West Nile virus update 2002 - USA (21) (fwd)

'Devorah' D Wisti nyneve at u.washington.edu
Sat Sep 14 09:01:33 PDT 2002

hello tweets,

i have no idea if anyone else has been thinking about west nile virus
as much as i have, but if so, i thought you might appreciate an official
update on this devastating (for birds!) virus.


Devorah A. N. Bennu, PhD Candidate email:nyneve at u.washington.edu
Department of Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash, USA
After September 2002: Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow
The American Museum of Natural History, New York City
Visit me on the web: http://students.washington.edu/~nyneve/
Love the creator? Then protect the creation.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 21:41:27 -0400 (EDT)

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[Reports of confirmed human infection, infection of new hosts, extension of
geographical range and events of special significance are posted separately
immediately on receipt. - Mod.CP]

In these updates:
[1] Birds (USA)
[2] Equines (Indiana)
[3] Equines (Louisiana)
[4] Human (Arizona ex Ohio)
[5] Equines (USDA-APHIS update, as of Sun 8 Sep 2002)
[6] ERAP latest news (Tue 10 Sep 2002)
[7] ArboNET report (USA, 5 to 11 Sep; Texas, 1 Jan to 9 Sep 2002)

Date: Mon 9 Sep 2002
From: Pablo Nart <p.nart at virgin.net>
Source The Globe and Mail, Mon 9 Sep 2002 [edited]

Effect of West Nile Virus on Bird Populations
West Nile virus, first spotted in the U.S. in a sick crow 3 years ago, has
now attacked at least 111 species of birds, including the Bald Eagle and
the endangered Mississippi Sandhill Crane. The spread of the virus has
surprised and alarmed wildlife researchers because it has happened so
quickly. Last year, West Nile virus had been detected only in about a dozen
species of birds.

This year, hundreds of birds of prey, particularly Red-tailed Hawks and
Great Horned Owls, have been found dead in the upper Midwest, said Kathryn
Converse, a wildlife disease specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey's
National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. About 400 owls and hawks
died in Ohio alone in what one wildlife official called "a major die-off."
The carcasses were being tested for West Nile virus, which has been
confirmed in several cases.

West Nile virus also has killed such birds in the wild as the Ruby-throated
Hummingbird and Canada Goose, and exotic and captive species such as the
Macaw and the Chilean Flamingo, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site. Of particular concern are the deaths
of any endangered species, like the Mississippi Sandhill crane, which
numbers only about 120. It is one of 6 types of Sandhill Crane.

Since 1999, the virus has also killed at least one Bald Eagle, a threatened
species, according to the CDC Web site. "We don't know of any birds that
can't be affected by the virus," Ms. Converse said. It's impossible to know
exactly how many birds have died from the West Nile virus, wildlife
officials say, because the only way to confirm the virus in birds is to
test them after they die. Also, federal agencies like the CDC and
Geological Survey rely on state and county health officers to report the
bird deaths. But those officials are mainly interested in birds only as a
tip-off that mosquitoes carrying the virus have shown up in their areas, so
that people can be warned. News that the virus is spreading in bird
populations is frustrating for bird caretakers like James Mejeur, curator
at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, because the illness is hard to
detect, treat, and prevent. Although veterinarians are experimenting with a
vaccine approved for horses, the most effective way to prevent birds from
getting sick is to control the mosquito population, Mr. Mejeur said. Some
institutions with captive bird populations install mosquito netting."It's
manageable for us because the majority of our bird population is inside,"
said Mr. Mejeur, whose facility has lost three magpies and a crow this
year. "But it is a tough time for zoos and other places that can't control
the mosquitoes and have large populations of birds." The horse vaccine has
not been widely tested on birds, but the few facilities that have tested it
found the birds were not harmed by it, Mr. Mejeur said. Still, birds must
be injected 3 times over a span of 3 months, which can be traumatic to wild
populations, he said.

At the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, caretakers suspect the
raptors may have the virus when they develop tremors, a blank stare, and
confusion. But other illnesses can cause similar symptoms, said Pat Redig,
the center's director. At that point there's not much veterinarians can do
but give the animals fluids, antibiotics, and special feedings that may
help their immune systems. But many raptors infected by the virus die after
symptoms appear, said Mr. Redig. The Raptor Center has been studying and
caring for eagle, hawk, owl, and falcon populations since 1974.

[A similar news report from the Beaver County Times, submitted by Lawrence
Hribar <LarryHribar at aol.com> of Marathon, Florida contained the additional
statement that the CDC's list of affected [avian] species is already higher
than 110 -- including species such as the Snowy Owl and the Golden Eagle --
and grows every day. - Mod.CP]

Date: Mon 9 Sep 2002
From: Denise Derrer <DDERRER at boah.state.in.us>
Source: Indiana State Board of Animal Health, 9 Sep 2002 [edited]

Indiana: More Horses Test Positive for West Nile Virus
A total of 165 Indiana horses have tested positive for West Nile virus this
year. This figure is a change from 76 reported one week ago. The greatest
numbers of positive tests were reported from Elkhart County (51), LaGrange
County (27), Allen County (21), Daviess County (19), Adams County (12).
Between 1 an 3 equine cases were reported from another 25 Counties.

As previously recommended, the State Board of Animal Health continues to
advise horse owners to vaccine their equines against the West Nile virus as
soon as possible to begin building immunity in the animal. The West Nile
virus task force met Fri 6 Sep 2002 to exchange information and evaluate
future directions. Subcommittees will be focusing separately on equine and
human issues, then reconvene in 2 weeks (Fri 20 Sep 2002) to share
information. The equine subcommittee will be taking an analytical look at
what is happening with the number of cases in the northern Indiana
counties, similar to their ongoing research in Daviess County.

Denise Derrer
Public Information Director
Indiana State Board of Animal Health
Indianapolis, IN
<dderrer at boah.state.in.us>

Date: Wed 11 Sep 2002
From: Martha Littlefield <Malc at ldaf.state.la.us>
Source: Livestock Sanitary Board, Wed 11 Sep 2002 [edited]

Louisiana: Equine West Nile Virus Infection and Eastern Equine Encephalitis
As of Wed 11 Sep 2002 there have been 299 cases of West Nile virus
infection in equines reported from 44 of the 64 counties in Louisiana.
During the same period 14 cases of Eastern equine encephalitis have been
reported from 8 of the 64 counties in Louisiana.

Martha Littlefield
<Malc at ldaf.state.la.us>

Date: Thu,12 Sep 2002
From: Marianne Hopp <mjhopp12 at yahoo.com>
Source: Arizona Department of Health Services, news release, Wed 11 Sep
2002 [edited]

Arizona: Probable Case of West Nile Virus Infection Contracted in Ohio
The Arizona Department of Health Services and Maricopa County Department of
Public Health reported today that preliminary results from the State Health
Laboratory indicate probable West Nile virus infection in a Maricopa County
adult female resident after a visit to Ohio. Final confirmation of the
diagnosis is pending on tests from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. "If this case is confirmed, it will be the
first travel-associated case in an Arizona resident," said Dr. Victorio
Vaz, acting State Epidemiologist. Final confirmatory test results are
expected within the next 2 weeks.

Health officials believe the woman contracted the disease while on a trip
to Ohio approximately 10 days prior to becoming ill in Arizona. She
developed a severe headache, fever, nausea, neck pain, and weakness
accompanied by dizziness. The patient was hospitalized, but has since been
discharged. She poses no health threat to other Arizona residents. West
Nile virus is not spread from one person to another, but only by mosquitoes
infected with the virus. While in Ohio, the patient sustained multiple
bites from mosquitoes. Ohio has reported more than 70 human cases of West
Nile infection this year.

More than 400 pools of mosquitoes, 700 sentinel chicken blood samples, and
100 dead birds have been tested this year in state-wide West Nile virus
surveillance efforts. All were negative. A horse in Pima County tested
positive for West Nile virus last week; however, the infection was acquired
in Minnesota. Additionally, there has been no evidence to date of locally
acquired West Nile virus infection. More than 30 persons and 15 horses have
been tested to date.

Marianne Hopp
<mjhopp12 at yahoo.com>

Date: Thu 12 Sep 2002
From: ProMED-mail <promed at promedmail.org>
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant
Inspection Service, Update on the Current Status of West Nile Virus, as of
Sun 8 Sep 2002 [edited]

Equine Cases of West Nile Virus Infection: 1 Jan - 8 Sep 2002
Illness caused by West Nile virus (WNV) infection has been confirmed by the
USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in equines from 30
states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North
Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The total number of equine cases of WNV tested at the NVSL or reported by
state officials so far this year is 3453. That is an increase of 1093 cases
from one week ago.

The cases are from 32 states: Alabama (10), Arkansas (41), Colorado (98),
Florida (91), Georgia (15), Illinois (140), Indiana (57), Iowa (119),
Kansas (119), Kentucky (133), Louisiana (241), Maryland (1), Michigan (3),
Minnesota (338), Mississippi (138), Missouri (145), Montana (26), Nebraska
(572), New Jersey (5), New Mexico (12), New York (3), North Dakota (361),
Ohio (55), Oklahoma (17), Pennsylvania (7), South Dakota (425), Tennessee
(18), Texas (236), Vermont (1), Virginia (3), Wisconsin (17), and Wyoming (13).

Date: Thu 12 Sep 2002
From: Lois Levitan <LCL3 at cornell.edu>
Source: Environmental Risk Analysis Program, Cornell University, Center for
the Environment, West Nile Virus Latest News, Tue 10 Sep 2002 [edited]

West Nile Virus Latest News - As of Tue 10 Sep 2002
West Nile virus (WNV) appears to be in California: The California
Department of Heath Services announced on Fri 6 Sep 2002 that lab tests
show that a woman from Los Angeles Co was exposed to WNV. Ongoing
surveillance throughout California since 2000 had not detected WNV in
mosquitoes, birds, or other animals, the typical "early warnings" that have
preceded detection of human cases in other places. Since the woman has not
recently travelled out of state, if confirmed, her case will be the first
reported case of WNV in California.

Full text news release accessed from <http://www.westnile.ca.gov/>.

Though 2 other persons in the Los Angeles area are confirmed WNV-positive,
they are known to have acquired the virus out-of-state.

Labor Day Weekend 2002 brought news of another risk related to WNV, with a
growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted via organ
transplant from an infected person (and an associated risk that it might
also be transmitted by blood transfusion). By end of the first week in
September, during a briefing on Thu 5 Sep 2002, CDC expressed a high level
of certainty that the organs from an infected donor had transmitted the
infection to 4 organ recipients. While this adds a wrinkle to the set of
assumptions about disease transmission, the general population is at no
greater risk of contracting WNV than previously thought. The news does make
us aware that a sub-population of people about to undergo high risk organ
transplants and/or receive blood transfusions may be at still greater
health risk due to the increased risk of contracting WNV. However, CDC
health officials point out that the additional risk of contracting WNV is
quite small in comparison with the much larger risks from these medical
procedures. Research is underway to learn more about these possible means
of transmission and to develop more rapid tests for determining whether
asymptomatic people are infected with WNV.

The number of human cases is increasing rapidly, with at least 954 cases
(43 fatalities) in 29 states and Washington DC reported by CDC on 6 Sep
2002 as confirmed or probable (including the California case). This
compares with

737 cases (40 fatalities) in 28 states reported 4 Sep 2002;
673 cases (32 fatalities) in 27 states reported earlier 4 Sep 2002;
555 cases (28 fatalities) in 26 states reported 29Aug 2002;
480 cases (24 fatalities) in 22 states reported 28 Aug 2002;
425 cases (20 fatalities) in 20 states reported 27 Aug 2002;
371 cases (16 fatalities) in 20 states reported 23 Aug 2002,;
296 cases (14 fatalities) in 17 states reported 22 Aug 2002;
210 cases reported 21 aug 2002; and
156 cases reported a week earlier, on 14 Aug 2002.

The largest case load is in the Gulf Coast states and further north in the
Mississippi River states. For details, see the state-by-state tallies
compiled and posted by CDC at: <http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/wncount.htm>

Lois Levitan, PhD Program Leader
Environmental Risk Analysis Program
Center for the Environment
213 Rice Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York USA 14853-5601
<LCL3 at cornell.edu>

Date: Thu 12 Sep 2002
From: ProMED-mail <promed at promedmail.org>
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, West Nile Virus Activity, Fri 13
Sep 2002, 51(36); 812-823 [edited]

[1] West Nile Virus Activity; United States, Thu 5 Sep to Wed 11 Sep 2002
This report summarizes West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance data reported to
CDC through ArboNET and by states and other jurisdictions as of as of Wed
11 Sep 2002.

During the reporting period of Thu 5 Sep to Wed 11 Sep 2002, a total of 464
laboratory-positive human cases of WNV-associated illness were reported
from Illinois (n=127), Michigan (n=87), Ohio (n=53), Missouri (n=38),
Indiana (n=32), Texas (n=24), Mississippi (n=18), Louisiana (n=17),
Nebraska (n=11), New York (n=9), South Dakota (n=6), Massachusetts (n=5),
Minnesota (n=5), Wisconsin (n=5), Florida (n=4), Tennessee (n=4), Arkansas
(n=3), Maryland (n=3), Connecticut (n=2), the District of Columbia (n=2),
Kentucky (n=2), New Jersey (n=2), Virginia (n=2), Alabama (n=one),
California (n=one), and Oklahoma (n=one). During this period, New Jersey
reported its first human cases for 2002, and California reported its first
WNV activity ever.

During the same period, WNV infections were reported in 794 dead crows, 625
other dead birds, 533 horses, and 630 mosquito pools.

During 2002, a total of 1201 human cases with laboratory evidence of recent
WNV infection have been reported from Illinois (n=292), Louisiana (n=222),
Mississippi (n=122), Michigan (n=116), Ohio (n=93), Missouri (n=75), Texas
(n=67), Indiana (n=42), Tennessee (n=23), New York (n=22), Nebraska (n=15),
Alabama (n=14), South Dakota (n=13), Kentucky (n=12), Wisconsin (n=11),
Minnesota (n=8), Massachusetts (n=7), Arkansas (n=6), Florida (n=6),
Georgia (n=6), Maryland (n=5), Virginia (n=5), North Dakota (n=4),
Connecticut (n=3), the District of Columbia (n=3), Oklahoma (n=3), New
Jersey (n=2), California (n=one), Iowa (n=one), Pennsylvania (n=one), and
South Carolina (n=one)). Among the patients with available data, the median
age was 54 years (range: 9 months to 99 years); 532 (53 percent) were male,
and the dates of illness onset ranged from 10 Jun 10 to Fri 6 Sep 2002. A
total of 43 human deaths have been reported. The median age of decedents
was 79 years (range: 48 to 99 years); 26 (60 percent) deaths were among men.

In addition, 4037 dead crows and 2857 other dead birds with WNV infection
were reported from 39 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia;
1692 WNV infections in mammals (all equines) have been reported from 29
states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,
Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont,
Virginia, and Wyoming).

During 2002, WNV seroconversions have been reported in 173 sentinel chicken
flocks from Florida, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and New York City; 2577
WNV-positive mosquito pools have been reported from 21 states (Alabama,
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia),
New York City, and the District of Columbia.

[2] Texas: 1 Jan to Mon 9 Sep 2002
During the period 1 Jan to Mon 9 Sep 2002, the Texas Department of Health
(TDH) identified 67 persons with WNV-associated encephalitis; 24 cases were
laboratory confirmed, and 43 were classified as probable. One case was
fatal. Among 63 patients with available data, the median age was 55 years
(range: 20 to 85 years); 57 percent were male. Cases have been reported in
12 counties, with 42 cases reported in Harris County. The attack rate was
0.3 per 100 000 population in Texas and 1.2 in Harris County. In all but 2
counties, human cases were preceded by the identification of WNV in other

WNV activity has been detected in 76 of the 254 counties in Texas. Positive
mosquito pools (132) have been found in 11 counties, positive birds (210)
in 13 counties, and WNV-associated encephalitis in 297 horses in 62 counties.

Additional information about WNV activity in Texas is available at

<promed at promedmail.org>

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