by the coyote, although he was able to kick off the animal and escape uninjured. As officers were searching for the animal, dispatch received a call from a local hospital reporting that a 5-year-old boy had been bitten by a coyote while walking on Via Oporto. The animal was eventually found wandering on Nido Court and fatally shot in order to prevent further attacks. The coyote was taken to Tri-City Animal Shelter, where it was tested for rabies. None of the people bitten suffered life-threatening injuries. Bosques, who said the attack appears to be random, said the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will continue to try and determine why it attacked. – See http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_27229429/coyote-who-bit-two-people-fremont-tests-negative


chikungunya-symptoms66734Puerto Rico 12/31/14 foxnews.com: Puerto Rico has logged more than 4,000 confirmed cases of infection with the Chikungunya virus this year, the Health Department said Wednesday. Lab tests confirmed 118 new cases during the Nov. 12-Dec. 9 period, chief epidemiologist Brenda Rivera Garcia said, which brought the total to 4,185, pending data for the rest of December. “Most of the cases confirmed in this report are in the western area of the island,” she said in a statement. “It is important that residents in this region’s municipalities take steps to protect themselves and to eradicate mosquito breeding sites both around houses and work areas.” Chikungunya, like dengue fever, is spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito . . . The Chikungunya virus is responsible for five deaths on the island this year, according to the Puerto Rico Health Department. – See http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/health/2014/12/31/puerto-rico-reports-more-than-4000-chikungunya-cases/


BubonicPlague4456675National 12/29/14 healio.com: According to researchers at the CDC, human cases of plague continue to occur consistently in the United States, particularly in the rural Southwest. During a 113-year study period, from 1900 to 2012, 1,006 cases of human plague were reported in the US. Of 913 cases for which information on the clinical form of the disease was available, 82% were bubonic, 8% pneumonic, 10% septicemic, 1% pharyngeal and less than 1% gastrointestinal. Of 305 cases for whom exposure information was available, 106 individuals had been bitten by a flea, 91 recently had handled an animal, 64 had butchered or skinned an animal, and 21 had sustained a bite or scratch or were exposed to the cough of an animal. According to the researchers, the most significant current risk factor for plague is direct or indirect human contact with rodents and their fleas. – See http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7Ba3f39c57-b943-4bb8-90d4-3137144f79ea%7D/plague-continues-to-pose-threat-in-us-particularly-in-southwest


MountainLionNortheastern U.S. 01/02/15 centralmaine.com: A Vermont animal tracker known nationally for her expertise in tracking cougars believes the big cats will eventually return to the Northeastern United States and neighboring parts of Canada, but she says the region won’t see large numbers of them anytime soon. The forests of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and upstate New York have ideal cougar habitat, meaning plentiful forest cover and large animals to sustain a cougar population, said Sue Morse of Jericho, the science director and founder of the organization Keeping Track. “Back in the ’80s, I just looked at that huge expanse of country between the Rockies, the western slope of the Rockies and here, and I thought to myself ‘how can this happen?’” said Morse. Since then, scientists have tracked the animals moving out of South Dakota into Midwestern states. Cougars also are moving north into Manitoba, the Canadian province to the west of Ontario, which Morse considers their most likely route back to the Northeast. “We need our apex carnivores in a big way,” Morse said. “We need them for the health of our forests. Our forests are being ravaged by too many deer in some places.” The animals are known by a variety of names: mountain lion, puma, panther, catamount. Vermont’s last known cougar was killed in 1881 in Barnard. – For complete article see http://www.centralmaine.com/2015/01/01/cougar-expert-cats-could-return-to-new-england/


2011RabiesAwarenessWeekFlorida 12/23/14 Jackson County: A horse stabled west of Marianna off U.S. 90 has tested positive for rabies. Another horse and three dogs on the property have been quarantined as a precaution. – See http://www.jcfloridan.com/news/article_a1e1cc72-8af4-11e4-824c-cfd866e432ca.html

Missouri 12/31/14 Texas County: A stray cat that was taken in by a county resident and later became ill has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/d/story/texas-county-under-alert-after-rabid-cat-found/25352/JrGmp7q9a0Sguo0L0HIdMg

Rhode Island 12/30/14 Providence County: A pony stabled in the vicinity of Sherman Avenue in Lincoln has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who may have come in contact with the animal should call the Rhode Island Department of Health at (401) 222-5960. – See http://wpri.com/2014/12/30/pony-put-down-after-testing-positive-for-rabies/

South Carolina 12/29/14 Lancaster County: Two people, who live near the town of Kershaw, have been advised to seek immediate medical advice after an outside pet cat tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/12/29/5412962/2-lancaster-co-residents-exposed.html#.VKdwgnvy0tU

Texas 12/23/14 Kerr County: Four people are being treated for potential exposure to rabies after a pet cat died from the virus in Kerrville. – See http://www.kens5.com/story/news/local/public-safety/2014/12/23/rabies—animals-cats-vaccine/20779433/

HANTAVIRUS kills one NEW MEXICAN and hospitalizes another ~ CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER in the AMERICAS tops 1 million cases its first year ~ RABIES reports from PAx2 & VAx2.

Deer mouse. Courtesy of CDC.

Deer mouse. Courtesy of CDC.

New Mexico 12/12/14 ruidosonews.com: by Dianne Stallings – A 28-year-old man from McKinley County died this week from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome and a 49-year-old man from Otero County still is hospitalized with the viral infection, but improving. . . . New Mexico this year has seen a total of six HPS cases, three resulting in death. 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. The deer mouse is the main carrier for Sin Nombre virus, the Hantavirus strain found in New Mexico. – For complete article see http://www.ruidosonews.com/ruidoso-news/ci_27124697/otero-county-man-hospitalized-hantavirus


Chikungunya.33883.cdcWestern Hemisphere 12/13/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – Exactly one year after the mosquito borne virus, chikungunya, made its first appearance in the Western Hemisphere as a locally acquired infection in the French Quarter section of the Caribbean island of St. Martin, the epidemic that has spread throughout the Americas has topped the 1 million case mark, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Friday. The most recent tally from the international health organization put the number of suspected and confirmed autochthonous, or locally acquired cases at 1,011,548, up nearly 36,000 cases from last week’s report. The eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, after not reporting new cases for weeks, saw 25,381 additional cases reported to the UN agency. The Dominican Republic accounts for slightly more than half (51.8 percent)of all local transmission cases seen in the Western hemisphere with 524,297 total to date. In South America, Colombia saw an additional 6,350 cases, bringing their total to 45,513, the most cases reported on the South American continent. Brazil also reported a little spike recording 1,130 confirmed and 792 suspected chikungunya cases as of epidemiological week 46. Chikungunya virus is transmitted  by the same mosquitoes involved in the dengue fever  transmission (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus). – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/chikungunya-in-the-americas-tops-1-million-cases-one-year-after-being-introduced-83961/ 


Pennsylvania 12/16/14 Montgomery County: A brown tabby cat named Jinx and missing its tail and hind legs that was being fostered at the Green Lane Veterinary Hospital in Green Lane has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who might have had contact with Jinx at the hospital between Nov. 29 and Dec. 11 should seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.pottsmerc.comCAS_Kitten_Child_02/general-news/20141216/montco-confirms-rabies-in-crippled-cat-named-jinx

Pennsylvania 12/11/14 Washington County: An orange and white cat that has been held at the Washington Area Humane Society Shelter since May has tested positive for rabies. The incubation period can be as long as several years in rare cases. Currently, three people are being treated for potential exposure to the virus. Anyone who has been at the shelter and might have been exposed should seek immediate medical advice. – See http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/7361289-74/health-cat-officials#axzz3Lvw7N3ux

help984-05834Virginia 12/12/14 James City County: Health officials are looking for a dog that bit a person in James City County Wednesday afternoon. The attack happened around 4:30 p.m. in the neighborhood around Bridgewater Drive, according to the Peninsula Health District. A small white dog with tan spots — possibly a Fox Terrier or Jack Russell — was being walked by its owner when it bit the victim. Health officials say the victim will have to get a series of shots to prevent rabies, if the dog is not found and they can’t figure out if the animal has rabies. Once found, the dog won’t be taken away its owner, but will just have to stay inside for ten days. Anyone who has seen a dog with this description is asked to call the Peninsula Health District at 757-603-4277. – See http://wavy.com/2014/12/12/health-officials-looking-for-pet-dog-that-resident/

555f5f5Virginia 12/10/14 Halifax County: A stray Husky mix dog with a litter of six puppies that was found in the Boxwood Trail vicinity in the northern section of the county has tested positive for rabies. Two days after being picked up the mother began to show symptoms of being sick and was taken to a vet where the decision was made to put her to sleep. Because the pups were still nursing, they were also euthanized. Seven people exposed to the dogs were treated for possible exposure to the rabies virus. – See http://www.yourgv.com/news/local_news/article_69ac91c0-806d-11e4-a833-9b15f1940be0.html

Invasive MOSQUITO threatens southern CALIFORNIA with exotic viruses ~ CALIFORNIA county issues HANTAVIRUS ALERT ~ NEW HAMPSHIRE reports third HUMAN CASE of EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE) and second EEE fatality ~ GEORGIAN scratched by RABID STRAY CAT.

Aedes Aegypti or Yellow Fever Mosquito. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Aedes Aegypti or Yellow Fever Mosquito. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

California 10/16/14 capitalpress.com: Officials have confirmed that the black-and-white striped Aedes aegypti or yellow fever mosquito was found last week in Commerce and Pico Rivera east of Los Angeles. Last year the species was found in other parts of the state including the Central Coast and Central Valley. The mosquito is aggressive, is active during daylight hours, and is capable of transmitting the yellow, dengue and chikungunya fever viruses, though none of these diseases have been reported in Los Angeles County. – See http://www.capitalpress.com/California/20141016/yellow-fever-mosquito-reaches-southern-california


Deer mouse

Deer mouse

California 10/17/14 San Diego County News Center: Media Release – A North American deer mouse trapped in routine monitoring in a rural part of Fallbrook has tested positive for hantavirus, and County officials are reminding people to be careful if they ever have to clean up mice or rodent nests. The mouse was the seventh rodent caught this year in the county to test positive for hantavirus, a disease that can be fatal. People have very little chance of being exposed to hantavirus, despite the fact that it is common in San Diego County, as long as wild rodents stay in the wild and don’t get inside homes, garages, sheds and cabins. However, people can be exposed if they sweep or vacuum places where infected rodents have nested. That’s because hantavirus can be inhaled if people disturb areas where dust from infected rodents, dried saliva, urine or feces can be “kicked up” into the air. “The best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure,” said County Department of Environmental Health Director Elizabeth Pozzebon. “But if you have to clean an area where rodents have been don’t sweep or vacuum. Use wet-cleaning methods.” – For complete article and precautions see http://www.countynewscenter.com/news/deer-mouse-fallbrook-tests-positive-hantavirus


eee-threat-249x187New Hampshire 10/15/14 NH Dept of Health: Media Release – Officials confirm the third human case of EEE in an adult resident of Manchester in Hillsborough County. The individual died in mid-September and is the second EEE-related fatality in the state so far this year. – See http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/media/pr/2014/10-oct/10152014eeecase.htm


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAGeorgia 10/17/14 Madison County: A stray cat that scratched the owner of property located in the 80 block of Gatewood Drive in Colbert on Oct. 4th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.madisonjournaltoday.com/archives/7241-Colbert-woman-scratched-by-rabid-cat.html