BEAR mauls two guides hired by cruise line in ALASKA ~ FDA advises testing all blood donations for ZIKA ~ FLORIDA governor confirms ZIKA is spreading ~ ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS case confirmed in NEVADA ~ RABID CAT reports from Canada- ON, NJ, and VA.


Alaska 08/25/16 A bear that mauled two cruise ship wilderness guides during a hiking excursion in Alaska attacked so quickly that there was little time to defend against the animal, the CEO of the cruise ship company said. The attack occurred after the guides and a group of hikers from the cruise vessel Wilderness Explorer rounded a “semi-blind corner” and found themselves between the bear and her cub, UnCruise Adventures CEO Dan Blanchard told the Juneau Empire in an interview published Tuesday. “I can’t express enough about how rapidly this happened,” Blanchard said. The guides are crew members of the 74-passenger vessel and receive training on bear safety and other topics each spring, he said. The Coast Guard rescued the injured guides, who were identified by Alaska state troopers as 41-year-old Anna Powers of Hawaii and 26-year-old Michael Justa of Juneau. Justa was treated and released the in Sitka. Powers was in satisfactory condition Wednesday at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The Aug. 18 hike in Tongass National Forest has been part of the Wilderness Explorer’s regular eight-day itinerary since the early 2000s. – For complete article see

Blogger’s Note: According to an earlier report, the guides were attacked by a Brown bear.

Zika Virus:

a_us$1_zika_test_in_the_worksx_could_be_available_within_months.jpg_1718483346National 08/26/16 Media Release – As a further safety measure against the emerging Zika virus outbreak, today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a revised guidance recommending universal testing of donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus in the U.S. and its territories. “There is still much uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of Zika virus transmission,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “At this time, the recommendation for testing the entire blood supply will help ensure that safe blood is available for all individuals who might need transfusion.”

US-fdaThe FDA first issued guidance on Feb. 16 recommending that only areas with active Zika virus transmission screen donated Whole Blood and blood components for Zika virus, use pathogen-reduction devices, or halt blood collection and obtain Whole Blood and blood components from areas of the U.S. without active virus transmission. All areas with active transmission in the U.S. are currently in compliance with this guidance. The revised guidance announced today recommends that all states and U.S. territories screen individual units of donated Whole Blood and blood components with a blood screening test authorized for use by the FDA under an investigational new drug (IND) application, or a licensed test when available. Alternatively, an FDA-approved pathogen-reduction device may be used for plasma and certain platelet products.

The FDA is updating its guidance after careful consideration of all available scientific evidence, consultation with other public health agencies, and taking into consideration the potential serious health consequences of Zika virus infection to pregnant women and children born to women exposed to Zika virus during pregnancy. Testing of donated blood is already underway in Florida and Puerto Rico, as well as in other areas, and it has shown to be beneficial in identifying donations infected with Zika virus. Expanded testing will continue to reduce the risk for transmission of Zika virus through the U.S. blood supply and will be in effect until the risk of transfusion transmission of Zika virus is reduced.

GM-mosquito-release.zika.flFlorida 08/23/16 by  Christopher O’DonnellMichael Auslen and Megan Reeves – Health officials on both sides of Tampa Bay are scrambling to contain a potential new outbreak of the Zika virus after the first locally transmitted infection was confirmed in Pinellas County Tuesday. The Florida Department of Health is planning to conduct door-to-door testing and outreach in the neighborhood where the infection was detected. However, officials do not plan to reveal the location unless more cases are discovered. The effort to track down people who had contact with the infected person, known as an epidemiological investigation, will also extend into Hillsborough County, officials said. Targeted mosquito spraying to limit the spread of the virus is also taking place both in Pinellas and at an undisclosed Hillsborough County location.

afp_2d56e5b2c324070551df8a44124ce4835f24ad0b-e1472053951402-640x480Gov. Rick Scott announced the new infection, the first locally transmitted case of the virus confirmed outside South Florida, at a Zika roundtable with Pinellas County health officials and political leaders Tuesday. “This person did not travel to an infected area with Zika; we are looking at a number of locations,” Scott said. “Hopefully something good will happen and it will just be a single case. But if we do find out, what we will do is we will be very aggressive.”

No information was released about the infected resident who Scott referred to as “she.” Dr. Celeste Philip, the state surgeon general, said the resident likely contracted the virus, which is also sexually transmitted, through a mosquito bite. Yet, the state does not believe mosquitoes are actively spreading Zika in the county. That won’t be known for certain until the state’s investigation is complete, which could take a week or more.- See

St. Louis Encephalitis :

Title_St._Louis_EncephalitisNevada 08/26/16 Las Vegas health officials say they’ve identified the first human case of St. Louis encephalitis in nearly a decade. The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday announced that a man over the age of 50 has been infected by a more serious, neuroinvasive form of the mosquito-borne virus. The man who isn’t being identified has already been treated and released from the hospital. He marks the first human case of St. Louis encephalitis in Clark County since 2007. – See




Not a photo of the cat in this report.

Ontario 08/26/16 Health officials say an Ontario man is undergoing treatment after being bitten by a cat that tested positive for rabies. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it was notified Thursday by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that a stray cat had bitten someone in Caledonia. They say they are working with Hamilton Public Health to see if anyone else was exposed to the same cat because it came from a rural part of the city.- See

New Jersey 08/26/16 A kitten that had been taken in and cared for by a Hammonton couple has been confirmed as Atlantic County’s ninth rabies case of the year. The Atlantic County Division of Public Health reports that the couple’s outdoor cat brought home three kittens in June that were cared for by a couple living on Washington Street. One kitten became ill and was taken to a veterinary hospital for treatment on August 18. It displayed neurological symptoms consistent with rabies and soon died. It was confirmed positive for rabies by the state lab on August 24.- See


Not a photo of the cat in this report.

Virginia 08/26/16 by Kevin Green – A cat that reportedly chased and a bit a person in Chesapeake tested positive for rabies, health officials confirmed Thursday. Officials say a cat “aggressively chased and bit” at least one person in an industrial park in the Greenbriar section of the city. “He saw the cat and kinda dismissed it, turned around and started walking away,” Abe Rivera, who worked with the man said. “It came up behind him and bit it him on the leg.” The cat was reportedly captured and is no longer a threat, but officials say it tested positive for rabies. Officials say there are numerous feral cats and animals in the area that could have been exposed. “Those cats like go to the same food sources, they mate, they fight, so yes we are concerned about maybe more,” Lisa Engle of the Chesapeake Health Department said. – See

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