Tag Archives: Lyme disease

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

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

Red fox chasing mouse. Courtesy State of Connecticut.

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

Virginia opossum

Virginia opossum

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

CHIKUNGUNYA:

States reporting imported ChikV.

States reporting imported ChikV.

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

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

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

EBOLA VIRUS:

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

RABIES:

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

Canada:

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

New study IDs BIRDS that carry LYME DISEASE bacteria in CALIFORNIA ~ CHIKUNGUNYA update ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: GARC offers RABIES Educator Certificate

Golden-crowned sparrow. Photo by Dick Daniels. Wikimedia-Commons.

Golden-crowned sparrow. Photo by Dick Daniels. Wikimedia-Commons.

California 02/25/15 berkeley.edu: by Sarah Yang – Birds are more important than previously recognized as hosts for Lyme disease-causing bacteria in California, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley researchers. The findings, published today (Wednesday, Feb. 25) in the journal PLOS ONE, shine a light on an important new reservoir in the western United States for the corkscrew-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, responsible for Lyme disease. Wood rats, western gray squirrels and other small mammals have been identified in previous studies as wildlife hosts of the Lyme disease spirochete bacterium in California, but fewer studies have looked at the role of birds as reservoirs.

Dark-eyed Junco. PD

Dark-eyed Junco. PD

“The role of birds in the maintenance of Lyme disease bacteria in California is poorly understood,” said study lead author Erica Newman, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in the Energy and Resources Group and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. “This is the most extensive study of the role of birds in Lyme disease ecology in the western United States, and the first to consider the diversity of bird species, their behaviors and their habitats in identifying which birds are truly the most important as carriers.” Moreover, the birds in the study that were found to be important hosts of Lyme disease bacteria, such as American robins, dark-eyed juncos and golden-crowned sparrows, are coincidentally ones that are commonly found in suburban environments. – For complete article see http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2015/02/25/birds-lyme-disease-bacteria/

CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER:

index445Global 03/01/15 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – The chikungunya epidemic in the Western hemisphere has increased by 3,000 cases during the past week with the new tally at 1,247,000 since the first autochthonous cases were reported on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in December 2013, 183 fatalities have been reported. Countries reporting an largest increase in cases include Puerto Rico (1,700) and El Salvador (1,383). The Dominican Republic and Colombia continue to have reported the most cumulative cases to date with 539,183 and 177,187 cases, respectively. In 2015 to date, the United States has seen 43 imported chikungunya cases from 13 states as of Feb. 24. During 2015, no locally-transmitted cases have been reported from U.S. states. In the Pacific, the French Polynesia outbreak is at more than 69,000 estimated cases since 10 October 2014, as of 25 January 2015. 728 hospitalizations, 48 severe cases, 9 fatal cases have been documented. Officials say the outbreak is decreasing. Elsewhere in the Pacific Islands, Samoa has reported 4,431 cases since 21 July 2014 as the outbreak winds down. Chikungunya outbreaks are increasing in New Caledonia (50 cases), the Cook Islands (83) and Kiribati (36). Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. It can cause high fever, join and muscle pain, and headache. Chikungunya does not often result in death, but the joint pain may last for months or years and may become a cause of chronic pain and disability. There is no specific treatment for chikungunya infection, nor any vaccine to prevent it. Pending the development of a new vaccine, the only effective means of prevention is to protect individuals against mosquito bites. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/chikungunya-update-for-the-americas-and-the-pacific-islands-67012/

Author’s Note: The CDC confirmed more than 2,340 cases of Chikungunya fever imported to the United States last year, and 11 locally transmitted cases last year in Florda. – See TEXAS county preparing for CHIKUNGUNYA outbreak posted on this blog January 19, 2015.

~ ANNOUNCEMENT ~

garcThe Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) is pleased to announce the launch of the first of its online education programs, the Rabies Educator Certificate (REC). This is a free web-based course for individuals such as community educators and health workers who would like to learn about rabies and how to teach others to prevent rabies and reduce deaths in their communities. The REC has been developed to help meet the need to effectively disseminate accurate, life-saving information to at-risk communities.

The course is open to anyone but aimed specifically at people who work regularly in these communities, and who are in a position to address community education on rabies. These people may be health/veterinary/community personnel who regularly visit communities, or it may be key people within the communities themselves who want to do something about rabies education.

This online course has five modules:

  • What is rabies and how do people and animals get the disease?
  • How to avoid dog bites and prevent rabies
  • Caring for animals
  • Understanding the role of a community educator in preventing dog bites and rabies
  • Communicating with people

Each module contains specific and clear information that should be applicable to all situations, regardless of geographical location and circumstances.

Participants can access the course at education.rabiesalliance.org. It is self-paced, so participants can complete it in their own time, although it should take between four and seven hours in total depending on previous knowledge and experience. For those with slow or intermittent internet access, the whole course can be downloaded and studied offline. On passing a final online assessment, participants receive a certificate of achievement and should be ready to provide life saving information to their target communities.

This is the first of GARC’s new online courses, and there are plans to provide it in other languages besides English by the end of the year.  We look forward to hearing the feedback of stakeholders and participants: please join the course at education.rabiesalliance.org and share this information with your networks. GARC is grateful to Crucell for its generous support for the development of this course. For queries or more information, please contact us here – See more at: http://rabiesalliance.org/media/news/online-course-for-rabies-educators-launched#sthash.udL5Q2tt.dpuf

Author’s Note: I asked GARC: “Will the new on-line Rabies course also cover feral cat colonies and the rabies threat they pose to local communities? You specifically mention dogs, but not cats.”

GARC’s response: ” The REC course focuses primarily on canine rabies seeing as 90% of rabies deaths in developing countries are associated with dog bite cases. The REC course does however mention the fact that any warm blooded mammal is susceptible to the disease and that any animal bite case should be treated as a potential exposure. We will be revising the course contents annually and I have noted that this is a potential focus point once we revise. Thank you for the valuable feedback. Kind regards, Andre Coetzer, Course Facilitator, GARC Education Program”

Packs of WOLVES, COYOTES and FOXES are roaming NEW JERSEY city’s streets ~ COYOTES moving into GEORGIA city neighborhoods ~ TEXAS reports first case of MURINE TYPHUS in 80 years ~ NEW YORK scientist reports TICKS carrying LYME DISEASE emerging earlier ~ RABIES report from TEXAS.

Wolf pack. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

Wolf pack. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

New Jersey 02/20/15 nj.com: by Jenna Pizzi – Packs of wild animals including wolves, coyotes and foxes are running around on city streets after dark and residents are raising concerns about their safety, according to a Trenton councilman. Councilman George Muschal said he received reports from residents about the animals and saw a gray fox cross in front of his truck last Tuesday at the corner of Hudson and Broad Streets. “If a child is out there or a dog in the yard it might be a problem,” said Muschal, speaking during a council meeting Thursday night Muschal said residents have also emailed and called his office reportedly seeing wolves in the city. Wolves haven’t been spotted in the wild in New Jersey in more than 100 years. According to information on the state Department of Environmental Protection’s website, wolves have become larger and in varying colors in the Eastern United States due to past inbreeding between coyotes and wolves. Muschal said he is not sure if it was a coyote or a wolf that was spotted by residents, but said he only took the individuals that called into this office at their word. “They just know that it doesn’t belong there,” Muschal said. “I’m not gonna say that there’s not a wolf.” Councilman Zachary Chester said he has received concerns from residents about coyotes and foxes — but not wolves. – See http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/02/wolves_coyotes_and_foxes_roaming_trenton_streets_c.html

1179coyoteGeorgia 02/24/15 myfoxatlanta.com: by Jaclyn Schultz – A number of coyotes have recently been spotted around busy neighborhoods in metro Atlanta. One woman, however, said a coyote attacked her pets. “The coyote came here close to the house. There were feathers all over the yard,” said Jennifer Ellis, who lives in Grant Park with her pet chickens, dog and rabbit. “There’s never been an attack like this one.” One Grant Park neighbor said off camera, his dogs scared another coyote away. Other neighbors said word has gotten around about other sightings. “They start to associate food with humans and remove their natural wariness,” said Professor Chris Mowry of Berry College, who started the Atlanta Coyote Project. The project has surveyed thousands of metro Atlanta residents who have reported seeing a coyote, and is trying to study if more are moving into busy urban areas. Mowry said reports of coyotes, though, have increased. He says too many people living around in-town Atlanta make their homes appealing to wildlife, such as leaving out pet food and exposing trash. “They walk by and see an easy meal and will try to take it,” he said. Though trapping a coyote is always an option for a resident, Mowry said another coyote will move in afterwards. He said the most effective prevention is eliminating what coyotes could eat on your property, installing motion sensor lights, and hanging wind chimes to create noise. He also said fencing should be higher than six feet tall and should even extend below ground to prevent digging. Pets should also be supervised while outside. – For video see http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/story/28182721/coyotes-spotted-in-atlanta-neighborhoods

MURINE TYPHUS:

453723837Texas 02/16/15 healio.com: Scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch say murine typhus has been identified in Galveston signaling the re-emergence of the disease. Of 18 adult patients evaluated, seven cases of the disease were confirmed. Fleas that infest rats, opossums and cats are likely to be spreading the disease. Blanton LS, et al. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015;doi:10.3201/eid2103.140716. – See http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7B47c536b9-6693-4cac-abc0-1fa1a88a933e%7D/first-cases-of-murine-typhus-in-8-decades-reported-in-texas

LYME DISEASE:

logo66874New York 02/18/15 newsday.com: A Hudson Valley researcher says ticks that carry Lyme disease are emerging earlier in spring and spreading into new geographic regions, a trend corresponding with data on climate warming trends. The conclusions were based on 19 years of data collected at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook in Dutchess County, a hotbed of tick-borne disease. Biologist Richard Ostfeld at the Cary Institute says nearly two decades of data revealed climate warming trends correlated with earlier spring feeding by nymphal ticks, sometimes by as much as three weeks. – See http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ticks-carrying-lyme-disease-are-emerging-earlier-researcher-says-1.9949893

RABIES:       

635603854191973597-rabiesdogTexas 02/24/15 kvue.com: A dog that visited Austin’s Zilker Park Dog Park off leash between 3 and 6 p.m. on February 8th has been diagnosed with rabies. The black-and-white Border Collie mix was seen about 50 yards from the park’s sand volleyball courts and reportedly had contact with other dogs at the park. Anyone who came in contact with this dog, or whose pet did, should seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.kvue.com/story/news/health/2015/02/24/officials-warn-of-possible-rabies-exposure-at-zilker/23946897/

COLORADAN succumbs to HANTAVIRUS ~ CANADA confirms new case of MAD COW DISEASE ~ A Smithsonian Science Q & A about TICKS ~ CANADA reports H5N1 AVIAN FLU outbreak ~ STUDY shows LYME DISEASE costs may top $1 billion annually ~ RABIES report from FLORIDA ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: Call for papers in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

Deer mouse. Courtesy Center for Disease Control.

Colorado 02/13/15 chaffeecountytimes.com: by Maisie Ramsay – Hantavirus caused the death of 53-year-old Buena Vista resident Chris Banning, Chaffee County health officials confirmed Friday. “Chris Banning’s official cause of death was hantavirus pulmonary syndrome,” Chaffee County Coroner Randy Amettis said. Banning died Jan. 11 at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida. “It was a very sad situation because he was an extremely healthy person,” Chaffee County Public Health director Susan Ellis said. “Your heart just breaks for these types of things. They happen so quickly.” Hantavirus is contracted from exposure to feces, urine or saliva from infected rodents such as deer mice. The disease is rare, but has a high mortality rate, killing about 40 percent of those who contract the virus.

CO-CDPHE_logoFifty cases of hantavirus were reported in Colorado between 2003 and 2013, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. During that 10-year period, CDPHE reported only one case in Chaffee County. Chaffee County Public Health evaluated sites where Banning may have contracted hantavirus, but none were identified as the specific source of contamination. None of the sites were public locations, Ellis said. The coroner alerted Banning’s family and others to their risk of exposure. They were advised to watch their symptoms for six weeks following potential exposure. It takes 1-5 weeks before those exposed to hantavirus show symptoms, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease is not transmittable between humans, cats or dogs. – For complete article with symptoms and precautions see http://www.chaffeecountytimes.com/free_content/article_31f01628-b3d8-11e4-9a2a-8b2a52d556a8.html

MAD COW DISEASE:

CANADA:

madcowAlberta 02/13/15 bnn.ca: Canada confirmed its first case of mad cow disease since 2011 on Friday but said the discovery, which helped drive cattle prices higher, should not hit a beef export sector worth C$2 billion ($1.6 billion) a year. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said no part of the animal, a beef cow from Alberta, had reached the human food or animal feed systems. Mad cow is formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), a progressive, fatal neurological disease. “The CFIA is seeking to confirm the age of the animal, its history and how it became infected. The investigation will focus in on the feed supplied to this animal during the first year of its life,” the agency said. Canadian exports were badly hit in 2003 after the first case of BSE was detected. Canada subsequently tightened its controls and many nations have since resumed the beef trade with Canada, despite the discovery of more cases since then. Asked whether he was concerned about exports being harmed, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz told reporters in Calgary: “Not at this time, no.” He added though that markets in South Korea and Japan were generally very concerned about the potential risk from BSE. A fresh discovery of BSE may not close borders to beef, given the tougher measures, but it could delay Canada’s efforts to upgrade its international risk status from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Ritz said Canada’s current OIE risk status meant it could report up to 12 outbreaks in a calendar year. – For complete article and video see http://www.bnn.ca/News/2015/2/13/Mad-cow-disease-confirmed-in-Alberta-cow.aspx

TICKS:

Ticks_KnownDiseases_HorizGlobal 02/11/15 smithsonianscience.org: – Have you ever wondered how many species of ticks have been identified? Or given any thought at all to whether ticks are insects or arachnids? For a Smithsonian Science Q & A about ticks with Lorenza Beati, curator of the U.S. National Tick Collection, see http://smithsonianscience.org/2015/02/tickstick/

H5N1 AVIAN FLU:

Canada:

H5N1_46225British Columbia 02/0-9/15 reuters.com: by Sybille de la Hamaide – Canada reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus in the province of British Columbia, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday. The outbreak was detected on Feb. 2 in a backyard poultry flock in the province, where bird flu cases of the separate H5N2 strain had been reported in December, OIE said, citing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The agency stressed that H5N1 avian influenza had not been reported in a commercial poultry flock in Canada and that the virus found in British Columbia was different from a strain circulating in Asia. No human infections have been reported with the H5N1 virus detected in Canada, unlike the genetically different Asian strain, an OIE spokeswoman said. H5N1 bird flu, which first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong, has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, causing millions of poultry infections and several hundred human deaths. “Based on the limited partial sequence of the H5 and N1 gene segments obtained this far, it appears very likely that this is the same or a very similar virus to the … H5N1 virus in Washington state, but more sequencing will be needed to make a final conclusion,” the CFIA said in its report. – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/09/us-canada-birdflu-idUSKBN0LD1QL20150209

LYME DISEASE:

dollar-signlyme-disease-awareness-ribbon-mdNational 02/06/15 healio.com: Researchers from Johns Hopkins University reported that the long-term consequences of Lyme disease infection is having a significant impact on the United States health care system — costing upwards of $1.3 billion annually, or almost $3,000 a patient on average. “Routine follow up of patients after initial treatment of Lyme disease may be important to identify those who go on to develop post-treatment Lyme symptoms,” John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of rheumatology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told Infectious Disease News. “Symptoms of unusual fatigue, new musculoskeletal symptoms, or other unexplained symptoms in a patient recently treated for Lyme disease should raise the question of possible Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.” Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or PTLDS, continues to be a controversial topic. Some physicians and patient advocacy groups claim that PTLDS is a chronic condition lasting weeks, months or even years after initial antibiotic treatment has been dispensed, calling it “chronic Lyme disease.” Others argue that there is insufficient evidence of the persistence of viable Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in PTLDS, and that long-term symptoms like fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and neurological manifestations are unrelated to the infection.

jhu-logoaaCDC-LogoAccording to the CDC, 10% to 20% of patients treated for Lyme disease with the recommended 2- to 4-week course of antibiotics have PTLDS. After initial antibiotic therapy, there are limited treatment options for patients reporting persistent symptoms of Lyme disease. “Our study looks at the actual costs of treating patients in the year following their Lyme diagnosis,” Emily R. Adrion, MSc, a PhD candidate in the department of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a press release. “Regardless of what you call it, our data show that many people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease are in fact going back to the doctor complaining of persistent symptoms, getting multiple tests and being retreated. They cost the health care system about $1 billion a year and it is clear that we need effective, cost-effective and compassionate management of these patients to improve their outcomes even if we don’t know what to call the disease.” – For complete article see http://www.healio.com/infectious-disease/zoonotic-infections/news/online/%7Beb7cb6ca-f815-4412-a75f-0ea8ac60b01d%7D/ptlds-costs-estimated-at-1-billion-annually-in-us

RABIES:

520bc0501588c.preview-300Florida 02/06/15 Alachua County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after an unvaccinated dog belonging to a local business owner tested positive for the virus. At least 10 people were treated for potential exposure after it was learned they had been in contact with the 30-pound, black-and-white bull terrier near Gateway Farms at 22413 NW 227th Drive in High Springs. Others who may have been in contact with the dog are being urged to seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.gainesville.com/article/20150206/ARTICLES/150209708

~ ANNOUNCEMENT ~

call4papers

Dynamics in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID)

DMID is an open access journal that publishes articles in all the fields of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. All manuscripts are reviewed by the editorial board members or qualified reviewers. Our peer review process is very fast, highly rigorous and it takes just a few days to weeks, and authors are carried along adequately in all the publication processes. The Journal welcomes the submission of manuscript(s) that meet the general scope and criteria of DMID. Our objective is to inform authors of the decision on their manuscript(s) within a few weeks of submission. Authors should submit their original manuscripts, reviews, commentaries and perspectives via email attachment to dmid@journaldynamics.org or our on-line platform a http://www.journaldynamics.org/submitmanuscript/dmid/. – See http://www.journaldynamics.org/callforpapers/dmid/

BLACK BEAR attacks FLORIDA teenager ~ TEXAS reports fifth HANTAVIRUS case this year ~ NEW YORK scientists develop VACCINE to fight CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ LYME DISEASE cases in NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND remain high.

Black bear. Photo by Cephas. Wikimedia Commons.

Black bear. Photo by Cephas. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 12/21/14 mypanhandle.com provided by FL Fish & Wildlife: A 15-year-old is currently undergoing surgery after being attacked by a bear in Eastpoint, Florida. According to her mother the teenager sustained significant injuries to her legs, back, neck and face and was transported to Bay Medical Sacred Heart in Panama City. “Even as I sit here now I can’t believe what happened,” said Sherry Mann, the girl’s mother. “The bears are all over the place and I know how hard I would fight to protect my kids, but a momma bear can do so much more damage than me with just one swipe.” Mann says her daughter was walking her dog by the Big Top Supermarket off Highway 98 when she says she saw a dark shadow and then black. She says her daughter was dragged into a nearby ditch by the bear and tried screaming for help. Sherry Mann said her daughter Leah Reeder remembered to “play dead” and as she did her dog came to her rescue lunging at the animal. The bear retreated to the nearby woods and Reeder was able to walk home to her father’s house, which was a block away. “The worst injuries are to her face,” said Mann. “She has a huge laceration on top of her head and one across her forehead and deep, deep puncture wounds to the side of her head.” As of midnight Monday morning Reeder had been in surgery nearly two hours. – See http://www.mypanhandle.com/story/d/story/15-year-old-reportedly-attacked-by-bear-in-east-po/13441/COd76GVsPkK409SP2VqWJw

HANTAVIRUS:

rodents.44k498Texas 12/22/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)is reporting a case of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) in a resident of the Golden Crescent region along the central Texas coast. This is the fifth case of hantavirus this year in the state. Hantavirus is carried by certain species of rats and mice that shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus can be transmitted to people by stirring up nesting materials or contaminated dust, allowing the virus to be breathed in by humans. Cases have been linked to cleaning out buildings where rodents live and working in dusty environments like ranches and oilfields . . . A total of 43 HPS cases have been confirmed in Texas since 1993, the first year the disease was detected. Of those, 14 were fatal. – For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/texas-reports-5th-hantavirus-case-of-2014/

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE:

white_tail_doeGlobal 12/21/14 medicalxpress.com: Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center and elsewhere say that a vaccination they have developed to fight a brain-based, wasting syndrome among deer and other animals may hold promise on two additional fronts: Protecting U.S. livestock from contracting the disease, and preventing similar brain infections in humans. The study, to be published in Vaccine online Dec. 21, documents a scientific milestone: The first successful vaccination of deer against chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal brain disorder caused by unusual infectious proteins known as prions. Prions propagate by converting otherwise healthy proteins into a disease state.

jjg8877gEqually important, the researchers say, this study may hold promise against human diseases suspected to be caused by prion infections, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, kuru, familial insomnia, and variably protease-sensitive prionopathy. Some studies also have associated prion-like infections with Alzheimer’s disease. “Now that we have found that preventing prion infection is possible in animals, it’s likely feasible in humans as well,” says senior study investigator and neurologist Thomas Wisniewski, MD, a professor at NYU Langone. CWD afflicts as much as 100 percent of North America’s captive deer population, as well as large numbers of other cervids that populate the plains and forests of the Northern Hemisphere, including wild deer, elk, caribou and moose. There is growing concern among scientists that CWD could possibly spread to livestock in the same regions, especially cattle, a major life stream for the U.S. economy, in much the same manner that bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, another prion-based infection, spread through the United Kingdom almost two decades ago. – See http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-successful-vaccination-mad-cow-like-disease.html

LYME DISEASE:

green-tick-logoNew England 12/21/14 bostonglobe.com: by Patrick Whittle – Environmental factors and improved reporting methods led to another year of high totals for Lyme disease in northern New England. Reported cases are expected to be on par with, or exceed, records set recently in Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Maine is likely to exceed last year’s record of 1,384 cases of the tick-borne illness, said Sheila Pinette, director of the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Vermont officials said their state is on track for its second- or third-highest total on record, following the 2013 high of 671. In New Hampshire, officials said numbers are falling in line with recent years, which included a record in 2013. – For complete article see http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/21/numerous-reports-lyme-disease-new-england/IxOdrlSz0P8MQjQu2U8t7J/story.html

DEER HUNTERS in PENNSYLVANIA face new reality: CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ NORTH DAKOTA researchers confirm local TICKS carrying LYME DISEASE ~ US Army enlists COWS with human genes to fight HANTAVIRUS.

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Pennsylvania 11/30/14 citizensvoice.com: by Kent Jackson – Hunters entering the woods in Pennsylvania on Monday for the start of the rifle deer season face a new realty. Some of the deer that they pursue carry an incurable, fatal disease. Chronic wasting disease appeared in a deer in Pennsylvania in 2012 after advancing through 21 other states and two provinces of Canada. “From other states regardless of what you do, you can’t eliminate it. It is there to stay once it’s on the landscape,” Matthew Hough, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said during a conference call with reporters on Nov. 19. The commission set special rules for three areas of the state where deer tested positive for the disease. Hunters cannot transport parts of the deer such as the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, spleen and eyeballs out of those areas. Nor can they feed deer or use urine-based lures, which bring deer close together where the risk of spreading the disease heightens.

Whitetail buck with CWD.

Whitetail buck with CWD.

In the rest of the state, hunters should take precautions such as wearing gloves, boning out meat, and minimizing contact with high-risk parts when they field dress deer. The rifle season starts Monday and concludes Dec. 13. In most of the state, hunters can take bucks through Friday, but they can hunt a buck or a doe from Saturday to the end of the season. The buck-only territory for the first five days includes Hazleton and parts of Schuylkill, Carbon and Columbia counties in Wildlife Management Unit 4C and 13 other WMUs. Nine WMUs have buck and doe hunting throughout the two-week season. While there is no evidence that chronic wasting disease affects humans, research isn’t conclusive, and hunters are advised not to eat meat from infected animals. – For complete article including PA contacts for CWD testing see http://citizensvoice.com/sports/it-is-here-to-stay-here-to-stay-1.1795223

LYME DISEASE:

lyme_disease_hidden_epidemic_poster-p228833588305763989t5wm_400North Dakota 11/25/14 prairiebizmag.com: by Anna Burleson – Lyme disease has been found in ticks in the Red River Valley by several researchers at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. The disease is transmitted through the bites of a certain breed of infected tick and if left untreated can spread throughout a person’s nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

und-logo-20116UND Biology Department professor Jefferson Vaughan led a team with assistant professor Catherine Brissette from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences to look into the prevalence of the disease after he discovered local veterinarians had seen “different-looking” ticks on pets they were treating. “People are beginning to really realize particularly that dogs and sometimes cats are sentinels for types of diseases that are normally wildlife diseases, but can also cause diseases in humans,” Vaughan said.

American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick

The breed of tick most frequently found in the Red River Valley is commonly called an American Dog Tick and is known for its large brown appearance.Vaughan and graduate student Nate Russart began investigating the appearance of the much smaller Deer Tick, as it’s commonly known, in 2010 and discovered the ticks were carrying Lyme disease.

Deer Tick

Deer Tick

But Vaughan said the discovery simply means people should be more diligent about searching themselves for the presence of ticks after being in fields or forests. “It used to be an annoyance, just like mosquitoes were ten years ago, but now they’re more than an annoyance,” he said. “It’s a public health issue.” – For complete article see http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/21810/#sthash.zBpHdMsR.dpuf

HANTAVIRUS:

09 Antibody StructureGlobal 11/26/14 sciencemag.org: by David Shultz – Humans have been using antibody therapies to treat infectious disease for more than 100 years. Blood plasma from influenza survivors administered to sick patients in 1912 may have contributed to their dramatic turnaround. In the years since, immune proteins from survivors have been administered to infected individuals in an attempt to combat diseases like Lassa fever, SARS, and even Ebola.

300px-USAMRIID_LogoIt’s hard, however, to find survivors who can donate plasma containing these lifesaving immune proteins. Now, a team led by researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Maryland, has used genetically engineered cows to produce large amounts of human antibodies against hantavirus, an often deadly disease mainly transmitted from rodents to people. In animal models, at least, these antibodies provided robust protection against the virus, opening the door to therapies to treat and prevent hantavirus, for which there is no cure. The bioproduction technique also holds promise for generating antibodies against other infectious agents. – For complete article see http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/11/cows-human-chromosomes-enlisted-fight-hantavirus

CANADA: Residents of ONTARIO town being attacked by COYOTES ~ New STUDY promises hope for chronic LYME DISEASE patients ~ RABIES reports from DE, NJ & OK.

This coyote just caught dinner. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

This coyote just caught dinner. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Canada:

Ontario 11/12/14 bramptonguardian.com: by Graeme Frisque – With two people bitten by coyotes in a Brampton neighbourhood since September, residents are demanding the city take action. After the most recent attack on Nov. 6, residents in the area of Mississauga Rd. and Steeles Ave. sent a letter and a petition signed by more than 50 people to city officials asking the animals be removed. “Residents began to notice coyotes prowling in the neighbourhood only this spring,” the letter states. “The coyotes have launched unprovoked attacks on some residents in their driveways and backyards. Numerous calls to the City of Brampton’s Animal Services Department have led to no meaningful action. Residents are being told that they have chosen to live in the coyotes’ natural habitat, and must learn to deal with it.” Last Thursday (Nov. 6), Jasmine Bajaj says she was bitten in the driveway of her Mountain Ridge Rd. home when a coyote snuck up behind her and grabbed her by the leg, leaving two large puncture wounds and forcing her to undergo a painful series of precautionary rabies treatments.

map-brampton.caWhile unable to provide specific details about the September incident, manager of Brampton Animal Services Kathy Duncan confirmed they have received two reports of bites and at least six reports of “concerning” behavior by coyotes in that specific area since September. . . . The city says that removal of the animals is largely pointless, because, unless they are sick or wounded, coyotes are an important part of the ecosystem. Experts, including Lesley Sampson, founding executive director at Coyote Watch Canada, say that this kind of interaction with humans is rare and unusual, and usually happens because residents are feeding the animals. This latest attack comes on the heels of a series of brutal coyote and coywolf attacks resulting in the deaths of small dogs in Mississauga and Burlington over the last couple of weeks. – For complete article see http://www.bramptonguardian.com/news-story/5025571-coyote-ugly-two-people-bitten-in-brampton-neighbourhood/

LYME DISEASE:

lyme_hope1-300x279Global 11/07/14 hcplive.com: by Adam Hochron – Patients with Lyme disease know that their symptoms and the effects of the disease can be debilitating and last for a long time, often persisting even after treatment. In an effort to help improve quality of life for those patients, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are working on a test that would allow clinicians to more thoroughly check for bacteria left behind by the disease. Results from the test development were posted in PLOS ONE. According to a statement from the researchers, the test will allow for a deeper look at “thousands of FDA-approved drugs to see if they will work against the bacteria that cause tick-borne Lyme disease.” The bacteria, known as Borrelia burgdorferi, have been difficult to check for up until this point.

jhsph_logo_internalYing Zhan, MD, PhD, who led the research effort, said the test was based in a concept used for counting DNA samples in their labs. By making changes, they were able to see how many of the bacteria in a patient were still alive and how many were dead after interacting with the drugs. “It’s superior to the current gold standard for testing Borrelia viability,” Zhang said. “This could become the new gold standard.” – For complete article see http://www.hcplive.com/articles/New-Study-Provides-Hope-for-Chronic-Lyme-Disease-Sufferers

RABIES:

Delaware 11/14/14 New Castle County: A kitten that died at a home on Calburn Court in the Buckley neighborhood in Bear has tested positive for rabies. Officials said more than 50 other cats living in and around the same house are being euthanized because widespread rabies infection among them is extremely likely. – See http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2014/11/13/womans-cats-killed-kitten-gets-rabies/19000275/

cat-child-300x225New Jersey 11/12/14 Hudson County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a stray kitten that bit a person who attempted to pick it up in the vicinity of First Street and Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2014/11/bayonne_resident_has_been_bitten_by_rabid_kitten_bayonne_city_officials.html

Oklahoma 11/13/14 Sequoyah County: A stray cat that bit a child in Sallisaw over the weekend has tested positive for rabies. – See http://5newsonline.com/2014/11/13/cat-that-bit-sallisaw-child-has-rabies-police-say/