New STUDY shows the GRAY WOLF is the only true WOLF species in NORTH​ AMERICA ~ COYOTES reported stalking hikers on popular CANADIAN trail ~ TULAREMIA case prompts warning in WYOMING ~ SOUTH CAROLINIAN hospitalized after exposure to brain-eating AMOEBA ~ CDC issues unprecedented travel warning related to FLORIDA destination with active Zika spread.

North America 08/01/16 by Jaymi Heimbuch – A new study shows that the various wolf species we know in North America all link back to the gray wolf, and this is the continent’s only true wolf species. The finding could completely change how the Endangered Species Act is used to protect species. A team of researchers analyzed the genomes of 12 pure gray wolves and three coyotes from areas where the two species do not overlap. They also analyzed the genomes of six Eastern wolves and three red wolves. What they found is that the two latter species are actually genetic hybrids of the two former species. “We found that the red wolves are about 75 percent coyote ancestry, and the Eastern wolf has more gray wolf ancestry, about 75 percent,” Robert Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA and author on the study, told the Los Angeles Times.

5-interesting-facts-about-the-grey-wolf1The findings could shake up conservation efforts for wolves. According to the New York Times: The gray wolf and red wolf were listed as endangered in the lower 48 states under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s and remain protected today, to the periodic consternation of ranchers and agricultural interests. In 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recognized the Eastern wolf as a separate species, which led officials to recommend delisting the gray wolf. Conservationists won a lawsuit that forced the agency to abandon the plan. The new findings could help ensure the gray wolf stays on the Endangered Species List and continues to receive protections. It also could change the way we protect wildlife, potentially opening up room for adding hybrid species to the list. This would reflect how nature really works, as species constantly change and adapt — and hybridize — yet still need protections to survive and continue to fill beneficial roles their ecosystem. – For complete article and video see


1334248032_4291c473d5.jpgOntario 08/01/16 People walking along the popular Niska Trail in Guelph’s west end are urged to be vigilant after two recent coyote sightings. A coyote was spotted stalking people and dogs in two separate incidents this month, report the City of Guelph and Guelph Humane Society. In the first incident, a coyote attacked a dog while the owner was hiking on the trail. In the second, a coyote attempted to attack a hiker walking two dogs. It’s unknown if the same coyote was involved. Trail users are urged to keep their dogs leashed to ensure the pet’s safety, clean up after their dog because coyotes are attracted to feces, and avoid using the trail at dawn, dusk or in the dark when coyotes are most active. – For complete article see

Tularemia (Rabbit Fever):

zoonosis_tularemia (2)Wyoming 08/01/16 by Ann Jantz – With the recent report of a man in Sweetwater County contracting tularemia, Sweetwater County Health Officer Jean Stachon asks people to be aware and take precautions. “This is the season for tularemia and other diseases like giardia,” Stachon said. “The rule of thumb is don’t take a rabbit before it freezes.” Tularemia (too-LUH-ree-MEE-uh) can be a serious disease and, in rare cases, deadly, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever, frequently affects rabbits, hares and rodents and has been associated with rabbit and rodent die-offs. People may acquire tularemia when bit by infected ticks, deer flies or horse flies. It can also be transmitted by handling infected animals, or through ingestion or contact with untreated, contaminated water or insufficiently cooked meat. – For complete article including symptoms and recommendations see

Brain-Eating Amoeba:

RS-Amoeba-1South Carolina 08/03/16 by Catherine Thorbecke – A South Carolina resident has contracted an infection from rare brain-eating amoeba after swimming in the Edisto River in Charleston County, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). Lab tests conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the infection resulted from exposure to the organism Naegleria fowleri. The infection is fatal in about 95 percent of cases, according to the SCDHEC. “Naegleria fowleri causes the disease primary amebicmeningoencephalitis  (PAM), a brain infection that leads to the destruction of brain tissue. In its early stages, symptoms of PAM may be similar to symptoms of bacterial  meningitis,” the CDC states on its website. “The disease progresses rapidly and usually causes death within about five days.” Dr. Linda Bell, an SCDHEC epidemiologist, said in a statement, “This organism occurs naturally and is all around us and is present in many warm water lakes, rivers and streams, but infection in humans is very rare. In fact, there have been fewer than 40 cases reported nationwide in the past 10 years.”  Naegleria fowleri is found only in freshwater bodies, not in saltwater. Infection can result if water containing the organism enters a person’s nose. To prevent infection, Bell advises avoiding swimming in or jumping into bodies of warm freshwater when water levels are low. She also recommends holding one’s nose underwater or using a nose plug. A person cannot be infected by drinking water containing the amoeba, she says. – For complete article see


Zika Virus:

zika.fl.88d8d7Florida Undated Media Release – The Florida Department of Health has identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami (Wynwood) where Zika is being spread by mosquitoes. This guidance is for people who live in or traveled to this area any time after June 15 (based on the earliest time symptoms can start and the maximum 2-week incubation period for Zika virus). – For complete release and recommendations see and also

Florida 08/01/16 by Robert Lowes – Florida Governor Rick Scott today said that 10 more individuals in the Miami area have been infected with Zika, likely through mosquito bites, which has quickly brought the total to 14 since the first four cases were announced on July 29. Florida is the first state to report local transmission of the virus, which causes birth defects, most notably, microcephaly. In a sign of a rapidly developing outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel advisory cautioning women who are pregnant to avoid unnecessary travel to the one-square-mile neighborhood just north of downtown Miami that is experiencing local Zika transmission. If any pregnant women have visited this area since June 15, they should be tested for the virus. And if women and men considering pregnancy choose to visit it, they should wait 8 weeks after they return home to attempt to conceive. Furthermore, pregnant women and their partners living in the Miami neighborhood should take precautions against mosquito bites and sexual transmission of the virus. Six of the 10 newly identified individuals who contracted the virus from mosquitos were asymptomatic. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) identified them through a door-to-door survey of its Zika zone. In a news conference today, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said there is no evidence yet of widespread virus transmission, “but there could be sustained transmission in small areas.” – For complete article see


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