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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Dead Beavers Test Positive for Tularemia (CO)

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Author Topic: Dead Beavers Test Positive for Tularemia (CO)
Melanie Reber
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Dead Beavers Test Positive for Tularemia
by Marta Tarbell
04.27.10 - 09:12 am


TELLURIDE - Two of the four beavers found dead in Telluride's Beaver Pond last week have tested positive for tularemia, Telluride Parks and Rec Public Works Project Manager Karen Guglielmone reported Monday.

Town officials have alerted the Telluride Veterinary Clinic and the Telluride Medical Center to the outbreak of the disease, more commonly known as ``rabbit fever'' or ``deer fly fever,'' which can be transmitted to animals and humans, most frequently by ticks and deer flies.

Town residents reported the beaver deaths to authorities last week, following earlier reports that, despite the warm temperatures, no beavers had been sighted in the pond.

Guglielmone estimated as many as eight beavers could have been living in the Beaver Pond lodge, where it's possible more dead beavers will be found.

``You never really know,'' she said, of the pond's resident beaver population, adding that beaver ``kits'' may remain with their parents for up to two years, before moving on.

``It's like losing a neighbor,'' she said, of the dead beavers.

Humans and animals can catch tularemia, but it is ``easily treated with antibiotics'' like tetracycline, Guglielmone said. She emphasized, however, that ``if you see a dead rodent, don't pick it up - or turn it over. If there is a cut on your arm, you risk getting infected.''

The disease, most often found in rabbit and hare populations, is endemic in North America, parts of Europe and Asia; believed to have been introduced into the U.S. in the late 19th or early 20th century, possibly by dogs, it was first isolated in Tulare, Calif.

Tularmenia is generally transmitted via rodents and insects - biting flies, which can remain infective for up to two weeks, and ticks, which can remain infective for up to two years, although waterborne infection accounts for 5-10 percent of all cases in the U.S.

Tularemia can also be spread by direct contact with contaminated animals or material, by ingestion of poorly cooked flesh of infected animals or contaminated water, or by inhalation. The incubation period for tularemia is one to 14 days, with most infections in humans manifesting in three to five days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of tularemia in humans can include sudden fever, chills, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, a dry cough and progressive weakness; human victims can also develop pneumonia, chest pain, bloody sputum and breathing difficulties. Depending on the vector of exposure, more symptoms can include ulcers on the skin or mouth, swollen and painful lymph glands, swollen and painful eyes, and a sore throat. Humans can get tularemia by being bitten by an infected tick, deer fly or other insect, handling infected animal carcasses, eating or drinking contaminated food and water and breathing in the bacteria.

The CDC reports that, while tularemia is not known to be spread from person to person, anyone with the disease should be treated as soon as possible, since it can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics. A vaccine for tularemia under review by the Food and Drug Administration is not currently available in the U.S. They recommend using insect repellent "containing DEET on the skin, and treating clothing with permethrin to prevent insect bites, as well as frequent hand-washing with soap and warm water, especially after handling animal carcasses; cooking food thoroughly and only drinking water from a safe source." It also recommends those in affected areas note any change in the behavior of pets (most particularly in rodents, rabbits, and hares) or livestock, and consulting a veterinarian if symptoms appear.

The CDC's website further reports that, if the francisella tularensis organism ``were used as a weapon, the bacteria would likely be made airborne for exposure by inhalation. People who inhale an infectious aerosol would generally experience severe respiratory illness, including life-threatening pneumonia and systemic infection, if not treated. The bacteria that cause tularemia occur widely in nature, and could be isolated and grown in quantity in a laboratory, although manufacturing an effective aerosol weapon would require considerable sophistication," to which end it is working to stockpile antibiotics for treatment of infected persons, and to coordinate a nationwide program through which states share information about tularemia and creating new education tools and programs for health professionals, the public and the media.

Warning signs about the disease will be posted at the beaver pond; dog owners are urged to keep their animals away from the area.

http://www.telluridewatch.com/view/full_story/7219589/article-Dead-Beavers-Test-Positive-for-Tularemia?instance=secondary_stories_left_column

Posts: 7052 | From Colorado | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ott70
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What?!?! My doctor (PCP) says Colorado doesn't have Lyme and sure as heck doesn't know what those co-infection names are! [Roll Eyes] In fact, now that I think of it, most of my specialists debunk Lyme in CO also.

Colorado is Lyme and co-infection free, I say! [Wink]

Posts: 194 | From Colorado | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Melanie Reber
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Sources:

Indicators for elevated risk of human exposure to host-seeking adults of the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni) in Colorado.
Lars Eisen1, Luis A. Ibarra-Juarez, Rebecca J. Eisen, and Joseph Piesman.
Journal of Vector Ecology 33 (1): 117-128. 2008.

Three multiplex assays for detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Borrelia miyamotoi sensu lato in field-collected Ixodes nymphs in North America.
Ullmann AJ, Gabitzsch ES, Schulze TL, et al.
J Med Entomol 2005 Nov; 42(6):1057-62.

Cluster of tick paralysis cases--Colorado, 2006.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2006 Sep 1; 55(34):933-5.

Host usage and seasonal activity patterns of Ixodes kingi and I. sculptus (Acari: Ixodidae) nymphs in a Colorado prairie landscape, with a summary of published North American host records for all life stages.
Salkeld DJ, Eisen RJ, Antolin MF, et al.
J Vector Ecol 2006 Jun; 31(1):168-80.

Vector competence of Ixodes scapularis, I. spinipalpis, and Dermacentor andersoni (Acari:Ixodidae) in transmitting Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease.
Dolan MC, Maupin GO, Panella NA, Golde WT, Piesman J.
J Med Entomol. 1997 Mar;34(2):128-35.

Transmission of the agent of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis by Ixodes spinipalpis ticks: evidence of an enzootic cycle of dual infection with Borrelia burgdorferi in Northern Colorado.
Zeidner NS, Burkot TR, Massung R, Nicholson WL, Dolan MC, Rutherford JS, Biggerstaff BJ, Maupin GO.
J Infect Dis. 2000 Aug;182(2):616-9. Epub 2000 Jul 28.

Borrelia Isolates in Northern Colorado Identified as Borrelia bissettii.
Bradley S. Schneider, Nordin S. Zeidner, Thomas R. Burkot, Gary O. Maupin, Joseph Piesman.
J Clin Microbiol. 2000 August; 38(8): 3103-3105.

Posts: 7052 | From Colorado | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
WildCondor
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Hi Melanie!

Oh lord, Beavers! Thank you for posting this!!
Are you back in CO? Im probably moving back there soon. [Smile]

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Melanie Reber
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Hello my Dear!

Yes... I'm back in CO now. Sure hope we can get together when you move!

M

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ott70
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Alright. 41.2% out of 17 ticks tested in 2005 were positive. Gee. No Lyme in our state whatsoever. 17 is a low number, especially if they were collected all in the same area, but 41.2% is high.

Doctors can't be expected to read everything but shouldn't those articles right there suggest that word passed to the Colorado health community would have them acknowledge that Lyme can be transmitted in CO?

Posts: 194 | From Colorado | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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