FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: CALIFORNIA wildlife officials report that the GRAY WOLF known as OR-7 may be on his way back to OREGON ~ AUSTRALIA: WOMAN who cuddled her PET RODENTS learns one can contract RAT BITE FEVER without being bitten.

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

Follow-Up Reports:

(See November 3, 2011: Lone GRAY WOLF in Oregon travels 300 miles crossing Cascades looking for mate and new territory; November 12, 2011: Oregon Wild launches CONTEST for youngsters to come up with new name for a lone GRAY WOLF known only as OR-7; November 15, 2011: OREGON’s OR-7 lone WOLF crosses into Jackson County; December 13, 2011: OREGON’s wandering lone WOLF – OR-7 – captures the imagination of a worldwide audience; December 20, 2011: The now famous OREGON GRAY WOLF known as OR-7 is still traveling alone; January 3, 2012: CALIFORNIA officials confirm GRAY WOLF OR -7 has crossed state line; January 13, 2011: CALIFORNIA reports lone GRAY WOLF OR-7 now in Lassen County.)

California 02/20/12: According to the most recent update posted by the California Department of Fish & Game, the gray wolf known as OR-7, a stand-alone celebrity in a state full of celebrities, may be tiring of all the paparazzi attention and appears to be heading back toward his native Oregon. OR7 traveled a great distance over the weekend from the south end of California’s Shasta County all the way to the northern boundary with Siskiyou. He then traveled approximately 42 more miles north/northwest and is now in northeast Siskiyou County, which borders Oregon. – For updates follow http://californiagraywolf.wordpress.com/

Australia:

South Australia 02/20/12 heraldsun.com.au: by Jordanna Schriever – An Adelaide woman who kissed and cuddled her pet rodents was admitted to intensive care with rat bite fever. An article by SA Pathology employees in today’s Medical Journal of Australia, says the 26-year-old office worker spent 17 days in the Royal Adelaide Hospital last year after she contracted the potentially deadly streptobacillus moniliformis infection, also known as rat bite fever. The Australian Veterinary Association and SA Health say good hygiene, particularly hand washing, is important after contact with pets. Co-author of the article and infectious diseases physician Narin Bak said the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit with severe headache and fever and developed severe pneumonitis and meningitis (inflammation of the lungs and brain). “This condition was more prevalent in the past and is associated with slums and poor living conditions,” Dr Bak said. He said it was usually pet shop workers and the owners of pet rats who were now at risk. “As pet rodents become more popular as household pets, more cases of S. moniliformis infection due to affectionate contact are likely to occur,” the report says.

The woman, who has since fully recovered, was not bitten, but said she had liked to kiss and cuddle her two pets. “As this case demonstrates, a bite is not necessary for infection. Close contact with rodents may be sufficient.” The disease can be transmitted from handling and exposure to excreta or saliva of rodents such as rats or guinea pigs. Dr Bak said the case also highlighted the need for a full history, including animal exposure, from all patients presenting with a fever. Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association spokesman David Mason said many zoonotic diseases could be passed between humans and their pets if good hygiene practices were not followed. Examples included ringworm, giardia, cat scratch fever and roundworm. “It’s really important to wash your hands and don’t come into contact with animal faeces,” Dr Mason said. He said pet owners should take care after playing with animals. Pets should not be allowed to lick your face.

Author’s Note: According to the CDC, rat-bite fever (RBF) is an infectious disease that can be caused by two different bacteria. Streptobacillary RBF is caused by Streptobacillus moniliformis in North America while spirillary RBF or sodoku is caused by Spirillum minus and occurs mostly in Asia. People usually get the disease from infected rodents or consumption of contaminated food or water. When the latter occurs, the disease is often known as Haverhill fever. If not treated, RBF can be a serious or even fatal disease.

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