MURINE TYPHUS reported in CALIFORNIA communities ~ Hungry COYOTES attacking large DOGS in CONNECTICUT ~ CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE within 12 miles of SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK ~ HIV VIRUS traced to GORILLAS in CAMEROON ~ RABIES reports from FL, TX & VA.

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

By Cody Pope (WikipediaUserCody.pope) CC BY-SA 2.5 (glicensesby-sa2.5), via Wikimedia Commons

California 03/05/15 by Keith Esparros – A form of typhus with flu-like symptoms that can lead to hospitalization if left untreated is popping up in parts of Southern California, and possums are the likely culprits. Cases of Murine Typhus, an infection spread by either flea bites or contact with flea feces, are being reported in the communities of Altadena, Los Feliz and Pasadena and South Pasadena, which have large possum populations, said Dr. Rachel Civen of the LA County Health Department, who calls it “a niche disease.” Symptoms include high fever, nausea, fatigue and muscle weakness. Forty — six cases were reported in LA County in 2014, three in Altadena, where crews posted notices and launched a possum search. The opossums found in Southern California are also referred to as possums. “Possums have massive proportions of fleas on them,” Civen said. “Thousands of them.” That makes them ideal carriers for the disease. Fleas carry the disease from rats, opossums or feral cats, and can infect the family pet. “It’s a pretty benign disease for dogs and cats,” Civen said, but the pet can infect other fleas, which then can bite and infect humans. Murine typhus symptoms are similar to flu, and can be difficult to pinpoint and diagnose. – For complete article see


lacy%20faces%20coyoteConnecticut 03/06/15 Coyotes were attacking in Connecticut this week, with three reports of the animals hunting down dogs. Luckily, all the dogs survived. But as CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, animal control officials said there is a big reason some big dogs are becoming prey. At least one coyote has been making the rounds in suburban Stamford – looming dangerously close to homes and setting its sights on several family dogs. “There was something following (my dog); chasing her,” said Stamford resident Karen Hart. Hart snapped a photo of her 2-year-old shepherd mix, named Kylie, running for her life “She got into the house and I slammed the door just as the coyote was approaching the front door,” Hart said. There were four attacks in a period of one week. All the dogs got away with minor cuts and scratches. But several owners have decided to keep their pets inside, alarmed at the coyotes’ brazen tactics. “This is very odd, because three of the dogs — a shepherd mix, a golden retriever and a German short-haired pointer – all obviously much larger than this coyote,” said Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin. Police said coyote attacks are so prevalent this winter because of the extremely harsh weather conditions – so much so that coyotes have even started living under people’s decks. – For video see


whitetaildeernpsVirginia 03/06/15 Chronic Wasting Disease, an always-fatal neurological disease affecting white-tail deer, mule deer, elk and moose, has been discovered at Front Royal, within twelve miles of the Shenandoah National Park’s northern boundary, Park Superintendent Jim Northup told an audience at Crozet Library February 5. In 2009 it was discovered about 23 miles away from the park. A park report describes the advance as “rapid.” “It’s significant now in West Virginia,” he said. Northup said that the character of the 105-mile Skyline Drive and the edge-habitat nature of deer likely means that once the disease invades the park, it will advance southward along the scenic road and reach southern counties bordering the park. “The only way to slow it is to thin the deer herd,” he said. – For complete article see


Cameroon gorillas

Cameroon gorillas

Global 03/06/15 by Revathi Siva Kumar – Four strains of the AIDS virus can be sourced to gorillas in southwest Cameroon, said an international team of scientists whose report was recently published. Hence, scientists understand the origin of the HIV virus, according to france24. HIV (HIV-1) has at least four strains. Known as Groups M, N, O and P, and every virus had its own origin from ape to man, on four occasions. While two groups, ie M and N have been traced to chimpanzees in Cameroon, the origin of the O and P strains have not been traced. The team, led by Martine Peeters, a virologist at France’s Research and Development Institute (IRD) and the University of Montpellier, has released a report that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. HIV-1’s Group M is the most widespread and show more than 40 million people that are infected around the world. So far, just two humans have been found to be infected with Group P. Group O has been identified in central and western Africa, and has infected 100,000. The identification was possible through genetic samples from chimpanzees and gorillas from Cameroon, Gabon, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Fecal samples from western lowland gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas in Cameroon, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda were screened to detect SIVgor infection. Four field sites were found in southern Cameroon with western lowland gorillas harbouring SIVgor, according to pennews.

Cameroon chimpanzees

Cameroon chimpanzees

“From this study and others that our team has conducted in the past it has become clear that both chimpanzees and gorillas harbor viruses that are capable of crossing the species barrier to humans and have the potential to cause major disease outbreaks,” Peeters said. “Understanding emerging disease origins is critical to gauge future human infection risks.” Ever since 1981, HIV has infected 78 million, which destroys immune cells and makes the body vulnerable to tuberculosis, pneumonia and other such illnesses. About 39 million have died, according to UN estimates. The team of scientists is from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Montpellier, the University of Edinburgh, and other institutions. Beatrice Hahn, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology, and others from Penn were part of the team, whose findings appear online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. According to UN estimates, the illness has claimed 39 million lives so far, reports biznews. – See


dog468y9i0Florida 03/09/15 Palm Beach County: A bat found in the mouth of a vaccinated pet dog in Palm Beach Gardens has tested positive for rabies and family members who handled the bat and/or were in contact with the dog are being advised to seek immediate medical advice and treatment. – See

Texas 03/08/15 McLennan County: A stray dog offered for adoption on Facebook attacked a mother and 4-year-old daughter who arrived in a Brookshire Bros. grocery store parking lot in Lorena on Saturday offering to take it. The child was bitten in the face and the mother in the face and hands by the dog described as a possible pit bull-mastiff mix. – See

help984-05834Virginia 03/09/15 James City County: by Becca Mitchell – The Peninsula Health District is looking for a grey-striped male tabby cat that bit a person on Saturday, March 7th in the vicinity of Forge Road and Highway 60 in Toano. If the cat isn’t found, the victims may have to undergo post exposure treatment for the prevention of rabies. If found, the cat will not be taken from its owner, only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days. Anyone who has seen an animal fitting this description should call the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Area Environmental Health Office at 757-603-4277. – See


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