Friday, 3 August 2012

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome found in Yosemite

And a new virus, borne by rodents: Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (Wiki).

4 more cases of hantavirus confirmed among Yosemite visitors - CNN
Around 1700 people who visited Yosemite National Park from mid-June to August are being advised to seek medical attention if they exhibit 

Flying Squirrel
Formerly known as Korean Hemorrhagic Fever, it is now called Hantavirus.

It sounds much like Q-fever:
Laurentian University issued a press release to say that this bacterium was found in 6/7 species of wild rodents in Algonquin Park. 

Here is a good place for research. How does this affect people and how do we react to the bacteria?

Rodents in the park include red squirrels, flying squirrels and deer mice. It was also found in flying squirrels in the Peterborough area, indicating that the bacteria may be widespread among these animal populations in Ontario.  This is an important reason to keep clean, to not feed rodents, and seal those cracks! 

Q-Fever In The Netherlands - Avian Flu Diary
They think we might get it from inhaling air-borne feces. In 2007 this happened in the Netherlands, where more than 2,000 people were infected. 

Black Squirrel
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) website states, “In Ontario, Q-fever has occasionally been diagnosed as a cause of abortion in sheep and goats. Reported human cases have been associated with exposure to abortions in sheep and goats, and drinking unpasteurised goat's milk. Exposure to placenta and contaminated materials from cats has been a common source of human Q fever infection in Nova Scotia.

Like Lyme Disease, Treatment, according to OMAFRA, is antibiotics for animals, but some humans experience chronic conditions. Education and awareness is important. 

From Medscape:
Sadie and her mouse
C burnetii infects various hosts, including humans, ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats), and pets—and, in rare cases, reptiles, birds, and ticks. This bacterium is excreted in urine, milk, feces, and birth products. These products, especially the latter, contain large numbers of bacteria that become aerosolized after drying. C burnetii is highly infectious, and only a few organisms can cause disease.

Our cats are doing their part.

Infected rodents widespread

Researchers are now trying to determine how the bacteria is maintained and spread in the natural environment. C. Burnetii is usually found on farms and infection of humans generally occurs through contact with sheep, goats or cattle.

Farm virus
Deer mouse
 A team of Laurentian University biology researchers, led by Canada Research Chair Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde have found evidence of the spread of the zoonotic bacterium Coxiella bernetii in wildlife in the park and say their findings suggest that some visitors to the park could be at risk of infection. 

Caitlin and a chipmunk
somebody caught a mole

Red Squirrel
Sadie and her prey
Felix and his first mole


Red said...

Sad that stuff is passed on to the wild ones.

Linda said...

You do have to wonder how best to protect yourself! Especially when you like to spend time outdoors with the wild things!

Olga said...

Lately, I have seen more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits in our yard than ever before. Maybe it is the aging cat population in our neighborhood. And not one of those cats will stoop to chasing out the pesky moles.

Kay said...

I know our chipmunk population is going crazy in Illinois. There are too many holes in the yard from their tunnels. It's scary to think viruses could be traveling through the rodent populations.