Chronic Wasting Disease report from Minnesota, and Rabies reports from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wyoming.

White-tailed deer. Courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department.

Minnesota 01/22/11 sctimes.com: Minnesota wildlife officials have found the state’s first probable case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer, which was shot near the southeastern town of Pine Island, the Department of Natural Resources announced Friday.  The DNR expects to get confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, next week but is moving ahead with a response plan.  Officials said there’s no evidence that CWD can spread to humans, nor is it known to affect livestock. But the disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose, and experts recommend against eating meat from an infected animal.  DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said the discovery has “serious implications.” He noted that Minnesota has nearly half a million deer hunters, and that deer hunting has a large impact on the state’s economy.  Researchers think CWD passes through feces, urine or saliva and contaminated soil. It’s caused by abnormal proteins called prions. The disease causes brain degeneration and is fatal. Symptoms can include a drooping head or ears, poor physical condition, tremors and stumbling.  Officials said they need more data before they decide to reduce the deer population in the area. To get the samples, the DNR may conduct a special hunt this winter, issue permits to landowners or use sharpshooters.  CWD was first detected in Minnesota in 2002 on an elk farm near Aitkin, but tests on more than 32,000 hunter-harvested deer, moose and elk across the state since then have turned up no probable cases in the wild until now. 

Pennsylvania 01/21/11 whptv.com: An orange male cat found on Huckleberry Road, New Bloomfield in Perry County has tested positive for rabies, the Department of Health confirmed Friday.  The department urges anyone who may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids or tissue from the cat to call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) at any time. Residents can also contact the Perry County State Health Center Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at 717-567-2011.  Anyone with a pet that may have come in contact with the rabid cat should contact a veterinarian for information about how to protect the animal.  For more information, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us or call 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258). Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Virginia 01/21/11 wpcva.com: The Pittsylvania County Health Department issued a rabies alert this week for residents of Silver Creek Road after a skunk found in the neighborhood tested positive for the disease.  It is possible that the rabid skunk could have come in contact with other neighborhood animals, including cats, dogs and horses, said Kelly Waller, a an environmental specialist with the health department in Chatham.

Wyoming 01/21/11 kgwn.tv: A rabid skunk has been captured in Cheyenne. The skunk was found in a neighborhood near South Greeley highway, just north of Interstate 80.
The skunk had contact with three people, including a child, after it was picked up by a resident who brought it inside his home. Cheyenne Animal Control canvassed the neighborhood today, encouraging pet owners to get their pets vaccinated if they haven’t already.  Rabies is transmitted through saliva and mucus and is extremely deadly to humans and animals.  This is the first case of rabies found in Cheyenne since 1984.

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