Tag Archives: Feral Cats

Canadian scientists get $2.9 million to prevent Prion Disease outbreaks; Montana FWP approves Wolf hunt quotas; Arizona’s Coconino County targets Gray Foxes for Rabies vaccination; West Nile Virus reports from New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.

Bull Elk. Photo by Mongo. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Canada 07/13/11 prionetcanada.ca: Press Release – Collaborative research groups at nine different universities, involving 55 different investigators across Canada, are poised to make significant advances in the understanding of prion and prion-like diseases in humans and animals.

Captive elk with chronic wasting disease

These include the development of an oral vaccine to help stop the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild deer and elk populations and novel approaches to treat human neurodegenerative disorders like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, thanks to $2.9 million in funding announced by PrioNet Canada.  The goal of the funding which supports 11 projects is two-fold, explains Dr. Neil Cashman, Scientific Director of PrioNet Canada, one of Canada’s Network of Centres of Excellence. “By working with our partners, we aim to continue to protect Canada against classical prion diseases like chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE), and we’re also providing benefit to Canadians through the development of innovative therapeutics to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS.”

Sheep with scrapie.

The researchers will use the funds to better understand the biology of prion disease, to develop strategies to manage prion disease outbreaks and minimize the impacts, and to apply learnings of prion diseases to the treatment of human neurodegenerative disorders. Prion diseases are fatal, infectious and transmissible diseases of humans and animals associated with a ‘sponge-like’ degeneration of brain tissue. In animals, the most common prion diseases include BSE, scrapie in sheep and goats, and CWD in deer and elk. In 2003, Canada’s beef and related industries were faced with worldwide closing of trade after a domestic case of BSE was found in Alberta. Canada’s economic loss stemming from this event is estimated at more than $6 billion. Some examples of prion diseases in humans include fatal and sporadic familial insomnia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and its many varieties, and Kuru. Some examples of the ground-breaking work supported by PrioNet’s recent funding include:

Dr. Neil Cashman

Immunotherapies to treat ALS: Five PrioNet researchers at the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and University of Toronto are focusing on a newly-recognized molecular mechanism of ALS, a misfolded protein called SOD-1. By identifying the parts of the protein that are exposed when it is misfolded in disease, researchers are able to design immunotherapies that can target those areas, interrupting the slow progression of paralysis and eventual death characterized by the disorder. Two animal models have already demonstrated responsiveness to the new immunotherapies and work is now underway to develop a therapy for humans. “We are hoping these discoveries could prove to be a magic bullet for ALS,” said Dr. Cashman, who serves as principal investigator for the multi-disciplinary research team.

Dr. Scott Napper

Oral vaccine to control chronic wasting disease in the wild: Prion diseases like chronic wasting disease are continuing to spread throughout the Canadian prairie’s wild deer and elk populations and ten PrioNet researchers in Saskatoon and British Columbia are working on an oral vaccine to stop the spread. “The danger is that prion diseases are evolving and new strains are emerging,” noted Dr. Scott Napper, a Research Scientist with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization in Saskatoon and principal investigator on the project. Dr. Napper’s group is focusing on an oral vaccine that can withstand extreme temperatures and will effectively attract elk and deer in the wild. Similar oral vaccines are already used to control rabies in Eastern Canada, where food packets containing the vaccine are widely distributed for consumption by fox and raccoon populations.

Dr. Ellen Goddard

Framework to minimize the impact of chronic wasting disease: Principal investigator Dr. Ellen Goddard from the University of Alberta along with nine co-investigators are working to identify the risk factors associated with chronic wasting disease in wild deer and elk populations, how they can be managed and what public policy recommendations should be put in place to try and mitigate the effects. The primary goal is to monitor the many unknowns that remain about the impact of CWD in the wild, such as the potential risk to hunters who consume infected animals and the potential interface between wild and domestic animals. “The risk management framework around BSE showed that even though countries were aware of the disease in their cattle, they completely underestimated the economic impact and the public response,” notes Dr. Goddard. “We’re doing the work ahead of the game while CWD is still manageable and while effective policies can be put into place to control it, to help anticipate and prevent the impacts.”

Dr. Christoph Borchers

Understanding ‘good versus bad’ prions in order to develop drugs: The first step to designing drugs to treat prion and prion-like diseases is to understand how prion proteins change shape when they become “misfolded” in disease. Dr. Christoph Borchers, a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Director of the University of Victoria-Genome BC Proteomics Centre is collaborating with researchers from the University of Alberta and University of Western Ontario to characterize the changes that occur to the three-dimensional structure of prion fibrils (small, nerve-like fibres) as well as the molecular mechanisms that lead to those changes. Using a combination of protein chemistry and mass spectrometry, they are
working to explain what occurs when a ‘good’ prion protein changes to a ‘bad’ one during disease development. The information is crucial to designing drugs that can interfere with those changes, effectively curbing the spread of prion and prion-like diseases.

About PrioNet Canada (www.prionetcanada.ca)
One of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, PrioNet Canada is a pan-Canadian research network that is developing strategies to help solve the food, health safety, and socioeconomic problems associated with prion diseases. The network brings together academia, industry, and public sector partners through its multidisciplinary research projects, training programs, events, and commercialization activities to help derive maximum socioeconomic benefits for Canadians. PrioNet is hosted by the University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute in Vancouver.

Montana 07/14/11mt.gov: Press Release – Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission today approved a wolf hunting season for 2011 that creates 14 wolf management units and an overall harvest quota of 220 wolves. “The approved hunting season is very similar to the one considered last year,” said Ken McDonald, FWP’s chief of wildlife. “It’s based on wildlife science and we believe it’s properly balanced. Our management objective is very clear: we must maintain a viable and connected wolf population as we aim to reduce impacts on Montana’s wildlife and livestock. With the ability to manage wolves as we do all other wildlife in Montana we’re confident we can meet those expectations.” For the upcoming seasons, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt for 220 wolves in 14 WMUs that are generally situated in the western portion of Montana. A new WMU in the Bitterroot Valley was added to an area where wolves appear to be contributing to a significant drop in the elk population. (For complete news release go to http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/headlines/nr_3966.html )

Arizona 07/14/11 myfoxphoenix.com: Coconino County health officials are asking cat and dog owners to keep their pets leashed or confined this year while area wildlife is vaccinated against rabies. The quarantine lasts from August 1 – 12. That’s when county and federal workers and volunteers plan to distribute edible vaccine packets by hand in populated areas and by aircraft across a larger area that includes northeast Williams,
Mountainaire, Flagstaff and Winona. The primary targets for vaccination are gray foxes and this is the fifth such campaign in a decade. The quarantine is intended to prevent pets from eating the vaccines first. The vaccine bait packets aren’t supposed to be harmful to pets, but the Coconino County health department is advising people not to touch them.

New York 07/14/11 patch.com: by Ryan Bonner – The presence of the West Nile virus has been confirmed in mosquitoes in Patchogue, according to county health officials. It is the first confirmation of West Nile on Long Island this year. Three people in Suffolk and three in Nassau died in 2010 after being infected with the virus. No humans, horses or birds have tested positive for West Nile in Suffolk this year, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) said in a press release. The mosquito sample in Patchogue that tested positive for the virus was collected on June 30.

Ohio 07/14/11 twinsburgbulletin.com: by Jeremy Nobile – The Summit County Health District has captured a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus in Twinsburg Township, though one health department official says there’s no cause for alarm. The bug was caught about two weeks ago in Liberty Park at 4175 East Aurora Road and tests in Columbus July 14 confirmed presence of the virus. Terry Tuttle, environmental health supervisor with the Summit County Health District, said it’s the fifth confirmed finding of the virus in Summit County this year — the other WNV-carrying insects were found in New Franklin, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley and Tallmadge. There were nine WNV-carrying mosquitoes caught in Summit County last year and only five in 2010 — but there were 15 in 2009. Tuttle also noted the last confirmed case of a human infected with WNV in the county was in 2002.

California 07/13/11 nctimes.com: by Chris Nichols – County health officials are warning the public not to touch dead animals after two boys in Vista turned in a dead but infected bat this past Sunday. The county is also urging the families of the unidentified boys, approximately 12 to 13 years old, to contact the county at 619-692-8499 to see if the boys were exposed to rabies. The boys brought the bat to the Petco store in Vista at 520 Hacienda Drive on Sunday, according to a county news release. The store immediately contacted authorities for help, the county said.

Georgia 07/13/11 patch.com: by Rodney Thrash – A raccoon that fought two Canton dogs has tested positive for rabies, health officials said. The dogs were vaccinated and will only require a 45-day quarantine, North Georgia Health District spokeswoman Jennifer King said in an email to Patch. There was no human exposure, she said. The positive test results came a week to the day that health officials said 11 Georgians were exposed to an unvaccinated rabid dog from Cherokee. Seven came from Cherokee County, three from Pickens County and one from Houston County. That case followed an incident in Ball Ground. On May 3, a rabid raccoon attacked a dog at a residence on Hightower Trail in Ball Ground. That dog was current on its vaccinations, too.

Maine 07/14/11 sunjournal.com: by Donna M. Perry – A raccoon tested positive for rabies after it attacked a pet cat resting on a deck Sunday at a residence on Spruce Mountain Road, Jay Animal Control Officer Larry Wright said Wednesday. It is the first case of rabies in Jay that Wright has seen this year, he said. The raccoon, which was euthanized, was handled by the Maine Warden Service and taken to the state laboratory for testing in Augusta. A representative of the lab called Wright Monday to tell him that the raccoon had rabies. The cat is under quarantine for six months or it needs to be euthanized because it did not have a rabies vaccination, Wright said.

Maryland 07/13/11 baltimorehealth.org: Press Release – The Baltimore City Health Department has confirmed a positive case of rabies in a domestic, short hair feline. The female cat was found July 7th on the side of the road in the 400 block of Kingston Road, just east of the Baltimore City/County line. The cat, a stray, was injured and immediately euthanized upon being taken to a veterinarian by a resident. The Health Department, at this time, is only aware of one human exposure the individual who attempted to rescue the cat. The individual is receiving medical attention. The last positive rabies case of a cat or dog in Baltimore City was in August 2008. Prior to that case, the last positive rabies case of a cat or dog was in 1986.

 New Jersey 07/14/11 patch.com: by Jennifer Bradshaw – The Middlesex County Health Department has issued a rabies advisory for the county after a stray cat tested positive for the virus on July 12. According to a release from the health department, the cat was discovered at a home in the vicinity of Lucille Court and Grandview Avenue in Piscataway. It was captured by animal control, brought to a veterinarian and euthanized, and tested for the virus.

New York 07/14/11 myfoxny.com:  The Westchester County Department of Health is issuing a rabies alert to residents who may have had contact with a rabid kitten near the entrance from Saw Mill River Road/Route 100 South to Route 9A North in Mount Pleasant, near the Briarcliff Manor border, prior to Wednesday, July 13. The cat was a stray, domestic short hair eight-week-old male that was solid black in color. The kitten was picked up by a passerby who brought it home on Tuesday, July 12 and then to a veterinarian, the next day, where it was submitted for rabies testing. Test results confirmed today that the cat was rabid. “Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with this cat should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Westchester County Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Cheryl Archbald. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive immediate rabies vaccination.”

Pennsylvania 07/14/11 fultoncountynews.com: by Chanin Rotz-Mountz – The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed last week a fox that was involved in a squabble with a dog in Brush Creek Township was indeed infected with the rabies virus.

Virginia 07/13/11 wavy.com: A fox found in the Moore Road area of Poquoson has tested positive for rabies. While preventable, rabies can be fatal. If you or your pet has come in contact with this animal, call the Peninsula Health District at (757) 594-7340.

Texas 07/13/11 fredericksburgstandard.com: Gillespie County’s fifth case of rabies in 2011 has been confirmed by the Texas Department of Health Services. The latest incident on June 27 occurred when, five hours after shooting a raccoon, a Gillespie resident noticed fluid on his hand when he picked up the animal by the tail. No risk to humans resulted in handling the raccoon, the TDHS Region 8 Zoonosis Control Office in Uvalde reported, before the animal was submitted for testing. The incident marks the second case of a rabid raccoon in the county this year after another case was reported in March.

National Science Foundation awards grants to help digitize biological collections; Montana and Idaho wildlife officials propose Wolf hunt plans; West Nile Virus reports from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and South Dakota; and Rabies reports from Georgia, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania (2), Texas, and Virginia. Travel Warnings: Dengue Fever outbreak in Ecuador.

Global 07/08/11 nsf.gov: Press Release – Centuries of discovery document the diversity of life on Earth. Records of that biodiversity are, for the most part, in varied and distinct natural history collections, making assessing the information a difficult task. Now, the National Science Foundation (NSF), through its Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections program, is responding to the need for greater accessibility of biological collections data by awarding four major grants that seek to create a national resource of digital data documenting existing biological collections.

Infectious disease transmission links disease vectors, disease hosts and human habitations. Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation.

Biological diversity is critical to the future of our planet, say researchers. Incomplete information on species, their distributions and environmental and biological changes over time make it difficult, however, to assess the status of and changes in biodiversity.

Much of the relevant information exists in the nation’s research collections, but the majority isn’t integrated and isn’t readily available online. It’s “dark data”–inaccessible to most biologists, policy-makers and the general public.

Dr. Lawrence Page

Dr. Christopher Dietrich

“Biological research collections are valuable national resources that document hundreds of years of environmental change as reflected in changes in biodiversity, and provide baseline data for studies of the effects of climate and land use change, and invasive species, on organisms,” says Joann Roskoski, acting director of NSF’s Directorate for Biological Sciences. “This program will markedly increase the accessibility of valuable information residing as ‘dark data’ in collections to researchers, educators and the public, and will stimulate new research across many fields of science and engineering.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology

One award will establish a central National Resource for Digitization of Biological Collections, and three large collaborative awards will allow for the development of Thematic Collections Networks (TCNs) to digitize data from biological research collections, and make the data available to scientists and the public. The program is expected to result in more efficient and innovative ways to provide access to information in biological research collections, and to speed up the process of integrating diverse information on the genetic, ecological, organismal and molecular biology of specimens in collections.

Dr. Randall T. Schuh

Dr. Corinna Gries

Standardized digital photos of specimens will be linked with DNA sequences, pathogens found on the specimens, environmental variables at the collecting localities, and electron micrographs, for example. Training for future researchers on collections techniques, informatics technology and data integration is part of the efforts. The awards provide graduate and undergraduate training opportunities, and outreach to K-12 educators, students and non-scientists. Each of the three TCNs focuses on “grand challenge” (major scientific) questions in biodiversity, and offers multiple research opportunities as data become widely available. The TCN awards include 92 institutions in 45 states. The principal investigators are Dr. Lawrence Page of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Dr. Christopher Dietrich of Illinois Natural History Survey, Dr. Randall T. Schuh of the American Museum of Natural History, and Dr. Corinna Gries of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Limnology.  (For complete press release go to http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=121015&WT.mc_id=USNSF_51&WT.mc_ev=click )

Montana 07/09/11 missoulian.com: by Rob Chaney – Idaho’s proposed 2011 wolf hunt will run without quotas in most parts of the state, wildlife officials said Friday. “We really don’t have a number we’re trying to get to,” Idaho Fish and Game director Virgil Moore said at a news conference in Boise. “What we’re trying to do is be sure we can relieve both social and biological conflicts, where we have more wolves than needed. It’s no different than any other big-game animal. We haven’t established a number, but we will monitor the harvest to make sure we never get close to the delisting threshold that was established by the 2002 legislative plan and the plan established by the (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service.” Idaho currently has about 1,000 wolves. Gray wolves could be reconsidered for federal endangered species protection if their numbers fall below 150 individuals or 15 breeding pairs in Idaho, Montana or Wyoming. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will decide on its wolf rules at its July 27-28 meeting in Salmon.

Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission meets July 14 to consider its own 2011 wolf hunt plan. Unlike Idaho, Montana wildlife managers proposed a quota of 220 wolves, distributed across 14 wolf management units. That’s up from the 75 wolves allowed in the state’s first modern-day wolf hunt in 2009. Barely one-third of 1 percent of Montana’s 19,000 wolf tag buyers killed a wolf that year.

In Idaho, the success rate for its wolf hunt was just 1 percent. Moore said about 20,000 of the state’s 30,000 tag buyers actually tried to hunt wolves that year. “Seeing wolf tracks or wolf scat, even hearing wolves howl, is not the same thing as seeing a wolf and having an opportunity to take a wolf,” Idaho Fish and Game big-game manager Jon Rachael said. Nevertheless, Idaho ranchers reported a significant drop in livestock depredations after the 2009 hunt. When a lawsuit canceled the 2010 hunt, those depredation counts went back up to average, he said. Idaho is adding trapping to its allowable wolf-killing methods this year. The state has about 1,000 licensed trappers, but Moore said it was unknown how many would be skilled enough or willing to invest the time and equipment necessary to successfully trap wolves.

Montana’s wolf season will not allow trapping, according to FWP spokesman Ron Aasheim. “We’re going to learn what we can about hunting before we add that,” Aasheim said on Friday. “We want to be more surgical in our management.” Montana wolf hunters would have to report their kills within 12 hours, while Idaho hunters have 72 hours to contact game wardens about a kill. Five areas will receive careful attention in the Idaho hunt, including the Lolo Zone along the Montana-Idaho border. Idaho authorized a population reduction there last year because those wolves were suspected of over-hunting elk herds. Montana officials considered a similar action on their Bitterroot Valley side of the border, but dropped plans after the wolf was delisted. Wolves also move across the border, so both states must be careful to preserve the genetic connectivity of the area, Moore said. But having the hunt in place should relieve some of the public concern about loss of elk there. “That pent-up frustration is taken care of just by having the hunting season,” Moore said. “The frustration we saw at check stations in 2008 went away in 2009 (the year of the first wolf hunt). Hunters knew we needed to manage wolves, and hunting is part of that management toolbox. Once they had that tag in their pocket, the frustration level dropped dramatically.”

California 07/08/11 patch.com: by MarieSam Sanchez – Officials from the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District (GLACVCD) announced today that three more dead birds infected with the West Nile virus have been found in Cerritos, upping the total to six discoveries in the city this year alone. Five of the six birds have been identified as American Crows and one bird was listed as an “unknown” species, Truc Dever, Director of Community Affairs for the GLACVCD, told Patch. “They were all collected in June between June 8th and 22nd,” Dever stated. “The location in Cerritos is the area north of Cerritos Towne Center.” More specifically, the cluster was found between Norwalk Boulevard and Shoemaker Avenue and the Golden State (5) and Artesia (91) freeways, she added. It was exactly two weeks ago when district officials announced the discovery of two WNV infected American Crows in the city. The dead crows were found on Beach Street near Frontier Park, and in a residential neighborhood on Glen Creek Road. The agency had been alerted to the birds by people living in the area. Experts say Los Angeles County is quickly seeing an amplification in West Nile virus activity as summer temperatures continue to soar, prompting district staff to amp up mosquito control, surveillance, and public education activities in areas where increased virus activity has been confirmed. There have been nine total positive mosquito samples confirmed within District boundaries this year to date, according to Dever.

Illinois 07/09/11 patch.com: by Mary Ann Lopez – Mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in DuPage County, the county Health Department reported Friday. The mosquitoes were found in traps in Lemont on Wednesday and Thursday. The mosquitoes are the first to test positive for the virus in the county and were found in a trap in an area of Lemont that is in southern DuPage, the Health Department said in a news release Friday. So far, no human cases have been reported in the county this summer, according to the news release. The DuPage County Health Department is collecting dead birds for testing. County residents who find freshly dead birds, like crows or jays, are asked to contact the department. The birds must not show any signs of decay or trauma and the Health Department must be able to pick them up in time to be shipped to the state laboratory by the close of business on Thursdays. To report a dead bird, call 630-682-7400.

Massachusetts 07/08/11 boston.com: by Deborah Kotz – For the first time this year, West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health reported today. The infected mosquitoes were found in Boston Wednesday.  So far, there have been no human cases of the infection, which is transmitted through a mosquito bite.  Last year, seven state residents came down with the virus, which can cause high fevers and headaches but usually isn’t life threatening, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of the infected individuals recovered. The Boston Public Health Commission also reported today that two positive mosquito pools were found in West Roxbury. The city has begun putting larvicide in catch basins in Boston neighborhoods, to help reduce the number of mosquitoes.

South Dakota 07/08/11 sd.gov: Press Release – South Dakota’s first West Nile virus (WNV) case of the 2011 season is a Brown County resident in the 50-59 age group, the Department of Health reported today. Peak transmission in South Dakota is from July through early September but WNV cases can also occur earlier.  Last year, in 2010, the state reported its first case July 2.  Since its first human WNV case in 2002, the state has reported 1,757 cases and 26 deaths. “We do expect more mosquitoes this summer with so many areas affected by flooding and we expect other people to be bitten and infected with the WNV,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, State Epidemiologist for the South Dakota Department of Health. “West Nile has already been detected in mosquitoes in neighboring states (Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming) and in mammals in North Dakota) and the peak transmission period for the virus is approaching so now is the time to get in the habit of using insect repellent.”

Georgia 07/08/11 gainesvilletimes.com: A rabies alert has been issued for the Trudy Circle area of West Hall County after a rabid raccoon was confirmed in the area. The raccoon came in contact with two dogs July 2. The raccoon was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab, Virology Section in Decatur and confirmed positive for rabies on Friday. This is the sixth confirmed case of 2011. Alert signs will be posted in the area where the rabid raccoon was found. If you live in this area or you see an animal acting abnormally, contact Hall County Animal Services at 770-531-6830 or during nonworking hours call Hall County Dispatch at 770-536-8812.

Maine 07/08/11 maine.gov: A fox killed Thursday at Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth was found to be rabid after testing on Friday by the Maine State Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory. It is the second animal tested and found rabid this year in Cape Elizabeth, according to Corey Hamilton, South Portland animal control officer. That first rabid animal also was a fox, he said. It is the ninth animal tested and found rabid in Cumberland County this year, according to the state lab website. A total of 26 animals so far have been tested and found rabid in Maine. The fox attacked and bit a 3-year-old boy and his mother at the park’s playground on Thursday afternoon. The child had tried to pet the fox, thinking it was a cat. The animal also attacked a park ranger, who wasn’t bitten by the animal. Under emergency protocol, the state park was closed and evacuated by park staff until the fox was found and killed.  Hamilton described the animal as male gray fox, about 1 year old and weighing 15 to 16 pounds. The fox carcass was taken to the state lab Friday morning, with testing completed that afternoon. The results were reported to the Maine Department of Conservation, which oversees the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL).

State Epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears, of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reminds Maine residents to avoid contact with wild animals and to make sure their pets are up to date on rabies vaccination. “By avoiding contact with wild animals and maintaining pet vaccinations, we can prevent the spread of rabies,” Sears said. “Maine law requires that all dogs and cats be vaccinated because they often have contact with animals at high risk for rabies.” “It was very unfortunate that the child and mother were bitten and we wish them a speedy recovery,” Will Harris, BPL director, said Friday afternoon. “We hope our visitors will continue to enjoy our state parks, and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure they have a positive experience. Our visitors also should protect themselves by staying back and observing, rather than approaching wildlife.”

Massachusetts 07/08/11 capenews.net: by Diana T. Barth – A rabid fox attacked a Bournedale resident in his driveway across from Great Herring Pond near the Plymouth/Bourne line just before 8 o’clock on Sunday evening. Bourne Heath Agent Cynthia A. Coffin said the man suffered from a scratch that made it necessary for him to undergo post-exposure rabies vaccinations. “Everybody did the right thing,” said Timothy W. Mullen, director of the Bourne Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Mullen said the resident was able to kick the fox away, creating some distance, although not before the fox left a scratch on his leg with either its teeth or nails. When the fox ran toward the woods, rather than let the animal escape to attack someone else, the man chased after it and killed it with a paddle. The resident called the police to report the incident, and officers responded shortly thereafter. The police, in turn, called the DNR. A natural resources officer asked that the fox carcass be kept on ice until the officer could get to the scene. Mr. Mullen said the man was then persuaded to go to the hospital, while his wife brought the fox carcass to Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay to be prepared for testing. On Monday morning at 8, a DNR officer brought the fox’s head to the state laboratory in Jamaica Plain, where it tested positive for rabies.

New Jersey 07/08/11 therepublic.com: Testing shows a kitten and another cat that attacked humans in northwestern New Jersey last week were rabid. Animal control officials tell the New Jersey Herald of Newton that other animals in the Wantage Township area may be infected, so residents are being warned to avoid wild or strangely acting animals. In one incident, a woman was attacked twice by the same feral cat as she got out of her car. The other involved three family members who were scratched by a kitten they took in because they thought it had a broken leg. They’re undergoing shots for rabies exposure. Officials have “strong suspicions” that a skunk, woodchuck and opossum found around the family’s home also may have rabies. Test results on those animals won’t be available until Monday.

New York 07/08/11 by Sarah Studley – A woodchuck captured in Ossining has been confirmed rabid, the Westchester County Department of Health said today. According to a statement, “The woodchuck appeared unhealthy and was captured and submitted for rabies testing on July 1. Test results received late yesterday confirmed that it was rabid.” The woodchuck was found in the area of Morningside Drive, between Nord Circle and Ridgeview Drive on July 1. “Anyone who believes that they or a pet may have had contact with this woodchuck, should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Westchester County Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Cheryl Archbald. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive immediate rabies vaccination.”

Pennsylvania 07/10/11 timesleader.com: Edwardsville – Police are searching for a dog that viscously attacked a young girl Saturday morning. Police said the dog attacked the 6-year-old girl in her yard at 25 Church Street, biting the girl in her cheek, eye and nose area. The girl’s parents heard her cries and came to the backyard, at which point the dog ran away, police said. The girl was undergoing treatment at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital for non-life threatening injuries Saturday, police said, and may need to undergo a series of rabies shots if the dog that bit her cannot be located. The animal is described as a black and white dog, possibly a pit bull or Labrador retriever, last seen in the area of Church Street. Anyone with information about the dog’s owners or whereabouts is asked to contact Officer Lehman of the Edwardsville Police at 288-8463.

Pennsylvania 07/08/11 goerie.com: by David Bruce – A skunk found on a Union Township farm has tested positive for rabies. Six Yorkshire terriers who fought with the animal are quarantined for observation, said Karen Martin, veterinarian for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s northwest region. The skunk is the third animal to test positive for rabies in Erie County in 2011. Nine animals tested positive for the virus in 2010.

Texas 07/09/11 mysanantonio.com: by Zeke MacCormack – The death last week of a rabid raccoon at an animal rehabilitation center in Kendalia has prompted renewed warnings by authorities in Kendall County, where three rabies cases were previously reported this year. The ailing raccoon was found in a Bergheim resident’s yard June 3 and taken to the rehabilitation center, where it died Tuesday and was sent for testing at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, according to Kendall County Chief Deputy Matt King. Anyone who has concerns about a possibly-rabid animal should call the Kendall County Animal Shelter at 830-537-3430.

Virginia 07/08/11 tricities.com: by Allie Robinson – A raccoon picked up on New Hampshire Avenue last week tested positive for rabies, according to preliminary results sent Wednesday to the Bristol Virginia Police Department from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, according to a written statement from the Police Department. The raccoon was found near an area of King Mill Pike, where another rabid raccoon was found in June.

Travel Warnings:

Ecuador 07/09/11 typepad.com: A 13-year-old died a month ago from hemorrhagic dengue in Esmeraldas and four more cases of this disease have recently been confirmed, one in the same province and three in Manabí. They have set off epidemiological alarms in both coastal jurisdictions, where hundreds of cases of classic dengue are also reported. In Esmeraldas the Provincial Health Directorate considered the southern neighbourhoods the focus of the outbreak. The Directorate extended the alert to the neighbourhoods of Las Tolitas and San Rafael, saying they are “highly” likely to develop the disease, which is caused by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. The agency reported that in the Codesa sector alone, 265 classic dengue cases have been reported so far this year. César Díaz Cortez, provincial health director, said that the cause of the increase in cases is the lack of potable water: People conserve it in containers inside and outside their homes, converting them into mosquito nurseries.

Mad Polar Bear thought to be rabid charges into northern Canadian town; North Carolina bio-tech company develops new approach to creating vaccines for insect-borne diseases; British bio-tech company stirs controversy by developing genetically modified mosquito to wipe out those that carry Dengue and other lethal diseases; federal funds for Minnesota’s Wolf Control Program drying up; Wyoming and feds agree “in principle” on Wolf Control Program; another Mainer reports Mountain Lion sighting; Florida man attacked by rabid Bobcat; West Nile Virus reports from Illinois, New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New York (2), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia, and Wisconsin. Canada: Coyote report from Alberta, and a Rabies report from Saskatchewan. Travel Warnings for India, the Maldives, and Swaziland.

Polar Bear. Photo by Alan Wilson. Wikimedia Commons.

Manitoba 07/06/11 myfoxdetroit.com: A rampaging polar bear bounded through backyards and patios in the northern Manitoba town of Churchill, then headed downtown, where it stomped a truck and banged its head against the windows of the health center before conservation officers could shoot and kill it, the CBC reported Wednesday. Conservation officer Bob Windsor said he had never seen a polar bear act so aggressively. It will be tested for rabies, which could explain its behavior. Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay, is known for its polar bear population and bear-spotting tours there are popular with tourists.

The CBC said Monday’s bear blowup began when the animal turned on a man taking photographs on the beach, forcing him to hide behind rocks while the bear paced nearby. Windsor and his partner set off some noisemakers known as “bear bangers,” which confused the bear enough to allow the man to escape. But the bear, who first tried to attack the officers’ truck, next headed into town, racing through backyards before heading into the downtown area. “I drove up to it and it attacked the truck again,” Windsor told the CBC. “I wasn’t able to back out of the way quick enough and this time it caught up to the front of the truck and reared up and kind of stomped the front of the hood with its front paws.” From there, it began pushing its head against windows at the health center. Windsor finally managed to lure the bear into a clear area where his partner shot it.

Global 07/07/11pr.com: A technology breakthrough that could have a major impact in the development of vaccines to preventive insect-borne diseases has been published in the June edition of Virology Journal ( http://www.virologyj.com/content/8/1/289 ). The technology developed by Arbovax creates virus host-range mutations that will reproduce in insect cells while being severely restricted in their ability to reproduce in mammalian cells. Pre-clinical animal experiments have shown that this approach can be used to create immunity to insect-borne viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Modifications to the virus are hidden from the immune system and so produce strong immunity in the absence of disease. The virus can also be grown in a very cost-effective manner in an insect cell reactor. Arbovax expects to be initiating human clinical trials of its Dengue vaccine by the end of 2012. Over 2/5 of the world‘s population is threatened by insect borne viral diseases and this technology will form the basis for a vaccine platform against many of those diseases. “These are very promising results, a major step forward in the fight to stop the spread of insect-borne diseases. We are very excited to have then published by such a well-respected journal in the field of virology,” said CEO Malcolm Thomas, “and we are currently preparing several other papers for publication in the near future.”

About the company: Arbovax, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company based in Raleigh NC, developing a novel and innovative technology to facilitate the development of vaccines against insect-borne viruses.

Drs. Raquel Hernandez & Dennis Brown

The core technology, developed by Dr. Dennis Brown and Dr. Raquel Hernandez of NC State University, provides a platform that offers improved vaccine technology in a cost effective manner targeting a portfolio of arthropod-borne diseases that includes Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever. Arbovax’s initial focus, Dengue Fever, is ranked second only to Malaria by the World Health Organization for its devastating global impact.

Global 07/07/11 news-medical.net: NPR’s All Things Considered on Tuesday examined the efforts of the British company Oxitec to develop a genetically modified mosquito meant to wipe out wild populations of the insects, which carry potentially lethal diseases such as dengue. Genetically modified male mosquitoes are released into the wild to breed with females, and their offspring are designed to die. “Field trials in the Cayman Islands last year appeared to show it works.

Dr. Luke Alphey

Oxitec released its genetically modified males, and, [Oxitec Chief Scientific Officer Luke] Alphey says, the population dropped by a whopping 80 percent,” NPR reports. However, some are opposed to the possible unintended consequences of releasing genetically modified insects into the wild, and regulators worldwide “are struggling to come up with rules and safeguards,” according to NPR.

Minnesota 07/07/11publicradio.org: by Stephanie Hemphill – A federally funded program that controls predatory wolves in northern Minnesota will soon be out of money, putting livestock and pets at risk. When farmers can prove a wolf killed their animals, they call Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trappers come out to the farm, set traps, and kill the wolves they catch. The money for the trapping program — about $500,000 a year — has long come from Congressional earmarks. But last spring, Congress voted to eliminate earmarks. As a result, in mid-July, the state will no longer have money to hire the trappers. Not being able to rely on them will pose a hardship for cattle ranchers like Neil Radaich. During calving season, Radaich and his father drive several times daily out to the far end of a pasture in Goodland, Minn., to check on cows and calves. (For complete article go to http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/07/shutdown-wildlife-conservation-livestock-wolf-predation/ )

Wyoming 07/07/11 trib.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – Wyoming and the federal government have reached “an agreement in principle” on a deal to remove the state’s roughly 340 wolves from the endangered species list and put them under state control. Following a meeting at the Wyoming State Capitol on Thursday, Gov. Matt Mead, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said they hoped to reach a deal by the end of the month and ratify it by the end of September.

Wyoming has been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for years to accept the state’s wolf management plan, which allows unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state. Fish and Wildlife, on the other hand, wants wolves to be classified as “trophy game” throughout the state, meaning they could only be hunted with a license. The three said they agreed on a deal under which Wyoming would be required to maintain 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside Yellowstone National Park. That’s about a third of current wolf numbers outside Yellowstone, Mead said. They also agreed in principle on creating a wolf “flex area” in Sublette and Lincoln counties, in which wolves would be protected only during the winter months. Working out exactly where the “flex area” boundaries will be is the primary sticking point remaining in negotiations, Mead said. Mead said he now will shop around two different flex-area boundary proposals to “stakeholders” – including ranchers and agricultural groups that have long opposed wolves.

In April, Congress voted to delist wolves in five other western states, though not Wyoming. Salazar and Ashe met with Mead at the insistence of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who demanded it as a precondition to lifting a month-long hold on Ashe’s nomination as Fish and Wildlife director. Ashe was confirmed by the Senate to the post last Thursday; a few days after Barrasso lifted his hold.

Maine 07/06/11 naturalunseenhazards.com: While driving southbound along I-295 near exit 28 in Brunswick, on July 4th, Dianne Hersey sighted what she believes was a cougar. “The color was tan, it looked like it had leapord-like black spots, and I estimate it to be at least two feet high.  The legs seemed to be thin, and the face was definitely the face of a big cat.  It ran onto the highway from the left side, then it saw the traffic coming at it, and it turned around, and ran off the highway again the same way it had run onto the highway.  It’s a wonder it wasn’t hit by a car. I live in Presque Isle, and I was on a trip to Portland to see the fireworks on July 4th when I saw this cougar.  There was a car ahead of me, but the cougar stopped in the left lane, facing the traffic for an instant, then turned around and took off for the side of the highway.  I’ve seen cats that big before, but it was always in a zoo.  It was so agile.”

Florida 07/07/11 wctv.tv: Paul Brock, 71, was at a friend’s house Friday (July 1) cutting fresh cabbage when he had an unpleasant surprise. “All of a sudden I heard a growl, and then I heard another growl. I thought it was a dog,” said Brock. But it wasn’t a dog. It was this bobcat looking for a fight. The cat launched at Brock with full force. “He leaped right on top of my head with his front feet. His left paw went in the head and his right paw went on my cheek,” said Brock. Brock’s friend shot and killed the bobcat during the attack, and test results from an autopsy on the bobcat confirmed that it was infected with rabies. Brock is expected to be alright as long as he completes the four-shot regiment to ward off the rabies infection.

Illinois 07/07/11 patch.com: by Claudia Lenart – Burr Ridge reports that mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been discovered in Evergreen Park and Oswego. Health officials advise residents to take precautions to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and to use mosquito repellant.

New York 07/07/11 allheadlinenews.com: by Windsor Genova – New York City’s Health Department announced Thursday that mosquitoes collected from Eltingville, Staten Island tested positive from the West Nile virus. No cases of infection were reported but the department advised the public to take precautions with the virus’ return to the city.

Ohio 07/07/11 wmfd.com: West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have been detected in traps in Richland County according to public health officials at the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department. “We have a positive West Nile virus detection from mosquitoes caught in a trap in Washington Township,” said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “To be very clear, this is not a case of human infection but a positive reading of mosquitoes carrying the virus that could infect humans.”

Florida 07/06/11 wjhg.com: by Bryan Anderson – The Holmes County Health Department is warning residents to watch out for potentially rabid animals, and they said the drought could be causing the disease to spread. Holmes County Health Officials have confirmed two rabies cases in the past two weeks. They’re hoping an advisory to residents will prevent any more. “Two positive results out in the county. One was a raccoon, one was a feral cat,” said Holmes County Environmental Manager Jackie Parker. The Jackson County Health Department has had four rabies cases in the past three months. Health officials ask you to report any suspicious-acting animals to your local health department.

Georgia 07/06/11 times-herald.com: by Elizabeth Melville – A Newnan man continues to receive rabies treatments after he was bitten by a confirmed rabid fox on June 30 in the Bridgewater subdivision off Shenandoah Boulevard. Kenny Ruddy was at home working in the garage around 4:30 p.m. on June 30 when he had the run-in with the diseased fox, according to Ruddy’s wife, Linda. In addition to a bite on his hand, Kenny suffered a scratch on his leg. He visited the ER and immediately began his series of rabies immunizations. He was also given a tetanus shot. “He’s doing okay — he feels achy, but he’s fine,” said Linda. Kenny will have to receive rabies shots for nearly a month following the bite. Kenny turned the fox over to Coweta Animal Hospital for rabies testing. According to Linda, testing was conducted in Atlanta on Friday and they got the word Friday afternoon that the specimen tested positive for rabies.

Idaho 07/07/11 idaho.gov: Press Release – A bat from southeast Idaho tested positive for rabies last week, prompting public health officials to warn people throughout the state to take precautions around bats and make sure that their dogs, cats, and horses are adequately vaccinated against rabies. This is the first report of a rabid bat in the State this summer.

Michigan 07/07/11 whmi.com: The Livingston County Department of Public Health received a report this week of a fox found in Green Oak Township that may have rabies. Officials say the fox was discovered acting strangely on Wednesday afternoon in an area just east of US-23 on the north end of Whitmore Lake. Anyone who may have been exposed to a fox within the last two weeks is asked to contact the Livingston County Department of Public Health at (517) 552-6882.

New York 07/07/11 catskills.coop.com: Sullivan County’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Richard Martinkovic tells us that authorities were contacted after a fox had been bothering people during the daytime at a camp located on White Lake Turnpike. The Town of Bethel Constable was called and found out from the people at the camp that there was an animal that was not acting right. The constable in turn called for an animal control officer, who arrived and set up several cages to trap the animal. The fox was trapped on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00PM. It was then killed, and its head was sent for lab-testing. The results returned on Thursday that the fox was infected with rabies.

New York 07/07/11 wivb.com: by Emily Lenihan – As a follow-up to our warning of last week about possible rabid animals on Tonawanda Island in the City of North Tonawanda, it is noted that the NYSDOH Wadsworth Rabies Laboratory has confirmed that rabies was NOT present in the two woodchucks tested.

North Carolina 07/07/11 fayobserver.com: A dead bat found outside a home in Fayetteville is being considered as a case of rabies. Test results on the bat, which was found in the Lake Point Place subdivision, were inconclusive, according to Cumberland County officials. But because state health officials reported the results were unsatisfactory, it is being treated as a positive case, the sixth in the county so far this year. The bat was picked up on July 1 by Animal Control officers outside a home on the 1900 block of Wordsworth Drive, off Green Meadow. Health officials will alert nearby residents, who should remain alert for sick or abnormal acting wildlife. Anyone bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap, seek medical advice and notify Animal Control at 321-6852.

North Carolina 07/06/11 smokymountainnews.com: The second case of rabies in eastern Haywood County in less than a week has been confirmed, marking the fourth case so far this year in the same general area of the county. Two cases were in skunks and two were in raccoons. Before this year, only five cases of rabies had been confirmed in Haywood County since 2006. In the most recent incident, a Canton area resident discovered a skunk in their barn, exhibiting unusual behaviour. According to the incident report, the skunk was off balance and falling down. The skunk was killed and sent to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services laboratory, where it tested positive. Also last week, a group of hunting dogs got into a fight with the raccoon. The raccoon was killed and the owner of the dogs reported the incident. Tests on the raccoon came back positive.

Pennsylvania 07/07/11 centredaily.com: A raccoon that was seen drooling and falling to the ground on the Penn State campus has tested positive for rabies. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the raccoon was seen wandering around the central part of campus on June 30. It had trouble walking, was falling to the ground and running into things and appeared to be drooling. Campus police shot the raccoon and submitted it to Penn State’s Animal Diagnostic Lab for rabies testing. According to the department, there was no known contact between the raccoon and people or domestic animals. The raccoon brings the number of diagnosed rabies cases in Centre County this year to eight, which is more than all of 2010 when there were five cases in the entire year. Most recently, a rabid raccoon was seen on June 27 in a tree in Gregg Township vocalizing, then later fighting with a vaccinated dog. That raccoon was shot and submitted for rabies testing, and the dog is being quarantined on the owner’s property for 90 days.

Pennsylvania 07/06/11 publicopiniononline.com: The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is trying to identify a dog and its owner to determine if a person bitten by the dog will need rabies treatment. The department said in a news release that a person was bitten while trying to pet the dog Friday between 10:30 and 11 a.m. at the Sheetz on East King Street. The owner is described as a bald, white male between 40 and 45 years old. The dog is described as large with black, seemingly matted fur, possibly an Airdale mix breed. Anyone with information should contact Dog Warden Georgia Martin at 762-9794.

Virginia 07/07/11 wset.com: Two more cases of suspected rabies have popped up in our area. In Henry County, an adult cat around Spruce Pine Lane reportedly bit three people. Officials found the gray, tan and white cat dead on Sunday and it did have rabies. And in Botetourt County, a red fox attacked and bit a person on Mount Pleasant Church Road. That fox has not been found so officials do not know if it’s rabid. If you came in contact with either of these animals, contact your local Health Department.

Wisconsin 07/06/11 leadertelegram.com: The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department is looking for any information as to the owner and identity of a dog that bit a child while the child was riding his bike on the bike path under the Seymour Cray Boulevard just outside the city limits of Chippewa Falls. On Monday about 11 a.m. three male subjects were along the river with their dogs and one of the dogs described as a heavy set furry German Sheppard approached the bike riders and bit a 10-year-old boy. The status of the shots for the dog is needed in order to prevent the child from undergoing a series of shots for rabies. If any information about the dog or the dog owner is know they are asked to contact the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department.

Canada:

Alberta 07/06/11 cjocfm.com: Fish and Wildlife officers are still investigating a reported coyote attack near the Scenic dog run Tuesday night. A man walking his dog claims to have seen up to 20 of the animals and ended up with a bite mark on his leg. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Spokesman Dave Ealey tells CJOC News that coyotes are especially territorial when pups are with them. He says a large pack of coyotes consists of seven or eight animals, adding it’s possible for people to misjudge numbers in low-light conditions. Ealy also says it’s possible the coyotes felt threatened by the man’s dog. If you come across coyotes, Ealey suggests backing away slowly and making yourself seem as large as possible.

Saskatchewan 07/06/11 cbc.ca: A Martensville veterinary clinic says it has been advised by provincial agriculture officials that rabies has been detected in three big brown bats that were tested in May and June. Bat experts note it is an unusual number of bats to test positive for rabies in such a short time. “It is quite uncommon for this to happen,” Mark Brigham, the head of the biology department at the University of Regina, told CBC News Wednesday. Brigham said in a normal year Saskatchewan can expect a total of three to eight cases. While unusual, Brigham quickly added that the Martensville numbers are no cause for alarm even though rabies is a serious disease. “Rabies is incredibly dangerous,” Brigham said, but people should not assume that all bats have rabies. He did, however, sound a note of caution to people who encounter a bat. Brigham said rabies will produce paralysis in an animal and if one should spot a bat on the ground, it should be left alone. “The potential is that animal might be sick,” he said. “For heaven’s sake, don’t touch it.” Brigham said the advice can be applied to any wild animal. He said an injured or sick animal may resort to biting to defend itself, and rabies is transmitted from mammal to mammal through saliva. “Any mammal that is behaving strangely, don’t go near it. Don’t touch it,” he said. “The likelihood, in most cases, that the animal does have rabies is very low. But why take the chance?” Martensville is about 15 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Travel Warnings:

India 07/07/11 indiatimes.com: by Pushpa Narayan – Chennai — At least 20 people have died of rabies at the Government General Hospital in the city in the last six months. Last month, three died of the virus, spread through dog bites. The increasing number of such deaths is worrying public health workers, who are coming together on July 9 to debate the topic, ‘Why should anyone die of rabies in the 21 century?’ The conference, organised by the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India, will discuss strategies to eliminate rabies by 2020. “One big reason for rabies still being around is the lack of transparency and also severe underreporting of deaths, “said former director of public health Dr S Elango. For instance, though the records at the general hospital alone point to 12 deaths in 2010 and 13 deaths in 2009, none of these were recorded in the national registry. In 2009, Tamil Nadu recorded three deaths against 263 across the country and in 2010 it recorded two deaths against 162 nationally (source: National Health Profile 2010). “Had we reported all deaths, there would have been pressure on the civic authorities to initiate action. That would have pushed us to a stage where we can eliminate the disease. Instead, we choose to bury deaths under the carpet, “said Dr Elango. The Government General Hospital reported two rabies deaths each in April and May this year.

Maldives 07/07/11 minivannews.com: by Neil Merrett – Hospitals in the capital have said they continue to screen significant numbers of patients for dengue fever, yet claim that the situation remains “stable” as authorities raise fears that an ongoing outbreak of the virus may be more persistent than originally thought. As officials today confirmed that a 41 year old man from Addu Atoll had become the eighth person to have died during the latest dengue outbreak, health care representatives in the capital have said that they remain “busy” dealing with cases and had not yet seen significant declines in patients coming through their doors suspected of contracting the virus. After declaring this week that the current outbreak of the virus around Male’ and several islands was being treated as an “epidemic”, the government has since established a task force to try and coordinate its ministries, the military and NGOs in preventing further spreads of dengue. (For complete article go to http://minivannews.com/politics/dengue-hospital-situation-%E2%80%9Cstable%E2%80%9D-despite-high-patient-demand-22424 )

Swaziland 07/06/11 observer.org.sz: by Samkelo Ngwenya – The circulating news about rabies outbreak in Mbabane is true, the Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini has confirmed. A fortnight ago this newspaper reported that there was a dog in Fonteyn that was suspected to be carrying the deadly disease. As a result, the dog had its head cut and taken to the laboratory for diagnosis. The severed head tested positive. Four cases of rabies have been diagnosed so far. Dlamini confirmed that there are two cases of rabid dogs that have been found positive in Mbabane. On the other hand, another dog at Siphocosini has been diagnosed with rabies. The minister said there was also a case in Mayiwane after a pig was bitten by dogs. The pig contracted rabies after the bite.

More Black Panther sightings in Tennessee; West Nile Virus reports from California, Connecticut, and Nebraska; and Rabies reports from Florida, Maryland, New Jersey (2), New York, and Texas. Canada: Coyote report from British Columbia. Travel Warnings for Republic of the Congo.

Black panther. Photo by Bruce McAdam. Wikimedia Commons.

Tennessee 07/01/11 naturalunseenhazards.wordpress.com: During the week of June 5, 2011, Buddy LaJuett of Tennessee, his family members, and their neighbors say they sighted two black panthers.  “These cats were within 50 feet of the house and the yard where the children play,” Buddy said. He described them as about 30 inches tall and 5 feet long with 3 foot long tails. “At night the eyes appear to glow yellow in the light of a flashlight.  One was actually seen by my wife during day light hours, just about dusk, and it was only about 50 foot away,” he said. “There has been no sign of the cats in a couple of weeks now.  They possibly came off the mountain due to a small fire and have moved on,” Buddy said, adding, “These cats DO EXIST!”

The sightings were in Tennessee in an area very close to Chilhowee Mountain. The Foothills Parkway of The Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs along the crest. The Six Mile area is along TN State Rte 336 between US 129 and Montvale Road, a section known as Six Mile Road, in an area where private homes are located on Mutton Hollow Road. The nearest town is Maryville, the county seat for Blount County.

California 07/01/11 ktvu.com: Mosquito and vector control inspectors have detected West Nile virus in a dead American crow found in Walnut Creek, marking Contra Costa County’s first confirmed incident of the virus this year, a district spokeswoman said. About four or five people in Contra Costa County have been diagnosed with West Nile virus every year since 2006, said Deborah Bass, a spokeswoman for the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District.

Connecticut 07/01/11 ct.gov: Press Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Bridgeport on June 21, 2011 have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in the state by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. “The detection of infected mosquitoes in June suggests early amplification of virus activity. With warming temperatures, the isolation of West Nile virus in mosquitoes can be expected to increase and expand to other areas of the state throughout the summer,” said Theodore G. Andreadis, Ph.D., Chief Medical Entomologist, CAES. In 2010, WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 24 municipalities; the first were trapped on June 14. In addition, last year eleven Connecticut residents were identified with WNV infections. For information on West Nile virus and what you can do to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes, visit the Connecticut Mosquito Management Program Web site at www.ct.gov/mosquito.

Florida 06/30/11 claytoday.biz: The Clay County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for the 32073 zip code in the Woodland Drive area of Orange Park after a confirmed case of rabies in a raccoon was reported. There are no reported human exposures to the raccoon but one pet was exposed, the Health Department said on Wednesday, June 29. For further information on rabies, go to the Florida Department of Health website: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/disease_ctrol/epi/disease.htm; or http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/rabies/rabies-index.html

Maryland 06/30/11 wbaltv.com: Health officials said Thursday afternoon that a rabid raccoon was found in Gwynn Oak. The Baltimore County Department of Health said the raccoon was recovered in the 6700 block of Townbrook Drive. The raccoon was not known to have had direct contact with any humans, according to the health department. Officials did say some youth were seen in proximity to the animal Wednesday morning. Anyone who needs more information should call the department at 410-887-2243 during normal business hours. More information about rabies can be found by clicking here.

Nebraska 07/01/11 washingtonexaminer.com: Mosquito pools in three Nebraska counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. The state Department of Health and Human Services says the positive results came from recent tests done in Madison, Dawson, and Douglas counties. Nebraska’s chief medical officer, Joann Schaefer, says it’s still early in the season so the virus will likely surface elsewhere in the state. She urges people to take precautions, such as wearing mosquito repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants outside when mosquitoes are active. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Last year in Nebraska, there were 48 confirmed human cases and two deaths from West Nile.

New Jersey 06/30/11 northjersey.com: by Debra Winters – Mayor Chris Vergano recently announced that on June 16, the Wayne Health Department received notice that a 7 to 9 week old tabby kitten found in the vicinity of Runnymede Drive tested positive for the rabies virus. Residents that may have been bitten, scratched, or handled stray cats or kittens since May 31 are urged to contact the Wayne Health Department immediately at 973-694-9295 and their own physician as well. The sick kitten was initially discovered by a woman walking her dog. The resident returned with gloves and brought it to a veterinarian in Franklin Lakes. It bit a vet technician there but the employee was not harmed. The feline was exhibiting signs of neurological impairment and was quickly tested and euthanized following its positive result, explained Maryann Orapello, Wayne health officer. “The resident was very smart to use gloves before handling the animal,” Orapello said.

New Jersey 06/30/11 patch.com: by Davy James – A stray cat caught by Animal Control last week on Sturgis Road in Kendall Park tested positive for rabies.  The cat was captured on June 24 after displaying signs of neurological damage that included a wobbly gait, swaying, hissing and stumbling.  Residents who may have come in contact with a stray cat exhibiting signs of rabies are advised to contact the South Brunswick Health Department.  Residents are also being asked to not feed stray cats in their neighborhood. “These cats are becoming troublesome to the township and the Health Department is concerned,” said Mayor Frank Gambatese. “Residents mean well by feeding them but it’s not helping the situation.”

New York 06/30/11 wktv.com: Oneida County’s first confirmed case of animal rabies in 2011 has been reported to the Oneida County Health Department, an official announced Thursday. A family pet in the Clinton area was attacked and bitten several times by a raccoon that subsequently tested positive for the deadly virus, Bobbi Jo Girven, Rabies Treatment and Prevention Coordinator for the department said. “The small dog survived the attack, but was not up-to-date on its rabies immunizations and will, as a result, have to be euthanized,” Girven said. For more information on rabies or for a complete schedule of rabies clinics, contact the Oneida County Health Department at 315-798-5064 or visit the web site at www.ocgov.net.

Texas 06/30/11 newschannel10.com: by Ashley Paredez — Five cases of rabies in skunks have been reported in Potter County. The Texas Department of State Health Services says all the cases have been reported north or northwest of Amarillo. Last year there was only one reported case in the area. They remind residents to keep pets up to date on vaccinations and keep food put up. If you see wild animals around your home or pets call the sheriff’s office at 379-2900.

Canada:

British Columbia 06/30/11 bclocalnews.com: by Monisha Martins – Don’t feel sorry for a pack of coyotes who’ve been displaced from their homes by logging on a piece of private property in south Pitt Meadows. The animals, including a mother with seven pups, have been spotted roaming around Osprey Village and crossing busy thoroughfares at Harris Road and Airport Way. “They are going crazy and being very protective about their pups,” said Coun. Tracy Miyashita, who asked council on Tuesday if the city could do something about the problem. However, the B.C. Conservation Service recommends doing nothing, other than making sure garbage, pets and pet food are secure so the coyotes can’t find an easy snack.

Denny Chrétien, a conservation officer, said coyotes are quick to migrate from dens. “In the wild, it’s a very natural thing to do,” he explains. “Most coyotes or canines already have multiple dens set up in their range that they move to immediately after a threat. When they lose their fear of humans, then that’s a problem.” The conservation service has received three calls reporting coyotes near Osprey Village since June 1. Since the beginning of the year, the Tri-City area, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows generated a total of 28 calls about coyotes. Of those, only two involved aggressive animals, while three were pet kills. Smaller than a wolf, and more adaptable, the coyote is one of the few mammals whose range is increasing, despite extensive persecution by people.

In Canada, the coyote still lives in its traditional habitats – the aspen parkland and grasslands in the three prairie provinces. However, it has spread north into the boreal forest, west into the mountains, and east into Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces. “You can’t straight out blame the bulldozers. Coyotes love being in the open air,” said Chrétien. “They like fields because they feed on mice. It’s all natural what people are observing. Those pups are now exploring their boundaries. Until a few of them either get hit by vehicles, shot or trapped, then their demeanour will change. It’s all part of natural selection.” It is not normal for coyotes to attack or pursue humans, especially adults. Problems between children and coyotes are usually the result of the coyote becoming conditioned or comfortable with people as a result of direct or indirect feeding. Children shouldn’t be left unsupervised if a coyote is in area.

Travel Warnings:

Republic of the Congo 07/01/11 irinnews.org: An epidemic of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, which began in early June in Congo’s capital Brazzaville, has spread to the neighbouring Pool region, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).Between 1 and 23 June, there were 7,014 cases in Brazzaville and 460 in Pool, but no deaths, according to WHO. In Pool, which endured a series of civil wars between 1998 and 2003, damaging the local health infrastructure, only the towns of Goma Tse Tse and Kinkala, the regional capital, are affected. In Brazzaville, the disease is concentrated in southern districts, including Makélékélé and Bacongo.

Arizona woman attacked by Black Bear; New Mexico warning people Bubonic Plague confirmed in Dog; California finds West Nile Virus in three dead Birds; 5 facts about Mosquitoes; and Rabies reports from California, Florida, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, and Wyoming.

Black bear. Courtesy National Park Service.

Arizona 06/29/11 azgfd.net: Press Release – A Gilbert woman was attacked by an adult male black bear while walking her dog in Pinetop late Tuesday evening. The attack occurred near Sports Village Loop approximately 60 yards from a dumpster where the bear had been scavenging. The bear returned to attack the victim more than once, and a passing motorist was finally able to scare the bear away.  The woman was flown to the Phoenix area for medical treatment and is in surgery at this time. Within a few hours, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services personnel arrived and used dogs to track the bear from the scene of the attack. The dogs quickly encountered a bear within a couple hundred yards of the site and treed it after a short pursuit. It was immediately dispatched.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is conducting a forensic necropsy to confirm that the bear is the one responsible for the attack. Disease testing, including rabies, will also be conducted by an outside laboratory, although officials do not believe the animal is disease-afflicted. “We want to express our deepest concerns for the woman and her family,” said Director Larry Voyles of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “This was an especially aggressive, unprovoked attack that reminds us that wildlife can be unpredictable. This was a predatory attack and the animal was considered extremely dangerous. The department had to dispatch it for the public’s safety.” Although highly unlikely, if the forensic necropsy determines that the bear was not the one responsible, tracking efforts will begin immediately to find the right bear.

“Bears are particularly active at this time of year. We don’t believe this attack is related to wildfires in northeastern Arizona, but it could be related to continued drought conditions. Bears are easily drawn to human food sources, like dumpsters, trash cans and campsites especially during times of drought. Game and Fish strongly reminds residents living in bear country to be aware of bears in their area and to properly dispose of all food sources in secure containers,” said Voyles. Bear attacks on humans are rare with only six cases documented in Arizona since 1990, which is as far back as the department’s database tracks.

New Mexico 06/24/11 nmhealth.org: Press Release – The New Mexico Department of Health’s Scientific Laboratory Division confirmed plague this week in a dog that lives in the city of Rio Rancho. The dog was most likely infected when running in open fields on the north end of the city and encountering sick or dead rabbits and other rodents. “A plague case in a pet serves as a warning that there is plague activity in rabbits, rodents and their fleas in the area,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres. “I encourage everyone to follow simple prevention recommendations to keep themselves and their families and pets safe.” Plague, a bacterial disease of rodents, is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits, and pets. “Pets infected with plague are often hunters who have eaten an infected rodent or been bitten by a rodent’s fleas prior to getting ill,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian for the Department of Health. “Pets can transport the fleas back into the home where they can infect people.”

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas. Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw. With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced.  In New Mexico, there have been two human cases so far in 2011, both from Santa Fe County, no human cases in 2010 and six human cases of plague in 2009: three from Santa Fe County, two from Bernalillo County and one from Sandoval County. One of the Santa Fe County cases was a fatal case in an 8-year-old boy.

California 06/24/11 sgvtribune.com: Three of four dead birds found recently in the San Gabriel Valley were confirmed to have West Nile Virus and one is suspected of being infected, vector control officials said. The birds were found in Baldwin Park, Covina and West Covina.  “When we start to see birds dying, that indicates that West Nile virus is active again,” said Kelly Middleton, Public Information Officer for San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control. “Our bigger concern is three of these popped up in one week’s time.”  West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and is particularly deadly to crows, she said. Dead crow sightings raise concerns about West Nile levels in an area. Most of the dead crows found in L.A. County this year were found in the San Gabriel Valley, Middleton said. Neglected pools can be reported to vector control officials at (626) 814-9466 or http://www.sgvmosquito.org. Dead bird sightings can be reported to (877) WNV-BIRD (877-968-2473) or http://www.westnile.ca.gov.

Asian Tiger Mosquito

National 06/30/11 patch.com: by Tracy Montgomery – You are sitting in your backyard, watching the kids play and maybe enjoying an adult beverage with friends. When all of a sudden you feel something on your ankle and…Wham! It’s a nagging, itchy, uncomfortable bite that eventually drives you back inside. Patch brings you some facts about mosquitoes and their bites.

You feel like you always get bit, even when no one around you has been bitten. You are not crazy–it’s all in your genes. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, some of the compounds secreted by the body are more attractive to mosquitos than others. Some of the compounds actually repel mosquitoes so for those friends of yours who say they hardly get bit; they’ve won the genetic lottery.

Mosquitoes are among the deadliest animals on the planet. According to the AMCA, more than one million deaths worldwide can be attributed to mosquito bites. Malaria, West Nile, encephalitis and yellow fever are just a few of the diseases this insect can carry.

I swear–I am allergic to mosquito bites. Once again, you are not crazy. Some unlucky folks, mainly those who tend to be fair-skinned, are allergic to mosquito saliva according to the AMCA. This is what causes the average bite to occasionally swell to the size of a plum for some folks. But besides being super-uncomfortable, it is not a medical emergency.

My backyard is infested–how can I get rid of them? Experts say mosquitoes are actually poor fliers, so break out the fans and literally blow them away. DEET is the most effective repellent; there are very few if any natural repellents that work on the body. Install a bat house–although the population of bats has dwindled, putting a bat house on top of your own will bring them to your yard and they will naturally control the population. Be sure to get rid of any standing water where they love to breed.

Why are there so many mosquitoes out in the day? When we were kids, we never had to worry about getting bit in the day time; it seemed we only got bit at dusk. You can thank the Asian Tiger mosquito for changing all of that. It was imported to this country accidentally and loves to hang with humans and prefers to feed during the day.

California 06/30/11 nbcsandiego.com: by Michael Gehiken – A Palm Springs woman was bit and her small dog was viciously killed by a large golden retriever mix Wednesday afternoon on a Carlsbad boardwalk, the victim’s husband said. The dog’s handler, believed to be in his early 20s, idly watched the leashed dog bite Rene Hillman, 55, above the right wrist and kill her dog before outrunning witnesses from a park north of Carlsbad Village Drive after 12:30 p.m., Bill Hillman said. Hillman says he saw the attack while walking to purchase food. He ran to assist his wife and their white, six-pound Pomeranian, kicking the attacking dog twice in the head before it finally released, he said. “It took it, shook it, tore it open and ripped it apart,” Bill Hillman said. “The owner did nothing but hold his skateboard as his dog mauled my dog after mauling my wife. Then he ran away, and that’s what made me the most upset … It’s just really sad. I can’t believe a human being would do that. It’s just very, very sad.” Hillman believes the dog weighed 110 to 120 pounds and was a golden retriever-Labrador mix. Witnesses told him the dog’s barefooted owner was a local, he said.

Florida 06/29/11 myfoxtampabay.com: by Kristin Wright – A Gibsonton couple is receiving rabies post-exposure shots after both were bitten by a rabid fox in Hernando County. Their pickup truck broke down along U.S. Highway 491 in a rural area north of Brooksville on Sunday. “She steps out of the truck and she started screaming,” Jim Price told FOX 13. “I run around to see what it was and she had an animal hanging on her arm.”  “I threw him on the ground and kicked him a few times, and he got me inside the leg,” he said. “We have rabies endemic in the wild animal population in Hernando County,” said Albert Gray, environmental manager of the Hernando County Health Department. “In the past nine years, we’ve had 26 rabid wild animals.” Gray said there is a simple way to help prevent exposure in some cases. “The feral cat population is very susceptible to rabies,” he said. “One of the things people can do to protect themselves is to vaccinate their cats and dogs against rabies.” The health department also advises residents and visitors to avoid all free-roaming dogs, cats and wild animals. Also, do not feed wild animals and secure garbage so that it doesn’t attract wild animals. The fox that bit Anna Jo and Jim got hit by a car, and a neighbor later killed it. Lab results confirmed the animal had rabies. In addition to the rabies post-exposure treatments, Anna Jo had to get stitches in her arm and thumb. She says the attack was extremely painful.

Illinois 06/29/11 patch.com: by Brian Feldt – A second bat in Bolingbrook has tested positive for rabies, Will County officials say. According to a release from the Will County Health Department, a bat that fell from a tree near a Bolingbrook home has become Will County’s second confirmed case of wildlife rabies for 2011. The bat was discovered at a home on Sundance Drive on June 21. The bat subsequently tested for rabies the next day at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The man that discovered the bat touched the animal and then stepped on it, the release said. The Will County Health Department has recommended post-exposure rabies prophylaxis for the man who touched the bat. No other human exposures were identified, the release said. On May 24, the county’s first confirmed case of wildlife rabies for the year came from Bolingbrook, when a dead bat was found underneath a deck on Pinecrest Road. “We are entering the prime rabies season now,” said Will County Animal Control Administrator Lee Schild in the release. “More than 75 percent of Illinois’ rabies confirmations occurs from late June through September. Most Illinois rabies cases involve bats – people should avoid bats and notify the most appropriate animal control authority immediately when exposures do occur.” According to the release, at least 15 wildlife rabies cases have already been confirmed in Illinois during 2011, including 14 incidents involving bats. The state recorded a record high of 117 rabies confirmations during 2010; all involving bats. Will County Animal Control is available 24 hours daily at 815-462-5633.

New York 06/29/11 wktv.com: The Otsego County Department of Health has reported that a gray fox has tested positive for rabies on June 29, 2011. The fox was killed by a homeowner in Otego on Monday, June 27. Earlier in the day it was reported to the health department that two children were bitten by a fox on the same property. Health officials said they suspected that the fox that tested positive is the same fox that bit the children, but have been unable to confirm that. The children are currently receiving rabies post-exposure treatment.

North Carolina 06/29/11 thetimesnews.com: A baby fox has become Alamance County’s sixth rabies case of the year, according to the State Laboratory of Public Health on Wednesday. According to a press release from the county’s Health Department, Animal Control was called to a residence on Monroe Holt Road just south of Burlington on Tuesday in response to a report of an aggressive fox. Animal Control discovered that the baby fox had been captured and caged for the past two weeks. During this time period, two children and one adult have been confirmed to have handled the animal. Animal Control and the Environmental Health Division have contacted the people known to have been exposed to the disease. Any other individuals in the area who have questions or may have come into contact with the baby fox are asked to contact Environmental Health at 336-570-6367 immediately.

Wyoming 06/29/11 stamfordadvocate.com: Two more rabid skunks have been found in Laramie County, boosting this year’s total to seven and raising concerns about the disease spreading to pets in the area. The Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory told animal control officials that rabies tests were positive this week on two skunks in the Cheyenne area. The Cheyenne Animal Shelter says it’s important for animals to be vaccinated for rabies. Animal control officials are especially concerned because Cheyenne Frontier Days will start soon and many animals will be brought to town for the rodeo.

Illinois scientists find Prairie Vole may serve as Lyme Disease reservoir host; West Nile Virus found in second Ohio county; Oregon legislature passes Wolf compensation bill; Alaska warns of harmful bacteria in Raw Milk; and Rabies reports from California (2), Illinois, Maine, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia. Travel Warnings for Cambodia, and Singapore.

Prairie Vole. Courtesy U.S. Department of Energy.

National 06/21/11 illinois.edu: by Diana Yates – A new study offers a detailed look at the status of Lyme disease in Central Illinois and suggests that deer ticks and the Lyme disease bacteria they host are more adaptable to new habitats than previously appreciated. Today the deer tick is established in 26 Illinois counties, up from just eight in 1998, said Illinois Department of Public Health entomologist Linn Haramis. Reports of human Lyme disease cases in the state have more than tripled in the same period, he said. “We’ve had several years in a row where we’ve had over 100 cases, up from about 30 per year more than 10 years ago,” Haramis said. “It’s not a huge increase, but it’s been steady and there’s an upward trend.”

Deer tick

Deer ticks are known to do best in forested areas, where they can readily move from small mammals (which provide their first meal) to moist leaf litter on the forest floor, and then to deer, on which they mate. Deer ticks do not pick up the Lyme infection from deer, said Jennifer Rydzewski, who completed her master’s degree with the study in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois. “The deer tick will feed on a variety of mammals, birds and even reptiles,” she said. “But Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, replicates really well within white-footed mice, so white-footed mice are the main reservoir that passes that bacterium on to the immature ticks that are feeding on it.”

White-footed mouse

White-footed mice also are forest dwellers. Prior to the new study, little was known about whether, or how, Lyme disease persists in other habitat types. To determine if Lyme disease had gained a foothold in the patchwork of forests, farms and prairies of Central Illinois, researchers trapped small mammals in Allerton Park, a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural area in Piatt County. They focused on four habitat types: young forest, mature forest, a flood plain and a 30-acre (12-hectare) patch of prairie surrounded by woods and agricultural fields.

The researchers removed deer ticks from the mammals they trapped and tested the ticks for Lyme disease. They found that the immature forest and the prairie hosted the highest percentage of deer-tick-infested mammals, the highest number of ticks per mammal trapped and the highest rates of ticks infected with Lyme disease of the four habitat types evaluated. “The highest prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection was found (in deer tick larvae) from the prairie (27 percent) followed by the young forest (15 percent), the mature forest (6 percent) and the flood plain (6 percent),” the researchers wrote. “Interestingly, all of the positive ticks from the prairie were from prairie voles, not the typical white-footed mouse,” Rydzewski said. There also were many more ticks per animal on the prairie voles than on the white-footed mice of the forest, she said.

This is the first study to report evidence that the prairie vole may potentially serve as a competent reservoir host for the Lyme disease bacterium, B. burgdorferi, said Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey who led the study with Rydzewski and natural resources and environmental sciences emeritus professor Richard Warner. (The Survey is a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois.) “The fact that we found tick larvae feeding so prominently on prairie voles and those ticks were infected and hadn’t had a chance to feed on anything else is a very strong indicator that we are dealing with a different reservoir of Lyme disease that deserves more attention,” Mateus-Pinilla said. The researchers hypothesize that when newly hatched ticks find themselves on the prairie, they latch on to the first small mammal that comes along, which in most cases is a prairie vole (white-footed mice prefer the forest). The abundance of prairie voles in the prairie is much lower than that of the white-footed mice in the forest, so more tick larvae and nymphs end up on the same few prairie voles. Since the number of ticks per animal is higher on the prairie, the likelihood of infection is higher there as well.

“The landscape of Illinois, especially the northern and central area, is very fragmented with agricultural and other development, so there aren’t really big continuous areas that are forested,” Rydzewski said. “And so maybe these ticks are finding new habitats to establish themselves in because of the lack of previous habitats.” “What’s exciting about the new findings is that we are dealing with potentially new mechanisms of disease transmission that we just have not explored and perhaps we do not understand,” Mateus-Pinilla said. “We need to think outside of what we already know about Lyme disease transmission.” The new study appears in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. Researchers from the U. of I. department of pathobiology and Michigan State University also contributed to this study.

Ohio 0/26/11 woio.com: The Licking County Health Department reported the first evidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Licking County for 2011. One pool of mosquitoes collected from traps monitored by the health department has tested positive for WNV. Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, stated, “There have been no WNV positive bird, horse or human cases in Licking County so far this year, but this finding affirms the need for residents to take steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites and eliminate standing water to reduce their chances being infected by WNV.

Oregon 06/24/11 nwsource.com: The Oregon Legislature has passed a bill to pay ranchers for livestock lost to wolves. Gov. John Kitzhaber praised the unanimous vote in the Senate on Friday, saying it represents an historic agreement between ranchers, conservation groups and rural communities to make room for wolves in Oregon. House Bill 3560 creates a $100,000 fund for counties to deal with attacks on livestock by wolves, which moved into Oregon from Idaho and have now formed at least two packs producing young. Part of the money goes to non-lethal measures to protect livestock, but most of it will pay ranchers for cattle and sheep losses. Wolves hit a high of 24 individuals in Oregon, but have since fallen to 14 known individuals in the northeastern corner of the state.

Alaska 06/25/11 Alaska Department of Health: Press Release – The purpose of this Health Advisory is to provide information about a recent outbreak of Campylobacter infections associated with consuming raw milk. An Epidemiology Bulletin will be released in the coming week with additional details about the investigation. Campylobacter infection often causes acute gastroenteritis 2–5 days after exposure. For most persons, illness typically lasts about a week; however, for some persons, especially those with compromised immune systems, more severe symptoms (e.g., septicemia) can occur. Long-term sequelae, such as arthritis, can also occur and rarely, Guillain-Barré syndrome can develop several weeks after the onset of diarrhea. Most sporadic cases of Campylobacter infection are associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by these items or by feces from an infected animal. The organism is not usually spread from one person to another, but this can happen if the infected person is producing a large volume of diarrhea.

California 06/25/11 paradisepost.com: by Trevor Warner – The Paradise Animal Shelter would like residents to be on the lookout for a cat that bit a 61-year-old woman Wednesday. The incident occurred at about 4 p.m. at South Libby Road near the fire station in Paradise. The animal left in an unknown direction. The cat is described as a large domestic shorthair with gray and white patches. The cat must be quarantined in accordance with the state’s health regulations to determine whether it might be infected with rabies. Those with information about the incident are encouraged to call 872-6275.

California 06/24/11 latimes.com: Orange County health officials Friday issued a warning to the public after a dead bat found in Laguna Niguel Regional Park was found to have rabies. Since untreated rabies can be fatal, anyone who has had recent contact with a bat was urged to call the Orange County Health Care Agency Epidemiology Department to be evaluated, the agency said. The phone number is (714) 834-8180. Anyone who is bitten by a bat should wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical treatment. A park employee found the dead bat and turned it in for testing, which was completed Friday afternoon, said Deanne Thompson, a health agency spokesperson. Since the first discovery, officials have learned of multiple dead bats at the park but those others have not been tested, she said.

Illinois 06/24/11 examiner.com: by Joshua-Paul Angell – Another Chicago area bat has tested positive for rabies, this time in suburban Bolingbrook. According to the Chicago Sun Times , the bat was discovered in the yard of a homeowner. A Dupage County resident reportedly stepped on the bat while visiting and then touched it, according to the Will County Health Department. The health department told the man to seek post-rabies exposure treatments. This is the second case of rabies in Bolingbrook this year.

Maine 06/24/11 villagesoup.com: by Jennifer Hill – A farmer living on Birches Road, Lois Whitcomb, called this morning to report that the skunk alert in last week’s Town of Waldo column should be taken seriously. Her hired hands killed a rabid skunk last weekend. They sent the body to state officials, who are especially busy right now with so many cases of rabies. She found out yesterday that the skunk was indeed suffering with the disease.

Montana 06/24/11 bozemandailychronicle.com: Bozeman police are seeking the owner of a large, black mastiff-type dog who was in Cooper Park early (Friday) morning. The dog bit a jogger around 6:30 a.m., breaking the skin of the female runner. Police need to verify the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. The woman told an animal control officer the dog’s owner was a nicely dressed man in his mid-70s. Anyone with information is asked to call Bozeman Animal Control at 582-2249.

Pennsylvania 06/24/11 prnewswire.com: A black and orange kitten found abandoned in the vicinity of the 900 block of Park Avenue in Williamsport, Lycoming County, on May 26 has tested positive for rabies, the Department of Health confirmed.  The department urges anyone who may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids or tissue from the cat to contact the Northcentral District Office, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 570-327-3400.  Residents can also call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) at any time.

Texas 06/23/11 herald-zeitung.com: by Jena Coolidge – New Braunfels – A bat has tested positive for rabies, accounting for the second reported rabies case in Comal County and the 31st case for Region 8 this year, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Dogs were found playing with the rabid Mexican Free-Tailed bat on June 12 in a New Braunfels neighborhood south of I-35 and west of the Guadalupe River within city limits. After the owners contacted New Braunfels Animal Control, the bat was submitted for testing.

West Virginia 06/23/11 statejournal.com: Morgantown – Three people are being treated for rabies after they were attacked by a rabid cat. Three workers at the Morgantown Machine and Hydraulics facility, on Goshen Road, were attacked by the stray cat on Tuesday, according to the Monongalia County Heath Department. After being put down, the cat tested positive for rabies, health officials said.

Travel Warnings:

Cambodia 06/25/11 xinhuanet.com: Phnom Penh – Cambodia reported that as many as 1,793 severe cases of hemorrhagic dengue fever were hospitalized and 11 of them have died since early this year. In a report filed by Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals, up to June 20, there were 1,793 severe cases of dengue fever, and 547 of them were hospitalized in Siem Reap Province, 1,247 in Phnom Penh. Of the total hospitalized, 11 have died. Major outbreaks of dengue fever strike Cambodia every 3 to 5 years and the last one occurred here was in 2007, when around 40, 000 people were hospitalized, with over 10,000 in one week.

Singapore 06/26/11 channelnewsasia.com: A rarely-seen type of dengue – DEN-3 – has hit the Marsiling area with more than 60 cases reported as of Friday. The National Environment Agency (NEA) said residents may have little or no immunity against the infection, leading to quicker dengue transmission. However, it added there is no sign for alarm that this form of dengue is spreading to the rest of the island. The Marsiling area has seen two clusters of dengue transmission recently, with the first detected at Marsiling Rise on April 21. The second cluster detected on May 19 is also the largest so far this year.

New York reports fatal case of Hantavirus; Alabama woman stricken with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; Oregon House passes Wolf compensation bill; Florida sentinel chicken positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis; a West Nile Virus report from Pennsylvania; and Rabies reports from California, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina (2), and Virginia.

Deer mouse excretes hantavirus in urine, saliva, and droppings. Courtesy CDC.

New York 06/22/11 27east.com: by Michael Wright – The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that the sudden death of a 35-year-old Montauk man on Friday night—a little more than a week after he began suffering from muscle pain and flu-like symptoms—was caused by hantavirus, an extremely rare rodent-borne virus.

Dr. David Hartstein

Dr. David Hartstein, a local chiropractor and father of three, died at Southampton Hospital on Friday evening, June 17, after being brought in by ambulance earlier in the day with a high fever and difficulty breathing. He had been intermittently ill for several days prior, according to his wife. A family friend said that doctors at the hospital, in searching for a possible cause of Dr. Hartstein’s acute illness, suspected that he had contracted hantavirus from mouse droppings in the basement of his home, which he had been cleaning recently. On Wednesday, Dr. Hartstein’s widow, Heather Hartstein. said that hantavirus had been confirmed as the cause of his cascading illness. (For complete article go to http://www.27east.com/news/article.cfm/General-Interest/388051/Local-Doctor-Sucumbs-To-Sudden-Illness )

Alabama 06/22/11 waaytv.com: A potentially life-threatening disease is impacting a Ft. Payne family. Now, a woman is at U.A.B. Hospital in Birmingham, fighting to recover. Doctors there say it’s the first case of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever they’ve seen in years.  According to Morrison Sanders, his wife, Helena, fell extremely ill with a fever of 104 degrees and an unusual rash a couple of weeks ago. Their doctor in Ft. Payne couldn’t pinpoint the problem. “He had no idea what it was.” Morrison Sanders said. “He had never seen anything like it.” Last Saturday, Helena was rushed to U.A.B., where doctors diagnosed her with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. “It can be fatal.” said UAB physician Dr. David Pigott. “That’s pretty rare, but the longer the patient has the disease, and it’s undiagnosed and untreated, the more severe the disease can become.”

Rocky Mtn Spotted Fever rash

The disease is spread by infected ticks, and it is not communicable from person to person. Doctors say they can treat it with antibiotics. Doctor Pigott says more people who get the disease don’t even remember being bitten by a tick. Aside from the immediate symptoms of fever, rash and vomiting, the disease can cause long term problems – paralysis, gangrene and brain damage. Meanwhile, Helena Sanders has a good prognosis. She’s expected to recover from her relatively mild case of the disease.

Oregon 06/22/11 seattlepi.com: The Oregon House has unanimously voted to pay ranchers who lose livestock to wolves. The House vote on Wednesday sends the measure to the Senate. The legislation had appeared dead, but was revived after ranchers, conservation groups, and the governor’s office spent three days in a closed room last week hammering out details of the $100,000 package. The bill is considered crucial to getting ranchers on board with restoring wolf packs that had been hunted to extinction in Oregon in the early 20th century. A state fund would replace payments to ranchers from the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife, which runs out in September.

Sentinel chickens

Florida 06/22/11 hernandotoday.com: One of the county’s sentinel chickens has tested positive for the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus, prompting health officials to advise caution. Mosquito Control Director Guangye Hu said the infected chicken was found in the western part of the county, which means mosquitoes carrying the virus are present in the area. The county maintains five flocks of chickens throughout the county that are tested periodically to determine if they are carrying a mosquito-borne virus. The viruses are not harmful to the chickens, but can be deadly to humans and horses. EEE is a rare disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. It is a virus that can cause inflammation of the brain and is serious in humans.

No human cases have been reported in Hernando County but anyone in the area where the virus is circulating can get infected. The risk for infection is highest for people who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities. Hu said mosquito control staff is stepping up inspections and treatment in the western part of the county, but reminds all Hernando County residents and visitors to be vigilant about mosquito bite prevention. For health-related questions regarding EEE, call the Hernando County Health Department Environmental Health office at 352-540-6202. Residents can call the Mosquito Control Department at 352-540-6552 to request mosquito control services. For additional health-related information, visit www.cdc.gov. or http://www.hernandocounty.us/mosquito/

Pennsylvania 06/22/11 abc27.com: by Myles Snyder – Dauphin County’s West Nile Virus control program has found its first mosquito sample this year infected with West Nile Virus. County spokeswoman Amy Richards said the mosquitoes were trapped in Susquehanna Township on June 16. West Nile Virus, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.

California 06/21/11 chicoer.com: Chico – Animal Control authorities are seeking a dog that bit a man about 11:30 a.m. Saturday near the corner of Citrus and W. Second Avenues. The man, 23, was walking his Jack Russel terrier when a larger dog approached and began fighting with the terrier. The man received minor injuries while breaking up the fight. The larger dog is described as a long-haired breed, possibly a chow or chow mix, dark brown or black, and was wearing a black collar and tags. It’s believed the dog lives in the area. If the dog can’t be located to verify its health and vaccination history, the victim will be advised to start vaccinations for rabies exposure. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the dog or its owner is asked to call Chico Animal Control at 897-4960, or 897-4900.

New Jersey 06/21/11 northjersey.com: Wayne – Mayor Chris Vergano would like to notify residents that on June 16, the Wayne Health Department received notification that a 7 to 9 week old tabby kitten tested positive for the rabies virus in the area of Runnymede Drive. The township is asking that anyone who may have been bitten, scratched or handled stray cats or kittens since May 31 to contact the health department immediately at 973-694-9295. Residents are reminded not to feed or touch stray animals. If an animal appears to be injured or sick please contact animal control immediately or if after hours the Police Department at 973-694-0600. Report all animal bites immediately to the health department.

New York 06/22/11 cbs6albany.com: According to the Rensselaer County Department of Health, a kitten found in area of Main Avenue in Wynantskill has tested positive for the rabies virus. Officials urge anyone who has come in contact or have taken a kitten from this area between June 10 and June 16 to contact the Rensselaer County Department of Health immediately. For more information on rabies prevention or what you should do if exposed to a potentially rabid animal, please contact the Rensselaer County Department of Health at 270-2655 or visit their web page at http://www.rensco.com/publichealth.asp

North Carolina 06/21/11 nbc17.com: by Jackie Faye – Multiple fox attacks are forcing Cary officials to temporarily close the Stone Creek Greenway. Town officials say the fox attacked a five-year-old little boy and Salvatore Randazzo in the park Monday. Tim Busam witnessed Randazzo’s attack Monday morning. “It’s a one in a million thing who expects to walk down and Greenway and get attacked by a fox?” asked Busam. Randazzo said the fox charged at him three times. “I was ready, I kicked him in the face the last time,” said Randazzo. Randazzo said he’ll be getting rabies shots for weeks to come. The little boy was attacked Monday night around 6:30 p.m. Animal Control workers said the child was in his backyard, playing in a creek, when the fox came out of the Greenway area and bit him on his left shoulder and on his leg. A third woman says she was walking on the Greenway Tuesday morning when the fox tried to bite at her feet, though she says she was able to get away without the fox breaking her skin. Animal Control said they are almost 100 percent certain all of the incident involve the same fox. The Town is actively working to capture the animal, and anyone who sees the animal is advised to use caution and notify Cary Animal Control immediately at (919)319-4517.

Oregon 06/21/11 oregonlive.com: by Monique Balas – The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory confirmed a bat tested positive for rabies in Salem, the first such occurrence in a bat this year. Emilio DeBess, state public health veterinarian, warns us to make sure pets are current on their vaccinations. If you live in Multnomah County, your pet should be current already; the county requires rabies vaccinations for licensed pets. “Cats are the most common animal to encounter bats,” DeBess says, “because cats tend to be nocturnal, and they’re around when bats are around.”

South Carolina 06/21/11 scdhec.gov: Two Sumter County men are under the care of a physician after being exposed to a fox that tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said today. “The incident began June 17th in the Rembert area when a fox came to drink out of a swimming pool while several people were there,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “The fox came back to the pool later and stole a man’s hat. When he went to retrieve the hat, the fox bit the man on his foot. The next day the fox attacked a backhoe on the same property. A man shot the fox and removed its’ head for testing, which was positive for rabies.” For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s Web page at: http://www.scdhec.gov/rabies or contact DHEC’s Sumter County Environmental Health Office at (803) 773-5511.

South Carolina 06/21/11 scdhec.gov: Three Kershaw County residents are under a doctor’s care after being exposed to a cat that tested positive for rabies, according to officials with the Department of Health and Environmental Control. “The incident began June 16th in a rural part of the county north of Camden when a woman found a kitten under her vehicle,” said Sue Ferguson of  DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “She and two of her children were scratched while handling the kitten.” This is the third confirmed rabid animal in Kershaw County in 2011. Last year, there were two rabid animals confirmed in the county, both were raccoons. In 2010, there were 106 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 44 confirmed cases in animals in the state. For more information about rabies contact DHEC’s Kershaw County Environmental Health Office at (803) 425-6051.

Virginia 06/21/11 martinsvillebulletin.com: A cat that attacked a dog in the Elamsville area last week has tested positive for rabies, according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Health. The cat, a stray, attacked the dog June 15 on Pilson Sawmill Road “in the vicinity of” Sycamore Baptist Church. The dog’s owner, who stated he had never seen the cat before, described it as a solid black cat with a bushy tail. Officials believe the cat was female. The cat had no collar or tags. Bobby Parker, health department spokesman, urges anyone who suspects they or someone they know came into contact with the cat to call authorities immediately. Call the Patrick County Health Department at 693-2070 or the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office at 694-3161.

NIMBioS calls for applications for Free-Roaming Cats and Rabies workshop; New Jersey woman bitten by Feral Cat with Rabies; Washington child’s bout with Tick Paralysis, and South Carolina man’s bout with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, both close calls; Michigan DNR reinstates Deer baiting in most of Lower Peninsula; New Mexico Game Commission suspends Mexican Wolf reintroduction program; Washington group trying to help with Wolf management plan still at odds; and Rabies reports from Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Virginia (2). Canada: a Rabies report from Ontario. Travel Warnings for Vietnam.

Photo by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sanchez. Wikimedia Commons.

Announcement – National 06/10/11 veterinarypracticenews.com – The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) is calling for applications for its investigative workshop titled Modeling Free-Roaming Cats (FRC) and Rabies. The workshop is set for Nov. 9 through 11 at NIMBioS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. NIMBioS brings together researchers internationally to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in life sciences. The institute’s workshop objectives include acquiring a better understanding of population dynamics and ways in which FRC transmit infectious disease. There are more than 81 million pet cats in the U.S. The number of FRC is unknown, but estimated to be 32 to 53 million. Concerns about the health of cats, zoonotic disease transmission, transmission of diseases to other non-human species, predation on wildlife species and nuisance complaints are an ongoing issue.

Dr. Louis J. Gross, Director, NIMBioS

The institute says it initially hopes to identify data sources and critical data gaps relating to FRC population dynamics and rabies transmission. Then review and consider the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of modeling approaches using the expertise of participants. Participation is limited. Those selected to attend will be notified within two weeks of the application deadline of July 31. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Click here for more information.

New Jersey 06/11/11 northjersey.com: by Teresa Edmond — On May 25, a woman in the Brookside Heights condominiums was walking her dog when she was attacked and bitten by a stray cat, according to a notice from Bloomingdale Animal Control, which includes Wanaque in the communities it serves. Bloomingdale Animal Control responded and contained the cat. The animal seemed ill and was tested for rabies. On May 31, the state Department of Health and Senior Services rabies lab confirmed the cat was, in fact, rabid, according to the notice. The notice went out to residents of the Brookside Heights condominiums. There, Bloomingdale Animal Control is setting traps for other strays. Meanwhile, the organization recommends that residents keep their cats indoors and collared with proper identification. Bloomingdale Animal Control serves Bloomingdale, Butler, Riverdale, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Kinnelon and North Caldwell. Its phone number is 973-838-8959.

Washington 06/10/11 yakima-herald.com: by Ross Courtney – Excerpts – “Daya (Jones) calls it ‘the bad bug.’ Nobody likes ticks, but this one was bad indeed. It not only bit and sucked her blood, the parasite secreted a neurotoxin through its saliva that caused the 4-year-old girl to lose muscle control and feeling in her legs, fingers and nose last weekend. If doctors had found it any later, the ‘bad bug’ may have killed her.”

“Physicians are calling the girl’s close call tick paralysis, a rare condition that causes weakness and loss of feeling and body control that can be fatal within a day or two of noticing the symptoms. Ticks are most known for spreading infections, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which themselves are pretty unusual in Washington. The more unusual tick paralysis is caused by poison similar to a spider bite, said Gordon Kelly, the Yakima Health District’s director of environmental health.”

The Rocky Mountain Wood Tick is associated with Tick Paralysis. As the tick engorges the shield remains consistent in size and color although it tilts forward to a more vertical position. Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged

“The state saw only five cases of tick paralysis between 1990 and 2009, according to the Department of Health. The nation saw 10 cases between 1987 and 1995, according to the Centers for Disease Control, although the agency notes the incidents may have been underreported. Daya was the first case for Dr. Jay Ames, who has worked in the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital emergency room since 1979. He’s seen his share of ticks over the years, but this one stumped him. It was comparatively large and translucent, he said.”  (For complete article go to http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/06/10/bug-bite-a-ticking-time-bomb-for-little-girl )

(Note: According to The Merck Veterinary Manual “The potential for inducing paralysis has been demonstrated, described, or suspected in 64 species of ticks belonging to 7 ixodid and 3 argasid genera.”)

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever petechial rash.

South Carolina 06/10/11 foxcarolina.com: by Greg Funderburg – An upstate man is home recovering after being hospitalized for a tick bite that almost turned fatal.  Heath Bolton was admitted to the hospital Tuesday.  Doctors said he caught a strand of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  The disease is caused from a tick bite.  “It started as a horrible headache.  I don’t know any other way to explain it.  It just hurt to be alert,” said Bolton. “The warning signs are more common things like viral stomach bug, you can get vomiting, diarrhea, rash, fever, so there’s quite an overlap in symptoms so if there’s ever a question,” Dr. Steven Jones said.  Jones said children can typically fight off the fever, but adults like Heath, 30 and over can get very sick.  Heath says he travels a great deal, but can’t figure out where he could have picked up the tick. Bolton has been released from the hospital, and is expected to return to work next week.

Michigan 06/10/11 detnews.com: by Jim Lynch – Nearly three years after banning deer-baiting by hunters in the Lower Peninsula, Michigan officials reinstated the controversial practice Thursday night (June 9). Baiting has been illegal since 2008, when chronic wasting disease popped up in a Kent County deer breeding operation. The disease, which causes drastic weight loss in elk and deer, can be fatal and is easily transmitted between animals when they group in small areas. To prevent that, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources put a stop to hunters using piles of feed such as apples, beets or carrots to lure deer to a spot to shoot. The ban was an unpopular move among many in the hunting community, as well as others who made their livelihoods in the bait business. A group of farmers and business owners sued the DNR over its decision, but lost in court in October 2008. Thursday’s 4-3 decision by the DNR’s Natural Resources Commission means baiting will be allowed when deer hunting season rolls around in the fall. “The DNR’s position has been that we don’t favor baiting,” said Mary Dettloff, the department spokeswoman. “But with the ban now lifted, we request people follow the regulations as they are written.” Hunters will be allowed to place as much as two gallons of bait — covering as much as 10 square feet — on a single spot between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1. The ban, however, will remain in place in Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties. (For complete article go to http://www.detnews.com/article/20110610/POLITICS02/106100384/Michigan-lifts-deer-baiting-ban-for-fall-hunting-season )

New Mexico 06/10/11 lcsun-news.com: by Reyes Mata III – The New Mexico State Game Commission voted unanimously today (Friday, June 10) to suspend the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction program in the state.  “I would like to suspend it for a while, let’s see how it lays out,” said Commissioner Thomas “Dick” Salopek. “Both sides have been unhappy about the wolf recovery program. We have been keeping peace between all people. So, you know what, if both sides are unhappy, then let’s suspend it and let the federal government do it. I am frustrated at both sides, especially with the federal government.” The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department – following the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act – looks for partners throughout the state to protect endangered species, like the Mexican wolf. The New Mexico State Game Commission has been a partner to protect the Mexican wolf since 1999. Today’s regular meeting, which for the first time this year was in Las Cruces, sought to gather public opinion to help guide the state’s wolf protection policy. About 50 Mexican wolves are spread over New Mexico and Arizona. Dan Williams, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish – a partner in coordinating the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program – said it was a “balanced” public comment session. “But we will no longer be participating in the Mexican Wolf reintroduction program,” he said. “It’s an argument that’s been going on since 1999.” June 30 will be last day the New Mexico Game and Fish Department participates in the program, he said. (For complete article go to http://www.lcsun-news.com/ci_18242175?source=most_emailed )

Washington 06/09/11 yakima-herald.com: by Scott Sandsberry – With wildlife commissioners poised to enact the state’s wolf management plan in December, the citizen group helping to craft it remains polarized to the point of being combative. Six of its 17 members remain “unable to live with” the wolf numbers called for in the draft plan, according to their minority opinion that — in what one called “one of the worst insults I’ve ever had” — was relegated to the final two pages of the 295-page document. A final plan is expected to be released for public comment in August.

At the panel’s two-day work session earlier this week in Ellensburg — the first meeting in two years in the five-year effort — members remained sharply divided over the basic issues and couldn’t agree on an answer to the most critical question: How many wolves are enough? “We’ve asked this throughout the process. What is the cap?” said Jack Field who, as executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, has been the most outspoken opponent of the wolf numbers called for by the plan. “(Panelists) talk about the words that are missing in the document, but the two words that are really missing and that nobody’s really addressing are population cap. How many wolves are we really talking about here?”

The management plan sets minimum numbers of successful breeding pairs in Washington necessary to justify downgrading wolves from their current listing as endangered throughout the state. Six pairs for three consecutive years would reclassify wolves from state endangered to state threatened; 12 pairs would lower that to state sensitive; and 15 pairs, sufficiently dispersed, would delist the species. How many wolves that might mean, though, is a loaded question without a concrete answer — or even a satisfactory estimate. According to a table in the draft document, 15 documented breeding pairs might — considering non-breeding pack members, undocumented packs and lone wolves — translate to as few as 97 wolves throughout the state, or as many as 42 actual packs and more than 360 wolves. And if the state’s wolf numbers continued to expand over the next two years at 24 percent annually — wolves’ population growth rate during the first 13 years of the federal Northern Rocky Mountains wolf restoration effort — that could mean upwards of 60 packs and 550 wolves before state officials made them legal to hunt. While the actual number of wolves will likely be far less, there’s simply no way to estimate how many there will be, said Harriet Allen, who heads up the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s endangered/threatened species section. “We aren’t going to know what the growth rate is going to be,” she said. “It’s going to be different in different areas, based on habitat and prey base.” (For complete article go to http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/06/09/some-panelists-say-population-cap-needed-for-wolves-in-state )

Georgia 06/10/11 walb.com: by Jennifer Emert – An Albany woman is undergoing medical treatment for rabies after being attacked by a fox last night on the Darton College campus. Evette Mills told us the animal attacked her from behind and came at her two different times.  Players from a semi-pro football team came to her aid.  After hearing the circumstances, health officials say that animal likely is rabid. Health officials say when Evette Mills was attacked here on the walking track at Darton College just after 9:00 it is a typical time for foxes to be out, but typically they don’t approach people. Anytime someone is bitten they’re notified. “The Health Department actually investigates each and every bite whether it be pets or any other animal,” said Dewayne Tanner Environmental Health Director for the Southwest Georgia Health District. (For complete article go to http://www.walb.com/story/14885659/digging-deeper-rabid-animals )

Illinois 06/10/11 patch.com: by Bob Bong – On June 7, a bat was found dead in Doogan Park at Highland and Park Lane in Orland Park. An examination has determined the bat had rabies. As a result of the examination, Orland Park police have issued a rabid bat warning. If you were exposed to or bitten by a bat, contact your doctor.  You are advised not to handle any bats, skunks or other wild animals. If any bats or skunks are found down or dead on your property or roadway, please call the Cook County Department of Animal Control at (708) 974-6140.

New Jersey 06/10/11 patch.com: by Don Bennett – Ocean County officials are warning Lacey Township pet owners to make sure their animals have up-to-date rabies shots after a rabid raccoon was found this week in Barnegat Pines. The aggressive animal was captured after residents called police.  It was taken to the state Health and Environmental Lab where it was found to be rabid. Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye said 9 rabid animals have been found so far this year in the county. Five other raccoons, 2 skunks and a groundhog were rabid. They were found in Toms River, Lacey, Lakewood, Tuckerton, Jackson and Manchester.

New Mexico 06/10/11 kob.com: by Stuart Dyson – An Albuquerque woman has come forward to take responsibility for her dog biting an elderly man and leaving him worried about rabies. Laura Mitchell contacted KOB Eyewitness News 4 to say it was her dog Brian, a boxer-pointer cross, that bit and severely injured the left hand of Herb Hughes when he tried to wave hello while out for a walk on Sunday morning. Contrary to what neighbors told us, Mitchell said she did not abandon Hughes and simply walk away with her dog. “After it happened I asked the man, ‘Are you OK?'” Mitchell said. “‘Are you OK?’ – sure I’m fine – so sorry, so sorry, so sorry – my God – never happened before and I cried the whole time and he said I’m OK – I’m fine – and he started to walk away and even as he was walking away I asked him are you sure you’re OK – I’m sorry – he’s never done this before and he just said he was OK and walked away.” Mitchell said that although Brian’s rabies vaccination is not up-to-date, he was vaccinated when she adopted him from the city animal shelter in November 2007, and is unlikely to have had contact with any other animals. Bite victim Herb Hughes said he is relieved and has no hard feelings about Mitchell or her dog. “I appreciate very much her calling in and I am sympathetic,” Hughes said. “I just hope that she takes this into account when she thinks about how the dog might affect kids and so forth, and she takes that into account as she decides what she’s going to do with the dog.” Hughes said he will consult his doctor about the need for any rabies shots. Mitchell said she just wants to keep Brian. City animal welfare officers said it is possible that Mitchell will be cited, and that a Metro Court judge could possibly impose a fine, but they said it looks like she can keep Brian.

New York 06/10/11 syracuse.com: by John Mariani – The gray fox that bit a 4-year-old girl Thursday at a Syracuse apartment complex tested positive for rabies, an Onondaga County Health Department official said. The child will need medical treatment and her family has been notified, said Lisa Letteney, the county director of environmental health assessment. Officials have not identified the victim and Letteney said she could not further disclose specifics of the case. What is known is that the fox bit the child shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday near the pool at the Nob Hill Apartments on Lafayette Road, according to Syracuse police. The animal was confined under a large garbage can until a state Department of Environmental Conservation officer arrived, DEC spokeswoman Stephanie Harrington said. The officer shot the fox and city police brought its remains to the county Health Department, which shipped them to the state Health Department’s Wadsworth Center Rabies Laboratory for testing. Wadsworth officials gave county officials the results earlier today. This is the third confirmed case of rabies in an animal this year in Onondaga County, Letteney said. Two raccoons tested positive for the disease between Jan. 1 and April 30, according to state figures. The last time a fox tested positive for the disease in Onondaga County was 2008, when two foxes got it, Letteney said.

Virginia 06/11/11 madison-news.com: by Marilyn Cox – Excerpts – “Hiking in White Oak Canyon May 26 with her boyfriend, two younger brothers and mother, Madison County resident Kalie Sealander heard a strange snorting sound. Then she realized where the noise was coming from. A grunting raccoon was running up from the creek bed straight at her in broad daylight . . . . the raccoon sunk its teeth into her left leg and held on for dear life until her boyfriend returned and came at it with a stick. He grabbed the raccoon behind the neck and beat the raccoon, which was still clinging to her leg, four or five times before the stick broke. Then, Kalie handed him a rock and he smashed the raccoon with that two or three times till it was unconscious and continued a few more times to make sure it was dead. “He had gotten me pretty good. He hung on for quite awhile,” Sealander said. Luckily, her mother had brought a first aid kit and told everyone to not toss the raccoon into the Robinson River, which flows through the canyon, but instead to keep it to be tested for rabies. They contacted the health department and animal control right away. They got it tested immediately for rabies and the results came back positive. Luckily, she got four shots in the wound and three other shots right away. She is expected to get a series of shots as well.” (For complete article go to http://www2.madison-news.com/news/2011/jun/11/rabid-coon-bites-mc-woman-ar-1097878/ )

Virginia 06/10/11 wydaily.com: by Amber Lester Kennedy – A raccoon found in the Meadowview Drive area of Yorktown has tested positive for rabies. Meadowview Drive is located just off Oriana Road, a block off of Route 17. Anyone who thinks they or their pet might have been exposed to this animal is asked to contact the Health Department at (757) 594-7340. Exposure includes bites, scratches or contact with saliva by open wound, eyes, nose or mouth. After regular business hours, call local Animal Control at (757) 809-3601.

Canada:

Ontario 06/10/11 bayshorebroadcasting.ca: by Manny Paiva – Rabies has been found in a cow in the Owen Sound area. The Grey Bruce Health Unit says tests confirm rabies in a cow bound in the area by Springmount, Jackson and Kilsyth. Officials say the case is a reminder that rabies is present in local wildlife and can spill over into the domestic animal population and create a risk to humans.

Travel Warnings:

Vietnam 06/10/11 thanhniennews.com: Ho Chi Minh City health officials have warned of significant dengue fever and hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) outbreaks since the onset of the rainy season. The number of HFMD cases reached a record 1,500 (with seven reported deaths) in May. The disease has claimed 13 lives among more than 3,000 reported cases in HCMC, this year.  Meanwhile, dengue fever has sickened around 4,000 city residents — a 92-percent increase from the same period last year. In May alone, more than 500 dengue fever cases were reported in HCMC.

(Note: According to the CDC “Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common viral illness of infants and children. The disease causes fever and blister-like eruptions in the mouth and/or a skin rash. HFMD is often confused with foot-and-mouth (also called hoof-and-mouth) disease, a disease of cattle, sheep, and swine; however, the two diseases are not related—they are caused by different viruses. Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease. HFMD is caused by viruses that belong to the enterovirus genus (group). This group of viruses includes polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, and enteroviruses. Infection is spread from person to person by direct contact with infectious virus.)

Texas scientist leading Malaria drug project; Coyote attacks Colorado woman; Squirrel attacks Florida man; four Horses in Texas diagnosed with Rabies this year; and Rabies reports from New York, and North Carolina (3).

Dr. Meg Phillips and President Kikwete of Tanzania.

Global June 2011 mmv.org: Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) Press Release – His Excellency President Kikwete of Tanzania presented the coveted MMV Project of the Year 2010 award to Prof. Meg Phillips and her collaborators on the first day of the MMV Stakeholders’ Meeting. The award was presented in recognition of the international team’s impressive progress to rapidly bring DHODH inhibitors towards clinical testing. Dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) is one the hottest malaria drug targets under investigation today. The University of Texas Southwestern’s project, led by Prof. Meg Phillips, set out to discover and develop targeted inhibitors able to hit this enzyme and stop the parasite in its tracks. From the very outset, scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern knew they had found something special in DHODH. Unlike other species, including humans, Plasmodium species are completely reliant on this enzyme for survival. Additionally, due to biological differences between the parasite and man with respect to the enzyme, scientists can be confident that a medicine targeted at Plasmodium DHODH will not have the same effect in humans.

A series of molecules known as the triazolopyrimidines were identified via a high throughput screen of the University of Texas Southwestern’s compound library and later identified by chemists as molecules with great antimalarial potential. Select molecules from the series are now undergoing preclinical tests to identify which candidate should move forward. The results are promising and suggest the molecules are long lasting and active against the blood-stage of P. falciparum. Based on this we already know that, if successful, the final medicine could be delivered as a once-a-day dose. If all goes according to plan we could hope to see a DHODH inhibitor available and saving the lives of people suffering from malaria in the next 5-6 years.

“Understanding the Plasmodium DHODH has been a difficult process. The challenges faced at every turn while researching this enzyme over the last 5 years have made it a really intellectually stimulating project.” Dr Ian Bathurst, MMV Project Director. “In the future I hope that we see a compound out there in the clinic treating people – that would be the coolest thing that could happen in my entire career.” Prof. Meg Phillips, University of Texas Southwestern. “We wish to commend this group of dedicated scientists led by Prof. Phillips for joining forces to develop a new and innovative medicine for malaria.” Dr David Reddy, CEO, MMV.

Colorado 06/07/11 kktv.com: by Alyssa Chin – A Colorado Springs woman is still shaken up after being attacked by a coyoteright behind her west side condo near Fillmore and Mesa. Kateri Kerwin said during the attack her fight or flight instinct kicked in. She wants other people to be on the lookout for this dangerous and potentially sick coyote. Kerwin had just finished a round of treatment for breast cancer and is now also recovering from this wild coyote attack. “I was hysterical. The first bite you’re just in shock and it’s just searing pain,” Kerwin said. Friday afternoon Kerwin was right outside her condo gardening with a friend who flew in to help with her breast cancer recovery. Her friend walked away, and Kerwin noticed a coyote just inches from her face. “We looked at each other and I looked at his body and then he just pounced,” Kerwin said. The coyote bit her twice before she could fight it off with a bag of potting soil, giving her just enough time to get to the stairs. Several reports say this animal has been spotted a number of times near the Fontmore area. (For complete report go to                                        http://www.kktv.com/news/headlines/Colorado_ Springs_Woman_Attacked_By_Coyote_In_Her_Backyard_123435274.html )

Florida 06/08/11 palmbeachpost.com: by Frank Cerabino – Fritz Pettrak knows what it’s like to be attacked by a squirrel. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t half as bad as the financial attack that followed. The 51-year-old West Palm Beach man came face to face with an irate squirrel standing in his carport one morning last month. “I looked at him, and he came closer,” Pettrak said. “Then he jumped at me and scratched my bare leg.” Pettrak didn’t know what to make of his bloody wound or the squirrel, who was still itching for a fight. “Then he jumped at me and scratched me again, so I kicked him real good.” With the squirrel crouching in the hedges, Pettrak dashed back into his house to get his BB gun. “Bing. I shot him. He falls down and goes underneath the fence into my neighbor’s yard,” Pettrak said. So with gun in hand, Pettrak knocked on his neighbor’s door to ask permission to hunt the attack squirrel. “I said, ‘Hey, I have to find this squirrel, because they might need to check it for rabies.'” Pettrak found the squirrel in the neighbor’s backyard, and shot it again. But the wily squirrel got away. Pettrak went to his doctor that afternoon, where he got a tetanus shot and advice to call the Palm Beach County Health Department. “We err on the side of caution,” said health department spokesman Tim O’Connor. “If there was any question, we recommend getting the rabies series of shots. “They told him it was highly unlikely for a squirrel to have rabies, but not impossible,” O’Connor said. “Any warm-blooded animal is susceptible to rabies.” Pettrak said the health department advised him that he would have to go to a hospital emergency room to get the first rabies shot, and then he could receive the rest of the series from the department. (For complete report go to http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/cerabino-squirrel-attack-leads-to-uneventful-but-expensive-1527365.html )

Texas 06/07/11 vanzandtnewspapers.com:  According to an article published in the Van Zandt Newspapers this week, a 30-day-old foal in Van Zandt County has tested positive for rabies. So far this year, four horses in the state of Texas have been diagnosed with rabies.

New York 06/08/11 patch.com: by Plamena Pesheva – Have you seen a stray cat with short hair that was solid black in color near the main entrance of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in Yorktown? The Westchester County Department of Health issued a rabies alert today to residents who may have had contact with the cat prior to Tuesday, June 7. Tuesday morning, officials captured the cat, which was observed acting aggressively near the main entrance, and submitted for rabies testing. Test results confirmed the cat was rabid, officials said. Anyone who believes they or a pet may have been in contact with this cat, should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment.

North Carolina 06/08/11 the-dispatch.com: A dead fox found in Thomasville has become Davidson County’s eighth rabies case of the year. The fox was found in the yard Monday, although it had been there since Saturday, according to a press release from the Davidson County Health Department. There was an unvaccinated dog on the premises that has been destroyed. There was no human exposure reported.

North Carolina 06/08/11 witn.com: The Hyde and Onslow County Health Departments have reported three confirmed case of rabies this week.  The Hyde County Health Department reports a confirmed case of rabies in Hyde County on Germantown Road in the Scranton community after a feral cat attacked a resident of that community.  The resident shot and killed the cat and called Hyde County Sheriff’s Department, who contacted Hyde County’s Animal Control Contract Officer. The tests came back positive for rabies. The Onslow County Health Department has confirmed two cases of rabies within the last week.  A rabid fox bit a four-year-old boy and the child’s family dog on Dewitt St. Thursday. On Friday, a rabid raccoon attacked a woman in Richlands.

North Carolina 06/07/11 witn.com: Beaufort county has four confirmed rabies cases this year, and may now have a fifth case.  Two raccoons and two foxes have tested positive for rabies in the county, prompting the county health department to issue a warning. Tuesday morning, Animal Control was called out to Pamlico Plantations in Beaufort County for a raccoon that wouldn’t leave a woman’s porch. The raccoon has been sent to the lab in Raleigh.  If it tests positive for rabies, and Chief Animal Control Officer Sandy Woolard expects it will, it will be the fifth confirmed cases this year.

Bobcat with Rabies attacks man in Florida; Beaver believed to have Rabies attacks three people in Pennsylvania; Feral Cats in metro Detroit, Michigan, thought to number 657,000; a Coyote report from California; a public meeting being held in Minnesota to discuss Gray Wolf de-listing; and Rabies reports from South Carolina, and Virginia.

Bobcat. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Florida 05/31/11 ecbpublishing.com: by Fran Hunt – The Jefferson County Health Department (JCHD) issued a Rabies Alert in Jefferson County last week, which will remain in effect for the next 60 days, after a local man was attacked. The JCHD Environmental Health was notified of a possible rabid bobcat in the Lloyd area.  On the evening of May 18 the victim reported an attack by a bobcat.  The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County Animal Control acquired the bobcat for testing. On May 20, the bobcat tested (FRA) positive (rabies) with (MAb) still pending. The victim began PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) treatment after presenting to the Emergency Department. JCHD Administrator Kim Barnhill, has issued a rabies alert for Jefferson County. (For complete article go to http://ecbpublishing.com/?p=590  .)

Pennsylvania 06/02/11 myfoxphilly.com: Pennsylvania Game Commission officials say a rabid beaver was killed in Philadelphia on Thursday near the Roosevelt Boulevard, and the public should be alert to other rabid rodents. It is the second incident of a rabid beaver in the Philadelphia since April. The beaver attacked a couple and a small child in separate incidents, and a Fairmount Park ranger captured the beaver about 500 yards from where it bit the child. Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Jerry Czech said the beaver attacked three individuals over the past two days, June 1 and 2, in the Pennypack Creek area between Bustleton Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. The beaver was killed and taken to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, Chester County, to be tested for rabies.

Michigan 06/01/11 freep.com: by Megha Satyanarayana – On a nondescript block in east Ferndale slammed with foreclosures and vacancies, a new breed of squatters is slowly taking over. A colony of dozens of homeless cats are living, breeding and dying among the houses on this street. At one house, the smell of urine fills the air along the foundation. By one estimate, there are about 657,000 feral cats in metro Detroit — that’s 16 cats for every seat at Comerica Park. The cat population strains animal control and animal welfare groups, which say they have limited money and space. Free-roaming cats often harbor illnesses that spread between cats and sometimes, to humans, said Dr. Steve Halstead, state veterinarian. Just one example: Pregnant women are advised against cleaning litter boxes for fear of the parasite that causes fetus- endangering toxoplasmosis; gardening in cat-trafficked yards carries a similar risk. Southfield has agreed to be the pilot community for a $100,000 county program to catch, sterilize and release feral cats and a Warren animal welfare group is teaching people how to literally herd cats. “You can’t just adopt your way out of the situation,” said Amber Sitko, president of All About Animals Rescue in Warren. More animal welfare groups are promoting trap-neuter-release programs as a surefire way to decrease the population of feral or free-roaming cats in the Detroit area, but wildlife groups say the programs don’t alleviate all of the problems. By one calculation cited by the Petsmart Charities, there are approximately 657,000 homeless cats in the area. The Humane Society of the United States estimates the nation’s free-roaming cat population at 50 million, while another study published by Best Friends Animal Society estimates 87 million feral cats nationwide — 22 cats for every square mile of land and water in the U.S. (For complete article go to http://www.freep.com/article/20110601/NEWS05/106010376/Feral-cat-population-metro-Detroit-overwhelms-animal-welfare-groups-residents .)

California 06/02/11 msn.com: by Claire Webb – Animal services is trying to trap an aggressive coyote that is believed to have killed a small dog and injured a woman last week in the Laguna Woods Village retirement community. Four box traps have been set out in areas with heavy brush to catch a coyote that has killed one dog and at least five cats in the area in the last week, said Joy Falk, senior animal services officer with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s Animal Services, which serves Laguna Woods. Falk said cat food is placed inside the box trap and when an animal steps on a pressure-sensitive pedal, the trap door closes. Falk would not say where the traps have been placed to avoid people tampering with them. Traps have been set out after an elderly woman was walking her small, mixed-breed dog on a leash around 10 a.m. on Saturday on Avenida Majorca and a coyote began attacking the dog, Falk said. Falk said the woman tried to wrestle the dog away and was bitten in the scuffle — it was unclear if the bite was from the coyote or the dog. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian and later died. The woman had to undergo a series of shots for rabies treatment and is in stable condition, Falk said. (For complete article go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43258339/ns/local_news-orange_county_ca/

Minnesota 06/02/11 wisbusiness.com:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public information meeting about its recent proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protection for the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The meeting will take place on June 14, 2011, from 6 pm to 8 pm at Davies Theater in Davies Hall at Itasca Community College, 1851 East Highway 169, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  Members of the public will have the opportunity to view a presentation, receive information and ask questions about the Service’s proposal.(For complete article go to http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=238214  )

South Carolina 06/02/11 thesunnews.com: by Steve Jones – An Horry County man is undergoing treatment after being bitten and scratched by a stray cat that tested positive for rabies, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The man was attacked by the animal in the Colonial Charters subdivision in Longs, the release said. The animal was the second confirmed positive for rabies in Horry County this year. In 2010, seven rabid animals were confirmed in Horry County. There were 106 confirmed cases of rabid animals statewide in 2010. So far this year, there have been 38 confirmed cases, the release said.

Virginia 06/02/11 richlands-news-press.com: The Mount Rogers Health District is issuing a second rabies alert following three additional positive rabies cases in Carroll County within the last two weeks of May, bringing the total this year to five.  On May 23, a fox found dead in the north end of the town of Hillsville was determined to be positive for rabies.  On May 24, the health department was notified of a dog fighting with a raccoon in the Cana area which was also positive.  On May 31, the health department received two additional reports concerning a fox and a raccoon, both of which were determined to be positive for rabies.  The fox was found in the same area in Hillsville as the fox found on May 23.  In all instances, domestic dogs and/or cats were exposed to these rabid animals. If anyone has questions about rabies protection or possible exposures they may contact the Carroll County Health department at (276) 730-3180. For more information on rabies, log onto the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epi/rabiesf.htm.