From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1995:

A technical advisory committee set
up by the Indian government announced
February 7 that data review had confirmed
that a major disease outbreak in the city of
Surat last September was indeed pneumonic
plague, as first diagnosed, even though it did
not spread as fast or kill as many people as past
outbreaks have. A slightly earlier outbreak of a
disease reported as bubonic plague in
Maharashtra state is still under study. Both
forms of plague may be spread by rodent infes-
Yevgeny Belyaev, head of Russia’s
Epidemics and Sanitary Control State
Committee, told media February 8 that stray
dogs had become a serious threat to public
health in the Chechnyan war zone. He said the
chance that the dogs might spread cholera was
the greatest concern.

Chagas disease, virtually unknown
in the U.S., is the most costly and lethal insect-
borne ailment in Latin America, the World
Health Organization says––and it ranks third
worldwide, behind only malaria and schistomi-
asis. The carrier is the inch-long triatomine
beetle, which bites sleeping victims, usually
near the eyes, and leaves behind protozoa that
erode the body’s immune system. The beetle is
found in wooded parts of the deep South, as
well as in the rainforest it prefers, but the
North American beetles don’t deposit the dead-
ly protozoa. In the U.S., Chagas cases are usu-
ally passed through blood transfusions from
unwitting victims to other uninfected humans.
The British government on January
24 rejected the recommendation
of the
Parliament agriculture committee that it should
replace the six-month quarantine imposed on
all imported dogs and cats with a system of
mandatory vaccinations and blood testing.
There have been only two cases of rabies
detected in Britain since the six-month quaran-
tine was adopted in 1922.
The New York state Department of
Health on January 20 warned reptile owners
to wash their hands thoroughly after handling
their pets. The warning, echoing one issued
last spring, followed the January 1 death of a
12-hour-old infant whose mother went into pre-
mature labor as result of contracting a fever
caused by exposure to salmonella poona, a
microbe carried by her pet iguana.
Dr. Genevieve Chene and fellow
researchers at the Bordeaux University
Hospital in France reported on January 20 that
blood tests of 51 people with a chronic skin
reaction called urticaria discovered they were
seven times more likely than those without
urticaria to be infected with Tooxocara canis,
a common dog parasite. The infection can be
avoided by deworming pets, keeping stray
dogs out of one’s yard, and washing one’s
hands after any contact with dogs.
Fox rabies has now spread as far
south in New Hampshire as Loon Mountain,
state wildlife officials said on January 1, and is
likely to meet the northward spread of raccoon
rabies in midstate this spring.
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