Community Awareness

Welcome to the St. Tammany Parish Government Community Awareness page. As information that pertains to relevant and timely events in our community becomes available, St. Tammany Parish Government is committed to making this information readily accessible to our residents through this information portal. Event details as well as additional resources on significant occurrences pertaining to events, will be housed here. As always, you can contact St. Tammany Parish Government directly at 985-898-5243 with questions or concerns.
Community Awareness

Community Awareness

Late November 2014, two non-human primates in the breeding colony at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), a private research facility, became ill.  In mid- December 2014, samples submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Burkholderia Pseudomallei as the causative agent.  This strain of bacteria is not endemic in the US but was the subject of research at TNPRC.  Because Burkholderia Pseudomallei is a tier 1 agent and the material was considered not in containment, the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated a joint investigation of TNPRC in January 2015.  As part of the investigation conducted January 20-24, federal and state scientists visited the TNPRC site to conduct epidemiological study and to review lab practices to determine possible route of transmission. 

Animal IB22, one of two animals initially confirmed with Burkholderia pseudomallei infection, was euthanized last month at the recommendation of TNPRC veterinarians. IB22 had previously resolved all signs related to Burkholderia infection after receiving a course of antibiotics, the last dose of which occurred on January 5, 2015. Since that time IB22 has been monitored in the hospital.  In Mid-February, IB22 demonstrated decreased appetite and was examined by the veterinarian in charge on Thursday, Feb. 19. During the examination, two skin ulcerations and testicular swelling were noted. Several veterinarians were consulted and agreed that another course of antibiotic therapy should not be attempted. A decision to humanely euthanize the animal was made. Samples were collected for submission to the CDC and the TNPRC clinical pathology laboratory.  A third monkey was also treated for showing an immune response to exposure.

Additional testing last month indicated a fourth non-human primate exhibited antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei at the Tulane National Research Primate Center breeding colony.  The animal’s only contact with the others monkeys was at the center’s veterinary clinic.  CDC and USDA/APHIS investigators, as part of their ongoing efforts, will focus efforts on the veterinary clinic as a possible source of cross-contamination between the animals.  The investigation into how the bacteria may have migrated to the primate colony from the select agent laboratory continues.

More testing by CDC this week identified a fifth non-human primate at the Tulane National Research Primate Center breeding colony with antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei.  The animal’s only contact with the four other monkeys (two diagnosed with Melioidosis and two showing an immune response to exposure) was at the center’s veterinary clinic, which has since been decontaminated.  The decision was made to euthanize the animal.

Recently, one of the USDA investigators fell ill with unspecific symptoms.  A blood test was conducted and test results from Friday, February 6th indicated a presence of antibodies in the blood indicating some exposure to BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI.  The investigator was discharged from the hospital a few days later and she is no longer sick.  The person’s travel history does include a visit to a region that may have provided an opportunity for exposure.  Federal and state agencies are aggressively trying to determine if the illness was related to the facility visit or past travel.  The latest round of testing for the investigator was delayed due to the recent winter weather conditions near the person’s home.  

The other members of the investigative team are being tested for possible exposure to the bacteria for baseline comparison and possible future diagnosis.  This testing will provide some indication regarding route of transmission.

The CDC, USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are working with Tulane University as well as state and local officials to identify, isolate, mitigate and prevent further transmission of BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI within TNPRC.   Environmental testing, including air, water and soil sampling, have been negative to this point.

Situational Update: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015, as of 2pm CST:

CDC:

-CDC and USDA/APHIS investigators, as part of their ongoing efforts, continue to focus efforts on the veterinary clinic as a possible source of cross-contamination between the animals; all five were seen at the clinic before it was decontaminated. The investigation continues into how the bacteria might have migrated to the primate colony from the select agent laboratory.

-All Tulane staff identified as greatest risk and who submitted samples have tested negative for exposure to the bacterium.  The staff at greatest risk included lab workers, veterinary staff and facilities services personnel who cleaned the lab or the clinic.

Tulane:

-Continues to work with federal and state officials to determine how the non-human primates may have contracted the bacteria.

USDA:

-As part of the ongoing effort to manage the release of Burkholderia pseudomallei from the Tulane National Primate Research Center, USDA and Louisiana State officials are developing a plan to test wildlife in and around the facility in order to evaluate whether organism exists in rodents, raccoons, and possums.  If infected, wildlife have the potential to carry Burkholderia pseudomallei to other areas, so is important to know whether they are impacted.

***State agencies and St. Tammany Parish are in the process of developing both short and long range monitoring plans to be carried out by Tulane and the federal agencies involved in the oversight of this private facility.***

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals and is treatable with antibiotics.  The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.

It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source.  It is not known to spread from human to human or from animal to human.

CDC’s role is to protect the health and safety of researchers and the public. For more information about melioidosis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/melioidosis/index.html.  Questions regarding the investigation and remediation activities should be directed to CDC (Jason McDonald) at 404-387-3660.  Questions regarding the TPNRC facility should be directed to Tulane (Mike Strecker) at 504-512-1347. All other questions or concerns should be directed to Mike Steele at Mike.Steele@La.gov .

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, the St. Tammany Parish Government Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, officials from the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, are among several state and federal investigative agencies that will be on hand at an informational meeting regarding the ongoing investigation at the TNPRC, to be held on Tuesday, March 31, 2015. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m., in the St. Tammany Parish Council Chambers located at 21490 Koop Drive in Mandeville. Also on hand from the State of Louisiana will be representatives from the Department of Health and Hospitals, the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Department of Environmental Quality. Federal agencies will include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This meeting is open to the public, but residents who live nearby and families with students in nearby schools are encouraged to attend if they have questions or concerns.

Late November 2014, two non-human primates in the breeding colony at the (TNPRC), a private research facility, became ill.  In mid-December 2014, samples submitted to the CDC identified Burkholderia Pseudomallei as the causative agent.  This strain of bacteria is not endemic in the U.S. but was the subject of research at TNPRC.  Because Burkholderia Pseudomallei is a tier 1 agent and the material was considered not in containment, the CDC and USDA initiated a joint investigation of TNPRC in January 2015.  As part of the investigation conducted January 20-24, federal and state scientists visited the TNPRC site to conduct epidemiological study and to review lab practices to determine possible route of transmission. 

All media releases to date on this matter can be found at www.stpgov.org/community-awareness.

Late November 2014, two non-human primates in the breeding colony at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), a private research facility, became ill.  In mid- December 2014, samples submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Burkholderia Pseudomallei as the causative agent.  This strain of bacteria is not endemic in the US but was the subject of research at TNPRC.  Because Burkholderia Pseudomallei is a tier 1 agent and the material was considered not in containment, the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated a joint investigation of TNPRC in January 2015.  As part of the investigation conducted January 20-24, federal and state scientists visited the TNPRC site to conduct epidemiological study and to review lab practices to determine possible route of transmission. 

Animal IB22, one of two animals initially confirmed with Burkholderia pseudomallei infection, was euthanized yesterday (Feb. 19) at the recommendation of TNPRC veterinarians. IB22 had previously resolved all signs related to Burkholderia infection after receiving a course of antibiotics, the last dose of which occurred on January 5, 2015. Since that time IB22 has been monitored in the hospital. Over the past week, IB22 demonstrated decreased appetite and was examined by the veterinarian in charge on Thursday, Feb. 19. During the examination, two skin ulcerations and testicular swelling were noted. Several veterinarians were consulted and agreed that another course of antibiotic therapy should not be attempted. A decision to humanely euthanize the animal was made. Samples are being collected for submission to the CDC and the TNPRC clinical pathology laboratory.

Recently, one of the investigators fell ill with unspecific symptoms.  A blood test was conducted and test results from Friday, February 6th indicated a presence of antibodies in the blood indicating some exposure to BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI.  The investigator was discharged from the hospital Sunday and she is no longer sick.  The person’s travel history does include a visit to a region that may have provided an opportunity for exposure.  Federal and state agencies are aggressively trying to determine if the illness was related to the facility visit or past travel.  

The other members of the investigative team are being tested for possible exposure to the bacteria for baseline comparison and possible future diagnosis.  This testing will provide some indication regarding route of transmission.

The CDC, USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are working with Tulane University as well as state and local officials to identify, isolate, mitigate and prevent further transmission of BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI within TNPRC.   Environmental testing, including air, water, soil sampling, will guide remediation activities. Once samples are collected, it will take 1-2 weeks to obtain results.

Situational Update: Friday, February 20, 2015, as of 2pm CST: FROM CDC:

(Weekly Recap)

CDC:

-Additional testing this week indicated a fourth non-human primate exhibited antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei at the Tulane National Research Primate Center breeding colony.  The animal’s only contact with the three others monkeys (two of which were diagnosed with Meliodosis and the other just showing an immune response to exposure) was at the center’s veterinary clinic.  CDC and USDA/APHIS investigators, as part of their ongoing efforts, will focus efforts on the veterinary clinic as a possible source of cross-contamination between the animals.  The investigation into how the bacteria may have migrated to the primate colony from the select agent laboratory continues.

-Nine environmental air samples sent to CDC from EPA investigators tested negative for Burkholderia pseudomallei, indicating the bacterium is not in the air on the research center campus.  Soil and water sample testing is underway with results expected over the next couple of weeks.

-Another blood sample will be taken from the USDA/APHIS select agent inspector who visited the research center in January 2015 and whose previous two blood samples indicated a consistent immune response to exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei.  This test result will help CDC experts determine if the inspector’s exposure to the bacterium was at the primate research center in January or from a previous event.  The inspector indicated to a CDC epidemiologist on Feb. 7, 2015, that she had traveled previously to a region of the world where Burkholderia pseudomallei is endemic.  Test results should be known by Monday, February 23RD.

-CDC is committed to the health security of Americans and will continue to fully investigate this incident.

Tulane:

-Continues to work with federal and state officials to determine how the non-human primates may have contracted the bacteria.

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals and is treatable with antibiotics. The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.

It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source.  It is not known to spread from human to human or from animal to human.

CDC’s role is to protect the health and safety of researchers and the public. For more information about melioidosis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/melioidosis/index.html.  Questions regarding the investigation and remediation activities should be directed to CDC (Jason McDonald) at 404-387-3660.  Questions regarding the TPNRC facility should be directed to Tulane (Mike Strecker) at 504-512-1347. All other questions or concerns should be directed to Mike Steele at Mike.Steele@La.gov .

Late November 2014, two non-human primates in the breeding colony at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), a private research facility, became ill; one of the two was euthanized, the other one fully recovered.   In mid- December 2014, samples submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Burkholderia Pseudomallei as the causative agent.  This strain of bacteria is not endemic in the US but was the subject of research at TNPRC.  Because Burkholderia Pseudomallei is a tier 1 agent and the material was considered not in containment, the CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) initiated a joint investigation of TNPRC in January 2015.  As part of the investigation conducted January 20-24, federal and state scientists visited the TNPRC site to conduct epidemiological study and to review lab practices to determine possible route of transmission. 

Recently, one of the investigators fell ill with unspecific symptoms.  A blood test was conducted and test results from Friday, February 6th indicated a presence of antibodies in the blood indicating some exposure to BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI.  The investigator was discharged from the hospital Sunday and she is no longer sick.  The person’s travel history does include a visit to a region that may have provided an opportunity for exposure.  Federal and state agencies are aggressively trying to determine if the illness was related to the facility visit or past travel.

The other members of the investigative team are being tested for possible exposure to the bacteria for baseline comparison and possible future diagnosis.  This testing will provide some indication regarding route of transmission.

The CDC, USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are working with Tulane University as well as state and local officials to identify, isolate, mitigate and prevent further transmission of BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI within TNPRC.   Environmental testing, including air, water, soil sampling, will guide remediation activities. Once samples are collected, it will take 1-2 weeks to obtain results.

Situational Update: Thursday, February 19, 2015, as of 2pm CST: FROM CDC:

CDC:

-Additional testing this week indicated a fourth non-human primate exhibited antibodies to Burkholderia pseudomallei at the Tulane National Research Primate Center breeding colony.  The animal’s only contact with the three others monkeys (two of which were diagnosed with Meliodosis and the other just showing an immune response to exposure) was at the center’s veterinary clinic.  CDC and USDA/APHIS investigators, as part of their ongoing efforts, will focus efforts on the veterinary clinic as a possible source of cross-contamination between the animals.  The investigation into how the bacteria may have migrated to the primate colony from the select agent laboratory continues.

-Nine environmental air samples sent to CDC from EPA investigators tested negative for Burkholderia pseudomallei, indicating the bacterium is not in the air on the research center campus.  Soil and water sample testing is underway with results expected over the next couple of weeks.

-Another blood sample will be taken from the USDA/APHIS select agent inspector who visited the research center in January 2015 and whose previous two blood samples indicated a consistent immune response to exposure to Burkholderia pseudomallei.  This test result will help CDC experts determine if the inspector’s exposure to the bacterium was at the primate research center in January or from a previous event.  The inspector indicated to a CDC epidemiologist on Feb. 7, 2015, that she had traveled previously to a region of the world where Burkholderia pseudomallei is endemic.  Test results should be known by Monday, February 23RD.

-CDC is committed to the health security of Americans and will continue to fully investigate this incident.

Tulane:

-Continues to work with federal and state officials to determine how the non-human primates may have contracted the bacteria.

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH):

-On Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, DHH assisted Tulane with obtaining blood samples from Tulane’s staff for serological testing.  CDC questionnaires were administered and 11 blood samples were obtained.  Ten samples will be sent to CDC for serological testing and one sample will be banked at the request of the individual.

-DHH staff will enter any CDC lab test results into the ongoing database and directly communicate results to Louisiana residents as they become available.

-DHH continues support by attending daily UCG meetings at the St. Tammany EOC to obtain visibility on multi-agency response activities;

o   participates in TNPRC conference calls to offer epidemiologic opinion;

o   serves as liaison between CDC subject matter experts and the State Health Officer;

o   and serves as liaison between subject matter experts at Tulane and the state response personnel.

Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals and is treatable with antibiotics. The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.

It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source.  It is not known to spread from human to human or from animal to human.

CDC’s role is to protect the health and safety of researchers and the public. For more information about melioidosis, visit http://www.cdc.gov/melioidosis/index.html.  Questions regarding the investigation and remediation activities should be directed to CDC (Jason McDonald) at 404-387-3660.  Questions regarding the TPNRC facility should be directed to Tulane (Mike Strecker) at 504-512-1347. All other questions or concerns should be directed to Mike Steele at Mike.Steele@La.gov .

Late November 2014, two non-human primates in the breeding colony at the Tulane National Primate Research Center (TNPRC), a private research facility, became ill and one was euthanized.   In late- December 2014, samples submitted to the CDC identified Burkholderia Pseudomallei  as the causative agent.  This strain of bacteria is not endemic in the US but was the subject of research at TNPRC.  Because Burkholderia Pseudomallei is a tier 1 agent and the material was considered not in containment, the CDC and USDA initiated a joint investigation of TNPRC in January 2015.  As part of the investigation conducted January 20-24, federal and state scientists visited the TNPRC site to conduct epidemiological study and to review lab practices to determine possible route of transmission. 

A recent event is that one of the investigators fell ill with unspecific symptoms.  A blood test was conducted and yesterday test results indicated a presence of antibodies in the blood indicating some exposure to BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI .   It is too early to determine whether exposure was related to this recent visit to the center or whether the sick individual’s travel history may have provided an opportunity for exposure.  

 The other members of the investigative team will be tested for possible exposure to the bacteria for baseline comparison and possible future diagnosis.  This testing will provide some indication regarding route of transmission.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), continues to work with Tulane University and state and local officials to identify, isolate, mitigate and prevent further transmission of BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI within the compound.   Environmental testing – including Air, water, soil sampling - will guide remediation activities. Once samples are collected, it will take 1-2 weeks to obtain results.

Multiple steps are being taken to caution and advise workers, investigators, and neighboring stakeholders while the investigation continues.  At present, there is no reason to believe that BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI has expanded beyond TPNRC.  There are no reports of sick individuals at TPNRC.  There are no reports of sick non-human primates at TPNRC.  BP is not airborne and it is rarely transmitted from person to person or animal to person.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Earlier today, I spoke with President Brister and Superintendent Folse to pledge the state’s support. State agencies are on the ground and embedded in St. Tammany’s emergency operations center, and I have charged our agencies to lean forward and support their federal partners.”

BURKHOLDERIA PSEUDOMALLEI is a causative agent for the disease Melioidosis.  Melioidosis, also called Whitmore’s disease, is an infectious disease that can infect humans or animals and is treatable with antibiotics. The disease is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei.

It is predominately a disease of tropical climates, especially in Southeast Asia and northern Australia where it is widespread. The bacteria causing melioidosis are found in contaminated water and soil. It is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with the contaminated source.

http://www.cdc.gov/melioidosis/index.html