CALIFORNIA scientists suggest fewer FOXES means more LYME DISEASE ~ CALIFORNIA confirms first HUMAN case of WEST NILE VIRUS this year ~ MARYLAND woman bitten by SKUNK in a restaurant ~ more WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CO, NJ, PA, & TX ~ and more RABIES reports from FL, NY, & VA (2).

Red fox. Courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National 06/18/12 by Karen Hopkin – Deer ticks and Lyme disease go hand-in-hand in some places. But you can’t always put the blame on Bambi. Because new research shows that the incidence of Lyme disease tracks less with the abundance of deer than it does with the disappearance of foxes. The study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Taal Levi et al., “Deer, predators, and the emergence of Lyme disease“] To see where foxes come in, you have to look at the tick life cycle. When deer ticks are young, they feed on small mammals like the white-footed mouse. It’s from infected rodents that the ticks pick up the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Foxes, of course, prey on mice and other small mammals. So fewer foxes mean more mice, and potentially more disease. To come up with that connection, researchers modeled the relative contributions of various animal populations in areas where Lyme disease is rife. And they found that, in New York State, for one, the incidence of Lyme could be directly predicted by the dearth of foxes. The foxes were pushed out by coyotes, which have been on the rise since New York lost its wolves. Which were driven away by humans. Who now get bit by ticks.

California 06/18/12 Bakersfield, Kern County: A 70-year-old woman who lives in Kern County has been identified as to having the West Nile Virus. This is the first confirmed case of human WNV in California this year, according to Claudia Jonah, M.D., Public Health Officer for Kern County. The woman has been hospitalized but is recovering. – See

Maryland 06/18/12 California, St. Mary’s County: A skunk that bit a patron at a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station on June 14th has tested positive for rabies. – See

Colorado 06/19/12 News Release – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced today that mosquito samples in Delta, Larimer and Weld counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. No cases of human illness have been reported. – See

New Jersey 06/18/12 Clark, Union County: Township officials are warning residents to take precautions against West Nile Virus after the Clark Health Department was notified Friday by the Union County Mosquito Control that two pools of mosquitoes had tested positive for the virus. – See

Pennsylvania 06/18/12 York, York County: A mosquito sample collected in North York borough has tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to a release from the Penn State Cooperative Extension. The sample, which was collected last week by extension staff, was the third mosquito collection in the county to test positive for the virus this year. – See

Texas 06/19/12 Harris County: Five mosquito samples collected in the 77088, 77094, 77004, and 77013 ZIP codes have tested positive for West Nile Virus.- See

Florida 06/18/12 Vernon, Washington County: Health officials have issued a rabies advisory after a fox attacked two people, biting one who will being post exposure treatment this week. – See

New York 06/19/12 Hadley Mountain, Saratoga County: The state Department of Environmental Conservation is trying to find the owners of a dog that bit a steward at the fire tower on Hadley Mountain earlier this month. The incident happened June 8. The dog was a black Labrador retriever mix, which bit the steward’s hand. The steward sought first aid for the bite, and when he returned the dog and its owners had left. The victim has had to begin rabies treatment, but the DEC is hoping that locating the dog and finding out its rabies shot status can allow him to forgo additional treatment. The steward believes the dog was with two men and a woman in their late 20s and early 30s, possibly from the town of Lake Luzerne. The DEC asked that the owners contact the agency at 897-1300 to confirm the dog’s rabies vaccination status.

Virginia 06/18/12 King George County: A feral cat that scratched and bit a 4-year-old boy last week has tested positive for rabies. The incident happened in the area of Lambs Creek Church Road and Deer Lane. – See

Virginia 06/19/12 Henrico County: A raccoon that attacked a dog in the 6500 block of Osborne Turnpike has tested positive for rabies. – See



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