#Risk for Invasive #Streptococcal #Infections among #Adults Experiencing #Homelessness, #Anchorage, #Alaska, #USA, 2002–2015 (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 10—October 2019 / CME ACTIVITY – Research

Risk for Invasive Streptococcal Infections among Adults Experiencing Homelessness, Anchorage, Alaska, USA, 2002–2015

Emily Mosites  , Tammy Zulz, Dana Bruden, Leisha Nolen, Anna Frick, Louisa Castrodale, Joseph McLaughlin, Chris Van Beneden, Thomas W. Hennessy, and Michael G. Bruce

Author affiliations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anchorage, Alaska, USA (E. Mosites, T. Zulz, D. Bruden, L. Nolen, T.W. Hennessy, M.G. Bruce); Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Anchorage (A. Frick, L. Castrodale, J. McLaughlin); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (C. Van Beneden)

CME Editor: Jude Rutledge, BA, Technical Writer/Editor, Emerging Infectious Diseases. Disclosure: Jude Rutledge has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

CME Author: Charles P. Vega, MD, Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, Irvine, California. Disclosure: Charles P. Vega, MD, has disclosed the following relevant financial relationships: served as an advisor or consultant for Genentech, Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, L.L.C.; served as a speaker or a member of a speakers bureau for Shire.

Authors Disclosures: Emily Mosites, PhD, MPH; Tammy Zulz, MPH; Dana Bruden, MS; Leisha Nolen, MD, PhD; Anna Frick, MPH; Louisa Castrodale, DVM, MPH; Joe McLaughlin, MD, MPH; Chris A. Van Beneden, MD, MPH; Thomas Hennessy, MD, MPH; and Michael G. Bruce, MD, MPH, have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.



The risk for invasive streptococcal infection has not been clearly quantified among persons experiencing homelessness (PEH). We compared the incidence of detected cases of invasive group A Streptococcus infection, group B Streptococcus infection, and Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcal) infection among PEH with that among the general population in Anchorage, Alaska, USA, during 2002–2015. We used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arctic Investigations Program surveillance system, the US Census, and the Anchorage Point-in-Time count (a yearly census of PEH). We detected a disproportionately high incidence of invasive streptococcal disease in Anchorage among PEH. Compared with the general population, PEH were 53.3 times as likely to have invasive group A Streptococcus infection, 6.9 times as likely to have invasive group B Streptococcus infection, and 36.3 times as likely to have invasive pneumococcal infection. Infection control in shelters, pneumococcal vaccination, and infection monitoring could help protect the health of this vulnerable group.

Keywords: Streptococcus pneumoniae; Invasive Streptococcal Disease; Society; USA; Alaska.


Repeated detection of #carbapenemase-producing #Escherichia coli in #gulls inhabiting #Alaska, #USA (Antimicrob Agents Chemother., abstract)

[Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Repeated detection of carbapenemase-producing Escherichia coli in gulls inhabiting Alaska, USA

Christina A. Ahlstrom, Andrew M. Ramey, Hanna Woksepp, Jonas Bonnedahl

DOI: 10.1128/AAC.00758-19



We report the first detection of carbapenemase-producing Escherichia coli in Alaska and in wildlife in the United States. Wild bird (gull) feces sampled at three locations in Southcentral Alaska yielded isolates that harbored plasmid-encoded blaKPC-2 or chromosomally-encoded blaOXA-48, and genes associated with antimicrobial resistance to up to eight antibiotic classes.

Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Carbapenem; E. Coli; Wild birds; Alaska; USA.


#Human #Seroprevalence to 11 #Zoonotic #Pathogens in the #US #Arctic, #Alaska (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Human Seroprevalence to 11 Zoonotic Pathogens in the U.S. Arctic, Alaska

Karen M. Miernyk, Dana Bruden, Alan J. Parkinson, Debby Hurlburt, Joseph Klejka, James Berner, Robyn A. Stoddard, Sukwan Handali, Patricia P. Wilkins, Gilbert J. Kersh, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Mike A. Drebot, Jeffrey W. Priest, Ryan Pappert, Jeannine M. Petersen, Eyasu Teshale, Thomas W. Hennessy, and Michael G. Bruce

Published Online: 21 Feb 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2018.2390




Due to their close relationship with the environment, Alaskans are at risk for zoonotic pathogen infection. One way to assess a population’s disease burden is to determine the seroprevalence of pathogens of interest. The objective of this study was to determine the seroprevalence of 11 zoonotic pathogens in people living in Alaska.


In a 2007 avian influenza exposure study, we recruited persons with varying wild bird exposures. Using sera from this study, we tested for antibodies to Cryptosporidium spp., Echinococcus spp., Giardia intestinalis, Toxoplasma gondii, Trichinella spp., Brucella spp., Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, California serogroup bunyaviruses, and hepatitis E virus (HEV).


Eight hundred eighty-seven persons had sera tested, including 454 subsistence bird hunters and family members, 160 sport bird hunters, 77 avian wildlife biologists, and 196 persons with no wild bird exposure. A subset (n = 481) of sera was tested for California serogroup bunyaviruses. We detected antibodies to 10/11 pathogens. Seropositivity to Cryptosporidium spp. (29%), California serotype bunyaviruses (27%), and G. intestinalis (19%) was the most common; 63% (301/481) of sera had antibodies to at least one pathogen. Using a multivariable logistic regression model, Cryptosporidiumspp. seropositivity was higher in females (35.7% vs. 25.0%; p = 0.01) and G. intestinalis seropositivity was higher in males (21.8% vs. 15.5%; p = 0.02). Alaska Native persons were more likely than non-Native persons to be seropositive to C. burnetii(11.7% vs. 3.8%; p = 0.005) and less likely to be seropositive to HEV (0.4% vs. 4.1%; p = 0.01). Seropositivity to Cryptosporidium spp., C. burnetii, HEV, and Echinococcus granulosus was associated with increasing age (p ≤ 0.01 for all) as was seropositivity to ≥1 pathogen (p < 0.0001).


Seropositivity to zoonotic pathogens is common among Alaskans with the highest to Cryptosporidium spp., California serogroup bunyaviruses, and G. intestinalis. This study provides a baseline for use in assessing seroprevalence changes over time.

Keywords: Zoonoses; Seroprevalence; USA; Alaska.


#Influenza A virus recovery, diversity, and #intercontinental exchange: A multi-year assessment of #wildbird sampling at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, #Alaska (PLoS One, abstract)

[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Influenza A virus recovery, diversity, and intercontinental exchange: A multi-year assessment of wild bird sampling at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Andrew B. Reeves , Jeffrey S. Hall, Rebecca L. Poulson, Tyrone Donnelly, David E. Stallknecht, Andrew M. Ramey

Published: April 5, 2018 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195327



Western Alaska is a potential point-of-entry for foreign-origin influenza A viruses (IAVs) into North America via migratory birds. We sampled waterfowl and gulls for IAVs at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in western Alaska, USA, during late summer and autumn months of 2011–2015, to evaluate the abundance and diversity of viruses at this site. We collected 4842 samples across five years from 25 species of wild birds resulting in the recovery, isolation, and sequencing of 172 IAVs. With the intent of optimizing sampling efficiencies, we used information derived from this multi-year effort to: 1) evaluate from which species we consistently recover viruses, 2) describe viral subtypes of isolates by host species and year, 3) characterize viral gene segment sequence diversity with respect to host species, and assess potential differences in the viral lineages among the host groups, and 4) examine how evidence of intercontinental exchange of IAVs relates to host species. We consistently recovered viruses from dabbling ducks (Anas spp.), emperor geese (Chen canagica) and glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens). There was little evidence for differences in viral subtypes and diversity from different waterfowl hosts, however subtypes and viral diversity varied between waterfowl host groups and glaucous-winged gulls. Furthermore, higher proportions of viral sequences from northern pintails (Anas acuta), emperor geese and glaucous-winged gulls were grouped in phylogenetic clades that included IAV sequences originating from wild birds sampled in Asia as compared to non-pintail dabbling ducks, a difference that may be related to intercontinental migratory tendencies of host species. Our summary of research and surveillance efforts at Izembek NWR will assist in future prioritization of which hosts to sample and swab types to collect in Alaska and elsewhere in order to maximize isolate recovery, subtype and sequence diversity for resultant viruses, and detection of evidence for intercontinental viral exchange.


Citation: Reeves AB, Hall JS, Poulson RL, Donnelly T, Stallknecht DE, Ramey AM (2018) Influenza A virus recovery, diversity, and intercontinental exchange: A multi-year assessment of wild bird sampling at Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0195327. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0195327

Editor: Ulrich Melcher, Oklahoma State University, UNITED STATES

Received: January 16, 2018; Accepted: March 20, 2018; Published: April 5, 2018

This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Data Availability: All sequence data for this study are available at National Center for Biotechnology Information, GenBank: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank. GenBank accession numbers for viruses isolated as part of this study are: KP336376–KP336391, KT338310–KT338613, KY130518–KY131191, and KY131247–KY131435. Sample collection and laboratory data presented in this paper are publicly available via the U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center: https://alaska.usgs.gov/products/data_all.php.

Funding: This work was funded, in part, by the U.S. Geological Survey through the Wildlife Program of the Ecosystems Mission area and by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract HHSN272201400006C. The contents of this product are the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Wild Birds; Reassortant Strain; USA; Alaska.


Maintenance of #influenza A viruses and #antibody response in #mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) sampled during the non-breeding season in #Alaska (PLoS One, abstract)

[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Maintenance of influenza A viruses and antibody response in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) sampled during the non-breeding season in Alaska

Timothy J. Spivey , Mark S. Lindberg, Brandt W. Meixell, Kyle R. Smith, Wendy B. Puryear, Kimberly R. Davis, Jonathan A. Runstadler, David E. Stallknecht, Andrew M. Ramey

Published: August 24, 2017 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183505



Prevalence of influenza A virus (IAV) infections in northern-breeding waterfowl has previously been reported to reach an annual peak during late summer or autumn; however, little is known about IAV infection dynamics in waterfowl populations persisting at high-latitude regions such as Alaska, during winter. We captured mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) throughout the non-breeding season (August–April) of 2012–2015 in Fairbanks and Anchorage, the two largest cities in Alaska, to assess patterns of IAV infection and antibody production using molecular methods and a standard serologic assay. In addition, we used virus isolation, genetic sequencing, and a virus microneutralization assay to characterize viral subtypes and to evaluate the immune response of mallards captured on multiple occasions through time. We captured 923 mallards during three successive sampling years: Fairbanks in 2012/13 and 2013/14, and Anchorage in 2014/15. Prevalence varied by age, season, and year/site with high and relatively stable estimates throughout the non-breeding season. Infected birds were detected in all locations/seasons except early-winter in Fairbanks during 2013/14. IAVs with 17 combinations of hemagglutinin (H1–5, H7–9, H11, H12) and neuraminidase (N1–6, N8, N9) subtypes were isolated. Antibodies to IAVs were detected throughout autumn and winter for all sampling locations and years, however, seroprevalence was higher among adults and varied among years. Mallards exhibited individual heterogeneity with regard to immune response, providing instances of both seroconversion and seroreversion to detected viral subtypes. The probability that an individual transitioned from one serostatus to another varied by age, with juvenile mallards having higher rates of seroconversion and seroreversion than adults. Our study provides evidence that a diversity of IAVs circulate in populations of mallards wintering at urban locations in Alaska, and we suggest waterfowl wintering at high-latitudes may play an important role in maintenance of viruses across breeding seasons.


Citation: Spivey TJ, Lindberg MS, Meixell BW, Smith KR, Puryear WB, Davis KR, et al. (2017) Maintenance of influenza A viruses and antibody response in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) sampled during the non-breeding season in Alaska. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0183505. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183505

Editor: Balaji Manicassamy, The University of Chicago, UNITED STATES

Received: March 22, 2017; Accepted: August 4, 2017; Published: August 24, 2017

This is an open access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

Data Availability: Data generated during this study are available through the USGS data release policy at [https://doi.org/10.5066/F7CZ3626].

Funding: Funding was received by BWM and AMR from the U.S. Geological Survey Wildlife Program of the Ecosystems Mission area. Additional funding was provided in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contracts HHSN272201400006C received by DES and HHSN272201400008C received by JAR. The funding agencies were not involved in the design, implementation, or publishing of this study, and the research presented herein represents the opinions of the authors but not necessarily the opinions of the funding agencies. There was no additional external funding received for this study.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Wild Birds; Alaska.


#Reassortment of #Influenza A Viruses in #WildBirds in #Alaska before #H5 Clade #Outbreaks (@CDC_EIDjournal, abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 23, Number 4—April 2017 / Dispatch

Reassortment of Influenza A Viruses in Wild Birds in Alaska before H5 Clade Outbreaks

Nichola J. Hill, Islam T.M. Hussein, Kimberly R. Davis, Eric J. Ma, Timothy J. Spivey, Andrew M. Ramey, Wendy Blay Puryear, Suman R. Das, Rebecca A. Halpin, Xudong Lin, Nadia B. Fedrova, David L. Suarez, Walter M. Boyce, and Jonathan A. Runstadler

Author affiliations: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (N.J. Hill, I.T.M. Hussein, K.R. Davis, E.J. Ma, W.B. Puryear, J.A. Runstadler); University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska, USA (T.J. Spivey); US Geological Survey, Anchorage, Alaska, USA (T.J. Spivey, A.M. Ramey); Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (S. Das); J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, Maryland, USA (R.A. Halpin, X. Lin, N.B. Fedrova); Department of Agriculture, Athens, Georgia, USA (D.L. Suarez); University of California, Davis, California, USA (W.M. Boyce)



Sampling of mallards in Alaska during September 2014–April 2015 identified low pathogenic avian influenza A virus (subtypes H5N2 and H1N1) that shared ancestry with highly pathogenic reassortant H5N2 and H5N1 viruses. Molecular dating indicated reassortment soon after interhemispheric movement of H5N8 clade, suggesting genetic exchange in Alaska or surrounds before outbreaks.

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Reassortant Strains; H5N1; H1N1; H5N2; H5N8; Alaska; Wild birds.


Reoccurrence of #Avian #Influenza A(#H5N2) Virus Clade in #WildBirds, #Alaska, #USA, 2016 (@CDC_EIDjournal, abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 23, Number 2—February 2017 / Letter

Reoccurrence of Avian Influenza A(H5N2) Virus Clade in Wild Birds, Alaska, USA, 2016



We report reoccurrence of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N2) virus clade in a wild mallard in Alaska, USA, in August 2016. Identification of this virus in a migratory species confirms low-frequency persistence in North America and the potential for re-dissemination of the virus during the 2016 fall migration.

Keywords: Avian Influenza, H5N2, Alaska, USA, Wildbirds.


#H9N2 #Influenza A Virus Isolated from a Greater White-Fronted Wild #Goose (Anser albifrons) in #Alaska Has a Mutation in the #PB2 Gene, Which Is Associated with #Pathogenicity in #Human #Pandemic 2009 #H1N1 (Genome Announc., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Genome Announc. 2016 Sep 1;4(5). pii: e00869-16. doi: 10.1128/genomeA.00869-16.

H9N2 Influenza A Virus Isolated from a Greater White-Fronted Wild Goose (Anser albifrons) in Alaska Has a Mutation in the PB2 Gene, Which Is Associated with Pathogenicity in Human Pandemic 2009 H1N1.

Reeves AB1, Ip HS2.

Author information: 1U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska, USA areeves@usgs.gov. 2U.S. Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



We report here the genomic sequence of an H9N2 influenza A virus [A/greater white-fronted goose/Alaska/81081/2008 (H9N2)]. This virus shares ≥99.8% identity with a previously reported virus. Both strains contain a G590S mutation in the polymerase basic 2 (PB2) gene, which is a pathogenicity marker in the pandemic 2009 H1N1 virus when combined with R591.

Copyright © 2016 Reeves and Ip.

PMID: 27587808 DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00869-16


Keywords: Research; Abstracts; Avian Influenza; H1N1pdm09; H9N2; Seasonal Influenza; Reassortant Strain; Wildbirds; Alaska.


#Surveillance for #Eurasian-origin and #intercontinental #reassortant highly pathogenic #influenza A #viruses in #Alaska, spring and summer 2015 (BMC, abstract)

[Source: BioMedCentral, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Short report / Open Access

Surveillance for Eurasian-origin and intercontinental reassortant highly pathogenic influenza A viruses in Alaska, spring and summer 2015

Andrew M. Ramey, John M. Pearce, Andrew B. Reeves, Rebecca L. Poulson, Jennifer Dobson,  Brian Lefferts, Kyle Spragens and David E. Stallknecht

Virology Journal / 201613:55 / DOI: 10.1186/s12985-016-0511-9

© Ramey et al. 2016

Received: 21 December 2015 – Accepted: 21 March 2016 – Published: 31 March 2016




Eurasian-origin and intercontinental reassortant highly pathogenic (HP) influenza A viruses (IAVs) were first detected in North America in wild, captive, and domestic birds during November–December 2014. Detections of HP viruses in wild birds in the contiguous United States and southern Canadian provinces continued into winter and spring of 2015 raising concerns that migratory birds could potentially disperse viruses to more northerly breeding areas where they could be maintained to eventually seed future poultry outbreaks.


We sampled 1,129 wild birds on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, one of the largest breeding areas for waterfowl in North America, during spring and summer of 2015 to test for Eurasian lineage and intercontinental reassortant HP H5 IAVs and potential progeny viruses. We did not detect HP IAVs in our sample collection from western Alaska; however, we isolated five low pathogenic (LP) viruses. Four isolates were of the H6N1 (n = 2), H6N2, and H9N2 combined subtypes whereas the fifth isolate was a mixed infection that included H3 and N7 gene segments. Genetic characterization of these five LP IAVs isolated from cackling (Branta hutchinsii; n = 2) and greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons; n = 3), revealed three viral gene segments sharing high nucleotide identity with HP H5 viruses recently detected in North America. Additionally, one of the five isolates was comprised of multiple Eurasian lineage gene segments.


Our results did not provide direct evidence for circulation of HP IAVs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Alaska during spring and summer of 2015. Prevalence and genetic characteristics of LP IAVs during the sampling period are concordant with previous findings of relatively low viral prevalence in geese during spring, non-detection of IAVs in geese during summer, and evidence for intercontinental exchange of viruses in western Alaska.

Keywords: Alaska – H5N1 – H5N2 – H5N8 – Highly pathogenic – Influenza – Migratory bird – Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

Keywords: Research; Abstracts; Avian Influenza; USA; Alaska; Wild Birds; H6N1; H6N2; H9N2; Reassortant Strains.


#USGS Projects Large #Loss of #Alaska #Permafrost by 2100 (USGS, Nov. 30 ‘15)

[Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), full page: (LINK).]

USGS Projects Large Loss of Alaska Permafrost by 2100 [  ENVR   ]

Released: 11/30/2015 1:35:24 PM

Contact Information: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Communications and Publishing, 12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119, Reston, VA 20192 / Jon Campbell, Phone: 703-648-4180 / Bruce  Wylie, Phone: 605-594-6078


Using statistically modeled maps drawn from satellite data and other sources, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have projected that the near-surface permafrost that presently underlies 38 percent of boreal and arctic Alaska would be reduced by 16 to 24 percent by the end of the 21st century under widely accepted climate scenarios. Permafrost declines are more likely in central Alaska than northern Alaska.

Northern latitude tundra and boreal forests are experiencing an accelerated warming trend that is greater than in other parts of the world.  This warming trend degrades permafrost, defined as ground that stays below freezing for at least two consecutive years. Some of the adverse impacts of melting permafrost are changing pathways of ground and surface water, interruptions of regional transportation, and the release to the atmosphere of previously stored carbon.

“A warming climate is affecting the Arctic in the most complex ways,” said Virginia Burkett, USGS Associate Director for Climate and Land Use Change.

“Understanding the current distribution of permafrost and estimating where it is likely to disappear are key factors in predicting the future responses of northern ecosystems to climate change.”

In addition to developing maps of near-surface permafrost distributions, the researchers developed maps of maximum thaw depth, or active-layer depth, and provided uncertainty estimates. 

Future permafrost distribution probabilities, based on future climate scenarios produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were also estimated by the USGS scientists.  Widely used IPCC climate scenarios anticipate varied levels of climate mitigation action by the global community.

These future projections of permafrost distribution, however, did not include other possible future disturbances in the future, such as wildland fires. In general, the results support concerns about permafrost carbon becoming available to decomposition and greenhouse gas emission.

The research has been published in Remote Sensing of Environment.  The current near-surface permafrost map is available via ScienceBase.


Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska. Future scenarios.


Current probability of near-surface permafrost in Alaska. Future scenarios. (High resolution image)


Keywords: Research; USA; USGS; Updates; Permafrost; Alaska; Climate Change; Global Warming.