North Carolina 02/19/13 wilsontimes.com: by Jon Jimison – The N.C. Wildlife Commission and state Division of Public Health are encouraging hunters to take precautions after a rabbit hunter in eastern North Carolina tested positive for a rare but serious disease called tularemia, also known as rabbit fever. A second member of the same hunting party also showed signs of the disease. “We’re just asking hunters to take precautions and be aware,” said Carolyn Rickard, spokeswoman for the N.C. Wildlife Commission. Rabbit hunting season in North Carolina runs from Nov. 17 to Feb. 28. Both hunters appear to be recovering, the commission noted. Although rare, rabbit fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It’s also one where preventative measures can be taken. Marilyn Haskell, public health veterinarian and epidemiologist with the N.C. Division of Public Health, said the division’s role is to prevent diseases and its employees would like to get a prevention and education message out to the public.
Tularemia is a disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s typically found in animals, especially rodents and rabbits. Most cases occur in rural areas. There have been 17 cases reported in North Carolina since 1999.“That is combined, confirmed and probable,” said Haskell, who specializes in rabies and zoonotic diseases. “It can make you very, very sick. We want hunters to know you can get very sick and the rabbit can appear very normal.” There are about 200 cases reported annually in the United States. The disease has a 30 percent mortality rate in some forms if left untreated. It’s treated with antibiotics, Haskell said. All cases this year in North Carolina have been confined to the current investigation. Officials said they wouldn’t name the eastern North Carolina county where the disease was reported due to patient confidentiality concerns. – For complete article see http://www.wilsontimes.com/News/Feature/Story/18247908—Hunter-contracts–rabbit-fever-
California 02/21/13 pe.com: by Richard Brooks – Three mice found in a nature preserve northeast of Moreno Valley have tested positive for hantavirus, Riverside County health officials said. The rodents were among 34 captures during January in Norton Younglove Reserve in the hills between San Timoteo Canyon Road and Highway 60. Hantavirus can be fatal to humans, cautions the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People become infected through contact with infected rodents, the animals’ urine or droppings. Victims develop fever and headache that can lead to respiratory failure. Rodent control in and around homes remains the primary strategy to prevent catching hantavirus. “Over the past decade, approximately 10 percent of the rodents collected in Riverside County have tested positive for hantavirus,” county Department of Environmental Health officials said in a written statement released Thursday, Feb. 21. “To date, there are no documented human cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome originating within Riverside County,” However, they caution people to avoid stirring up debris while cleaning mouse-infested areas, especially in rural areas. Cleanup work should be done while wearing rubber gloves and leaving a 10 percent solution of bleach or household disinfectant on contaminated surfaces for at least 15 minutes. Sponges and mops should be used, rather than brooms and vacuums, officials emphasize. And dead rodents should be double-bagged in plastic before disposal.
Arkansas 02/19/13 Madison County: A cow kept in Kingston has tested positive for rabies. Officials believe the cow was bitten by a rabid skunk, probably 4-12 weeks prior to showing any symptoms. Cows typically develop a hoarse bellow. Drooling and abnormal swallowing may make them appear to have something caught in their throats. Some animals may only show depression and weakness, or partial paralysis, of the hindquarters. During the course of several hours to a few days, the animal will go down, develop convulsive seizures and die. – See http://harrisondaily.com/cow-dies-of-rabies-near-kingston/article_27087632-7ae2-11e2-8883-0019bb2963f4.html
Kansas 02/22/13 Greenwood County: A skunk found biting and holding onto a dog’s tail in an area northeast of Eureka has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/article_e337b54e-7d11-11e2-af83-10604b9f7e7c.html
Virginia 02/22/13 Hampton: A raccoon that attacked a family dog on Wednesday at the Sandy Bottom Nature Park has tested positive for rabies. – See http://hamptonroads.com/2013/02/raccoon-attacked-dog-hampton-had-rabies