Author Archives: Jerry Genesio

Was the U.S. blood industry’s supply of raw plasma flowing in from Latin American and Caribbean countries in the 1970s contaminated with Hepatitis C?


LAMB’S BLOOD is a novel based on a human blood collecting operation in Nicaragua that was exporting its product in huge quantities to U.S. blood industry facilities in the 1970s.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is a contagious liver disease caused by a virus. Those who contract the disease are at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. There was no screening test for HCV prior to the 1990s, and it was known the disease was heavily endemic throughout Latin America and the Caribbean region. Nevertheless, the U.S. blood industry was importing raw human blood products from a great many of the Latin American and Caribbean nations in the 1970s and 1980s. Other human blood transmitted diseases include Hepatitis A and B, HIV/AIDS, Chagas, Malaria, West Nile Virus, and others.

LAMB’S BLOOD is now available through, the Kindle Store, and through local independent bookstores.


SALMONELLA cases in WASHINGTON linked to contact with HEDGEHOGS ~ Scientists find more WEST NILE VIRUS in orchards and vineyards.

Hedgehog. Courtesy CDC.

Hedgehog. Courtesy CDC.

Washington 01/31/13 News Release – Seven cases of Salmonella infection in Washington residents have been linked to a national outbreak traced to contact with hedgehogs. The Department of Health is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other states to investigate Salmonella illnesses associated with hedgehogs. The seven Salmonella illnesses linked to exposure to hedgehogs, including one death, were reported to the Department of Health WAdoh-square-fbover the past year. Tests have shown the specific type of Salmonella matches that found in 20 people from seven other states across the country. Pet hedgehogs can carry Salmonella and other diseases, even if the animals do not appear to be sick. People can be infected during routine pet care for their pet hedgehogs, which can shed bacteria that can contaminate cages, toys, bedding, or household surfaces. Even without touching a hedgehog, people can be infected by touching objects contaminated by infected hedgehogs. The cases in Washington have come from King, Pierce (2), Thurston, Whitman, Clark, and Spokane counties. – For complete release see

West Nile Virus (WNV):

washington-state-university-pullman-logoNational 01/30/13 Washington State University researchers have linked orchards and vineyards with a greater prevalence of West Nile virus in mosquitoes and the insects’ ability to spread the virus to birds, horses and people. The finding, reported in the latest issue of the journal PLOS ONE, is the most finely scaled look at the interplay between land use and with the virus’s activity in key hosts.

Dr. David Crowder

Dr. David Crowder

By giving a more detailed description of how the disease moves across the landscape, it opens the door to management efforts that might bring the disease under control, says David Crowder, a WSU entomologist and the paper’s lead author. Since it was first seen in New York in 1999, West Nile virus has reached across the country and shown few signs of abating. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control had the highest number of reported cases—5,387, including 243 deaths—since 2003. – For complete article see

MAN in northern BRITISH COLUMBIA dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ Impact of free-ranging DOMESTIC CATS on WILDLIFE in the UNITED STATES ~ MONTANA wolf trapper snags MOUNTAIN LION, PARK EMPLOYEE, and PARK RANGER ~ UTAH officers put down three MOUNTAIN LIONS for attacking family PETS ~ Endangered MEXICAN GRAY WOLF released in ARIZONA ~ More show HORSES quarantined with EQUINE HERPES VIRUS in COLORADO ~ RABIES reports from CA, & TX.

Deer mouse. Image by U.S. Army Medical Department.

Deer mouse. Image by U.S. Army Medical Department.


British Columbia 01/28/13 Health officials from B.C. and Yukon are in Atlin, B.C., today looking for the source of a deadly case of Hantavirus. The rare disease is normally spread through the urine and feces from deer mice. Officials confirmed the virus was responsible for the death of Gerhard Holmok, 45, earlier this month. Holmok died suddenly Jan. 9 at the Whitehorse hospital. Doctor Ronald Chapman, the Chief Medical Health officer for northern B.C., said the Atlin death is the most northerly case of Hantavirus ever diagnosed in the province. “Up until 1995, the farthest north the virus occurred in B.C. is up to Williams Lake, so this is certainly the farthest north.” – For complete article see

Domestic Cats:

80ab05b3670e2bdcb7165060f8167dfdNational 01/29/13 by Natalie Angier – In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat. The estimated kill rates are two to four times higher than mortality figures previously bandied about, and position the domestic cat as one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats, the report said, than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills and other so-called anthropogenic causes. Peter Marra of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and an author of the report, said the mortality figures that emerge from the new model “are shockingly high.” “When we ran the model, we WA_Fish&Wildlifedidn’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Marra, who performed the analysis with his colleague, Scott R. Loss, and Tom Will of the Fish and Wildlife Service. “We were absolutely stunned by the results.” The study appeared Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The findings are the first serious estimate of just how much wildlife America’s vast population of free-roaming domestic cats manages to kill each year. – For complete article see

Mountain Lions:

mountainLionFace_MTfwpMontana 01/30/13 by Tristan Scott – A mountain lion caught recently in a wolf foothold trap set on the southwestern boundary of Glacier National Park was turned loose by state wildlife officials, but the National Park Service employee who discovered the animal and reported it to game wardens was caught the following day when he sprang a second trap in the same area. The seasonal employee discovered the trapped mountain lion Jan. 19 along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River just outside of the park boundary, which is defined by the high-water mark on the north side of the river. The park employee was conducting wildlife research and reported the trapped cougar to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials. Erik Wenum, an FWP wildlife specialist, responded to the scene near Harrison Creek and darted and released the mountain lion. He also issued a trapping violation to the trapper for exceeding the amount of exposed bait permitted as an attractant. According to the state’s wolf trapping regulations, no trap may be set within 30 feet of an exposed carcass or bait that is visible from above, a measure intended to minimize the number of raptors unintentionally caught in the traps. FWP Warden Capt. Lee Anderson said the park employee returned to the area with a park ranger the following day and, while attempting to show the ranger where the incident had occurred, accidentally sprung another trap, which caught the bottom of his heel. The employee, who was wearing waders, was not injured. – For complete article see

DSC_9491_mountain_lion_family_crop-1Utah 01/29/13 By Caroline Kingsley – Two pets were attacked by mountain lions early Tuesday morning in Woodland. One pet was found dead and another injured less than a mile away. The incidents are still under investigation, and information about what type of pets were attacked has not yet been released. An officer from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) responded to the report and was able to quickly track one of the mountain lions responsible for the animal’s death and euthanize it. Two more mountain lions were discovered by late morning. In all, three mountain lions were captured and euthanized: one adult female and two young mountain lions. Douglas estimates there are about six incidents in Northern Utah involving mountain lions each year. “It happens especially near people that live in areas close to the winter range where deer come down. That’s what mountain lions are following,” Douglass said. – For complete article see

Mexican Gray Wolf:

MexicanGrayWolf_AZgame&fishArizona 01/29/13 by Alicia Graef – This month, a 4-year-old Mexican gray wolf known as M1133 is getting a taste of the wild after being  released into Arizona’s Apache National Forest in the hope that he will join the Bluestem wolf pack, whose alpha male was illegally killed last year. M1133′s release marks the first time a Mexican gray wolf has been released since 2008. The species once roamed vast portions of the Southwest and Mexico, but were eradicated by the 1900s in the U.S. over conflicts with humans and livestock, while populations dwindled in Mexico. In the 1980s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, which recommended a captive breeding program and supported a goal of maintaining at least 100 wolves in their historic range. Fish and Wildlife officials hope that M1133 will pair up with the Bluestem pack’s alpha female, who has still not chosen a new mate. However, some are still concerned that even if he does, it still will not boost their small population. As of now, the number of Mexican gray wolves in the wild is estimated to be less than 60 in New Mexico and Arizona with just six breeding pairs, and recovery efforts have been an uphill battle. – For complete article see

Equine Herpes Virus:

tjrhorsehealthalert-gray-horse-stallColorado 01/30/13 Colorado agriculture officials have confirmed that a horse that was used during the National Western Stock Show in Denver has a potentially fatal virus. The 6-year-old gelding from Texas was part of a team of quarter horses that pulled a stagecoach during rodeo performances during the National Western Stock Show that ended Sunday. The infected horse is among seven horses that have been quarantined at the National Western Stock Show coliseum due to concerns about equine herpes virus, and a hold order was placed on six other horses still being tested. – See

Cat-RabiesCalifornia 01/29/13 Sonoma County: A cat that was taken to a veterinarian on Monday by its owner because it was displaying strange and aggressive behavior has tested positive for rabies. Family members are being treated for exposure to the virus and officials are evaluating neighbors for potential risk of exposure. – See

320x240Texas 01/30/13 Gregg and Harrison counties: A woman is receiving post-exposure rabies shots after being bitten by a bat Monday at Home Depot in Longview. The woman was picking up concrete blocks to load onto a cart at the time. The bat could not be located. – See

COYOTE pack chasing PUPPY break glass door in ILLINOIS neighborhood ~ EQUESTRIAN centers on alert after HORSE in NEW YORK competition diagnosed with EQUINE HERPES VIRUS ~ RABIES reports from FL, GAx3, NJ, NCx2, ND, OK, PA, TX, VA, & CANADA: ALBERTA.

Coyote. Photo by Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Coyote. Photo by Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Illinois 01/26/13 by Craig Wall – A pack of coyotes chasing after a puppy broke several panes of glass in the door of a west suburban home Friday as they tried to chase the dog into the house. There were three dogs — Lexie, Snoopy, and Bella — in the fenced-in backyard of the home in the 0-100 block of South Herbert Road just after 1 a.m. The homeowner, Roger Nelson, had just called them in when he heard a rustling in the darkness. Moments later he saw four coyotes racing towards him and his dogs. “They jumped the fence, the golden retriever and I have a German shepherd puppy she made it inside and I ‘ve got a little beagle and I mean he barely made it inside,” Nelson says. “If they would have got one more step they would have grabbed him.” Nelson quickly let the dog in but the coyotes, perhaps driven by hunger, were not deterred by the louvered glass door that came between them and a potential meal. They began to paw at the rear glass door of the home, trying to get at the barking puppy. “They jumped on the door here and started busting the glass with their paws,  jumping on it, growling,” Nelson explains. “I mean, the hair was standing up on their back, you could see all their teeth.” Roger’s wife Lauren heard the commotion and came running downstairs to see the coyotes trying to break in their home. “I literally, really thought they were going to come into the house,” Lauren says. “I was so scared for the dogs, for us, for the kids, it just scared me to death.” The coyotes were finally scared away when Roger fired a high-powered BB gun at them, striking two of them, police said. The dogs were unharmed. “I shot them, they yelped,” Roger says. “A couple of them ran down, one looked like he almost fell down the stairs. When we came back out they were nowhere to be found.”

Coyote's teeth. Photo by U.S. Department of Energy.

Coyote’s teeth. Photo by U.S. Department of Energy.

When police arrived, the coyotes were gone, but several panes of glass on the outer door were broken and the coyotes also broke glass on the main entry door as they tried to get at the puppy. Police Sgt. Bill Gutschick said in a statement that in his 25 years on duty, this was the first time he’s heard of coyotes trying to get into a home while chasing a pet. Riverside has had other recent reports of coyotes attacking pets, Weitzel said, and on Jan. 3, a 7-month-old Bichon-Poo puppy was killed in the 100 block of Addison Road. Weitzel urged residents to be aware of wild animals in the area. “Coyotes do not know the difference between pets and the wild creatures they hunt, so try to protect pets by accompanying them outdoors,” he said. “Use a short leash, as coyotes have been known to attack animals that are on long leashes. Most importantly, use caution near any wild animal.” – See video at
Equine Herpes Virus:

horses-temperature-800x800New York/New Jersey 01/27/13 by Stephen Canning – Horse farms throughout New Jersey and New York have been quarantined and temporarily shut after a horse in a Newburgh, N.Y., competition was diagnosed with the neurological form of equine herpes virus Type 1. Among the quarantined farms is the North Jersey Equestrian Center of Pequannock. Lynne Richmond, public information officer for the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, said the agency was informed of the sick horse on Jan. 18. The animal, from a farm in Gladstone, was immediately tested at the state Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. Afterward, the department confirmed that just that one horse was positive with the virus. Working with the New York State Veterinarian’s Office, the department conducted a “trace back” of the horse’s movements. During the weekend of the Jan. 12 Newburgh competition, the animal came into contact with 11 other horses, including three from the farm in Pequannock’s Pompton Plains section. Those 11 horses have been identified and tested and are being monitored. As of Friday, none of the 11 horses showed signs of the illness, said Richmond. – For complete article see

Author’s Note: The horse pictured above is not the sick horse that was in the New York competition. Equine herpes virus Type 1 has not been known to infect people but it can be transported on their clothes, boots, etc.


little_brown_bat-1Florida 01/22/13 Polk County: An injured bat found in Lake Wales on Jan. 18th has tested positive for rabies. A homeowner said his three dogs were probably in contact with the bat near his house on 1st Avenue North. – See

DSC_0879USDAGeorgia 01/28/13 Effingham County: A raccoon that got into a fight with a family dog in Guyton has tested positive for rabies. – See

Georgia 01/25/13 Barrow County: A raccoon that attacked a family dog off Alexander Street in Winder on Tuesday night has tested positive for rabies. – See

Plott%20Pups%20Treed%201%20-%2011A%20Feb%202006Georgia 01/25/13 Gwinnett County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert after two raccoons found in Buford tested positive for rabies. One was found on Jan 16th in the 3600 block of Sardis Church Road, and the other on the same day in the 800 block of Cannodale Court. – See

dog_skunk_338171703New Jersey 01/18/13 Middlesex County: A skunk that attacked a dog on Jan. 14th in the vicinity of Patron Court and Nelson Place in Piscataway has tested positive for rabies. – See


Rabies-Goat1North Carolina 01/25/13 Orange County: A goat that was reported to be acting strangely has tested positive for rabies. – See


raccoon_catNorth Carolina 01/18/13 Cumberland County: Officials are investigating a situation in Fayetteville involving a dead raccoon that was found behind the Family Dollar store on Andrews Road this past Wednesday. The animal appeared to have been dead for about two days and rabies tests were performed but were inconclusive. It was reported that feral cats in the area had been eating the raccoon’s carcass. People are urged to avoid feral cats and other wildlife in the area, to keep pets on a leash, and to check their pets’ vaccination records. – See

Looking-for-Kittens-001North Dakota 01/18/13 Burleigh County: A small, female cat, black with golden eyes, that was found on Sioux Avenue in Bismarck and picked up by animal control officers from an unknown person on Jan. 9th has tested positive for rabies. People who might have been exposed to the cat at any time since Dec. 30, 2012, are urged to seek immediately medical advice. – See

Horse%20MouthOklahoma 01/22/13 Pittsburg County: A horse brought to a veterinarian in McAlester has tested positive for rabies. The owner said the animal refused to eat and was twitching and stumbling. – See

imagesCADRKS47Pennsylvania 01/28/13 Allegheny County: A stray cat found in the Union Avenue Extension area of Oakdale earlier this month has tested positive for rabies. A woman who had been feeding the cat and was exposed to its saliva is being treated. – See

striped-skunks-01_000Texas 01/24/13 Parker County: Animal control officials have issued a Rabies Alert after 10 skunks and at least one dog tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the year. – See

skunk-catVirginia 01/19/13 Smyth County: Twenty-four cats and three dogs have been euthanized after two skunks test positive for rabies in the Stoney Battery and St. Clair’s Creek areas of the county, and a fox believed to be rabid was observed in the Allison Gap area of Saltville. – See


LittleBrownBatAlberta 01/22/13 Calgary: A small brown bat that scratched a local wildlife rehab volunteer after being recovered from a downtown construction site has tested positive for rabies. – See

Scientist says increase in EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS may be partly due to CLIMATE CHANGE ~ New as yet unnamed TICK-borne illness discovered in the NORTHEAST ~ WHO says DENGUE is world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease ~ RABIES reports from CT, NY, NC, RI, VA, & Canada: MANITOBA.


National 01/17/13 by Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter – Although still rare, the extremely serious disease known as Eastern equine encephalitis may be affecting more people than before. In a recent review of two epidemics of Eastern equine encephalitis since the mid-2000s, researchers found 15 cases of the mosquito-borne illness among children in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Normally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention records about five to 10 cases a year nationwide. “This virus is rare, but it’s among the world’s most dangerous viruses, and it’s in your own backyard,” said lead review author Dr. Asim Ahmed, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Childrens-Hospital1In 2012 alone, Massachusetts had seven documented cases of Eastern equine encephalitis, which is the highest number of infections reported since 1956. What’s more, the first human case ever in Vermont was reported in 2012. And, public health surveillance indicates that the virus that causes Eastern equine encephalitis may now have traveled as far north as Maine and Nova Scotia, Canada. Results of the review are published in the February issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. – For complete article see

Deer tick. Courtesy CDC.

Deer tick. Courtesy CDC.

National 01/16/13 by Beth Daley – Researchers have discovered a new human disease in the Northeast transmitted by the same common deer tick that can infect people with Lyme disease. The bacterial illness causes flu-like symptoms, the researchers from Tufts, Yale, and other institutions reported Wednesday, but they also described the case of an 80-year-old woman who became confused and withdrawn, lost weight, and developed hearing difficulty and a wobbly gait. The woman, from New Jersey, recovered after receiving antibiotics. Researchers estimate that 1 percent of the population in areas where Lyme is widespread — such as western Massachusetts and Cape Cod and the Islands — may be infected by the new bacteria, which can be transmitted by the tick when it is as small as a poppy seed. Lyme disease is thought to be 7 to 10 times more prevalent in these areas.

090407telfordmidThe discovery, disclosed in a paper and letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, marks the fifth human illness spread by deer ticks in the region, highlighting growing concerns about the threat posed by ticks and the burgeoning population of their hosts — deer. The disease is so new it remains unnamed and there is no readily-available test for doctors to screen for it, although some are being developed.  “It was right under our nose the whole time,’’ said Sam Telford, a professor at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine who studies tick-borne diseases, and one of the authors on the paper about the elderly woman. He said the bacterium, known as Borrelia miyamotoi, has been known to exist in deer ticks for about decade. But it was not believed to cause human illness until researchers last year linked it to 46 sick people in Russia, some with relapsing fevers. One scientist said the new disease might be the cause of unexplained symptoms, from fatigue to cognitive decline, in some people who believe they have Lyme but do not test positive for that bacteria. – For complete article see

dengue-collage1Global 01/16/13 by Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters – Dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat”, infecting an estimated 50 million people across all continents, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. Transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes, the disease is occurring more widely due to increased movement of people and goods – including carrier objects such as bamboo plants and used tires – as well as floods linked to climate change, the United Nations agency said. The viral disease, which affected only a handful of areas in the 1950s, is now present in more than 125 countries – significantly more than malaria, historically the most notorious mosquito-borne disease. The most advanced vaccine against dengue is only 30 percent effective, trials last year showed.

who-logo“In 2012, dengue ranked as the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease with an epidemic potential in the world, registering a 30-fold increase in disease incidence over the past 50 years,” the WHO said in a statement. Late last year, Europe suffered its first sustained outbreak since the 1920s, with 2,000 people infected on the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira. Worldwide, 2 million cases of dengue are reported each year by 100 countries, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, causing 5,000 to 6,000 deaths, said Dr. Raman Velayudhan, a specialist at the WHO’s control of neglected tropical diseases department. But the true number is far higher as the disease has spread exponentially and is now present on all continents, he said. “The WHO estimates that on average about 50 million cases occur every year. This is a very conservative estimate,” Velayudhan told Reuters, adding that some independent studies put the figure at 100 million. – For complete article see


Connecticut 01/17/13 New London County: Health officials confirmed Wednesday that a raccoon captured in Groton in the vicinity of Fishtown Road has tested positive for rabies. – See - Copy/raccoon-in-groton-tests-positive-for-rabies

New York 01/17/13 St. Lawrence County: During the last few weeks a raccoon captured in the vicinity of Castle Drive in Potsdam, and a skunk captured in Lisbon have both tested positive for rabies. – See

A Lamancha goat.

A Lamancha goat.

North Carolina 01/17/13 Orange County: A black and white Lamancha goat kept near Brookhollow and Bane roads in Efland has tested positive for rabies. – See

Rhode Island 01/17/13 Washington County: A person that was bitten by a raccoon in an unprovoked attacked on Monday night is being treated for possible exposure to rabies. The incident occurred on Heritage Road in North Kingstown. Attempts to capture the raccoon failed and the animal remains at large however, if it was infected with rabies it may now be dead. Always seek immediate medical advice if a person or a pet is exposed to a raccoon whether alive or dead. – See

Virginia 01/17/13 Norfolk: A raccoon that was killed by two dogs  in the 3700 block of Wedgefield Avenue in the Ingleside section of the city has tested positive for rabies. – See


havahart-skunk_120Manitoba 01/17/13 Winnipeg: A skunk that attacked and bit a family’s pet dog recently has tested positive for rabies. – See

DEER in ILLINOIS is DuPage County’s first case of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from MD, MN, NE, RI, SC, & VA.

Whitetail deer. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Whitetail deer. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Illinois 01/15/13 The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to further test for chronic wasting disease after a deer was found to have the illness in logo-idnrthe district’s Mallard Lake Forest Preserve next to Hanover Park. “There is no threat to the public’s health or safety,” said the Forest Preserve District’s ecologist Brian Kraskiewicz. “However, we’ll be working with the IDNR to test additional deer to determine if this was an anomaly or if there is an issue among the herd.” Kraskiewicz said that the forest district’s deer management program already helps control the transmission of diseases such as CWD. Last year, the district culled 250 deer as part of that program, with 85 tested according to IDNR standards. The disease recently was found in one deer and, because of that finding, another 20 deer will be culled over the next three weeks from Mallard Lake and Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve, which borders Mallard Lake also next to Hanover Park. . . . Chronic wasting disease is a progressive neurological disease that affects elk, deer and moose, and was first detected in Illinois’ Boone County in 2002. There have been 372 positive results found in 11 northern Illinois counties since. The new case is the first in DuPage County. – For complete article see


6183687956_0905f1bf96_oMaryland 01/14/13 Carroll County: A young, distressed cat that a Sykesville resident attempted to rescue in a community near Main Street has tested positive for rabies. – See

Horse%20TeethMinnesota 01/09/13 Mower County: Health officials confirmed on Jan. 4th that a horse stabled in the county has tested positive for rabies. The horse’s owner reported the animal had become weak, began head pressing and falling and having difficulty rising. –

cow15dfNebraska 01/15/13 Cherry County: A cow submitted by a veterinarian has tested positive for rabies. – See

111009110345_Raccoon3 - CopyRhode Island 01/15/13 Washington County: A raccoon that attacked a person and two dogs Monday on Heritage Road in North Kingstown was not captured but is presumed to have rabies. Residents are asked to report wildlife acting strangely. – See

rabiesAlert521d4-1South Carolina 01/09/13 Charleston County: Health officials confirmed today that five adults and one teenager have been exposed to a cat that tested positive for rabies. – See

raccoon454 - CopyVirginia 01/14/13 Danville: A raccoon found in the vicinity of Westover Drive has tested positive for rabies. – See

CALIFORNIA scientists find new VIRUS causing fatal BRAIN CANCER in RACCOONS ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: WASHINGTON wildlife officials schedule public meetings to discuss GRAY WOLF recovery & management ~ IOWA reports rapid increase in domestic DEER with CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORT: MASSACHUSETTS BOBCAT had RABIES ~ Other RABIES reports from GA, & VA.

Raccoon kit.  Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Raccoon kit. Photo courtesy National Park Service.

California 01/09/13 by Brandon Keim – An outbreak of a previously unknown virus that causes fatal brain cancer in raccoons has been detected in northern California and southern Oregon. Tumors and the new virus were found in 10 raccoons autopsied between March 2010 and May 2012. Nothing like them had been seen before in raccoons, in which tumors are very rare. There’s no reason to think the virus could be contagious to humans. Its emergence does, however, raise fascinating questions about how it evolved and whether patterns of suburban development actually fueled its rise. “We need to understand how infectious pathogens are empowered by global ucd_logochanges,” said veterinary pathologist Patty Pesavento of the University of California, Davis, leader of the team studying the new disease, which was reported in the January issue of Emerging Infectious Disease. “If there’s a new niche, pathogens will find it.” Nine of the raccoons came from around Marin County, just north of San Francisco, and the 10th was sent from southern Oregon. The raccoons had been spotted wandering in daylight, approaching humans, falling unconscious and generally displaying signs of neurological distress. Tumors appeared to have formed in their olfactory tracts, spread to their frontal lobes and compressed their mid-brains (see picture below). Reviews of scientific literature and calls to veterinary pathologists across North America found no precedents.

Patty Pasavento, DVM

Patty Pasavento, DVM

In each of the tumors, but not in brain tissue from raccoons tested for comparison, Pesavento’s team found an unknown form of polyomavirus, one of a group of viruses known to cause a rare form of skin cancer in humans and tumors in other animals, including mice and birds. Pesavento’s team called it raccoon polyomavirus. “The connection between the novel polyomavirus and these raccoon brain tumors is strong,” said disease ecologist Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies, who was not involved in the research. The exact virulence and contagiousness of the new virus is unknown, but there’s reason to think it’s high. Raccoons killed by the tumors accounted for more than one-fifth of all the raccoons Pesavento’s group autopsied between March 2010 and May 2012, and the cases they saw are likely the disease’s tip. Citation: “Novel Polyomavirus associated with Brain Tumors in Free-Ranging Raccoons, Western United States.” By Florante N. Dela Cruz, Federico Giannitti, Linlin Li, Leslie W. Woods, Luis Del Valle, Eric Delwart, and Patricia A. Pesavento. Emerging Infectious Disease, Vol. 19 No. 1, January 2013. – For complete article see



WashingtonDepFishWildlifeWashington 01/07/13 News Release – The recovery and management of gray wolves in Washington and other western states will be the topic of three public meetings this month hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). A panel of experts will discuss ongoing efforts to recover Washington’s gray wolf population, the latest information from population surveys in Washington and gray wolf management strategies used in other states.  “Wolves are a high-profile species that attract considerable public interest from people who often have opposing views,” said Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “This is a great opportunity for people interested in gray wolves to hear from experts about the recovery of the species throughout the West.” Keynote speakers include Mike Jimenez, Rocky Mountain wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Wyoming; Carter Niemeyer, retired wolf specialist wolf_packwith the USFWS and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services; and Donny Martorello, WDFW carnivore section manager.  Lorna Smith, executive director of Western Wildlife Outreach, an independent wild carnivore education organization based in the state of Washington, will moderate the meetings. Each meeting will include an opportunity for the public to submit questions to the presenters about wolf recovery and management. The public meetings are scheduled for:

  • Jan. 16 – Center Place Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley, 6-8 p.m.
  • Jan. 17 – Office Building #2, at 14th Ave. and Jefferson St., Olympia, 2:30-5 p.m.
  • Jan. 18 – Magnuson Park’s Garden Room, 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, 6-8 p.m.

For further details see

Chronic Wasting Disease:

deerstare2Iowa 01/08/13 : by Mark Newman – News of domesticated deer with chronic wasting disease may become more common. As for the wild deer population, scientists still want assistance. Last week, a third deer in Davis County was revealed to have chronic wasting disease. The state said Pine Ridge hunting preserve cooperated with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in putting up a fence-inside-a-fence to keep their deer from going nose-to-nose with wild deer. And whenever a client on their preserve successfully hunts a deer, that animal is given over to the DNR for testing. Chronic wasting disease causes deer to lose weight, to stumble around or to act extremely sleepy. It eventually results in death of the deer. DNR deer biologist Tom Litchfield told the Courier Monday there are other illnesses that mimic CWD, but any deer that show such symptoms are tested anyway. Scientists have said CWD is not a danger to humans, even those who eat deer meat — though they never recommend eating any infected meat. The initial positive sample was confirmed in July, submitted from a deer shot in December 2011. The second positive test was confirmed Dec. 12, 2012, from a deer Deer%20Farmharvested Dec. 1. The fear among state officials and nature enthusiasts is that an infected deer in a pen did or will give the disease to deer in the wilderness. The third sample came from a male deer harvested Dec. 15 at the Pine Ridge Hunting Preserve in Davis County. That brings the number of known infected deer in Iowa from zero six months ago to 13 as of this week. All are from enclosed hunting or breeding facilities. – For complete article see

Follow-Up Report:

(See Likely RABID BOBCAT attacks MASSACHUSETTS MAN and his NEPHEW posted 01/08/13)

bobcat3WiscDNRMassachusetts 01/09/13 A bobcat that attacked two people in Brookfield on January 6th has tested positive for rabies. A third was exposed to the animal’s blood. All three had already begun receiving post-exposure rabies vaccinations. – See

Other Rabies Reports:

spitting llamaGeorgia 01/08/13 Fannin County: Health officials confirm four people in Morgantown were exposed to a pet llama that has tested positive for rabies. – See

skunk245mn2Virginia 01/08/13 James City County: A skunk found in the Oakland Subdivision area of the county has tested positive for rabies. – See