Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cytauxzoonosis - Kitteh Disease

My sister and brother-in-law's cat Gus makes his modeling debut.
A recent increase in cat illness has feline owners in Missouri concerned. Cytauxzoonosis (A.K.A. Bobcat Fever) has seen a localized increase in the Laclede County region of Missouri (Northeast of Springfield, MO).


Cytauxzoonosis is a typically fatal tickborne disease caused by the protozoan Cytauxzoon felis that infects the red blood cells (RBCs) of domesticated cats. It is passed to the feline by biting ticks, and while domestic cats often succumb to the disease, Bobcats usually recover from the ailment.


If you have questions, use the comments section below!


Cytauxzoonosis was first reported in the USA in 1976 in Missouri and has thought to have been contained to the southern US. However, cases have occurred in the mid-Atlantic region as far north as Pennsylvania, and North Dakota in the Midwest, in bobcats.


The most common seasons for the disease to be seen are spring and summer, coinciding with high exposure to tick-bites. Also, obviously, out-door cats are more at risk than cats that are primarily left indoors.


The disease in cats is typically sudden onset, with lethargy and lack of appetite within five to twenty days following the tick bite. Cats will develop a high fever as well. Clinical findings seem to suggest a massive system failure (as you would expect from infected RBCs) with dehydration, enlarged liver and spleen, respiratory distress, tachycardia or bradycardia, etc.


C. felis is passed by the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) which has become a scourge, not only to felines, but also to humans. The lone star tick resides primarily in the US southeast, but has been discovered as far north as Maine and as far south as Central and South America.  

Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
Lone star ticks can be a vector of a variety of human disease including; monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, granulocytic ehrlichiosis, tularemia, southern tick-associated rash illness, heartland disease, and a really strange meat allergy.

Make sure if you let your animals out, even just in your back yard during the summer, check them for ticks before they come back in the house! Fight the Bite!


I encourage everyone to use the comments section below!
  • Lance D. Presser has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and is a public health laboratorian.
  • Hire Lance for any of your microbiology, virology, teaching, editing, grant writing, or public health consulting needs.
  • Follow Lance @ldpsci




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chikunguna - Coming to America

Aedes aegypti mosquito - one of two primary transmitters of Chikungunya
Early this week Florida health officials and the CDC announced the first locally acquired, non-travel associated, Chikungunya cases in the US. Not surprising, I guessed that this would happen by the end of the year. 

Currently, there is a massive epidemic occurring in the Caribbean and with the number of travelers going between Florida and the Caribbean islands, this was bound to happen sooner, rather than later. The United States has the proper vector (shown above), the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos (tiger mosquito).

The outbreak in the Caribbean has affected more than 355,000 with the number continuing to grow by roughly 40,000 per week

Surveillance has increased, especially in the southern US and numerous states have reported imported cases of Chikungunya. As of 15 July 2014, the CDC has received reports of 234 travel-related cases, 73 of them in Florida. Thirty-one states have reported cases, with Florida seeing the majority, followed by New York (20), Tennessee (13), New Jersey (12), and California (11).

Puerto Rico has also declared a Chikungunya epidemic with greater than 200 cases reported as of 25 June 2014.

If you have questions, use the comments section below!

Chikungunya is a very unpleasant disease, characterized by fever and joint pain. Typically, the illness lasts about a week, however the joint pain can be severe, debilitating, and persistent. The fatality rate is low with some past outbreaks yielding 1/1000 (although case fatality numbers are difficult to accurately predict).

Chikungunya has not been shown to spread person to person, but mosquitoes that bite people who are already infected can then pass the disease to other people.

Common precautions to take when dealing with mosquito transmitted viruses is to drain standing water, cover your skin with clothing and repellent, covering doors and windows with screens, and avoiding "peak" mosquito hours. Unfortunately, the two Aedes sp. mosquitoes that are known to spread Chikungunya have varying peak times and the Aedes albopictus especially is a nuisance as it known to be more urban and bite during the day as well as dawn and dusk periods.
I encourage everyone to use the comments section below! 
  • Lance D. Presser has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and is a public health/clinical laboratorian.
  • Hire Lance for any of your microbiology, virology, teaching, editing, grant writing, or public health consulting needs.
  • Follow Lance @ldpsci

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Aloha from Oahu

Aloha! I know the blog has been very quiet recently. I am working on getting settled and have a few interesting events that need to be written about. Hopefully withing a few weeks we are up and running again at a regular rate.

I have a couple interesting events in North Dakota I want to write about, the first involving a Hepatitis C Virus outbreak at a long-term care facility, the second a rare case of Hantavirus. I also want to talk about some of the tick-borne diseases like Lyme and Heartland that will no doubt be showing up this summer.

I also have a post that discusses a new partnership for the blog with Hep Mag. More on that later.

Until then, a few photos to demonstrate how beautiful Hawaii really is.

Byodo-In Temple

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Kaena Point

Kailua Beach

Manoa Falls

The "Mokes"

From the top of the "Pillbox Trail"

Turtle...
A lot has happened in the science world since I last have written. There are smoldering MERS and Ebola outbreaks, The CDC found vials of Smallpox, and mishandled Anthrax and a variety of Influenza strains, Chikungunya has appeared in the US, etc.


Lastly, I want to mention again that some of the good people at Hep Mag approached me about writing for their blog. We came to an agreement that they can repost/link any of my material I publish here. If people are interested, there is a very large amount of information at their website. I highly recommend people check it out, and I am excited for our partnership moving forward.

I encourage everyone to use the comments section below! 
  • Lance D. Presser has a PhD in microbiology and immunology and is a public health/clinical laboratorian.
  • Hire Lance for any of your microbiology, virology, teaching, editing, grant writing, or public health consulting needs.
  • Follow Lance @ldpsci