Rabies reports from Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas; Coyote reports from Michigan (2), and Texas; Chronic Wasting Disease report from Minnesota; and Travel Warnings for Brazil, and Maldives.

Raccoon. Photo by Bernard Landgraf. Wikipedia Commons.

Maryland 02/10/11 delmarvanow.com: Snow Hill – The Worcester County Health Department recently confirmed the first case of rabies in 2011 after a raccoon in the western portion of the county tested positive.  The department believes this incident serves to remind residents that although the number of cases dropped in 2010, the disease does persist throughout the county in select wild animals. Domestic animals can also catch the disease, as can humans.  Call 410-632-4321 or visit http://www.worcester health.org. 

Michigan 02/09/11 romeoobserver.com: by Debi Martone – (Excerpt) Denise Kappa watched in awe as a deer stood gracefully in the backyard of her Armada home. Kappa’s admiration soon turned to horror as a coyote sent the deer scrambling for safety.  Kappa’s experience is becoming more common in the area as coyotes are moving closer to the more populated areas of southeastern Michigan.  Hannah Schauer, a wildlife technician for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said the increase in the number of coyotes in areas such as Armada, Bruce and Washington townships doesn’t surprise her.   “It is no longer unusual to see coyotes in a residential area because people create such a good habitat for them,” Schauer said. “They are a very adaptable species and really thrive in human populated areas.”    “Anyone with questions or concerns should contact their municipal office or the DNR first,” she said.  In addition to coyotes, Schauer said bald eagles, bear and a number of hawk species are moving southward from upper Michigan.  (For complete article go to http://www.romeoobserver.com/ Story.asp?page=community&storyid=18923 )

Michigan 02/09/11 fieldandstream.com: by Scott Bestul – If you read other hunting magazines besides ours (it’s OK to admit it, because I do too), you’ve probably noticed a bunch of feature stories in the last year, all covering the impact coyotes have on whitetail populations in the southeast. If you’re wondering why F&S hasn’t been in this mix, it’s because it’s old news to us. We essentially broke the story in 2009. (Here’s the column).   So there…Dave and I are done patting each other’s backs and tooting our horns on scooping everyone.   But there’s some more recent news on the coyote-as-deer-predator

Gray Wolf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

that’s really caught my eye. Researchers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) are currently studying whitetail predation in an area rich with carnivores, both large and small. In a 350-square mile study area in the UP, whitetails are eaten by bear, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats. Preliminary findings indicate that, of these four primary predators, coyotes are leading the way in causing whitetail deaths. From this story on jsonline.com.  I find that fascinating, especially given the presence of two wolf packs in the area. Wolves have long been thought to be highly efficient deer predators, given their speed, size and ability to hunt as packs. Moreover, wolves have the reputation as coyote-killers, limiting populations of the smaller canines wherever the two share space. Perhaps this new study (and another, soon-to-start in neighboring Wisconsin) will shed even more light on not only whitetail predation, but how predators relate to each other. We’ll be tracking this research in the months to come.

Minnesota 02/10/11 kaaltv.com: by Katie Lynn – Testing for chronic wasting disease is off to a positive start: the latest tests on deer in southeastern Minnesota have turned up negative.  The Rochester Post-Bulletin reports more than 40 deer so far have tested negative for CWD. The Department of Natural Resources is giving permits to shoot the deer to landowners near Pine Island, where they hope to ultimately test 900 deer. A wild deer shot there last fall was recently found to have CWD. It was the state’s first case of the disease in a wild deer.  The testing is designed to stop the spread of the fatal brain disease that affects deer, elk and moose.  The DNR plans to keep the public updated on its progress by holding weekly teleconferences.

North Carolina 02/09/11charlotteobserver.com: Mecklenburg County animal control officers confirmed that a local dog contracted rabies – the first case in which a dog has been found with the deadly disease in the county since April 2005.  Animal control officers picked up a dog Saturday that was showing “neurological symptoms” of rabies on Strangford Avenue, off Shamrock Drive in east Charlotte.  The dog’s owners told officers the dog, who had no current rabies vaccination, came in contact with a raccoon a month ago.  N.C. law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.

Texas 02/10/11kvue.com: There is a warning for anyone who uses Zilker Park. People there say they are spotting coyotes.  Someone posted several signs in the area urging people to protect their pets  KVUE talked to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. Officials there say it is not unusual to spot coyotes in West Austin, and even Zilker Park.

Texas 02/09/11 fredericksburgstandard.com: Gillespie County’s first 2011 case of rabies has been confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services.  The latest incident took place Jan. 13 when two currently-vaccinated dogs killed a skunk in their owner’s yard.  The skunk was taken to the Friendship Veterinary Center which, according to the state’s Region 8 Zoonosis Control Office in Uvalde, then submitted it for testing.  Meanwhile, the two dogs each received a booster shot and have been isolated as a precautionary measure for a 45-day period.  Aside from being this year’s first rabies case in Gillespie County, the Jan. 13 skunk incident marks the third of the year for the 28 counties making up the TDH’s Region 8.  It also stretches to six the consecutive number of months in which rabies has been confirmed in the county.  Before that, there were four incidents from August through November in which rabid raccoons were confirmed here.  Then in December, two cases involving a rabid skunk and another rabid raccoon were reported.  In all, Gillespie County reported seven confirmed cases of rabid wild animals in 2010 which began with four straight rabies-free months before an isolated report of a rabid raccoon was announced in May.

Travel Warnings:

Brazil 02/10/11 lasvegassun.com: (Excerpt)Dengue cases have risen sharply in at least one key Brazil state, officials said Thursday, building on a steady increase over the past year nationwide.  The number of dengue cases in Rio de Janeiro state rose to 3,582 cases in January, more than double the 1,447 registered in January 2010, which itself was the start of a year that saw dengue cases triple across Brazil.  Alexandre Chieppe, head of Rio state’s epidemiological service, said by telephone that the increase is mostly due to the resurgence of the Type 1 dengue strain that had largely been absent in the state. As result, residents have not been able to develop immunity to it as they have for Types 2 and 3, which have been the most common.  (For complete article go to http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/feb/10/lt-brazil-dengue-fever/ )

Maldives 02/10/11 typepad.com: An outbreak of dengue fever, which has spread across the Maldives, left a five-year-old dead on Wednesday.   The Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) confirmed the death of the child, who was diagnosed with dengue fever, but declined to provide details.   Despite the centre’s efforts to create public awareness about the outbreak of dengue fever since last month, the cases reported are on the rise.   The centre stressed that 217 cases have been received this year, including 58 patients below five years, 62 patients aged 6-15, and 97 patients aged above 15 years.

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