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Cara Cherry - Top 30 Publications

Prevalence and Diversity of Tick-Borne Pathogens in Nymphal Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in Eastern National Parks.

Tick-borne pathogens transmitted by Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae), also known as the deer tick or blacklegged tick, are increasing in incidence and geographic distribution in the United States. We examined the risk of tick-borne disease exposure in 9 national parks across six Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States and the District of Columbia in 2014 and 2015. To assess the recreational risk to park visitors, we sampled for ticks along frequently used trails and calculated the density of I. scapularis nymphs (DON) and the density of infected nymphs (DIN). We determined the nymphal infection prevalence of I. scapularis with a suite of tick-borne pathogens including Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia miyamotoi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Babesia microti. Ixodes scapularis nymphs were found in all national park units; DON ranged from 0.40 to 13.73 nymphs per 100 m2. Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, was found at all sites where I. scapularis was documented; DIN with B. burgdorferi ranged from 0.06 to 5.71 nymphs per 100 m2. Borrelia miyamotoi and A. phagocytophilum were documented at 60% and 70% of the parks, respectively, while Ba. microti occurred at just 20% of the parks. Ixodes scapularis is well established across much of the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States, and our results are generally consistent with previous studies conducted near the areas we sampled. Newly established I. scapularis populations were documented in two locations: Washington, D.C. (Rock Creek Park) and Greene County, Virginia (Shenandoah National Park). This research demonstrates the potential risk of tick-borne pathogen exposure in national parks and can be used to educate park visitors about the importance of preventative actions to minimize tick exposure.

Knowledge and use of prevention measures for chikungunya virus among visitors - Virgin Islands National Park, 2015.

In June 2014, the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus (CHIKV) emerged in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), a location where tourists comprise the majority of the population during peak season (January-April). Limited information is available concerning visitors' CHIKV awareness and prevention measures.

Travel-Associated Zika Virus Disease Cases Among U.S. Residents--United States, January 2015-February 2016.

Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus. Recent outbreaks of Zika virus disease in the Pacific Islands and the Region of the Americas have identified new modes of transmission and clinical manifestations, including adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, data on the epidemiology and clinical findings of laboratory-confirmed Zika virus disease remain limited. During January 1, 2015-February 26, 2016, a total of 116 residents of 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia had laboratory evidence of recent Zika virus infection based on testing performed at CDC. Cases include one congenital infection and 115 persons who reported recent travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission (n = 110) or sexual contact with such a traveler (n = 5). All 115 patients had clinical illness, with the most common signs and symptoms being rash (98%; n = 113), fever (82%; 94), and arthralgia (66%; 76). Health care providers should educate patients, particularly pregnant women, about the risks for, and measures to prevent, infection with Zika virus and other mosquito-borne viruses. Zika virus disease should be considered in patients with acute onset of fever, rash, arthralgia, or conjunctivitis, who traveled to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission ( or who had unprotected sex with a person who traveled to one of those areas and developed compatible symptoms within 2 weeks of returning.

Notes from the Field: Injuries Associated with Bison Encounters - Yellowstone National Park, 2015.

Since 1980, bison have injured more pedestrian visitors to Yellowstone National Park (Yellowstone) than any other animal (1). After the occurrence of 33 bison-related injuries during 1983-1985 (range = 10-13/year), the park implemented successful outreach campaigns (1) to reduce the average number of injuries to 0.8/year (range = 0-2/year) during 2010-2014 (unpublished data, National Park Service, September 2015). During May-July 2015, five injuries associated with bison encounters occurred (Table). Case reports were reviewed to evaluate circumstances surrounding these injuries to inform prevention.

Tuberculosis Among Temporary Visa Holders Working in the Tourism Industry - United States, 2012-2014.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious bacterial disease of global concern. During 2013, an estimated nine million incident TB cases occurred worldwide (1). The majority (82%) were diagnosed in 22 countries, including South Africa and the Philippines, where annual incidence was 860 TB cases per 100,000 persons and 292 TB cases per 100,000 persons, respectively (1). The 2013 TB incidence in the United States was three cases per 100,000 persons (2). Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, TB screening is required for persons seeking permanent residence in the United States (i.e., immigrants and refugees), but it is not routinely required for nonimmigrants who are issued temporary visas for school or work (3). A portion of the U.S. tourism industry relies on temporary visa holders to accommodate seasonal and fluctuating demand for service personnel (4). This report describes three foreign-born persons holding temporary visas who had infectious TB while working at tourist destinations in the United States during 2012-2014. Multiple factors, including dormitory-style housing, transient work patterns, and diagnostic delays might have contributed to increased opportunity for TB transmission. Clinicians in seasonally driven tourist destinations should be aware of the potential for imported TB disease in foreign-born seasonal workers and promptly report suspected cases to health officials.

Freshwater harmful algal blooms and cyanotoxin poisoning in domestic dogs.

Community Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Regarding Ebola Virus Disease - Five Counties, Liberia, September-October, 2014.

As of July 1, 2015, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have reported a total of 27,443 confirmed, probable, and suspected Ebola virus disease (Ebola) cases and 11,220 deaths. Guinea and Sierra Leone have yet to interrupt transmission of Ebola virus. In January, 2016, Liberia successfully achieved Ebola transmission-free status, with no new Ebola cases occurring during a 42-day period; however, new Ebola cases were reported beginning June 29, 2015. Local cultural practices and beliefs have posed challenges to disease control, and therefore, targeted, timely health messages are needed to address practices and misperceptions that might hinder efforts to stop the spread of Ebola. As early as September 2014, Ebola spread to most counties in Liberia. To assess Ebola-related knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) in the community, CDC epidemiologists who were deployed to the counties (field team), carried out a survey conducted by local trained interviewers. The survey was conducted in September and October 2014 in five counties in Liberia with varying cumulative incidence of Ebola cases. Survey results indicated several findings. First, basic awareness of Ebola was high across all surveyed populations (median correct responses = 16 of 17 questions on knowledge of Ebola transmission; range = 2-17). Second, knowledge and understanding of Ebola symptoms were incomplete (e.g., 61% of respondents said they would know if they had Ebola symptoms). Finally, certain fears about the disease were present: >90% of respondents indicated a fear of Ebola patients, >40% a fear of cured patients, and >50% a fear of treatment units (expressions of this last fear were greater in counties with lower Ebola incidence). This survey, which was conducted at a time when case counts were rapidly increasing in Liberia, indicated limited knowledge of Ebola symptoms and widespread fear of Ebola treatment units despite awareness of communication messages. Continued efforts are needed to address cultural practices and beliefs to interrupt Ebola transmission.