Tag Archives: Mad Cow disease

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



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_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_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


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


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



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/


CALIFORNIA scientists identify new CATTLE VIRUS ~ NEW MEXICO teen has first human case of PLAGUE in U.S. this year ~ COLORADO child exposed to RABBIT with TULAREMIA ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IN, MN, NM, & SC ~ RABIES reports from AL, FL, PA, & VT.

Guernsey cow. Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Guernsey cow. Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture.

National 08/13/13 ucdavis.edu: A new cow virus that causes neurologic symptoms reminiscent of mad cow disease has been identified and its genome sequenced by a team of researchers including scientists at the University of California, Davis. While this particular new virus is unlikely to pose a threat to human health or the food supply, the new findings are critically important because they provide researchers with a relatively simple diagnostic tool that can reassure both ranchers and consumers by ruling out bovine spongiform encephalopathy — mad cow disease — as the cause of neurologic symptoms when they appear in cattle. Results of the study appear online in the September issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

banner_01In this new study, Dr. Patricia Pesavento, a veterinary pathologist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and other researchers analyzed brain tissue from a yearling steer with neurologic symptoms of unknown cause. Through this analysis, they discovered a new virus that belongs to the astrovirus family.

Dr. Patricia Pesavento

Dr. Patricia Pesavento

Further study of brain tissue samples, preserved from earlier examinations of 32 cattle with unexplained neurologic symptoms, revealed the presence of this astrovirus in three of those animals. The researchers used “metagenomic” techniques to sequence this astrovirus species — now referred to as BoAstV0NeuroS. – For complete news release see http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10688


Media.aspxNew Mexico 08/12/13 NM Department of Health: State officials have confirmed that a 15-year-old male from Torrance County has the first human case of plague reported in the United States this year. The boy is currently hospitalized in stable condition. Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.- For complete news release see http://www.health.state.nm.us/CommunicationsOffice/2013%20News%20Releases/NMDOH-PressRelease-20130812-Plague-EN.pdf


Colorado rabbit NPSColorado 08/15/13 Pueblo County: Public health officials confirmed Thursday a rabbit caught in the 1000 block of West Saginaw Drive in Pueblo West that had been in contact with a child has tested positive for tularemia. – See http://www.kktv.com/news/elevenforhealth/headlines/Rabbit-Tests-Positive-For-Tularemia-In-Pueblo-West-219832021.html

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) & West Nile Virus (WNV):

IN-DH-B-W-LogoIndiana 08/13/13 IN Department of Health: Health officials continue to encourage Hoosiers to take steps to protect themselves from WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases after mosquito samples from 35 counties have now tested positive for the virus. There has been one human case of WNV in Ripley County and one equine case in Adams County. Counties with WNV-infected mosquitoes include: Adams, Allen, Carroll, Clinton, Daviess, Delaware, DeKalb, Grant, Hamilton, Jay, Jefferson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Parke, Steuben, Sullivan, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Starke, St. Joseph, Vanderburgh, Vigo, White and Whitley. – For complete news release see http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=119373&information_id=186576&type=&syndicate=syndicate

mn-dhlogocolorMNMinnesota 08/14/13 MN Department of Health: State officials have confirmed the first WNV-related human fatality in the state this year. A male resident of Murray County died last week. Sixteen human cases of WNV, including one fatality, have been reported statewide so far this year. – See http://roseville.patch.com/groups/summer/p/west-nile-virus-claims-first-minnesota-victim_b68297b7

NM_image_miniNew Mexico 08/13/13 NM Department of Health: Officials have confirmed that an 83-year-old male from Curry County is the state’s first WNV-related fatality so far this year. A 66-year-old female from Curry County also tested positive for the virus, but she is recovering. New Mexico’s first case of West Nile infection this year was in a 13-year-old male from San Juan County who has recovered. – See http://www.kdbc.com/news/nm-department-health-announces-first-west-nile-death-2013

vaccinationSouth Carolina 08/14/13 SC State Veterinarian: Officials have confirmed 25 cases of EEE in horses statewide since June 28th, 7 of the cases were reported during the past week. About 90% of infected horses die, but EEE is preventable in horses by vaccination. – See http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20130814/NEWS/308140026/Horse-virus-cases-up?nclick_check=1


GrayFoxApr04NFlaAlabama 08/14/13 Chilton County: A fox that was reported acting strangely and aggressively on Wednesday by a resident on Old Thorsby Road in Clanton has tested positive for rabies. – http://www.clantonadvertiser.com/2013/08/14/fox-infected-with-rabies-found-in-clanton/

111009110345_Raccoon3 - CopyFlorida 08/14/13 St. Johns County: A raccoon that bit a man in the leg Saturday in a McDonald’s parking lot in the 2400 block of U.S. 1 South in St. Augustine has tested positive for rabies. – See http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2013-08-14/health-department-issues-rabies-alert-st-johns-county#.Ug059W3DK5c

Bat 1on sidewalkPennsylvania 08/14/13 Montgomery County: A bat found August 10th in the 300 block of Manor Avenue in Plymouth Meeting has tested positive for rabies. – See http://norristown.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/bat-tests-positive-for-rabies_0ccf156e

275899Vermont 08/14/13 western border and Chittendon County: An aerial rabies bait drop will begin August 19th into carefully plotted corridors of remote lowland areas and valleys along the Vermont border and northern Chittendon County. Bait packets will be distributed by hand in urban areas. The baits are described as a dark green, sweet-smelling, vanilla-coated blister pack. Officials say the baits are not harmful to children or pets if touched or eaten, but the pellets should not be handled or disturbed. – See http://rutlandherald.com/article/20130814/NEWS03/708149881

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH developing new test to diagnose PRION diseases including CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ NEW JERSEY HORSE with EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS euthanized ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IL, PA, & TX ~ RABIES reports from IOWA, & CANADA: ONTARIO ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending May 26, 2012.

Cow moose with calf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Global 06/06/12 nih.gov: News Release – A test being developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists to quickly and accurately diagnose fatal brain diseases performed better than existing tests in a recent study of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are difficult to diagnose, untreatable, and ultimately fatal. Normally, prion protein molecules exist harmlessly in every mammal, but for reasons not fully understood, these molecules can develop abnormalities and gather in clusters. Scientists have associated the accumulation of these clusters with tissue damage that leaves microscopic sponge-like holes in the brain. Prion diseases include sCJD and variant CJD in people; scrapie in sheep; chronic wasting disease in deer, elk, and moose; and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in cattle. Because animals and people can be infected for years before clinical signs or symptoms appear, NIH scientists are developing a rapid and sensitive screening tool to detect prion diseases. Such a test would help prevent the spread of prion diseases among and between species. Of particular concern is the known transmission of variant CJD via blood transfusions. – For further details see http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/prion/Pages/diagnostics.aspx

New Jersey 06/06/12 nj.com: A 3-year-old horse from Burlington County was euthanized on May 27 after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a serious, mosquito-borne illness in horses. “It is very early in the season to see Eastern Equine Encephalitis so horse owners need to be vigilant in vaccinating their animals against diseases spread by mosquitoes,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We hope this incident will raise awareness about the need to protect our official state animal from this and other harmful diseases, especially since June is the Month of the Horse in our state.” EEE is preventable by vaccination, and effective equine vaccines for EEE and West Nile Virus, another mosquito-borne disease, are available commercially, the Department of Agriculture said. – For complete article see http://www.nj.com/cumberland/index.ssf/2012/06/burlington_county_horse_with_e.html

Illinois 06/05/12 Shawneetown, Gallatin County: State public health officials reported the first West Nile Virus positive mosquito batch in Southern Illinois this year. – See http://www.dailyregister.com/news/x492302404/West-Nile-virus-positive-mosquitoes-found-in-Shawneetown

Pennsylvania 06/06/12 Lackawanna County: A mosquito has tested positive for West Nile Virus about two months earlier than the county has seen in previous years. – See http://theabingtonjournal.com/stories/West-Nile-virus-test-positive,159872

Texas 06/06/12 cbs19.tv: Mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus in three area counties, according to the Texas Health Department. They were found in Fort Bend, Brazoria and Montgomery counties. The infected mosquitoes in Montgomery County were found in The Woodlands. Spraying is already under way on storm drains and streets in the areas where they turned up. No details have been released yet on the location of positive tests in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.

Iowa 06/05/12 Fort Madison, Lee County: A stray cat picked up last Friday in southern Lee County has tested positive for rabies.- http://www.dailygate.com/articles/2012/06/05/news/dgc2659561.txt


Ontario 06/05/12 Perth, Lanark County: The Perth District Health Unit is looking for a dog involved in a biting incident at Bedford Public School last week. The dog is described as a brown-and-white spaniel with a red collar. A young couple was playing ball with the dog in the schoolyard at the time of the incident, which happened around 8 p.m. on May 31. The health Unit is trying to determine if the dog has up-to-date rabies shots. If the dog is not found, the person who was bitten may need to receive rabies shots. Anyone who has seen a dog fitting this description should contact the health unit at 271-7600, ext. 252 or after hours at 1-800-431-2054.

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending May 26, 2012:

Published June 1, 2012/ 61(21); ND-283-ND-296

Anaplasmosis . . . 9 . . . Florida, Maine (2), New York (2), Rhode Island (3), Vermont,

Babesiosis . . . 3 . . . New York (2), Rhode Island,

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Florida, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 11 . . . Delaware, Florida, Missouri (5), New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee (2),

Giardiasis . . . 107 . . . Alaska (3), Arkansas, California (20), Florida (20), Iowa (4), Maryland (4), Michigan, Missouri (3), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), Nevada (3), New York (14), Ohio (5), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (8), Washington (10),

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 1 . . . Missouri, 

Lyme Disease . . .  124. . .  Delaware (2), Florida (6), Maryland (22), Missouri, Nebraska, New York (37), North Carolina (5), Oregon, Pennsylvania (31), Vermont (7), Virginia (10), Wyoming,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 36. . . Arkansas, Connecticut (3), Maine, Michigan (2), Missouri, New York (7), Texas (4), Vermont, Virginia (15), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 6. . . California, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee (3),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 20 . . . Alabama (6), Arkansas, Delaware, Florida (4), Missouri (3), Tennessee (4), Texas,

Tularemia . . . 2 . . . Missouri.

CALIFORNIA preparing for TIGER MOSQUITO that carries DENGUE and other VIRUSES ~ EUROPEAN climate change favors MOSQUITO that carries DENGUE and other VIRUSES ~ TENNESSEE TICK season is early and ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER cases are up over 500% ~ FDA says CALIFORNIA case of MAD COW DISEASE under control ~ RABIES reports from FLORIDA(2), MASSACHUSETTS, NEW JERSEY, OKLAHOMA, & VIRGINIA.

Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopicts, beginning its blood-meal. Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

California 04/25/12 peninsulapress.com: by Jessica Parks – Santa Clara County is urging residents to be on the lookout for an exotic, bloodthirsty tiger with a potentially lethal bite.  It was last seen in Los Angeles County on Dec. 28. Asian tiger mosquitoes are a much smaller threat than jungle cats and haven’t been linked to any human illnesses in California.  But officials aren’t taking any chances.  Once the species becomes established, it is very difficult to eradicate and can spread diseases such as chikungunya, dengue fever and encephalitis. The county is launching a public education campaign, asking residents to “be our eyes and ears,” said vector control chief Russ Parman, who will oversee the effort. The tiger mosquito is easily distinguished from common local species, due to its distinctive black body with white stripes and aggressive biting during daylight hours.  Parman’s office is also laying simple water traps across the county and using helicopters to locate stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes might be breeding.

The best way to eradicate invasive pests is to catch them early, before they can reproduce and branch out.  In early September, officials in Southern California began getting calls about strange-looking, day-biting mosquitoes east of downtown Los Angeles.  They went door-to-door and sprayed to suppress the insects, but “there were quite a few of them out there” and it’s impossible to know whether any larvae survived, said Kelly Middleton, a spokeswoman for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District. With warm weather following recent rains, spring is a prime time for the invasive pest to reappear. – For complete article see http://peninsulapress.com/2012/04/25/invasive-mosquito-bites-like-a-tiger-looks-like-a-zebra/

Europe 04/25/12 iol.co.za: by SAPA – The climate in north-west Europe and the Balkans is becoming suitable for the Asian tiger mosquito, a disease-spreading invasive species, scientists said on Wednesday. The warning comes from scientists at the University of Liverpool, north-west England, who say the two regions have been having progressively milder winters and warmer summers. These temperate conditions favour the mosquito, which gained a foothold in Albania in 1979 and is now present in more than 15 countries on Europe’s southern rim. “Over the last two decades, climate conditions have become more suitable over central northwestern Europe – Benelux, western Germany – and the Balkans,” they said. At the same time, drier conditions in southern Spain have made that region less welcoming for the insect, they said.

Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever Victim.

The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), a native of tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, can transmit viruses that cause West Nile fever, yellow fever, dengue, St. Louis and Japanese encephalitis and other diseases. In 2005-6, it caused an epidemic of chikungunya, a disease that attacks the joints, on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion. A year later, it unleashed an outbreak of chikungunya in the Italian province of Ravenna. In 2010, it was fingered as a transmitter of dengue virus in France and Croatia. As of last December, the mosquito was present in more than 15 countries, from southern Spain to parts of Greece and Turkey, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Reporting in Britain’s Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the Liverpool team looked at European weather records for 1950-2009 and ran a widely-used computer model to simulate weather trends for 2030-2050. “Similar trends are likely in the future with an increased risk simulated over northern Europe and slightly decreased risk over southern Europe,” says the study. “These distribution shifts are related to wetter and warmer conditions favouring the overwintering of A. albopictus in the north, and drier and warmer summers that might limit its southward expansion.” The paper points out that weather alone does not mean the species will automatically spread there. It also notes that the study did not consider vegetation or soil types which also determine whether the mosquito would be able to breed there. In addition, cold snaps or hot, dry spells also help limit mosquito survival, and these too were not included in the investigation. In the mid-1960s, the Asian tiger mosquito was limited to some parts of Asia, India and a handful of Pacific islands. It has since spread to North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe, mainly by hitchhiking a ride in exported materials.

Tennessee 04/26/12 tn.gov: News Release – The Tennessee Department of Health is seeing significant increases in tick-borne illnesses this year following an unusually mild winter and spring. Cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are up 533 percent compared to this time last year, according to Abelardo Moncayo, Ph.D., with the TDH Division of Communicable and Environmental Diseases and Emergency Preparedness. “We’ve documented 38 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, compared with only six by the same time last year,” Moncayo said. “We are also seeing increased numbers of other tick-borne infections compared to last year. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most serious tick-borne disease in the United States. Symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after a bite from an infected tick.

Petechial rash.

The disease often begins with sudden onset of fever and headache. Early symptoms may resemble other diseases and include nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite and severe headache. Later symptoms may include rash, abdominal pain, joint pain and diarrhea. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a serious illness that can be fatal if not treated correctly, even in previously healthy people. It and other tick-borne illnesses can have devastating effects, but are effectively treated with antibiotics. Persons with symptoms should see their medical provider for early diagnosis and treatment. – For tips on preventing tick bites see http://news.tn.gov/node/8734

California 04/26/12 fda.gov: News Release – This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that a dairy cow in California tested positive for atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or “mad cow” disease). The USDA also confirmed the cow did not enter the animal feed or human food supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working with federal and state authorities to further investigate this case. The FDA is confident in the effectiveness of the existing animal feed safeguards designed to prevent the spread of BSE through feed. Although current science suggests that atypical cases of BSE, such as this one, are unlikely to be transmitted through animal feed, the FDA will work with the USDA to complete a thorough epidemiological investigation. Importantly, scientific research indicates that BSE cannot be transmitted in cow’s milk. – For more information see USDA’s Chief Veterinary Officer on the Recent BSE Case (aka Mad Cow)

Florida 04/25/12 North Fort Myers, Lee County: A horse that died from rabies last week presented the first confirmed case of the virus in the county in two years. – See http://www.nbc-2.com/story/17771201/rabies-case-discovered-in-lee-county

Florida 04/25/12 Merritt Island, Brevard County: A pet cat located at Banana River Drive that bit it’s owner has tested positive for rabies. It is most likely the cat contracted the disease from wild animal infected with the virus. – See http://cmacdonald.brevardtimes.com/2012/04/rabies-positive-cat-reported-on-merritt.html

Massachusetts 04/25/12 Wayland, Middlesex County: A raccoon found off Concord and Lincoln roads in North Wayland has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/newsnow/x1783291258/Raccoon-found-in-North-Wayland-tests-positive-for-rabies

New Jersey 04/25/12 New Milford, Bergen County: A raccoon that attacked a man near his Pine Street home last Friday has tested positive for rabies. The man was bitten on an arm and a leg. – See http://newmilford-nj.patch.com/articles/raccoon-that-attacked-man-on-pine-street-confirmed-rabid

Oklahoma 04/25/12 Shawnee, Pottawatomie County: In little more than a week Unity Health Center staff have seen 10 patients with possible rabies exposure, Kari Gilliam, a pharmacist at Unity, said. From January to March 31 there have been 21 cases of rabies statewide; there were 60 total in 2011. Seventy percent of the rabies cases are found in skunks, and then cattle, dogs, cats, horses and bats. – For complete article see http://www.news-star.com/news/x1783289868/Unity-has-seen-10-patients-with-possible-rabies-exposure

Virginia 04/25/12 Virginia Beach: A raccoon that bit a mechanic on the arm and shoulder while he was working under a truck was captured by Animal Control and has tested positive for rabies. The mechanic tried to escape but the raccoon jumped on his back and bit him several times. Officers believe someone is feeding feral cats in the area and the food has attracted raccoons. It’s possible that the feral cats have also been exposed to the virus. The incident occurred near Butternut Lane. – See http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/va_beach/vb-man-bitten-by-rabid-raccoon


Red fox. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Massachusetts 01/26/12 milforddailynews.com: by Alison McCall – A Village Lane woman is receiving rabies shots after a rabid fox attacked her Tuesday, biting her twice and causing her to fall and break her elbow. “It kept coming after me,” Carol Welch said. Welch said she was walking her dog in her yard sometime before 6 a.m. Tuesday when she saw something emerge from the dark. Less than an hour earlier, a Beaver Pond Road resident reported a fox behaving strangely in his garage. The fox ran after Welch and her small dog. Welch fell when trying to escape. “I thought I was doomed,” Welch said. “I fell to the ground, and my dog ran up onto the porch, and that fox ran up” after the dog. Welch threw her shoe at the fox, which then bit her before she could get inside again. The fox was reported to the police at least three times and ran off twice before police put it down around 9 a.m. on Beaver Pond Road. The Animal Control Department then sent the body of the animal to a state laboratory for rabies testing. Yesterday afternoon, the fox was confirmed to have been carrying the rabies virus. – For complete article see http://www.milforddailynews.com/topstories/x1192850106/State-confirms-Bellingham-fox-carried-rabies

National 01/26/12 myhealthnewsdaily.com: by Linda Thrasybule — Excerpts — “Unlike diseases caused by viruses or bacteria, prion diseases are caused by infectious protein molecules that pass from animals to humans. Although differences between species makes it difficult for prion diseases to spread from one species to another, transmission does occur. Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, as mad cow disease is properly called, can be transmitted to humans by eating meat infected with the disease. This study might help researchers better determine the risk of exposure to animal prions and silent carriers, said study co-author Vincent Beringue, a scientist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research. The findings were published today (Jan. 26) in the journal Science.”

‘The study has significant implications for public and animal health, according to Christina Sigurdson, who researches prion diseases at the University of California at San Diego, and was not involved with the study. For example, Sigurdsonsaid, chronic wasting disease is a prion disease found in deer and elk, and is currently spreading in these animals throughout the United States, according to the CDC. ‘Although there is evidence of a species barrier for human infection with this disease, we don’t know if there is a population of people that may be currently infected with deer or elk prions,’ she said. ‘This is a major concern, because the infection could remain undetected for long periods of time,’ she added.” – For complete article see http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2164-prions-brain-disease-spread-lymph.html

Minnesota 01/27/12 Eden Prairie, Hennepin County: A small dog is fighting for his life after being attacked by a coyote. See http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/minnesota/coyotes-attack-eden-prairie-dog-jan-26-2012

Georgia 01/26/12 Gillsville, Hall County: A bobcat that was shot after threatening two dogs has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=245272

Georgia 01/25/12 Maysville, Jackson County: Health officials have confirmed that a cow has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.jacksonheraldtoday.com/archives/6481-Rabid-cow-reported.html

Kansas 01/26/12 Kiowa County: A coyote that attacked a dog and then tried to get into a nearby house has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.kiowacountysignal.com/news/x767707091/Health-Department-reports-rabies-found-in-local-coyote

New York 01/25/12 Clay, Onondaga County: An adult feral black cat that had been living in the area along Jackson Road has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/cat_tests_positive_for_rabies.html

North Carolina 01/25/12 Beaufort County: Animal control officers are asking residents of Pine town and Bath to be sure pets have been vaccinated after three pets are attacked by raccoons with rabies in three separate incidents. See http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Rabies_Cases_In_Beaufort_County_138092658.html

North Carolina 01/26/12 Swansboro, Onslow County: A domestic cat is the county’s first rabies case this year. See http://www2.wnct.com/news/2012/jan/26/rabies-reported-onslow-county-cat-ar-1860903/

Follow-Up Reports:

(January 2, 2012: MASSACHUSETTS man diagnosed with HUMAN RABIES; January 4, 2012: FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: MASSACHUSETTS confirms Cape Cod man with RABIES was bitten by BROWN BAT.)

Massachusetts 01/27/12 myfoxboston.com: A 63-year-old Marstons Mills man who contracted rabies in December died this week. Kevin Galvin’s death is the first fatal rabies case contracted in Massachusetts since 1935. According to the Cape Cod Times, Galvin died at Massachusetts General Hospital. Doctors had placed him in a coma-like state to allow his body to fight the virus. Officials believe he was bitten by a rabid brown bat in his Cape Cod neighborhood.

Canadian scientists get $2.9 million to prevent Prion Disease outbreaks; Montana FWP approves Wolf hunt quotas; Arizona’s Coconino County targets Gray Foxes for Rabies vaccination; West Nile Virus reports from New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Bull Elk. Photo by Mongo. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Canada 07/13/11 prionetcanada.ca: Press Release – Collaborative research groups at nine different universities, involving 55 different investigators across Canada, are poised to make significant advances in the understanding of prion and prion-like diseases in humans and animals.

Captive elk with chronic wasting disease

These include the development of an oral vaccine to help stop the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer and elk populations and novel approaches to treat human neurodegenerative disorders like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, thanks to $2.9 million in funding announced by PrioNet Canada.  The goal of the funding which supports 11 projects is two-fold, explains Dr. Neil Cashman, Scientific Director of PrioNet Canada, one of Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence. “By working with our partners, we aim to continue to protect Canada against classical prion diseases like chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE), and we’re also providing benefit to Canadians through the development of innovative therapeutics to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.”

Sheep with scrapie.

The researchers will use the funds to better understand the biology of prion disease, to develop strategies to manage prion disease outbreaks and minimize the impacts, and to apply learnings of prion diseases to the treatment of human neurodegenerative disorders. Prion diseases are fatal, infectious and transmissible diseases of humans and animals associated with a ‘sponge-like’ degeneration of brain tissue. In animals, the most common prion diseases include BSE, scrapie in sheep and goats, and CWD in deer and elk. In 2003, Canada’s beef and related industries were faced with worldwide closing of trade after a domestic case of BSE was found in Alberta. Canada’s economic loss stemming from this event is estimated at more than $6 billion. Some examples of prion diseases in humans include fatal and sporadic familial insomnia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and its many varieties, and Kuru. Some examples of the ground-breaking work supported by PrioNet’s recent funding include:

Dr. Neil Cashman

Immunotherapies to treat ALS: Five PrioNet researchers at the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and University of Toronto are focusing on a newly-recognized molecular mechanism of ALS, a misfolded protein called SOD-1. By identifying the parts of the protein that are exposed when it is misfolded in disease, researchers are able to design immunotherapies that can target those areas, interrupting the slow progression of paralysis and eventual death characterized by the disorder. Two animal models have already demonstrated responsiveness to the new immunotherapies and work is now underway to develop a therapy for humans. “We are hoping these discoveries could prove to be a magic bullet for ALS,” said Dr. Cashman, who serves as principal investigator for the multi-disciplinary research team.

Dr. Scott Napper

Oral vaccine to control chronic wasting disease in the wild: Prion diseases like chronic wasting disease are continuing to spread throughout the Canadian prairie’s wild deer and elk populations and ten PrioNet researchers in Saskatoon and British Columbia are working on an oral vaccine to stop the spread. “The danger is that prion diseases are evolving and new strains are emerging,” noted Dr. Scott Napper, a Research Scientist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon and principal investigator on the project. Dr. Napper’s group is focusing on an oral vaccine that can withstand extreme temperatures and will effectively attract elk and deer in the wild. Similar oral vaccines are already used to control rabies in Eastern Canada, where food packets containing the vaccine are widely distributed for consumption by fox and raccoon populations.

Dr. Ellen Goddard

Framework to minimize the impact of chronic wasting disease: Principal investigator Dr. Ellen Goddard from the University of Alberta along with nine co-investigators are working to identify the risk factors associated with chronic wasting disease in wild deer and elk populations, how they can be managed and what public policy recommendations should be put in place to try and mitigate the effects. The primary goal is to monitor the many unknowns that remain about the impact of CWD in the wild, such as the potential risk to hunters who consume infected animals and the potential interface between wild and domestic animals. “The risk management framework around BSE showed that even though countries were aware of the disease in their cattle, they completely underestimated the economic impact and the public response,” notes Dr. Goddard. “We’re doing the work ahead of the game while CWD is still manageable and while effective policies can be put into place to control it, to help anticipate and prevent the impacts.”

Dr. Christoph Borchers

Understanding ‘good versus bad’ prions in order to develop drugs: The first step to designing drugs to treat prion and prion-like diseases is to understand how prion proteins change shape when they become “misfolded” in disease. Dr. Christoph Borchers, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Director of the University of Victoria-Genome BC Proteomics Centre is collaborating with researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Western Ontario to characterize the changes that occur to the three-dimensional structure of prion fibrils (small, nerve-like fibres) as well as the molecular mechanisms that lead to those changes. Using a combination of protein chemistry and mass spectrometry, they are
working to explain what occurs when a ‘good’ prion protein changes to a ‘bad’ one during disease development. The information is crucial to designing drugs that can interfere with those changes, effectively curbing the spread of prion and prion-like diseases.

About PrioNet Canada (www.prionetcanada.ca)
One of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, PrioNet Canada is a pan-Canadian research network that is developing strategies to help solve the food, health safety, and socioeconomic problems associated with prion diseases. The network brings together academia, industry, and public sector partners through its multidisciplinary research projects, training programs, events, and commercialization activities to help derive maximum socioeconomic benefits for Canadians. PrioNet is hosted by the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute in Vancouver.

Montana 07/14/11mt.gov: Press Release – Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission today approved a wolf hunting season for 2011 that creates 14 wolf management units and an overall harvest quota of 220 wolves. “The approved hunting season is very similar to the one considered last year,” said Ken McDonald, FWP’s chief of wildlife. “It’s based on wildlife science and we believe it’s properly balanced. Our management objective is very clear: we must maintain a viable and connected wolf population as we aim to reduce impacts on Montana’s wildlife and livestock. With the ability to manage wolves as we do all other wildlife in Montana we’re confident we can meet those expectations.” For the upcoming seasons, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt for 220 wolves in 14 WMUs that are generally situated in the western portion of Montana. A new WMU in the Bitterroot Valley was added to an area where wolves appear to be contributing to a significant drop in the elk population. (For complete news release go to http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/headlines/nr_3966.html )

Arizona 07/14/11 myfoxphoenix.com: Coconino County health officials are asking cat and dog owners to keep their pets leashed or confined this year while area wildlife is vaccinated against rabies. The quarantine lasts from August 1 – 12. That’s when county and federal workers and volunteers plan to distribute edible vaccine packets by hand in populated areas and by aircraft across a larger area that includes northeast Williams,
Mountainaire, Flagstaff and Winona. The primary targets for vaccination are gray foxes and this is the fifth such campaign in a decade. The quarantine is intended to prevent pets from eating the vaccines first. The vaccine bait packets aren’t supposed to be harmful to pets, but the Coconino County health department is advising people not to touch them.

New York 07/14/11 patch.com: by Ryan Bonner – The presence of the West Nile virus has been confirmed in mosquitoes in Patchogue, according to county health officials. It is the first confirmation of West Nile on Long Island this year. Three people in Suffolk and three in Nassau died in 2010 after being infected with the virus. No humans, horses or birds have tested positive for West Nile in Suffolk this year, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) said in a press release. The mosquito sample in Patchogue that tested positive for the virus was collected on June 30.

Ohio 07/14/11 twinsburgbulletin.com: by Jeremy Nobile – The Summit County Health District has captured a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus in Twinsburg Township, though one health department official says there’s no cause for alarm. The bug was caught about two weeks ago in Liberty Park at 4175 East Aurora Road and tests in Columbus July 14 confirmed presence of the virus. Terry Tuttle, environmental health supervisor with the Summit County Health District, said it’s the fifth confirmed finding of the virus in Summit County this year — the other WNV-carrying insects were found in New Franklin, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley and Tallmadge. There were nine WNV-carrying mosquitoes caught in Summit County last year and only five in 2010 — but there were 15 in 2009. Tuttle also noted the last confirmed case of a human infected with WNV in the county was in 2002.

California 07/13/11 nctimes.com: by Chris Nichols – County health officials are warning the public not to touch dead animals after two boys in Vista turned in a dead but infected bat this past Sunday. The county is also urging the families of the unidentified boys, approximately 12 to 13 years old, to contact the county at 619-692-8499 to see if the boys were exposed to rabies. The boys brought the bat to the Petco store in Vista at 520 Hacienda Drive on Sunday, according to a county news release. The store immediately contacted authorities for help, the county said.

Georgia 07/13/11 patch.com: by Rodney Thrash – A raccoon that fought two Canton dogs has tested positive for rabies, health officials said. The dogs were vaccinated and will only require a 45-day quarantine, North Georgia Health District spokeswoman Jennifer King said in an email to Patch. There was no human exposure, she said. The positive test results came a week to the day that health officials said 11 Georgians were exposed to an unvaccinated rabid dog from Cherokee. Seven came from Cherokee County, three from Pickens County and one from Houston County. That case followed an incident in Ball Ground. On May 3, a rabid raccoon attacked a dog at a residence on Hightower Trail in Ball Ground. That dog was current on its vaccinations, too.

Maine 07/14/11 sunjournal.com: by Donna M. Perry – A raccoon tested positive for rabies after it attacked a pet cat resting on a deck Sunday at a residence on Spruce Mountain Road, Jay Animal Control Officer Larry Wright said Wednesday. It is the first case of rabies in Jay that Wright has seen this year, he said. The raccoon, which was euthanized, was handled by the Maine Warden Service and taken to the state laboratory for testing in Augusta. A representative of the lab called Wright Monday to tell him that the raccoon had rabies. The cat is under quarantine for six months or it needs to be euthanized because it did not have a rabies vaccination, Wright said.

Maryland 07/13/11 baltimorehealth.org: Press Release – The Baltimore City Health Department has confirmed a positive case of rabies in a domestic, short hair feline. The female cat was found July 7th on the side of the road in the 400 block of Kingston Road, just east of the Baltimore City/County line. The cat, a stray, was injured and immediately euthanized upon being taken to a veterinarian by a resident. The Health Department, at this time, is only aware of one human exposure the individual who attempted to rescue the cat. The individual is receiving medical attention. The last positive rabies case of a cat or dog in Baltimore City was in August 2008. Prior to that case, the last positive rabies case of a cat or dog was in 1986.

 New Jersey 07/14/11 patch.com: by Jennifer Bradshaw – The Middlesex County Health Department has issued a rabies advisory for the county after a stray cat tested positive for the virus on July 12. According to a release from the health department, the cat was discovered at a home in the vicinity of Lucille Court and Grandview Avenue in Piscataway. It was captured by animal control, brought to a veterinarian and euthanized, and tested for the virus.

New York 07/14/11 myfoxny.com:  The Westchester County Department of Health is issuing a rabies alert to residents who may have had contact with a rabid kitten near the entrance from Saw Mill River Road/Route 100 South to Route 9A North in Mount Pleasant, near the Briarcliff Manor border, prior to Wednesday, July 13. The cat was a stray, domestic short hair eight-week-old male that was solid black in color. The kitten was picked up by a passerby who brought it home on Tuesday, July 12 and then to a veterinarian, the next day, where it was submitted for rabies testing. Test results confirmed today that the cat was rabid. “Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with this cat should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Westchester County Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Cheryl Archbald. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive immediate rabies vaccination.”

Pennsylvania 07/14/11 fultoncountynews.com: by Chanin Rotz-Mountz – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed last week a fox that was involved in a squabble with a dog in Brush Creek Township was indeed infected with the rabies virus.

Virginia 07/13/11 wavy.com: A fox found in the Moore Road area of Poquoson has tested positive for rabies. While preventable, rabies can be fatal. If you or your pet has come in contact with this animal, call the Peninsula Health District at (757) 594-7340.

Texas 07/13/11 fredericksburgstandard.com: Gillespie County’s fifth case of rabies in 2011 has been confirmed by the Texas Department of Health Services. The latest incident on June 27 occurred when, five hours after shooting a raccoon, a Gillespie resident noticed fluid on his hand when he picked up the animal by the tail. No risk to humans resulted in handling the raccoon, the TDHS Region 8 Zoonosis Control Office in Uvalde reported, before the animal was submitted for testing. The incident marks the second case of a rabid raccoon in the county this year after another case was reported in March.

FDA approves Q Fever test for troops in Middle East; CDC scientists have new information about Chronic Wasting and other “prion” diseases; Cuba to host annual workshop on Dengue Fever; Connecticut hospital creating Lyme Disease database; and Rabies reports from Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

A massive sandstorm cloud rolls over Al Asad, Iraq, just before nightfall. Courtesy U.S. Marine Corps.

U.S. Military 05/22/11 emaxhealth.com: by Deborah Mitchell – Overseas military personnel now have a test* to diagnose the early stages of Q fever, an emerging infectious disease among US soldiers serving in Iraq and other locations worldwide. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the test to be used on the Defense Department’s Joint Biological Agency Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS). Q fever is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be passed from animals to people. Q fever, also known as goat fever, is caused by bacteria called Coxiella burnetii, which is carried by goats, cattle, and sheep and deposited into the soil through feces. People can get Q fever when they inhale dust that has been contaminated. The mortality rate is 1 to 2 percent.  The FDA has now approved the first nucleic acid amplification test, which can identify and detect Coxiella burnetii within four hours. A multiple use instrument called the JBAIDS, which rapidly detects numerous bacteria and viruses in the blood, will be used to test military personnel. Only Department of Defense labs equipped with the JBAIDS can administer the test. When Q fever is diagnosed early, most people can fully recover after being treated with the appropriate antibiotics. Anyone who fails to be treated can develop serious chronic illness. Chronic Q fever develops in less than 1 percent of people who have acute disease, but people who are immunosuppressed, who have a pre-existing heart valve disorder, or who are pregnant are at greater risk for chronic Q fever. In May 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory, asking physicians to evaluate people who have returned from Iraq if they have indications of Q fever infections, which include fever, hepatitis, and pneumonia. Development of the new test for Q fever for military personnel is critical because “Q fever bacteria is considered a biothreat agent in part due to the fact that fewer than 10 organisms need to be inhaled to cause infection and its ability to withstand open environments,” according to Jeffrey Shuren, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.  * The test was developed by Idaho Technology Inc, based in Salt Lake City.

Global 05/23/11 usnews.com: HealthDay – U.S. researchers have new information about how humans are exposed to “prion” diseases, which are rare, progressive conditions that affect brain function, such as variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow disease.” The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that eating wild deer meat (venison) is one of the most common ways people are exposed to these serious, debilitating diseases. “While prion diseases are rare, they are generally fatal for anyone who becomes infected. More than anything else, the results of this study support the need for continued surveillance of prion diseases,” the study’s lead investigator Joseph Y. Abrams, of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a journal news release. “But it’s also important that people know the facts about these diseases, especially since this study shows that a good number of people have participated in activities that may expose them to infection-causing agents,” Abrams added.

Elk with CWD

In examining the results of a 2006-2007 population survey conducted by the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet), CDC researchers were able to track how participants may have been exposed to prion diseases, including:

  • Travel to countries where bovine spongiform encephalopathy (“mad cow”) is known to be widespread, including the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.
  • Hunting for deer or elk — especially in regions where chronic wasting disease is considered common (northeastern Colorado, southeastern Wyoming and southwestern Nebraska).
  • The consumption of venison — particularly deer meat obtained in the wild.

The investigators found that 29.5 percent of those polled traveled to at least one of the nine countries where bovine spongiform encephalopathy was widespread, with the United Kingdom being the most common destination (19.4 percent of survey participants). Travelers to the United Kingdom were also more likely to stay longer. In fact, nearly one-quarter remained in the country for at least a month. Moreover, 18.5 percent of those polled hunted for deer and 1.2 percent hunted for elk in regions known for chronic wasting disease. Venison was eaten by 67.4 percent of those surveyed. Of those who ate deer meat, 88.6 percent got it from the wild.

Based on these findings, the CDC researchers concluded that hunters in these areas should protect themselves from exposure to chronic wasting disease by taking the following steps: do not eat meat from sickly deer or elk; don’t eat brain or spinal cord tissues; minimize the handling of brain and spinal cord tissues; and wear gloves when field-dressing carcasses. “The 2006-2007 FoodNet population survey provides useful information should foodborne prion infection become an increasing public health concern in the future. The data presented describe the prevalence of important behaviors and their associations with demographic characteristics. Surveillance of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease and human prion diseases are critical aspects of addressing the burden of these diseases in animal populations and how that may relate to human health,” Abrams concluded. For more information:  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers detailed information on prion diseases.


Cuba 05/23/11 cubaheadlines.com: by Tomas Armenteros Crespo – Havanna – Cuba has announced the 12th International Workshop on Dengue and Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, hosted by the Pedro Kouri Institute for Tropical Medicine, will be held in August. The workshop is organized by the institute’s Pan-American Health Organization/WHO coordinating center, and is dedicated to Professor Gustavo Kouri Flores, who until his death on May 5, was the founder and director of the institute. The two-week workshop is aimed at increasing capacities for controlling and preventing dengue, in the light of the latest information and experiences. Issues to be covered include clinics, epidemiology, virology, immunology, vector control, environmental factors and community participation, according to the initial program, avaialble on the website Infomed.

Dr. Gustavo Kouri Flores

Scientists and collaborators from organizations that are leading dengue fever studies are expected at the workshop, sponsored by the Cuban Public Health Ministry, the PAHO/WHO and the WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. A pandemic of dengue fever, a viral disease carried by mosquitos, began during World War II and intensified from the 1970s. Hemorrhagic dengue is the most dangerous version of the disease, and has spiraled to more than 2.5 billion people at risk, nearly 50 million cases, and 250 to 500 severe cases each year. Currently, the disease is reported in South East Asia, the Western Pacific, the Americas and Mediterranean countries, and increase in the number of epidemics has been seen in Africa.

Connecticut 05/22/11 patch.com: by Debra Siepmann – A Danbury Hospital pilot program that studies Lyme disease will continue this summer in an attempt to find answers as the debate over diagnosing symptoms of Lyme, treating the disease and its chronic symptoms continues between health care professionals and patients. Amber Butler, who works for the Laura and Dale Kutnick Lyme Disease Research Center along with physicians’ assistants at the emergency room, is part of a research team that “recruits” Lyme disease patients coming to the ER. She wants them to take part in a study to help create a database. The program began last summer. (For complete article go to http://monroe.patch.com/articles/lyme-controversy-continues-2 )

Pennsylvania 05/22/11 centredaily.com: by Mike Dawson – Pleasant Gap – Eight-year-old Riley Emel thought she was seeing a cat circling the pickup truck in which she and a friend were playing in during the dusk hours of May 13. But it wasn’t a cat. It was a fox. When it attacked, Riley, a third-grader at Pleasant Gap Elementary School, didn’t panic. Instead, she protected her 6- year-old friend and neighbor, Katelyn Moyer, shielding her from the attacking animal.  “It was looking at her,” said Riley, who came to face to nose with the fox in the bed of a pickup truck during the ordeal. “And that’s why I was pushing it and making it get off.”  Dawn Dilling, a domestic health inspector for the state Department of Agriculture, said in a written statement that a gray fox exhibiting strange behavior was shot by police the next day near the area in which the two girls were attacked. It subsequently tested positive for rabies.  “We are assuming that this is the same fox that attacked the child in the pickup truck,” she said in the statement that was in a flier delivered Thursday to some homes in Pleasant Gap. (For complete article go to http://www.centredaily.com/2011/05/22/2727583/pleasant-gap-girl-treated-for.html )

Texas 05/23/11 cleburnetimesreview.com: by Pete Kendall – This is the time of year skunks cross the proverbial road in search of other skunks for social purposes … namely breeding. The rabid among them, while crossing the road, may encounter other animals to infect with the deadly (rabies) virus. That would be one way to explain statistics released by Johnson County Sheriff’s Office last week. Since December, a total of seven rabid skunks have been identified in the unincorporated county, along with two rabid horses, one rabid raccoon and one rabid kitten. (For complete article go to http://www.cleburnetimesreview.com/local/x645567872/7-skunks-2-horses-test-positive-for-rabies )

Virginia 05/22/11 wcyb.com: by Bill Rambo – The Tazewell County Health Department has announced that a raccoon captured on May 10 has tested positive for rabies. It’s the second rabid animal found in the county this year. The raccoon was collected in the Litz Lane area of the Burke’s Garden community. Brian Stanley of the Virgnia Department of Health said the raccoon was killed by a resident’s dog. The dog is currently under observation and may not have to be euthanized if no symptoms are shown. No human exposure was reported. The VDOH asks residents to watch their pets for exposure to wild animals or potential signs of rabies. If you think there has been an exposure call the Tazewell County Health Department at (276) 988-5585 or the Tazewell County Animal Control office at (276) 988-4160.