MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, April 15, 2022


Translocation of an Anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla) Infected with Rabies from Virginia to Tennessee Resulting in Multiple Human Exposures, 2021

CDC Media Relations

In early May 2021, an anteater was transferred from a zoo in Virginia to a zoo in Tennessee, where the animal was found to be infected with rabies. Rabies had never been reported in this species before, and the anteater likely acquired rabies from exposure to wild raccoons in Virginia. This case shows that human movement of captive mammals can lead to the spread of rabies from one area to another. It highlights the importance of animal handlers and exotic zoo animals being vaccinated against rabies before exposure in areas where rabies is present. On August 16, 2021, the Tennessee Department of Health was notified of a positive rabies test from a South American collared anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla) in Washington County, Tennessee. Tamanduas, or lesser anteaters, are a species of anteater in which rabies has not previously been reported. The animal was at a Tennessee zoo and recently transferred from a zoo in Virginia. Investigators completed risk assessments for 22 people to determine the need for rabies postexposure prophylaxis (rPEP); 13 were recommended to receive rPEP, and all 13 agreed to receive it. No human rabies cases have been reported as of April 1, 2022, related to this investigation. The rabies virus isolated from this tamandua was similar to that of rabies variants detected among raccoons in Virginia, which correlates with the presence of native wildlife (including raccoons) inside the fencing perimeter at the Virginia zoo. A north-central skunk variant of the rabies virus is routinely found among animals in Tennessee, but this raccoon variant of the rabies virus is not normally found in this Tennessee county. Expansion of rabies zones in the United States through the movement of captive animals has substantial adverse public health implications, including threatening the health of humans, domestic animals, and other wildlife.

Surveillance to Track Progress Toward Polio Eradication — Worldwide, 2020–2021

CDC Media Relations

Key poliovirus surveillance indicators, including timely detection, notification, and investigation of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases, improved from 2020 to 2021 in many priority countries. However, persistent gaps must be addressed to stop polio transmission and prevent its spread across international borders. High-quality surveillance is critical to achieving polio eradication and includes timely and effective detection, notification, and investigation of AFP cases. In 2021, 74% of priority countries met key surveillance performance indicator targets nationally, an improvement from 2020 when only 53% met targets. While polio cases significantly declined in 2021, polio remains a threat to all children who are under-vaccinated or unvaccinated. It is critically important that all countries maintain sensitive poliovirus surveillance to detect and quickly respond to and promptly stop all circulation and minimize the risk to children and communities.

Previously Released: COVID-19 Mortality and Vaccine Coverage — Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, January 6, 2022–March 21, 2022

CDC Media Relations

Previously Released: Effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination in Preventing COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Among Adults with Previous SARS-CoV-2 Infection — United States, June 2021–February 2022

CDC Media Relations

Notes from the Field
  • Wound Botulism Outbreak Among a Group of Persons Who Inject Drugs — Dallas, Texas, 2020Clinicians can assist in efforts to identify botulism cases by:
    1. considering wound botulism in the differential diagnosis for patients who injected illicit drugs and have cranial nerve impairment or weakness that does not respond to naloxone; and
    2. asking about patients’ friends/acquaintances with similar symptoms.

    This report describes the first wound botulism outbreak reported in Texas and the largest in the United States outside of California. On December 9, 2020, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) was notified of a hospitalized male aged 33 years experiencing homelessness who had weakness in his arms and legs and respiratory failure. Patients helped Dallas County public health officials identify additional cases by mentioning other people who had injected drugs and had similar symptoms. Patients reported use of heroin, black tar heroin, and/or methamphetamines.

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Page last reviewed: April 14, 2022