CDC study finds FERAL CATS are main domestic animal linked to HUMAN RABIES EXPOSURE ~ ALASKAN HUNTING GUIDE mauled by BROWN BEAR ~ NEW YORK teenager dies of POWASSAN VIRUS ~ CDC finds only 1 in 10 cases of LYME DISEASE reported ~ EEE & WNV reports from DE, NH, & NJ.


National 08/18/13 by Elizabeth Weise – Efforts to care for abandoned cats could mean more humans will be exposed to rabies, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. For 30 years, the main domestic animal linked to human exposure to rabies in the United States has been the cat. In the past 10 years, the number of feral cat colonies has exploded as animal-rights groups fight to end the capturing and killing of strays. Those two trends could be on a collision course, says Charles Rupprecht, director of research for the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, who was senior author of the CDC study. Dogs were the primary domestic carrier of rabies until the 1970s, when roundups of strays and vaccination programs eradicated canine rabies. That hasn’t happened with cats. “We didn’t think it was OK to have (stray) dogs, but we think it’s OK to create artificial cat colonies where they’re exposed to wildlife that can transmit rabies,” Rupprecht says.

cdc_logoApproximately 300 rabid cats are reported each year in the United States, says Jesse Blanton, a CDC epidemiologist. The CDC estimates that 16% of people in the United States who undergo rabies treatment are exposed to the deadly virus from cats. They must be treated with a series of shots. Human deaths from rabies are rare in the United States — two or three a year — and there have been no deaths linked to cats in decades. The issue is part of a debate over how to deal with unwanted cats and their offspring. There are 74 million owned cats in the United States, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Estimates on the number of feral cats vary from 60 million to 150 million. – For complete article, including comments on TNVR debate, see

Bear Attack:

Brown bear.

Brown bear.

Alaska 08/17/13 by Nathaniel Herz – The National Guard helicopter flew slowly through mountains north of Fairbanks in a layer of clear air between two blankets of clouds. Its destination: a circle of slowly falling flares, glowing green in the flight crew’s night-vision goggles, marking the campsite of the victim of a bear mauling. The flares, attached to parachutes, had been dropped by an airplane flying ahead of the helicopter in the Brooks Range north of Anaktuvuk Pass. It was part of a mission that led to the dramatic rescue of hunting guide James Tuttle early Friday morning, two days after he was attacked by a brown bear. After returning to Eielson Air Force base outside Fairbanks, Tuttle was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported he was in stable condition Saturday.

AnaktuvukPass_AKAn Air National Guard pilot and medic recounted the mission in interviews Saturday, describing their hair-raising flight to the campsite, their landing in a dense patch of brush and their pickup of Tuttle — who parajumper Chris Bowerfind described as being in good spirits and cracking jokes despite looking like “he’d gone a couple rounds with a UFC fighter.” Details of the hunting trip, and the mauling, were still sketchy, however. Tuttle is listed as a “head guide” on the website of Arctic North Guides, which is owned by Phil Byrd. Byrd, whose business is based in King Salmon, could not be reached for comment Saturday. Bowerfind, who was one of two medics helping pick up Tuttle, said the guide told him he had been attacked by a female brown bear while he was walking alone between his campsite and the carcass of a caribou killed by the hunting party a half-mile away. Tuttle was mauled Wednesday but poor weather kept away rescuers from the North Slope Borough and the Alaska State Troopers, said Maj. Keenan Zerkel, who coordinated the mission for the National Guard. . . Bowerfind said Tuttle told him that the bear that attacked him was familiar and even had been nicknamed by the hunters. “This was a known bear — he said he sees it every camping trip,” Bowerfind said. Tuttle told Bowerfind he was walking to the caribou carcass when the bear attacked him. – For complete article see

Powassan Virus:

arbovirus-bannerNew York 08/17/13 Health officials have confirmed a 17-year-old who collapsed and died in Poughkeepsie had contracted the tick-borne Powassan virus. The disease is fatal in 30 percent of cases and there is no known treatment. There have been 39 deaths in the US since 2008 attributed to Powassan, named images542487after a town in Ontario where it was first observed. Scientists say a person can be infected 15 minutes after a tick attaches, but symptoms do not appear for one to three weeks afterwards. – For complete article see

Lyme Disease:

lyme-awareness5128National 08/19/13 Preliminary estimates indicate that the number of Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. The preliminary estimates were presented Sunday night in Boston at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Diseases. This early estimate is based on findings from three ongoing CDC studies that use different methods, but all aim to define the approximate number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease annually. Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC, making it the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States. The new estimate suggests that the total number of people cdc_logodiagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number.  This new estimate supports studies published in the 1990s indicating that the true number of cases is between 3- and 12-fold higher than the number of reported cases. – For complete news release see

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

delawarehealth_logoDelaware 08/18/13 DE Health: State officials have confirmed that two sentinel chickens in the Cypress Swamp area of Sussex County have tested positive for EEE. See

nh-medicaidNew Hampshire 08/19/13 NH Dept of Health: State officials have confirmed that mosquitoes trapped in Exeter have tested positive for EEE. This is the first finding of EEE in the state this year.  This is in addition to the 6 batches of mosquitoes that have tested  positive  for WNV so far this season in New Hampshire. – See

NJDOH-LogoNew Jersey 08/16/13 State officials have confirmed the state’s first human case of WNV in a 55-year-old male from Burlington County. He was hospitalized and now is at home recovering.  He was exposed while gardening and conducting other outdoor activities around his home. WNV has been identified among mosquitoes in all New Jersey counties except Cumberland and Salem. – See



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