July 19, 2007

Quebec Contains Rabies Spreading from U.S., Wildlife Officials Say
CBC News - cbc.ca
18 Jul 2007
Area: Quebec Canada

Quebec wildlife officials said they have contained a stubborn rabies outbreak emanating from the United States, trapping it in an area around a small town along the Quebec-Vermont border. One phase of a ground operation to trap and kill raccoons and skunks was set to end Wednesday, but conservation officers will resume the effort next month in an area along the southeastern border with Vermont. They will also drop more cookies laced with oral rabies vaccine in the area around St-Armand, near the Quebec-Vermont border. Pierre Canac-Marquis, of the Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources, said infected animals from the United States are spreading rabies into Quebec.

Canac-Marquis said there were 50 cases of raccoon and skunk rabies reported in the first six months of 2007 in Vermont, so Quebec knew it was coming. "It's really the first time we've had this kind of intense outbreak," he said. Canac-Marquis said that at the height of the outbreak, one in 15 raccoons on the Quebec side of the border area had contracted the disease. Those numbers have improved to one out of 45, he said.

State's Hantavirus Deaths Highest in 14 Years
Rocky Mountain News - rockymountainnews.com
17 Jul 2007
I Moreno
Area: Colorado USA

Four people have died from the hantavirus in Colorado this year, including three this week, tying the record of fatalities from the disease set in 1993. The three most recent victims lived in rural Custer, Costilla and Park counties, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Tuesday. Officials would not release the ages or genders of the victims. The fourth death was in Alamosa in May. There have been 61 documented cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome since the department began tracking the virus in 1993. Of those cases, 23 have been fatal.

"This is not a virus you want to get," said John Pape, an epidemiologist specializing in animal-related diseases for the CDPHE. Hantavirus is a respiratory disease that spreads when people inhale dirt or dust that has been contaminated with urine and feces of deer mice. Pape said the virus strikes mostly in rural areas, where deer mice live. People usually contract hantavirus after working in cabins, sheds, barns and buildings that can get infested with the deer mice, which have white bellies, brown backs, and large ears.

Southern Africa: Zambezi Fish Disease Mystery Cracked
SciDev.Net (Posted by allafrica.com)
05 Jul 2007
M Magadza
Area: Africa

Scientists have identified the mystery disease that killed fish in parts of the Zambezi River last year. Researchers have identified the disease as Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS), caused by a fungal pathogen. Infected fish develop large sores and die from secondary infections. The researchers say this is the first known outbreak of the disease in Africa.

But they still don't know how the pathogen got into the Zambezi, which flows through eight southern African countries. EUS also affects fish in Australia, the United States, and many countries in Asia. When EUS broke out in Asia in the 1970s, approximately 80 per cent of the fish population perished. In December last year fishermen in Namibia reported finding sores on fish caught in the Zambezi (see Deadly infection hits Zambezi fish).

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