ALASKA GRIZZLY kills HIKER in DENALI ~ COLORADO CAMPER survives BLACK BEAR attack ~ TEXAS officials concerned about DENGUE FEVER near border ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from NV ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CO, GA, IA, LA, MAx2, NJ, NY, OH, SC, TX, & VT ~ RABIES repots from CA, NC, & VA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending August 11, 2012.

Grizzly. Courtesy National Park Service.

Alaska 08/26/12 A San Diego man killed Friday by a grizzly bear in Alaska’s Denali National Park had been taking pictures of the animal for at least seven to eight minutes before the attack, park officials said Sunday. Richard White, 49, was between 50 and 100 yards away from the bear that ultimately mauled him to death, according to images found on his camera, park spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said. He is the first person to die in a bear attack in the history of the park, which covers 4.7 million acres. Hikers are typically advised to stay at least 300 yards away from a bear, McLaughlin said. The bear, which weighed approximately 600 pounds, was shot and killed by a state trooper as he was defending the spot where White’s remains were found.

The incident began Friday afternoon when three day hikers found a camera, a backpack and evidence of a violent struggle along the Toklat River, including torn clothing and blood. They reported what they found to park rangers, who sent a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft to search for White, officials said. Rangers in the helicopter determined that the bear had dragged White’s remains from a flat expanse along the river to a more secluded brushy area 150 yards away, where it stored its food. Investigators determined the bear had killed White after reviewing the bear’s stomach contents, the images on the camera and other evidence, officials said. The pictures showed the bear foraging in the brush along the Toklat River, McLaughlin said. “For a good chunk of that time, the bear was unaware that anyone was there,” McLaughlin said. “There were no dramatic signs of aggression.”

Bear attacks have resulted in minor injuries in recent years, McLaughlin said. But several decades have passed since someone in the park was the victim of a severe mauling, she said. White had been backpacking in a trailless backcountry section of the park for three nights when he was killed. Park officials imposed an emergency closure prohibiting all hiking and camping in that portion of the park and others nearby until further notice. Although no other park visitors were seen near the site of the bear attack, park employees contacted three backpackers in adjacent areas Saturday and flew them via helicopter to the Toklat River Rest Area.

Colorado 08/25/12 Wildlife officials say a 50-year-old Colorado Springs man is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries after he was attacked by a black bear while camping near Lake San Cristobal in southwestern Colorado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras tells the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel the man was camping in a legal but undesignated area when he was awakened by something pushing on his tent at about 4 a.m. Wednesday. The man pushed back, and the bear reacted. Porras says the bear probably had begun to associate tents and camping with food. A bear thought to have been involved in the attack was euthanized Thursday.

Texas 08/24/12 by Angela Kocherga – Preliminary testing in the border city Juarez indicates the presence of mosquitoes carrying Dengue Fever. It’s prevalent in parts of Mexico with a tropical climate but until now had not been seen this far north along the border. The mosquitoes, caught in traps set out weekly in both El Paso and Juarez, identify which breeds of mosquitoes are in the area and if they’re carrying any diseases. “Remember some mosquitoes can travel up to a mile and some mosquitoes can travel up to five miles so they’ll be able to cross that border pretty quick,” said Danny Soto, Code Enforcement Supervisor with the city of El Paso Environmental Services Department. Soto’s officers fan out to check for standing water, a breeding ground for mosquitoes. “If the water stays stagnant for more than 3 days it will start getting breeding,” said Soto. Along this stretch of border El Paso and Juarez coordinate to stop mosquitoes and the diseases they spread.  They schedule spraying together and share information about the breeds they’re trapping, and any cases of mosquito-borne illnesses reported.

The first case of Dengue Fever was reported in Ciudad Juarez a couple of weeks ago. Health authorities in Juarez told El Paso officials the person became ill with Dengue Fever after a trip to Veracruz. “Official channels going between nations are slower so it works much better for us to have these relatively quick informal relationships so we can find out right now what’s going on so we can act,” said Michael Hill, El Paso Public Health Director. Live mosquitoes trapped on both sides of the border are sent to Austin for testing. The information is reported to the Centers for Disease Control which tracks the spread of Dengue Fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Several Mexican states bordering Texas are coping with an outbreak of Dengue Fever. According to health officials, Tamaulipas has 235 reported cases. Many are on the coast but about half are in the border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros across from the Rio Grande Valley. According to the CDC, there have been 103 cases in the United State this year including three in Texas. One is in Travis County. Most are travelers who picked up the disease in other countries –including tropical areas of Mexico. But a mild winter, early spring and warmer climate are adding to concerns the mosquito that carries Dengue Fever is traveling further north along the border.

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Nevada 08/24/12 by Martin Griffith – A mountain lion that was caught after trying to enter a Reno casino is back in the wild. The 2-year-old male cougar was released into the Carson Range above Lake Tahoe’s east shore on Saturday morning, said Chris Healy, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. “He was fully ready to go,” Healy said. “He was feisty in the trap and snarled if you got too close. Once he decided to go, he quickly ran off into the underbrush and was gone.” Guests at Harrah’s reported seeing the 100-pound cat trying to walk into the casino around dawn Friday morning. When the animal couldn’t negotiate the revolving door, it hid under an outdoor stage where it was tranquilized and captured. Wildlife officials speculate the cougar was chased out of the nearby Sierra Nevada foothills by the drought or by an adult cat that didn’t want competition for a mate. They believe the cat followed the Truckee River into Reno. Mountain lion sightings have been reported around Reno in the past, Healy said, but not in the downtown casino area. – See

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) & West Nile Virus (WNV):

Colorado 08/24/12 State health officials are reporting 12 people hospitalized for WNV, including four more in the Denver metro area. According to KMGH-TV (, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says human cases of WNV have been reported in Adams, Arapahoe, Delta, Douglas, Fremont, Mesa, Montrose, Morgan and Weld counties. – See

Georgia 08/25/12 DPH: Alert – The Georgia Department of Public Health is calling on all Georgians to guard against exposure to mosquitoes. DPH has identified 21 confirmed human cases of the WNV in the state. Three cases have been fatal. Confirmed cases are in the following counties: 1 – Bartow, 3 – Cobb, 1 – Columbia, 7 – Dougherty (including 2 deaths), 1 – Fulton, 1 – Forsyth, 1 – Early (including 1 death), 1 – Lee, 1 – Mitchell, 2 – Muscogee, 1 – Richmond, and 1 – Worth. Mosquitoes from 54 WNV monitoring sites in metro Atlanta and another 20 in coastal and south Georgia have tested positive for the virus that can lead to brain or spinal cord swelling, or even death. DPH has deemed these areas at high risk for WNV transmission.

Iowa 08/24/12 Linn County is one of five counties to report this season’s first five cases of the mosquito-borne WNV. Patients in Linn, Grundy, Lyon, Page and Plymouth counties have recovered, according to state officials. – See

Louisiana 08/24/12 Health Alert – The Department of Health and Hospitals today confirms 53 new human cases of WNV. These new cases mark 145 reported infections of WNV in Louisiana so far in 2012, the highest number of cases the state has seen in the past several years. The state also confirmed three deaths from WNV this week. So far in 2012, nine people have died from this disease. – See

Massachusetts 08/24/12 Halifax, Plymouth County: The EEE risk level has been raised to “critical” in Halifax after an alpaca died Thursday from complications of the mosquito-borne illness. The animal, which resembles a small llama, was being housed on the Halifax-Plympton line. – See

Massachusetts 08/24/12 by Alison McCall – Mosquitoes infected with WNV and EEE have been found in five MetroWest towns and at least one Milford area town, according to results released Thursday by the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project. Traps in Ashland, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, and Westborough all came back with WNV-infected mosquitoes. In Hopkinton, a mammal-biting breed of mosquito was positive for EEE, as well. Blackstone falls under the purview of the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project, and mosquitoes trapped there also came back positive for WNV. – See

New Jersey 08/24/12 by Marcya Roberts – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture reported today that within the past two weeks three New Jersey horses have been found infected with either EEE or WNV. A 25-year-old gelding from Monmouth County tested positive for WNV by serum neutralization and is recovering. In addition, a three-year-old mare in Atlantic County succumbed to EEE on August 10 and a four-year-old mare from Camden County, who was euthanized on August 18, also was infected with this disease. – For complete article see

New York 08/25/12 Health officials say there have been 13 human cases of WNV infection in the state so far this year, including the deaths of two older people . . . the deaths were in Onondaga and Nassau counties. – See

Ohio 08/26/12 Stow, Summit County: Mosquitoes in five of seven traps have tested positive for WNV. Public health officials plan to spray every residential street in the city on Monday. – See

South Carolina 08/24/12 According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, there had been 28 human cases of the mosquito-borne WNV illness reported in the state as of last week. Most cases have been reported in coastal communities. –

Texas 08/25/12 by Laurie Salazar – WNV has been confirmed at all Joint Base San Antonio locations. The military started testing all three of its San Antonio bases and Camp Bullis for the virus back in mid July. The results, which came back days ago, revealed Joint Base Lackland, Randolph, Fort Sam Houston, and Camp Bullis all tested positive for West Nile. The results have some residents living near Fort Sam Houston on high alert. – See

Vermont 08/24/12 Whiting, Addison County: Health officials confirm a mosquito trapped in Whiting has tested positive for WNV. Four other samples tested positive for EEE. – See


California 08/26/12 San Francisco: Five bats found in the Lake Merced area have tested positive for rabies. Area individuals who may have had contact with a bat, living or dead, should seek immediate medical advice. – See

North Carolina 08/24/12 Orange County: A skunk that bit a woman’s foot on Wednesday outside her home near Mt. Sinai and Turkey Farms roads has tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 08/24/12 Kingsmill, James City County: The local health district is notifying residents in the vicinity of the 100 block of Woods Course Drive that a fox found in the area has tested positive for rabies. – See,0,6252018.story

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending August 11, 2012:

Published August 17, 2012/ 61(32); ND-438-ND-451

Anaplasmosis . . . 18 . . . Alabama, Maine (2), New York (13), Rhode Island, Vermont,

Babesiosis . . . 7 . . . Maine, New York (6),

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . Florida, Texas,  

Ehrlichiosis . . . 2 . . . Florida, New York,

Giardiasis . . . 143 . . . Alabama, Arkansas, California (23), Florida (13), Idaho (2), Iowa (3), Kansas, Louisiana (2), Maine, Maryland (5), Michigan (2), Missouri (7), Nebraska (7), Nevada (2), New York (22), Ohio (17), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (10), Puerto Rico, South Carolina (4), Vermont (2), Virginia (5), Washington (7), Wisconsin,

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 2 . . . Indiana (2),

Lyme Disease . . .  236. . .  Delaware (5), Florida (5), Maryland (11), Montana, Nebraska, New York (110), Ohio (5), Pennsylvania (73), Rhode Island (2), Texas, Vermont (12), Virginia (10),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 33. . . Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine (2), New York (20), Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas (3), Vermont,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 2. . . Indiana, Missouri,   

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 66 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas, Florida (3), Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri (2), New York (2), North Carolina (39), Tennessee (6), Virginia (9),

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri.


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