MAINE coastal resident’s DOG kills RABID WOODCHUCK – MAINE hunter bitten by COYOTE ~ NEW MEXICO neighborhood unnerved by fearless MOUNTAIN LION ~ Three NORTH CAROLINA coastal residents bitten by RABID FOX ~ RABIES report from CONNECTICUT ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: U.S. MILITARY begins screening troops for RABIES exposure.

Woodchuck. Courtesy Maine Department of Agriculture.

Maine 05/01/12 Bath, Sagadahoc County: A deadly altercation between a terrier and a woodchuck on Saturday was confirmed as the city’s first case of rabies this year, according to the Bath Police Department. According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control, there has been an uptick of reported rabies cases in 2012, which State Epidemiologist Stephen Sears attributes to a warm winter that caused more animals to be more active earlier. A resident of High Street in the Bath’s north end reported the family dog attacked and killed a woodchuck that had entered the yard. The woodchuck had not been seen acting strangely, which is a sign an animal might be affected with rabies, but based on the owner’s statement that it is unusual for the dog to kill animals, Bath Animal Control Officer Ann Harford decided to have the dead woodchuck tested. The woodchuck was taken to the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab, where it tested positive for rabies. The dog’s rabies vaccination was current but it will receive a rabies booster and will be kept under observation for 45 days, according to Bath Police Chief Michael Field. Field urged residents to keep their pets’ vaccinations current and to use extreme caution when handling a pet that was wounded in a fight with a wild animal, including the use of waterproof gloves while washing or caring for the animal. – See

Maine 05/01/12 Machias, Washington County: Opening day of turkey season turned out to be a bit more than Bill Robinson had in mind Monday when he set out his decoy at dawn’s first light. “I’ll never forget looking up and seeing a jaw full of teeth coming at me,” Robinson said Tuesday, the day after being attacked and bitten on the right arm by a coyote. The wild canine sprang while the Maine Guide was hunkered down in the brush, using a mouth-call to lure a turkey into the open while hunting on private property near the Washington County community of Cooper. “I had placed my turkey decoy in a field in front of me and then positioned myself in some cover,” said Robinson, 39, who lives in Edmunds Township, near Dennysville. “It was about 10 minutes after dawn, and right beside me was a short, thick spruce tree that had grown so thick you couldn’t see through it. That coyote came up the edge of the field and was one side of that tree, with me on the other. “The distance involved was only about four feet,” Robinson said. “But that tree was so thick that he couldn’t see me, and I couldn’t see him. He was determined to have turkey for breakfast and was also determined that the sound he heard was a hen turkey.”

Robinson said the coyote “came in high,” a hunting maneuver designed to ensure his feathered prey couldn’t fly off. “When he bit down on my upper arm, he went through four layers — a heavy jacket, a sweatshirt, a long-sleeve shirt and a T-shirt,” he said. “As I peeled off each layer there were two holes in each one. When I got to my arm, it was just burning and bleeding out of two holes.” Once the coyote realized it had jumped a human, not a hen, it sprinted away. “It turned and ran 100 miles an hour across that field,” Robinson said. “It was as shocked and surprised to see me, as I was to see it. I took a shot at it, but it was too far off by then. I turned it around for a second when I hit him in the haunch with a few pellets from my turkey load, just to say goodbye.” Robinson packed up and headed to the nearby home of a friend, Joe Gardner, who is a district game warden. Gardner examined and took pictures of the wound before counseling Robinson to seek medical attention at the Down East Community Hospital in Machias, where he began a two-week regimen of precautionary rabies vaccine injections. – For complete article see

New Mexico 05/01/12 Alto Lakes, Lincoln County: A mountain lion, possibly the same one seen last November and January, has been roaming an area around High Mesa and Lake Shore drives. Ben Byrd, a district supervisor with the state’s Department of Game and Fish, said “it’s just too comfortable around people.” – See

North Carolina 05/01/12 Oak Island, Brunswick County: A fox that bit three people on Sunday in the vicinity of Seventh Street NW and Yacht Drive has tested positive for rabies. – See

Connecticut 05/01/12 Waterford, New London County: A skunk found near Fog Plain Road has tested positive for rabies. – See

Follow-Up Reports:

(See:  August 26, 2011 post; New York soldier returning from deployment diagnosed with RABIES – August 28, 2011; Media learns source of New York soldier’s RABIES infection –  September 5, 2011; SOLDIER at Fort Drum, New York, with RABIES has died – September 18, 2011; Follow-Up Reports: SOLDIER who died of RABIES did not receive full course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) RABIES VACCINE.)

U.S. Military 04/30/12 News Release – Spc. Kevin Shumaker, 24, a cook for the 615th Military Police Company, died tragically on Aug. 31, 2011, from wounds he received while deployed to Afghanistan. His injury didn’t come from a bullet wound or shrapnel from an improvised explosive device, or from a mortar attack. In truth his injury didn’t come from a battle at all. His injuries came from a dog. When Shumaker was bitten by a rabid dog in Afghanistan and died, he became the first Soldier to die from rabies since 1967. His death and the sheer number of feral animals Soldiers come in contact with in Afghanistan prompted the Army to add rabies screening to their demobilization screening process. “Rabies is a serious infection of the nervous system and is caused by a virus,” said First Army Division East Clinical Operations Officer Capt. Akil Rahman. “It’s transmitted through contact with the saliva of infected or rabid warm-blooded animals, such as dogs, cats, bats, foxes, skunks, raccoons, mongooses and jackals.”

Although encounters with rabid animals are rare, Shumaker proved they do occur. The Army directed 100 percent screening to minimize the risk of deployed Soldiers returning from theater with the rabies virus. “The death of this Soldier is very tragic, and we are taking actions to ensure something like this does not happen again,” Lt. Col. Steven Cersovsky, director of epidemiology and disease surveillance at the Army’s Public Health Command, said in news release. “In the aftermath of the Soldier’s death, we [First Army Division East] were directed to screen 100 percent of our Soldiers,” said Rahman. “We published an order and had brigades conduct and report the screening results. Army Medical Command is now mandating 100 percent documentation of every Soldier readiness processing encounter in the Department of Defense electronic health record.” – For complete news release see


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