Michigan pork industry wants ban on Wild Pigs; Montana rancher traps second Wolf where Horse was killed; Wyoming officials and U.S. Interior Secretary will meet to discuss Wolves; North Carolina woman contracts Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; Virginian bitten by rabid Fox; CDC zoonotic disease summary for week ending June 18, 2011. Travel Warnings for Peru, and Saudi Arabia.

Wild boar. Photo by MakroFreak. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 06/27/11 michiganmessenger.com: by Todd A. Heywood – With the legislature having failed to pass legislation to prevent the Department of Natural Resources from enforcing a ban on wild pig hunting, the DNR is set to make that ban functional July 8. And the state’s $600 million pork industry supports the move, reports the Saginaw News. Those officials say the pigs carry hundreds of diseases which domestic swine are not immune to. Should those wild swine contact domestic stocks, pork industry officials say it would decimate the pork industry, including the 6,000 Michigan jobs associated with rearing swine.

Wild swine — either domestic pigs improperly released into the wild or imported European wild swine released for sporting hunts of boars — have become a growing issue in Michigan. The Granholm administration declared feral swine an invasive species, clearing the way for hunters and others to kill them. But the Snyder administration rolled that policy back some earlier this year when lawmakers expressed concern. However, the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, was unable to muster the votes to stop the DNR from eliminating the sporting programs and pursuing the feral swine elimination program.

Boosting the claim of disease threat, the state has reported an outbreak of pseudo-rabies in wild pigs found in Saginaw county. The Saginaw News says the state has reported 488 feral swine in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties since 2006.  Earlier this month, the Bay City Times reported that federal cash was being made available to land owners and farmers in the battle against feral swine. That money was supposed to be targeted for waterway cleanups under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Montana 06/27/11 missoulian.com: by Perry Backus – A second wolf was trapped and euthanized Saturday near a Darby area ranch where a horse was killed three weeks ago. The male black yearling wolf was caught on national forest land about a half-mile from the Two Feathers Ranch south of Darby. The owners of the ranch were granted permission to kill up to five wolves after one of their horses was driven through a fence and killed. A female gray wolf was killed June 14 after being caught in a trap about 100 yards from where the horse died. Officials suspect the Trapper Creek pack was responsible for the horse’s death, but no one was sure of the pack’s numbers.

Two Feathers Ranch manager Jeff Rennaker said they found another wolf track an inch away from another trap set near the ranch on Monday. “Our problems are far from over,” he said. “People don’t think they are very intelligent animals. From what I’ve seen, they are pretty smart.” The permit that allows the ranch to kill wolves expires on July 11.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Liz Bradley said she will spend some additional time in the area to ascertain if there are more wolves after the permit expires and federal trappers remove their traps. “We are going to have to see what happens over the next couple of weeks,” Bradley said. If there are more wolves in the area, Bradley said she will try to capture one and equip it with a radio collar.

One week before the horse was a killed, a neighboring rancher shot and thought he hit a wolf that was in amongst his cattle. The rancher reported the wolf was wearing a collar. The only wolf in the area with a collar was the breeding female in the Trapper Creek pack, Bradley said. That wolf’s collar was no longer functioning. No one has seen that wolf since then. Last Saturday, Bradley used her dog in an attempt to see if she could locate the wolf’s carcass, but didn’t have any success. “She’s led me to several carcasses in the past when we’ve been out scouting around,” Bradley said.

There have not been any additional livestock depredations since the horse was killed. A control action was completed earlier this month on the CB Ranch east of Darby after wolves killed a calf there. Four wolves from the Divide Creek pack were killed by federal trappers, including two that were shot from a helicopter paid for by the ranch. At the end of last year, there were 12 confirmed wolf packs that used the Bitterroot watershed at some time of the year.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Wyoming 06/28/11 trib.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director nominee Daniel Ashe will visit Wyoming within the next month to reach a deal on delisting Wyoming wolves. In a phone call to U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., today, Salazar committed to the visit to “aggressively pursue a solution” to the years-long dispute over wolves. In response, Barrasso announced that he will quit blocking a vote to confirm Ashe as Fish and Wildlife director.

Daniel Ashe

Wyoming has been fighting Fish and Wildlife for years to accept the state’s wolf management plan and remove the state’s roughly 300 wolves from the federal endangered species list. The state’s plan allows unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state. Fish and Wildlife wants wolves to be classified as “trophy game” throughout the state, meaning they could only be hunted with a license.

Gov. Matt Mead

Salazar met with Gov. Matt Mead in March about wolves, suggesting a deadline of a month to reach an agreement on a management plan. After the meeting, Wyoming’s wolf negotiators sent a formal letter to Fish and Wildlife detailing the state’s position, said Mead spokesman Renny MacKay. But for the next 40 days or so, they received no reply. In response, Barrasso placed the hold on Ashe’s nomination on May 27. Under Senate rules, any senator can secretly place a “hold” against a bill or nomination, preventing a Senate vote from taking place.

U.S. Sen. John Barasso (R-WY)

On June 6, Fish and Wildlife sent a formal response to the state’s letter. Negotiations have continued since then, MacKay said. In a media release, Barrasso said he appreciated Salazar’s commitment to quickly resolving the issue. Barrasso is only the latest in a line of Republican senators who have held up Ashe’s nomination in order to resolve grievances against the Interior Department and the Obama administration. But Obama administration officials have negotiated deals with those holds; Barrasso’s hold is the only known remaining hold on Ashe’s nomination.

North Carolina 06/27/11 nbc17.com: by Marilyn Peguero – After planting herbs in the garden at her Durham home, Carol Fuqua noticed a little brown mark on her leg. “When I scratched it, it flipped up and I saw the little feet. So I said, oh my, that’s a tick.” Days later, she got an even more unpleasant surprise. “Everywhere there was a hair follicle, it was bright red. It was red, red and spreading to the front of my leg as well as my back,” Fuqua said. Doctors diagnosed her with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. She had barely heard of the disease.  “It was kind of like one of those old-timey, old-fashioned things that you’d heard that furriers and hill people got. You know, but nothing like within the city limits,” said Fuqua. “They said if I didn’t catch it, it would have gone into its next stage and that a bite from this tick could eventually cause death.”

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever rash

Barry Engber, a medical entomologist at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says ticks and their diseases are common in North Carolina. “Anytime you’re bitten by a tick you need to consider the possibility that it has transmitted something,” Engber said. The state got just 278 reports of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever last year. But the symptoms are like those of the flu, and many cases go unreported at doctor’s offices, Engber said. “It’s very likely that they are just going to treat you with antibiotics and not wait for test results, or may not even look for testing,” he said. With the help of medication, Carol Fuqua’s symptoms are almost gone. But she plans to keep an eye out for ticks.

Virginia 06/27/11 wset.com: A gray fox that several folks in Martinsville ran into has been confirmed to be rabid. The fox was found near the intersection of Route 58 and Soapstone Road in Henry County. The fox bit one person and may have exposed others to rabies through scratches or saliva. Four people are getting treatment as a result of it. The fox has been euthanized. If you or anyone you know may have come in contact with this fox, contact the Henry County Health Department.

CDC MMWR Week ending June 18, 2011 /60(24);820-833

Anaplasmosis . . . 12 . . . Georgia, Florida (2), Missouri, New York (8),

Babesiosis . . . 5 . . . New York (4), Pennsylvania,

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Nebraska,

Ehrlichiosis . . . 8 . . . Florida (2), Missouri (2), New York (2), Tennessee (2),

Giardiasis . . . 143 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas, Arizona (2), California (33), Colorado (11), Florida (15), Georgia (22), Iowa (4), Idaho, Maryland (2), Maine (3), Michigan (2), Missouri (7), Nebraska (5), New York (15), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina, Virginia, Washington (5), Wisconsin (3), West Virgnia (4),

Lyme Disease . . .  283 . . . California (2), Delaware (7), Florida (6), Maryland (13), Maine (3), New York (114), Pennsylvania (123), Virginia (11), Vermont (2), West Virginia (2),

Q Fever . . . 1 . . .Washington,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 14 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, New York (4), Virginia (5),

Spotted Fever . . . 5 . . . Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee (3),

Probable Spotted Fever . . . 11 . . . Alabama, Missouri (3), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee (3), West Virginia, Wyoming,

Tularemia . . . 3 . . . California, Oklahoma, South Dakota,

Travel Warnings:

Peru 06/27/11 netglobers.com: Recently, Peruvian health authorities issued a health alert due to the increase of dengue fever cases. The alert runs for at least 60 days in the following departments: Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin and Amazonas. At the time being, authorities have reported more than 30,700 cases of the disease, including 181 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever and 22 deaths. Peru is annually hit by dengue fever outbreaks, especially in the north and west of the country. However, this year, the epidemic is particularly aggressive.

Saudi Arabia 06/28/11 saudigazette.com.sa: The number of dengue fever cases in Jeddah requiring hospital attention has risen to approximately 130 a week, while the number of instances involving only minor symptoms that remain unreported are suspected of being much higher. According to Al-Yawm Arabic daily Monday, many of the 130 weekly cases have been found in more affluent districts of the city, suggesting that the mosquito-borne virus is spreading from its usual areas of proliferation in unplanned or downmarket areas. “The recording of cases in affluent areas is due to open areas of water and newly-built sites installing exposed water tanks during construction, and that has attracted mosquitoes,” Sami Badawood, Jeddah Health Affairs chief, told Al-Yawm. “Whereas before cases were mostly found in unplanned districts, now we are seeing it spread to affluent areas. Instances have been registered in Al-Rehab, followed by Al-Salam, Al-Rawdha and Al-Basateen districts.”

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