Category Archives: Shellfish

WASHINGTON warns of Paralytic SHELLFISH Poison biotoxin found in central and south Puget Sound waters ~ LYME DISEASE Stories presented by CDC ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from NE, SC, & TX ~ RABIES reports from FL, NY, NC, TX, & VA.

Scallop eyes. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Washington 07/31/12 wa.gov: News Release – Shellfish collected from a large area of central and south Puget Sound contain enough Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) biotoxin to make people sick. So, the Washington State Department of Health has closed recreational shellfish harvest in Jefferson, Island, Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties. Commercially harvested shellfish have been thoroughly tested and should be safe to eat. Warning signs are posted at beaches used by recreational shellfish harvesters to warn people not to collect shellfish from the closed areas. The closures include clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, geoduck, and other species of molluscan shellfish. Crab is not included in the closure, but “crab butter” should not be eaten. The PSP toxin is produced by algae that are often more common during the warmest months of the year.

People can get very sick from eating shellfish contaminated with the toxin. Marine biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet. This is followed by difficulty breathing, and potentially death. Anyone who has eaten shellfish and begins having these symptoms should get medical help immediately. A person can’t tell if PSP is present by looking at the water or shellfish. For this reason, the term “red tide,” which is often used for PSP, is misleading and inaccurate. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing. Before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington, people should check for updated closure information on our Shellfish Safety Website or call our Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. The Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information.

National 07/31/12 cdc.gov: News Release –  Lyme Disease Stories presents true experiences of people who have had Lyme disease.  In the first story (a video), you’ll meet John, a dad who caught Lyme disease on a camping trip with his son.   This video describes how the early symptoms felt and how he was treated by his physician, Dr. Heaton.  Dr. Heaton talks about some common concerns that patients have with Lyme disease and where it occurs.  John follows up with some tips for avoiding tick bites and Lyme disease.

You’ll also read about Linda, who had Lyme disease on two separate occasions. Read her story to find out how she felt and why it’s important to remain vigilant against ticks. – For John’s video and Linda’s Story go to http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/diagnosistreatment/Stories/index.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Nebraska 07/31/12 Jefferson County: Public health officials have confirmed that a mosquito trapped in the county has tested positive for WNV. – See http://beatricedailysun.com/news/local/west-nile-virus-found-in-jefferson-county/article_a9ba8467-4f0b-5e89-abba-50ec6a9fa0df.html

South Carolina 07/31/12 the tandd.com: by Dionne Gleaton – A local man is one of three newly confirmed human cases of WNV in the state. “The new cases are a middle-aged man from Orangeburg County, a middle-aged man from Lexington County and a middle-aged man from Richland County,” said Dr. Linda Bell, interim state epidemiologist. “Combined with the case identified in a Charleston County woman last week, we now have identified a total of four human cases. – See http://thetandd.com/news/local/local-man-contracts-west-nile-virus/article_8d52c1d0-dac0-11e1-972b-0019bb2963f4.html

Texas 07/31/12 Travis County: Health officials confirmed today that a resident has died of WNV, the more serious neuroinvasive form. The death is the first from WNV in the county since 2003. Three other human cases are being investigated by county officials. – See http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/health/entries/2012/07/31/travis_county_has_first_west_n.html

Rabies:

Florida 07/30/12 wtvy.com: The Washington County Health Department is investigating a case or cases of rabies in domestic cats. A resident of Washington County moved to south Florida. A neighbor who lives in Graceville (Jackson County) was feeding the resident’s four cats and noticed that they appeared sick. One cat was taken to a veterinarian and tested positive for rabies. Two of the three remaining cats were euthanized. The fourth cat had been transported to Holmes County and has disappeared. Two residents of Jackson County and one resident in Alabama are receiving rabies vaccine as a precautionary measure. Neighbors reported seeing other cats feeding with the original four cats and report many stray cats in the area. Dogs and other animals could also have been exposed. The area in question is in northern Washington County, just south of the Jackson County line near Highway 77.

New York 07/31/12 Elmsford, Westchester County: A rabies alert has been issued to residents who may have had contact with a rabid stray cat in Elmsford, on Winthrop Avenue between White Plains Avenue and Payne Street, on or before Friday, July 27. The health department used robo-calls to notify residents who live within a quarter-mile of the area where the cat was found. The cat was an adult charcoal gray short-haired cat with yellowish-green eyes and a dirty coat. It had tried to attack a woman and a man in the neighborhood before it attacked a police officer, who had responded to a call and then shot the cat. Testing confirmed the cat was rabid. The officer has already begun post-exposure rabies treatment. There was no other known contact with people or pets. – See http://tarrytown.patch.com/articles/health-dept-rabid-cat-found-in-elmsford-b2852c8d#photo-9847645

North Carolina 07/31/12 Mooresville, Iredell County: Twelve people are being treated for potential exposure to rabies after a puppy that was a center of attention at a family fish fry dies of the virus. – See http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/officials-12-people-child-being-treated-rabies-aft/nP7P5/

Texas 07/30/12 Cedar Park, Travis & Williamson counties: A bat found July 27th at the Twin Lakes YMCA, 204 East Little Elm Trail, has tested positive for rabies. A camp counselor found the bat buried in the sand at the lake beach, and officials ask anyone who came into contact with it to seek immediate medical advice. – See http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/williamson/entries/2012/07/30/rabid_bat_found_in_cedar_park.html

Virginia 07/30/12 Henrico County: A raccoon that attacked two dogs in the 7500 block of Ansley Road on July 26th has tested positive for rabies. Both dogs have been quarantined. – See http://wtvr.com/2012/07/30/henrico-rabies-case-leaves-2-dogs-quarantined/

Visitors at California’s Riley Wilderness Park report MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ New Jersey HORSE with EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS euthanized ~ Texas coastal waters closed to most SHELLFISH harvesting due to RED TIDE ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from California (2), & Florida ~ and a RABIES report from Massachusetts ~ CDC Reports: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending October 15, 2011.

Mountain Lion. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 10/26/11 Trabuco Canyon, Orange County: Two mountain lion sightings reported at Thomas R. Riley Wilderness Park not far from Wagon Wheel Elementary School. See http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/10/mountain-lion-sighted-orange-county.html

New Jersey 10/27/11 Gloucester County: A horse that contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been euthanized. Viral diseases affecting horses’ neurological systems must be reported to the state veterinarian at 609-292-3965 within 48 hours of diagnosis. See http://www.harnesslink.com/www/Article.cgi?ID=93471

Texas 10/26/11 dshs.state.tx.us: News Release – The Texas Department of State Health Services announced today that oyster harvesting in all Texas coastal waters is closed due to red tide, an algal bloom of Karenia brevis. Red tide has been detected along the Texas coastline from Brownsville to Galveston. As a result, all Texas coastal waters are closed to the commercial and recreational harvesting of oysters, clams and mussels until further notice. Normally, the public can harvest oysters from Nov. 1 through April 30. The algae contain a toxin that can accumulate in the tissue of oysters, clams, mussels and whelks and cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning, or NSP, in humans who consume them. NSP symptoms can include nausea, dizziness, dilated pupils and tingling sensations in the extremities.

DSHS is advising people not to harvest and eat oysters, clams, or mussels from Texas coastal waters. Oysters can be toxic without any indication of red tide such as discolored waters, respiratory irritation or dead fish. People are also advised not to harvest and eat whelks from Texas waters as these species also accumulate toxin from the red tide organism. The warning does not apply to other types of seafood such as shrimp, finfish, crabs or to commercial seafood products from other states or countries. Oysters in the market place that were harvested before the red tide began or from other states are not affected by this algal bloom.

The red tide toxin also can become aerosolized and cause coughing and irritation of the throat and eyes. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma may experience more pronounced symptoms. Respiratory symptoms usually subside when affected people leave the red tide areas. DSHS will continue to monitor the red tide and will open areas to harvesting when it is safe to do so. For the latest information on the opening and closing of oyster harvest areas, call DSHS at 1-800-685-0361. For information on red tide, visit http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/seafood/redtide.shtm

Tanager on CDC's West Nile Virus mortality database.

California 10/26/11 West Hollywood, Los Angeles County: A dead bird tested positive for West Nile Virus. There have been at least 128 separate reports of the virus being found in mosquitoes, birds, or squirrels in the county this year. See http://www.bilerico.com/2011/10/health_dead_bird_with_west_nile_virus_found_in_wes.php

California 10/26/11 Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District: Six mosquitoes in Ellis Creek area tested positive for West Nile Virus. See http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111026/COMMUNITY/111029653/1036/business?Title=Mosquitoes-with-West-Nile-Virus-found-at-Ellis-Creek

Florida 10/26/11 Brooksville, Hernando County: A second sentinel chicken has tested positive for West Nile Virus this year. Both chickens are from a flock kept in the Royal Highlands area. See http://www.baynews9.com/article/news/2011/october/334023/West-Nile-virus-detected-in-chicken-in-Hernando-County?cid=rss

Massachusetts 10/25/11 Brookline, Norfolk County: A Rabies Advisory issued after one raccoon tests positive for the virus, and another raccoon that more recently attacked a pet is suspected of being rabid. See http://brookline.patch.com/articles/rabies-alert-rabies-suspected-in-brookline-area-raccoon

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending October 15, 2011:

Published October 21, 2011 / 60(41); 1430-1443

Anaplasmosis . . . 2 . . . Maryland (2),

Babesiosis . . . 5 . . . New York (5),

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Arizona, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 1 . . . Arkansas,

Giardiasis . . . 200 . . . Arizona, Arkansas (4), California (19), Colorado (22), Florida (24), Georgia (14), Idaho, Maine, Maryland (7), Massachusetts (7), Michigan (5),  Missouri (6), Nebraska (3), New York (39), Ohio (11), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (13), South Carolina (2), Vermont, Virginia, Washington (11), Wisconsin,

Lyme Disease . . .  314 . . . California (2), Delaware (5), Florida (4), Maine, Maryland (41), Massachusetts, Michigan,  New Jersey (90), New York (60), North Dakota (7),  Pennsylvania (97), South Carolina,  Virginia (4),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 38 . . . Alabama (2), California, Michigan (2), New York (10), Virginia (21), West Virginia (2),

Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 5 . . . Georgia (5),

Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 9 . . . Arkansas, Florida (2), Maryland, Missouri, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia,

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri,

Idaho officers shoot MOUNTAIN LION that attacked 10-year-old ~ Maine officers shoot BLACK BEAR in Portland neighborhood ~ Washington issues ADVISORY about OYSTERS harvested in Hood Canal #4 ~ MOSQUITOES in two more Massachusetts towns carrying EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ RABIES reports from Colorado, New Jersey, & Tennessee ~ and WEST NILE VIRUS reports from California (3), Florida, Illinois (2), and Louisiana ~ Canada: B.C. man kills MOUNTAIN LION attacking pet CAT ~ Travel Warnings for Pakistan.

Mountain Lion. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Idaho 09/23/11 idaho.gov: News Release – Thursday evening about 8 or 8:30 p.m. a young boy went out with his dad to look for a family pet bird dog that had been missing since the day before. They were searching in thick sagebrush near their home in a Mores Creek subdivision when the boy heard noises in the brush. But instead of the missing dog he had hoped to find, he came face to face with a young cougar. He panicked and ran. The lion gave chase. The boy stumbled and found the cat close by. The cat took a swipe with its front paw, scratching the boy on the arm and hand. The boy yelled to his father, who fired a round from his 9 mm handgun to scare the cat away. Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers, an off-duty Meridian police officer and a Boise County deputy responded to the incident. With the help of tracking dogs, the officers located the cat, guarding the pet dog it had killed. The officers killed the lion with shots from handguns and a rifle. The female cat was estimated to be about 50 pounds and a year and a half old. It is not unusual for young lions to get into trouble after they have left the protection their mother and are trying to learn to survive on their own, Senior Conservation Officer Matt O’Connell said. When a lion has made physical contact with a human, especially in the circumstance of having killed a pet dog, protocol is to kill the animal, he said. The boy’s wounds were considered minor. Such events are rare; this the second recorded mountain lion incident involving injury to a human in Idaho. The other involved a 12-year-old boy on the Salmon River in the early 1990s.

Maine 09/24/11 pressherald.com: Officers of the Maine Warden Service shot and killed a black bear today around 7 a.m. in the woods off Veranda Street in the East Deering neighborhood. Portland police reported the treed bear to the Wardens Service around 4:30 a.m. Wardens initially tried to tranquilize the bear, but were unable to, according to Portland police Lt. Jim Sweatt. “It was getting to be 7 o’clock and you don’t want school buses and firearms on the scene,” Sweatt said. The bear initially was spotted in a tree on Oregon Street, a residential area, before climbing down and running off, Sweatt said. A warden tracked the bear down streets and through backyards before shooting it as a last resort because of the school bus concerns and commuter traffic starting to pick up on nearby Route 1. The wardens’ service said the bear weighed 220 pounds. The hide is being sent to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife so researchers can determine the bear’s sex and age and other factors. The meat will be distributed to soup kitchens. Wildlife officials are warning residents this is the time of year bears are on the prowl for food as they fatten up in preparation for hibernation in late fall.

Hood Canal Oyster Beds

Washington 09/23/11 wa.gov: News Release – Distributors, retailers, restaurants, and consumers have been advised not to eat, sell, or ship oysters harvested between August 30 and September 19 from Washington’s Hood Canal growing area #4. The state Department of Health made the recommendations, including contacting people who bought the oysters over the Internet, as part of a recall of oysters in the shell harvested in that growing area between those dates. The agency closed oyster harvesting in the area after five people who ate raw oysters containing Vibrio parahaemolyticus, got sick with an illness called vibriosis. The recall is a precautionary action to make sure that no oysters in the shell harvested from Hood Canal #4, in this time period, are still for sale or in the hands of consumers. State health officials order a recall when two or more unrelated cases of vibriosis are linked to the same source of oysters from the growing area. There have been several other vibriosis cases reported this summer, scattered around the state’s growing areas. Typically, Washington sees about 50 cases of vibriosis a year. Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria are found naturally in the environment. When water temperature rises, the bacteria can quickly grow to a level that causes illness.

Massachusetts 09/23/11 milforddailynews.com: by Whitney Clearman – Mosquitoes carrying the eastern equine encephalitis virus, which can infect humans through bites, were found yesterday morning near (the Medway) recycling center, according to the Board of Health. The Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project is testing its mosquito traps to see if the finding was an isolated incident or if the virus is in other locations, he said. The virus has historically affected southeast Massachusetts, around Bristol and Plymouth counties, and not MetroWest, said Catherine Brown, state public health veterinarian.

Massachusetts 09/23/11 patch.com: by Jeremie Smith – On Wednesday, Dover-Sherborn Patch reported the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus was found in mosquitoes in Sherborn. Due to Medfield’s close geographical proximity to Sherborn, Medfield Public School administrators issued letters to parents to notify them of Sherborn’s finding and to offer tips on how to prevent their children from being bitten by mosquitoes.

Colorado 09/22/11 reporterherald.com: from an article by Pamela Dickman – A Loveland man is undergoing a series of rabies shots after being bitten on the neck by a bat. “I had no idea a bat had bit me,” he said, until he saw his dog playing with a dead bat in the yard a couple of days later. The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment took the bat to a Colorado State University lab where it tested positive for rabies.  So far this year, 22 humans and 62 domestic animals are believed to have come in contact with a rabid bat across the state, and in Larimer County, six residents – three from the same family – have undergone inoculations to prevent rabies, according to the state and county health departments.

New Jersey 09/22/11 patch.com: by Denise DiSephan – Jack Neary, known locally as Muskrat Jack, the town’s animal control officer, confirmed that a raccoon that was captured during the day on Long Point Lane last Friday has tested positive for rabies, said Point Beach Borough Administrator Christine Riehl in a prepared statement. To report a suspicious animal call the the Point Beach Police Department at 732-892-0500 or Muskrat Jack at 732-295-1618.

Tennessee 09/22/11 clarksvilleonline.com: The Tennessee Department of Health is working with the United States Department of Agriculture to help prevent rabies by distributing oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons along Tennessee’s borders with Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. The annual baiting program administered by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, will begin in Tennessee on September 30th, 2011. “Control of raccoon rabies is vital to public health, and we are pleased to be part of this important and effective program to reduce rabies in wildlife, which helps prevent transmission to people, pets and livestock,” said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, FACOEM. Vaccine packets placed inside fishmeal blocks or coated with fishmeal will be distributed throughout a 15 county area in Tennessee. The barrier varies from 30 to 60 miles wide and covers approximately 3,400 square miles, running along the Virginia/North Carolina border in northeast Tennessee to the Georgia border in southeast Tennessee near Chattanooga. Baits will be distributed by hand from vehicles in urban and suburban areas and dropped from specially equipped airplanes in rural areas. The oral rabies vaccine will be distributed on the following schedule: Sept 30th-Oct 8th: Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington Counties. Oct 5th-15th: Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk Counties. For additional information on rabies prevention or the oral rabies vaccine program, call the USDA Wildlife Services toll-free rabies line at 1.866.487.3297 or the Tennessee Department of Health at 1.615.741.7247.

Lake County

California 09/23/11 lakeconews.com: A third sample of mosquitoes collected in Lake County has tested positive for West Nile Virus. The positive sample consisted of 10 Culex tarsalis – the Western encephalitis mosquito – collected east of Middletown on Thursday, Sept. 15, according to the Lake County Vector Control District. The district said the previous two West Nile Virus-positive mosquito samples were collected earlier in September near Kelseyville. No other West Nile Virus activity – in humans or animals – has been reported in Lake County this year. “The mosquitoes that are testing positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County develop in still water,” said Jamesina J. Scott, Ph.D., the district manager and research director of the Lake County Vector Control District. “They will develop in wading pools, neglected swimming pools and spas, ponds, fountains, and other water sources. You can protect your family – and your neighbors – by dumping out small water sources like wading pools, or calling the district for help with larger sources like pools and ponds.” One unmaintained – or “green” – pool can produce hundreds of thousands mosquitoes per week, and those mosquitoes can fly up to five miles away. – For complete article go to http://lakeconews.com/content/view/21535/919/

Riverside County

California 09/22/11 latimes.com: Three Riverside County women contracted the West Nile Virus in August, the county’s first reported cases this year, authorities said Thursday. All three are recovering and there doesn’t appear to be any connection between any of the cases, said Dr. Eric Frykman, the county’s public health officer. A 44-year-old Corona woman and a 63-year-old Norco woman were hospitalized for a short time after contracting the virus last month, the county health department said in a statement released Thursday. In the third case, a 36-year-old Beaumont woman is recovering at home.

San Bernadino County

California 09/22/11 vvdailypress.comA 57-year-old Barstow resident suffering from a case of West Nile virus was bitten by an infected mosquito in Fontana last month and did not contract the disease in Barstow, officials said Thursday. The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health notified city of Barstow officials about the West Nile case Monday, according to the statement. The city worked with San Bernardino County Vector Control Agency, which began trapping mosquitoes in town.

St. Johns County

Florida 09/23/11 staugustine.com: from a report by Jennifer Edwards – Anastasia Mosquito Control District officials have confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus. This is the first known instance here this year, said Anastasia Mosquito Control Director Rudy Xue. It was reported in one of the sentinel chickens that the district keeps on Joe Ashton Road as part of an early detection system. No humans in St. Johns County are known to have been infected with West Nile Virus. Joe Ashton Road is located in the county’s northwest off County Road 13.

Illinois 09/22/11 patch.com: by Jennifer Fisher & Brian Slupski – A Northbrook man in his 60s was the first person to die of West Nile Virus in Illinois in 2011, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.  The man had underlying health conditions that contributed to his death, said Department of Health spokesperson Amy Poore . . . Poore emphasized the fact that there have been incidences of West Nile Virus throughout Cook County, not just in Northbrook. All told, six people have contracted the virus this year, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports.

Illinois 09/22/11 triblocal.com: by Lawrence Synett – A Woodstock man has contracted the first reported human case of West Nile Virus in McHenry County. The 35-year-old Woodstock man was hospitalized, but has since been released.

Calcasieu Parish

Louisiana 09/23/11 kify.com: Louisiana’s health department says a West Nile virus case in Calcasieu Parish is the tenth diagnosed statewide this year and the fifth dangerous infection of the brain or spinal cord. The Department of Health and Hospitals says the last dangerous “neuroinvasive” case to be diagnosed also was in Calcasieu Parish. Other cases diagnosed earlier include 3 of flu-like West Nile fever and two infections without any symptoms.

Canada:

British Columbia 09/23/11 vancouversun.com: by Keri Sculland – A cougar that has been lurking around a Port Alberni neighbourhood has been killed after it tried to attack a pet cat. People in the area of Lakeshore Road “had been warned” about the large cougar after it was seen stalking a woman and her dog last week, said resident Bob Cole. Cole was pulling out of his driveway Tuesday afternoon when he saw the cougar on top of one of his neighbour’s cats. He hit the gas, aimed for the cougar and hoped the best for the pet’s life. “I just took my chance to hit the cougar,” he said. Cole could not stick around at the scene, leaving his wife in charge of directing RCMP and conservation officers to where the cougar laid. “When the conservation officers came, they found it immediately,” he said. “It went down off the side of the road and they dispatched it.” The cougar, it turns out, was ill. After conservation authorities located the injured animal, it was destroyed and sent away for an autopsy. “The cougar was a young male and it was not in healthy condition,” confirmed RCMP Cpl. Jen Allan. The neighbour’s cat, however, ran away safely.

Travel Warnings:

Pakistan 09/22/11 xinhuanet.com: Death toll from an epidemic of dengue fever, which has gripped Pakistan’s most populous and eastern province of Punjab, has now reached 62 as another man died on Thursday, health officials and local media reported. The fever, which has also been reported in other parts of the country, has infected nearly 8,000 in the last two months, they said. Till Thursday, 100,000 people have rushed to government and private hospitals in Lahore for medical test as every citizen is now wanting to get doctors’ advice. Residents say that 50 percent people now avoid visiting parks and picnic spots in Lahore. There have also been reports of dengue in southern Sindh Province, with the provincial Dengue Surveillance Cell reporting over 200 cases this year, most of them in Karachi.

HEALTH ALERT – California’s Los Angeles County updates WEST NILE VIRUS levels to EPIDEMIC levels; Mississippi confirms WEST NILE VIRUS to blame for one new death and five other new human infections; Washington officials close OYSTER harvest in some areas; Virginia HORSE with WEST NILE VIRUS put down; Missouri landowner kills MOUNTAIN LION; and a WEST NILE VIRUS report from Tennessee. Canada: BC wildlife officer confirms MOUNTAIN LION killed two SHEEP in Erickson; and police in Battlefords, Sask., believe MOUNTAIN LION injured two HORSES. Travel Warnings for The Bahamas.

California 09/06/11 the-signal.com: by Cory Minderhout – Three more mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in the Santa Clarita Valley, a vector control official said Tuesday. “We’re seeing levels of West Nile virus in birds and mosquito equal to 2004 and 2008,” Brown said. Two mosquito samples were found in Newhall and one was found in Canyon Country, said Crystal Brown, a public information officer for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. The mosquito samples were collected from vector control traps in August, Brown said. West Nile virus has been updated to epidemic levels in Los Angeles County, Brown said. The virus was first introduced to Los Angeles County in 2003, Brown said. So far this year, 128 birds, eight humans, one horse, 284 mosquito samples and 14 chickens have been found infected with West Nile virus in L.A. County, according to a California Department of Public Health website. Officials declined to say which areas of the county the infected people lived. This year is being considered an epidemic year because the virus levels are the same as they were in 2004 and 2008, which were the highest reported years for L.A. County, Brown said.(For complete article go to http://www.the-signal.com/section/36/article/50655/ )

Mississippi 09/07/11 wlox.com: The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed one new death in Pearl River County related to the West Nile Virus. There are also new reports of five people infected with the virus in Madison, Pearl River, Tate and Washington Counties. The two newly reported Pearl River County cases became ill sometime in late July through early August but were just recently determined to be positive for WNV after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The other three cases became ill in mid-August. So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Coahoma, Forrest (three), Hinds (four), Jones (three), Madison, Pearl River (six), and one case each in: Rankin, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne, and Washington counties. Two deaths have been confirmed in Jones and Pearl River counties. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.

Washington 09/07/11 wa.gov: News Release – Several people who ate raw oysters from the Samish Bay and Hood Canal areas got sick from a naturally-occurring bacteria called Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

Oyster harvesting at Washington's Dosewallips State Park

Cooking shellfish thoroughly prevents vibriosis illness and is especially important during the summer months when warm temperatures and low tides allow the bacteria to thrive. State health officials close a shellfish growing area when there are four or more sporadic illnesses in a specific area; this recently happened in Samish Bay and in Hood Canal 5, which runs from Clark Creek (about a mile north of Hoodsport) north to Cummings Pointe. Oyster harvest in both areas has been closed by the state Department of Health to reduce exposure to Vibrio bacteria. There have been other vibriosis cases identified this summer, scattered around the state’s growing areas. Typically, Washington sees about 50 cases of vibriosis a year. More information, including maps of the affected areas, is available on the agency’s website (http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/default-sf.htm). It’s important to remember that just because an area doesn’t appear to be closed because of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, it may be closed for marine biotoxins. Check our biotoxin Web page http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/mogifs/biotoxin.htm  to make sure an area you wish to harvest in is free from marine biotoxins.

Virginia 09/07/11 necn.com: A horse in Clarke County has been euthanized after testing positive for equine West Nile virus, Virginia’s first reported case this year. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Tuesday that the horse was euthanized Aug. 31, one day after it started showing symptoms of the illness. The horse had been vaccinated for the virus, but was due for a booster in September.

Missouri 09/06/11 mo.gov: Posted by Joe Jerek – A landowner in Texas County shot a mountain lion on Sept. 5 after encountering it on his property. The landowner then called Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) regional offices to report the incident. Shannon County Conservation Agent Justin Emery responded to the incident and conducted an investigation. Emery found no grounds for charges at this time. Although mountain lions are protected by law, Missouri’s Wildlife Code does allow people to protect themselves and their property if they feel threatened. MDC took possession of the sub-adult male mountain lion, which will be used for educational purposes and DNA testing.

The incident occurred approximately three miles from where a Shannon County landowner’s trail camera captured an image of a mountain lion on July 29. In a separate sighting, an Oregon County landowner captured an image on his trail camera of a mountain lion on Aug. 23 northeast of Alton. MDC Biologist Jeff Beringer, who is a member of MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team, says that widely scattered mountain lion sightings have been confirmed in Missouri and likely will continue. Evidence to date indicates these animals are dispersing from other states to the west of Missouri. The most extreme evidence of this dispersal occurred in early 2011 when a mountain lion that was killed in Connecticut was genetically traced to South Dakota. MDC has no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri. MDC receives many reports each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions. “We encourage these reports, but we can only confirm those for which there is physical evidence such as hair, scat, footprints, photos, video, a dead cougar or prey showing evidence of mountain-lion attack,” says Beringer. Reports of sightings can be sent to mountain.lion@mdc.mo.gov, or by contacting Beringer at 573-882-9909, ext. 3211, Rex Martensen at 573-522-4115, ext. 3147, or Shawn Gruber at 573-522-4115, ext. 3262. Beringer adds that mountain lions are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations. For more information, visit http://www.mdc.mo.gov and search “mountain lion.”

Knox County

Tennessee 09/07/11 volunteertv.com: Knox County Health Department (KCHD) has received another lab report confirming the presence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in mosquitoes in the Milligan Street area of East Knox County near the zoo. Following national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol, the affected area will be sprayed to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of further WNV spread. Spraying is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8 from 9 p.m. to midnight. The spray area will include all areas east of North Cherry Street, north of Magnolia Avenue, west of North Beaman Street and South of I-40. Also included are Lakeside and Kirkwood Streets and American Avenue. Follow-up spraying will be on Thursday, Sept. 22 if weather allows.

Canada:

British Columbia 09/07/11 bclocalnews.com: by Lorne Eckeresley – A cougar attack in Erickson that left two sheep dead on Monday should serve as a reminder that cougars, like grizzly bears, are all around us, Sgt. Arnold Deboon of the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) said on Tuesday. “It was probably a predator passing through the area,” Deboon said, referring to Monday’s incident. “People don’t realize how often they are probably close to cougars — they are very stealthy.” A live trap has been set up in an effort to catch the offending cat, but Deboon said other options are limited. “We can’t set up other types of traps because the Erickson area has lots of pets,” he said. “And, in this hot, dry weather we have only a short period in which to get tracking hounds on the scent. Unless the ground is damp, the cougar scent dissipates within an hour. … “Cougar populations further out in the wild seem to be healthy and there would be little incentive for those animals to get close to human settlements. The ones that live closer to populated areas are probably motivated by the small huckleberry crop this year.” Because cougars can roam in large areas, conservation officers don’t normally take action for a single sighting, other than to add it to their information base. “If cougars linger, though, we try to get the hounds out,” he said. Timeliness of reporting is critical, he said. Cougar sightings should be reported immediately by calling 1-877-952-7277.

Saskatchewan 09/07/11 winnipegfreepress.com: Police are urging people to be cautious following a possible cougar attack on horses just outside a Saskatchewan community. Battlefords RCMP say they were called to an acreage where two horses had long scrapes along their backs, sides and legs. The owner of the horses indicated that he had seen what appeared to be a cougar in the area. Another witness also saw what appeared to be a wildcat around the same time. Police say it’s been the only sighting and alleged attack so far. They are advising residents to travel in groups, supervise pets and children and report any sightings to the detachment.

Travel Warnings:

The Bahamas 09/08/11 thenassauguardian.com: by Krystel Rolle – There are as many as 10 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever in The Bahamas, deputy chief medical officer Delon Brennen has revealed. Dengue hemorrhagic fever is the most dangerous strain of the vector-borne disease and can be fatal. However, Dr. Brennen noted that the cases of hemorrhagic fever are few compared to the more than 3,500 cases of dengue fever that were confirmed in recent weeks. (For complete article go to http://www.thenassauguardian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12673&Itemid=27 )

Arizona officer kills Mountain Lion that refuses to leave residential/golf course neighborhood; Canada – British Columbian officer kills Mountain Lion that killed a deer and is thought to have confronted a jogger; Utah confirms Tularemia in dead Cats; Washington warns of Biotoxin in Shellfish; Coyotes take fourth pet in Altadena; West Nile Virus reports from CA, CT, & NV; Eastern Equine Encephalitis report from MA; and Rabies reports from NC, RI, & TX. Canada: Ontario schedules Rabies Vaccine Bait drop. Follow-Up Report: Seven Coyotes killed in California’s Laguna Woods area so far.

Mountain Lion. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Arizona 08/11/11 therepublic.com: State Game and Fish Department officers tracked down and killed a mountain lion that wandered across a Prescott golf course. Homeowners say they first saw the male cat Wednesday morning. The mountain lion wasn’t hurting anything, but residents were concerned about golfers and people out walking possibly crossing paths with the cat. The Prescott Daily Courier reports (http://bit.ly/nJR1sX) the cat ran up a tree and wildlife officers later darted it. After it was knocked out, officers removed the cat, took it out of town and killed it. A regional Game and Fish supervisor says protocol directed the decision to put the animal down because the agency does not remove and relocate lion.

Canada:

British Columbia 08/11/11 canada.com: by Julia Prinselaar – A male (mountain lion) cougar has been destroyed after a Ucluelet local found a deer carcass and notified authorities. Ron Clayton was taking his dog for a walk on the morning of August 9 near Terrace Beach when the dog detected something just off the road. “It was quite evident that there was a deer that had been mauled. It was ripped right open,” he said. Clayton notified municipal staff, who called Jeff Tyre, a BC Conservation Officer based out of Port Alberni. “From the kill we identified that a cougar had definitely fed on it. Generally cougars don’t go very far once they’ve fed, so it was worth calling the hounds in,” said Tyre. At around noon Tyre arrived with a houndsman and within 30 minutes the dogs had treed a young male cougar, weighing between 27 to 36 kilograms (60 to 80 lbs.) The cat was killed shortly after. “I destroyed it based on its location,” said Tyre. He said that he could not rule out whether or not this cougar was the same cat that confronted a jogger in the Port Albion area one week prior, but made the decision based on the proximity and timing of both incidents. “Had that encounter not occurred earlier I probably would have attempted to relocate it, but with that encounter in mind I’m not willing to take that chance,” he said. “Given its proximity it looks like its hunting territory is in Ucluelet. It’s on the far side of town; really it has no place to go.” Tyre added there are only a handful of cougars that cover the immediate area. The BC Conservation office advises the public to report wildlife sightings by dialing toll free 1-877-952-7277.

Utah 08/10/11 midutahradio.com: by Bruce Mehew – The Central Utah Public Health Department in Richfield has confirmed the death of two cats in Sanpete County was due to a bacterial disease known as tularemia. CUPHD Information Officer Mike Carter says the cats contracted the disease by eating an infected rabbit. Carter said tularemia is a disease found in animals, especially rabbits and can be transferred to humans, though no cases have been reported in humans. He said it’s usually spread by ticks, fleas and deerfly bites and can also be spread by mosquitoes.

Washington 08/11/11 wa.gov: News Release – State health officials warn that a type of biotoxin never before found in Washington shellfish has been detected in shellfish from the Sequim Bay area. The discovery led to a commercial and recreational harvest closure in Sequim Bay, and people are urged not to eat shellfish from that area until further notice due to the risk of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). A recall was conducted for commercially sold products from the area dating back to August 1; all recalled product has been accounted for and is not currently on the market. This is the first time in Washington or the United States that DSP toxin has been found above acceptable food safety limits. Since this is new to the state, the Department of Health is sampling and testing shellfish areas throughout the state to learn more about it. New information will be shared as it is received. This biotoxin has been a problem in several European countries for some time and was recently found in British Columbia waters. The Department of Health Office of Shellfish and Water Protection has suspected the biotoxin may become a concern in Washington waters. The program is working with federal partners and the University of Washington on this emerging issue in order to protect public health. As environmental monitoring was underway, we learned of illnesses matching the description of DSP in a local family. Shellfish samples were tested at the federal Food and Drug Administration lab, which confirmed presence of the toxin. Unlike bacterial contamination, DSP is a toxin, so it is not killed by cooking. Eating shellfish contaminated with DSP may cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning, a foodborne illness. DSP can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and chills, very similar to gastrointestinal or stomach flu type symptoms. If you eat DSP-tainted shellfish, symptoms could begin within a few hours and last one to three days at the most. The Office of Shellfish and Water Protection (http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/default-sf.htm) provides updated information on shellfish safety, warnings, closures and restrictions for locations throughout the state (ww4.doh.wa.gov/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=bioview&Cmd=Map&Step=1).

California 08/08/11 msnbc.msn.com: by Scott Weber – A fourth dog was killed during a coyote attack in Altadena Sunday. Diane and Verne Williams’ dog Abby went out to the backyard early Sunday morning through a doggie door, according to their daughter, Bethany Williams. Around 6:30 a.m., she found the dog, a Bichon Frise, dead, with bite marks to its neck.  Williams, who also lives in the house located on the 2300 block of North Braeburn, said she was surprised the coyotes were able to attack since their entire backyard is enclosed in a five-foot high fence. Neighbors reported seeing coyotes wandering the area in packs late at night, according to Williams. She said this wasn’t the first time her parents encountered problems. “A year ago they had two dogs that got into a scrape with coyotes. Fortunately somebody saw them in the yard and got my father and chased them away before any damage was done,” Williams said. Altadena residents have been on edge since July, after a series of attacks killed three dogs in the 1100 block of Mendocino Street. As many as 13 coyote sightings were reported to the Sheriff’s Department at that time. Animal experts believe recent fires and hot weather may have forced them from nearby hills to go looking for food.

California 08/10/11 whittierdailynews.com: by Mike Sprague – Two dead birds and 16 mosquito samples in the Whittier area have been found to have the West Nile virus. In addition, two unnamed people in Los Angeles County have come down with the virus, said Truc Dever, director of community affairs for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. “We’re looking at an epidemic this year,” Dever said. “We can expect many more human cases.” The level of West Nile virus detected in mosquito samples and dead birds in Los Angeles County this July is the highest it’s been since the last epidemic year in 2008, said Susanne Kluh, director of scientific-technical services. In total, the district has reported 13 West Nile virus-positive dead birds and 31 positive mosquito samples countywide. Additionally, four chickens used to check for the disease tested positive for West Nile virus antibodies. Read more: West Nile virus found in dead birds, mosquitoes in Whittier – Whittier Daily News http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_18657854#ixzz1UllVrNWl

Connecticut 08/11/11 ct.gov: News Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Trumbull on August 1, 2011 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Trumbull by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

Nevada 08/11/11 recordcourier.com: The Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory has to date identified (West Nile Virus WNV) positive mosquito pools from Lyon County, Churchill County and Clark County. Additionally a clinically sick horse from Lyon County was confirmed positive for WNV infection.

Massachusetts 08/10/11 patch.com: by Patrick Maguire – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) EEE virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Easton.  In 2010, 3,558 mosquito samples were tested for EEE virus, and 65 positive samples were identified in Massachusetts.  Easton has had 5 EEE virus positive mosquito samples identified in 2011. EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness.

North Carolina 08/10/11carrborocitizen.com: A raccoon and a fox found in Chapel Hill recently tested positive for rabies at the State Laboratory of Public Health. The raccoon was submitted after a resident in the vicinity of Kingston and Butternut drives saw her dog circling a tree that the raccoon had climbed. The dog was currently vaccinated against rabies and received a booster shot within five days in accordance with state law. Unvaccinated animals must either be quarantined for six months or destroyed. The fox was submitted after a resident in the vicinity of Old Greensboro and Jones Ferry roads found it biting her dog on its leg. Animal Control removed the fox from the property, and the dog, which was currently vaccinated against rabies, received a booster shot immediately. Orange County has received seven positive rabies tests this year. If any possible exposure to a bat, raccoon or fox is suspected, call Animal Control at 245-2075 or call 911.

Rhode Island 08/10/11 wpri.com: A Coventry house cat has tested positive for rabies. The feline was located near Francis and Holden Streets. Animal control officers were called to the area after receiving a report that a cat attacked a dog and scratched a person. If you know a person or pet that also may have had contact with this animal, please call Coventry Animal Control 822-9106.

Texas 08/10/11 llanonews.com: While Llano County residents are diligently working to conserve water as this exceptional drought continues across Central Texas, another concern has state officials urging caution. Searching for water and food, a greater than average number of wild animals are approaching residential areas, according to reports. With this influx of wild animals, comes the increase of confirmed cases of rabies, with almost double the amount of confirmed rabies cases for the first six months of 2011 in Texas as there were for the same time frame in 2010. The Texas Department of State Health Services is asking that people take extra precautions to reduce the risk for contracting rabies. Vaccinating family pets is one step; avoiding animals that are wild or acting strangely is another. In Central Texas, TDSHS reported a total of 268 confirmed cases through June 30 as opposed to just 109 cases through June of 2010, skunks being the most infected. According to the TDSHS, “Bats and skunks are the most common animals found to have rabies in Texas. For more information go to http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/rabies/

Canada:

Ontario 08/10/11 ontario.ca: News Release – Ontario will continue with one of the most successful rabies eradication programs in North America by distributing 366,000 baits containing rabies vaccine this summer.

The vaccine will control the spread of rabies in skunks and foxes and help continue to keep Ontario raccoons free of rabies. The baits will be distributed in the following areas:

  • Throughout southwestern Ontario.
  • In the Niagara region between Welland Canal and Niagara River, including Navy Island.
  • On Wolfe, Howe and Hill islands in St. Lawrence River as well as a small area on the mainland near Brockville.

The flavoured baits immunize most skunks, foxes and raccoons that eat them. Baits are small and khaki green, with a toll-free rabies hotline number stamped on them. If you see baits, please leave them undisturbed.

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario raccoons have been free of rabies since September 2005.
  • 2010 marked the lowest number of rabies positive animals with ‘Ontario fox’ strain in the province since the disease became established in Ontario in 1958.
  • Last year there were only 39 cases of rabies diagnosed in Ontario. Of these cases, only 10 were found in wildlife.
  • Ontario has reduced the number of rabies cases in the province by more than 99 per cent since rabies control programs began 20 years ago.
  • Exposure to a bait is not harmful to people or pets. However, if a person or a pet comes in contact with the vaccine in the bait, contacting a doctor or veterinarian as a precaution is recommended.

Follow-Up Report:

California 08/11/11 latimes.com: The news comes days after an 82-year-old woman said a coyote snatched her small dog off its leash as she was stepping out of her patio for a morning walk. The dog, a parti poodle named Mocha, was killed, the woman’s daughter told the Orange County Register. Police and animal control officers stepped up their efforts to prevent such attacks after two incidents in which women were injured while trying to protect their dogs from coyotes. Extra traps were set for the wild animals, and the city hired a professional hunter to shoot any coyotes he saw. So far, seven coyotes have been removed from the area, said Jim Beres, a civilian supervisor for the Laguna Beach Police Department, which oversees animal services in Laguna Woods. Six of the animals were caught in traps and euthanized. One was shot and killed by the licensed hunter on Tuesday. Still, Beres said, authorities believe there is one more aggressive adult male coyote still prowling the area, and they hope to catch him. “After we find him, we’re going to reassess and see if the attacks stop, and if they do then we know we’ve gotten all of the problematic coyotes,” Beres said.

The goal isn’t to remove all of the coyotes from the area, Beres said. Instead, authorities want to make sure the overly aggressive animals — the ones who stalk the neighborhoods and attack pets in broad daylight — are gone. “You want them to have that fear of humans,” Beres said. “When they lose that, that’s not good.” It’s standard industry practice to euthanize captured coyotes rather than relocate them, Beres said. Otherwise, the animals would just continue the dangerous behavior somewhere else. “It just relocates the problem to another community,” Beres said. “They propagate so quickly — they’re not an endangered species by any means — and once they’ve learned to come in contact with humans, that doesn’t go away.” Beres said the trapping operations would continue until authorities were satisfied the problem was solved, but pointed out that coyotes are par for the course in Southern California. People can reduce the risk of having coyotes near their homes by not leaving food out for outdoor pets, making sure garbage cans are secured and keeping small pets indoors, but ultimately the wild animals are here for good. “Coyotes are endemic,” Beres said. “They’ve been here and will continue to be here.” (See August 11, 2011, post: Coyotes take another pet in California’s Laguna Woods)

Texas Mountain Lion fatally wounds two Horses; Mayo Clinic in Wisconsin discovers new strain of bacteria carried by Deer Ticks; Washington Oysters source of recent vibriosis cases; Ohio reports first case of LaCrosse Encephalitis this year; Texas has four human cases of West Nile Virus this year including one that was fatal; New York confirms first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a horse this year; Texas has three horses among 49 confirmed cases of Rabies this year; Rabies reports from CT, GA, ME, NJ, NY, NC, SC, VA, and WI; and West Nile Virus reports from IL, NH, NY, and PA. Canada: Rabies reports from Ontario (2). Follow-Up Report about Oregon’s Wolf Compensation Bill.

Mountain Lion. Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

Texas 07/29/11 texascryptidhunter.blogspot.com: posted by Mike – According to an article in the Temple Daily Telegram, two horses had to be euthanized after being attacked by a mountain lion this past Wednesday in a rural area of north Temple.  The property, owned by Chris Johnsen, 56, is located off Berger Road just north of the H.K. Dodgen Loop. Johnson said she knew something was wrong when the eight horses she keeps on the property failed to show up at feeding time on Tuesday night. Worried, Johnsen asked her friends, Ted and Nancy Fisher, to look for the horses early Wednesday morning. The Fishers were interested parties, as they own two of the horses being kept on the property. The Fishers found the horses; unfortunately, two mares, including one they owned, were badly mutilated. The mares were alive but suffering from multiple serious wounds. “They had large claw marks on them,” Johnsen said.

Dr. Katie Frosch of the Belton Veterinarian Clinic was called to the scene and decided the horses were mortally wounded and should be put out of their misery.  “We had to put them down just to be humane,” she said. “The horses were unable to walk due to severe lacerations on their legs.” Dr. Frosch has worked in the area for two years and said this was the first such attack she’s seen. She did agree that a mountain lion was the culprit due to the specific types of injuries the horses suffered. Game Warden Billy Champlin said that cougars are indigenous to the state but typically target animals smaller than the mares. He speculated that the cat in question here likely started out targeting the mares’ foals. He is quoted as saying that in his eleven years on the job he has never seen a mountain lion alive in the wild but that three to four sightings a year from the area are typical. Chris Johnsen, on the other hand, has seen cougars on her property before but not recently. She said that the remaining horses would be penned up for awhile in the hopes that the big cat would move out of the area.

Texas is currently suffering through the most severe drought in the last seventy-five years. Central Texas has been particularly hard hit. It could be that this cougar is having a hard time finding its typical prey due to the tough conditions or that it came onto the property seeking water and could not resist the temptation the young foals represented. Several other unusual livestock kills have been reported in Bell County over the last few months. I currently have a couple of game cameras out in western Bell County now in the hopes of identifying the mystery predator in that area. It seems northern Bell County now has a large predator of its own.

Wisconsin 08/04/11 chippewa.com: by Mark Gunderman – The chart looked unusual to Mayo Health Systems lab technician Carol Werner, who had just run a routine test for bacterium at the Eau Claire laboratory. “There was an unexpected ‘peak,’” she said. “The peak was in an unusual spot – and it piqued my curiosity.” Werner’s observation back in 2009 led to further testing, and discovery that the strange finding was showing up in other tests, too. Now with publication of a paper this week in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the suspicion has been confirmed: A new strain of bacterium has emerged, so far found only in Wisconsin and Minnesota. And it is a cause for public health concern. The as yet unnamed strain of the Ehrlichia bacterium is carried by deer ticks – the same ticks that carry the bacterium responsible for Lyme Disease. It has been making people sick, having been identified in 25 people, all from Minnesota and Wisconsin. The New England Journal of Medicine paper focuses on four cases, three of which are from Wisconsin. The four patients were treated for ehrlichiosis, a serious condition caused by the Ehrlichia bacterium.

Deer Tick

“Before this report, human ehrlichiosis was thought to be very rare or absent in Minnesota and Wisconsin,” says Bobbi Pritt, M.D., a Mayo Clinic microbiologist and director of the Clinical Parasitology and Virology Laboratories who helped coordinate the investigation by the multi-agency team. “Therefore, physicians might not know to look for Ehrlichia infections at all.” Ehrlichia infect and kill white blood cells and may cause fever, body aches, headache and fatigue. More severe disease may involve multiple organs such as the lungs, kidneys and brain and require hospitalization. Ehrlichiosis rarely results in death. All four patients described in the New England Journal of Medicine article suffered fever and fatigue. One patient, who had already received a bilateral lung transplant, was hospitalized briefly for his illness. All four patients recovered following antibiotic treatment with doxycycline, the drug of choice for treating ehrlichiosis. Although more than 25 cases have been identified, many more have likely been missed or unreported, Pritt said.

The paper is published in the Aug. 4 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. It has multiple authors, including a number from Mayo Health Systems in Eau Claire and in Rochester, as well as people from the Eau Claire County Health Department and state departments of health in Minnesota and Wisconsin. (For complete article go to http://chippewa.com/news/local/article_ce90714a-bea8-11e0-b62f-001cc4c002e0.html

Washington 08/04/11 wa.gov: News Release – Several people got sick after eating raw oysters containing Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria. So far, 18 vibriosis illnesses have been linked to commercial operations and four illnesses to recreational harvesting in Puget Sound and on the Washington coast. Cooking shellfish thoroughly will prevent vibriosis illness and is always a good idea. This is especially important during the summer months of July and August when warm temperatures and low tides along ocean beaches and in Puget Sound allow the bacteria to thrive. (For complete news release go to http://www.doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2011_news/11-118.htm )

Muskingum County

Ohio 08/03/11 whiznews.com: by Kelly Choate – There’s a confirmed case of LaCrosse Encephalitis in Muskingum County. This disease is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. Muskingum County Health Department Sanitarian Matt Hemmer said symptoms of Lacrosse Encephalitis are fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. He said the health department is trying to stop the spread of the disease. “The action we’re taking is to actually go out to the areas where exposure was possible to occur and inform the people of those neighborhoods how to protect themselves and their families from future spread of the virus,” said Hemmer. Hemmer said LaCrosse Encephalitis can cause inflammation of the brain if left untreated, but the mortality rate is less than 1%. “The state of Ohio averages about 10 to 15 cases of this virus per year,” said Hemmer. “This is, by no means, anything out of the ordinary, but we do take precaution when this virus does surface.”

Montgomery County

Texas 08/04/11 click2houston.com: A human case of West Nile virus has been reported in Montgomery County. The Montgomery County Environmental Health Services confirmed the case on Wednesday. Officials have not said what part of the county the victim was infected. The patient was taken to a hospital and released. “August and September are historically most active months for human infection,” said Pat Buzbee, director of MCEHS. Four human cases have been reported in Texas this year. According to the Texas Department of Health, one person has died. Six people died in Texas from West Nile virus in 2010.

Oneida County

New York 08/03/11 nysdam (readmedia.com): News Release — The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) confirms 2011′s first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, in an Oneida County, NY horse. The 9 year old mare had lived at its current home for several years and had no recent travel history. The horse was unvaccinated. There is one other horse on the same premise that is not showing any signs of EEE, and which has since been vaccinated. Typical symptoms of encephalitis in equines include staggering, circling, depression, loss of appetite and sometimes fever and blindness. There is no cure for this disease, which has high mortality rates in horses. Humans cannot become infected by handling an infected horse, nor can a horse acquire the virus from another infected horse; however, the presence of an infected horse in the area indicates that mosquitoes carrying EEE are present and pose a threat to both humans and horses.

Texas 08/04/11 amarillo.com: by Joe Gamm – State health officials on Thursday confirmed the 49th case of rabies in the Texas Panhandle this year. The Texas Department of State Health Services found that a horse in an undisclosed part of Hansford County tested positive for the rabies virus, officials said. This is the third case of a rabid horse in the Panhandle this year.  James Alexander, a Canyon-based zoonosis veterinarian for Health Services, said it is rare for that many horses to contract the virus in any given year. Zoonosis is any infectious disease that can be transferred from an animal to a human. Officials found one rabid horse in Wheeler County and one in Randall County earlier this year. This is the first case of rabies in Hansford County since 2009, Alexander said.

Connecticut 08/03/11 theday.com: by Judy Benson – New London – Three bats found at two properties, one on Channing Street and the other on Pequot Avenue, have tested positive for rabies, the Ledge Light Health District announced today. The owner of the two properties captured the bats and brought them directly to the state Department of Public Health’s laboratory in Hartford for testing, Stephen Mansfield, deputy director of health at Ledge Light, said. The state lab does not normally accept other animals for testing directly from homeowners, he said, but will do so in the case of bats that are found inside a home. Ledge Light was informed of the test results Tuesday evening, Mansfield said. It is not clear whether the bats had any contact with humans or pets. For information, contact Ledge Light at (860) 448-4882 or the New London animal control officer at (860) 447-5231.

Georgia 08/03/11 ajc.com: by David Ibata – A raccoon that turned up in a horse’s stall in Canton has tested positive for rabies, prompting public health officials to quarantine the unvaccinated horse and issue an alert for the fourth rabid raccoon found since May in Cherokee County. The raccoon was discovered July 23 in the stall at a residence on North Lake Drive, according to a news release from the Dalton-based North Georgia Health District, which includes Cherokee. The raccoon was alive but not moving, and the resident’s son shot it, the release said. The Georgia State Laboratory tested the animal’s head and returned a positive finding of rabies on July 27. The horse was not current on its rabies vaccination, said Jennifer King, spokeswoman for the Health District. But there was no apparent rabies exposure to the horse, so officials had it vaccinated and put it in a six-month quarantine; it cannot come into contact with other animals or people during that time. Besides the raccoon cases, a dog and a fox in Cherokee also have been found to have rabies. The six instances of disease are “pretty much par” for the number of cases expected by this point in a year, King said.

Maine 08/04/11 maine.gov: Public Health Update – 2011 2nd Quarter statewide Rabies report: 8 raccoons including one each in Lewiston, Gorham, N. Yarmouth, Raymond, Standish, Steep Falls, Hampden, and Smithfield; 5 skunks, Cumberland, Buckfield, Canaan, Norridgewock, and Waldo; 2 red fox, Greene, and New Sharon; 2 grey fox, Cape Elizabeth, and Windham; and 1 bobcat, W. Gardiner.

New Jersey 08/03/11 courierpostonline.com: Two raccoons found in Moorestown and in Medford have tested positive for rabies, officials said Tuesday. One animal was found near East Main Street in Moorestown, and the other was found near Falls Court in Medford, said Burlington County Health Officer Robert Gogats. He did not say when the animals were found.

New York 08/04/11 lohud.com: by Randi Weiner – The Westchester County Health Department has confirmed that a raccoon captured in Yonkers’ Tibbetts Brook Park on Monday was rabid. “Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with this raccoon should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at 914-813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Dr. Cheryl Archibald, the county’s acting health commissioner. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive post-exposure rabies vaccination.” Rabid animals also have been confirmed in Bedford and Briarcliff Manor this past week. A woodchuck found around Glenridge Road in Bedford and a skunk found around Scarborough Road in Briarcliff Manor were confirmed as rabid on July 25. In fact, Westchester had the highest number of confirmed rabies cases in the state — 17 — between January and May. More information on the disease and its prevention is available on the Health Department’s website, http://health.westchestergov.com. Residents also can call the rabies hotline at 914-813-5010 to listen to a taped message.

North Carolina 08/03/11 fayobserver.com: A raccoon that was picked up in a neighborhood off Cumberland Road has tested positive for rabies, county authorities said this morning. It marks the 11th case of rabies reported in Cumberland County since Jan. 1, according to Dr. John Lauby, director of Animal Control. The raccoon was found on Stonehaven Drive, Lauby said. Anyone who sees an animal exhibiting any of those symptoms should call Animal Control at 321-6852 Monday through Friday. Call the Sheriff’s Office at 323-1500 after 5 p.m., and on weekends and holidays.

South Carolina 08/03/11 wspa.com: by Sandra Renrick – A woman in Oconee County is undergoing treatment for rabies after being bitten by a skunk. According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control the skunk tested positive for rabies. State health officials say the skunk was in the garage of the woman’s home on Long Creek when it attacked. According to DHEC, this is the first confirmed rabid animal in Oconee County in 2011. Last year, there were four rabid animals confirmed in the county. In 2010, there were 106 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 61 confirmed cases in animals in the state.

Virginia 08/02/11 wavy.com: A 57-year-old woman was attacked by a fox on July 26 while standing in a driveway in the 9400 block of Rivershore Drive in Suffolk. The fox came out of a marsh and latched onto her right foot, according to Debbie George with Suffolk Police. Steve Gaskin, the victim’s husband, said, “I went in the house. Next thing I knew she was screaming. My wife had gone outside and the fox attacked her as she was coming back into the house.” Gaskin was able to kick the fox away and pin it under a ladder until Animal Control responded. The fox was sent to the health department, where it tested positive for rabies. The woman is being treated for her bite.

Wisconsin 08/03/11 wsau.com: A dog bit a teenager at the Dells of Eau Claire Park. Marathon County health officials say the teen will need to get rabies shots unless they can find the dog and confirm that it isn’t rabid. The 17-year-old was hiking on a trail about 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday when he was bit. The dog was on a leash and was being walked by a woman when the incident took place. It was a medial white dog with short fur. Health Department officials are hoping the woman will come forward and let them know if the dog has had its shots. Anyone with information should call 715-261-1908.

Cook County

Illinois 08/04/11 triblocal.com: Authorities identified the West Nile virus in a pool of mosquitoes from Northbrook last Friday. Found in the Somme Woods area, this is the third batch of mosquitoes that has tested positive for the virus in Northbrook this summer, according to the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District and the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District. While there are no recorded cases of West Nile infections in people in Illinois this year, the virus had sickened state residents over the past several years, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Hillsborough County

New Hampshire 08/04/11 dhhs.state.nh.us: News Release – The  New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)  is  announcing  the  first positive test result for West Nile Virus (WNV)  this  season  is  from  a mosquito pool from Nashua, in Hillsborough County.  WNV is transmitted from the bite of an infected mosquito.  WNV was first identified in NH in August of 2000. Since that time, four people in NH have become ill following WNV infection. As of July 30, the State Public Health Lab tested 455 mosquito batches, 4 animals, and 19 humans across the State for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and WNV.  Anyone with questions about WNV/EEE can call 1-866-273-6453 between 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Also, Nashua residents can call the Nashua Environmental Health Department at 603-589-4530. Other information about EEE and West Nile virus are available on the DHHS website at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov and at the City of Nashua’s Division of Public Health and Community Services website at www.NashuaNH.gov.

District 24 including Jamaica Estates

New York 08/04/11 yournabe.com: by Connor Adams Sheets – Residents say the mosquito problem in Jamaica Estates and the Pomonok Houses in Fresh Meadows has gotten so bad that they can no longer use their yards or even step outside without getting eaten alive by the pesky pests. The situation is so out of hand that area politicians rallied Friday to call on the city to spray the areas to kill the insects and bring some relief to welt-covered residents. The issue is one of more than just annoyance; it is one of safety, as the city Department of Health has detected the West Nile virus in mosquito pools in the area, although no cases have struck humans so far this year, according to the DOH. Complicating the situation is the fact that these neighborhoods are under assault not by garden-variety skeeters, but by the yellow-and-black Asian Tiger mosquito, a resilient, non-native, invasive breed that bites 24 hours a day and is adept at carrying and transmitting West Nile.

York County

Pennsylvania 08/04/11 wgal.com: York city workers began spraying for mosquitoes Wednesday after cases of West Nile virus were reported. The spraying took place near York’s Fireside neighborhood, where mosquitoes carrying the virus have been detected, city officials said. One particular target for sprayers was homes abandoned due to foreclosures, which have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. York County currently leads the state for mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile.

Canada:

Ontario 08/03/11 thesudburystar.com: A bat that seen behaving abnormally at a home in Azilda on July 26 has tested positive for rabies, the Sudbury said District Health Unit announced Monday.

Ontario 08/03/11 simcoe.com: The Grey Bruce Health Unit is seeking assistance from the public in finding the owner of a dog involved in a biting incident.  On Saturday, July 30, sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., a woman was bitten by a large collie or collie-like dog (described as “looked like Lassie”) in front of Errinrung Residence Retirement Home on Bruce Street South in Thornbury. The dog was being walked at the time of the incident. Staff of the Grey Bruce Health Unit need to confirm that the dog is not infectious with rabies. By verifying the health of the dog, the victim can avoid receiving the post-exposure rabies treatment. If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420, ext 1263.

Follow-Up Reports:

Oregon 08/03/11 dailyastorian.com: Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed the state’s Wolf Compensation Bill Tuesday. It creates a $100,000 fund to pay ranchers who lose livestock to the legally protected predators.  The Livestock Compensation and Wolf Co-Existence bill goes into effect immediately with Kitzhaber’s signature. The funds will be handed out to eligible ranchers that lose livestock confirmed killed by wolves.