Tag Archives: Lyme disease

Another NEW JERSEY resident attacked by a COYOTE ~ LYME DISEASE a risk in all PENNSYLVANIA counties ~ Death in COLORADO confirmed as HANTAVIRUS ~ POWASSAN VIRUS alerts in MASSACHUSETTS and PENNSYLVANIA

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

Coyote. Courtesy US National Park Service.

New Jersey 04/20/15 nj.com: by Myles Ma – For the second time this month, a man walking his dog has been attacked by a coyote in Bergen County. On Sunday night, a coyote attacked a Norwood resident as he walked his dog on McClellan Street and D’Ercole Court, Norwood Police said in a Nixle alert just before midnight. Police did not immediately respond to a call seeking more information. Earlier in April, a rabid coyote attacked a 77-year-old man in Saddle River. Authorities tracked down and euthanized the animal. – See http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2015/04/coyote_attacks_norwood_man_police_say.html

LYME DISEASE:

green-tick-logoPennsylvania 04/21/15 pa.gov: MEDIA RELEASE – For the first time, blacklegged (deer) ticks have now been observed in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania, according to researchers at The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The range expansion took place in just decades, as similar studies conducted in the mid-1960s found no specimens. DEP’s Vector Management Program, in collaboration with the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, published the findings on the risk of tick-borne disease in Pennsylvania in the Journal of Medical Entomology on April 14. The study was authored by the DEP Vector Management team of Mike Hutchinson, Maria Strohecker, Andy Kyle, and Matt Helwig and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Professor of Biology Dr. Tom Simmons. The research found Ixodes scapularis, the blacklegged tick, and Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, present in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. The research also found that in recent years the blacklegged tick has become imbedded in western Pennsylvania, though the prevalence rate of Lyme disease still remains relatively lower than the rest of the state. The blacklegged tick is the primary carrier of Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by the bite of an infected tick that can cause fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint pain. – For complete release see http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/Health-Details.aspx?newsid=196

HANTAVIRUS:

Hantavirus-OutbreakColorado 04/21/15 journal-advocvate.com: by Deanna Herbert – Health officials from the Northeast Colorado Health Department have just learned that a former resident of Phillips County, who passed away in January, died from hantavirus. The death, which was originally attributed to influenza, was confirmed as hantavirus late last Friday, April 17, through testing performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While hantavirus is not new to Colorado — the state health department has documented over 90 cases across the state since they began tracking the disease in 1993 — it is the first time hantavirus has been identified in a northeast Colorado resident. This case marks the third case of hantavirus in Colorado this year; all have been fatalities. “In this instance the attending physician did not suspect hantavirus at the time of death as the individual had tested positive for Influenza A via rapid testing in the hospital,” said Dr. Tony Cappello, NCHD’s public health director. – For complete article see http://www.journal-advocate.com/sterling-local_news/ci_27954487/phillips-county-death-attributed-hantavirus-northeastern-colorado-health-department

POWASSAN VIRUS:

Deer tick.

Deer tick.

Massachusetts 04/18/15 telegram.com: by Elaine Thompson – A rare but potentially fatal tick-borne disease has been reported in Massachusetts the past two years. Five cases of Powassan virus, which is transmitted by the black-legged or deer tick, which also causes Lyme disease, have been reported in the state between 2013 and 2014, Dr. Catherine M. Brown, the state public health veterinarian said. “A couple of cases” were reported in previous years. None so far this year. “The way we generally learn about diseases is when they’re listed as being reportable. When doctors are required to call and tell us. Powassan was not reportable and there was not a really good access to testing until quite recently,” she said. The virus was first diagnosed in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, in a 5-year-old boy who died from encephalitis. The first case in the U.S. was reported in 1972, in a New Jersey woman. To date, there have been more than 60 cases of Powassan in the U.S., mostly in the Great Lakes region and the Northeast, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms can include headache, fever, vomiting, weakness, confusion, memory loss, seizures and long-term neurologic problems. Powassan is more dangerous than Lyme, a bacterial disease that can be successfully treated with antibiotics, if caught early. There is no treatment for Powassan virus. People with severe conditions are usually hospitalized to receive intravenous fluids, respiratory support or medications to reduce brain swelling. There are two forms of PV: non-neuroinvasive, that has a higher recovery rate; and neuroinvasive, the most dangerous, which can lead to encephalitis, meningitis and death. The cases reported in Massachusetts are neuroinvasive. The fatality rate of the more serious form is between 5 and 25 percent, according to some experts. – For complete article see http://www.telegram.com/article/20150418/NEWS/304189712/101116

dont_feed_the_ticksPennsylvania 04/18/15 poconorecord.com: by Stacy M. Brown – While New Jersey authorities appeared stunned by the death of a 51-year-old Warren County woman who contracted the deadly Powassan virus, Pennsylvania officials and experts said the tick-borne virus isn’t on its way to the Keystone State. It has already been here. “Pennsylvania had one confirmed case of the Powassan virus in 2011,” said Wes Culp, the deputy press secretary for the state Department of Health. “We have not had any confirmed cases in the state since then.” While Tadgh Rainey, the Hunterdon County Public Health Division director, told NJ.com that the Powassan virus “has no business being here in New Jersey,” Culp said Pennsylvania health experts have continued to monitor the virus. The state Department of Health works with local health partners and communicates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify potential health risks to the public, Culp said. “We are aware of the Powassan cases in the northeast United States and will continue to keep abreast of the disease and review the CDC guidance on the matter,” he said. State health officials said that because Powassan is a rarely identified arboviral infection that’s familiar to most clinicians, they’ve distributed information on the virus and also encouraged health care providers to consider the diagnosis when seeing patients with meningoencephalitis. – For complete article see http://www.poconorecord.com/article/20150418/NEWS/150419362

Three FLORIDIANS hospitalized after BEE attack ~ NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE ~ FERAL CATS pose risk of TYPHUS to general public ~ FLEA infested PRAIRIE DOG den in ARIZONA tests positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ New book updating LYME DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from GA, NY & NC.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 04/06/15 wfla.com: Pasco Fire Rescue crews responded to a report of a bee attack in New Port Richey Sunday afternoon in which three people were hospitalized. The wild bee hive was in a tree in the 7800 block of Calabash Lane. Experts believe there are between 20,000 and 30,000 bees in the hive. The neighbor Alisson Osteen saw the bees from her home. “I saw my neighbor’s brother on the ground rolling, just covered in bees all over his face, his neck, his arms. So I called 911,” she said. “He was screaming for help.” Pasco County Fire Rescue firefighters used a hose to spray the bees to get them to disperse and help the two men. They had as many as about 50 stings each. A woman who walked out of her home also received about a dozen stings but was not as seriously injured. Osteen said she didn’t see how it happened, but there was a ladder by the tree. “I don’t know if that was the bee keeper’s ladder or if that was the ladder they were using to touch the nest if they were trying to remove it themselves trying to get honey. I don’t know what they were trying to do,” she said. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Nobody on the crew was injured or stung. Crews are expected to return to the hive on Monday, however the bee expert is waiting for the bees to calm down before doing anything with the hive. – http://www.wfla.com/story/28724800/bees-sting-4-in-pasco-2-in-hospital

COYOTE:

Coyote%20stalking%20prey%20-%20note%20radio%20collar%20and%20ear%20tags%20for%20research%20projectNew Jersey 04/06/15 northjersey.com: by Jim Norman – A man working in his garden in the Twin Brooks area of (Saddle River) was attacked Monday by a coyote that was then hunted down and euthanized, authorities said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then released for recovery at home, according to a report on the Saddle River Police Department’s Facebook page. The man was attacked from behind by the animal and managed to escape, the police report said. Officers who investigated the incident learned that the same coyote had attacked a neighbor’s dog last week, requiring the dog’s owner to have it treated at a veterinarian’s office, police said. In addition, the police report said, workers in the area reported having seen the coyote several times on Monday, acting aggressively toward other dogs. Officers who responded to the attack saw the coyote running through a neighbor’s yard during daylight and called a local pest control company, which arrived, along with officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The coyote was found in a wooded area and put down, police said. The animal’s body was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officers for testing and analysis. Police asked any resident who has had an encounter with the coyote to call 201-327-5300, to document the event. Police also are reminding local residents to report aggressive wildlife behavior immediately, to head off the chance of another attack. – See http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-euthanized-after-it-attacks-saddle-river-man-1.1303757

TYPHUS:

typhus-transmission-cycleCalifornia 04/06/15 Orange County: by Matthew Cunningham – Flea-borne (endemic) typhus is carried by the common cat flea, which is found primarily on feral cats, raccoon and opossums. Common cat fleas bite people and their infected feces enters the bloodstream, causing severe illness. In 2006, there was a single reported case of flea-borne typhus infection in Orange County – the first since 2013. Between 2006 and 2014, there have been more than 100 reported cases of flea-borne typhus in OC. – See http://www.publicceo.com/2015/04/misplaced-outrage-over-anaheims-ban-on-feeding-feral-cats/

BUBONIC PLAGUE:

prairiedogUSParksArizona 04/06/15 upi.com/Health_News: by Brooks Hays – Arizona health officials and wildlife managers are monitoring flea infestations more closely after several specimens in Picture Canyon, near Flagstaff, tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the disease known as the bubonic plague. Officials grew concerned when they were alerted to a prairie dog den that appeared to features an unusually large number of dead or dying prairie dogs. Several surrounding burrows were tested, revealing the culprit to be the plague . . . Nearby burrows are now being cleared and disinfected, in an effort to stem any possible outbreak of the disease. Late last week, following the positive test, officials returned to test a much broader area for the dangerous bacteria. Those results are due back later this week. – See http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/04/06/Officials-concerned-by-plague-carrying-fleas-in-Arizona/7041428341911/

LYME DISEASE:

LymeDiseaseBookBook Review 04/06/15 washingtonpost.com: by Nancy Szokan – In in the 1970s, public health professionals began noticing a kind of rheumatoid arthritis affecting children around Lyme, Conn. Soon they began associating it with a skin rash, possibly caused by a deer tick. In 1981, researchers Willy Burgdorfer and Alan G. Barbour identified the cause of what had come to be known as Lyme disease. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases a year. So there’s probably a large audience for a new book by Barbour, who’s now a professor of medicine and microbiology at the medical school at the University of California at Irvine: “Lyme Disease: Why It’s Spreading, How It Makes You Sick, and What to Do About It.” Drawing on his decades of research and involvement with patients, he gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the disease, including the biology of the microbe that causes it and the tick that transmits it; how diagnosis is made and test results are interpreted; the use of antibiotics; disease prevention at the individual and community level; and the controversial condition called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, in which symptoms persist for years after antibiotic therapy ends. He ends with a somewhat pessimistic view of how we as a society are handling a disease that seems to be more prevalent every year. It’s not a particularly easy read; Barbour writes like the highly educated scientist he is, and he doesn’t mince technical terms. But his indisputable credentials and his clearly sympathetic concern make this a worthwhile book. – See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-a-doctor-who-helped-discover-lyme-disease-a-broad-update/2015/04/06/1fd66e9e-d893-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html

RABIES:

Georgia 04/02/15 Worth County: A dog that was adopted by a southwest Georgia resident using an online service has tested positive for rabies. Existing pets in the household didn’t have up-to-date vaccinations and “(a)s a result, this well-intentioned individual ended up losing beloved pets that had been exposed and could not be saved,” a county health specialist said. – See http://worthit2u.net/worth/2015/04/02/public-health-confirms-rabies-case-in-worth/

sidebar_RabiesAlertNew York 04/05/15 Franklin County: A second person is undergoing treatment for exposure to the rabies virus, and two more are being evaluated after caring for dogs that had attacked raccoons later found to be rabid. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your dog vaccinated,” Public Health Director Kathleen F. Strack said. Cats should also be vaccinated, she said. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/second-person-in-franklin-county-undergoing-rabies-treatment-20150405

North Carolina 04/01/15 Robeson County: A dog that was shot after attacking its owners in Pembroke has tested positive for rabies. Two victims, a father and daughter, have been advised to begin post-exposure rabies treatments. – See http://robesonian.com/news/health/152667014/Rabid-dog-attacks-its-owners

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