Rabies Resurgence - Long
Island First Case In Decades

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - As you know I have been very concerned about Rabies becoming one of the viruses that undergos a major mutation, a drift so varied that it may follow the mutations that we saw in paramyxoviruses such as Hendra/Nipah and Nipah like to Henipah.
Long Island has its first known case of rabies in decades. Although Long Island is surrounded by waters of Long Island sound which makes migration to Long Island of animals like raccoons, skunks etc difficult, there is always a possibility of rabies outbreak from the mainland. A mainland bat carrying rabies virus could, indeed make the flight from the mainland to Long Island at its closest point. I suppose that some small animals, especially raccoons, might cross one of the bridges to the island.
The article does not give any information on virus strain and we will have to wait for followup for more data on this virus.
Patricia Doyle
Date: 11 Aug 2004 From: ProMED-mail
Source: ABC Local website [edited]
By N.J. Burkett
Health officials on Long Island say they have their 1st known case of rabies in decades.
It was discovered in Brookville after a raccoon, killed by a dog, tested positive. And now as a precaution a family of 4 and the dog are undergoing a series of rabies vaccinations.
While rabies is common in other parts of the New York metropolitan area, here on Long Island it is practically unheard of. That's why county health officials are so concerned, and why worried residents jammed the health department's help lines with hundreds of calls on Wednesday.
County health officials are laying dozens of traps to determine if the outbreak is isolated, or widespread.
The health commissioner says the signs of rabies in an animal like a raccoon are unmistakable. Abby Greenberg, Nassau Co. Health Commissioner: "Circling, staggering, drooling, similar to seeing someone drunk."
Melissa Berman, neighbor: "They told us they're going to be setting up traps, all along the block, around the block, and around our houses. So, I had to keep my dog inside."
Long Island exterminator Shawn Love has been trapping raccoons for more than 20 years. He's convinced that if there's one rabid raccoon, there's bound to be more.
Shawn Love, Raccoon Exterminator: "A male raccoon travels almost 10 miles in a day. So I think they might find some more."
No one can remember a human case of rabies anywhere on Long Island. Now the county health commissioner is urging people to be extremely careful.
-- ProMED-mail
[Hopefully the dog's rabies vaccine is up-to-date. Rabies is preventable by a vaccine in domestic animals. It is wise to vaccinate your pet even if you believe it will always remain indoors. It is a cheap precaution against a deadly disease for the pet owners as well as the pet.
When there is a possibility of exposure, it is standard procedure to provide pre-exposure rabies vaccine to the people and revaccinate the dog. However, it is important to note that raccoon distemper can be difficult to distinguish from rabies based on clinical signs alone.
Although other parts of New York have rabies, Long Island has mysteriously avoided the disease for years. That is no longer the case. - Mod.TG]
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health



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