Tag Archives: ticks

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 ~

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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/

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

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

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

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

Dr. Tom Schwan

Dr. Tom Schwan

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

CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER:

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

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

RABIES:

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

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

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

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

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

Doctors say KANSAN died of new TICK-BORNE BOURBON VIRUS ~ Travel associated CHIKUNGUNYA in US tops 2,000 cases – MOUNTAIN LION shot in KENTUCKY ~ RABID STRAY CAT report from NORTH CAROLINA.

TERC_150x75

Kansas 12/18/14 kshb.com: by Shannon Halligan – A new, never before seen virus has been discovered in Kansas. The CDC is now investigating after the tick-borne illness, dubbed “Bourbon Virus,” was linked to the death of a Kansas man. Up until recently, the man’s death remained a mystery. Now, doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital think this discovery may help others . . . This summer a patient came into the University of Kansas hospital with symptoms similar to most tick-borne illnesses, but after testing the man, doctors were stumped. “It was very frustrating. That’s one of the biggest problems with my job, which I love, when we can’t answer those questions, when we can’t help the patients or their families,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an Infectious Disease Physician at the hospital said,  People with diseases spread by ticks see symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, muscle aches, and nausea. Dr. Hawkinson explained the Kansas man didn’t respond to typical treatments. He eventually experienced multi-organ failure. Now, six months after his death, the CDC determined the man had “Bourbon Virus.” It’s named after Bourbon County, Kan., where the man lived. – For complete article and video see http://www.kshb.com/news/health/new-tick-borne-virus-discovered-after-the-death-of-kansas-man

CHIKUNGUNYA:

CHIK_State_Report-093014National 12/17/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – After seeing an average of 28 imported chikungunya cases a year in the United States during the past eight years, primarily from travel to Asia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number of such cases to over 2,000 as of Dec. 16. Beginning in 2014, cases were identified in travelers returning from the Caribbean. As of December 16, a total of 2,021 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from U.S. states. Eleven locally-transmitted cases have been reported from Florida. New York has seen the most travel associated chikungunya with 533 case, or 27 percent of the national total. This is followed by Florida with 384, New Jersey with 160 and Massachusetts with 124 cases. Only Alaska, Wyoming , North Dakota and Montana have not reported a single case. Last week, we saw the number of local transmission cases in the Western Hemisphere eclipse the 1 million case mark, one year after the first cases were reported in the Caribbean. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/travel-associated-chikungunya-in-the-us-tops-2000-cases-2000/

MOUNTAIN LION:

MtnLionUSDA.govKentucky 12/18/14 therepublic.com: An examination of a mountain lion killed by a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife official has found that it was a 125-pound male that appeared to be young and healthy. But Fish and Wildlife officials still don’t know whether it was a wild animal or one that escaped from captivity. “It seemed to be in very healthy condition, and they determined pretty quickly that it didn’t look like it had traveled long distances on foot,” agency spokesman Mark Marraccini said. An agency officer shot and killed the mountain lion after a concerned caller spotted it in northern Bourbon County. Marraccini says the lion was killed because it was roaming free near a populated area, making it a public safety issue. He said if the mountain lion was a wild animal, it apparently would be the first one confirmed in Kentucky since before the Civil War. “But that is a pretty big ‘if,'” he said. “They took some measurements today, but that’s certainly not enough to go on without looking at everything in total.” The animal’s DNA will be sent to an out-of-state wildlife lab to determine whether its genetic material matches any wild populations. “They can determine the origin,” Marraccini said, though it won’t be fast. He said it could take weeks to get an answer. Mountain lions, which also are known as cougars and panthers, are the largest cats found in North America. – See http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/c392ae52a7bc4a238b5ac4bb4ec6366e/KY–Mountain-Lion-Killed

RABIES:

5071346685_9be11dee0c_zNorth Carolina 12/17/14 Cumberland County: A sick, stray cat that found its way to Hayfield Drive, off of Wade-Stedman Road in Wade on December 13th and was taken in by a local family has tested positive for rabies. – See http://abc11.com/news/cumberland-county-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies/440558/

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

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Whitetail buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

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

Whitetail buck with CWD.

Whitetail buck with CWD.

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

LYME DISEASE:

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

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

American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick

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

Deer Tick

Deer Tick

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

HANTAVIRUS:

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

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

Study finds TICKS like to hang out at GOLF COURSES ~ COLORADAN succumb s to HANTAVIRUS ~ TICK-BORNE ANAPLASMOSIS cases nearly double in MAINE ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORT: Test confirms first GRAY WOLF near GRAND CANYON in 75 years ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) report from CALIFORNIA ~ RABIES reports from NJ, PA & VA.

Courtesy of TickEncounter Research Center, University of Rhode Island.

Courtesy of TickEncounter Research Center, University of Rhode Island.

Global 11/22/14 business-standard.com: Golf courses are prime habitats for ticks, the tiny bloodsucking creatures, says a new study. Ticks like to feed at the boundaries between the woods and open spaces – the kind of settings found in golf courses. “Golf courses are the perfect habitat for ticks. This is because people on golf courses scare away the animals that usually prey on small rodents, so these tick-harboring rodents flourish,” said Gregory Owens of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at the New York Medical College in the US.

1319561v3v1In the study, Owens and his colleagues surveyed 29 golfers at a course in New York, where Lyme disease, an infection carried by certain ticks, is native. Nearly three-quarters of the golfers said they had found a tick on themselves after golfing, and 24 percent said they had been diagnosed with Lyme disease in the past. About one third of the golfers said they did not check themselves for ticks after golfing, and 72 percent did not use insect repellent while golfing, found the study.

Deer aka Black-legged Tick stages.

Deer aka Black-legged Tick stages.

Because the study was small, more research is needed to see how common tick-prevention behavior is among golfers, Owens said. Ticks are most active between April and September, but it is important to take preventive measures year-round. The study was presented at the American Public Health Association meeting in New Orleans.- See http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/golf-courses-are-hotspots-for-ticks-114112200181_1.html

HANTAVIRUS:

Deer mouse.

Deer mouse.

Colorado 11/21/14 denverpost.com: by Electa Draper – A southeastern Adams County man died of hantavirus Nov. 15, the Tri-County Health Department reported Friday. The adult male, whose name was not released, likely was infected with hantavirus while doing home plumbing repairs in a small space with rodent droppings or in a rodent-infested garage, health officials said in a news release. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rare condition, with an average of four cases a year in Colorado, caused by a virus carried by rodents, especially deer mice. People are exposed to hantavirus by inhaling dust that contains the feces, urine or saliva of deer mice. It is fatal to humans in almost half the cases. – For complete article see http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26988497/adam-county-mans-death-caused-by-hantavirus-health

ANAPLASMOSIS:

ana_incid.cdcMaine 11/22/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – The number of cases of the tick borne bacterial disease, anaplasmosis, continue to climb in Maine as the state Centers for Disease Control reports 164 cases statewide as of Nov. 18. This number is up 70 from the entire 2013 when 94 cases were reported. Anaplasmosis was first recognized as a disease of humans in the United States in the mid-1990’s, but did not become a reportable disease until 1999. It is caused by the bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Anaplasmosis is most frequently reported from the upper midwestern and northeastern United States. The areas from which cases are reported correspond with the known geographic distribution of Lyme disease. The tick responsible for transmission of A. phagocytophilum in the upper Midwest and northeastern U.S. is the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Along the West Coast, the western black-legged tick (I. pacificus) may transmit the organism. These tick species also transmit the agents of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) and babesiosis (Babesia species), and human co-infections with these organisms have occasionally been reported. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/maine-anaplasmosis-cases-nearly-double-last-years-count-65434/

FOLLOW-UP REPORT:

GRAY WOLF:

(See “Are GRAY WOLVES returning to GRAND CANYON?” posted 11/18/14)

12A Canid, a wolf or wolf hybrid seen near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Photo taken Oct. 27, 2014. Courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Dept.Arizona 11/21/14 tucson.com: by Felicia Fonseca – A female gray wolf from the Northern Rockies traveled hundreds of miles into Northern Arizona, marking the species’ first appearance in the region in more than 70 years and the farthest journey south, wildlife officials confirmed Friday. A wolf-like animal had been spotted roaming the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the adjacent national forest since last month. Biologists collected its scat and sent it to a University of Idaho laboratory for testing, verifying what environmentalists had suspected based on its appearance and a radio collar around its neck. “The corroboration is really good to get,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. Biologists don’t know the wolf’s age or from where it traveled. The radio collar wasn’t transmitting a signal, and cold weather forced biologists to suspend efforts to capture the animal and replace the collar.

A Northern Rockies gray wolf hadn’t been seen in the Grand Canyon area since the 1940s.The Idaho lab might be able to glean more details about the wolf from its DNA, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Jeff Humphrey said that could take several weeks or months. “We’ll let this wolf be a wolf where it’s at, and if it decides it’s going to move back north, it can do that,” he said. “Or if somebody joins her, then that’s nature taking its course.” Wolves often roam vast distances in search of food and mates. But the farther they go, the less likely they are to find a mate, said Ed Bangs, who led recovery efforts for wolves in the Northern Rockies over two decades before retiring from the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011. “It’s looking for love,” he said. “It leaves the core population and doesn’t know the love of its life is going to be right over the next hill, so it just keeps traveling.” For complete article see http://tucson.com/ap/national/dna-confirms-wolf-traveled-hundreds-of-miles-to-grand-canyon/article_66537d48-72f8-56cd-af01-3d00b4456c85.html

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

logo_CDPH_v.1_colorCalifornia 11/19/14 CA Dept of Health: There were 19 new WNV human cases reported in California this week from the following counties: Fresno (1), Kern (1), Los Angeles (11), Orange (3), San Bernardino (1), Stanislaus (1), and Sutter (1). 27 WNV-related fatalities have been reported to CDPH from twelve local health jurisdictions: Glenn (1), Kern (1), Long Beach City (2), Los Angeles (5), Orange (7), Placer (1), Sacramento (2), San Diego (1), Shasta (1), Stanislaus (2), Sutter (3), and Tehama (1). 752 human cases from 31 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2014. – See http://www.westnile.ca.gov/

RABIES:

New Jersey 11/19/14 Somerset County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a black, brown and white tabby kitten that scratched a resident in the vicinity of Emerald Place in Franklin Township tested positive for the virus. Anyone in contact with this kitten in the Emerald Place area or surrounding neighborhoods is asked to call county health officials at (908) 231-7155 as soon as possible. – See http://patch.com/new-jersey/bridgewater/rabies-exposure-reported-franklin-township-0

IMG4336e-L-001Pennsylvania 11/20/14 Dauphin County: A feral cat brought to the Steelton Community Cat program presenting neurological symptoms has tested positive for rabies. A Rabies Alert has been issued warning residents in the Steelton and Swatara Township areas of the possible presence of the virus in the local wildlife and especially the feral cat population. – See http://www.abc27.com/story/27442070/steelton-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies

Virginia 11/19/14 Chesapeake: A black and white female cat with yellow eyes that attacked three people on November 13th in the Warrington Hall community has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.bdtonline.com/news/cat-that-attacked-in-va-had-rabies/article_613eea08-6ff9-11e4-952e-4fbbcfe01033.html

DEER HUNTER mauled by pack of BEARS on ALASKAN island ~ CANADA: Case of TICK paralysis found on SUNSHINE COAST ~ What we don’t know about EBOLA ~ Your PET and ZOONOTIC diseases ~ WEST NILE VIRUS cases top 700 in CALIFORNIA ~ RABIES reports from SC & VA.

Brown_Bear_-_Ursus_Arctos_600Alaska 11/07/14 dailymail.co.uk: by John Hall – Helicopter rescue teams airlifted a 68-year-old American man to hospital after he was attacked by bears while hunting on a remote island off the coast of Alaska. The man, identified as Michael Snowden, was transported by coast guards to Kodiak Municipal Airport where he was passed on to medical services who treated him for serious leg injuries. It is understood a group of up to five bears attacked Mr Snowden and his friend Jeff Ostrin as they dragged the carcass of a deer they had shot through dense vegetation on Sally Island in Uganik Bay. The attack took place yesterday afternoon on a remote island off the southern coast of mainland Alaska. The state is home to 98 per cent of the United States’ total brown bear population.

Sally Island

Sally Island

Nathan Svoboda, a local wildlife biologist, gave details of the attack to Alaska Dispatch News. He said the two men were dragging a deer through vegetation when they stopped for lunch. No sooner had they sat down to eat when a large female bear charged at them. The animal reportedly attacked Snowden, biting and scratching his body before Ostrin, 38, shot the animal three times, killing it. Seconds later, more bears emerged, with Ostrin shooting and killing one of the cubs. The shooting apparently scared the rest of the animals away. The crew on board a fishing vessel witnessed the entire incident and reportedly raced to the shore to remove the men to the safety of the sea, with the captain calling the coast guard to the scene. – For complete article and video see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2823354/Hunter-airlifted-hospital-coast-guard-savaged-five-bears-remote-island-coast-Alaska.html
TICK PARALYSIS:

CANADA:

Western Blacklegged Tick

Western Blacklegged Tick

British Columbia 11/05/14 squamishchief.com: by Christine Wood – The first case of tick paralysis ever recorded in a wild animal was identified on the Sunshine Coast recently with the help of the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Hikers on a trail near Burnett Road in March found a snowshoe hare seemingly paralyzed from the waist down. The rabbit was brought to the centre, where Clint and Irene Davy examined it and found engorged ticks feeding on the animal’s neck. The ticks were removed and the animal was placed in a kennel and allowed to rest, but it soon stopped breathing and died. The Davys were unsure what had happened, but because they were already involved in a tick study being done by Ontario-based researcher John D. Scott, they sent the ticks off to Scott for examination. After about 100 hours of examination and research, Scott surmised the western blacklegged ticks sent in caused the snowshoe hare to become paralyzed and led to its death. “During tick feeding, Ixodes pacificus (black-legged tick) females expel neurotoxins which impede the electrical conductivity at nerve endings. Consequently, brain signals fail to reach body parts. In this case, the snowshoe hare could not propel itself,” Scott said. – For complete article see http://www.squamishchief.com/news/local-news/case-of-tick-paralysis-found-on-sunshine-coast-1.1526063

EBOLA:

5115874Global 11/01/14 newyorker.com: Very interesting article about several aspects of the Ebola virus that we don’t yet understand. Written by Jerome Groopman, a New Yorker staff writer focusing primarily on issues related to medicine and biology. – See http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/dont-know-ebola

PETS & ZOONOTIC DISEASE:

AVMA-logoGlobal 11/04/14 huffingtonpost.com: by Donna Solomon, DVM – In 2012, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that 56 percent of all United States households own a pet. There are over 69 million dogs and 36 million cats in American households. Our pets are family members; we love, play, share our food, and celebrate holidays with them. In fact, a recent survey by a mattress company discovered that 71 percent of pet owners sleep with their pet. Of those pet owners who share their bed with their furry family member, 52 percent let their pet lie at their feet. Twenty-three percent snuggle with them, 11 percent share a pillow and 14 percent let them sleep underneath their covers. I admit my dog and two cats sleep on our bed. Am I concerned that I may catch a disease from my pet? Yes, as a practicing veterinarian I am acutely aware of bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, called zoonotic diseases.

dog-lick-faceGiardia, a protozoa found in contaminated soil and water, is a zoonotic disease that causes diarrhea in pets and humans. I see this disease at least twice daily in my Chicago practice. A recent study found Giardia in the feces of 8 percent dogs and 4 percent cats in United States. Another zoonotic disease, called Leptospirosis, is transmitted by drinking water contaminated by urine of infected wildlife-like rats, mice, raccoons, opossums and skunks. It causes life-threatening kidney and liver disease. It is a rising cause of illness in my practice. My goal today is not to frighten you on the hazards of pet ownership and your enjoyment of wildlife, but to educate you on how to safely live with them in your home and from afar. – For a lengthy list of precautions see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-solomon-dvm/safely-living-with-pets-d_b_6069134.html

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

cdph_logoCalifornia 11/05/14 CA Dept of Public Health: There were 51 new WNV human cases reported in California this week from the following counties: Los Angeles (16), Orange (25), Riverside (2), San Bernardino (1), San Diego (3), Santa Clara (2), Sutter (1), and Ventura (1). This is the first WNV human case from Ventura County this year. 23 WNV-related fatalities have been reported to CDPH from eleven local health jurisdictions: Glenn (1), Long Beach City (2), Los Angeles (3), Orange (6), Placer (1), Sacramento (2), San Diego (1), Shasta (1), Stanislaus (2), Sutter (3), and Tehama (1). 705 human cases from 31 counties have tested positive for WNV in 2014. – See http://www.westnile.ca.gov/

RABIES:

8942410_448x252South Carolina 11/06/14 Laurens County: A stray cat that was in contact with a person in Gray Court has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wspa.com/story/27313091/person-exposed-to-rabies-from-cat-in-gray-court

help-mdVirginia 11/04/14 wtkr.com: by Becca Mitchell – The Peninsula Health District is searching for a medium-sized black dog that bit a child on Saturday while he was fundraising in the vicinity of Duer Drive in Williamsburg. If this Dog is not found, the victim may have to undergo post exposure treatment (shots) for the prevention of rabies. Once found, the animal will not be taken away from its owner, only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days.   Anyone who has seen an animal that fits this description in this area is asked to contact the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Environmental Health at (757) 603-4277.  After hours, please contact the James City County/Williamsburg Animal Control at 253-1800. – See http://wtkr.com/2014/11/04/peninsula-health-district-looking-for-medium-sized-black-dog-that-bit-a-child/