Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles >> Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participant lines are in the listen only mode. After today's presentations, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions, and you may do so over the phone by pressing star then one at that time. Today's conference call is being recorded. If you have any objections to this, please disconnect. Now, I would like to turn the call over to your host for today, Ms. Ria Ghai. Ms. Ghai, you may begin. >> Thanks so much, Brad. Good afternoon everyone. My name's Ria Ghai, and I work at the One Health office of the National Center of Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. On behalf of the One Health office, I'm pleased to welcome you to the monthly Zoonoses and One Health Update call for today, February 5th, 2020. ZOHU calls content is directed to epidemiologists, laboratorians, scientists, physicians, nurses, veterinarians, animal health officials and other public health professionals at the federal, state and local levels. Please be aware that CDC has no control over who participates on this conference call. Therefore, please exercise discretion on sensitive content and material, as confidentiality during these calls cannot be guaranteed. Today's call is being recorded, so if you have any objections, you may disconnect. Detailed instructions for obtaining free continuing education are available on our website and will be given at the end of the call. These presentations will not include any discussion of the unlabeled of a product or a product under investigational use. The planning committee reviewed content to ensure there is no bias. CDC did not accept commercial support for this activity. CDC, our planners, presenters and their spouses or partners disclosed that they have no financial interests or other relationships with the manufacturers of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters. Before we begin today's presentation, Colin Basler, a veterinarian epidemiologist with CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases will share some news and updates. Colin, please go ahead. >> Thanks, Ria. Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us for today's ZOHU call, and welcome to our new participants. The ZOHU call audience continues to grow with subscribers representing professionals from government, nongovernment organizations, industry and academia, including students. We appreciate your help spreading the word about the ZOHU call. Please continue to share the ZOHU call website link with your colleagues from human, animal, environment and other relevant sectors. The site includes links to past call recordings, information on free continuing education for a variety of professionals and a link to subscribe to the ZOHU call email list. To begin today's call, I'd like to share some highlights from the One Health News from CDC included in today's ZOHU call email newsletter. CDC's latest antibiotic resistance investments map is now available. And the United Nations has declared 2020 the international year of plant health. Some upcoming conferences include two here in Atlanta. The 2020 Inform Conference will be from March 9th through the 12th, and the 2020 Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference will be from May 4th through 7th. Applications are being accepted for the David J. Sencer Scholarship to attend the EIS conference. We've shared links to recent publications on several topics including: pool code updates and use of the model aquatic health code in the local jurisdictions; rabies outbreak in captive big brown bats used in white-nose syndrome vaccine trials; and the AVMA guidelines for the euthanasia of animals, the 2020 edition, has just been published. Recent publications in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of interest include Candida auris isolates resistant to three classes of antifungal medications, New York, 2019. Notes from the field about the 2019 multistate outbreak of Eastern equine encephalitis virus. And a third publication that just went live a few minutes ago, the MMWR on the initial public health response and interim guidance for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, United States, December 31st, 2019 to February 4th, 2020. Regarding outbreaks, CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness called by a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Please see CDC's website for more information, travel recommendations and resources. A new outbreak of salmonella infections list to small pet turtles has been posted. And updates for outbreaks of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce and Fresh Express Sunflower Crips Chopped Salad Kits have also been posted. A selected list of ongoing and past U.S. outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, as well as information on staying safe and healthy around animals, is available on CDC's healthy pets, healthy people website. The complete CDC current outbreak list, including foodborne outbreaks is available at CDC.gov/outbreaks. As always, if you would like for us to share news from your organization or if you want to suggest presentation topics or volunteer to present, please contact us at ZOHUcall@CDC.gov. Again, thank you for supporting the ZOHU call and for joining us today. We've got an exciting lineup of speakers and topics, and I'll now turn the call back over to Ria. >> Thanks so much, Colin. Today's presentations will address one or more of the following objectives. Describe two key points from each presentation. To describe how a multisectoral One Health approach can be applied to the presentation topics. To identify an implication for animal and human health. To identify a One Health approach strategy for prevention, detection or response to public health threats. Or finally, to identify two new resources from CDC partners. Questions for all presenters will be taken at the end of the call. Please call 1-800-857-9665 and enter participant passcode 6236326. Then press star one and give the operator your name and affiliation. Please name the presenter or topic at the beginning of each question. You'll find resources and links for all presentations on our website an in today's ZOHU call email. I'm now excited to announce our first presentation which is called Ticks, Tortoises and Tick-borne Relapsing Fever in the Mojave Desert which will be given by Molly June Bechtel. Molly, please go ahead and begin when you're ready. >> Thank you. So, today I'm going to talk about a very understudied relationship between a vector and its host, the desert tortoise, in the Mojave Desert. I'm going to start by giving some background on the Mojave Desert tortoise. The Mojave Desert tortoises are keystone species. They create a lot of habitat with their burrows for a myriad of species from rodents to birds to even insects. Unfortunately, their populations have been declining since the 80s, and they were listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services in 1990. Tortoise populations are monitored because in order to keep tabs on the populations, per government regulation, and we look for things like clinical signs of disease as well as other morphometrics just like size of the tortoise and weight. Ticks are also often noted on these tortoise health assessments. In fact, ticks are known to commonly parasitize desert tortoises, and the two species we know that do commonly parasitize tortoises are ornithodoros parkeri and ornithodoros turicatae. They're often called tortoise ticks, especially in the tortoise literature. Mostly because they're difficult to identify. You have to count the number of bumps on the back, on their backs to be able to distinguish the two species apart. Or they're also just listed as ornithodoros species when they're found on tortoises. So, these are soft ticks, and their biology is a little bit different than hard ticks. They are nidicolous, meaning that they like to be in dark burrows and dark places. Tortoises really create excellent habitat for these guys and their burrows. They're generalists, which means they're not specific to one particular species for the blood meal. They'll feed on anything, any animal that comes their way. And they commonly parasitize other tortoises. They're also vectors of the causative agent of tick-borne relapsing fever. Tick-borne relapsing fever is caused by a wide variety of species in the genus Borrelia. It's a familiar genus because Lyme disease is also caused by a species of Borrelia. But I'm going to be focusing on the relapsing fever Borrelia that occur in the new world. And you can see the new world clade include three species of Borrelia, two of which are specialized with their tick factor, ornithodoros parkeri and ornithodoros turicatae, that occur in the Mojave Desert and parasitize desert tortoises. Both species of Borrelia cause tick-borne relapsing fever or TBRF in people. TBRF is characterized by high fever, around 103 to 105 degrees. Headache, muscle and joint aches, symptoms very similar to the flu, except these symptoms will reoccur. So usually with a fever and other symptoms lasting for about three days followed by a febrile period for about a week. And then those symptoms will return for another three days. This cycle can occur several times without treatment. Sometimes symptoms will resolve on their own, but it's treated with antibiotics like doxycycline. And this could also occur and passed if they get bit by a tick carrying relapsing fever group Borrelia, which is dogs. These relapses are due to the ability of a Borrelia to undergo multiple cyclic anagenic variations. So, what happens is Borrelia invades our antibodies by switching the surface proteins they express and become unrecognizable to the immune system. These relapses can make TBRF difficult to diagnose, but also, people will go into the doctor, complain of symptoms that are very similar to the flu, and they'll be prescribed antibiotics and get better. And then they're never tested for TBRF. So, it's thought that TBRF is underreported. Regardless, ticks are common in desert tortoise habitat and do come in contact with people, which suggests that they are a transmission risk. But very little is known about the ticks in the Mojave, and even less is known about the relationship to their host, the desert tortoise. We do know, though, that about 10% of wild desert tortoises are sampled are parasitized by ticks, and almost half of all active tortoise burrows are invested, particular with ornithodoros parkeri. So, we also know that tortoises create habitats for rodents, which are documented as reservoirs of TBRF Borrelia group in other parts of the country. So tortoises may not even be a part of this transmission cycle other than serving as a source of nutrition and creating habitat for these ticks. But the fact remains that tortoise biologists do come in contact with these tick species as well as hundreds of pet owners in Las Vegas who have adopted desert tortoises. And these ticks are competent vectors of a pathogen that is harmful to people. So there is a to be addressed of transmission, and doctors should consider tick-borne relapsing fever. In fact, we do have two cases to illustrate that it is a transmission risk.