Rare outbreak of TULAREMIA baffles health officials ~ Two sheep hunters medevaced after GRIZZLY attack in BRITISH COLUMBIA ~ Angler attacked by GRIZZLY in BRITISH COLUMBIA ~ Moose hunter medevaced after GRIZZLY attack in NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ~ NEW MEXICAN jogger attacked by BLACK BEAR ~ Elk hunter attacked by BLACK BEAR in NEW MEXICO ~ CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS & NORTH CAROLINA confirm WEST NILE VIRUS related fatalities ~ NEW YORK resident dies of EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ UTAHN dies of PLAGUE ~ EBOLA VIRUS remains in semen longer than thought ~ RABID FERAL CAT reports from NC & PA.

Cat with rabbit. Photo by Eddy Van 3000. Wikimedia Commons.

Cat with rabbit. Photo by Eddy Van 3000. Wikimedia Commons.

TULAREMIA OUTBREAK:

National 09/10/15 businessinsider.com: by Laura Zuckerman – U.S. health officials said on Thursday they were puzzled by a surge in the number of people who have contracted a rare bacterial disease usually found in rabbits that has already killed a Wyoming man and sickened dozens of people in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska this year. The unusually high number of cases of tularemia, sometimes called rabbit fever, have been concentrated in northeastern Wyoming and in neighboring parts of South Dakota and Nebraska and farther south in the Colorado Front Range, where there have been reported die-offs of animals like rabbits and voles that can carry the infectious disease, Wyoming health officials said. While tularemia, whose symptoms can include fever, sore throat and muscle aches, is often present in the environment, it rarely sickens more than a few people a year in Wyoming, a handful in Colorado and just a few in South Dakota, health officials said. That compares to 41 confirmed human cases so far this year in Colorado, 14 in Wyoming – the highest number in the quarter century that reliable records have been compiled – and at least 19 in South Dakota, the most since 34 people acquired the ailment in 1984, state epidemiologists said. “This is quite unusual,” South Dakota epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger said.

zoonosis_tularemia (2)The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is studying cases in those states and Nebraska to identify common factors, Wyoming State epidemiologist Tracy Murphy said. The disease is treatable with antibiotics but can be deadly. It killed an elderly Wyoming man earlier this year after causing a severe infection of his central nervous system, Murphy said. Tularemia can be transmitted to people through handling of sick animals, including pets like cats and dogs that have come in contact with infected rabbits or rodents, as well as bites from ticks, deer flies or horse flies. Infections also are linked to activities such as lawn mowing, in which people inhale bacteria from contaminated dust, or handling animal carcasses, health officials said. – For complete article see http://www.businessinsider.com/rabbit-fever-outbreak-baffles-us-health-officials-2015-9

BEAR ATTACKS:

Canada:

20091222142651GrizzlyNPSBritish Columbia 09/07/15 globalnews.ca: by Paula Baker – Two men are recovering in hospital after being attacked by a grizzly bear sow south of Fort Nelson, B.C. on Sunday. According to B.C. Conservation, the two men were legally hunting sheep when they walked over a ridge and were attacked by a grizzly bear sow. The sow was with her two cubs in an area northeast of Buckinghorse River. The hunters, who are both in their 30s and from the Peace River area, were carrying a sheep cape and meat. The men had been part of a larger party but were in a remote area about 40 kilometres west of Alaska Highway, which is accessible only by foot, helicopter or horse, said Mark West with B.C. Conservation. West says the sow was reacting “defensively” and this was not a predatory attack. In an attempt to stop the grizzly, one hunter told conservation officers he may have gotten off two shots but was unsure if he hit the bear. – For complete article and video see http://globalnews.ca/news/2206899/two-men-injured-after-bear-attack-south-of-fort-nelson/

grizzly_alaska_frBritish Columbia 09/11/15 dailytownsman.com: by Arne Petryshen – A grizzly bear attacked an angler near Canal Flats (a village at the south end of Columbia Lake) on Wednesday night. The attack occurred just off Findlay Creek Road, about eight kilometres up. Conservation Officer Joe Caravetta said the man was walking along a path and  startled a young grizzly bear at a distance of about three meters. “The bear attacked the angler, biting him on his leg and hand. The bear fled shortly and the angler made his way back to the vehicle, returned to Canal Flats and contacted 911,” Caravetta said. The man was then taken to the Invermere hospital, with non-life threatening injuries. “Conservation Officer Services and the RCMP attended at the site where the attack occurred and closed the area off and advised others in there to the incident and to leave the area,” he said. Caravetta said they determined there was no immediate threat to the public at that site at that time. Four officers attended the site Thursday morning to further investigate. “They determined that there was a large, domestic cow carcass, buried where the attack occurred,” he said. “The carcass was fairly old and consisted of mostly bones and hide. The bear was also seen by the officers and confirmed to be about a three year old grizzly — so a fairly small grizzly bear and fairly young.” Caravetta said it was at that point that a decision was made not to pursue the bear. – See http://www.dailytownsman.com/breaking_news/326678781.html

GrizzlyUSFWSNorthwest Territories 09/11/15 cbc.ca: A hunter has been medevaced to Yellowknife with serious injuries after he was attacked by a grizzly bear in the Mackenzie Mountains near Norman Wells, N.W.T. The attack happened around 11 a.m. Thursday morning. According to the RCMP, the hunter and a guide were spotting moose when the bear attacked them. The hunter and the guide didn’t see the grizzly until it made its attack. RCMP say the bear pulled the hunter down an embankment and he received “multiple injuries during the attack.” The guide fired a shot which scared the bear off and stopped the attack. The injured hunter was rescued by a helicopter, treated in Norman Wells, and then medevaced to Yellowknife for more treatment. The bear is unaccounted for at this time. – See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/grizzly-bear-attacks-hunter-near-norman-wells-n-w-t-1.3224822

Black-Bear-Cub-and-Mom-BingFreeUseLicenseNew Mexico 09/10/15 kob.com: by Elizabeth Reed – Game and Fish officers are searching for an adult black bear that attacked a runner on a hiking trail near Los Alamos Wednesday night. The attack occurred on the Cañon de Valle trail around 7 p.m. Officers said the man was running on the trail when he encountered a female bear and her cub.  The man tried to scare the bear away by making a noise, but it charged, knocking him into a stream. The department says the bear started biting and clawing at his head.  After the bear left, the man was able to walk 2.5 miles back to his car and flag down a passing motorist, who took him to Los Alamos Medical Center. He suffered deep flesh wounds and scratches to his head, according to Game and Fish. – See http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3902741.shtml#.VfJAG_lVhBc

BlackBearNPSNew Mexico 09/12/15 santafenewmexican.com: by Staci Matlock – State Game and Fish Department officers are searching for a black bear that attacked a 60-year-old man from Missouri who was elk hunting west of Wagon Mound, the second bear attack on a person in two days in Northern New Mexico, officials said Friday. The hunter received bite injuries to his foot through his boot as he climbed a tree to try to escape the bear. He was taken to Alta Vista Hospital in Las Vegas, N.M., where he was treated and released. The attack, which occurred Thursday near the tiny village of Ocate, marked the seventh time a black bear has attacked a human in the state this year, the highest number in the past 16 years, according to Lance Cherry, a spokesman for the Game and Fish Department. It was the fourth attack this year resulting in an injury. None of the attacks was fatal. – For complete article see http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/in-second-attack-this-week-bear-scares-hunter-up-tree/article_57453d6d-4422-5a3c-ac26-ecb9efede549.html

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

California 09/10/15 pe.com: by Brian Rokos – A 77-year-old Riverside County man who died last month tested positive for the West Nile virus, the county Department of Public Health announced Thursday, Sept. 10. The man was the first person in Riverside County with the mosquito-borne virus to die since 2008, according to a news release from the department. – See http://www.pe.com/articles/county-779876-virus-riverside.html

wnv1_clip_image002Illinois 09/08/15 stltoday.com: A St. Clair County resident has become the third WNV-related fatality in the state so far this year. – For article see http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/first-death-from-west-nile-virus-reported-in-st-clair/article_ad99eb95-b23b-5450-9cc0-59b7547b95c7.html

North Carolina 09/08/15 wral.com: State authorities on Tuesday reported the first death of 2015 from a confirmed case of WNV. The state Department of Health and Human services did not release the name, age, gender, or location of the person who died, citing confidentiality laws. However, Charles Hogan identified the patient as his father, Roscoe Hogan. Hogan said that his father died at Duke Regional Hospital on Aug. 27. The previous day, doctors told him that his father’s lab results revealed West Nile virus. Roscoe Hogan was 76 at the time of his death and had been a resident of Durham. – For complete article see http://www.wral.com/state-reports-first-2015-death-from-west-nile-virus/14884377/

EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE):

eee-threat-249x187New York 09/08/15 syracuse,com: by James T. Mulder –  An elderly Salina man diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis has died, according to the Onondaga County Health Department. It is the sixth reported Eastern equine encephalitis death in Central New York since 1971. The Salina man was the first person in the state and the second in the nation diagnosed this year with the potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – For article see http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/salina_man_dies_of_eastern_equine_encephalitis.html

PLAGUE:

yersiniaUtah 09/10/15 moabtimes.com: by Molly Marcello – An elderly San Juan County man died after contracting plague last month, according to the Utah Department of Health. While officials do not know exactly how the man contracted the disease, they speculate he was infected by fleas carried by rodents or cats. “The individual lived on a rural property so we’re pretty certain that it likely came from a flea bite from rodents on the property such as prairie dogs, or potentially, cats,” said San Juan County Public Health Director Worthy Glover. “[The man] had a lot of cats in [his] barn to deal with the rodents — those cats could potentially have had fleas.” – For complete article see http://www.moabtimes.com/view/full_story/26850987/article-Elderly-man-in-San-Juan-County-dies-after-contracting-plague?instance=home_news_right

EBOLA VIRUS:

ebola.stopGlobal 09/09/15 reuters.com: by Tom Miles – Isolated flare-ups of Ebola may point to a higher risk of transmission via the semen of male survivors than previously thought, undermining hopes of ending West Africa’s deadly outbreak by the end of the year. The World Health Organization’s advice is that all male survivors should be tested three months after the onset of symptoms and then monthly until they know they have no risk of passing on the virus through their semen, Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO’s Ebola response, told a news conference. But a forthcoming study in the New England Journal of Medicine, based on around 200 survivors, found that around half still had traces of the virus in their semen after six months, a clinician familiar with the study told Reuters. “The old advice of three months is no longer good,” the clinician said. “The number of people with persistent virus in their semen is much greater than expected.” The clinician, who was not authorized to speak about the study, added that the risk might not only be from sex but also from masturbation. “It’s not the sex that is dangerous, it’s the semen that is dangerous,” said Aylward, who mentioned the study during a news conference but did not give details. “How people actually get exposed, in soiled linens or whatever, is not clear.”

WHO.33454Transmission through semen may explain why a few cases continue to occur even though the outbreak has been almost completely eradicated by an intense international effort, recently bolstered by the deployment of a trial vaccine in Guinea and Sierra Leone. “This virus and this outbreak in particular has a nasty sting in the tail,” Aylward said. “It’s not finished, by a long shot.” The latest flare-up, in a village on the northern border of Sierra Leone, followed the death of a 67-year-old woman late last month, 50 days after the previous confirmed case in the region. Transmission chains are considered to have been broken after 42 days with no new infections. However, Aylward said that sexual transmission was “obviously not a huge risk, because if it were we would have seen a lot more in the areas that were hardest hit at the beginning of this outbreak.” – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/09/us-health-ebola-semen-idUSKCN0R922G20150909?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

FERAL CAT RABIES:

North Carolina 09/08/15 abc11.com: A brown tabby feral cat that attacked and bit a man’s leg in the 500 block of East Cabarrus Street in Raleigh last week has tested positive for rabies. – See http://abc11.com/pets/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-raleigh/974862/

13620Pennsylvania 09/10/15 mytwintiers.com: A feral cat that jumped out from under a car and bit the owner on her leg and arm, and the woman’s daughter on the arm, has tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred on Dietz Road,. Wilmot Township, Bradford County. – See http://www.mytwintiers.com/news/local-news/feral-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-bradford-county

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