Tag Archives: Feral Dogs

HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE killing DEER in central MICHIGAN ~ MOUNTAIN LION sighting in CALIFORNIA ~ LOUISIANA reports four more WEST NILE VIRUS fatalities ~ RABIES reports from NJ, NCx2, PA, & VA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending August 4, 2012.

Whitetailed deer. Photo by Department of Natural Resources. State of Indiana.

Michigan 08/11/12 jsonline.com: by Paul A. Smith – Officials in Michigan confirmed in early August that Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD, killed deer in two counties in the south central part of the state. Deer deaths have also been reported in 11 counties in Indiana; officials there suspect the cause is EHD but are awaiting confirmation from laboratory tests. EHD is a viral disease transmitted by a midge, or biting fly. Found in wild ruminants such as deer and elk, the disease causes extensive internal bleeding. Infected deer are attracted to water to combat the fever and dehydration due to the hemorrhaging. The disease is characterized by sudden onset, according to wildlife health sources. Deer lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively and finally become unconscious. Infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus.

Photo by Mwanner. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan has observed EHD outbreaks each year since 2006. Before 2006, EHD was seen in Michigan in 1955 and ’74. The estimated mortality has varied from 50 to 1,000 deer per year in the affected areas, according to Michigan officials. “Due to the prolonged, dry, hot weather this year, we are not surprised to see EHD emerge again,” said Tom Cooley, DNR wildlife biologist and pathologist. “Mortality numbers will depend on how widespread the disease is. Die-offs usually occur within one watershed area. If multiple watersheds are involved, the total mortality is higher.” There is no known effective treatment for, or control of, EHD. – For complete article see http://www.jsonline.com/sports/outdoors/disease-found-in-midwest-kd6et3h-165867396.html

Mountain Lion Sighting:

California 08/11/12 San Mateo, San Mateo County: A mountain lion was seen Friday morning near the 1700 block of Lexington Avenue walking through San Francisco Watershed property. – See http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/peninsula&id=8770195

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Louisiana 08/10/12 sfgate.com: State officials confirmed Friday four more WNV deaths, bringing the state total to six. DHH officials said 68 (human) cases — 15 of them new — have been detected so far this year. More than half — 37 — are of neuro-invasive disease, the more serious form of the virus that infects the brain and spinal cord and can cause brain damage or death. DHH said that’s the highest total of neuro-invasive infections in the state since 2006. The new infections include eight cases of neuro-invasive disease reported in Bossier, Caddo, Concordia, Jefferson, Tangipahoa, Union, Washington and Webster parishes and five cases of the milder West Nile fever reported in Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita and St. Tammany parishes. Two new asymptomatic cases, where people had no symptoms and only discovered the infection when they had blood work done for an unrelated reason such as blood donation, were reported from East Baton Rouge and Rapides parishes. – For complete article see http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/DHH-confirms-4-more-West-Nile-Virus-deaths-3779815.php

Rabies:

New Jersey 08/12/12 Middletown, Monmouth County: A bat that was in contact with a vaccinated dog near Bryna Drive in the Lincroft section has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ahherald.com/newsbrief-mainmenu-2/local-news/13577-middletown-issues-rabies-alert

North Carolina 08/12/12 Crumpler, Ashe County:  A stray, Shepherd-mix dog that, on July 27,  bit an elderly man who had been feeding him has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.jeffersonpost.com/view/full_story/19778525/article-Rabies-alert-in-Ashe-County?instance=popular

North Carolina 08/11/12 Wilmington, New Hanover County: According to the county sheriff’s office, a raccoon that fought with a vaccinated dog along Barnett Avenue on Thursday has tested positive for rabies. The dog was handled by its owner afterward, resulting in potential exposure to both. – See http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120811/ARTICLES/120819943

Pennsylvania 08/11/12 Hempfield, Lancaster County: by Richard Gazarik – Two Hempfield children and an animal-control officer have undergone a series of rabies shots after a rabid cat bit a child and exposed two others to the disease, township supervisors said. About 100 residents of Woodhaven Drive received notices on Friday that a feral cat tested positive for rabies, and authorities are searching for two kittens that also may be rabid, said township Supervisor Doug Weimer. The attack occurred on July 30, and the township was notified of the test results on Wednesday, Weimer said, prompting supervisors to issue a public notice through letters, the township website and cable television. He said the cat was caught after the attack, euthanized and tested. In addition to a child, another child and the animal-control officer were administered a series of four rabies shots, he said. Weimer said residents should be wary of two orange-and-white tabby kittens that have not been found. – For complete article see http://triblive.com/news/2387171-74/cat-rabid-child-control-hempfield-rabies-township-animal-cats-kittens

Virginia 08/11/12 Bealeton, Fauquier County: An adult cat, who was a frequent visitor to the area of Marsh Road and Balls Mills Road in Bealeton, Fauquier County, has been confirmed to be rabid, according to a release from the Virginia Department of Health. The cat — described as an orange tabby, young adult, 12-to-14-weeks-old and weighing five pounds — bit at least six people within the last three weeks. Lab results received today confirmed the presence of rabies. The six people who were bitten are starting post-exposure treatment. Fauquier County Environmental Health asks anyone who knows of any suspected contact between this cat and any person or domestic animal within the last three weeks, to contact them immediately. Call Fauquier County Environmental Health at 540-347-6363, and press 0 when prompted. – For complete article see http://www2.starexponent.com/news/2012/aug/11/rabid-cat-confirmed-fauquier-county-ar-2122671/

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending August 4, 2012:

Published August 10, 2012/ 61(31); ND-424-ND-437

Anaplasmosis . . . 18 . . . Maine (4), Nebraska, New York (11), North Carolina, Virginia,

Babesiosis . . . 6 . . . New York (6),

Ehrlichiosis . . . 16 . . . Arkansas, Maryland (2), Missouri (6), New York (2), North Carolina (2), Tennessee, Virginia (2),

Giardiasis . . . 147 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas (4), California (13), Florida (15), Idaho (2), Iowa (4), Louisiana, Maine (4), Maryland (6), Michigan (3), Missouri (7), Montana, Nebraska (8), Nevada (3), New York (30), Ohio (12), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (3), Rhode Island, South Carolina (4), Vermont, Virginia (2), Washington (13),

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . Florida, 

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 2 . . . Indiana, Ohio,

Lyme Disease . . .  249. . .  California, Delaware (6), Florida (2), Maine (2), Maryland (14), Michigan (2), Nebraska, New York (90), North Carolina (6), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (96), Vermont (6), Virginia (16), West Virginia (4),

Q Fever (Chronic) . . . 1 . . . Nebraska, 

Rabies (Animal) . . . 38. . . Connecticut (3), Illinois (2), Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (17), Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas (7), Vermont (2), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 2. . . Alabama, Kentucky,   

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 30 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas (2), Indiana, Kentucky (2), Missouri (6), Nebraska, North Carolina (5), Tennessee, Virginia (10).

Delaware Division of Public Health program indicates the PIT BULL is most aggressive DOG breed in the state ~ Wyoming ELK HUNTER attacked by GRIZZLY in Grand Teton National Park ~ Scientists identify FUNGUS that causes BAT disease known as WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME.

Pit Bull. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Delaware 10/30/11 delawareonline.com: by Esteban Parra – In Wilmington, it’s not uncommon for residents to be armed when they walk their dogs. Some carry large sticks. Others make sure to have flashlights. For Ken Swann, it’s bear spray — a substance similar to pepper spray that can shoot farther and is more potent. “I will not give up this park,” Swann said about Wilmington’s Canby Park, where he walks his red poodle, Gimli, and Hobbit, his bichon frise. “We kowtowed to them before. We’re not doing it again, and there are a whole lot of people out here that are refusing to give back the park.” Swann and the others say they carry their weapons not to protect themselves from muggers but from pit bulls whose numbers police say have increased in the city, the only municipality in the state with a law regulating how the breed is handled by owners while outdoors.

The increase in the number of pit bulls running freely also motivated police to more actively enforce the legislation that was enacted more than a decade ago. So far, police — who have teamed with animal control from the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 64 hours since Sept. 15 — have seized 39 pit bulls. Most of the seizures occurred because officers saw people walking dogs that were not muzzled or on a leash as required by the law.

The law was enacted in 2000 to curb problems that Wilmington residents were having with the breed, including dog fighting, dogs that needed to be shot after they threatened neighborhoods and children being attacked as they waited for school buses. In one case, it took 300 stitches to reattach a 4-year-old boy’s ear after a pit bull ripped it off. At that time, problems with pit bulls accounted for at least one-fourth of all animal complaints in Wilmington in the three years before the law was enacted — far more than for any other type of animal. SPCA officers — accompanied by Wilmington police officers — began searching for pit bulls throughout Wilmington and confiscating unregistered dogs anywhere they were found, including in yards and with their owners. Eleven pit bulls were seized in the first few hours of the law’s enforcement on July 25, 2000.

TOP FIVE DOG BITES IN DELAWARE BY BREED

The pit bull breed has the highest number of bites reported for the last four years, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s rabies program. The data include all bites reported to the division, not just bite cases in which rabies prophylaxis was provided.

2008

Total dog bites 1,353

Unknown 236

Pit bulls 235

Labs 124

German shepherds 113

Mixed breeds 65

2009

Total dog bites 1,248

Unknown 237

Pit bulls 216

Labs 117

German shepherds 86

Mixed breeds 65

2010

Total dog bites 1,381

Pit bulls 301

Unknown 206

Labs 124

German shepherds 101

Jack Russell terriers 53

2011 (as of Thursday)

Total dog bites 1,174

Pit bulls 251

Unknown 205

Labs 114

German shepherds 101

Mixed breeds 47

Wyoming 10/31/11 go.com: A hunter who was attacked by a bear while hunting in Grand Teton National Park was in good condition on Monday. Park officials said Timothy Hix, 32, of Jackson, was expected to be released from St. John’s Medical Center later in the day. Hix told rangers that he surprised what he believed was a grizzly bear about five to 10 yards away south of Glacier View overlook on Sunday. He said the bear ran at him but he wasn’t able to grab his pepper spray, so he dropped to the ground, covered his head and remained still. “He reported that the bear bit him a couple times and might have swiped him,” park spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Monday. Park officials said rangers believe the attack was a surprise encounter with a lone grizzly bear but noted that the investigation was still continuing. Grand Teton’s annual elk hunting program began Oct. 8. Hix hadn’t killed any elk before encountering the bear. The hunter responded appropriately to the attack, Anzelmo-Sarles said. “Sounds like he was doing everything right,” she said. “We want to commend him for doing the homework ahead of time.” Grizzlies killed two people in nearby Yellowstone National Park last summer. There have been six bear attacks in the history of Grand Teton National Park, but none have been fatal.

National 10/26/11 wisc.edu: News Release by David Tenenbaum – Scientists have proven that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading and highly lethal disease of bats. Research published in the journal Nature provides the first direct evidence that this fungus is responsible for a disease that is decimating bats in North America.

Research at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other institutions, showed that 100 percent of healthy little brown bats exposed to G. destructans developed white-nose syndrome while hibernating in captivity.

Little Brown Bat

White-nose syndrome is a skin infection that often begins around the muzzle, but the exact mechanism of mortality is unknown. “By identifying the causative agent of white-nose syndrome, this study provides information that is critical for developing management strategies to preserve vulnerable bat populations and the ecosystem services that they provide in the U.S. and Canada,” says study author David Blehert, a microbiologist at the Wildlife Health Center, and a honorary fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW–Madison.

Dr. David Blehert

Insect-eating bats provide ecological services that are estimated to save the U.S. agricultural industry billions of dollars each year in insect-control expenses. (Bats also eat untold numbers of insects that carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue  and many other pathogens that pose a threat to animal, including human, life.) However, U.S. bat populations have been declining at an alarming rate since 2006, when white-nose syndrome first appeared in New York State. Since then, the fungus has spread southward and westward and has now been found in 16 states and four Canadian provinces.

Bat declines in the Northeast, the most severely affected region in the United States, have already exceeded 80 percent. G. destructans has reached Indiana and Ontario, Canada, and could shortly arrive in Wisconsin according to Jeffrey Lorch, a graduate student in the UW-Madison Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, who constributed to the study. Confirming G. destructans as the cause of white-nose syndrome could not only support research into various disease management strategies for bats, Lorch added, but also aid those trying to predict how fast and far it will spread. The results could further help explain why G. destructans is deadly to bats in North America, but not to bats in Europe. – For complete news release see http://www.news.wisc.edu/19956

Michigan’s Detroit-area has reported more than 20 cases of life-threatening LEPTOSPIROSIS in DOGS this month ~ Montana FWP and Wisconsin DNR call for volunteers to monitor WOLF population ~ California and Connecticut city officials report MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ a ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER report from Arkansas ~ and RABIES reports from California, & New York.

Labrador Retriever. Photo by Webdude1. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 10/27/11msu.edu: News Release – More than 20 cases of the life-threatening bacterial infection leptospirosis have been reported in Detroit-area dogs in the past three weeks, according to Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Experts at the MSU center, a service unit of the College of Veterinary Medicine, diagnosed the specific strain of the disease, which can cause fatal damage to dogs and can be transmitted to humans. In most cases, the dogs were not vaccinated against leptospirosis, or they had an uncertain vaccination history. Because this particular type of leptospirosis is associated with contact with rats, stray dogs are typically thought to be at highest risk.

Dr. Carole Bolin

“What is particularly unusual about this outbreak is that the dogs affected are not stray animals, but people’s pets,” said Carole Bolin, director of the Diagnostic Center. “Unfortunately, we expect to see more cases, and this is a very dangerous type of leptospirosis. Many veterinarians have never seen this type in dogs because it was markedly reduced by vaccination.”

Bolin and her team performed diagnostic testing and identified the particular strain of infection as icterohaemorrhagiae, which can cause severe disease in humans and animals. It is commonly carried by rats but also can be transmitted dog-to-dog or dog-to-human. Bolin is aware of nine dogs that died or were euthanized as a result of the disease, but there may be others. Leptospirosis spreads by infected wild and domestic animals. The bacteria (leptospira) that infects these animals can reside in their kidneys, and the host animal may or may not appear ill. They contaminate their environment with living leptospira when they urinate. Pets can become infected by sniffing this urine or by contacting standing water that becomes contaminated by rain and water runoff. “This is a very serious, rapidly progressing type of leptospirosis in dogs,” Bolin said. “Dogs can appear normal one day and be severely ill the next day. People can become infected, so this also is a threat to animal owners, caretakers and veterinarians.” – For complete news release go to http://news.msu.edu/story/9952/

Montana 10/27/11 helenair.com: by Joe Maurier – Over the course of Montana’s unique five-week-long general hunting season, more than 250,000 proud hunters will chart more than 2 million days afield in pursuit of elk and deer. Some 13,000 will also have a license to legally hunt a wolf for only the second time in recent memory. Montana set the quota for the wolf harvest at 220 animals and each harvest must be reported. But we need many more hunters to keep an eye out for wolves to help Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks manage this relatively new addition to our state. The wolf, unlike most other wildlife species, offers more ways than one to be counted. Wolves howl. They walk on forest roads. They leave tracks. And they are increasingly observed by people. For skilled and informed outdoorsmen and women, wolves leave plenty of sign. Unlike deer and elk, wolves live in packs. When you find the tracks of a wolf—and especially the tracks of three or more running together—the odds are high that they patrol an area of some 200 square miles. In this manner, wolf packs sit on the map of Montana like a hundred interlocking puzzle pieces. Like any puzzle, the first few pieces are the toughest to find and fit together. That’s why FWP goes to the extra effort of capturing and placing radio collars on wolves across Montana. The home ranges of radioed wolves describe the outlines of each pack territory on the map, and the radios lead your FWP wildlife biologists in airplanes or on foot to the rest of their pack members. This fall, as hundreds of thousands of hunters comb the far corners Montana — often in tracking snow — we ask that they also take the time to report their specific observations of wolves or tracks to FWP. With that first hand information, wildlife biologists will return to many of the sites to confirm wolf presence. For complete article go to http://helenair.com/lifestyles/recreation/hunters-can-help-montana-s-wolf-management-efforts/article_9103d7ac-0063-11e1-8b76-001cc4c03286.html

Wisconsin 10/27/11 jsonline.com: by Paul A. Smith – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources utilizes a team of volunteer trackers each winter to help monitor the state’s wolf population. It’s been called the largest such wildlife tracking program in the nation. Volunteers are required to attend one or more training sessions to qualify for the effort. The DNR is issuing its annual call for volunteers as well as listing the schedule of workshops planned in the coming weeks. Volunteer trackers are assigned survey blocks in forest portions of northern and central Wisconsin, and are asked to conduct three or more surveys in their assigned block each winter. Data they gather can be compiled with those of other volunteers to aid Department of Natural Resources biologists in evaluating wolf populations. – For complete article go to http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/132700988.html

California 10/26/11 thecalifornian.com: Monterey, Monterey County: Local police responded to a mountain lion sighting Monday in the 500 block of Mar Vista Drive. While Officers were checking the area, a caller reported seeing a mountain lion in a backyard in the same vicinity. Officers witnessed an animal jumping from a tree and running up a hill into a wooded area. The officers did not get a clear view of the animal, but they believe it was a mountain lion based upon its size and movement.

 

Connecticut 10/27/11 East Haddam, Middlesex County: Local Animal Control Officer Michael Olzacki reports mountain lion sighting. First Selectman Mark Walter said he’s not surprised, despite the official state position that there are no resident mountain lions in the state. See http://www.theday.com/article/20111027/NWS01/111029262/1047

California 10/26/11 Siskiyou County: The Siskiyou County Public Health and Community Development Department is advising local residents that two bats have been confirmed positive for the rabies virus in late September and early October in northern Siskiyou County. In both cases, domestic pets have come in contact with the rabid bats. See http://www.mtshastanews.com/news/x2063883379/Two-Siskiyou-bats-test-positive-for-rabies

New York 10/26/11 West Winfield, Herkimer County: Health officials warn residents after a skunk that attacked a caged dog tested positive for rabies. See http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Residents-warned-to-be-cautious-after-rabid-skunk-attacked-caged-dog-132649673.html

Californians say COYOTES are cause for concern ~ South Carolina CHILD bitten by STRAY DOG with RABIES ~ CDC Reports: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending October 1, 2011 ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 10/16/11 dailynews.com: by C.J. Lin – Their lean, wolflike appearance and loping gait are already enough to make people uneasy. Add the ominous howling at night, with reports of dogs being snatched off the leash and housecats mysteriously disappearing, and the seasonal appearance of coyotes is enough to make two-legged neighbors downright fearful. Coyote sightings are on the rise – if not the actual number of animals – and animal control agencies report a spike in seasonal calls. “They’re not circling your house, frothing at the mouth, waiting to kill somebody,” said Lt. Marty Wall of the state Department of Fish and Game. “But they will help themselves to your pets. They’re wild animals. You just don’t want to take a chance.”

Pups born in the spring are now old enough to travel with their parents and forage for food. Plus, brushfires such as the 2009 Station Fire may have pushed their range into more urban areas, causing more interactions between coyotes and humans, experts said. The increase in coyote sightings and confrontations has sparked a debate among Southern California cities over how to properly deal with the urban predator. Plans range from peaceful coexistence to outright assassination. Calabasas last week became one of the few local cities to enact a coyote management plan, which bans the use of city funds for trapping. The Calabasas City Council enacted the plan after animal activists decried the use of snare traps as inhumane because they don’t always catch an intended target and can slowly strangle the animal. Coyotes that are trapped are usually euthanized as required by state law.

“We’re living in their neighborhoods,” said Calabasas Councilman Fred Gaines. “There’s no reason to harm these animals. They’re not attacking humans. From time to time, they do pick up a pet, but that’s what they do. “We’d have a lot more rats and mice without them.” Under the previous policy, the city could call in county officials to trap a coyote if a resident reported a sighting, even if there was no actual attack. Under the new policy, it will take an attack against a human to trigger a response, which would consist of contacting the state Department of Fish and Game to investigate and then handle any potential trapping. Calabasas officials are also pushing an aggressive coexistence education campaign aimed at teaching residents how to scare off coyotes that have become too familiar with humans, and how to protect their pets. – For complete article go to http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_19123859

South Carolina 10/15/11 heraldonline.com: A Richland County child was being treated for rabies Friday after a stray dog bit her on the lip, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control reported. The dog tested positive for rabies, the third case of a rabid animal in Richland County this year. Statewide, there have been 89 confirmed cases of rabid animals.

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending October 1, 2011:

Published October 7, 2011 / 60(39); 1362-1375

Anaplasmosis . . . 11 . . . New York (9), Pennsylvania, Tennessee,

Babesiosis . . . 4 . . . Maryland, New York (3),

Brucellosis . . . 3 . . . California, Florida, Oklahoma, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 3 . . . New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee,

Giardiasis . . . 199 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas (2), California (20), Colorado (11), Delaware, Florida (20), Idaho, Iowa (3), Kansas, Louisiana (4), Maine (10), Maryland (3), Michigan (5),  Missouri (5), Montana (3), Nebraska (6), Nevada (2), New York (35), Ohio (31), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (17), Puerto Rico, Vermont (7), Wisconsin (4),

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . Nevada, 

Lyme Disease . . .  324 . . . California (4), Delaware (5), Florida, Maryland (7), Michigan, New Jersey (107), New York (72), Pennsylvania (106), Vermont (2), Virginia (6), West Virginia (13),

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 1 . . . Maryland,

Q Fever (Chronic) . . . 1 . . . New York, 

Rabies (Animal) . . . 46 . . . Arkansas (6), California (3), Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, New York (9), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (13), Vermont, Virginia (8),

Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 6 . . . Georgia (4), Tennessee (2),

Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 20 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas (9), Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma (3), Tennessee, Virginia,

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . New York. 

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Posts will be limited

For several more weeks

due to

carpal tunnel syndrome.

Two SOLDIERS at Fort Riley, Kansas, may have contracted RABIES in Afghanistan ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE ~ Illinois confirms second WEST NILE VIRUS death this year ~ Tennessee reports first WEST NILE VIRUS death since 2009 ~ RABIES reports from Alabama, Massachusetts, Nebraska, & North Carolina ~ Canada: Ontario field worker badly mauled by BLACK BEAR ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: North Carolina city has over 100 STRAY DOGS destroyed ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Kansas 10/05/11 kstatecollegian.com: by Any Rao – When American troops go through basic training, they are prepared to face the horrors of war. Common footage of soldiers includes daring acts of bravery as they defy their enemies and defeat the evil that threatens their country. Recently, however, soldiers deployed in Afghanistan have come across an unexpected threat: rabies.

Rabies is a virus that is transmitted through the infected saliva of mammals and is most commonly transferred through a bite or a scratch that breaks the skin. The virus attacks the central nervous system and the brain and is almost always fatal. Rabid animals or human beings may become combative, aggressive and highly sensitive to touch and stimulation. The troops are given safety briefings on how to deal with wild or unknown animals, who are the primary carriers of rabies. “Troops are instructed to avoid unfamiliar animals,” said Lt. Col. Paul Benne, chief of preventive medicine at Irwin Army Community Hospital. “Any contact with an infected animal can expose our troops and we want to take every precaution to make sure our men are safe.”

Despite multiple briefings, troops in Afghanistan have not been able to completely steer clear of rabies. “Currently, we have two soldiers that are being treated for what could possibly be the rabies virus,” said Katherine Rosario, public affairs specialist at Irwin Army Community Hospital. “We aren’t completely sure whether or not the soldiers have actually contracted the disease, but we are taking the necessary steps to treat what could be rabies.” A third soldier from Fort Drum, however, passed away on Aug. 31 as a result of a bite that he received from a feral dog.

“Rabies takes anywhere from 3-8 weeks and sometimes even longer to display symptoms,” Benne said. “In the case of the Fort Drum soldier who recently passed away, he had returned home for several months before there was anything noticeably wrong.” There are vaccinations available for rabies and the treatment is generally a series of shots over the period of two weeks in order to introduce the proper antibodies into the immune system. The combination of the vaccination and natural antibodies can help prevent rabies from being transmitted easily. According to Benne, prevention is the most effective method of slowing the spread of rabies.

“We are trying to get the word out to the population of soldiers in our area that rabies is a legitimate threat to the well-being of our troops,” said Benne. “We encourage everybody to get screened and treated if need be and would like to ensure we take action in a timely manner.” Benne also said that there is a 24/7 hotline number set up at 800-984-8523 to assist people in containing the virus. A public health nurse can also be reached during operating hours at 785-239-7323.

According to Mike Moore, primary diagnostician at the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, even the state of Kansas houses rabies more prevalently than many would assume. “Rabies is actually endemic in Kansas,” said Moore. “This means that it is continuously in the environment and is most often carried by mammals such as bats and skunks.” Though rabies is generally transmitted through wild animals, there are possibilities that a domesticated animal can contract it and even unknowingly spread it. “People often assume that rabies is not a very common virus,” said Rolan Davis, reference diagnostician at the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. “Although the rabies virus cases are not as common as they used to be in the United States, they are not considered rare in places like Afghanistan, which may not have as strong of a public health policy as we do.”

The Irwin Army Community Hospital recommended that all soldiers who may have come into contact with unknown animals be screened for rabies. “We are not discouraging the bond between man and animal,” said Rosario. “But our first priority is to maintain the health and well-being of our patients and to ensure that our troops are not affected by the rabies virus.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have written to U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), a member of the House Armed Forces Committee, asking for further relative information and an explanation as to why all troops being deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t given a rabies Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis vaccination. I will publish Congresswoman Pingree’s response in this blog.

Illinois 10/06/11 courierpress.com: by Len Wells – A 74-year-old Centralia, Ill., woman has become the latest victim of West Nile Virus. The woman died in late September, according to officials with the Marion County Health Department. In addition to the fatality, Marion County has confirmed two other human cases of the mosquito-borne disease this year. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control report that as of October 4, Illinois has recorded 18 human cases of West Nile Virus, including two fatalities. Despite the confirmed death in Centralia, Marion County recorded no mosquito batches infected with the disease, and no birds were submitted for testing.

Tennessee 10/05/11 chattanoogan.com: The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed the first death in Tennessee due to West Nile virus since 2009. The individual is a resident of Shelby County. There have been 14 human cases of the illness in Tennessee so far this year. The Department of Health urges Tennesseans to continue to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites to protect themselves against West Nile virus.

Alabama 10/05/11 dothaneagle.com: by Matt Elofson – Houston County Health Department officials confirmed the county’s seventh case of animal rabies for 2011. According to a statement from the Houston County Health Department, officials found a raccoon that tested positive for rabies on Saturday on Peach Farm Road. According to the Health Department’s investigation, neighborhood residents found the raccoon next to a pond and requested health department officials to test it. There was no known human exposure or animal contact with the rabid raccoon. Houston County Health Department officials encouraged county residents to keep their pets current on their rabies vaccinations. There were five rabid animals found in Houston County in 2010, all of which were raccoons.

Massachusetts 10/05/11 wboc.com: by Kye Parsons – The Worcester County Health Department has confirmed a cat found near the intersection of Greenbackville Road and George Island Landing Road in Stockton tested positive for rabies. The large black cat was described as having a red collar that had green and yellow flowers and a bell on it. Deputy Health Officer Dr. Andrea Mathias warns that any person, pet or other animal that may have had contact with this cat could be at risk for rabies exposure. To report any contact with or exposure with the cat, call the Worcester County Health Department immediately at (410) 641-9559.

Nebraska 10/07/11 auroranewsregister.com: The Aurora Police Department is advising area residents to be on the lookout for strange behavior in animals after a rabid skunk that bit a dog was found in Refshauge Park. The animal was submitted for rabies testing by the Aurora Veterinary Clinic.

North Carolina 10/05/11 the-dispatch.com: The Davidson County Health Department has reported the 14th case of rabies for the year. On Sept. 29, a rabid raccoon was found in the Central Davidson community. The raccoon was killed by a dog that had a lapsed vaccine and had to be destroyed. There was no human exposure reported. Do not handle your animal with bare hands after it has had contact with a wild animal. Saliva from the wild animal may still be present on the domestic animal’s fur and by handling the animal you may expose yourself to the rabies virus. If there are stray dogs, cats, or wildlife in your neighborhood, call Animal Control at 249-0131. Call the Rabies Hot Line at 242-2348 if you or your pet comes in contact with another animal.

Canada:

Ontario 10/06/11 cbc.ca: A bear thought to be responsible for a savage attack on Tuesday, north of Thunder Bay, has been caught and destroyed. The animal badly mauled a 24-year-old employee of the Ministry of Natural Resouces while she was doing field work near Wabikon Lake, off Highway 527. The woman’s male colleague managed to scare the animal away by stabbing it, ministry spokesperson Jolanta Kowalski told CBC News. “The bear that was dispatched today had wounds that were consistent with those that had been inflicted by a co-worker who was providing assistance to the injured employee,” she said. The ministry says the wildlife assessment worker was attacked in dense bush shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. An MNR crew cleared an area in the bush so a helicopter could land and take the woman to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “The crew immediately contacted the MNR in Thunder Bay once the bear left the scene,” ministry spokesperson Katherine Lyzun said. Ministry officials say they are not releasing details about the worker’s injuries due to privacy concerns.

Follow-Up Reports:

North Carolina 10/06/11 fayobserver.com: by Gregory Phillips – (See August 1, 2011: North Carolina’s Cumberland County to trap or kill 60 Feral Dogs; and August 2, 2011: Follow-Up Report on Feral Dog Packs in Cumberland County, North Carolina) More than 100 wild dogs were removed from Fayetteville streets over the past two months by the firm hired to address the city’s pack dog problem. Almost 70 of the dogs were killed in the field, and all but four of them ultimately euthanized. Animal Control officials are looking into alternative, nonlethal methods for tackling the problem if it returns again next summer. County officials said Mims Wildlife Control removed 109 dogs in August and September that were blamed for killing pets and menacing residents. Public health concerns were sparked when rabies tests were inconclusive on some dead animals attacked by some of the dogs. Of the dogs removed, 69 were killed in the field and 44 brought to the shelter at Cumberland County Animal Control. Four of them were adopted; the rest were later euthanized at the shelter. An additional nine puppies captured with pack dogs are in foster care in Virginia. – For complete article go to http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/10/05/1127943?sac=Home

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Posts will be limited

through October 15

due to

carpal tunnel syndrome.

Idaho ELK hunter attacked by BEAR believed to be GRIZZLY ~ Oregon officers will kill two WOLVES involved in another LIVESTOCK loss ~ Colorado officials not expected to track down MOUNTAIN LION that killed pet DOG ~ Ohio town tries to trap COYOTES killing pets ~ Wisconsin warns of EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS outbreak ~ Vermont confirms EMU positive for EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ MOSQUITOES in Florida’s Pinellas County positive for ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS and WEST NILE VIRUS ~ and RABIES reports from Georgia, & South Carolina ~ Follow-Up Reports: Pentagon seeks to identify service members exposed to RABIES.

Grizzly. Photo by Jean-Pierre Lavoie. Wikimedia Commons.

Idaho 09/24/11 washingtonpost.com: An Idaho elk hunter who apparently stumbled across a bear’s resting spot Saturday was hospitalized after the animal bit him and broke his right arm, officials said. Richard Paini, 40, suffered puncture wounds and an injured left hand along with the broken forearm in the attack at about 9 a.m. He was taken to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. A hospital spokesman said Paini, of Island Park, was listed in serious condition Saturday afternoon. She declined to release details about the extent of his injuries. The bear involved in the attack fled after Paini’s archery hunting partner, John Stiehl of Island Park, used bear spray to scare off the bear. Stiehl told authorities he believed it was a grizzly bear.

The Wildlife Human Attack Response Team was activated to investigate the attack, said Gregg Losinski, a spokesman for Idaho Fish and Game and a member of the team. “It was described to be a large bear,” Losinski said. He said the attack, first reported by KIFI-TV in Idaho Falls, occurred about a half mile east of Last Chance in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. He said hair samples collected at the site have been sent to a lab that will identify whether it was a black bear or grizzly bear. The bear’s reaction, Losinski said, was typical of grizzly bears, which tend to be more aggressive than black bears, though a surprised black bear could also be dangerous. – For complete article go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/e-idaho-elk-hunter-hospitalized-in-serious-condition-after-bear-attack/2011/09/24/gIQA2MD0tK_story.html

Oregon 09/23/11 state.or.us: News Release – Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) staff will kill two wolves from the Imnaha pack after confirming they were involved in another livestock loss. The two wolves that will be targeted are the alpha male and an uncollared wolf in the pack. Data from the alpha male’s GPS collar confirm he was at the scene where the calf was killed earlier this week. Removing two wolves will reduce the size of Imnaha pack to two—the adult/alpha female and a pup born in spring 2011. Other wolves from the Imnaha pack moved to new areas earlier this year. “Today’s decision was not made lightly,” said ODFW Director Roy Elicker. “We’re working hard to conserve wolves in Oregon, yet be sensitive to the losses suffered by livestock owners.” Yesterday’s investigation brings to 14 the number of livestock animals confirmed to be killed by the Imnaha pack in the past year and a half. ODFW or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed seven losses this year (two in February, and on April 30, May 4 and 17, June 5, and Sept. 22) and seven last year. The 2011 losses are repeating a pattern similar to 2010, when the Imnaha pack wolves killed livestock April through early June and again in the fall (September). An additional two losses were determined to be probable wolf kills by this pack, including one on Sept. 7, 2011. ODFW assumed responsibility for wolf management in the eastern third of Oregon May 5, 2011, after wolves in this area were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act. After four confirmed livestock losses in spring 2011, ODFW killed two wolves from the Imnaha pack in mid-May.

Under the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, ODFW kills wolves after chronic livestock depredation. Yesterday’s investigation scene showed clear evidence of a wolf attack. The large spring calf had been dead less than two days, yet was almost completely consumed, suggesting the entire pack had fed on it. The alpha female was observed near the investigation site the following day, and GPS collar data indicates the alpha male was with her at the time. This latest confirmed depredation occurred in the same area where livestock losses had been confirmed in May and June 2011, on private property with livestock operations near Joseph.  Landowners in this area have been using numerous non-lethal measures to avoid wolf-livestock problems. Find more information on wolves in Oregon.

Colorado 09/24/11 summitcountyvoice.com: A mountain lion killed a pet dog this week near Sunlight Ski Area, and another lion was seen in Carbondale, prompting Colorado wildlife managers to warn that encounters with the potentially dangerous animals will become more frequent as the state’s population grows to 5 million and lion populations rebound. A resident living near the Sunlight Ski Resort told a wildlife officer that an attack happened when she let her dogs walk outside at approximately 10 p.m., Wednesday (Sept. 20). She ran out to her deck after hearing distressed barking, and watched as a mountain lion ran off with her 14 year-old poodle/shih tzu mix in its mouth. “As troubling as the incident may seem, residents in this area need to remember that they live in mountain lion country and this can happen anytime,” said Perry Will, wildlife manager for the area. “Lions are opportunistic predators, so we caution people to keep a close eye on their dogs, cats or other domesticated animals.” Wildlife managers take human safety or loss of livestock into consideration when deciding whether to relocate or lethally manage a predator. However, they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet. – For complete article go to http://summitcountyvoice.com/2011/09/24/colorado-mountain-lion-kills-dog-near-glenwood-springs/

Ohio 09/25/11 hudsonhubtimes.com: Police are warning residents to keep a close eye on their pets after a coyote attack was reported Sept. 19 in the Lakes of Aurora neighborhood. The city also has initiated a program with its animal control contractor to try to trap coyotes around town. Laurie Sovich told the Aurora Advocate on Sept. 20 that the family’s Maltese-mixed dog was snatched from the yard by a coyote and carried into the woods while her husband and son were sitting on the front porch the evening of Sept. 19. A handful of Lakes of Aurora residents also have told the Advocate in recent weeks that their cats have turned up missing.

Wisconsin 09/24/11 channel3000.com: An outbreak of Eastern equine encephalitis is expanding in Wisconsin. State veterinarian Robert Ehlenfeldt said 25 cases of a mosquito-borne disease have been confirmed in Wisconsin since mid-August, mostly in the north-central part of the state. Ehlenfeldt advised horse owners to call a veterinarian if their horses show any signs of central nervous system disease. Those include loss of appetite, dropping eyelids and lower lip, aimless wandering and circling and sometimes paralysis. The disease has a mortality rate of 90 percent or higher. So far, the disease has been detected in Price, Lincoln, Taylor, Clark, Marathon and Dunn counties. Ehlenfeldt said he expects more cases to be confirmed. He said warm weather forecast for next week might mean mosquitoes are more active.

Vermont 09/23/11 townofbrandon.com: Public Notice – The Vermont Department of Health and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets announced today that Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) was confirmed on September 22 in an emu from Brandon. This is the first time that EEE virus has been confirmed in a live animal in Vermont. No cases in people have been reported. While EEE virus has never caused illness in Vermont, EEE in animals and people had been reported in Vermont’s bordering states and Quebec. In 2010, testing of deer and moose samples confirmed that EEE virus was present in Vermont. – For complete notice go to http://townofbrandon.com/2011/09/23/eastern-equine-encephalitis-detected-in-vermont-bird/

Pinellas County

Florida 09/23/11 tbo.com: Pinellas County officials Friday evening confirmed that St. Louis encephalitis and West Nile virus have popped up on sentinel chickens around the county. In a news release, the county’s mosquito control division said that a total of 15 St. Louis encephalitis and three West Nile virus cases were found in chickens. No human cases have been reported. The chickens that contracted the West Nile virus were in Palm Harbor, Oldsmar and Seminole. The St. Louis encephalitis cases were detected in Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Oldsmar, St. Petersburg and Seminole. Officials said that the increased numbers of positive tests do not indicate an increase in the presence of the viruses. A mosquito-borne advisory issued by the Florida Department of Health last week is in effect because tests on sentinel chickens were confirmed positive.

Georgia 09/23/11 wrdw.com: The Richmond County Health Department is issuing a warning to residents of Richmond County about rabies and your pets. They say a raccoon that was picked up in a wooded area close to Rosier Road, Wentworth Road, Chadwick Road and the Pepperidge subdivision has tested positive for rabies. Any contact of humans with wild animals should be reported to the Richmond County Health Department Environmentalist Health Section office at (706) 667-4234 and contact of pets with wild animals to Richmond County Animal Control at (706) 790- 6836.

South Carolina 09/23/11 thestate.com: A man who picked up a raccoon in the Hopkins area of Richland County is under the care of a physician after the animal tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control reported Friday. “The raccoon was found on a road, and the man wanted to help it,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “The raccoon eventually bit the man on his hand.”

Follow-Up Reports:

National 09/23/11 military.com: News Release – (See August 26, 2011 post: New York soldier returning from deployment diagnosed with RABIES ~ August 28, 2011 Follow-Up Reports: media learns source of New York soldier’s RABIES infection ~ September 5, 2011 Follow-Up Reports: SOLDIER at Ft. Drum, New York, with RABIES has died ~ and September 16, 2011 Follow-Up Reports: SOLDIER who died of RABIES did not receive full course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) RABIES VACCINE.) A soldier who recently returned from Afghanistan died from rabies last month after contracting the disease from a feral dog while deployed. The Army has initiated an investigation to ensure that other service members who may have been exposed to rabies are identified and receive preventive treatment, if needed. The Army Medical Department, along with the Department of Defense, other uniformed services and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working together to expeditiously identify, evaluate and treat any service members, DOD civilians and contractors who may have been exposed to rabies while deployed. Individuals who have already been identified as being exposed to the disease while deployed are currently receiving evaluation and treatment. – For complete release go to http://www.military.com/news/article/army-news/army-seeks-to-id-treat-soldiers-exposed-to-rabies.html

Two teens camping in New Jersey injured when Black Bear attacks; Wyoming Grizzlies causing problems; FDA approves the first specific treatment for Scorpion stings; New Mexico DOH announces fifth case of Hantavirus this year; Florida’s Duval County confirms five human cases of West Nile Virus; Mississippi DOH reports two new human cases of West Nile Virus; Wyoming’s governor and US Fish and Wildlife finalize a Wolf Management Proposal; Colorado teen attacked by wild animal; Eastern Equine Encephalitis report from Massachusetts; West Nile Virus reports from Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and a Canadian Mountain Lion is killed after attacking a child.

Black Bear. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

New Jersey 08/03/11 wsj.com: Two juveniles suffered minor injuries Wednesday when a black bear attacked their campsite in northwestern New Jersey, authorities said. The attack occurred in a heavily wooded area of Stokes State Forest in Sussex County near the Appalachian Trail. A black bear entered an area being used by campers from Montague-based Trail Blazers Camp, state police said. The bear attempted to grab one juvenile out of a tent, causing a minor foot injury, and swiped at another boy, causing a shoulder injury, said Lawrence Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. It attempted to enter a second tent, he said.

Two adult counselors were with the group of nine campers and herded them into a partially enclosed shelter, where they made as much noise as possible to try to scare the bear away while calling for help, Hajna said. The bear left but soon returned and was rummaging through the campsite when a wildlife technician arrived and shot it in the neck. The bear fled into the woods and conservation officials are still searching for it.

Sussex County

Wildlife officials say the bear is a yearling, the age between cub and full-grown when a bear strikes out on its own. They have cordoned off the area. The injured campers are described as a 12-year-old from Jersey City and an 11-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. It was not immediately clear which boy sustained which injury. Both were taken to a hospital. Bear attacks are infrequent in New Jersey, according to Hajna, who says black bears can be curious but usually run away when people make noise. Hajna says bear incidents have decreased this year, with about 16 sightings reported and no other attacks.

Wyoming 08/03/11 kowb1290.com: by Garrett Adams —  Summertime across the state of Wyoming means getting out and enjoying the great outdoors, but it also means being aware of wildlife to ensure your safety. There have been a few occurrences this summer of grizzly bear sightings as well as bear attacks on people and livestock. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has trapped and relocated a grizzly bear near an area southeast of Pinedale. The bear had been attacking domestic sheep in the area. It had killed one sheep as well as injured seven others. Authorities trapped the bear on Friday and relocated it to the North Fork of the Shoshone River drainage which is located 45 miles west of Cody. The bear was released 300 yards north of mile marker 10.5 on U.S. highway 14-16-20.

Another bear in the Yellowstone area recently charged a man near Yellowstone Lake. The hiker was carrying a pack with him that quite possibly saved his life. As the grizzly charged, the man threw his pack which in turn caused the bear to stop. The bear then tore through the pack and ate the food that was inside. The close encounter was enough cause for Yellowstone Park officials to take action. They trapped and euthanized the bear on Monday. The grizzly also had a long history of being chased out of developed areas. Just last month another hiker was attacked and killed by a grizzly. The attack was Yellowstone’s first fatal attack in 25 years. Yellowstone officials did not euthanize that bear stating that she was unlikely to cause problems in the future.

National 08/03/11 fda.gov: News Release – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Anascorp, the first specific treatment for a scorpion sting by Centruroides scorpions in the United States. Venomous scorpions in the U.S. are mostly found in Arizona. Severe stings occur most frequently in infants and children, and can cause shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs, breathing problems, excess saliva, blurred vision, slurred speech, trouble swallowing, abnormal eye movements, muscle twitching, trouble walking, and other uncoordinated muscle movements. Untreated cases can be fatal. “This product provides a new treatment for children and adults and is designed specifically for scorpion stings,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Scorpion stings can be life-threatening, especially in infants and children.”

Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides)

Anascorp, Centruroides (Scorpion) Immune F(ab’)2 (Equine) Injection, is made from the plasma of horses immunized with scorpion venom. Anascorp may cause early or delayed allergic reactions in people sensitive to horse proteins. The manufacturing process for Anascorp includes steps to decrease the chance of allergic reactions and to reduce the risk of transmission of viruses that may be present in the plasma. The effectiveness of Anascorp was based on results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 15 children with neurological signs of scorpion stings. These signs resolved within four hours of treatment in the eight subjects who received Anascorp, but in only one of the seven participants who received the placebo. The most common side effects were vomiting, fever, rash, nausea, itchiness, headache, runny nose, and muscle pain. In total, safety and efficacy data was collected from 1,534 patients in both open-label and blinded studies.

Anascorp was designated as an Orphan drug by FDA and received priority review. It is licensed to Rare Disease Therapeutics Inc., Franklin, TN, distributed by Accredo Health Group Inc., Memphis, TN, and manufactured by Instituto Bioclon, S.A. de C.V., of Tlalpan, Mexico, D.F. For more information: Product Approval1 Consumer Update2 Orphan Drugs3

Deer Mouse

New Mexico 08/03/11 nmhealth.org:  The New Mexico Department of Health is announcing today that a 59-year-old woman from McKinley County is hospitalized at University Hospital in critical condition with laboratory-confirmed Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). This is the fifth case of HPS in New Mexico this year.  “While cases of Hantavirus are uncommon, the five cases we have had this year serve as a reminder of the importance in following our prevention guidelines to keep all New Mexicans safe and reduce their risk of being exposed to infected mice,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres.  People can become infected and develop disease from HPS when they breathe in aerosolized virus particles that have been transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. The deer mouse is the main reservoir for the strain of Hantavirus that occurs in New Mexico, Sin Nombre virus. This year there has been three fatal cases of HPS: a 51-year-old woman from McKinley County reported in January, a 35-year-old man from Torrance County reported in May, and a 23-year-old man from McKinley County reported in July. Also in 2011 there a 39-year-old man from McKinley County reported in May who recovered from HPS. In 2010, there were two non-fatal cases of HPS, both from McKinley County. In 2009, New Mexico had four cases of Hantavirus, none fatal, from Santa Fe, Taos, San Miguel, and Rio Arriba counties. In 2008, New Mexico had two cases of Hantavirus, both fatal, from Taos and Otero counties.

Duval County

Florida 08/03/11 sfexaminer.com: Duval County health officials say they have confirmed five (human) cases of West Nile Virus. In a statement issued Tuesday, officials asked physicians who see symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness to contact the Duval County Health Department. The most recent cases reported to the department were two women and a man. They range in age from 49 to 64.

Jones County

Mississippi 08/02/11 ms.gov: News Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV). The cases were reported in Jones and Pearl River counties. This brings the state total for 2011 to seven. So far this year, cases have been reported in Coahoma, Hinds, Jones, Marion, Pearl River (2) and Tallahatchie counties.

Pearl River County

The MSDH only reports confirmed cases to the public. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases. Although WNV numbers were lower in 2010 than in the previous year, they are not an indicator for the 2011 WNV season.For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at http://www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

Wyoming 08/03/11 wy.gov: News Release – Governor Matt Mead and representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service have finalized the elements of a proposed plan that will ensure a stable and sustainable population of wolves in Wyoming. This plan is the culmination of many years of work between Wyoming stakeholders and federal officials. “This is far from the end of this process, but I think we have come up with something that fits with Wyoming’s values and economy,” Governor Mead said. “For years ranchers and sheep producers have been asked to sacrifice and they have. We have lost significant numbers of elk and moose, and we have not had a say in the management of an animal inside Wyoming. It is time for that to change and I appreciate Secretary Salazar and the US Fish and Wildlife Service working with us. Wolves are recovered in Wyoming; let’s get them off the Endangered Species List.”

Under the proposed plan Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Trophy Game Management Area would extend about 50 miles to the south from its current location near the Wyoming/Idaho border. The expansion area would be managed as a Trophy Game Management Area from October 15th to the end of February. For all other months wolves would be managed as predators in the extension area. The proposed plan requires approval of the State Legislature. Governor Mead has said he wants Congressional approval of this plan. “For too long wolf management has been run by the courts, we need Wyoming people to have a say in what happens in our state and a congressionally approved plan is the best way to ensure that we advance this effort.

Colorado 08/03/11 kdvr.com: A teenage girl was attacked by possibly a coyote or stray dog in Arvada. The attack has prompted a warning from the Arvada Police Department. It happened Saturday when the 16-year-old girl was walking her dog near 86th Pkwy. and Simms St. That’s just south of Standley Lake. She says a mangy-looking dog or coyote approached her and bit her on the forearm. “The teen’s dog attacked the animal that bit the girl, causing it to release the bite and run from the area,” says Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina.

Massachusetts 08/03/11 tauntongazette.com: by Casey Nilsson – A bird-biting mosquito in Raynham has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a rare, but sometimes deadly virus. According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet, outbreaks of EEE virus typically occur in Massachusetts every 10 to 20 years, and will last two to three years. The most recent statewide outbreak of EEE began in 2004 and included 13 cases with six fatalities through 2006. “Bristol and Plymouth Counties are excellent habitats for mosquitoes,” State Public Health Veterinarian Christine Browne said, adding that mosquitoes are most often found near swampy wetlands and freshwater lakes. “We expect to find infected mosquitoes every single year in this area.” The first EEE-positive sample of the season was collected on July 19 in Bridgewater. There have been no animal cases and no human cases so far this year in Massachusetts. Last year, there was one human case of EEE in the state. Browne said if human infection occurs, it will begin in late-August and September. (For complete article go to http://www.tauntongazette.com/state_news/x1158636027/Eastern-Equine-Encephalitis-EEE-virus-confirmed-in-Raynham-mosquitoes )

Lehigh County

Pennsylvania 08/03/11 lehighvalleylive.com: Northampton County’s first case of West Nile virus since 2005 was reported today. Bethlehem was among 16 other municipalities reporting positive tests for the virus. Last week, it was found in West Bethlehem in Lehigh County. Last month, the virus was reported in Allentown and Warren County. The other locations in today’s report were in Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne and Philadelphia counties.

Virginia 08/03/11 washingtonpost.com: Mosquitoes found in Angel Park and Daingerfield Island in Alexandria tested positive for the West Nile virus. Alexandria’s health and parks departments are working with the National Park Service to reduce mosquito breeding in the area. No human cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported in Alexandria this year. Two human cases were reported last year. For tips on preventing mosquitoes from breeding, visit alexandriava.gov/MosquitoControl.

Canada:

Alberta 08/03/11 cbc.ca: Conservation officers have shot and killed a cougar that attacked a little girl in the Kananaskis area. The girl was hiking with family near Barrier Lake, in Bow Valley Provincial Park, on Sunday when the attack happened. The girl’s father drove the cougar away and she suffered only minor cuts and puncture wounds. Conservation officers later tracked down and killed the animal. “It’s attacked a human. It would do it again,” said Glenn Naylor, a district conservation officer. “That age group tends to be responsible for a lot of the attacks on humans in North America and we just can’t risk for that to happen again.”

Last month another young cougar, which turned out to be a litter mate of this latest attacker, was destroyed after it attacked a dog with a group of hikers near Canmore. Both cougars were less than two years old. Naylor says it’s likely their mother didn’t teach them how to survive in the wild. “The mother ended her life prematurely or they got kicked out early and they didn’t know what they were doing. They were very poorly educated and basically anything that moves was potential prey and unfortunately small children definitely attract cougars’ attention.” Naylor says they had no choice but to destroy the cats because once they attack a human, they are are likely to do it again.

Alberta is home to about 2,000 cougars, estimates Mark Boyce, a professor of biology at the University of Alberta. “You almost never see them. They are very sneaky. They will be right in amongst houses in suburban areas and most of the time, people don’t even know they are there.”

Cougar advice from Alberta conservation officers: “While cougar attacks are rare, the public can limit human-cougar encounters by taking these actions:

  • Stay calm and keep the cougar in view. Pick up children immediately. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
  • Never run or turn your back on a cougar. Sudden movement may provoke an attack
  • If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact, show your teeth and make loud noises. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. When picking up objects, crouch down as little as possible.
  • If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.”

Former U.S. Ski Champion survives Bear attack in Montana; Washington Fish & Wildlife to discuss Wolf, Waterfowl, and Cougar regulations this week; Rabies reports from California, Connecticut, and Oregon; and West Nile Virus reports from Indiana, and Ohio. Follow-Up Report on Feral Dog Packs in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Black Bear. Photo by DaBler. Wikimedia Commons.

Montana 08/01/11 dailymail.co.uk: by David Gardner – Former U.S. Ski champion Ani Haas revealed today how she survived a bear attack – by fighting back and punching the charging animal in the face. Ani’s worst fear became horrifying reality last week when she was jogging along a trail in Missoula, Montana. Suddenly, she looked up to see a female bear charging at her with claws and teeth bared. She hadn’t realized, but while she was running she had come between the bear and her two cubs. At first she tried to run away, but quickly remembered the safety warnings she heard growing up in the state where confrontation with bears is always a possibility in the wild. Instead of trying to flee, Ani turned and went toe to toe with the angry animal. ‘I looked behind me, and she was right behind me,’ she told anchor Anne Curry on this morning’s Today show. ‘I realized running from wild animals is the worst thing you can do,’ she added. ‘A wild animal attack has been one of my biggest fears. ‘It’s something I’ve always talked about and been worried about.

Ani Haas

‘Growing up in Montana, you’re always hearing what you’re supposed to do in different instances with different animals. ‘All the protocols are different, so I just remembered while everything was happening.’ The bear caught up with Ani and slashed her chest and left arm. But with nobody around on the trail to help her, she had no choice but to fight back. With grizzly bears, animal experts say it is often a good idea to lie down and play dead.  But with black bears, it is a better bet to try and frighten off an aggressive attacker. Miss Haas said: ‘That’s exactly what I remembered — just try to be as large and aggressive as you can be. That’s what I tried to do.’

Woman using bear spray

She said she punched the bear repeatedly in the head, landing one blow that even dropped the creature to the ground. But after throwing a rock, the bear only seemed more enraged so Miss Haas backed up slowly. ‘I noticed the more quiet and calm I became, the more quiet she was,’ she said. Incredibly, the bear lost interest and went back to her cubs. Miss Haas walked backwards for about five minutes, praying the bear wouldn’t come back.  She then jogged back to her car and drove to the hospital. Miss Haas, who was a member of the U.S. ski team up until last year, said her father bought her a gift after her brush with the bear last Friday. ‘I got an industrial-sized can of bear spray,’ she said.

 

Washington 07/27/11 wa.gov: Press Release – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to discuss the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan during a special meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia. The special meeting will be followed by a two-day meeting Aug. 5-6, when the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed 2011-12 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons and changes to cougar hunting regulations. The commission’s special meeting on the final Environmental Impact Statement/ Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 4 in Room 172 on the first floor of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The commission will meet at the same location Aug. 5-6, beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days. Agendas for both meetings are available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html. During the special meeting Aug. 4, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comment on the recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding population in the state. The plan contains recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, along with management strategies to address wolf-livestock and wolf-ungulate conflicts. (For complete news release go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=jul2711a )

California 08/01/11 the-signal.com: by Cory Minderhout – A live rabid bat has been found in a Newhall home, a county health department official said Monday, the fifth rabid bat found in the Santa Clarita Valley this year. Thirteen rabid bats have been found countywide so far this year, according to a health department website. Typically, only eight to 10 rabid bats are found each year in L.A. County, the website said. The rabid bat found alive in a Newhall home was discovered Friday. The mammal was not reported to have come into contact with any humans or pets, said Dr. Karen Ehnert, acting director for the veterinary public health and rabies control program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Connecticut 08/01/11 theday.com: by Judy Benson – A skunk found near Long Pond Road has tested positive for rabies, the Ledge Light Health District announced today. A resident of the area reported seeing the skunk last week, but it took a few days for the town animal control officer to capture the animal, Ryan McCammon, senior sanitarian at Ledge Light, said today. The skunk was caught and killed Saturday on property owned by the resident who reported the skunk and sent it to the state lab for tests. The results were available today. Notices are being posted in the neighborhood notifying residents about the rabid skunk, he said. McCammon said it does not appear the skunk had any contact with dogs or humans. Ledge Light reminds the public to refrain from feeding or approaching any wild or stray animals. For information, call the health district at (860) 448-4882 or the town animal control officer at (860) 464-9621.

Oregon 07/31/11 registerguard.com: by Saul Hubbard – Two recent cases of rabid bats in Lane County — one confirmed, one suspected — should serve as a reminder to local residents to vaccinate their pets and take all close encounters with the flying mammals very seriously, officials say. Last month, a Cottage Grove resident found a sickly bat lying grounded among his herd of goats. After a rabies test on the bat came back positive, all the goats were put into quarantine to determine whether any of them develop the disease. A few weeks later, an Oakridge resident killed a bat that was fighting with her dog. She then tossed the bat’s body into a nearby river, making a rabies test impossible. The resident ultimately opted to have the 15-year-old dog euthanized rather than go through lengthy solitary quarantine. Between 10 and 20 confirmed cases of rabies in animals still occur every year in Oregon, said Emilio DeBess, the state’s public health vetenarian. The vast majority of them are bats, although over the past two years a number of foxes near Cave Junction in Josephine County have tested positive for the disease. Twelve cases have occurred in Lane County since 2000, at a maximum incidence of three in a single year, and, of the 43 cases in the county since 1960, all but two have been in bats.

Bartholomew County

Indiana 08/01/11 wishtv.com: by Amanda Johnson – The West Nile Virus has been found in Bartholomew County, 24-Hour News 8’s news partner, The Republic , reports. Mosquitoes were discovered along a tree line behind the old Columbus wastewater treatment plant on Water Street. The Health Department confirmed the presence of the virus Friday. This is the fourth sighting of the virus in Indiana this summer — the first two in Hamilton and Allen County , and last week Marion County discovered the presence of it.
Ohio 07/31/11 tallmadgepress.com: by Jeremy Nobile – The Summit County Health District confirmed a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus was captured in Tallmadge July 15. Terry Tuttle, environmental health supervisor with the Summit County Health District, said the specimen was caught in the northwest area of Tallmadge near Franklin and Mark drives — less than one mile from the Akron border.

Summit County

The discovery marks the first pest caught within Tallmadge city limits this season, but the 11th in Summit County. A virus-carrying mosquito was caught near Tallmadge in Goodyear Heights during the first week of July. That insect was found near Foxboro and Eastwood avenues, across the street from Essex Healthcare of Tallmadge. “We’ve been catching a lot lately,” said Tuttle. “This is the most we’ve ever trapped [this far into] a season.” Other West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes have been found in New Franklin, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley and Twinsburg Township.

Follow-Up Reports:

North Carolina 08/01/11 go.com: by Greg Barnes – Animal control, along with the assistance of a wildlife damage control company and local law enforcement, is getting stray dogs off the street. “These dogs, these packs are dangerous, we don’t want anybody getting hurt,” Cumberland County Animal Control Director John Lauby said. The dogs Lauby is referring to are among six stray dogs captured over the weekend by a wildlife damage control company that works for the county. Animal control officers say they use baited traps along with tranquilizer darts to snare the pack dogs. Lauby says for now, Fayetteville police and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies will observe and report locations of any stray or wild dog packs they see, but they are not under new orders to shoot and kill. “If we have to do off post euthanasia, [I] want my officers to do that,” Lauby said. “That’s our responsibility as distasteful as it is.”

Animal control officials say as many as 150 wild dogs may be roaming Fayetteville’s streets. Packs have been reported in more than a dozen neighborhoods across the city. Lauby says not all pack dogs are wild. Some dogs are pets that have been abandoned. Animal control says some of the confirmed wildlife rabies cases this year are in neighborhoods where the wild dogs roam. The concern is that the dog packs could come in contact with a rabid animal and then go after humans or theft pets. Wild or stray, animal control officers say for now, any and all dogs on the street with no collar or rabies tag will be picked up. Pet owners whose animals are not vaccinated could face a stiff fine. “There is a $100 fine for not having your dogs vaccinated, or not having a county or rabies tag on the dog when it’s off your property,” Lauby added. Officers say you can’t take any chances with rabies. The wild dog tracking teams will be out every night.  Animal control has set up a hotline. Call (910) 321-6861 to report locations of stray or wild dog packs.

Canada requires hikers in Banff National Park to carry Bear Spray after mother and son are spared by Grizzly sow protecting her cubs; Wisconsin’s Jackson County rekindles interest in establishing a wild Elk herd; Wyoming governor moving toward predator status for Wolves in part of Teton County; North Carolina’s Cumberland County to trap or kill 60 Feral Dogs; West Nile Virus reports from Indiana (2), Massachusetts (3), Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania; Eastern Equine Encephalitis reports from Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina; and Rabies reports from New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

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

Canada:

Alberta 07/29/11 globalmontreal.com: by Valerie Berenyi – For the first time in a national park, Parks Canada has mandated that until Sept. 15 hikers on the popular Lake Minnewanka Trail in Banff National Park must travel in a tight group of four or more with at least one person must carry bear spray at all times.  “We want to reduce the potential for another bear attack in that area and we want people to understand just how serious the situation is if they choose to go hiking there,” says Steve Michel, a human-wildlife specialist with mountain park.  The maximum fine for not complying is $25,000 under the National Parks Act.

Earlier this month, a Danish mother and her 13-year-old son came within a few steps of a grizzly sow and her cubs on a trial near the Aylmer Pass. The sow shooed her cubs up a tree and rose on her hind legs; the tourist mom tucked her son behind her, spoke softly and backed away slowly. The two mothers regarded one another briefly, then went in opposite directions with their offspring.  The visitors relished their encounter, but it could have been a disaster.

There were serious bear attacks near Alymer Pass in 2001 and 2005. Kim Titchener, director of Bow Valley WildSmart Community Program, a Canmore-based non-profit organization that seeks to reduce human-wildlife conflict, applauds Parks Canada for making bear spray mandatory in such areas: “There is absolute proof that this product is effective. Research has shown that.” A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Wildlife Management looked at the efficacy of bear spray as a deterrent involving grizzly, black and polar bear encounters in Alaska from 1985 to 2006. In 72 cases where people sprayed bears to defend themselves, 98 per cent walked away uninjured.

ABOUT BEAR SPRAY

  •  Bear spray contains one per cent oleoresin capsicum derived from cayenne pepper and is sold at outdoor suppliers.
  • Choose a bear spray with a minimum weight of 225 grams, a spray range of at least five metres and a clearly visible expiry date (canisters last about three years).
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and familiarize yourself with using it.
  • Never spray bear pepper spray on camping gear, tents and backpacks to repel bears. Once the volatile components have broken down, pepper residue will actually attract bears.
  • Carry the spray in a holster within easy reach (not in your pack) in case of a surprise encounter while hiking, sleeping in your tent, cooking and generally out and about in bear country. Keep the safety clip on at all times, removing only if in an encounter with a bear.
  • Once sprayed, bear spray forms a big cloud that causes intense discomfort, burning and swelling of the eyes, nose and lungs, giving you time to leave the area. It doesn’t cause permanent damage to bears or humans.
  • Recent reports show bear pepper spray to be more effective than a firearm in diverting or stopping a charging bear.
  • But bear spray is your last defence. The best defence is to avoid an encounter by hiking in a tight group of at least four people, making lots of noise and being alert for signs of bears (diggings, scat, tracks, overturned rocks and logs). Leash dogs at all times. Keep campsites clean and odour free; cook and store food and toiletries at least 50 metres downwind from your tent.
  • In most cases, bears will do their best to avoid people. Most encounters happen because bears are surprised by people, or are defending their cubs or a kill.

Wisconsin 07/29/11 leadertelegram.com: by Joe Knight – When chronic wasting disease was detected in southwestern Wisconsin about 10 years ago, it put the skids on plans to establish a wild elk herd in the forests of Jackson County. Health officials were reluctant to move deer or elk across state lines or to bring animals in from Canada. At the time there was no way to test live deer or elk for the disease. The test required examining a slice of brain tissue. Now tests have been developed for deer and elk that may allow state-to-state transfers while ensuring the animals being transferred are disease-free, wildlife officials say. About 150 elk have been transferred from Kentucky, which has an elk population of about 10,000, to Missouri, which is trying to establish an elk herd, said Laine Stowell, an elk researcher in Wisconsin. Virginia also has expressed an interest in getting some Kentucky elk to start a herd, he said.

Michele Windsor, state Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager in Jackson County, said there is strong local support for bringing elk to the county, including the Jackson County Wildlife Fund and area chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. There also are preliminary discussions involving DNR officials and state legislators about bringing elk to Jackson County and the Clam Lake herd. However, importing elk into Wisconsin won’t necessarily be easy. It would probably take new legislation or a special exemption from the state’s current wasting disease laws to allow bringing elk from outside states to Jackson County, Windsor said. The new live tests still aren’t as reliable as the “gold standard” test, which requires a slice of the animal’s brain. That test is accurate 99 of 100 times, she said. It may be possible, with new legislation, to bring in elk from another state, such as Kentucky, that never has had wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis in elk or deer, Windsor said.

Hunters in Kentucky, which now has an elk hunting season, are not necessarily keen on parting with more of their elk, she said. But Wisconsin officials remain hopeful, and the Jackson County area has good elk habitat, with a mix of forests and open spaces. “There’s definitely strong grass-roots interest that exists and is still very active,” she said of importing elk to Wisconsin. If elk aren’t brought to Jackson County from outside the state, they could be moved here from the Clam Lake herd once that population reaches 200. But Stowell said it would be better for the genetics of Wisconsin elk to bring in animals from outside the state. (For complete article go to http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/features/getting_out/article_3cdf924a-b9a2-11e0-9219-001cc4c002e0.html )

Wyoming 07/30/11 jhnewsandguide.com: by Kevin Huelsmann – In spite of protests from Teton County commissioners, Gov. Matt Mead is moving ahead with a wolf management agreement with federal officials that would allow the unregulated killing of wolves in part of Teton County for several months a year. In a letter sent to Mead earlier this month, commissioners said allowing the unregulated killing of wolves ignores the values of county residents and could put Teton County’s image and reputation at risk. Mead, however, has not ceded any ground on the issue. “It’s too late to include that,” Mead’s spokesman, Renny Mackay, said Friday. “It’s nothing that the governor or [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service have ever talked about.” Mead is “very close” to wrapping up the terms of the deal with federal officials and needed to keep moving to ensure the negotiations end successfully, Mackay said. Commissioners objected to unregulated killing, or predator status, that would allow wolves to be killed at any time by any means. “If we don’t get this issue resolved as part of this settlement, I think it will be a terrible stain on the reputation and image of the county,” commissioner Hank Phibbs said Friday. Phibbs spoke with the governor Thursday and commissioners sent a letter to him earlier this month, both times pushing to have the predator line moved.

Teton County, Wyoming

Earlier this month, Mead and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined a pending plan in which wolves would be designated as predators in the county south of Highway 22 for parts of the year. Predator status would allow unregulated killing of the animals. In the rest of the county, save national parks and refuges where they would be protected, wolves would be considered trophy game and hunted only according to state seasons. (For complete article go to http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=7563 )

Feral dog fight. Fayetteville, NC

North Carolina 07/30/11 fayobserver.com: by James Halpin – Fear of a rabies outbreak in Cumberland County has prompted Animal Control officials to take “extraordinary measures” to catch and kill dozens of feral pack dogs that have been attacking pets and wildlife with increasing regularity. Animal Control has hired a Fayetteville company to help trap or kill what officials hope will be 60 dogs in the next month. Officials said they want to prevent an “imminent public health hazard” if rabies spreads through the estimated 10 packs of dogs running wild throughout the city. Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby said concerns about rabies grew more severe this week with reports of pack dogs attacking a fox and two raccoons in the Raeford Road area near Perdue Drive and Forsythe Street and in the 300 block of Abbottswood Drive off Ramsey Street. (For complete article go to http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/07/29/1111986?sac=Home )

Hamilton County

Allen County

Indiana 07/29/11 wlfi.com: Indiana health officials said they are seeing the first signs of West Nile virus in the state this year. The Indiana Department of Health said Thursday mosquitoes in Hamilton and Allen counties have tested positive for the disease, which could put people at higher risk for infection. More than 20 Indiana residents have died from West Nile virus since 2002. The virus was found in 54 of Indiana’s 92 counties last year and one person died.

Marion County

Indiana 07/29/11 wishtv.com: The West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Franklin and Center townships, the Marion County Public Health Department announced Friday. The virus carrying mosquitoes were discovered in traps used to monitor the local mosquito population. There have been no reports of illness from West Nile Virus in Marion County in 2011. In 2010, there were three confirmed cases and no reported deaths. Since 2002, five people have died and 50 have fallen ill with the virus.

Massachusetts 07/30/11 patch.com: by Christy Aumer – A mosquito sampled in Tisbury has tested positive for West Nile Virus, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has said. The infected mosquito was collected from a trap on July 25. Despite the finding, the MDPH continues to list the risk of contracting West Nile Virus on Martha’s Vineyard as remote. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-carried illness that can cause a number of maladies, ranging from mild fever to encephalitis or meningitis. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease, said the MDPH. There were seven cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts residents last year.

Massachusetts 07/29/11 boston.com: by Kay Lazar – The season’s first Eastern equine encephalitis-bearing mosquitoes have been detected in Bridgewater, Massachusetts public health officials said yesterday.  The news comes a day after officials elevated the health risk posed by West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease, in Boston and in Brookline, after more samples of infected bugs were found in those communities. The batch of Bridgewater mosquitoes with EEE was collected July 19, officials said. No people have been infected with either virus this year, but last season was an especially active summer for encephalitis. One Massachusetts resident was infected with EEE in 2010, as well as a Rhode Island resident who, officials believe, was probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts. The threat of further infections was so high last year that disease trackers led large-scale aerial spraying to beat back the mosquito populations in Bristol and Plymouth counties. EEE is a serious disease that can be deadly, while West Nile infection is generally problematic in people over 50. More information can be found on the Department of Public Health website. Information is also available by calling 866-627-7968.

Massachusetts 07/28/11 universalhub.com: by adamg – The Boston Public Health Commission today added Roslindale to the list of neighborhoods where mosquitoes have tested positive for the (West Nile) virus, which doesn’t pose much of a threat to most people. West Roxbury and Dorchester had already yielded virus-laden mosquitoes; the commission says new sampling in those two neighborhoods showed more germy bugs.

Mason Valley

Nevada 07/29/11 recordcourier.com: The first mosquito pool to test positive for West Nile virus so far this year is in Mason Valley, the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory announced today. Until today, the 847 samples from statewide surveillance submitted to the laboratory at the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Sparks Office since February of this year, all samples, including birds and horse samples have been negative.

Oswego County

New York 07/29/11 syracuse.com: by James T. Mulder – Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially deadly virus, has been detected in mosquitoes in Oswego County. The Oswego County Health Department announced today the virus was found in two pools of mosquitoes collected during the week of July 15. One sample was collected at Toad Harbor/Big Bay Swamp in West Monroe and the other was taken from the northeast section of the town of Palermo. The samples were sent to the state Health Department’s lab near Albany for testing. Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego’s public health director, said there is no need to spray at this time because mosquito populations are much lower than they were last year at this time because of this summer’s dry weather. Although the EEE virus is rare, it is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases. About one-third of people infected with the virus die. Most survivors suffer significant brain damage. An Onondaga County resident infected with EEE died last year and an Oswego County resident died of EEE in 2009. The Onondaga County Health Department announced Thursday West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease, was detected in mosquitoes collected in a trap July 20 on Midler Avenue in Syracuse. West Nile can cause serious illness and in some cases death.

New Hanover County

North Carolina 07/29/11 wwaytv3.com: New Hanover County Health Department encourages people to protect themselves from mosquito bites and the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Recent testing in the local sentinel chicken flock confirmed a positive sample of EEE in New Hanover County. This raises concerns about the mosquito-borne disease making its way into the human and equine populations. Human incidence of EEE is rare, but it is a dangerous disease. “There is no cure and no vaccine for people available right now, so people need to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites,” stated David Rice, New Hanover County Health Director. The young and elderly populations are at greatest risk. Survivors of EEE infections may suffer from long-term brain damage. Therapy is limited to treating the symptoms of the disease, as there is no specific cure and no available vaccine for humans. Horse cases are almost always fatal. A preventive vaccine is available, and effective for horses if administered before the animal is bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Pennsylvania 07/29/11 pennlive.com: by Matt Miller – The mid-state is proving to be the hot spot in Pennsylvania for the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, although no cases of human infection have been reported in the state this year. Dauphin County officials today reported finding two new groups of infected insects in Middle Paxton and South Hanover townships, bringing the county’s total to 10 to date. That is far behind the 30 reports logged in York County — the most for any Pennsylvania county — the 21 in Lebanon County and the 18 in Cumberland County. Only one clutch of infected insects has been found in Perry County. There have been more than 200 reports of the virus in 33 of the 67 counties, almost all involving mosquitoes.

New York 07/29/11 wptz.com: Public health officials in Essex County, New York, have confirmed a raccoon found in Westport was rabid. The raccoon found in Barksdale Road is the third confirmed case (of rabies) in Essex County, said public health officials. The first reported case was a fox in Keeseville on Dugway Road and the second was also a raccoon found on White Church Road in Crown Point.

Pennsylvania 07/29/11 patch.com: Allegheny County will begin distributing raccoon bait containing rabies vaccines throughout the area on Aug. 15. Employees with the Allegheny County Health Department will be seen distributing the bait by hand, on foot and from vehicles in all of the county’s municipalities. Two types of bait will be used: one in which a vaccine contained in a plastic sachet is enclosed in fish-meal pellets and a second in which the plastic sachet is coated with fish-oil scent. The vaccine, when consumed by the raccoons, helps them to develop antibodies to the rabies virus. The baits pose no threat to humans or pets, according to the health department. Aerial baiting drops may include parts of rural Allegheny County and are scheduled to begin on Sept. 5. The Oral Rabies Vaccination Project is conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Erie County Department of Health, the Allegheny County Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

Wisconsin 07/29/11 wausaudailyherald.com: The Marathon County Health Department is looking for a dog that bit a woman on Wausau’s east side. The incident happened in the 900 block of Steuben Street, according to a news release. The dog was described as a light-colored chow chow. The news release did not say when the bite occurred or the severity of the woman’s injuries. Health department officials do not know the status of the dog’s rabies vaccinations and the woman might have to undergo a series of rabies shots. Anyone with information about this dog should call the health department at 715-261-1908, Marathon County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at 715-261-7785, or the Humane Society of Marathon County at 715-845-2810.

Unusual wildlife reports from Florida, Idaho, and North Dakota; Rabies reports from Georgia, and North Carolina; Coyote reports from Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia; a Chronic Wasting Disease report from Wisconsin; and Travel Warnings for Paraguay, Peru, and Sri Lanka.

Photo by Gary J. Wood. Wikipedia Commons.

 

Florida 02/06/11 wtsp.com: by Stefanie Fogel – Daytona Beach — Dozens of sick raccoons have been rounded up in Volusia County since Jan. 1.  Volusia County Animal Control supervisor JoAnn Owen says the agency might just get one or two calls a week about a sick raccoon during a normal month. Since Jan. 1, 39 raccoons have been picked up.  Officials say most of the animals have distemper, a viral disease that is not a threat to humans. A spokeswoman for the Volusia County Health Department says there have been no recent cases or active investigations of suspected rabies, which can be fatal in people.

Georgia 02/06/11 accessnorthga.com: by Jeremy Taylor – Gainesville – Hall

African pygmy goat. Photo by Ltshears. Wikipedia Commons.

County Animal Services received confirmation that a goat located in the northern part of the county tested positive for rabies. Officials say a goat from the Baker Circle area of north Hall was recently shipped to the University of Georgia to be tested for rabies.   On Friday, Hall County Animal Services was advised that the goat was positive for rabies. Positive alert signs will be posted in the area where the rabid goat was located. If you live in this area or you see an animal acting abnormally, call Animal Services; or during non-working hours, call Hall County Dispatch.

Idaho 02/06/11 93rockon.com: by Laura Zuckerman – Salmon – Man’s best friend may be a formidable enemy to wildlife, a Utah State University biologist says in a newly published paper that tracks the harmful effects of loose dogs on other animals.  Based on a mix of existing research and their own case studies, Julie Young of Utah State and four other scientists conclude that feral and free-roaming dogs may be wreaking havoc on wildlife, especially imperiled species, by preying on or harassing them and by transmitting diseases.  While widely accepted that the introduction of non-native species can be harmful to natural ecosystems, dogs are not usually viewed in that light.  “Dogs occur where humans occur, but we have tended to overlook their impact on wildlife mostly because we think of them as our companions,” said Young, co-author of “Is Wildlife Going to the Dogs?” newly published in the journal BioScience.  Young cited examples from Idaho, where research showed the presence of dogs diminishing some deer populations, and in Colorado, where a study showed that wildlife like bobcats are shunning trails where people hike with pet dogs.  On the Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona, packs of feral dogs are chasing livestock, decimating populations of small mammals such as rabbits and acting as a disease vector for rabies among people and other animals, she said.  Loose dogs also were the suspected culprits in a distemper outbreak linked to a catastrophic die-off of endangered black-footed ferrets in northwestern Wyoming in the 1980s.

Mississippi 02/05/11 picayuneitem.com: by Jeremy Pittari – Picayune – A black coyote was caught recently by a local couple who have been having trouble with something raiding their chickens and turkeys.  Eric and Rachel Berry began setting traps around their home a year ago when some of their chickens and turkeys were found eaten and strewn across their property by the perpetrators. Their chief suspects were various predatory animals that roamed the area, and in the past year, Rachel Berry said they have caught a number of coyotes and one bobcat. On Thursday, the couple caught their first black coyote.  Eric Berry said in the past six months his traps have captured 10 coyotes around his  home. He attributes the rise in coyote activity near his home to his recent purchase of turkeys and their laying eggs.  Prior to capturing the wild animals around his home Eric Berry said he used to shoot them, but recently he discovered if he captures them, he can sell them to a nearby fox run business that uses them in runs where dogs track and chase the animals.  Most of the coyotes Eric Berry catches are brown or gray. Black coyotes are unique, he said.  After conducting some research on the Internet on how to trap wild animals, Eric Berry bought some small metal traps that when tripped capture the animal by the foot. The traps are similar to a classic bear trap, but lack teeth on the jaws. However, coyotes can smell metal so Eric said he dips the traps in wax before hiding them under grass and dirt and baiting them.  Coyotes and bobcats are not the only wild animals that frequent the Berry’s land. Rachel Berry said at times, deer and wild pigs can be seen passing through.

New Hampshire 02/05/11 theunionleader.com: by Kimberly Houghton – Merrimack – There have been several coyote sightings in town in the past month, with at least one resident having a face-to-face encounter with the elusive animal earlier this week.  “People have been seeing a coyote around, especially in the Merrimack Meadows area,” said Capt. Peter Albert of the Merrimack police.  He said police have received at least four reports of a coyote spotted around Chapel Lane, Hilton Drive and Depot Street, near the Daniel Webster Highway.  This week, a woman was shoveling snow in the parking lot at Merrimack Meadows condominium complex when she saw a coyote several feet away from her, Albert said. The animal chased the woman up to her door, but she was able to safely escape inside, he said.  “It wasn’t right on her heels, but she did get nervous and it did actually run after her,” Albert said of the coyote.  The coyote has been seen rummaging for food in trash barrels and dumpsters, police said. Authorities have issued a warning to local neighborhood watch groups to be on the lookout for the animal, but to not approach the coyote.  “They are a wild dog, and people should be cautious,” Albert said, asking parents to educate their children about the dangers of coyote, especially if the children are playing in the snow in the evening.  The town’s animal control officer, Elizabeth Fraser, has unsuccessfully tried to find the coyote several times after receiving reports of the animal sightings. For now, police said there is not much they can do about the situation.  “If it becomes a nuisance or gets aggressive, we will have to put it down,” Albert said, reminding residents not to feed the animal.  In addition, police said coyotes are attracted to bird food and bread crumbs left on snow for birds. He encourages people to put bird food in feeders, not leave it on the ground where a coyote could get at it.  Jesse Fraser of Critter Control in Merrimack said he hears a lot of tall tales about coyote and fox attacks in New Hampshire, but stressed that animals are typically afraid of humans — even coyotes.  “Coyotes are scavengers,” he said, explaining that the heavy snow may be preventing the intelligent animals from finding their typical feed, which includes mice, moles, insects and squirrels.  Coyotes are more elusive than fox, according to Fraser, who said that this time of year the animals aren’t likely to be infected with rabies. Still, he warned that coyotes will attack house cats if they are hungry and within range.  The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department recommends that pets and pet food remain inside at night to reduce the likelihood that a family cat will become a coyote’s prey, according to its website.  “As for your safety, coyote pose little risk to people. In New Hampshire, there has never been a report of a coyote attacking a person,” states the website.  Local police are urging residents to call authorities at 424-3774 if they spot the animal.

North Carolina 02/04/11 digtriad.com: by Cami Marshall – The State Laboratory of Public Health notified Randolph County Health Officials that a kitten sent for testing was positive for rabies.  They found the kitten on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in the Uwharrie Street area of Asheboro, near the intersection of Albemarle Road. The kitten, a gray tabby approximately six months old, couldn’t walk when it was discovered. A good samaritan took the kitten to a local veterinary hospital for examination. After ruling out other causes of injury, the veterinarian began to suspect rabies. Lab testing confirmed that suspicion.  Animal control officers are spreading the word in the area by distributing flyers to surrounding homes. They want to alert residents who may have come into contact with the kitten or whose pets may have come in contact with the kitten to get tested or watch their pets for strange behavior.   If you think you, or your pet, may have come into contact with the kitten, or if you have questions regarding rabies, contact the Randolph County Health Department at: (336) 318-6200.

North Dakota 02/06/11 ky3.com: A raccoon has ended a North Dakota team’s bid for a fourth consecutive regional championship in high school wrestling.  The Carrington High School team was pulled from Saturday’s tournament when officials discovered the athletes had been exposed to a live raccoon.  Grafton Police Sgt. Anthony Dumas says the team picked up what members thought was a dead raccoon on the way to the tournament in Grafton and stowed in the storage area of their bus. Dumas says when the compartment was opened later, the raccoon “just trotted away.”  The animal didn’t scratch or bite anyone, but it’s not known whether it had rabies.  The Grand Forks Herald reports school officials brought the team home as a precaution. Health officials say there’s no risk to athletes who competed against Carrington.

Ohio 01/15/11 coshoctontribune.com: by Kathie Dickerson – Coshocton — One of Florence Dobson’s best friends was killed Jan. 10.  Her quarterhorse, Wonder’s Image, or Babe, as her owner fondly called her, was chased off the Dobson farm sometime early Monday morning. The family searched for her throughout the day, and about 3 p.m. found her lying on the neighbor’s ice-covered pond, dead.  Dobson said a pack of coyotes have been spotted in their Virginia Township neighborhood for the past couple of years.  “You could see her tracks and their tracks. They chased her down off our property, down over a hill. She never went down over that hill,” Dobson said. “When she got on that ice, she was done. They attacked her and ripped her right hind leg. There was blood everywhere.”  Despite being trapped and hunted for more than 200 years, more coyotes live in the U.S. today than when the country was founded, according to Wildlife Services, a division of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.  A 2004 National Agricultural Statistical Service survey showed 135,600 sheep and lambs, valued at $10.7 million, were killed nationwide that year. In Ohio, the damage was estimated at $164,000 for sheep in 2004 and $1 million for cattle in 2005.

Virginia 02/04/11 wtkr.com: A Gloucester farmer has lost more than half his cattle after he says they were attacked by coyotes.  Now people are stepping forward to take action for the farmer.  Kevin Ryand has hunted coyotes throughout the Commonwealth, and he doesn’t want them killing any more cows.  “There’s more coyotes than you realize,” he says.  So when he saw NewsChannel 3’s story on Wednesday, he called us looking to take action, offering to help cattle farmer Gordon Llewellyn.  Ryand’s not the only one. A Navy firearms instructor offered to help as well, looking to use his night vision equipment to take down the nuisance.  Gloucester County Animal Control has received countless calls from people wanting to protect his cattle and kick the coyotes out.  However, Assistant County Administrator Georgette Hurley says, “We’re appreciative of everyone’s interest, but we’re not actively looking for or seeking this.”  Experts say the cows are falling victim now since it’s winter and there is less for coyotes to eat.  Hurley says, “We’ve known for years that coyotes have been in the area but because of food sources being available with wildlife we’ve just not experienced any kills of livestock or poultry.”  Animal control says they aren’t sure exactly how many of them are lurking in the woods, threatening to take down area livestock. It’s simply too tough to count them.  “They’re very elusive and skittish,” Hurley says.  People like Ryand can hunt coyotes year-round, night or day, without a permit. But while the county has a coyote problem, it says it can handle it on its own.  The county says anyone interested in hunting the coyotes should contact Mr. Llewellyn directly, but they do not need people taking it upon themselves to go out in search of coyotes and kill them.

Wisconsin 02/04/11 93rockon.com: New research indicates that the prions which cause chronic wasting disease in deer could someday create a new type of human brain disease.  Doctors from 4 universities published the report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. But they cautioned that a human link could take decades to establish, and it may never happen.  Chronic wasting disease has been found in Wisconsin’s deer population for almost a decade. It’s spread through infectious brain proteins in the soil called prions.  Judd Aiken of the University of Alberta says prions will keep building up in the soil the longer CWD stays around in the Badger State. And if that happens, Claudio Soto of the University of Texas at Houston says the prions could eventually convert to a form that affects cattle or people.  Soto emphasizes that the jury’s still out on whether chronic wasting disease can affect humans. He says a new study is underway in which prions are injected into genetically-engineered mice – and those mice are likely to produce possible human reactions.  If mice get the disease, Soto says it’s more likely that humans could get it someday as well. Those test results could be known in a year or two.

Travel Warnings:

Paraguay 02/04/11 plenglish.com: After the death of another patient with dengue, Ciudad del Este, which is the second largest city in Paraguay, a health emergency was declared Friday.  The chairman of the Regional Hospital of the Institute of Social Welfare, Carlos Pallarol, said this is the fourth death due to the disease in the area of Alto Parana over the last month.  A statement from the mayor’s office in Ciudad del Este, on the border with Brazil, said the number of patients diagnosed with certainty amounts to 123, while 106 others have symptoms by epidemiological link and 50 are suspects. In 2011, Paraguay already has 5 deaths because of this viral disease which is transmitted by the Aedes agypti mosquito.Public Health Minister Esperanza Martinez said at a news conference that the fight against the epidemic is a government priority and called for strengthening supervision, as rain increases outbreaks of the vector.

Peru 02/04/11 globalvoicesonline.org: by Isabel Guerra translated by Damien Moroney – A dengue outbreak that emerged in the Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto has easily spread through several neighboring regions. On the 1st of February, four confirmed cases had been officially reported in Lima, the Peruvian capital, causing great alarm because according to medical reports, this is a new strain in the region, which with its great virulence has already caused havoc in neighboring countries like Brazil, Bolivia and Argentina.  In Iquitos, capital of the Loreto region, official figures report thus far more than 6,000 suspected cases of this disease which is transmitted by the bite of the mosquito Aedes Aegypti, and 11 deaths in the month of January alone. It is expected that these figures could increase in February. Meanwhile, the city’s hospitals have declared they are swamped and some groups are already asking that a health emergency be declared, a measure that has not been adopted by the regional authorities yet, claiming a lack of technical and legal reports.

Sri Lanka 02/05/11 typepad.com: As the country continues to be battered by inclement weather, dengue cases and resulting deaths are soaring to epidemic proportions already. Health sources are warning that this year’s epidemic may be more severe than the previous epidemic in 2009/10, when the total number of cases stood at 34,105 with 246 deaths by end December 2010.   From 790 cumulative cases recorded up to February 2, 2011, the numbers jumped by 41 in one day to reach 831 on February 3, according to data from the Epidemiology Unit.   Equally frightening is the number of deaths which now stands at 11 so far this year from just eight deaths last month. The number of deaths for the entire month of February 2010 was 14.