National 11/07/11 nationalgeographic.com: by Christine Dell’Amore – Scientists already knew that some coyotes, which have been gradually expanding their range eastward, mated with wolves in the Great Lakes (map) region. The pairings created viable hybrid offspring—identified by their DNA and skulls—that have been found in mid-Atlantic states such as New York and Pennsylvania. Now, new DNA analysis of coyote poop shows for the first time that some coyotes in the state of Virginia are also part wolf.
Scientists think these animals are coyote-wolf hybrids that traveled south from New England along the Appalachian Mountains. The study also identified another coyote migration route moving through the southern states. “You have a situation where you have these two waves of coyotes coming into the mid-Atlantic, a terminus for coyote colonization,” said study leader Christine Bozarth, a research fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Northern Virginia in particular seems to be a convergence point for coyote migrations, Bozarth said—and the animals’ numbers are increasing there, especially in suburban areas where food is more plentiful. – For complete article go to http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/11/111107-hybrids-coyotes-wolf-virginia-dna-animals-science/
Delaware 11/07/11 Kent County: Last month, the Delaware Public Health Laboratory confirmed the first case of tularemia in the state since 2003. The afflicted Kent County man was hospitalized and undergoing treatment for the disease caused by an infectious bacterium. See http://www.prlog.org/11717729-first-case-of-tularemia-in-eight-years-hits-delaware.html
Illinois 11/03/11 Aurora, Kane County: Animal Control officials issue warning to pet owners after a coyote kills a small dog. See http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111102/news/711029674/
National 11/04/11 cdc.gov: CDC has confirmed two additional cases of human infection with a swine–origin influenza A (H3N2) virus that carries the M gene from the 2009 H1N1 virus. The cases were reported by Maine and Indiana (bringing the total number of cases confirmed to 7 so far this year). There is no evidence at this time of an epidemiological link between these two patients or any person to person transmission associated with either of these cases. Both patients reported exposure to pigs prior to their illness. Human infections with swine influenza viruses are rare, but do occur. In most cases, these infections are associated with exposure to infected pigs. The swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) virus with the M gene acquired from the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused the 2009-2010 pandemic was first detected in a child in Indiana in July 2011. Subsequently, three additional cases (cases 2 through 4) of human infection with swine–origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses carrying the same genetic change were detected in Pennsylvania. A fifth case was identified in Maine in October. All of these prior cases had direct exposure to pigs, except for one patient who had a caretaker with swine exposure.
The acquisition of the M gene likely occurred as a result of swine being co–infected with the swine influenza A (H3N2) virus and the human 2009 H1N1 virus. While we know the M gene plays a role in influenza virus infection, assembly and replication, the significance of this change in these swine–origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses is unknown at this time. CDC continues to investigate the implications of this genetic change. Both of the most recent patients confirmed with swine–origin influenza A (H3N2) infection had been in close contact with live pigs during the week prior to their illness onset. Both patients have recovered from their illness.
Seasonal flu vaccine would not be expected to protect against these swine flu viruses because they are very different from seasonal human influenza A (H3N2) viruses. While there is no vaccine to protect humans against these swine–origin influenza viruses, there are two FDA–cleared drugs that can be used to treat illness with these viruses. The antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir – which are used to treat infection with human seasonal influenza viruses – also have shown activity against swine–origin influenza viruses. – For complete News Release go to http://www.cdc.gov/media/haveyouheard/stories/H3N2_virus2.html
(See also Natural Unseen Hazards posts dated September 3, September 6, and October 22, 2011.)