New study suggests brains of some ANIMALS grow as HUMANS change their landscape ~ EEE & WNV reports from CT, IL, ME, MA, NY, OH, & SD ~ RABIES reports from FL, SC, TXx2, & VA ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: RABIES Symposium in MS.

Little_Gray_Mouse_-_Father_with_His_Newspaper_(18)Image in Public Domain. Wikipedia.

Global 08/22/13 by Carl Zimmer – Evolutionary biologists have come to recognize humans as a tremendous evolutionary force. In hospitals, we drive the evolution of resistant bacteria by giving patients antibiotics. In the oceans, we drive the evolution of small-bodied fish by catching the big ones. In a new study, a University of Minnesota biologist, Emilie C. Snell-Rood, offers evidence suggesting we may be driving evolution in a more surprising way. As we alter the places where animals live, we may be fueling the evolution of bigger brains. Dr. Snell-Rood bases her conclusion on a collection of mammal skulls kept at the Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Snell-Rood picked out 10 species to study, minnincluding mice, shrews, bats and gophers. She selected dozens of individual skulls that were collected as far back as a century ago. An undergraduate student named Naomi Wick measured the dimensions of the skulls, making it possible to estimate the size of their brains.

Dr. Emilie Snell-Rood

Dr. Emilie Snell-Rood

Two important results emerged from their research. In two species — the white-footed mouse and the meadow vole — the brains of animals from cities or suburbs were about 6 percent bigger than the brains of animals collected from farms or other rural areas. Dr. Snell-Rood concludes that when these species moved to cities and towns, their brains became significantly bigger. Dr. Snell-Rood and Ms. Wick also found that in rural parts of Minnesota, two species of shrews and two species of bats experienced an increase in brain size as well. Dr. Snell-Rood proposes that the brains of all six species have gotten bigger because humans have radically changed Minnesota. Where there were once pristine forests and prairies, there are now cities and farms. In this disrupted environment, animals that were better at learning new things were more likely to survive and have offspring. – For complete article see

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

DEEP-Logo-LargeConnecticut 08/21/13 CT DEEP: Officials have announced that two campgrounds in the Pachaug State Forest have been closed until further notice after mosquitoes trapped at the parks tested positive for EEE. The decision to close the Mt. Misery campground and the nearby Horse Camp also known as the Frog Hollow Horse Camp, was made in consultation with the CAES and the Department of Public Health (DPH). – For complete news release see

ILLINOIS_DPHIllinois 08/21/13 IL Dept of Public Health: Officials have confirmed a McHenry County woman in her 50s is the first human case of WNV reported in the state this year. – See

ME_CDC_logoMaine 08/20/13 Maine CDC: Officials have confirmed a mosquito pool collected in the York County town of York has tested positive for EEE. This is the second pool in York County to test positive for the virus this year. – See

MA_220px-MADPH_LogoMassachusetts 08/21/13 MA Dept of Health: DPH officials today announced that it has advanced its ongoing epidemiological investigation of a previously announced human case of EEE in a Norfolk County resident and as a result has raised the EEE risk level to “High” in Hanover, Hanson, Rockland, Weymouth, and Whitman.  DPH urges communities designated as “High” to curtail planned evening outdoor events for the remainder of the mosquito season. – See

New York State Department of HealthNew York 08/20/13 NY Dept of Health: State officials have announced that EEE has been identified in fifteen (15) pools of mosquitoes in both Oswego (5) and Chautauqua (10) counties. Two human cases of WNV have been identified in New York City (Staten Island, NY) and one case has been identified in a horse in Oneida County.  The state’s mosquito surveillance program has also identified mosquitoes with WNV in several counties, including Chautauqua, Erie, Madison, Nassau, Onondaga, Oswego, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester, as well as New York City. – See

odh_logoOhio 08/20/13 OH Dept of Health: Officials have confirmed a 72-year-old female in Cuyahoga County has been hospitalized with the first human case of WNV meningitis in the state this year. – See

SDdhSouth Dakota 08/20/13 SD Dept of Health: State officials have confirmed that a Turner County resident in the 70 to 79 age group is the state’s first WNV-related fatality this year. Fifty-two human cases of WNV have been reported in the following counties: Brown 12, Beadle 4, Brookings 4, Spink 4, Hughes 3, Buffalo 2, Codington 2, Day 2, Minnehaha 2, and 1 case in each of the following counties Brule, Clark, Corson, Dewey, Edmunds, Faulk, Jones, Lincoln, Lyman, Marshall, Meade, Mellette, Moody, Sanborn, Tripp, Turner, and Walworth. – See


raccoon1545Florida 08/21/13 Seminole County: Health officials have extended a Rabies Alert in the county after a raccoon found in the Casselbery area last week tested positive for rabies. An initial alert was issued last month after a bobcat found in the Geneva area tested positive for the virus. – See

fox1d5South Carolina 08/21/13 Berkeley County: A fox that bit a 12-year-old Pineville girl on the ankle as she left for school on Monday has tested positive for rabies. – See

TX-DSHS_Logo2Texas 08/22/13 TX Dept of Health: Officials have announced that 100,000 oral rabies vaccine baits will be distributed in various parts of Fort Bend and Waller counties between September 16-20, 2013. – For details see

Bat 1on sidewalkTexas 08/18/13 Hays County: A bat found on the sidewalk at 100 W. Center Street in Kyle has tested positive for rabies. – See

0coonvsdog422 - CopyVirginia 08/20/13 Henrico County: A raccoon that fought with a dog in the 3200 block of Ella Road has tested positive for rabies. – See



Sixth Annual Merial Rabies Symposium

Merial and Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Saturday, September 28, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (CDT)

Starkville, MS

Join us on World Rabies Day, Saturday, September 28 for the Sixth Annual Merial Rabies Symposium! This interactive symposium brings together veterinary students, veterinarians, public health and medical experts in a discussion about the continued threat of rabies worldwide. This event is an opportunity to hear from some of the top experts in rabies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and various other state and local authorities. This year’s Merial Rabies Symposium, themed “Protecting Animals, People and Our Future,” will allow veterinary students and a diverse group of public health and veterinary experts to explore successes and challenges in rabies prevention on both local and global scales. The event will feature interactive breakout sessions for attendees to discuss rabies cases and management from the veterinary, public health and human health perspectives. – For more information see


One response to “New study suggests brains of some ANIMALS grow as HUMANS change their landscape ~ EEE & WNV reports from CT, IL, ME, MA, NY, OH, & SD ~ RABIES reports from FL, SC, TXx2, & VA ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: RABIES Symposium in MS.

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