Announcement of joint CDC/RSPH epidemiology course scheduled for May 2011; Coyote reports from Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas; and Rabies reports from North Carolina, and Texas. Canada – A Coyote report from Ontario. And an updated Travel Warning for Brazil.

Announcement

Epidemiology in Action Course

CDC and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University will cosponsor the course, Epidemiology in Action, to be held May 16–27, 2011, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. This course is designed for state and local public health professionals.   The course emphasizes practical application of epidemiology to public health problems and consists of lectures, workshops, classroom exercises (including actual epidemiologic problems), and roundtable discussions. Topics scheduled for presentation include descriptive epidemiology and biostatistics, analytic epidemiology, epidemic investigations, public health surveillance, surveys and sampling, and Epi Info training, along with discussions of selected diseases. Tuition is charged.  Additional information and applications are available by mail (Emory University, Hubert Department of Global Health [Attn: Pia], 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, CNR Bldg., Rm. 7038, Atlanta, GA 30322); telephone (404-727-3485); fax (404-727-4590); Internet (http://www.sph.emory.edu/epicourses ); or e-mail (pvaleri@emory.edu).

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Colorado 03/03/11 thedenverchannel.com: by Deb Stanley – Officials in

Coyote Den. Photo by Squidocto. Wikipedia Commons.

Superior are using stinky tennis balls to encourage coyotes to move away from town.  Employees with the Superior Parks, Recreation and Open Space Department threw ammonia-soaked tennis balls into suspected coyote dens along Rock Creek on Wednesday, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.  “We try to discourage them in humane ways,” department director Martin Toth told the newspaper. “Generally, what we’ve seen in the past (with the tennis balls) is a decrease in activity.”  The theory, Toth said, is that the pungent odor of the tennis balls resembles the scent of another animal marking its territory and convinces coyotes to find a new place to build a den.  Coyotes are blamed for killing two dogs in the neighborhood in the last week.

Connecticut 03/02/11 patch.com: by Anthony Karge – Henry, a Westie less

Westie. Photo by David-andres Novoa. Wikipedia Commons.

than a year old, was doing his regular pre-bedtime routine outside at about 11 p.m. on Feb. 23. The puppy was the Brown family’s first dog. The father, James, wanted his kids to grow up in a household with a dog.  James heard some barking, but nothing out of the ordinary. When he went to the fenced area of his Webb Road property, Henry was gone.  “At that moment I’m like ‘oh god’ and I looked down,” said Henry.  He saw Henry, who was eight months old, in critical condition. A coyote ran past them, scaling a tall stone fence in the process. The dog was rushed to the Norwalk Animal Hospital and the staff tried reviving him, but it was too late.  The area close to Roseville Road isn’t particularly forested, which added to the surprise of the attack. After it happened, James told neighbors what happened in order to prevent the incident from repeating itself.  According to Westport Police, coyote attacks in Westport are uncommon, but the harsh winter may have contributed to this attack.  “These wild animals are a part of our community and if in any way [people] witness a coyote that appears to be sick or aggressive, contact us immediately,” said Capt. Sam Arciola.  He added, “We don’t know why this coyote was in this particular area but we think it’s important that people know they’re out there.”  In Fairfield, a small pack of coyotes killed a Pomeranian on the same day – Feb. 23. The Westport Police Department can be contacted at 203-341-6000.

Georgia 03/02/11 myfoxatlanta.com: by George Franco – There’s a warning Wednesday night about coyotes that may have made several Decatur neighborhoods their home. Some residents say they’re seen the animals and afraid to let their pets out.   Residents at some Decatur condominiums have reported coyotes inside their walls. Now they are asking City Hall to help them out but it’s not that easy a job to tackle.  When the sun sets on Melrose Avenue local residents say another pet could be in danger.  “They come after cats small animals, but we’ve been keeping our cats in,” said concerned resident Denise Batich.  Batich said several cats in the neighborhood have disappeared after sunset.  Carol Fetter suspects it was the same coyote she spotted inside her gated condominium complex while walking her dogs.  “He kept looking at the little dog pumpkin and I had a feeling it wasn’t me that was a target,” said Fetter.  Art Rilling with the Yellow River Game Ranch in Snellville said the wild canines shy away from people but will get bolder when they find pet food or pets.  “Occasionally one of them finds out that there’s no food there they can make the neighbor’s dog the food so it causes a lot of problems when they’re mixing with people,” said Rilling.  The coyote sightings prompted residents of the Lenox Place neighborhood to attend a City Hall meeting last week, looking for answers.  “Seems to me there should be something the city can do, you know,” said Doug Scheetz of the Decatur Town Houses Home Owners Association.  “Our information to residents is to try to control the environment,” said Peggy Merriss, Decatur City Manager.   Merriss says by law only licensed trappers can removed coyotes from a neighborhood and if caught the animals must be destroyed.  Even if a coyote is removed from its den in the neighborhood, Rilling said it’s very likely another coyote would soon take its place.  “You can cut down the numbers but you’re not going to reduce it to zero,” said Rilling.  Rilling says coyotes are establishing dens all over metro Atlanta.  “Learn to live with them. I think we’re going to have to they’ve figured out this is much better than living in the woods,” said Rilling.

Kentucky 03/02/11 fox19.com: by Richard Todd – The Cold Spring Police are warning people to keep an eye on small kids and pets after a coyote sighting Tuesday night.  Police say they received a call of a group of about 8 coyotes around the 300 block of Pooles Creek Road.  The caller told police they wanted to make sure that people in the area were aware so they could to take extra precautions.  Here is advice from the Cold Spring Police:  “Take extra care if you let your pets out and keep a very close eye on children at play in that area.  Coyotes have been known to eat human rubbish and domestic pets. They catch cats and dogs when they come too close to the pack.  Urban populations of coyotes have been known to actively hunt cats, and to leap shorter fences to take small dogs. In particularly bold urban packs, coyotes have also been reported to shadow human joggers or larger dogs, and even to take small dogs while the dog is still on a leash. However, this behavior is often reported when normal urban prey, such as rabbits, have become scarce.”  Coyote sightings have been increasing around the Tri-State because coyotes, once rare in this part of the country, adapt well to humans and our landscaping.

Louisiana 03/02/11 sulphurdailynews.com: by Vickie Peoples – Lake Charles – Since December 2010, there have been 75 reported coyote sightings in Calcasieu. The animals have been roaming both suburban and rural areas, causing concern among residents. Officials from Animal Services and Calcasieu Parish met at Prien Lake Park Tuesday afternoon to address the public’s concerns for safety from coyotes.  “Coyotes are not just in rural areas. We deal with coyotes everywhere,” said Nathan Areno, Director of Animal Services.  Animal Services has done extensive research on coyotes and other programs across the United States.  “Through our research we determined that although we will not be able to eliminate the coyote population, we can successfully manage it in our area through education and awareness. The appearance of coyotes may be alarming. It may cause people to fear for the safety of their pets and their children,” said Tiffany Gardner, Assistant Director of Animal Services.  Gardner said that just killing the coyotes will not solve the problem.  “Research has shown that killed coyotes are quickly replaced by coyotes from the surrounding areas. These coyotes are likely also to become nuisances if the root of the problem isn’t addressed,” she stated.  According to Gardner, there are three main reasons why killing programs do not work.  “One is that they are very ineffective. It is extremely difficult to ensure the problem causing coyotes will be the ones located. If trash, litter, small pets and pet foods are not removed, they will continue to come back. The second reason is they won’t reduce coyote populations. Research suggests that when aggressively controlled, coyotes can increase their reproductive rates by breeding earlier and having larger litters. This allows coyotes to quickly bounce back even when as much as 70 percent of their numbers are removed. One study even found that killing 75 percent of a coyote population every year for the next 50 years still would not exterminate the population. The third and final reason is that the removal is very costly. Coyotes are very intelligent animals and very difficult to catch. Even a very skilled trapper at a hefty price tag will need many hours to catch a targeted coyote,” said Gardner.  So what method will work?  “What does work is a program combining education and hazing. This offers the best method for handling and preventing coyote conflicts and is working already in a number of other communities. It’s going to take a combined effort on our part and on the part of the community to solve this problem. We suggest removing food attractions from your yard, keeping your cats indoors and not leaving dogs outside unattended. Leash laws must be enforced in open spaces and natural areas. One of the most important things everyone can do is practice hazing coyotes. When coyotes do not run away when approached or charged by a human, they have probably lost their fear. They may even approach humans looking for food handouts. Hazing is an activity to re-instill the natural fear of human back into the coyote. It includes simple actions such as yelling and arm waving, water hose dousing, using noise makers like blowhorns and whistles and throwing objects such as sticks or small toy balls. Communities, including Denver, Colorado, Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, California have successfully used hazing to reverse undesirable behavior in the coyote population,” said Gardner.  Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President Guy Brame offered his insight into the coyote problem.  “This is one big team effort. We all need to pitch in and follow easy, helpful tips and reduce the chance of coyotes approaching your property,” said Brame.   For more information on what you can do, visit the website stopcoyotes.com or call the Animal Services hotline at 721-3839.

North Carolina 03/03/11 myfox8.com: State officials confirmed Alamance County’s second rabies case for the year late Wednesday afternoon. The animal control division of the Alamance County Sherriff’s Office animal control was called on Monday to a residence on John Lewis Road in the Pleasant Grove area of northern Alamance County on Tuesday. Upon arrival, they found a skunk that had been attacked and killed by the owner’s dog.  The dog was not up-to-date on its rabies vaccination and was transported to Burlington Animal Control on Wednesday afternoon, where it is being held for euthanization.

Texas 03/02/11 nbcdfw.com: by Omar Villafanca – Animal experts held a coyote 101 class for Lewisville residents after an uptick in sightings in the city.  The class consisted of do’s and don’ts for residents when it comes to keeping coyotes away.  Animal experts told the crowd to avoid leaving pet food outside. They also recommending against leaving bird seeds in a bird feeder overnight. Seeds attract mice, which just happen to be a favorite meal of coyotes.  Experts also urged residents to cover their trash, because rubbish can make an easy meal for coyotes.

Texas 03/02/11 fredericksburgstandard.com: Gillespie County’s second case of rabies in 2011 — which amounts to half of all those reported so far this year for the 28 counties making up Region 8 — has been confirmed by the Texas Department of Health Services.  The latest incident on Feb. 20 occurred when a dog killed a skunk in a Gillespie County yard.  The dog, according to the TDHS, had been taken in by the homeowner, so its vaccination history was unknown. As a result, he is currently undergoing a series of three rabies shots.  There were no human exposures, reported the department’s Region 8 Zoonosis Control Office in Uvalde which added that the owner used tools to handle the dead skunk before submitting it for testing through the Hill Country Veterinary Clinic.

Canada:

Ontario 03/02/11 northhuron.on.ca: by Shawn Loughlin – Coyotes are becoming a more prevalent nuisance for farmers, and members of North Huron Township Council feel the policies suggested by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) don’t adequately address the problems that the canine animals can cause.   Several councillors, who are hunters, stated that the suggestions made by the MNR and then passed to North Huron by Huron County Council were unrealistic and wouldn’t work.
“This was not the intent when we set out to tackle [coyote predation] originally,” Reeve Neil Vincent stated. “[The fact that hunting] requires a coyote to kill livestock before they can have bounties collected on them isn’t right.”  Vincent said that needing a carcass caused by coyotes has made life difficult for people who hunt coyotes in the winter, and that the stipulations are unrealistic.  “The five kilometre radius [from a kill] is ridiculous, a coyote can easily travel five, 10 or 15 kilometres quickly,” he said. “And the real red herring I see here is that they suggest capturing or killing a coyote within 48 hours of the coyote killing livestock, when the MNR doesn’t usually get permits for bounties processed within five days.”  Vincent explained that an MNR director needs to sign off on permits to collect bounties, and that directors are often hard to track down.
“The directors are only in Guelph,” he said. “The bureaucracy and red tape are some of the worst I’ve ever seen.”  Other conditions on hunting coyotes include a maximum bounty-collection time of four weeks, and an end to hunting period extensions.
While there are some who claim that farmers who are dumping dead stock in bushes are to blame, Vincent doesn’t believe that to be true.  “Under the disposal act, that can costs thousands of dollars if you get caught,” he said. “It’s far too vivid an act for a business person to be taking a chance on.  Deputy-Reeve David Riach explained to councilors questioning the hunting of coyotes that there is no season under which they can be hunted. They are fair game all year round.  “I have a small games license,” he said. “I can hunt on your property with your permission all year round.”  The suggestions, according to Vincent, are what the MNR would like to see Bruce,  Huron and Perth counties use.   “None of the counties are happy with these suggestions,” he said.  Councilor Ray Hallahan said that the practices are unlikely to be effective.
“As a hunter, I don’t agree with any of these suggestions,” he said. “We should get back to someone and tell them we don’t want any of this.”

Travel Warnings:

Brazil 03/02/11 typepad.com: In Brazil, the number of cases of dengue officially registered in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro has risen 1,000% in the first two months of 2011, compared to the same period last year – 5,663 cases in 2011 and 539 in 2010.  The announcement of the latest dengue numbers was made by the Secretariat of Health and Civil Defense of the state of Rio de Janeiro during a ceremony in the hillside slum area known as Complexo do Alemão, which was recently occupied by a UPP – police pacification unit – after drug lords were driven out.

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