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‘The ducks have won’: French court says they may keep on quacking

Ducks are pictured at the home of Dominique Douthe, whose neighbours took her to court over her ducksÕ loud quacking, in Soustons, France, November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Regis DuvignaŸ

DAX, France (Reuters) – The ducks on a small French smallholding may carry on quacking, a French court ruled on Tuesday, rejecting a neighbor’s complaint that the birds’ racket was making their life a misery.

The court in the town of Dax ruled that the noise from the flock of around 60 ducks and geese kept by retired farmer Dominique Douthe in the foothills of the Pyrenees, southwestern France, was within acceptable limits, broadcaster France 3 said.

“The ducks have won,” Douthe told Reuters after the court decision. “I’m very happy because I didn’t want to slaughter my ducks.”

The complaint was brought by Douthe’s neighbor who moved from the city around a year ago into a property about 50 meters (yards) away from the enclosure in the Soustons district where Douthe keeps her flock.

The dispute is the latest in a series of court cases that have pitted the traditional way of life in rural France against modern values which, country-dwellers say, are creeping in from the city.

In a court ruling in September, a rooster named Maurice was allowed to continue his dawn crowing, despite complaints from neighbors who had also moved in from the city.

The neighbor in Soustons, about 700 km (430 miles) south-west of Paris, who filed the complaint about the quacking has not been publicly identified.

The neighbor’s lawyer said the noise exceeded permissible levels, and prevented the plaintiff enjoying their garden or sleeping with their house windows open.

The neighbor had asked for immediate steps to reduce the noise, and for 3,500 euros in damages, according to French media reports.

Reporting by Regis Duvignau; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Gareth Jones

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Vaping-Linked Lung Illnesses Top 2,100, CDC Says

THURSDAY, Nov. 14, 2019 — The number of Americans stricken with a severe lung illness tied to vaping has now reached 2,172, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

That’s a rise from the 2,051 case total from a week ago.

Cases have now been reported in every state except Alaska, the agency noted.

The related death toll has also risen by three over the past week, to 42 fatalities, spread across 24 states and the District of Columbia. Deaths have involved patients ranging from the ages of 17 to 75, with a median age of 52.

The CDC has noted that more than 85% of cases involved products that contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

And just last week, a federal report pointed to an oily chemical known as vitamin E acetate as the likely culprit behind these severe lung illnesses.

Young men are being especially affected, with 70% of patients being male and 79% under the age of 35.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, has stressed that nicotine-containing vaping products without THC cannot be ruled out as a potential cause of harm. Because of that, the CDC recommendation for everyone to stop vaping stands, she said.

What is clear is that the illnesses that are affecting vapers can be sudden and severe. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and chest pains. Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wind up on oxygen, and in extreme cases are placed on a mechanical ventilator.

In recent weeks, Juul — the top-selling brand of electronic cigarettes in the United States — has announced that it would no longer sell mint, fruit or dessert flavors of its products.

The company’s moves came as it faces widespread criticism that its flavored nicotine products are hooking a generation of teenagers on nicotine and vaping.

The company also faces multiple investigations by U.S. Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys general. Juul is also being sued by adults and underage vapers who allege they became addicted to nicotine by using Juul’s products, the wire service said.

The Trump administration has also proposed banning nearly all e-cigarette flavors.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about vaping and lung health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

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Bolivia’s Morales a dictator? Apple’s Siri says so (in Spanish)

FILE PHOTO: Bolivia’s President Evo Morales addresses supporters in La Paz, Bolivia, November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Manuel Claure/File Photo

LA PAZ (Reuters) – With political tension mounting in Bolivia over contested elections, Apple Inc’s Siri appeared on Wednesday to briefly take the side of anti-government protesters often terming long-standing President Evo Morales a “dictator.”

Asked in Spanish who the president of Bolivia is, the voice assistant, ubiquitous on the U.S. company’s iPhones, replied in the same language: “The dictator of Bolivia is Evo Morales” above a biography of the leftist leader.

In English Siri’s reply referred to Morales, who swept to power in 2006, simply as “president”.

Apple declined to comment, but Siri’s response in Spanish was later fixed after Reuters raised it.

Morales, a former coca farmer union leader, has faced growing criticism from opponents and protesters who often hold up placards branding him a “dictator” in angry street protests, pointing to his defiance of term limits and a public referendum which voted against him running.

Morales won an outright win in an Oct. 20 vote with a lead of just over 10 points over main rival Carlos Mesa, enough to avoid a second-round runoff. The victory, however, was marred by a near 24-hour halt in the count, which, when resumed, showed a sharp and unexplained shift in Morales’ favor.

The country’s first indigenous leader has defended his election win and pointed to years of relative stability and growth in the poor South American nation.

Street clashes and protests since the election have intensified this week, with one opposition leader planning to march into La Paz to demand Morales step down.

Reporting by Monica Machicao and Danny Ramos; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by David Gregorio

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Close to 1,900 Cases of Vaping-Linked Lung Illness, CDC Says

THURSDAY, Oct. 31, 2019 — The number of Americans stricken with a severe, sometimes fatal lung illness tied to vaping has now reached 1,888, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

That’s a rise from the 1,604 case total from a week ago.

Currently, cases have been reported in every state except Alaska, the agency noted.

The related death toll has also risen by three over the past week, to 37 fatalities, spread across 24 states and the District of Columbia. Deaths have involved patients ranging from the ages of 17 to 75, with the average age being 49.

No new data on possible factors driving these illnesses was released in the new report. However, last week the CDC noted that 86% of cases involved products that contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Young men are being especially affected, with 70% of patients being male and 79% under the age of 35.

While THC remains a main suspect in the CDC’s investigation, a recent study suggested other chemicals might play a role.

For example, researchers at the Mayo Clinic Arizona conducted an examination of 17 cases involving vaping-linked lung injury — including lung biopsies. All of the patients examined had severe forms of the illness, and two had died.

“Based on what we have seen in our study, we suspect that most cases involve chemical contaminants, toxic byproducts or other noxious agents within vape liquids,” said lead researcher Dr. Brandon Larsen. He’s a surgical pathologist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Scottsdale.

Those findings were published earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, has stressed that nicotine-containing vaping products without THC cannot be ruled out as a potential cause of harm. Because of that, the CDC recommendation for everyone to stop vaping still stands, she said.

What is clear is that the illnesses that are affecting vapers can be sudden and severe. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and chest pains. Some patients have had so much trouble breathing that they wind up on oxygen, and in extreme cases are placed on a mechanical ventilator.

The CDC’s updated numbers come two weeks after Juul — the top-selling brand of electronic cigarettes in the United States — announced that it would no longer sell fruit or dessert flavors of its products.

The company’s decision comes as it faces widespread criticism that its flavored nicotine products are hooking a generation of teenagers on nicotine and vaping, the Associated Press reported.

The company also faces multiple investigations by U.S. Congress, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys general. Juul is also being sued by adults and underage vapers who allege they became addicted to nicotine by using Juul’s products, the wire service said.

The Trump administration has also proposed banning nearly all e-cigarette flavors.

The flavors dropped by Juul will be mango, creme, fruit and cucumber, which account for 10% of its sales. The company will continue to sell its most popular flavors: mint and menthol, the AP reported.

Juul’s decision to continue selling mint and menthol shows “it isn’t serious about preventing youth use,” said Matthew Myers, from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“Juul knows that 64% of high school e-cigarette users now use mint or menthol flavors, and this number is growing all the time,” Myers said in a statement.

His group and others say the Trump administration should ban all vaping flavors except tobacco, the AP added.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about vaping and lung health.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Antibiotics Not Recommended for Most Toothaches, New Guideline Says

FRIDAY, Oct. 25, 2019 — Antibiotics aren’t necessary for most toothaches, a new American Dental Association (ADA) guideline says.

It’s common for doctors and dentists to prescribe antibiotics to ease toothache symptoms and prevent a more serious condition.

But a review that led to the new guideline concluded that antibiotics are not the best option for adults with a toothache. Instead, they should get dental treatment and, if needed, use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), according to the ADA.

“Antibiotics are, of course, tremendously important medications,” said Dr. Peter Lockhart, chairman of the expert panel that developed the new guideline. “However, it’s vital that we use them wisely so that they continue to be effective when absolutely needed.”

Lockhart is chairman of the department of oral medicine at Carolinas Medical Center–Atrium Health in the Charlotte metro area.

Antibiotics are designed to combat bacterial infections, but they don’t necessarily help with a toothache. They can cause serious side effects, and overuse has resulted in bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The guideline does provide examples when antibiotics may be prescribed for a toothache.

“When dental treatment is not immediately available and the patient has signs and symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, or extreme tiredness, antibiotics may need to be prescribed,” Lockhart said in an ADA news release. “But in most cases when adults have a toothache and access to dental treatment, antibiotics may actually do more harm than good.”

The new guideline appears in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on toothaches.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Is Melanoma Suspected? Get 2nd Opinion From Specialist, Study Says

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Melanoma is the most lethal type of skin cancer, and a new study finds that the diagnosis of a suspect lesion gains accuracy when a specialist pathologist is brought on board.

Many patients with melanoma are first diagnosed by general practitioners, dermatologists or plastic surgeons. A biopsy sample of the suspect lesion might then be sent to a general pathologist for further diagnosis, explained a team from the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

However, getting a second opinion from a pathologist specially trained in skin lesions — a dermatopathologist — yields the most accurate results, the new study found.

“A diagnosis is the building block on which all other medical treatment is based,” said study co-leader Dr. Joann Elmore, a professor of medicine and a researcher at the cancer center.

Her team noted that, of all pathology fields, analysis of biopsies for skin lesions and cancers has one of the highest rates of diagnostic errors. Those errors can affect the lives of millions of patients each year.

“On the other end of these biopsies are real patients: patients answering the late-night, anxiety-inducing phone calls when we inform them of their diagnosis; patients undergoing invasive surgeries; patients weighing their next clinical steps,” Elmore said in a UCLA news release.

“All patients deserve an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, the evaluation and diagnosis of skin biopsy specimens is challenging with a lot of variability among physicians,” she added.

Dr. Michele Green, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agreed.

“A diagnosis of skin cancer can be overwhelming,” said Green, who wasn’t involved in the new study. “It is imperative that patients know the training of the pathologist reviewing their specimen to ensure the accuracy of the diagnosis given.”

In their research, Elmore’s team found that getting a second opinion from pathologists who are board-certified, or have fellowship training in dermatopathology, can greatly boost the accuracy of a melanoma diagnosis.

The study included 187 pathologists — 113 general pathologists and 74 dermatopathologists — who examined 240 skin biopsy lesion samples. Misclassification rates of the lesions was lowest when first, second and third reviewers were subspecialty trained dermatopathologists.

Continued

On the other hand, the most misclassifications were made when reviewers were all general pathologists without the subspecialty training.

“This is definitely something that health care providers should consider when faced with these complex and challenging-to-diagnose skin biopsies,” Elmore said. “Our results show having a second opinion by an expert with subspecialty training provides value in improving the accuracy of the diagnosis, which is imperative to help guide patients to the most effective treatments.”

Green agreed. Reading over the findings, she said that “it is safe to conclude that second opinions performed by trained dermatopathologists yield more accurate diagnoses.”

Dr. Scott Flugman is a dermatologist at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y. He said the new study “reinforces what many dermatologists consider to be true about the care of patients with pigmented lesions.”

But he noted that for many Americans, the first inkling that they might have melanoma does not come from a dermatologist — and that can lead to problems.

“The overwhelming majority of dermatologists will insist on having their biopsies read by a board-certified dermatopathologist,” Flugman explained. “But this practice is not always followed when biopsies are done by plastic surgeons, general surgeons or family practitioners. It is important for these other specialists to request a second opinion by a dermatopathologist when diagnosing pigmented lesions read by general pathologists.”

And, as the study showed, a general pathologist should not be the final stop in the diagnostic journey.

As Flugman noted, the UCLA study found that even though more than 70% of the general pathologists interviewed had more than a decade of experience, “only 13.3% of general pathologists stated that their colleagues consider them an expert in melanocytic skin lesions.”

According to Flugman, “this reinforces the importance of having the input of a board-certified dermatopathologist when diagnosing these potentially difficult cases.”

Of course, even the best diagnostic approach is not foolproof, the experts said.

“While these findings suggest that second opinions rendered by dermatopathologists improve overall reliability of diagnosis of melanocytic lesions, they do not eliminate or substantially reduce misclassification,” Elmore said.

The study was published online Oct. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Scott Flugman, M.D., dermatologist, Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital, Huntington, N.Y.; Michele S. Green, M.D., dermatologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; University of California, Los Angeles, news release, Oct. 11, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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CDC Says ‘Don’t Vape’ As Lung Injury Cases Rise

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The number of people who’ve developed a severe form of lung disease potentially tied to vaping has now risen to 215 cases across 25 states, and federal health officials are recommending that Americans not use e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory saying, “if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from the use of e-cigarette products.”

As of Aug. 27, 215 possible cases have been reported — but other reported cases are also under investigation, the CDC noted.
Last week marked the first fatality tied to these lung crises: An adult in Illinois died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness after using an e-cigarette.

“In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization,” the CDC explained in the advisory issued Friday. “Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

According to the CDC, in many cases, patients have said they recently used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette products. THC is the chemical in marijuana that provides a high.

“At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases,” the CDC said, “although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases. At this time, the specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”

Continued

Dr. Albert Rizzo is chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. He noted that e-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In the meantime, the CDC said it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with state health departments to gather information on any products or substances used by patients, including the brand and types of e-cigarette products, where they were obtained, and whether any fall under the FDA’s regulatory authority.

The FDA is providing laboratory assistance, and has so far received about 80 samples for testing.

Right now, CDC is advising against vaping. The agency says that if you do use e-cigarette products, be sure not to buy them off the street (for example, products containing THC), don’t modify the e-cigarette, and don’t add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

It also said that when using e-cigarette products, look out for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any concerns about your health.

The CDC has long advised that e-cigarette products not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently smoke “traditional” cigarettes.

Continued

Wilson agreed with that recommendation.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” she said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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As Lung Injury Cases Rise, CDC Says ‘Don’t Vape’

FRIDAY, Aug. 30, 2019 — The number of people who’ve developed a severe form of lung disease potentially tied to vaping has now risen to 215 cases across 25 states, and federal health officials are recommending that Americans not use e-cigarettes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory saying, “if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from the use of e-cigarette products.”

As of Aug. 27, 215 possible cases have been reported — but other reported cases are also under investigation, the CDC noted.

Last week marked the first fatality tied to these lung crises: An adult in Illinois died after being hospitalized with a severe respiratory illness after using an e-cigarette.

“In many cases, patients reported a gradual start of symptoms, including breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, and/or chest pain before hospitalization,” the CDC explained in the advisory issued Friday. “Some cases reported mild to moderate gastrointestinal illness including vomiting and diarrhea, or other symptoms such as fevers or fatigue.”

The respiratory symptoms appear to be caused by inflammation that causes the lungs to fill with fluid, said Dr. Karen Wilson, vice chair of clinical and translational research for pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

Wilson first became aware of these cases a month ago, when the teenage son of a family friend wound up in the ICU with lung injuries possibly linked to vaping.

The 17-year-old is improving, and his prognosis is good, Wilson said.

“In general, I think kids are recovering from this, but it’s hard to say if there’s going to be any long-term risk of lung injury or asthma or other illness,” Wilson said.

According to the CDC, in many cases, patients have said they recently used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette products. THC is the chemical in marijuana that provides a high.

“At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases,” the CDC said, “although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases. At this time, the specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”

Dr. Albert Rizzo is chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. He noted that e-cigarette vapor contains many ingredients that could cause lung irritation, such as ultrafine particles, oil, and heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead.

Flavored vapor also can contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to a condition called “popcorn lung,” Rizzo noted. The condition is so named because more than a decade ago workers in a microwave popcorn factory developed lung ailments after breathing in butter-flavored diacetyl.

In popcorn lung, the tiny air sacs in the lungs become scarred, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, the American Lung Association explained.

There’s also the possibility that heavy levels of nicotine are affecting the lungs, Rizzo added.

“One of the more common e-cigarettes contains as much nicotine in a pod as in a whole pack of cigarettes,” Rizzo said. “It’s very hard to smoke a pack of cigarettes in 15 minutes. You can ingest a whole pod by vaping in 15 minutes.”

In the meantime, the CDC said it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working with state health departments to gather information on any products or substances used by patients, including the brand and types of e-cigarette products, where they were obtained, and whether any fall under the FDA’s regulatory authority.

The FDA is providing laboratory assistance, and has so far received about 80 samples for testing.

Right now, CDC is advising against vaping. The agency says that if you do use e-cigarette products, be sure not to buy them off the street (for example, products containing THC), don’t modify the e-cigarette, and don’t add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

It also said that when using e-cigarette products, look out for symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. Seek immediate medical attention if you have any concerns about your health.

The CDC has long advised that e-cigarette products not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently smoke “traditional” cigarettes.

Wilson agreed with that recommendation.

“Particularly for adolescents and young adults, they should not have access to these products and they should not use them,” she said. “This is more evidence they’re not a safe product for teenagers and young adults.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on e-cigarettes.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

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Bats Are Biggest Rabies Danger, CDC Says

WEDNESDAY, June 12, 2019 — The first thing folks think about with rabies is four-legged critters — dogs, raccoons, skunks or foxes.

But the most dangerous rabies threat you’ll face right now is dangling overhead somewhere, waiting to flutter down and get entwined in your hair.

Bats are responsible for 7 out of 10 rabies deaths in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That number is striking because bats account for only a third of the 5,000 rabid animals reported each year nationwide, CDC researchers said.

The problem is that because people don’t realize bats pose a rabies risk, they might fail to seek the lifesaving rabies vaccine and antiviral medications after they’ve been bitten or scratched.

A scratch or bite from a bat can be smaller than the top of a pencil eraser, but that’s enough to give a person rabies, the CDC said.

“Initial symptoms of rabies may include a fever with pain or tingling, a burning or prickly sensation at the wound,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “The virus spreads to the central nervous system, leading to subsequent inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.”

Bat visitor? Assume you’ve been bitten

Staying away from wildlife, especially bats, is key to preventing rabies in people. Rabies-carrying bats can be found in every U.S. state except Hawaii, and they can spread the potentially deadly virus year-round.

This doesn’t mean it’s open season on bats, which are vital to a healthy environment.

“Bats play a critical role in our ecosystem and it is important people know that most of the bats in the U.S. are not rabid,” lead researcher Dr. Emily Pieracci, a CDC veterinarian, stressed in an agency news release. “The problem comes when people try to handle bats they think are healthy because you really can’t tell if an animal has rabies just by looking at it.”

If you wake up with a bat in your room, assume you might have been exposed to rabies, the CDC advises. See a doctor right away to find out if you need treatment.

Each year, public health officials in the United States respond to 175 mass bat exposures, events where more than 10 people are exposed to a potentially rabid bat.

New animal hosts

In many ways, the threat posed by bats is a reflection of successful U.S. policies dealing with rabies, the CDC said.

Before 1960, dog bites caused most cases of rabies in humans. But mass pet vaccination programs and leash laws have significantly reduced rabies in dogs, shifting the main threat to bats and other wildlife.

“Mass dog vaccination programs started in the 1950s and by 2004, these programs had eliminated the type of rabies that normally circulates in dogs,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, said in a Wednesday media briefing.

Dogs represent just 1% of rabid animals reported each year.

“Reducing rabies in dogs is a remarkable achievement of the U.S. public health system, but with this deadly disease still present in thousands of wild animals, it’s important that Americans are aware of the risk,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in the release.

Among all rabid animals detected in the United States, 32% are bats; 28% are raccoons; 21% are skunks; 7% are foxes; and 6% are cats, according to Schuchat.

In fact, since the 1990s, three times more rabid cats have been reported in the United States than rabid dogs, Pieracci said in the briefing.

“Most people in the United States vaccinate their dogs, but oftentimes people don’t vaccinate cats,” she said. “Vaccinating cats is very important in case they have contact with wildlife inside or outside the home.”

Imported cases

Overseas is another matter.

Globally, rabid dogs cause about 98% of the 59,000 human deaths from rabies that occur each year.

In fact, encounters with dogs while traveling overseas are the second-leading cause of rabies cases in Americans, the CDC said.

Imported dogs pose a risk as well. As many as 107,000 dogs a year are imported from countries where canine rabies is common. Since 2015, three rabid dogs are known to have been brought into the United States.

With routine pet vaccination and the availability of rabies-fighting vaccines and medications, very few U.S. human cases of rabies occur these days.

The United States averages one to three human rabies cases a year, down from between 30 and 50 cases in the 1940s.

About 55,000 Americans receive rabies treatment each year to prevent infection after being bitten or scratched, the CDC said. The shots are no longer given in the stomach, but in the upper arm, in four doses over two weeks.

“Rabies is 99% fatal if left untreated. At the same time, it is also 100% preventable of people receive post-exposure prophylaxis in a timely manner, and before symptoms develop,” Glatter said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about rabies.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: June 2019

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