Tag Archives: Vaccines

OTTER attacks young girl swimming in WISCONSIN lake ~ ALASKAN woman survives BROWN BEAR attack ~ COLORADAN may have contracted TULAREMIA while mowing lawn ~ New VACCINE for CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS shows promise ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from CA, ID, LA & MS ~ Notable RABIES reports from FL, PA & TX.

Otter. Photo by Peter Trimming. Wikimedia Commons.

Otter. Photo by Peter Trimming. Wikimedia Commons.

Wisconsin 08/13/14 twincities.com: by Andy Rathbun – It was a fun time at the lake — until the otter arrived. After spending about an hour swimming with friends in Bone Lake near Luck, Wis., on Saturday, Rory Kliewer began to climb a ladder onto a dock when she suddenly felt something bite her backside and thigh. “I thought it was a northern pike,” the 12-year-old Minneapolis girl said Wednesday. “I thought a fish was after me.” As she threw the creature off of her, she realized that the animal was an otter — later estimated at 3 1/2 feet long and about 40 pounds. “It was a big, nasty one,” said Rory, who had been staying at a friend’s family cabin over the weekend. The otter then bit Rory’s head and pulled itself onto her, scratching her face.

1407973737000-Otter2Rory managed to climb the ladder onto the dock and then throw the otter off her once again, screaming throughout the incident, she said. But the otter didn’t stop there. It jumped onto the dock, and Rory ran onto land with the otter in pursuit, she said. A dog and her friend’s mother tried to scare the animal away, but it rose up on its hind legs and hissed. The otter didn’t retreat until Pat Hinschberger, the cabin’s owner and Rory’s friend’s father, rushed to the scene and yelled at the animal. “As far as I’m concerned, this thing was literally trying to kill this kid,” Hinschberger said. He added that the incident lasted no more than a minute, but it felt like much longer. Rory was taken to a local emergency room, where doctors told her it was their first time treating a victim of an otter attack, she said. Speaking from her home Wednesday, Rory was still recovering from bite wounds, scratches and bruises, and possibly the most significant injury: the trauma of the experience, which she called “really frightening.” – For video, photo and complete article see http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_26331000/wisconsin-otter-attacks-swimming-girl

Bear Attack:

American Brown BearAlaska 08/13/14 adn.com: by Laurel Andrews – Thea Thomas tried to step off the trail as a brown bear sprinted toward her, chasing a friend’s dog that she had brought along for a hike in Cordova on Tuesday afternoon. Yet in an instant, Thomas was flat on the ground, face-to-face with an angry bear that bit her repeatedly during the mauling on Heney Ridge Trail. . . . Thomas, a 57-year-old commercial fisherman, has lived in the Southcentral Alaska community of Cordova for 32 years, she said. “I hike those trails all the time.” Heney Ridge Trail is a 4.1-mile trail that follows Hartney Bay before climbing up through spruce-hemlock forest, salmon-spawning streams and a mile of steep incline up above the treeline, according to the U.S. Forest Service website. . . . She described the brown bear as 6-7 feet tall on its hind legs, with a thick auburn-orange coat. The bear appeared to be in good health. “I kept thinking he was going to stop,” Thomas said. But the attack continued. The bear walked away a couple of times, but would then turn back and bite her again, she said. At one point she tried to get up, but it pulled her back, she said. . . . She was medevaced to an Anchorage hospital on Tuesday. “I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be here a while,” she said. The bear bit her around seven times, she said. The worst bites were to her back and inner thigh. – For complete article see http://www.adn.com/article/20140813/woman-mauled-brown-bear-cordova-hiking-trail-describes-attack


Media.aspxColorado 08/12/14 9news.com: A Larimer County man hospitalized for tularemia may have been exposed to the disease while mowing a property outside of Windsor. He was treated with two courses of antibiotics that offered no improvement, but he was released after several days and is expected to make a full recovery. – See http://www.9news.com/story/news/health/2014/08/12/tularemia-fort-collins-weld-larimer-county/13964835/

Chikungunya Virus:

Canine-Health-Dog-Vaccinations-Bordetella-Vaccine-for-DogsGlobal 08/15 /14 techtimes.com: by Linda Nguyen – People afraid of contracting chikungunya from mosquitoes have reason to hope. A vaccine for the virus is currently undergoing its first stages of human trials. The vaccine so far has shown promise for protecting people from the chikungunya virus. The report is published online in the Lancet. “The vaccine was safe and well-tolerated, and we believe that this vaccine makes a type of antibody that is effective against chikungunya,” said Dr. Julie Ledgerwood, leader of the study. This would be the first medication to treat or prevent this virus which manifests with fever and severe arthiritis. The Chikungunya virus has spread through Africa and Asia to the Caribbean, and now to the United States. The first domestic cases of the virus were reported in Florida last month when four Americans caught the virus. Ledgerwood said the next step in the clinical trials will be to test the vaccine on more people and more age groups since the current study looked at a relatively small 25-person group. She said the vaccine also has to be tested in areas where the virus is endemic to see whether it truly protects patients. She estimates that the testing will take another five years before it is on the market for the public. She added that it could be given to people living in the areas and to travelers and military personnel if it is proven to be safe and effective. – For complete article see http://www.techtimes.com/articles/13164/20140815/new-vaccine-may-ward-off-chikungunya-virus.htm

West Nile Virus (WNV):

santaclaractyhealthCalifornia 08/15/14 Santa Clara County Public Health: Officials have confirmed that five county residents have been infected with WNV. Two of the cases are the more severe neuro-invasive form of the disease. – See http://www.sccgov.org/sites/sccphd/en-u/Newsandevents/Pages/West-Nile-Virus-First-Human-Cases-2014.aspx

IDHW_col_stack_smallIdaho 08/12/14 ID Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the state so far this year in a Blaine County woman in her 20s. The woman was not hospitalized and is recovering. – See http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/AboutUs/Newsroom/tabid/130/ctl/ArticleView/mid/3061/articleId/1777/First-West-Nile-Infection-Reported-in-Blaine-County.aspx

LA-DHHLouisiana 08/15/14 LA Dept of Health & Hospitals: Media Release – Officials have confirmed 13 new human cases of WNV, of which five are neuro-invasive disease infections, bringing this year’s total to 42 reported human cases. This week’s new infections include neuro-invasive disease cases in Caddo (3), East Baton Rouge (1) and Livingston (1) parishes. There were also new cases of West Nile fever reported from Caddo (4), Calcasieu (1) and East Baton Rouge (1) parishes, and asymptomatic cases in Ascension (1) and East Baton Rouge (1) parishes. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/3090

MS_71058_121809421211160_5406251_nMississippi 08/12/14 MS State Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed the death of a Yazoo County resident from WNV. So far this year, seven human cases of WNV have been reported in Adams, Hinds, Newton, Rankin(2), Yazoo and Wilkinson counties. – See http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/23,15486,341.html


Florida 08/14/14 Duval County: A stray cat that bit a man and his daughter in Jacksonville’s Southside neighborhood when they coaxed it out from under their car has tested positive for rabies. A Rabies Alert has been issued throughout their section of the Southside and Arlington effective until October. – See http://www.news4jax.com/news/man-daughter-bitten-by-rabid-cat-on-5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armssouthside/27488858

Pennsylvania 08/14/14 Northampton County: A stray cat found in by a woman in her yard in Glendon and delivered to the Center for Animal Health and Wealth in Williams Township has tested positive for rabies. Eleven people so far have been advised to receive post-exposure treatment for the virus including eight at the shelter, two at the Easton Animal Hospital, and the Glendon woman. – See http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/eight-getting-rabies-vaccine-after-contact-with-cat/27483698

austin-congress-bridge-bats_7335_large_slideshowTexas 08/14/14 Williamson County: Health officials are asking the public to help them identify a woman who may have been exposed to rabies in Round Rock when she was bitten by a bat while leaving the Wal-Mart on East Palm Valley Boulevard at about 9:15 pm, Wednesday, August 6th. She is described as white, possibly in her 20s and wearing shorts, flip-flops and a blue shirt. – See http://www.wcchd.org/news/press_releases/docs/2014_Wilco_Rabies_Incident_Release_080820114.pdf

ASIAN TIGER MOSQUITO a looming threat to U.S. ~ BEAR bites NEW MEXICAN inside his ALBUQUERQUE home ~ Scientists say new VACCINE for LYME DISEASE looks promising ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE) & WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from AZ, CA, CO, ID, IN, LA, ME, MA x4, MS, NE, NH, NJ, NYx2, PA, SD, TX, VT, & CANADA: ONTARIOx3 ~ RABIES reports from CO, GA, KY, VA, & WV.

Aedes albopictus mosquito, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito- Courtesy CDC.

Aedes albopictus mosquito, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito- Courtesy CDC.

National 08/09/13 webmd.com: by Alan Mozes –  (T)hough a relative newcomer to the American scene, experts now warn that (the Asian Tiger Mosquito) is starting to create a fearsome buzz, with the potential to cause havoc across the United States. So far, however, it hasn’t led to widespread disease in this country. “What we have here is an invasive daytime-feeding, disease-carrying mosquito that, since it first arrived on the East Coast in the 1980s, has been pretty aggressive in mowing down its natural competitors,” said Gabe Hamer, a clinical assistant professor in the department of entomology at Texas A&M University. “And now it’s really starting to move through the country in full force.” “That makes it, at the very least, a nuisance and an annoyance,” Hamer explained. “And at worst, a serious vector for major pathogens.”

PrintOn its Asian home turf, the mosquito is a well-known carrier of dengue fever, with West Nile fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis among the other debilitating illnesses for which it has been pegged as a transmitter. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the mosquito has so far been identified as a host for five different viruses in the United States. Two of those — encephalomyelitis and Cache Valley — can infect humans, while the others are a threat to dogs, cats, birds and other animals.

Dr. Gabe Hamer.

Dr. Gabe Hamer.

But U.S. experts are perhaps most alarmed that this mosquito potentially could become a prime North American vector for a particularly nasty joint and muscle pain illness for which there is neither a vaccine nor treatment: the Chikungunya virus. Such concerns have escalated in light of recent research, such as that funded by the U.S. National Institute for Food and Agriculture, and reported in the January issue of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which cautions that an imminent mosquito-driven American outbreak of the Chikungunya virus is a very real threat.

index“The ongoing invasion of the Asian tiger mosquito in the U.S.A. represents an important risk,” agreed Diego Ruiz-Moreno, a postdoctoral associate in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University, who led the recent study. “Mainly because of the potential for disease to spread.” Otherwise known as Aedes albopictus, the CDC notes that the Asian tiger mosquito was first spotted on the U.S. mainland in 1985.

Dr. Diego Ruiz-Moreno

Dr. Diego Ruiz-Moreno

Since that initial Houston sighting, it has spread across 26 states, moving as far north as Chicago, as far east as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as far west as Nebraska, and across a broad swath of the South, including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. And now, Hamer said, California has been added to the list. – For complete article see http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20130809/asian-tiger-mosquito-could-spread-us-disease?page=2

Bear Attack:

imagesCA0TYP3UNew Mexico 08/12/13 Bernalillo County: State game officers are hunting for a bear that broke into a home in the Albuquerque foothills early Friday and bit the owner. A spokesperson said they’re also looking for an individual who has been sabotaging their efforts to trap the bear by meddling with the trap and the trap site. – See http://www.newschannel10.com/story/23116096/nm-officials-seek-saboteur-in-bear-attack-case

Lyme Disease:

lyme_disease_hidden_epidemic_poster-p228833588305763989t5wm_400Global 08/10/13 natureworldnews.com: by James A. Foley – A vaccine for Lyme disease has shown promise in clinical trials, producing substantial antibodies against the bacteria that causes the disease. Researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at Baxter International Inc., a U.S.-based healthcare 300_Stony_Brook_University_logocompany, published the results of the first half of their clinical trial in May in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. In the clinical trial administered by Baxter International, the vaccine was shown to be effective against Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Three hundred people living in Austria and Germany were given three primary immunizations and one booster immunization in a range of doses.

Dr. Benjamin Luft

Dr. Benjamin Luft

The researchers report that in all administered doses of the vaccine, the patients showed an immune response to all species of Borrelia. “The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects,” said study co-author Dr. Benjamin Luft of Stony Brook University School of Medicine. – For complete article see http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/3431/20130810/lyme-disease-vaccine-shows-promise-clinical-trials.htm

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

MaricopaCty_AZArizona 08/12/13 Maricopa County: Family members have confirmed that a 53-year-old Scottsdale male has been hospitalized with WNV. The father of two is unable to move, talk, or eat. – See http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_northeast_valley/scottsdale/West-Nile-Virus-leaves-Valley-man-Rory-Stevenson-in-coma

MSMVCDCalifornia 08/12/13 Marin/Sonoma Mosquito & Vector Control District: Officials have confirmed that a sentinel chicken placed near Gage Lane in Novato has tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.marinij.com/fairfax/ci_23847275/west-nile-virus-detected-novato-horse-owners-warned

Larimer_County.COColorado 08/09/13 coloradoan.com: by Robert Allen – A “rapid increase” this week in reported human cases of WNV in Larimer County has health officials advising people to beware of mosquitoes carrying the potentially devastating disease, according to Larimer County health department. Twelve residents have been infected, and four of them are showing symptoms such as meningitis, encephalitis and paralysis. Three people in Fort Collins and one in Loveland are showing the severe symptoms, according to the health department. – For complete article and precautions see http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20130809/NEWS01/308090024/West-Nile-virus-escalating-rapidly-12-human-infections-Larimer-County

01-01IDAHOIdaho 08/12/13 Southwest District Health: Officials have confirmed that mosquito pools have tested positive with WNV  in Adams County.  The traps were placed in both the Council and Indian Valley areas. Adams County joins Ada, Canyon, Gem, Gooding, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls, Valley, and Washington counties in Idaho with mosquito pools testing positive with WNV, as well as Malheur County in Oregon. Payette County has had the only two reported human cases of WNV in the state to date. – See http://www.kivitv.com/news/Mosquitoes-in-Adams-County-test-positive-for-West-Nile-Virus-219279791.html

IN-dohIndiana 08/13/13 IN State Department of Health: 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. – See http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=119373&information_id=186576&type=&syndicate=syndicate

LA-DHHLouisiana 08/13/13 LA Department of Health & Hospitals: There are seven new human cases of WNV in the state bringing the total to eight so far this year. The seven new cases include  two new neuro-invasive disease cases , with one case each reported from Calcasieu and Ouachita parishes. There are four West Nile fever cases, with one case each reported from Ascension and St. Tammany parishes and two cases from Lafayette parish. In addition, there was one asymptomatic case reported, from St. Tammany Parish. One human case from St. Tammany Parish had been reported earlier. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/assets/docs/SurveillanceReports/wnv/weekly2013/WNV_1331.pdf

York_County_MEMaine 08/13/13 York County: State health officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped in Alfred on July 16th have tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.pressherald.com/news/dispatches_2013-08-13.html

essex cty MAMassachusetts 08/13/13 Essex County: State health officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped in the northern part of Newburyport on Plum Island near the salt marshes by Old Point Road have tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/x389853713/West-Nile-virus-found-on-PI

essex cty MAMassachusetts 08/12/13 Essex County: The town of Saugus in coordination with the Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control will be target spraying in the Riverside Cemetery area due to a positive WNV mosquito sample. – See http://www.wickedlocal.com/saugus/news/x84137347/Mosquito-tests-positive-for-West-Nile-Virus-in-Saugus-target-spraying-set-for-Aug-14

essex cty MAMassachusetts 08/09/13 Essex County: Public health officials have confirmed Friday that a batch of mosquitoes trapped in Marblehead tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.wickedlocal.com/marblehead/news/x1465129371/West-Nile-virus-confirmed-in-Marblehead-mosquito-sample

plymouth cty MAMassachusetts 08/09/13 Plymouth County: Local health officials confirmed Friday that mosquitoes trapped in Rockland have tested positive for both WNV and EEE. State officials have confirmed that EEE has now been detected in three locations statewide, and WNV in 80 locations statewide so far this year. – See http://www.enterprisenews.com/topstories/x1905498734/EEE-found-in-Rockland-mosquitoes

MS_71058_121809421211160_5406251_nMississippi 08/12/13 MI State Department of Health: State officials have reported the second fatal human case of WNV, and four new human cases. The death occurred in Bolivar County on August 6th, and the new cases were reported in Forrest, Hinds, and Rankin counties. Human cases of WNV now total 12, including two deaths, so far this year. The first WNV-related fatality was reported in Montgomery County in July. – See http://themississippilink.com/2013/08/12/state-officials-report-second-west-nile-virus-death-of-2013/

NEdhhs_blueNebraska 08/09/13 NE Department of Health and Human Services: Health officials have confirmed that mosquito pools in Chase, Dawes, Dawson, Garden, Scottsbluff, Sheridan, and Webster counties have tested positive for WNV. This follows reported positive human cases in Scottsbluff & Douglas counties, and North Central, Central & Southwest Nebraska Public Health Districts. – See http://www.mccookgazette.com/story/1992825.html

Rockingham_County_NHNew Hampshire 08/13/13 Rockingham County: Town officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped in two pools in Stratham have tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130813/NEWS/130819930/-1/NEWSMAP

morris cty NJNew Jersey 08/11/13 Morris County: Health officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped on August 1st in Donatoni Community Park on West Main Street in Rockaway Borough have tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/08/west_nile_virus_found_in_park_rockaway_borough_says.html

ChautauquaCty_NYNew York 08/12/13 Chautauqua County: Health officials have confirmed that pools of mosquitoes trapped in Jamestown Audubon have tested positive for both EEE and WNV. As a precaution, the Audubon is closing its trails during the dawn and dusk hours, opening only from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Additionally, the Audubon is requiring that patrons put on insect repellent and recommends that patrons wear long pants, shoes and socks, and a long sleeved shirt when hiking at the Audubon. It is the first time mosquitoes infected with EEE have been found in the county. The rare but often deadly disease in humans can be spread by mosquitoes. All five human cases of EEE reported in the state in the last 40 years have been fatal. – See http://www.goerie.com/article/20130812/NEWS02/308129912/Mosquitoes-infected-with-Eastern-Equine-Encephalitis-found-in-Chautauqua-County-NY and http://post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/626617/Mosquitoes-Test-Positive-For-West-Nile.html?nav=5192

oneida cty NYNew York 08/09/13 Oneida County: Health officials confirmed Friday that a horse stabled on a farm in Vernon has tested positive for WNV. The horse seems to be recovering but is still displaying residual ataxis in the hind legs.- See http://www.wktv.com/news/local/West-Nile-Virus-confirmed-in-Vernon-house–219010721.html

washington cty PAPennsylvania 08/09/13 Washington County: State officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped in Carroll Township have tested positive for WNV. The county is considered at low risk for the virus, according to Pennsylvania’s West Nile Virus Control Program, but it is one of 32 counties in the state where the virus has been detected. – See http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20130809/NEWS01/130809353/-1/news#.Ugcv3G3DK5c

SDdhSouth Dakota 08/11/13 SD Department of Health: Officials have announced that South Dakota has the highest number of human WNV cases, as well as the highest number of the more serious neuro-invasive cases, in the nation. Thirty-five human cases have been reported. In addition, 2 horses, 4 birds, and 192 mosquito pools have also tested positive for the virus. WNV has been detected in 30 of the state’s 66 counties. – See http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/node/1568687 and https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/14078164bd4a77c2

HowardCty_TXTexas 08/10/13 Howard County: Health officials have confirmed the third human case of WNV reported in Big Spring so far this year has been hospitalized. As of August 6th, there have been nine human cases of WNV reported in the state. – See http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_a372535a-0133-11e3-9130-0019bb2963f4.html

Addison_County_VT (2)Vermont 08/10/13 Addison County: Health officials said Friday mosquitoes trapped in Bond Swamp in Whiting have tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20130810/THISJUSTIN/708109912


WELLINGTONCty_ONTOntario 08/12/13 Wellington County: Public health officials have confirmed that a mosquito pool located in Erin has tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/4028894-west-nile-virus-confirmed-in-guelph-area/

MiddlesexCty-ONTOntario 08/12/13 Middlesex County: Health officials have issued a WNV Alert after finding what they believe is the first human case of the virus in the London vicinity. Three dead crows were found previously this year in London, Dorchester, and Parkhill, and an infected mosquito was trapped in London. – See http://www.theobserver.ca/2013/08/12/middlesex-london-health-unit-investigating-regions-first-possible-human-case-of-west-nile-virus

WATERLOO.Region_ONTOntario 08/12/13 Waterloo Region: Public health officials have confirmed that a pool of mosquitoes located in Cambridge has tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.therecord.com/news-story/4028785-west-nile-virus-in-region-public-health-authorities-warn/


GA_Gray_Fox_6869Colorado 08/10/13 El Paso County: Health officials have confirmed a fox that attacked a man in southwest Colorado Springs a couple of miles from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on August 3rd has tested positive for rabies. Two weeks ago, another fox that was hit by a car a half mile away also tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.timesunion.com/news/science/article/Rabid-fox-attacks-man-in-SW-Colorado-Springs-4722990.php

313752899_7cc4afc361Georgia 08/12/13 Chatham County: Health officials have confirmed a raccoon that fought with a vaccinated dog in the Fort argyle Road area has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wsav.com/story/23110411/raccoon-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-chatham-county

batPosterKentucky 08/09/13 Jefferson County: Health officials in Louisville have identified nine children who need treatment for potential exposure to rabies after a bat tested positive for the virus. It was reported some of the children carried the bat in a box, and others may have been playing with or near the bat. Anyone who may have been in contact with the bat should seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/90913d3c081e4a78a353d87b86337ad7/KY–Rabid-Bat

striped_skunkVirginia 08/12/13 Wythe County: A skunk that had confirmed contact with a dog in the Sage Road section of Rural Retreat has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.tricities.com/swvatoday/news/wytheville/article_e4a31238-0381-11e3-90ac-0019bb30f31a.html

raccoon photo odhWest Virginia 08/12/13 WV Department of Health & Human Services: The state’s annual oral rabies vaccine program will begin around August 26th and continue through early- to mid-September. The vaccine bait packets will be hand distributed or air dropped in a target area that covers a wide corridor through the central part of the state, extending from the northern panhandle to the southern coalfields. Residents are asked to leave baits alone and to keep pets confined or on a leash during the baiting period and up to five days after baiting. This gives raccoons the opportunity to locate and eat the baits. In particular, dogs are attracted to the baits and will occasionally eat them. The baits are not harmful to pets. Do not try to take baits away from your pet, as you may get bitten. – See more at: http://www.fayettetribune.com/local/x738622706/Rabies-vaccine-to-be-dropped-in-coming-weeks#sthash.CsWf84OH.dpuf


Mating elk. Courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mating elk. Courtesy U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wyoming 02/19/13 wgfd.wyo.gov: News Release – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has begun a multi-year study at its Thorne-Williams Wildlife Research Unit (formerly Sybille) near Wheatland to evaluate the efficacy of a vaccine against chronic wasting disease. The vaccine was developed in Canada by three leading infectious disease centers. In January, researchers trapped 50 elk calves at Game and Fish’s South Park feedground (south of WY_GFD-LogoJackson) and transported them to the research unit. There, calves were split into two groups. One group was vaccinated and one was an unvaccinated control group. “Previous research has demonstrated that elk will naturally contract chronic wasting disease by being housed at the unit,” said Game and Fish Chief Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Terry Kreeger. “We predict that the vaccinated group will live longer than the control group. It’s important to understand that even if the vaccine does not provide lifelong protection from chronic wasting disease, every extra year of survival the vaccine provides will mean increased production in an affected population.” A parallel vaccine study is being conducted on deer in Colorado. – For complete release see http://wgfd.wyo.gov/web2011/news-1000368.aspx


mtnlion_NPSMontana 02/27/13 ravallirepublic.com: by Perry Backus – In the 20 years that Tom Henderson has been hunting mountain lions with hounds, he’s never had a run-in with wolves. That changed Saturday. It was about 10 a.m. when the hounds he was hunting with treed a lion near Gird Creek, just north of Skalkaho Creek and east of Hamilton, following a two-hour chase. He and his companions were about 100 yards away from the treed lion and the three dogs when they saw a pack of six wolves appear. About five seconds later, Henderson said, a wolf grabbed one of Dan Morris’ hounds by the neck and killed it. “He grabbed it and broke its neck,” Henderson said. “It happened really fast. We started shooting our pistols.”

TreeingWalkerCoonhoundTreeingCoonHenderson said the wolves were initially focused on the dogs and hung around for a few moments before loping off. “That was kind of surprising,” Henderson said. “I think they were pretty focused on the dogs. We were able to get quite a bit closer even after shooting.” With the state’s wolf season still open, Henderson said they could have legally shot them. “All we had were pistols,” he said. “That’s just not very realistic.”This is the second time this winter that wolves have killed mountain lion hunting hounds owned by people in the Bitterroot Valley. Earlier this year, three hounds owned by a Stevensville man were killed in the Ninemile drainage north of Missoula. Henderson said that it’s become a fact of life for lion hunters.

Wolf_in_the_fireweed_gallery“This is the new normal,” he said. “It’s a risk we take. I’m not a wolf fan, but I’ve come to the conclusion that even with more liberal seasons, wolves are here forever.” “We’re going to have to live with them,” Henderson said. In an effort to cut down on the risk, Henderson said he has been putting bells on his dog’s collars in hopes of keeping wolves at bay from the unnatural noise that the bells produce. – For complete article see http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/local/article_08c8d58e-8089-11e2-b533-001a4bcf887a.html

Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1):

photo-credit-american-assoc-of-equine-practitionersFlorida 02/24/13 freshfromflorida.com: News Release – A horse participating in the Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS), horse show in Ocala was referred to the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine after showing clinical neurological signs on February 20th. The horse subsequently tested positive for the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), wild-type strain. Currently, the horse is in stable condition and continues to be treated at the University of Florida. There are no additional suspected or confirmed cases at this time.  The Division of Animal Industry is continuing the disease investigation, which includes the HITS show grounds in Ocala, the local index farm and multiple premises that have horses that may have been exposed to the positive horse. No new Q%20Tapequarantines have been issued today and the seven quarantines issued since last Thursday remain in place. These quarantines include the index farm, Tent 7 at HITS and five additional premises in Florida; two farms in the Ocala area, one in Pinellas Park, one in St. Augustine and one in Wellington. At this point in the investigation there are no known exposed horses in other states. – For complete release see http://www.freshfromflorida.com/ai/pdf/EHVWebsiteUpdate.pdf


skunk2f4gh - CopyColorado 02/27/13 Adams County: Health officials have confirmed that a skunk found on private property in Brighton has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22681954/skunk-brighton-tests-positive-rabies

Florida 02/27/13 Brevard County: A man who OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAattempted to pick up a raccoon that was hit by a car and was bitten is now receiving rabies post-exposure treatment. The raccoon, which was hit on State Road 3 about a mile south of the Kennedy Space Center, has tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130227/NEWS01/130227017/Brevard-health-officials-announce-rabies-warning-area-near-KSC?nclick_check=1

0coonvsdog422 - CopyNew Jersey 02/27/13 Morris County: Denville Township officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a raccoon that attacked a dog in the vicinity of South Wynde Drive, behind the A&P, tested positive for the virus. – See http://newjerseyhills.com/the_citizen/news/denville-issues-rabies-alert/article_c50e06b4-811b-11e2-9b63-0019bb2963f4.html

North Carolina 02/28/13 Davidson County: A skunk found inside a dog lot in Churchland with a dog that had an expired vaccination has tested positive for rabies. The skunk was shot and killed by the dog’s owner. The dog thumbnailCA0KC8HVwas euthanized. – See http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20130228/News/302289972

Texas 02/27/13 Somervell County: The Glen Rose animal control officer has issued a Rabies Alert after a skunk that was chasing people attending a birthday party tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.yourglenrosetx.com/news/community/article_f927db0a-8120-11e2-a475-0019bb2963f4.html

Minnesota investigates apparent case of inhalational Anthrax; Scientists develop new weapon in fight against Chikungunya Virus; 15 Mississippians have contracted West Nile Virus including one fatality so far this year; West Nile Virus reports from New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from North and South Carolina. Follow-Up Report: New York child succumbs to EEE. Announcements: Lyme Disease Presentation next week in Rockland, Maine; and EPIC Outdoor Game Fair next month in Georgia.

Anthrax affects cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, and other wild and domestic hooved animals. Photo by Ernst Vikne. Wikimedia Commons.

Minnesota 08/09/11 state.mn.us: News Release – The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate an apparent case of inhalational anthrax in an individual who officials believe acquired the infection from the natural environment. The individual was hospitalized in Minnesota after traveling through western states, including North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Laboratory analysis in Minnesota confirmed the diagnosis of anthrax. “All evidence points to this case of anthrax being caused by exposure to naturally occurring anthrax in the environment,” said Minnesota State Epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield. The individual had exposure to soil and animal remains. Cases of anthrax in hooved animals occur yearly in parts of the country including the Midwest and West as far south as Texas, and up to the Canadian border. Because anthrax can be used as a bioterrorism agent, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated this matter jointly with MDH, but no evidence suggesting it was a criminal or terrorist act was obtained. As such, the FBI is no longer actively investigating the incident.

Health officials stressed that the case does not represent an increased risk of anthrax to the public. “Anthrax is not spread from person to person, and it is extremely rare for humans to become sickened with anthrax, especially through inhalation,” Lynfield said. In rare cases, individuals can become sickened by anthrax if they handle infected animal carcasses or ingest contaminated soil or meat from infected animals. People can also become infected by handling contaminated wool or hides or other products from infected animals. In years past, anthrax was known as “woolsorter’s disease”. Because these cases are so rare, health officials are not discouraging people from traveling to areas where anthrax can be found naturally in the environment. The individual is being treated at a Minnesota hospital. More information on anthrax, symptoms and treatment, can be found on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/anthrax/anthrax.html.

Texas 08/12/11 sciencenewsline.com: Researchers have developed a new candidate vaccine to protect against chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that produces an intensely painful and often chronic arthritic disease that has stricken millions of people in India, Southeast Asia and Africa. A single dose of the experimental vaccine protected lab mice from infection with the virus, according to a paper published online in the journal PLoS Pathogens by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Inviragen, Inc., of Ft. Collins, Colorado, the University of Wisconsin, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Alabama. “Currently, we have no approved treatment or vaccine for chikungunya, and there’s a real need for an effective vaccine to protect against this debilitating and economically devastating infection,” said Scott Weaver, director of UTMB’s Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, scientific director of the Galveston National Laboratory and senior author of the paper. “Everything we’ve seen so far suggests this vaccine candidate could fill that need.”

Dr. Scott Weaver

The experimental vaccine is a “recombinant live-attenuated vaccine” created by genetically modifying the chikungunya virus using techniques developed with the initial support from the Western Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, headquartered at UTMB. The resulting vaccine strain differs from wild-type chikungunya virus in two ways: it doesn’t cause disease, and it’s incapable of infecting mosquitoes; the latter trait is an important safety feature to ensure that the vaccine strain cannot initiate transmission in nonendemic locations where travelers might be immunized before a trip to Africa or Asia. But it still provokes an immune response to protect against future chikungunya infections. Such a live virus vaccine would also be relatively economical to produce in large quantities — an important factor given the limited resources available in the areas hit hardest by chikungunya.

“We need to slow this virus down in India and Southeast Asia, not just to protect the people there but to reduce the very real risk that it might become endemic here after an infected traveler arrives,” Weaver said. “The best way to do that is with a vaccine, and if you’re going to make a vaccine you have to look at where it’s going to be used and what they can afford.” UTMB has signed a license agreement with Inviragen for commercialization of the new vaccine candidate. In addition, the two partners have been chosen to receive a four-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to complete the preclinical development work needed submit an investigational new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration, opening the door to human trials.

Mississippi 08/15/11 ms.gov: New Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus in Forrest and Pearl River counties, bringing the state’s total to 15. So far this year, cases have been reported in Coahoma, Forrest (2), Hinds (2), Jones (3), Marion, Pearl River (4), Tallahatchie, and Wayne counties. The MSDH only reports confirmed cases to the public. One death has been reported in Jones County. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths. For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at http://www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

Suffolk County

New York 08/15/11 timesreview.com: by Samantha Brix – A mosquito sample taken in Jamesport between Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 tested positive for West Nile virus, Suffolk County Health Services officials said. Thirteen other samples tested positive in Rocky Point, Dix Hills, Lindenhurst, Bay Shore, East Northport, North Patchogue, Holbrook, Ronkonkoma, Bridgehampton, Huntington and East Setauket, and a total of 24 samples collected throughout Suffolk County have been positive this season. “The confirmation of West Nile virus in a mosquito pool indicates that the virus is actively circulating within the mosquito population,” said Suffolk County Health Services Commissioner James Tomarken in a statement. “While there is no cause for alarm, we urge residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”

Northern Cardinal is in the CDC's West Nile Virus avian mortality database.

West Nile Virus was first detected in Suffolk in 1999, and officials have found traces of it every year since. The virus is transmitted to humans by bites from infected mosquitoes. No humans or horses have tested positive for the virus in the county this year, but eleven birds have been infected so far this season. Last year, four people contracted the virus in the county, and one contracted it the year before.

Cuyahoga County

Ohio 08/15/11 news-herald.com: The Cuyahoga County Health Board has reported that several mosquito traps set within five eastern suburbs have tested positive for the West Nile virus. These mosquitoes were collected from traps on July 27 in Euclid, Mayfield Heights, South Euclid, Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, the county agency reported. A prior trap in North Olmsted tested positive in July.

North Carolina 08/15/11 wxii12.com: A coyote was shot and killed Monday afternoon by a Forsyth County deputy who noticed the animal acting strangely. Officers at the scene said a person driving spotted the coyote walking near Polo and Reynolda roads and flagged down the deputy. The deputy, who called for animal control officers to come and examine the animal, killed the animal with his 45 caliber handgun after fearing it might attack a pedestrian or jogger. The deputy said the animal was walking in circles, biting a tree and possibly foaming at the mouth. Animal control officers picked up the dead animal and will test it for rabies, officers said. “The last few years they’ve been moving in and becoming more and more common. They are very successful living in urban areas,” said Forsyth County Animal Control Director Tim Jennings. Jennings encouraged residents to always be on the lookout for coyotes, and to make sure their pets’ rabies vaccinations are current.

South Carolina 08/15/11 scdhec.gov: News Release – Two Berkeley County boys who were scratched by a stray cat are under the care of a physician after the animal tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today. “These boys were scratched by the stray cat in the Oakley Point subdivision near Moncks Corner,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. This is the second confirmed rabid animal in Berkeley County in 2011. Last year, there was one rabid animal confirmed in the county. In 2010, there were 106 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 65 confirmed cases in animals in the state. For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s webpage at: http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies or contact DHEC’s Berkeley County Environmental Health Office (843) 719-4649. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage about rabies can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies.

Follow-Up Report:

New York 08/15/11 publicbroadcasting.net: A four-year-old girl from Oswego County has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). She lived in New Haven, but Oswego County health officials have not said where she may have contracted the illness. The girls became the fifth person to die from EEE in the state in the last 40 years.  EEE is carried by mosquitoes and kills a high percentage of those who become infected. (See August 15, 2011 post: Child from New York has contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis)


Lyme Disease Presentation

Dr. Bea Szantyr

August 25 at 6:30 p.m.

Rockland Library, Rockland, Maine

Dr. Bea Szantyr

On Thursday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Bea Szantyr will give a slide-talk on Lyme disease and tick-borne illness at the Rockland Public Library. Szantyr will discuss how to keep one and one’s family safe while enjoying the outdoors. Szantyr’s exploration of Lyme disease and other chronic debilitating illnesses began more than 15 years ago and now consists of thousands of hours in related activities. Szantyr has lectured throughout Maine and New England on Lyme disease and associated tick–borne disorders. Included will be updated information from the Maine Center for Disease Control DC as well as information on other tick-borne diseases that occur in Maine. Special accommodations for persons with disabilities can be made with 48 hours notice. Please call the library at 594-0310. This is part of a continuing series of literary, film and cultural offerings sponsored by the Rockland Public Library & the Friends of the Rockland Public Library.


EPIC Outdoor Game Fair

September 23-25, 2011

Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club

Douglasville, Georgia

The EPIC Outdoor Game Fair – at its core – is both a celebration of America’s “country pursuits” and an opportunity for outdoor sporting enthusiasts to gather and participate in those pursuits in an educational setting.
Connect with nature by going on a canoe ride or hiking some trails. Find amusement and knowledge at canine trials, ATV trials, birds of prey demonstrations, and shooting demonstrations. Pull back a bow at the archery range or participate in sporting clay shoots at the Shotgun Village.  Any person of any age will find plenty to do, see, and learn in each area of the 1,100-acre Foxhall Resort & Sporting Club this September in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Southeast’s largest outdoor game fair!

The EPIC Outdoor Game Fair is designed to encourage families, youth, and individuals to actively engage in outdoor sporting activities through education, participation, instruction, and competition.  Our goal is to bring together a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts to build a framework for understanding one another’s passions. This understanding will bridge the separation among activities and build a larger social network to support responsible use of natural resources and the roles we share as sportsmen and sportswomen in land use and conservation. For details go to http://www.cvent.com/events/2011-epic-outdoor-game-fair/event-summary-b74103d4520443a186135f7729bf64b5.aspx

Oregon’s young Wolves moving to new areas; Bear-Hunting.Org to release guide on how to avoid a Bear attack; Coyotes take another pet in California’s Laguna Woods; Southeast Asian countries testing grounds for new Dengue vaccine; MIT scientists develop new drug that can cure nearly any viral infection; West Nile Virus reports from CT, & IL; and Rabies reports from MA, & WI. Travel Warnings for The Bahamas.

OR-3, a three-year-old male wolf from the Imnaha pack. Image captured by an Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife employee on May 10, 2011, in Wallowa County.

Oregon 08/08/11 state.or.us: News Release – The Imnaha wolf pack had at least one pup this year. Footage captured July 16, 2011 by an ODFW employee show a black-colored pup travelling with the Imnaha pack’s alpha female (its mother). So far, photographs and visual observations have turned up only one pup for the Imnaha pack this year, but more pups may be found.  Young wolves will naturally leave a pack and move to new areas. Several members of the Imnaha pack dispersed from the pack in the past few months.  Three-year-old male wolf OR-3 (named because he was the third wolf collared in Oregon) was located by ODFW southeast of Fossil (Wheeler County) on July 30, 2011. ODFW searched the Fossil area using radio telemetry after a member of the public captured the image of a wolf on his trail camera in the west Blue Mountains. OR-3 had last been located north of Wallowa on May 10 when he was captured in a video.  OR-3 is now west of the Hwy 395-78-95 boundary, in the part of the state where wolves are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), in addition to Oregon’s ESA. Time will tell if OR-3 stays in the Fossil area, moves on or even goes back to Wallowa County.

The Imnaha wolf pack had at least one pup this year. Footage captured July 16, 2011 by an ODFW employee show a black-colored pup travelling with the Imnaha pack’s alpha female (its mother).

A second collared wolf, two-year-old male OR-9, swam across the Brownlee Reservoir into Idaho on July 18. ODFW notified wildlife managers in Idaho about his presence.  This brings to three the number of wolves known to have dispersed from the Imnaha pack. OR-5 went to Washington State last winter when she was 1.5 years old.  ODFW does not have evidence that any of these three collared wolves (OR-3, OR-5, OR-9) have joined a new wolf pack yet.  Other uncollared members of the Imnaha pack may have dispersed with the radio-collared wolves or gone their own way. The latest observations and data suggest the Imnaha pack now has four adult wolves (three of them collared), plus the new pup.  “Wolf packs are dynamic and rarely stay the same size over time,” noted Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “A pack can be healthy despite these natural fluctuations in numbers, as long as a breeding pair of wolves, the alpha male and female, is maintained.”

Trail cameras also captured images of four adult wolves from the Wenaha pack travelling in the Wenaha unit of the northern Blue Mountains area during the summer. No pups were seen on the footage. ODFW will continue to monitor this pack for pups and to try and collar members from this pack.  Wolf pups are born in mid-April, with litters typically averaging four to six pups. The pups go outside the den and become more active beginning in June. ODFW devotes part of the summertime to determining if wolf packs have reproduced.

Global 08/10/11 benzinga.com: With the recent media coverage on the death of a boy during a bear attack in Norway, Bear-Hunting.Org, an educational portal for hunters to get information on bear hunting, has decided to release a guide on how to avoid a bear attack. Noah Riddle of Bear-Hunting.Org had this to say: “We hope this guide will help educate people prevent bear attacks and if in the situation of a bear attack, be able to defend themselves.” Bear-Hunting.Org claims that most bear attacks are due to sows (female bears) defending their cubs. They expect to release the full guide sometime in the middle of August and will offer it for free on their website. However, they wanted to release some information to the public today to help educate people who may be in an area or situation where they might encounter a bear. Below are the tips that Bear-Hunting.Org released out of their guide.

1. If you’re going to be in an area or situation where you have the possibility of coming across a bear, you should make sure you carry a can of bear pepper spray. Keep this readily available since an attack will be sudden and sometimes without notice.

2. Do not make eye contact with a bear; this is considered threatening to them. Also to appear less threatening, bend at the knees to appear smaller and turn sideways.

3. If a bear happens to attack you, it’s vital that you protect your chest and abdominal area. You can do this by falling on the ground and assuming the fetal position. Use your hands to protect the back of your neck, and try to stay still until the bear leaves.

Bear-Hunting.Org recommends checking with your state’s department of wildlife and natural resources for more information on preventing bear attacks and learning about recent bear attacks in the area. Be sure to visit their bear hunting website to obtain the guide when it’s released.

California 08/10/11 patch.com: by Rich Kane – Another coyote attack in Laguna Woods has left yet another resident of the retirement community petless. Joan Cierzan, 82, went to let her dog Mocha, a poodle mix, outside her residence on Saturday morning. Though Mocha was leashed, when Cierzan opened her patio gate, she felt a strong yank on the tether, which caused her to fall to the ground. The attack was swift—all that was left was an empty dog collar. The incident was the worst of many human-versus-coyote encounters during the seven-day period of August 3-9. A perusal of the public police calls log at the Laguna Beach Police Department—whose three-person animal services division handles Laguna Woods—revealed at least 10 reports of coyote sightings, primarily in Laguna Woods, but at least one within the Laguna Beach city limits as well. The Laguna Woods city council voted July 28 to hire armed exterminators to kill coyotes. So far, at least five of the animals have been eliminated.

Global 08/10/11 philstar.com: by Ding Cervantes – A vaccine against dengue developed by a French pharmaceutical firm was tested on some 2,000 children in Laguna (the Philippines) last month and was found to be effective. Health Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag revealed this during the recent 10th Blood Galloner Awards held in Malolos City, Bulacan. Since the long-awaited dengue vaccine may yet be available by 2014, Tayag said the public must continue to observe usual precautions against the mosquito-borne disease that has led to many deaths over the years. Tayag said tests on about 2,000 children in Laguna last month proved the vaccine to be both safe and effective. He said clinical trials were also done in Cebu City. Still, Tayag said the vaccine still has to pass all evaluation and more tests before its target release in 2014. Researchers worldwide have been working on a dengue vaccine for almost 60 years, and for the first time, the vaccine is being tested in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Global 08/10/11 mit.edu: News Release – Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection. In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

Dr. Todd Rider

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology. Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says. (For complete news release go to http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html )

Fairfield County

Connecticut 08/08/11 ct.gov: News Release – The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced Aug. 8 that mosquitoes trapped in nine towns from July 25 to Aug. 1 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Hamden, Litchfield, New Canaan, Stratford, and Woodbridge by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.  In 2011, WNV-positive mosquitoes have been trapped in 15 municipalities: Bridgeport, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Litchfield, New Britain, New Canaan, Orange, Stamford, Stratford, Westport, and Woodbridge. No Connecticut residents have been identified with illnesses related to WNV infections this year. In 2010, WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 24 municipalities with eleven reported human cases.

American Goldfinch is in CDC's mortality database

“As expected, we continue to find mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in more locations in lower Fairfield County and are now seeing an expansion into other areas of Connecticut,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist, CAES. “Over the next few weeks and into early fall, we expect to see further build-up of West Nile virus with increased risk for human infection throughout the state, especially in densely populated communities.

Will County

Illinois 08/10/11 suntimes.com: A collection site in south Naperville last week brought the number of Illinois counties reporting West Nile virus activity this summer to an even dozen. The Will County Health Department announced Wednesday that a monitoring station operated by the city reported the county’s first confirmed activity of the virus for 2011. The mosquito samples were collected Aug. 1, and presence of the virus was confirmed the following day. Will County reported at least 18 WNV-positive mosquito batches during 2010, including 15 from sites operated by Will County Environmental Health, a division of the Health Department. Will was the 12th Illinois county to report West Nile activity this summer. No Illinois human cases have been reported, but many mosquitoes and four birds have tested WNV-positive so far. For more information, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us.

Massachusetts 08/09/11 salemnews.com: by Ethan Forman – A rabid skunk came out of the shrubs and sank its teeth into the leg of a 3-year-old boy who was playing in his backyard Friday. “To the horror of the parents, the skunk hung on,” said Peter Mirandi, the public health director. The parents were able to kick the skunk off their son and take him to the emergency room. The skunk was tested over the weekend, and yesterday Mirandi learned it had rabies. The boy is already receiving the necessary shots to ward off the disease. The incident took place Friday at approximately 1 p.m. in a small neighborhood just up the road from the Hathorne fire station on Maple Street and Supino’s Restaurant off Route 1, Mirandi said.

Brown bat

Wisconsin 08/09/11 todaystmj4.com: by Jesse Ritka – A number of rabid bats are turning up in southeast Wisconsin. And you could be bitten without even realizing it. In the last month, rabid bats have bitten a man in Erin and a dog in Hartford. Environmental Health Specialist Margaret Anderson said this is not typical. “That is unusual for us to have two, especially this close together.” Jenna Giese of Fond du Lac survived rabies in 2004, but health officials don’t want people to let their guard down. “Rabies is still considered a fatal disease in humans once they contract it so it’s best to take all the precautions you can to avoid getting bitten by a rabid animal,” says Anderson.

Travel Warnings:

The Bahamas 08/10/11 thenassauguardian.com: by Chester Robards – The United States Embassy in Nassau issued an emergency e-mail message yesterday warning potential visitors about the outbreak of dengue fever in The Bahamas. “U.S. citizens should be aware of the recent dengue fever outbreak in The Bahamas,” said an official e-mail from the embassy received by The Nassau Guardian. “In the past few weeks, over 200 cases have been reported and almost 1,000 cases have been reported of individuals suffering from symptoms that match dengue.”

Mad Polar Bear thought to be rabid charges into northern Canadian town; North Carolina bio-tech company develops new approach to creating vaccines for insect-borne diseases; British bio-tech company stirs controversy by developing genetically modified mosquito to wipe out those that carry Dengue and other lethal diseases; federal funds for Minnesota’s Wolf Control Program drying up; Wyoming and feds agree “in principle” on Wolf Control Program; another Mainer reports Mountain Lion sighting; Florida man attacked by rabid Bobcat; West Nile Virus reports from Illinois, New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New York (2), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia, and Wisconsin. Canada: Coyote report from Alberta, and a Rabies report from Saskatchewan. Travel Warnings for India, the Maldives, and Swaziland.

Polar Bear. Photo by Alan Wilson. Wikimedia Commons.

Manitoba 07/06/11 myfoxdetroit.com: A rampaging polar bear bounded through backyards and patios in the northern Manitoba town of Churchill, then headed downtown, where it stomped a truck and banged its head against the windows of the health center before conservation officers could shoot and kill it, the CBC reported Wednesday. Conservation officer Bob Windsor said he had never seen a polar bear act so aggressively. It will be tested for rabies, which could explain its behavior. Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay, is known for its polar bear population and bear-spotting tours there are popular with tourists.

The CBC said Monday’s bear blowup began when the animal turned on a man taking photographs on the beach, forcing him to hide behind rocks while the bear paced nearby. Windsor and his partner set off some noisemakers known as “bear bangers,” which confused the bear enough to allow the man to escape. But the bear, who first tried to attack the officers’ truck, next headed into town, racing through backyards before heading into the downtown area. “I drove up to it and it attacked the truck again,” Windsor told the CBC. “I wasn’t able to back out of the way quick enough and this time it caught up to the front of the truck and reared up and kind of stomped the front of the hood with its front paws.” From there, it began pushing its head against windows at the health center. Windsor finally managed to lure the bear into a clear area where his partner shot it.

Global 07/07/11pr.com: A technology breakthrough that could have a major impact in the development of vaccines to preventive insect-borne diseases has been published in the June edition of Virology Journal ( http://www.virologyj.com/content/8/1/289 ). The technology developed by Arbovax creates virus host-range mutations that will reproduce in insect cells while being severely restricted in their ability to reproduce in mammalian cells. Pre-clinical animal experiments have shown that this approach can be used to create immunity to insect-borne viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Modifications to the virus are hidden from the immune system and so produce strong immunity in the absence of disease. The virus can also be grown in a very cost-effective manner in an insect cell reactor. Arbovax expects to be initiating human clinical trials of its Dengue vaccine by the end of 2012. Over 2/5 of the world‘s population is threatened by insect borne viral diseases and this technology will form the basis for a vaccine platform against many of those diseases. “These are very promising results, a major step forward in the fight to stop the spread of insect-borne diseases. We are very excited to have then published by such a well-respected journal in the field of virology,” said CEO Malcolm Thomas, “and we are currently preparing several other papers for publication in the near future.”

About the company: Arbovax, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company based in Raleigh NC, developing a novel and innovative technology to facilitate the development of vaccines against insect-borne viruses.

Drs. Raquel Hernandez & Dennis Brown

The core technology, developed by Dr. Dennis Brown and Dr. Raquel Hernandez of NC State University, provides a platform that offers improved vaccine technology in a cost effective manner targeting a portfolio of arthropod-borne diseases that includes Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever. Arbovax’s initial focus, Dengue Fever, is ranked second only to Malaria by the World Health Organization for its devastating global impact.

Global 07/07/11 news-medical.net: NPR’s All Things Considered on Tuesday examined the efforts of the British company Oxitec to develop a genetically modified mosquito meant to wipe out wild populations of the insects, which carry potentially lethal diseases such as dengue. Genetically modified male mosquitoes are released into the wild to breed with females, and their offspring are designed to die. “Field trials in the Cayman Islands last year appeared to show it works.

Dr. Luke Alphey

Oxitec released its genetically modified males, and, [Oxitec Chief Scientific Officer Luke] Alphey says, the population dropped by a whopping 80 percent,” NPR reports. However, some are opposed to the possible unintended consequences of releasing genetically modified insects into the wild, and regulators worldwide “are struggling to come up with rules and safeguards,” according to NPR.

Minnesota 07/07/11publicradio.org: by Stephanie Hemphill – A federally funded program that controls predatory wolves in northern Minnesota will soon be out of money, putting livestock and pets at risk. When farmers can prove a wolf killed their animals, they call Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trappers come out to the farm, set traps, and kill the wolves they catch. The money for the trapping program — about $500,000 a year — has long come from Congressional earmarks. But last spring, Congress voted to eliminate earmarks. As a result, in mid-July, the state will no longer have money to hire the trappers. Not being able to rely on them will pose a hardship for cattle ranchers like Neil Radaich. During calving season, Radaich and his father drive several times daily out to the far end of a pasture in Goodland, Minn., to check on cows and calves. (For complete article go to http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/07/shutdown-wildlife-conservation-livestock-wolf-predation/ )

Wyoming 07/07/11 trib.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – Wyoming and the federal government have reached “an agreement in principle” on a deal to remove the state’s roughly 340 wolves from the endangered species list and put them under state control. Following a meeting at the Wyoming State Capitol on Thursday, Gov. Matt Mead, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said they hoped to reach a deal by the end of the month and ratify it by the end of September.

Wyoming has been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for years to accept the state’s wolf management plan, which allows unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state. Fish and Wildlife, on the other hand, wants wolves to be classified as “trophy game” throughout the state, meaning they could only be hunted with a license. The three said they agreed on a deal under which Wyoming would be required to maintain 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside Yellowstone National Park. That’s about a third of current wolf numbers outside Yellowstone, Mead said. They also agreed in principle on creating a wolf “flex area” in Sublette and Lincoln counties, in which wolves would be protected only during the winter months. Working out exactly where the “flex area” boundaries will be is the primary sticking point remaining in negotiations, Mead said. Mead said he now will shop around two different flex-area boundary proposals to “stakeholders” – including ranchers and agricultural groups that have long opposed wolves.

In April, Congress voted to delist wolves in five other western states, though not Wyoming. Salazar and Ashe met with Mead at the insistence of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who demanded it as a precondition to lifting a month-long hold on Ashe’s nomination as Fish and Wildlife director. Ashe was confirmed by the Senate to the post last Thursday; a few days after Barrasso lifted his hold.

Maine 07/06/11 naturalunseenhazards.com: While driving southbound along I-295 near exit 28 in Brunswick, on July 4th, Dianne Hersey sighted what she believes was a cougar. “The color was tan, it looked like it had leapord-like black spots, and I estimate it to be at least two feet high.  The legs seemed to be thin, and the face was definitely the face of a big cat.  It ran onto the highway from the left side, then it saw the traffic coming at it, and it turned around, and ran off the highway again the same way it had run onto the highway.  It’s a wonder it wasn’t hit by a car. I live in Presque Isle, and I was on a trip to Portland to see the fireworks on July 4th when I saw this cougar.  There was a car ahead of me, but the cougar stopped in the left lane, facing the traffic for an instant, then turned around and took off for the side of the highway.  I’ve seen cats that big before, but it was always in a zoo.  It was so agile.”

Florida 07/07/11 wctv.tv: Paul Brock, 71, was at a friend’s house Friday (July 1) cutting fresh cabbage when he had an unpleasant surprise. “All of a sudden I heard a growl, and then I heard another growl. I thought it was a dog,” said Brock. But it wasn’t a dog. It was this bobcat looking for a fight. The cat launched at Brock with full force. “He leaped right on top of my head with his front feet. His left paw went in the head and his right paw went on my cheek,” said Brock. Brock’s friend shot and killed the bobcat during the attack, and test results from an autopsy on the bobcat confirmed that it was infected with rabies. Brock is expected to be alright as long as he completes the four-shot regiment to ward off the rabies infection.

Illinois 07/07/11 patch.com: by Claudia Lenart – Burr Ridge reports that mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been discovered in Evergreen Park and Oswego. Health officials advise residents to take precautions to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and to use mosquito repellant.

New York 07/07/11 allheadlinenews.com: by Windsor Genova – New York City’s Health Department announced Thursday that mosquitoes collected from Eltingville, Staten Island tested positive from the West Nile virus. No cases of infection were reported but the department advised the public to take precautions with the virus’ return to the city.

Ohio 07/07/11 wmfd.com: West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have been detected in traps in Richland County according to public health officials at the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department. “We have a positive West Nile virus detection from mosquitoes caught in a trap in Washington Township,” said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “To be very clear, this is not a case of human infection but a positive reading of mosquitoes carrying the virus that could infect humans.”

Florida 07/06/11 wjhg.com: by Bryan Anderson – The Holmes County Health Department is warning residents to watch out for potentially rabid animals, and they said the drought could be causing the disease to spread. Holmes County Health Officials have confirmed two rabies cases in the past two weeks. They’re hoping an advisory to residents will prevent any more. “Two positive results out in the county. One was a raccoon, one was a feral cat,” said Holmes County Environmental Manager Jackie Parker. The Jackson County Health Department has had four rabies cases in the past three months. Health officials ask you to report any suspicious-acting animals to your local health department.

Georgia 07/06/11 times-herald.com: by Elizabeth Melville – A Newnan man continues to receive rabies treatments after he was bitten by a confirmed rabid fox on June 30 in the Bridgewater subdivision off Shenandoah Boulevard. Kenny Ruddy was at home working in the garage around 4:30 p.m. on June 30 when he had the run-in with the diseased fox, according to Ruddy’s wife, Linda. In addition to a bite on his hand, Kenny suffered a scratch on his leg. He visited the ER and immediately began his series of rabies immunizations. He was also given a tetanus shot. “He’s doing okay — he feels achy, but he’s fine,” said Linda. Kenny will have to receive rabies shots for nearly a month following the bite. Kenny turned the fox over to Coweta Animal Hospital for rabies testing. According to Linda, testing was conducted in Atlanta on Friday and they got the word Friday afternoon that the specimen tested positive for rabies.

Idaho 07/07/11 idaho.gov: Press Release – A bat from southeast Idaho tested positive for rabies last week, prompting public health officials to warn people throughout the state to take precautions around bats and make sure that their dogs, cats, and horses are adequately vaccinated against rabies. This is the first report of a rabid bat in the State this summer.

Michigan 07/07/11 whmi.com: The Livingston County Department of Public Health received a report this week of a fox found in Green Oak Township that may have rabies. Officials say the fox was discovered acting strangely on Wednesday afternoon in an area just east of US-23 on the north end of Whitmore Lake. Anyone who may have been exposed to a fox within the last two weeks is asked to contact the Livingston County Department of Public Health at (517) 552-6882.

New York 07/07/11 catskills.coop.com: Sullivan County’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Richard Martinkovic tells us that authorities were contacted after a fox had been bothering people during the daytime at a camp located on White Lake Turnpike. The Town of Bethel Constable was called and found out from the people at the camp that there was an animal that was not acting right. The constable in turn called for an animal control officer, who arrived and set up several cages to trap the animal. The fox was trapped on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00PM. It was then killed, and its head was sent for lab-testing. The results returned on Thursday that the fox was infected with rabies.

New York 07/07/11 wivb.com: by Emily Lenihan – As a follow-up to our warning of last week about possible rabid animals on Tonawanda Island in the City of North Tonawanda, it is noted that the NYSDOH Wadsworth Rabies Laboratory has confirmed that rabies was NOT present in the two woodchucks tested.

North Carolina 07/07/11 fayobserver.com: A dead bat found outside a home in Fayetteville is being considered as a case of rabies. Test results on the bat, which was found in the Lake Point Place subdivision, were inconclusive, according to Cumberland County officials. But because state health officials reported the results were unsatisfactory, it is being treated as a positive case, the sixth in the county so far this year. The bat was picked up on July 1 by Animal Control officers outside a home on the 1900 block of Wordsworth Drive, off Green Meadow. Health officials will alert nearby residents, who should remain alert for sick or abnormal acting wildlife. Anyone bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap, seek medical advice and notify Animal Control at 321-6852.

North Carolina 07/06/11 smokymountainnews.com: The second case of rabies in eastern Haywood County in less than a week has been confirmed, marking the fourth case so far this year in the same general area of the county. Two cases were in skunks and two were in raccoons. Before this year, only five cases of rabies had been confirmed in Haywood County since 2006. In the most recent incident, a Canton area resident discovered a skunk in their barn, exhibiting unusual behaviour. According to the incident report, the skunk was off balance and falling down. The skunk was killed and sent to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services laboratory, where it tested positive. Also last week, a group of hunting dogs got into a fight with the raccoon. The raccoon was killed and the owner of the dogs reported the incident. Tests on the raccoon came back positive.

Pennsylvania 07/07/11 centredaily.com: A raccoon that was seen drooling and falling to the ground on the Penn State campus has tested positive for rabies. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the raccoon was seen wandering around the central part of campus on June 30. It had trouble walking, was falling to the ground and running into things and appeared to be drooling. Campus police shot the raccoon and submitted it to Penn State’s Animal Diagnostic Lab for rabies testing. According to the department, there was no known contact between the raccoon and people or domestic animals. The raccoon brings the number of diagnosed rabies cases in Centre County this year to eight, which is more than all of 2010 when there were five cases in the entire year. Most recently, a rabid raccoon was seen on June 27 in a tree in Gregg Township vocalizing, then later fighting with a vaccinated dog. That raccoon was shot and submitted for rabies testing, and the dog is being quarantined on the owner’s property for 90 days.

Pennsylvania 07/06/11 publicopiniononline.com: The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is trying to identify a dog and its owner to determine if a person bitten by the dog will need rabies treatment. The department said in a news release that a person was bitten while trying to pet the dog Friday between 10:30 and 11 a.m. at the Sheetz on East King Street. The owner is described as a bald, white male between 40 and 45 years old. The dog is described as large with black, seemingly matted fur, possibly an Airdale mix breed. Anyone with information should contact Dog Warden Georgia Martin at 762-9794.

Virginia 07/07/11 wset.com: Two more cases of suspected rabies have popped up in our area. In Henry County, an adult cat around Spruce Pine Lane reportedly bit three people. Officials found the gray, tan and white cat dead on Sunday and it did have rabies. And in Botetourt County, a red fox attacked and bit a person on Mount Pleasant Church Road. That fox has not been found so officials do not know if it’s rabid. If you came in contact with either of these animals, contact your local Health Department.

Wisconsin 07/06/11 leadertelegram.com: The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department is looking for any information as to the owner and identity of a dog that bit a child while the child was riding his bike on the bike path under the Seymour Cray Boulevard just outside the city limits of Chippewa Falls. On Monday about 11 a.m. three male subjects were along the river with their dogs and one of the dogs described as a heavy set furry German Sheppard approached the bike riders and bit a 10-year-old boy. The status of the shots for the dog is needed in order to prevent the child from undergoing a series of shots for rabies. If any information about the dog or the dog owner is know they are asked to contact the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department.


Alberta 07/06/11 cjocfm.com: Fish and Wildlife officers are still investigating a reported coyote attack near the Scenic dog run Tuesday night. A man walking his dog claims to have seen up to 20 of the animals and ended up with a bite mark on his leg. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Spokesman Dave Ealey tells CJOC News that coyotes are especially territorial when pups are with them. He says a large pack of coyotes consists of seven or eight animals, adding it’s possible for people to misjudge numbers in low-light conditions. Ealy also says it’s possible the coyotes felt threatened by the man’s dog. If you come across coyotes, Ealey suggests backing away slowly and making yourself seem as large as possible.

Saskatchewan 07/06/11 cbc.ca: A Martensville veterinary clinic says it has been advised by provincial agriculture officials that rabies has been detected in three big brown bats that were tested in May and June. Bat experts note it is an unusual number of bats to test positive for rabies in such a short time. “It is quite uncommon for this to happen,” Mark Brigham, the head of the biology department at the University of Regina, told CBC News Wednesday. Brigham said in a normal year Saskatchewan can expect a total of three to eight cases. While unusual, Brigham quickly added that the Martensville numbers are no cause for alarm even though rabies is a serious disease. “Rabies is incredibly dangerous,” Brigham said, but people should not assume that all bats have rabies. He did, however, sound a note of caution to people who encounter a bat. Brigham said rabies will produce paralysis in an animal and if one should spot a bat on the ground, it should be left alone. “The potential is that animal might be sick,” he said. “For heaven’s sake, don’t touch it.” Brigham said the advice can be applied to any wild animal. He said an injured or sick animal may resort to biting to defend itself, and rabies is transmitted from mammal to mammal through saliva. “Any mammal that is behaving strangely, don’t go near it. Don’t touch it,” he said. “The likelihood, in most cases, that the animal does have rabies is very low. But why take the chance?” Martensville is about 15 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Travel Warnings:

India 07/07/11 indiatimes.com: by Pushpa Narayan – Chennai — At least 20 people have died of rabies at the Government General Hospital in the city in the last six months. Last month, three died of the virus, spread through dog bites. The increasing number of such deaths is worrying public health workers, who are coming together on July 9 to debate the topic, ‘Why should anyone die of rabies in the 21 century?’ The conference, organised by the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India, will discuss strategies to eliminate rabies by 2020. “One big reason for rabies still being around is the lack of transparency and also severe underreporting of deaths, “said former director of public health Dr S Elango. For instance, though the records at the general hospital alone point to 12 deaths in 2010 and 13 deaths in 2009, none of these were recorded in the national registry. In 2009, Tamil Nadu recorded three deaths against 263 across the country and in 2010 it recorded two deaths against 162 nationally (source: National Health Profile 2010). “Had we reported all deaths, there would have been pressure on the civic authorities to initiate action. That would have pushed us to a stage where we can eliminate the disease. Instead, we choose to bury deaths under the carpet, “said Dr Elango. The Government General Hospital reported two rabies deaths each in April and May this year.

Maldives 07/07/11 minivannews.com: by Neil Merrett – Hospitals in the capital have said they continue to screen significant numbers of patients for dengue fever, yet claim that the situation remains “stable” as authorities raise fears that an ongoing outbreak of the virus may be more persistent than originally thought. As officials today confirmed that a 41 year old man from Addu Atoll had become the eighth person to have died during the latest dengue outbreak, health care representatives in the capital have said that they remain “busy” dealing with cases and had not yet seen significant declines in patients coming through their doors suspected of contracting the virus. After declaring this week that the current outbreak of the virus around Male’ and several islands was being treated as an “epidemic”, the government has since established a task force to try and coordinate its ministries, the military and NGOs in preventing further spreads of dengue. (For complete article go to http://minivannews.com/politics/dengue-hospital-situation-%E2%80%9Cstable%E2%80%9D-despite-high-patient-demand-22424 )

Swaziland 07/06/11 observer.org.sz: by Samkelo Ngwenya – The circulating news about rabies outbreak in Mbabane is true, the Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini has confirmed. A fortnight ago this newspaper reported that there was a dog in Fonteyn that was suspected to be carrying the deadly disease. As a result, the dog had its head cut and taken to the laboratory for diagnosis. The severed head tested positive. Four cases of rabies have been diagnosed so far. Dlamini confirmed that there are two cases of rabid dogs that have been found positive in Mbabane. On the other hand, another dog at Siphocosini has been diagnosed with rabies. The minister said there was also a case in Mayiwane after a pig was bitten by dogs. The pig contracted rabies after the bite.

US Navy seeking commercial partner to develop Dengue vaccine and diagnostics; Sanofi-Pasteur of France hopes to launch Dengue vaccine by 2014; Gray Wolf management reports from Idaho, and Montana; and a Rabies report from Vermont.

Global 05/16/11 dodlive.mil: by Roxanne Charles, CRADA Manager, Office of Legal and Technology Services, Naval Medical Research Center Research Services Directorate — Over the years, I have seen dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, become a major international public health concern for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. military. Today, the geographical spread of both the mosquito and the four dengue serotypes that cause serious illness have led to a global resurgence of dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome. WHO estimates 2.5 billion people – two-fifths of the world’s population – are at risk with 50-100 million dengue infections each year, mostly in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and Latin America.  So, it has never been more essential that the DoD develop and deploy an effective vaccine to protect its personnel.

US Marines in Afghanistan

The Viral and Rickettsial Diseases Division at Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) has been developing vaccines and diagnostics to address the challenges posed by dengue.  NMRC has been leading the effort to produce a tetravalent DNA vaccine to elicit a protective immune response using cutting edge prime boost strategies.  This work has resulted in Navy-owned intellectual property that includes two U.S. Patents and three pending applications. Now our team needs commercial partners to collaborate with and commercialize the vaccine candidate. NMRC is already engaged in collaborative research efforts to develop and evaluate rapid diagnostic tests that can facilitate early and rapid diagnosis of dengue.  Current clinical evaluations by NMRC may lead to the first FDA-approved rapid diagnostic test for dengue within two years.

Roxanne Charles

Here’s where my role becomes important.  My job is to build a bridge between the researchers in the lab and industry partners so an FDA -approved dengue vaccine can be produced. After all, an FDA-approved, lab tested vaccine doesn’t help anyone if it’s sitting on a shelf unproduced. The DoD objective is to vaccinate deploying warfighters and also provide an effective vaccine to the civilian public health community. The move from laboratory to a final product for use by the military requires a collective and committed effort by our NMRC scientific, legal and business team.  This is a very busy office, and I am proud to say we generate almost half of all the Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) for the Navy.  CRADAs are the formal documents that establish the working and technology sharing arrangements between the laboratory and our commercial partners.  Patent Licenses allow industry to commercialize Navy-patented research into vaccines, drugs and devices for use by our military and the general public.

NMRC has the skills to develop the vaccine, NMRC has the capability to test the vaccine, and NMRC can get the vaccine approved by the FDA.  What NMRC can’t do is produce enough of it to help rid our military and public health communities of this dangerous and threatening disease.  So the question becomes, who can?  We are searching for commercialization partners interested in developing a tetravalent DNA vaccine, multiplex diagnostics and additional biomarkers in this field. Interested industry partners can contact the NMRC Research Services Directorate by phone at 301-319-9846 or by email at Roxanne.charles@med.navy.mil.  My office looks forward to partnering on the production of this critical vaccine.

Global 05/13/11 reuters.com: by Caroline Girardon – France’s Sanofi-Pasteur said on Friday it hoped to launch a vaccine for dengue fever by 2014 in certain priority countries and could produce some 100 million doses a year. “It’s a considerable amount: by comparison we produce around 200 million doses of flu vaccine each year,” said Olivier Charmeil, the CEO of the world’s biggest vaccine maker. “We have been working on this for 15 years.” There is currently no cure or vaccine for dengue fever but Sanofi has the most clinically advanced vaccine candidate, which entered Phase III clinical testing in Australia in November. The mosquito-borne disease is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population. Of the estimated 220 million people infected each year, two million — mostly children in Latin America and Asia — develop a severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever. The French drugmaker has said in the past that a vaccine against dengue fever could potentially generate sales of more than $1 billion a year.

Idaho 05/13/11 idaho.gov: Since resuming wolf management earlier this month, Idaho Fish and Game already has initiated several actions across the state. Six control actions have been authorized in response to livestock depredations. Fish and Game has resumed the lead for resolving conflicts with wolves, and the agency will once again issue permits to control problem wolves. Fish and Game also has resumed responding to livestock depredation by wolves. Regional supervisors can authorize wolf control actions, which typically peak in the summer. Most control actions would be carried out by Wildlife Services, but sport hunters may be used in future depredation hunts to help resolve wolf conflicts in localized areas, similar to the way deer and elk crop depredation hunts are conducted. In 2010, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves killed 75 cattle, 148 sheep, two horses and one domestic bison. In addition, 14 cattle, 30 sheep and one livestock guard dog were considered probable wolf kills.

In the Lolo elk management zone in north-central Idaho, Fish and Game is putting into action a wolf control plan, outlined in an earlier plan submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act’s section 10(j). The plan is a commitment and an incremental effort to manage for 20 to 30 wolves in the Lolo zone until elk herds recover. Current research shows excessive elk mortality caused by wolf predation continues in the Lolo zone. Control efforts were initiated immediately in the Lolo zone to reduce wolf numbers before the elk calving season, and it will help survival of last year’s calves as well as adult cows. Fish and Game has authorized licensed outfitters to take any wolves they encounter incidental to spring black bear hunts in units 10 and 12, which comprise the Lolo zone. The effort will continue through June 30. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services removed five wolves in the Lolo Zone by helicopter. The control action has been suspended indefinitely until conditions improve. Wolves in the Lolo zone are currently at lower elevations where the snow is gone and even with radio collars they are hard to see under tree cover.

In addition, Fish and Game biologists are developing monitoring strategies to ensure the best possible population information is collected. Fish and Game will have the lead for monitoring wolves across most of Idaho, with the Nez Perce Tribe providing collaborative assistance in north-central Idaho. Fish and Game will discuss plans for a fall hunting season with the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at the May 18 meeting in Lewiston. The commission is expected to set seasons at the July 28 meeting in Salmon. For more information contact Ed Mitchell at (208) 334-3700.

Montana 05/13/11 ammoland.com: Based in part on lessons learned from the state’s first regulated wolf hunt in 2009, Commissioners approved a harvest quota of 186 wolves across 13 wolf management units for the 2010 season, which was blocked by a federal court. “This season proposal is very similar to the season considered last year and it’s one that is properly balanced,” said Ken McDonald, FWP’s chief of wildlife. McDonald explained that the state’s 14 WMUs are generally situated in the western portion of Montana to target areas where impacts on elk and deer populations have occurred and where recurring livestock depredations are predicted. A new WMU is proposed to be added in the Bitterroot Valley where wolves have contributed to a significant drop in the elk population. “We carved out smaller-sized wolf management units to allow for a more widely distributed harvest,” McDonald said. In addition, subquotas are proposed in three areas to limit harvest during early season backcountry hunts, including the area directly north of Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife managers also asked the commission to consider a wolf archery season to run Sept. 3 through Oct. 16, which coincides with Montana’s deer and elk archery seasons. McDonald said a harvest quota of 220 is projected to reduce the wolf population to a minimum of 425 wolves, or by about 25 percent. These projections include anticipated reductions due to livestock depredation and mortalities from other events, like accidents and natural causes. Public comments on the 2011wolf season proposal are due by 5 p.m. on June 20. Final quotas and seasons will be adopted by the FWP Commission on July 14. Send comments beginning Friday, May 13 via FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov . Click “For Hunters”. Or mail to FWP Wildlife Bureau, Attn: Public Comment, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. (For more information go to http://www.ammoland.com/2011/05/13/montana-fwp-seeks-comment-on-2011-wolf-hunting-season/ )

Vermont 05/15/11 wcax.com: Burlington police are looking for the owner of a large black dog who bit a 21-year-old male early Sunday morning in the area of College Street. Police need to know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. Until they have that answer, the victim must endure a painful and expensive series of rabies shots. Police say the victim was walking up College Street near South Union Street when the dog appeared and lunged towards his face. The victim’s mother told Channel 3 News that her son put up his hands and his finger was seriously bit. Police canvassed the area, but did not find the dog. Now they’re asking for your help. “We’re looking for people that may know of the dog or know who the owners of the dog are, to help us so we can talk to them and find out if the dog has the proper vaccinations,” said Burlington Police Officer Austin Goodman. Police say the dog looks like a black lab, but with longer hair. It’s unclear if he was wearing collar. Anyone with information is asked to call Burlington Police.

Bobcat seized from residence in Arizona; Guam officials may shoot stray Dogs; Canine pack that attacked Rhode Island teen may have been Coyotes; Texas development and Wildlife in conflict; Rabies reports from CT, MO, NH, PA(2), VA, & WV; & a Wolf report from OR. Canada: National vaccine recall. Travel Warnings for Sri Lanka & Uganda.

Bobcat. Photo by Len Blumin. Widimedia Commons.

Arizona 04/21/11 kingmandailyminer.com: Two Arizona Game and Fish Department officers recently seized a live bobcat from a residence west of Seligman. The violator was cited at the scene for possession of live wildlife, which, without the proper permit, is against the law in Arizona. Permits are never issued for people to keep wildlife as a pet. During the course of the contact, it became clear the violator had no control of the bobcat, which jumped on one officer three times and a second officer once. The second officer suffered a small scratch to the face, but it is unknown if it was caused by a tooth or claw. By law, the bobcat was seized. Due to the potential for rabies exposure, the animal was euthanized for testing. “It is unfortunate,” said Zen Mocarski, public information officer for the Game and Fish regional office in Kingman. “This cat would never have been returned to the wild because it has been clearly imprinted by humans. If it weren’t for the possibility of disease exposure, it might have been provided to a zoo or other wildlife facility.” The officer scratched by the bobcat has already started rabies treatment. Mocarski said the possibility of this animal testing positive for rabies is low, but the potential consequences if it tests positive are enormous for all those involved.

Guam 04/21/11 guampdn.com: by Oyaol Ngirairikl – With a stray animal population of 40,000, the community needs to start thinking about controlling the number of strays, officials said. At a round-table discussion at the Legislature yesterday, Vincent Salas, an animal control officer at the Department of Agriculture, said he agrees with Guam’s territorial veterinarian, Thomas Poole, that shooting dogs, particularly those that are feral, would help get the population to a more controllable number. He said feral dogs would be shot at fairly close range and only by qualified people. He didn’t say whether dogs would be rounded up and taken to a different location or shot where they’re found. Some people think many of the stray animals are non-threatening, but Salas has seen otherwise, he said. For example, several days ago, a stray dog tried to attack Salas after he responded to a call at the Department of Public Health and Social Services to remove the animal. Guam law allows the Guam Police Department, a mayor, or a person authorized by the Agriculture Department’s director to kill animals if they are attacking or are considered “an immediate menace” to anyone. (For complete article go to http://www.guampdn.com/article/20110422/NEWS01/104220303 )

Rhode Island 04/22/11 projo.com: A 19-year-old Cranston woman is receiving the rabies vaccine as a precaution, the state Department of Health reported. In early March, the woman was running on Pippin Orchard Road in western Cranston and was scratched and bitten by animals, said Annemarie Beardsworth, spokeswoman for the Department of Health. The woman reported she thought five or six dogs were chasing her, Beardsworth said, but when they got closer, thought they may have been coyotes.  “She did not have her glasses on,” Beardsworth said. A month later, on April 6, the woman reported the incident to a doctor at the Garden City Medical Treatment Center in Cranston. The police and Department of Health were promptly contacted. Because so much time had passed and the animals involved could not be located, Beardsworth said, the Department of Health exercised caution. “Because there were so many unknowns,” Beardsworth said, “we recommended and approved the rabies vaccination for this woman.”

Texas 04/22/11 kltv.com: by Bob Hallmark – Even in small communities, housing and urban development is moving into areas that were formerly occupied by its original inhabitants: Wildlife. Henderson animal control officers have trapped wildlife near or inside the city limits. “Oh yeah, we’ve seen bobcats, coyotes, foxes, skunks even wild hogs in residential areas,” says Henderson Animal Control Director Veronica Whittington. There have been some bizarre encounters. “Yesterday we have a lady walk out of her house and call us saying a snake fell right around her neck,” she says. And some very big escaped pets have been trapped, like a 12-foot python. Near homes and even schools, close encounters are becoming regular. “Just around our building we’ve seen raccoons, we’ve seen possums, wild hogs,” says Preschool Director Vickey Whitt. “A coyote jumped a fence and bit a woman’s dog on the nose, the coyote wouldn’t leave her yard now,” Whittington says. And there is a real danger. “Especially people who have small pets or small children. The diseases they can pass to your pets and to you, there’s a lot of diseases that can be passed on to humans,” says Whittington. Whittington says most of the encounters are easily explained, and are usually animals looking for food. But with East Texas having so much open, wooded country, animal control officers say we should no longer be surprised. “There’s a lot more wildlife inside the city limits than people think, because we have so much wooded area,” Veronica says. There have been no reports encounters of larger animals like cougars or bears. All wildlife trapped by Henderson Animal Control is re-located by Texas Parks and Wildlife agents.

Connecticut 04/22/11 theday.com: by Stephen Chupaska – East Lyme-Waterford Animal Control is asking residents in both towns to take precautions against coming in contact with rabid animals. Animal Control Officer Robert Yuchniuk said Thursday there have been reports of an ill raccoon in the Union Cemetery area along East Pattagansett Road in Niantic. Yuchniuk said there have been two positive tests for rabies in Waterford in the past month, and there has been an increase in the number of sightings and disposing of rabid animals. Anyone who sees an animal that appears aggressive, ill or without fear of larger animals or humans should call the animal control department at (860) 442-9451.

Missouri 04/22/11 newspressnow.com: by Kristin Hoppa – St. Joseph Animal Control and Rescue officials continued searching the Midtown area Friday for three pit bulls that attacked a woman earlier in the week. The department increased patrol routes in hopes of locating the owner of the dogs that attacked the 33-year-old woman Tuesday evening as she arrived at her cousin’s house, in the 1500 block of Sylvanie Street.  “I pulled up to the house and I saw the dogs acting very playfully, coming toward me,” she said. “They came up, kind of sniffing my legs and weaving in between my legs.” As she tried to avoid the animals, stepping to the side, one dog began nipping at her ankles. “Then one just latched on,” she said. “I fell down, another one bit my face and I just screamed and screamed and screamed.” A man in the neighborhood came to help the woman. Hearing the commotion, her cousin came outside and dragged her to safety. “The man had a bat, but I have no idea who he was,” the woman said. “He just came and chased the dogs off.” The woman’s cousin drove her to Heartland Regional Medical Center with several wounds, including a torn ear lobe, large bite to the face and puncture wounds to her face. She is undergoing rabies vaccinations and received 34 stitches. As of Friday afternoon, the pit bulls, described as one fawn, one blue and one dark-colored, had not been located. Mr. Smith said not all pit bulls are aggressive, but all animals hold the potential for aggression. Anyone with information on the pit bulls is being asked to call (816) 271-4877.

New Hampshire 04/21/11 concordmonitor.com: To the woman visiting the Wesley Church playground on Clinton Street last Sunday around 10:15 a.m. with a small blonde girl and large grayish dog: When your dog nipped at my son, contact was made and the skin was broken. No problem, except that all the medical and public health professionals are telling us that if we cannot identify the dog and make sure that it does not have rabies, which I expect it does not, then my boy needs a series of rabies shots. The shots are not as bad as in the past, but they are still to be avoided if possible. Please contact me or my wife Deborah at 892-0359 as soon as possible. If anyone else recognizes this person, please let us know. Most likely the owner of the dog is a resident in the college streets area. Benjamin Venator.

Oregon 04/22/11 hermistonherald.com: by Luke Hegdal – With the presence of wolves already documented in eastern Umatilla County, it was likely only a matter of time before wolf sightings near Hermiston began to be reported. Larry Weems, a self-described avid outdoorsman, reported seeing a large wolf near Cold Springs Reservoir, roughly eight miles east of Hermiston, on Wednesday, April 20.  Weems told the Hermiston Herald he had been driving on Kosmos Road early Wednesday morning when he spotted a large deer herd running as if spooked by something.  “I’ve seen other wolves,” Weems said. “But this was by far the biggest wolf I’ve ever seen. It was huge.”  According to Russ Morgan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf coordinator, it’s not impossible that a wolf might show up in Hermiston. Morgan said a motivated wolf can travel as much as 100 miles in a single day, and he has documented lone wolf trips up to 30 miles. With confirmed wolf sightings in Umatilla County earlier this year, it could easily be possible for a wolf to trek as far west as Hermiston. “Wolves are a well-traveled animal,” Morgan said. “We’ve had  periodic reports all over eastern Oregon.” Morgan added that most reports turn out to be something other than wolves. “Most commonly it’s coyotes,” Morgan said, adding that he occasionally receives wolf sighting reports from downtown Portland that are usually coyotes. “There’s a lot of wolf-like dogs,” Morgan said. “That also makes it difficult.” While not discounting the possibility of a wolf so near Hermiston, Morgan said it was unlikely. Weems, however, was adamant that what he saw was, in fact, a wolf. “I got a real good look at him,” Weems said, describing the animal as roughly 40 inches tall at the shoulder. “I spend a lot of time outdoors. I know the difference between a wolf and a coyote. I’ve shot a lot of coyotes – but this was no coyote.”

Pennsylvania 04/23/11 patch.com: by Mike Jones – State and county authorities are searching for the owner of a black Labrador retriever that encountered a raccoon last week on the Panhandle Trail near McDonald. The raccoon tested positive for rabies Thursday after a game commission officer was called to trap the animal on the trail. Authorities from the state Department of Agriculture and Allegheny County Health Department are now looking for the owners of the black lab, which apparently fought with the raccoon Tuesday night, because the pet might be infected. Dave Zazac, a spokesman for the county Health Department, said a witness caught the “tail-end of the encounter” and called authorities to report the condition of the raccoon. The owner of the dog, however, left the scene because they appeared to be “shaken up.” “We have no idea where they are from,” Zazac said. He said it is important for the dog’s owners to contact the state or county immediately in case the pet is infected. If you know who owns this black lab, call the state Department of Agriculture at 724-443-1585 or the county Health Department at 412-687-2243. This is the second rabid raccoon reported in Allegheny County this year, county Health Director Bruce Dixon said.

Pennsylvania 04/22/11 timesonline.com: by Patrick O’Shea – A local resident has been bitten by a rabid dog in New Sewickley Township, the state Department of Agriculture reported. According to a March 31 report from the department’s Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, an unvaccinated dog on Ziegler Road that had an encounter with a skunk four months ago abruptly exhibited signs of aggression last month against its owner. The dog was confined to a patio room, where it repeatedly threw itself against the glass door, and the owner was bitten while trying to intercede. The dog was euthanized and tested positive for rabies. The owner, who is not identified in the report, is receiving post-exposure rabies vaccinations. The rabid dog had been in contact with three other family dogs four days prior to displaying symptoms. According to the report, one dog with current vaccinations was placed under quarantine for 90 days. Another dog with expired vaccinations was placed under a 180-day quarantine, and a 3-month-old puppy that had never been vaccinated was euthanized. 410 animals were reported positive for rabies in 2010 in Pennsylvania. The breakdown: Raccoons, 217; Cats, 56; Skunks, 56; Bats, 28; Foxes, 25; Cattle, 7; Deer, 6; Groundhogs, 5; Horses, 5; Dogs, 4. Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Virginia 04/22/11 wpcva.com: Pittsylvania County Health Department has issued three separate rabies alerts. A skunk found on Blackbird Place in Cascade tested positive for rabies, according to Kelly Waller, a senior environmental health specialist with the health department in Chatham.  In addition, rabid raccoons were found on Carriage Hill Drive in the Mount Cross community and Long View Road in Hurt, Waller said. For more information please contact the Pittsylvania Health Department at 432-7232, extension 260.

West Virginia 04/22/11 statejournal.com: The Preston County health department has reported a rabid raccoon in the Albright area, it hasn’t bit anyone but health officials are on the alert. The raccoon tested positive for the rabies virus after fighting with a person’s dog and killing it.  Preston County health officials say it’s the third case in the county in the last year. They say the number is unusually high for the county and that there’s been higher numbers of rabies cases all over the state. They say the high number of waterways and raccoons have contributed to that number in Preston County.


National www.hc-sc.gc.ca: Health Canada – Important information regarding IXIARO® Japanese Encephalitis vaccine (inactivated, adsorbed), Lot JEV09L37C.  Intercell AG and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. (Novartis), in consultation with Health Canada, are advising people who were vaccinated with one or both doses of lot JEV09L37C of IXIARO® after December 23, 2010, that this specific lot may not provide full protection against Japanese Encephalitis. Therefore, lot JEV09L37C IXIARO® is being recalled in Canada.

  • Individuals who were vaccinated with a Japanese Encephalitis vaccine after December 23rd, 2010, should check if they were vaccinated with IXIARO® Lot JEV09L37C.
  • If so, they should return to their Health Care Professional to be re-vaccinated, if they are still at risk of exposure to Japanese Encephalitis.

Travel Warnings:

Sri Lanka 04/23/11 dailymirror.lk: Thirty-two dengue related deaths were reported during the first four months of this year, while 3,784 patients were reported. The epidemiology unit of the Health Ministry said that 716 patients were reported in April, 907 in January, 1,050 in February and 1,111 in March. The highest number of cases was reported from the Colombo District, where 1,273 patients and 12 deaths were reported. The dengue epidemic is on the rise, due to monsoonal rains, the unit said.

Uganda 04/22/11 monitor.co.ug: by Steven Ariong – Pokot pastoralists in Amudat are gripped with fear following an outbreak of rabies which is killing animals in the district. The disease, has reportedly killed six camels while several others have gone wild and are straying. Dr Michael Kasiro, the Amudat District veterinary officer, yesterday said a team of experts is on the ground to investigate the source of the disease. He expressed fear that the disease, which is currently in Loro Sub-county, could spread throughout the district if not well handled. “The disease started attacking a camel which later ran mad and it started jumping up and down, biting other animals, before it died. Unfortunately, we now suspect that many more animals have been infected,” Dr Kasiro said. He said the team, composed of the local staff, is now trying to kill all the animals that have gone wild so as to prevent the spread of the disease. Dr Kasiro added that the district is still grappling with the foot and mouth disease. “We are still stuck with foot and mouth disease. We have not yet finished with vaccination because we are waiting for more drugs,” he added.

According to a new study from Brandeis University, the economic burden of dengue fever in the Western Hemisphere is about $2.1 billion per year; and Travel Warnings for Argentina where authorities are reporting an outbreak of Equine Rabies.

National 02/07/11 rdmag.com: by EurekAlert – Dengue illness, the most common mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, has expanded from its Southeast Asian origins and is resurgent in countries such as Argentina, Chile and the continental United States.

The economic burden of dengue (pronounced DENgee) in the Western Hemisphere, according to a new study from Brandeis University researchers published today in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, is approximately $2.1 billion per year. This surpasses the loss from other viral illnesses on a country-by-country basis including human papillomavirus (HPV) the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection, and rotavirus, the primary cause of fatal diarrhea among children worldwide.

According to the study group’s estimates, 60 percent of the economic strain caused by dengue is a result of indirect costs – primarily productivity losses affecting households, employers and government expenditures. Direct costs include ambulatory and hospital care.

Dengue fever, the more common dengue illness, causes high fever, joint pain, and severe headache. Dengue hemorrhagic fever, the more severe dengue

Dengue hemorrhagic fever.

illness, may put a patient into shock and lead to death. The number of annual dengue infections is now estimated between 50-100 million, with 24,000 deaths, primarily among children.

“In 2009 Florida experienced the first major outbreak in the continental U.S. in over 50 years,” said Donald S. Shepard, professor at the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. “We know first-hand that regardless of where you live, we can all be affected by dengue.”

Shepard began researching dengue in 1990 when presented with the opportunity to collaborate with scientist Scott B. Halstead, who then headed up the health program at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. Shepard’s research, which related the economic burdens and the controlling of dengue, was part of the Disease Control Priorities Project, which was published by the World Bank in 1993.

A decade later, in 2001, Halstead convened a meeting in Korea that gave rise to creating the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative (PDVI). Shepard contributed to the proposal and to the founding of the PDVI, serving on its Board of Counselors and Executive Committee.

Initially supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – through PDVI – subsequent dengue research at Brandeis has been supported by Sanofi Pasteur, a research-based vaccine company based in France. At this time Sanofi Pasteur is the furthest along in developing a dengue vaccine; its product will go into phase 3 clinical trials this year.

“The ultimate goal is controlling the disease,” says Shepard.

One moderately effective approach currently in use, he says, includes placing larvacide in water-storage containers, which stops the breeding of the mosquitos that spread the virus. Also under development are methods for sterilizing mosquitoes that carry the disease so future mosquito populations will be smaller.

Yara Halasa, a research associate at the Heller School’s Schneider Institute for Health Policy and one of the co-authors with Shepard on the “Economic Impact of Dengue Illness in the Americas,” has been involved with the dengue project for three years. A native of Jordan, Halasa’s passion for understanding the impact of disease began when writing about the subject in her native country.

“Understanding the economic impact of a disease is an important tool to assist policy makers in understanding the social as well as the medical impact. This is a great methodology that can be used for any disease,” said Halasa, who is also a dentist and has been working with Shepard since 2008.

Dengue is classified by the World Health Organization as among “Neglected Tropical Diseases,” meaning it is prevalent in the tropics, yet has not received attention commensurate with its burden like other diseases such as malaria. Shepard says he feels it has been largely neglected by policy makers “because it affects the tropics, and since many policymakers live in temperate climates, the disease doesn’t come to their back door.”

It’s also a disease, he says, in which there are promising options for control.

“Technologies need resources and economic analysis quantifies the burden of the disease in human and economic terms,” says Shepard. “The studies show how much societies could save from effective control strategies.”

The hope is that these analyses will help policy makers decide to invest the resources needed to develop and implement effective measures.

Dr. Donald s. Shepard

Shepard says that he’s optimistic that a vaccine will come into widespread use in the coming years as phase 3 trials are beginning in a number of locations around the world and Sanofi Pasteur is currently building a large production plant in France to be ready when the vaccine is introduced.

“It was a long shot 20 years ago when I started working on this disease, but it’s becoming much closer now,” says Shepard.

Shepard has been involved with a number of studies on the economics of vaccines. In some cases the technologies already existed and the research aided more widespread dissemination. For example, he led an evaluation in Ecuador that found that its mass campaigns were cost-effective in saving lives through increasing vaccination coverage. Another study showed that despite the higher price of a vaccine that protected against more diseases, incorporating hepatitis B or hemophilus influenza type B (HiB) into the basic childhood DTP vaccine (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus) was economically advantageous due to higher coverage, savings in personnel time, and less discomfort by children.

“We know first-hand that regardless of where you live, we are all affected by dengue,” says Shepard. “At the Heller School, we lost a remarkable graduate, Mironda Heston, who contracted dengue while working in Haiti. In her memory, we are extremely dedicated and proud to contribute to a better understanding of this awful virus in hopes to better control it.”

Travel Warnings:

Argentina 02/07/11 thehorse.com: by Erica Larson – According to a report from the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID), there recently has been a rise in the number of equine rabies cases diagnosed in the Corrientes province of Argentina. Officials believe the horses were infected with the disease via vampire bats.  The extent of the outbreak remains unclear, but officials have announced they will begin vaccinating horses within a six-mile radius of where the initial cases were diagnosed in an attempt to reduce the number of horses that contract the virus. Additionally, ISID reported that the Ministry of Public Health will “take follow-up action for the bat colonies in the area.”  Horses that become infected with the rabies virus might show no clinical signs of disease for several days. But during that time they can transmit the disease through saliva to other mammals, including humans. If horses are vaccinated, however, the chance of them getting the disease is very unlikely.  Although rare, when a horse contracts rabies the virus infects the central nervous system, causing brain disease and ultimately death. Clinical signs are extremely varied, from colic to difficulty swallowing, depression with loss of appetite, a low-grade fever, lameness and/or incoordination, other neurologic signs including convulsions, increased sensitivity to being touched, abdominal pain (straining to urinate or defecate), odd behavioral changes, nervousness, irritability, muscle contractions, and death.  TheHorse.com will provide updates on this situation as more information becomes available.

What is Vaccinia Virus (VACV)? See November 10, 2009, post.

rabiesbait05Vaccinia virus (VACV) belongs to the same family as the more infamous Variola virus that causes smallpox.  In fact, VACV was once used for smallpox vaccinations.  The last case of naturally acquired smallpox disease, caused by the orthopoxvirus Variola virus (VARV), occurred in 1977, and the last laboratory-acquired case occurred in 1978.  Smallpox was eradicated largely as a result of a worldwide vaccination campaign that used the related orthpoxvirus VACV as a live virus vaccine.

Routine childhood vaccination for smallpox in the United States was terminated in 1972, but vaccination continues or has been reintroduced for specific groups, including laboratory workers who may be exposed to orthopoxviruses, members of the military, selected healthcare workers, and first responders.ORVthumbnail

A recently renewed interest in VACV has focused on its usage as a vector for immunization against other viruses, such as the Rabies virus.  VACV is currently being used to deliver oral Rabies vaccine to raccoons, foxes, and other wildlife that are particularly vulnerable to the Rabies virus via the National Rabies Management Program.  But accidental exposure to VACV can result in infection, and severe complications can occur in person with underlying risk factors such as pregnancy, immunodeficiency, or dermatologic conditions.

The VACV is sealed in a plastic container within the bait, and is released when a raccoon, fox, or other animal bites into the bait.  As has been demonstrated, however, domestic pets can also find the bait and humans can be exposed to the VACV when they attempt to take the bait from their pet, especially if the plastic VACV container within the bait has already been punctured or damaged in some way.  Each piece of bait used in the Oral Rabies Vaccine Program should have a Helpline phone number printed on it and individuals exposed to the VACV should call the number for instructions.