National 04/22/14 newstimes.com: by Robert Miller – At night, when you catch sight of an opossum in your car headlights, you are allowed to think, “That is one ugly little animal.” But what opossums lack in looks, they make up in originality. They’re America’s only babies-in-the pouch marsupial. They’re a southern species — proper name Virginia opossum — that’s adapted to New England winters. They’re one of the oldest species of mammal around, having waddled past dinosaurs. They eat grubs and insects and even mice, working over the environment like little vacuum cleaners. “They really eat whatever they find,” said Laura Simon, wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Humane Society. And they’re an animal whose first line of defense includes drooling and a wicked hissing snarl — a bluff — followed by fainting dead away and “playing possum.” “They are just interesting critters,” said Mark Clavette, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. And now ecologists have learned something else about opossums. They’re a sort of magnet when it comes to riding the world of black-legged ticks, which spread Lyme disease.
“Don’t hit opossums if they’ve playing dead in the road,” said Richard Ostfeld, of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies in Millerton, N.Y. Ostfeld is forest ecologist and an expert on the environmental elements of infectious diseases like Lyme disease. Several years ago, scientists decided to learn about the part different mammals play in the spread of the ticks and the disease. They tested six species — white-footed mice, chipmunks, squirrels, opossums and veerys and catbirds — by capturing and caging them, and then exposing each test subject to 100 ticks. What they found, is that of the six, the opossums were remarkably good at getting rid of the ticks — much more so
that any of the others. “I had no suspicion they’d be such efficient tick-killing animals,” Ostfeld said. Indeed, among other opossum traits, there is this: They groom themselves fastidiously, like cats. If they find a tick, they lick it off and swallow it. (The research team on the project went through droppings to find this out. All praise to those who study possum poop.) Extrapolating from their findings, Ostfeld said, the team estimated that in one season, an opossum can kill about 5,000 ticks. – For complete article see http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Robert-Miller-Opposums-killers-of-ticks-5413872.php
Texas 04/13/14 Swisher County: Health officials have confirmed the state’s first case of hantavirus reported this year. The exposure is believed to have occurred in a rodent-infested barn when dust was stirred up. It was reported that the individual recovered. Hantavirus infection has a mortality rate of 38% according to the CDC. – See http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/texas-reports-first-hantavirus-case-of-2014-2014/
Author’s Note: Beginning with this post, Rabies Reports will be limited to those that are in some way unusual and/or of particular importance in terms of service to the general public.
California 04/19/14 Yolo County: Animal services officials seek the public’s help in finding a dog that bit a child in a park in Dunnigan. The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. April 11. A 3-year-old child was with his mother in a park near the 29000 block of Main Street when the youngster attempted to approach a small dog running loose in the park and was bitten, according to county news release. The mother told animal services officials that she had not seen the dog in the area before and has not seen it since the child was bitten. Animal services employees also have been unable to find the animal. The dog was described as a small gray and white terrier type. The mother did not recall seeing a collar on the dog. Identifying the dog to verify current rabies vaccination could help spare the child post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with knowledge of the incident, or the location of dog or its owner, is asked to call the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287, or email email@example.com. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/18/6336279/yolo-officials-seek-dog-that-bit.html
Pennsylvania 04/22/14 Montgomery County: A stray cat found on East Fifth Avenue in Collegeville has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who has been bitten, scratched or had saliva exposure to a stray cat should seek medical advice and also call the Montgomery County Health Department at 610-278-5117. This is the third confirmed case of rabies in the county in 2014. – See http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140422/rabid-cat-found-in-collegeville
Pennsylvania 04/17/14 Lancaster County: A Penn Township woman is receiving post-exposure rabies treatments as a precaution after being bitten by a stray, black cat on April 16th in the 1000 block of White Oak Road in Manheim. The cat remains at large. – See http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/woman-undergoing-rabies-shots-after-being-bit-by-cat/article_ecc54d9e-c633-11e3-88e6-001a4bcf6878.html
Virginia 04/15/14 Fairfax County: A groundhog that fought with a dog in the 900 block of Welham Green Road in Great Falls on April 6th has tested positive for rabies. The dog was quarantined. – See http://mclean.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/dog-quarantined-after-tangling-with-rabid-hedgehog-in-great-falls
Virginia 04/15/14 Newport News: A man in the city’s Lakeside neighborhood who was bitten by a fox on April 14th has begun post-exposure rabies treatments as a precaution. The fox bit into his arm and wouldn’t let go until he started slamming his pickup truck door on it. The fox was not captured and remains at large. – See http://www.wvec.com/news/Woman-bit-by-fox-in-Newport-News-255385821.html
Ontario 04/15/14 Grey Bruce Health Unit: Officials are asking for your help in finding the owner of a dog involved in a biting incident in Walkerton. It happened last Friday morning, when a girl walking to school near the corner of Hinks Street and Johnstone Boulevard was bitten by a dog being walked by a man. The man kept on walking. The dog is described as medium-sized, mixed breed, with black and white markings. Staff of the Grey Bruce Health Unit need to confirm that the dog is not infected with rabies. By verifying the health of the dog, the victim can avoid receiving the post exposure rabies treatment. If you have any information related to this incident, you are asked to contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420. – See http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/news_item.php?NewsID=65460