Report concerning a West Nile Virus victim from Florida, and Rabies reports from Georgia (2), New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Florida 01/13/11 by Jerry Askin – The case involving a Tallahassee boy who died in 2004 from contaminated blood was back before the First District Court of Appeals Wednesday.   Chase Fitchner of Tallahassee died in 2004 after receiving a blood transfusion tainted with the West Nile Virus during treatment at a Gainesville Hospital.  Local blood banks in Tallahassee say they make sure they take extra precautions to ensure something like this never happens here.  Michael Stiles who works as District Executive Director of the Southeastern Blood Center in Tallahassee says, “We try very carefully through not only the testing that we do, but also the questionnaire performed with each donor to make sure that this can’t happen.”  As for the case, the family was awarded eight million dollars in 2006, the 1st DCA reversed the decision in 2007 and now the case has been sent from the Supreme Court back to trial court.

Georgia 01/14/11 by Joe Kelly – Gainesville – The first confirmed case of rabies of the year in Hall County has been reported.  The contact was between a raccoon and a dog on January 11 in the Dawn Ridge area of North Hall.  After the raccoon was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab, Hall County Animal Services was advised that it was positive for rabies, confirming the first case of 2011.   If you live in this area or you see an animal acting abnormally in the Dawn Ridge area, contact Hall County Animal Services immediately at 770-531-6830 or during non-working hours call Hall County Dispatch at 770-536-8812.

Georgia 01/13/11 by Cade Fowler – Public health officials issued a rabies warning Wednesday after a raccoon and donkey in Decatur County tested positive for the disease.  Health officials say it’s rare for a donkey to contract rabies, but all mammals are vulnerable to the virus.  “We know rabies is in the wild animal population, so we are not surprised to see positive cases now and then,” Ansley Johnson said.  “All mammals are vulnerable to rabies, including horses, goats and cattle. But generally when we see exposures in domestic animals they are in pet dogs and cats. This is the first time we’ve seen a donkey with rabies in the district.”

New York 01/14/11 Two raccoons near Snyder’s Corner Road and Sagendorf Lane in Wynantskill have tested positive for rabies, according to the Rensselaer County Department of Health.  For more information, contact the Rensselaer County Department of Health at 270-2655 or .

North Carolina 01/14/11 A cat picked up near UNC Asheville has tested positive for rabies and health officials are warning anyone who had contact with the cat to see their doctor immediately.  Buncombe County Department of Health spokeswoman Beverly Levinson said the small, female, short-haired grey cat with green eyes was picked up by someone near Weaver Boulevard.  The cat was taken to the vet after it started acting strangely and it was confirmed the cat had rabies.  The person who picked up the cat is being treated. The health department did not have any additional information about the person. The department said they don’t know if anyone else was exposed.  The health department said anyone who had contact with the cat should call their doctor immediately. They can also call the health department at 250-5109.

Pennsylvania 01/14/11 by Christina Kauffman – A Fairview Township woman is being treated for rabies after she was bitten by a rabid black kitten that ran into her Springers Lane home.  The rabid feline rushed into the woman’s home on Jan. 10, when the door was open because someone else was entering. The kitten bit her when she grabbed the cat to remove it, said Holli Senior, press secretary for the state’s Department of Health, which is urging anyone who had contact with the cat to contact its offices.  “Ironically, after she threw it out the door, it must have run out into the street and got hit by a car,” Senior said.  The motorist who ran over the kitten reported the animal to the Department of Health, which tested and found rabies.  “I think perhaps the fact that it ran into somebody’s house might have been enough to … raise red flags,” she said. “I don’t know how cute and cuddly it was looking. I’ve never heard of an animal running into your house.”  The woman is undergoing prophylaxis treatment because of her exposure.

Virginia 01/12/11 A stray cat and raccoon on the Peninsula tested positive for the rabies virus.  The stray cat was reported in the 300 block of Second Street in Williamsburg, and the raccoon was found in the 400 block of Burnham Road in York County, health officials said.  The Peninsula Health District said anyone having exposure to these animals should contact the Health Department at 757-253-4813.


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