Beaver in Maryland and feral cat in South Carolina test positive for Rabies, and woman dies of West Nile Virus in Yakima, Washington

Maryland  11/23/09  Officials with the Frederick County Health Department say a beaver tested positive for rabies last week.  Spokeswoman Karen Amoss said for anyone who lives in the Villages of Urbana area that may have had contact with the beaver, it’s recommended that you consult your physician or notify the Health Department.  “If any of your pets may have been in contact with the beaver, call your veterinarian,” Amoss said.  Since January 1, 2009, Frederick has had 18 confirmed positive rabid animals.

South Carolina  11/24/09  A child who was exposed to a stray cat Sunday, Nov. 15 is under the care of a physician after the animal tested positive for rabies, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control said Wednesday.  The child was visiting a relative’s home in the Pomaria area and the cat was one of a group of strays being fed.   The cat was captured after attacking the child.  Jim Raymond, Region 3 Assistant Environmental Health Director, said the girl will be fine and is receiving post-exposure rabies treatment.  The Pomaria cat is the third confirmed rabid animal in Newberry County in 2009. Last year, there were eight rabid animals confirmed in the county.  Statewide in 2008, there were 166 confirmed cases of rabies in animals. So far this year, there have been 140 confirmed cases in animals in the state.


Washington  11/20/09  West Nile virus has sickened 36 people in Washington so far this year, including nine people in Benton County.  The state Department of Health said this year has been the worst on record for the virus.  A Yakima County woman in her 70s is the state’s first death from the virus, state officials said. In all, Yakima County had 21 confirmed cases. Grant County had one, Klickitat County had two, Spokane County had two and Whatcom County had one.  All but two of them were exposed in Eastern Washington — and they may have been exposed out of state. Of the 36 people, 28 had severe symptoms, including encephalitis, meningitis or paralysis.  Eight had mild illnesses with a fever and headaches. A person in Benton County and another in Yakima County didn’t know they had the virus until they went to donate blood and it was found in a prescreening test.  Those cases don’t count in national reports because the victims didn’t have symptoms, the state said.  Also this year, 71 horses, one dog, 22 birds and 341 mosquito samples tested positive.  That testing showed the virus was detected in 14 counties, with Franklin, Walla Walla, Mason and Grays Harbor counties having their first cases since monitoring began in 2001.  Washington had the nation’s highest number of horses infected, the state said.  Nearly half of all the infected horses either died from the illness or had to be euthanized.


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