CANADA: BC teen attacked by BROWN BEAR sow with cub near Sitka ~ Third HANTAVIRUS death linked to YOSEMITE ~ TEXAS home quarantined due to fear of HANTAVIRUS ~ MOUNTAIN LION sighting reported near CHICAGO ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from FL, GA, IN, MAx3, NJ, OH, TX, VT, & WA ~ RABIES reports from CA, CT, GA, NE, NM, NY, NC, & PA.

Brown Bear. Courtesy National Park Service.


British Columbia 09/05/12 by Robert Woolsey – An 18-year-old Vancouver, BC, resident suffered minor injuries after being attacked by a brown bear sow on a popular trail near Sitka. The young woman was traveling on the state ferry with her family. The attack occurred on the Mosquito Cove Trail on Tuesday (9-4-12), about a mile from the Sitka ferry terminal. Mosquito Cove is a mile-and-a-quarter loop that begins and ends in the Forest Service campground in the Starrigavan Valley. The woman, Nicola Rammell, was out in front of the rest of her family, jogging during a ferry layover. The area of trail where she met the sow runs along the ocean, in the thick forest fringe at the base of a cliff. ADF&G biologist Phil Mooney says the bear and cub were traveling in the same direction as Rammell, who had almost no time to react. “When she stepped up on the knob, essentially she was looking right at the bear’s butt. She yelled, and turned around to flee, and fell off the corner of the trail there, down the hill. The bear pounced on her and bit her on the buttocks.” This bite is the only injury Rammell suffered. Unlike Sitka’s last harmful bear encounter – between a mountain-biker and another sow at Heart Lake in 2009 – the bear did not swipe Rammell with her claws. But the episode was not quite over.

“She screamed again and the bear let her go and rejoined its cub. She then stood up and waved at the bear, and the bear charged her again – a bluff charge – and didn’t make any physical contact that time. Then, it turned around and picked up the cub and left the scene.” All of this happened so quickly that the young woman’s family never knew she was in distress. Mooney says the sow is probably a new mother, around seven years old. Her cub was born this year, and appears a little scrawny for this late in the summer. The sow has had two other notable encounters with people: A few weeks ago, she bluff-charged the occupants of the Starrigavan recreation cabin, and just the day before this incident, she climbed up on the boardwalk and bluff-charged a local resident who had gotten between the sow and her cub. The Forest Service has now closed all trails and the campground in the Starrigavan Valley. Mooney, however, says trail users elsewhere in Sitka should be aware that this kind of encounter is not unique to Starrigavan. – For complete article see


West Virginia 09/07/12 by John Raby – A West Virginian is the third person to die so far from a rodent-borne illness linked to some tent cabins at Yosemite National Park that has now stricken eight people in all, health officials said Thursday. Five people are ill from the outbreak reported last week by park officials, who said up to 10,000 guests could have been exposed to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome from sleeping in the cabins since June 10. More infections could be reported. Alerts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent to public health agencies, doctors and hospitals have turned up other suspected cases that have not yet been confirmed. This week the European CDC and the World Health Organization issued global alerts for travelers to any country to avoid exposure to rodents. Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, declined to release details of the West Virginia victim at a news conference. Gupta said the victim had visited the park since June but declined to be more specific, citing the family’s wish to grieve in private. The other deaths occurred in California and Pennsylvania. Those that were sickened also were from California and the National Park Service said Wednesday they were either improving or recovering. – For complete article see

Texas 09/08/12 by Carol Christian & Anita Hassan – A home in The Woodlands remained under quarantine Saturday as health officials wait for test results to confirm the presence of the deadly rodent-borne hantavirus. Officials took the unusual step of closing the house on a small cul-de-sac in the 11000 block of Slash Pine Drive after a woman who had been helping clean the home for the TLC television show “Hoarding: Buried Alive” developed a respiratory illness, said Dr. Mark Escott with the Montgomery County‘s deputy local health authority. The female patient was treated at a hospital in Montgomery County, but specifics of her condition can’t be released, Escott said. Montgomery County health officials plan to drive Sunday to Austin with another sample from the house to test at a state laboratory. “We’re expecting that result will be positive,” Escott said of the report, which should be available late Monday afternoon. – For complete article see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Illinois 09/06/12 Winettka, Cook County: A family driving east on Willow Road Monday reported what they believe was a mountain lion sighting on the parkway. The incident has not been confirmed. – See,0,426821.story

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

Florida 09/08/12 Okaloosa County: Health officials confirmed on Friday that a person has died from complications related to WNV. It was the county’s first WNV-related fatality and second confirmed human case of the virus. – See

Georgia 09/08/12 Savannah, Chatham County: Dr. Richard S. Roth says he’s encountered the first human case of WNV in the county this year. The patient is a middle-aged man who spent four days hospitalized but is expected to recover. –

Indiana 09/06/12 Marion County: Health officials announced Thursday that a second resident has died of WNV. An Evansville-area person died in August from the virus. The two deaths in the county occurred in Wayne and Warren townships. The State Department of Health has confirmed at least 33 human cases of WNV this year. Marion County has had 11 cases. – See|mostpopular|text|NEWS

Massachusetts 09/08/12 Belchertown, Hampshire County: The threat of EEE is considered “critical” in Belchertown, and “high” in towns surrounding it, including Amherst, Granby, Pelham, New Salem, Palmer, South Hadley, and Ware, after state health officials confirmed late Thursday that a horse in Belchertown died from EEE. – See

Massachusetts 09/07/12 by Chelsea Conaboy – A Worcester (County) man has died of West Nile virus, the first fatal case in Massachusetts during a year in which there has been an unprecedented level of infection across the United States. The state announced three other human cases of West Nile Friday and raised the risk level for mosquito-borne illnesses for all Massachusetts communities to at least moderate . . . The death was announced one day after state officials said that a Metrowest man had died of Eastern equine encephalitis — the state’s first EEE death this year. Former research scientist and US Army veteran Benjamin Duce of Westborough was infected with EEE in early August and died several days later, according to his family. The 79-year-old had worked for Astra Pharmaceutical (now AstraZeneca) for more than 20 years and was an avid gardener, said his wife of 56 years, Diane Duce . . . The state has raised the threat level for EEE in Westborough to critical. The level for nearby towns of Grafton, Hopkinton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, Southborough, and Upton, have been raised to high. Mattapoisett also has been listed as high-risk after mosquitoes there tested positive for EEE. – For complete article see

Massachusetts 09/06/12 Hampden County: State health officials have raised the WNV threat level to “critical” in Chicopee, and to “high” in Springfield and other local communities, after the mosquito-borne virus was detected in a horse in Chicopee. Officials confirmed last week that a 69-year-old Chicopee man had contracted WNV. – See

New Jersey 09/07/12 News Release – The number of human cases of WNV statewide has risen to 15, including the state’s first WNV-related fatality, an elderly Burlington County man. – See

Ohio 09/07/12 The state’s confirmed number of WNV cases has increased to 67, more than double the human cases documented just three weeks ago, state health officials said. Two people — a 76-year-old man in Hamilton County and an 87-year-old man in Cuyahoga Countyhave died. Statewide, 50 people have been hospitalized. – For complete article see

Texas 09/07/12 Bexar County: Another human case of WNV has been reported in the county, city health officials said Thursday, raising the local total to 10. The most recent victim is an 81-year-old man. So far this year, two people have died in Bexar from the disease. – See

Vermont 09/06/12 Chittenden County: Health officials said Wednesday that an adult was hospitalized with WNV. – See

Washington 09/07/12 News Release – Two residents confirmed with WNV infection are the first human cases in the state in two years. A Pierce County woman in her 70s was likely exposed to the virus while traveling out of state; a Yakima man in his 30s hadn’t left the state. – See


California 09/06/12 San Anselmo, Marin County: A bat found near the main parking lot at Lake Lagunitas has tested positive for rabies. – See

Connecticut 09/07/12 Mystic, New London County: According to Ledge Light Health District officials, a skunk found in the vicinity of Clift Street has tested positive for rabies. – See

Georgia 09/06/12 Folkston, Charlton County: A fox killed by police after it attacked two dogs at a local residence has tested positive for rabies. – See

Nebraska 09/06/12 Sidney, Cheyenne County: A skunk that attacked a dog on August 21st just southeast of the city limits has tested positive for rabies. – See

New Mexico 09/08/12 Carlsbad, Eddy County: A raccoon that fought with two dogs near the corner of Calloway and Watson has tested positive for rabies. In a separate incident, a bat that attacked two dogs in the 600 block of Blodgett has tested positive for rabies. And in a third incident, a man who tried to get a bat out of his garage was bitten before the bat flew away. At least one of the dogs has been euthanized, and the man has begun post-exposure rabies shots. – See

New York 09/06/12 Highland, Sullivan County: A fox that attacked two people in the hamlet of Barryville last weekend has tested positive for rabies. – See

North Carolina 09/06/12 Beaufort County: A raccoon found on Asbury Church Road near River Road has tested positive for rabies. – See

Pennsylvania 09/08/12 Montgomery County: Health officials have reported three more cases of bats with rabies – one in the Gladwyne section of Lower Merion and two in the King of Prussia area of Upper Merion. This brings the total number of confirmed bat rabies cases in the county this year to eight. – See


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