CANADA: NEWFOUNDLAND officials say WOLF likely migrated from Labrador over ice ~ TEXAS reports first known TYPHUS death in Travis County ~ NEW MEXICO confirms first HANTAVIRUS death this year ~ TEXAS hospital confirms HUMAN case of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ Other WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CALFORNIA, GEORGIA, & PENNSYLVANIA ~ MINNESOTA farm’s RED DEER tests positive for CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ CALIFORNIA town of Lompoc reports two MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ WASHINGTON wildlife agents return reluctant MOUNTAIN LION to the wild.

Gray Wolf. Courtesy State of Montana.

Canada:

Newfoundland 05/25/12 thestar.com: Genetic tests confirm that a large canine shot on Newfoundland’s Bonavista Peninsula in March was a wolf that probably made it to the island on ice, provincial officials said Friday. The province’s Environment Department said DNA testing carried out by Memorial University and the University of Idaho has verified that the 37-kilogram animal was a Labrador wolf. Wolves became extinct on the island around 1930. They have been known to occasionally arrive from Labrador, though there is no evidence of a breeding population. “We can only speculate on how this wolf arrived on the island of Newfoundland, but most likely it travelled from Labrador on sea ice to the island,” Environment Minister Terry French said in a statement. “Wolves are known to travel long distances and with the number of polar bears coming ashore in Newfoundland this spring, sea ice was plentiful enough to provide a travel route for a Labrador wolf.” Earlier this month, genetic testing confirmed that an animal shot in April in northern New Brunswick was a wolf, marking the first confirmed wolf sighting in that province in 150 years. Officials said that animal could have arrived on an ice floe or was someone’s illegal pet.

(Author’s Note: The Strait of Belle Isle, between Labrador and Newfoundland, is only 15 km wide at its narrowest point.)

Texas 05/24/12 statesman.com: by Mary Ann Roser – The first known typhus death in Travis County occurred earlier this month, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department reported Thursday. A middle-aged resident of Northeast Austin died of the disease, which is caused by a biting flea or tick, according to spokeswoman Carole Barasch. The health department does not plan to release the person’s name, age or gender. The death is one of two murine typhus cases the health department said it investigated this month — and the only two cases confirmed so far this year in the state, according to the Department of State Health Services. Local cases have tended to cluster in Central and North Central Travis County, but health officials said all residents should take precautions to prevent infection.

Murine typhus carrying cat flea.

Typhus was rare outside of South Texas, California and Hawaii, but in the past five years, Travis County has had annual outbreaks, with 140 cases confirmed since 2007. Last year, which had the highest number of cases, 54 residents were infected with typhus in Travis County and 30 were hospitalized, according to health department data. State tallies show the number of cases last year was especially high statewide, with 286 tentatively confirmed out of 940 cases since 2007. Murine typhus is spread by fleas from rats, opossums, dogs, cats and raccoons. – For complete article see http://www.statesman.com/news/local/travis-county-resident-dies-of-typhus-in-first-2374627.html

New Mexico 05/25/12 necn.com: State health officials say a 20-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County has died from the hantavirus. The New Mexico Department of Health said Friday this is the first case of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome reported in the state this year. Hantavirus develops from breathing in particles transmitted by rodent droppings, urine or saliva. Early symptoms of hantavirus can include fever and muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and coughing. Symptoms can show up within one to six weeks after exposure. There is no specific treatment for hantavirus but chances for recovery are better with early medical attention. Health officials say people should avoid contact with mice and other rodents.

Texas 05/23/12 nbcdfw/cp.com: Doctors at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital confirmed they are treating a human case of West Nile virus. The hospital could not elaborate on the case because of privacy laws. NBC 5 learned about the case from the family of the 58-year-old patient. They said by phone that he became ill on May 6 and was diagnosed with West Nile virus on May 17. Neighbors on his street near the border of Tarrant and Parker counties said the news is alarming. – For complete article see http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Human-West-Nile-Virus-Case-Confirmed-in-Parker-County-153283395.html

California Scrub Jay

California 05/24/12 Sacramento & Yolo counties: News Release – The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District confirmed the first five positive mosquito samples and two new dead birds, a crow and a scrub jay, infected with West Nile virus in both Sacramento and Yolo counties. Though birds had already tested positive in recent weeks, the positive mosquito samples found in both counties are coming much earlier than previous years and could signal a longer and very busy mosquito season. – For complete release see http://www.fightthebite.net/cat/newsreleases/

Georgia 05/23/12 Valdosta, Lowndes County: Local university students studying mosquitoes trapped in the area have identified one infected with West Nile Virus. – See http://www.wtxl.com/content/localnews/story/Mosquito-with-West-Nile-Virus-found-in-Valdosta/0r2voXtql02jXw4_CGevMQ.cspx

Pennsylvania 05/25/12 Pottstown & South Whitehall, Montgomery & Lehigh counties: According to a state Department of Environmental Protection report, mosquitoes found in both locations have tested positive for West Nile Virus. – See http://pottstown.patch.com/articles/west-nile-virus-tests-positive-in-pottstown

Red deer doe.

Minnesota 05/25/12 northlandsnewscenter .com: by Krista Burns – A farmed red deer from a Ramsey County herd has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) according to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health. After the two year old female red deer died on May 10th, the deer’s brain stem was submitted for testing at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, where the deer tested positive for CWD. The Board of Animal Health has placed the herd under quarantine and is working with the owners to determine the herd’s future. – For complete article see http://www.northlandsnewscenter.com/enews/breaking/Chronic-Wasting-Disease-Detected-in-Minnesota-154197605.html

California 05/24/12 Lompoc, Santa Barbara County: Two mountain lion sightings have been reported along the multipurpose trail near the Santa Ynez River on Lompoc’s east side. Forestry Manager Cindy McCall is urging residents and hikers to be cautious. – See http://santamariatimes.com/news/local/mountain-lion-spotted-in-lompoc/article_18e839c4-a60e-11e1-897b-0019bb2963f4.html

Photo by Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife.

Washington 05/24/12 Arlington, Snohomish County: A mountain lion trapped by state wildlife agents in a residential area is returned to the wild after reluctantly leaving the security of her cage. – See http://heraldnet.com/article/20120524/NEWS01/705249927/1062/COMM0623

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