Fatal Hantavirus infection reported in Oregon; Coyote reports from California, and Georgia; and Rabies reports from Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Canada: Coyote report from Ontario.

Deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Oregon 03/14/11 ktvz.com: by Joe Burns – Bend – Hantavirus has been confirmed as the cause of death of a Sunriver-area woman, family members and the Deschutes County Health Services Department reported Monday.  This is the 16th case of hantavirus confirmed in Oregon between 1993 and 2011 and the fourth in Deschutes County. Officials said they could not reveal further details, due to patient confidentiality rules, but a family member confirmed Monday night that the 39-year-old woman had died earlier this month at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend.  Although rare in the U.S., Hantavirus, which causes Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, can be fatal if not treated.   The disease is carried primarily by rodents, especially the deer mouse. The most common human exposure to Hantavirus occurs during cleaning and working in spaces that have been inhabited by mice, such as garages, sheds, barns and crawl spaces. Humans become infected by breathing airborne particles from rodent droppings that have been moved or stirred.  “It’s strictly when a person disturbs mouse droppings, for the most part, and the particles of hantavirus become airborne from brushing or vacuuming the droppings,” said Tom Kuhn of the Deschutes County Health Department. “Then the person breathes in the particles, and that’s how they become affected.”  The first signs of sickness appear one to six weeks later.  Susie Moon’s son, Brad Buckley, passed away last October from hantavirus. She was shocked.  “Very shocked, he was strong, healthy, I don’t think you could find a more healthy person,” Moon said Monday of her son, a Bend High graduate living in Colorado at the time of his illness and death.  Moon shared memories of Brad enjoying outdoor activities, pursuing his dreams and loving life.  “I think a lot of people could have the flu or pneumonia and really have the hanta, because it’s the same symptoms,” Moon said.  Common symptoms of Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome include fever and muscle aches followed by shortness of breath and coughing. Once symptoms occur the disease progresses rapidly, requiring hospitalization and immediate intensive care. Hantavirus cannot be transmitted from person to person and there is no cure for the disease.  Terminix, a pest control company, takes the issue of hantavirus seriously.  “In our area, in Central Oregon, for all pest management firms, dealing with mice, rats or rodents is a major part of our business,” Dustin Heidtke, vice president of the Bend Terminix.

California 03/15/11 nbcsandiego.com: by Lindsay Hood – A coyote that wandered into a Vista neighborhood and attacked a man and his dog last week probably didn’t wander into town from the wild, but is probably part of pack of “urban coyotes,” officials told the North County Times.  Sheriff’s deputies responded on Friday just before 8:30 p.m. to a coyote attack on Bonair Road in Vista, the paper reports. The man did not have any injuries, but his dog was rushed to a local animal hospital, the NCT said.  After a thorough search of the neighborhood, Sheriff’s deputies told the NCT the coyote was not found.  Animal experts say coyotes can live among us without us ever seeing them.  “They can be elusive, and they can live for years in neighborhoods,” said Kevin Brennan, a state Fish and Game wildlife biologist of urban coyotes. “We can’t predict when their behavior changes, and when it does, there’s not a lot we can do.”  Researchers believe there as many as 12 coyotes per square mile living in North County, the paper said.  “One of the common misconceptions that people have is that coyotes are coming out of the hillsides into the neighborhoods, but it’s almost the other way around,” Brennan said. “They have a lot of food —- more cats —- and no natural predators keeping their numbers under control, so they flourish in urban settings.  Brennan said attacks on people are rare. He added that once they become a problem, there is nothing authorities can do to change their behavior, they must trap or kill the animal.

Connecticut 03/15/11 theday.com: by Julianne Hanckel – Valerie Nye had just dropped her daughter’s friends off at the Achille residence on Springfield Road Sunday afternoon when she asked family friend Alan Achille for a tour of the new home he’s building around the corner on New Britain Road.  “We were standing in the kitchen and my daughter said, ‘look it’s a cute little cat’,” Nye said.  “Alan then yelled frantically ‘it’s not a cat’ and when I turned to run away, it jumped onto my leg. I didn’t even have time to process what was going on,” she said.  Nye was then viciously attacked by a rabid red fox, which prompted a quick-thinking Achille to beat the fox with a piece of crown molding – something he had had to do two days earlier when another neighbor was also attacked by a fox.  Recalling the attack, Nye said her two children were “more traumatized that the fox was beaten to death” rather than from the attack itself.  Old Lyme police and officials from the Department of Environmental Protection responded to the 911 call around 12:30 p.m.  Although Nye was not bitten by the fox, DEP officials advised her to get a rabies shot because the virus can be transmitted through saliva. After receiving the positive rabies test results Monday afternoon, Nye received the shot.

Georgia 03/14/11 ajc.com: by Christian Boone – It’s not often you find a dead coyote off a major urban interstate, but odds are it won’t be the last prairie wolf to roam the streets of downtown Atlanta.  Better get used to it, said Brent Womack, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The jackals are here to stay.  The dead coyote was discovered Monday on the Freedom Parkway entrance off the Downtown Connector northbound, just behind Walden Middle School. It’s not known what killed the animal, found with blood coming out of his mouth, though his carcass wasn’t mangled.  “Sometimes they make mistakes just like everyone else,” Womack told the [Atlanta Journal-Constitutiton]. “But they are a very resourceful animal. They can live on just about anything.”  A quarter century ago, you couldn’t find a coyote anywhere in Georgia. Now they’re found in every county in the state, Womack said.  They’ve been steadily migrating over recent years, settling everywhere from the wetlands around Sope Creek in east Cobb to the heavily wooded neighborhoods in Buckhead. Earlier this month, Decatur residents appealed to city leaders for help in controlling the burgeoning coyote population.  Many other cities have tried, and failed, to combat encroaching coyotes.  “There’s not much you can do about them,” Womack said. “They’re everywhere. Even New York City has coyotes. ”

Georgia 03/14/11 romenews-tribune.com: A rabies summit is planned in Bartow County on Wednesday to deal with what public health officials say is a growing problem in Northwest Georgia.  The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 Ga. 20 NE, across from Georgia Highlands College’s Cartersville campus.   According to Northwest Georgia Public Health officials, the number of rabies cases in the ten-county health district hit 31 in 2010, and five have been reported this year. Only 20 were reported in 2009 and 16 in 2008.  Floyd County has had three reported cases this year of rabid raccoons. Last year, the county had five cases reported: three raccoons, a skunk and a fox.  Richard Dixon, a veterinarian at the East Rome Animal Clinic, is expected to speak during the event.  Joining will be other veterinarians, hospital infection-control staff, emergency room staff, county animal control officers, area 911 coordinators, USDA Wildlife Services staff, Georgia DNR staff, public-safety staff, county extension service staff, state public health epidemiology staff and local public health staff from Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk and Walker counties. 

North Carolina 03/14/11shelbystar.com: Cleveland County Animal Control received a complaint on the 1200 block of York Road, Kings Mountain, in reference to a raccoon on the property displaying abnormal behavior on March 10, according to a news release. On Monday, the raccoon tested positive for rabies, marking the county’s first rabies case in 2011.  During the next six months, anyone living in the vicinity of the 1200 block of York Road should observe their animals for any unusual behavior.  Anyone who sees an animal demonstrating unusual behavior should call the Cleveland County Animal Control Department at 481-9884.

Oklahoma 03/14/11 kxii.com: by Victoria Maranan – The Achille Police Department discovered a skunk with rabies roaming school grounds and getting rid of it turned out to be quite an adventure.  Achille police chief, Heath Oliver and two officers answered the call at Achille High School about an animal forcing its way in.  “The skunk was supposedly banging its head against the door trying to get in the school.” he said. Even though they were well equipped to take the animal down, Oliver had to reconsider.  “I had a shotgun at the back, which at the time, I could not make a shot, I had children present,” he said.  So they had to get rid of it another way.  “Captain Borchardt tased the skunk and deputy chief Bishop killed the skunk with a baton because we could not use any lethal force with a gun at that time,” Oliver said.  It’s unusual for a skunk to be out at daytime or be aggressive, so they sent the animal to the Oklahoma state health department. It tested positive for rabies and the officers were advised to get vaccinated.

Virginia 03/14/11 dailypress.com: by Veronica Chufo – A raccoon has tested positive for rabies in James City County, the Peninsula Health District announced.  The raccoon was discovered in the area of the 100 Block of Country Club Drive. Anyone who may have been exposed to this animal, by bite, scratch or contact with saliva by open wound or eyes, nose or mouth, is asked to contact the Health Department at 253-4813. Exposure includes direct contact between your pet and the rabid animal. After hours, contact Animal Control at 253-1800.


Ontario 03/14/11 ctv.ca: Police are issuing an alert to residents after two coyotes were spotted in suburban Kitchener on Sunday morning.  The sighting, in the driveway of a home on Westwood Drive near Glasgow Street, isn’t the first, but it is a concern.  Waterloo Regional police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says “An officer responded to the scene and observed two coyotes chasing a cat. Now the concern of course is that the coyotes are in the area.”  They are warning both parents and pet owners to be more aware. While coyote sightings aren’t unusual, it is a concern when they’re seen in neighbourhoods where there are a lot of children and pets.


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