Author Archives: Jerry Genesio

ALASKAN infected with TRICHINOSIS after eating BLACK BEAR meat ~ CANADA: MANITOBAN dies of HANTAVIRUS ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from ID, & MO ~ COYOTE report from ILLINOIS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CA, FL, & TX.

Black bear. Photo by Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Alaska 10/25/12 by Michelle Theriault Boots – The black bear meat tasted delicious. Sean Sullivan didn’t know it would give him trichinosis. “Like the best steak you’ve ever had,” said the 32-year-old oil platform worker from Nikiski. It was early summer and Sullivan was at his remote cabin east of McGrath. There were a lot of black bears in the area, he said. One day Sullivan was heading back to the cabin to sharpen a chain saw when he saw a bear trying to break in. “I noticed a big black fuzzy thing halfway through the door,” he said. Sullivan pulled out a pistol and shot the six-foot tall bear. (He says he reported the killing to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.) Later he and a friend skinned the animal and stored the meat in freezer bags in the river to keep it cold. For dinner he cooked some of the meat in a skillet with butter, pepper and garlic salt. He ate the bear with peas and rice, sitting on the porch of a cabin with a view of the nearby Trimokish Hills.

Bear steak.

Looking back, Sullivan says the meat seemed to be cooked to “something a little more than medium rare.” “It obviously wasn’t enough,” he said. That became clear six weeks later, when he started noticing uncharacteristic soreness in his legs and back. Next came an upset stomach, flu-like symptoms and a high fever. He became sensitive to sound. His eyes hurt. Then his wife found him in the bathtub in the middle of the night in the midst of a fever hallucination about snowmachine repair. “I kept saying, ‘I’m trying to figure this out, I almost got it figured out,'” he says. His wife had already figured out that it was time for Sullivan to get to a hospital.

At first, doctors thought he might have meningitis. But then they started down a “strange line of questioning,” he remembers: Had he gone hunting recently? Had he shot any bears? Had he eaten them? A diagnosis soon followed: Trichinosis. It’s caused by eating raw or undercooked meat infected with the larvae of a worm called Trichinella, which reproduces and eventually travels through arteries to become cysts in muscle tissue. The disease, most associated with pork, can cause a litany of symptoms from aching joints to swelling of the face and eyes and in serious cases can be fatal. Worldwide, about 10,000 cases of trichinosis are recorded each year. In the United States, the number has dropped from 400 per year on average in the 1940s to 20 or fewer today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That drop can be attributed to better sanitary practices in the pork industry and improved public awareness of the risks of eating raw or undercooked meat, the CDC says. – For complete article see



Deer mouse. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Manitoba 10/26/12 by Joyanne Pursaga – A Manitoban has died from complications of hantavirus infection for the first time in 12 years. The province says the middle-aged Winnipeg man was otherwise healthy when he passed away last week. His is the first such death in Manitoba since 2000. The virus is found in the urine, feces and saliva of infected deer mice. Manitoba Health is warning people about the rare but highly fatal air-borne hantavirus. – For complete article see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Idaho 10/26/12 Ada County: Wildlife officials plan to set mountain lion traps on Saturday along the Boise River between the Glenwood Bridge and Eagle Road. More than 10 mountain lion sightings have been reported in the vicinity in the last three weeks ranging from Eagle, to Garden City, to east Boise. Last week, a dog was attacked. Officials say, while the traps are set, people out on the Greenbelt should keep pets on a leash. – See

Missouri 10/26/12 Reynolds County: Officials have confirmed a photo of a mountain lion taken by a trail camera on October 10th in the Current River Conservation Area about five miles south of Ellington. – See

Coyote Attacks:

Illinois 10/26/12 DuPage County: City officials confirm there have been 20 reports of coyote sightings in Wheaton as of October 10th, and there were 22 similar reports last month. A new interactive map has been published that allows residents to report exactly where they’ve seen coyotes. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

California 10/26/12 Marin County: Mosquito and vector control officials have confirmed that five more WNV infected birds have tested positive in the communities of San Rafael, Novato, Ross, Corte Madera, and Greenbrae. – See

Florida 10/25/12 Suwannee County: Health officials advise there has been increased mosquito-borne disease activity in some areas of the county and two horses have tested positive for WNV. – See

Texas 10/26/12 Hidalgo County: Health officials have confirmed that another horse has tested positive for WNV in the city of Edinburg bringing the total number of WNV cases in the county this year to five: three equine and two human cases. – See

MINNESOTA YOUNGSTER attacked by possibly RABID RACCOON ~ FLORIDA WOMAN hospitalized after being attacked by COYOTE ~ Two MOUNTAIN LIONS concern CALIFORNIA officials ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CDC NATIONAL, CAx2, FL, MS, & TX ~ RABIES reports from AR, FL, IL, & ME ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending October 20, 2012.

Photo by Svdmolen. Wikimedia Commons.

Minnesota 10/25/12 Mower County: A raccoon that attacked and bit a 3-year-old girl near Austin will be tested for rabies. The girl’s father killed the raccoon after her mother saw it biting her daughter’s arm and kicked it away. – See

Florida 10/25/12 Brevard County: A Malabar woman was hospitalized on Wednesday after being attacked by a coyote in the 500 block of Hall Road.  The woman’s daughter-in-law shot the animal. – See

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 10/24/12 Contra Costa County: A woman walking with her child in a stroller on a trail in the vicinity of Lake Drive in Kensington on Friday spotted a mountain lion about 2,000 feet north of the Berkeley border and about the same distance east of the Little Farm in Tilden Park. – See

California 10/24/12 Los Angeles County: Hikers in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park found a dead mountain lion a short distance from one of the trails. State wildlife officials are investigating. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 10/23/12 Update – 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,725 cases of WNV disease in people, including 219 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,413 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,312 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 4,725 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the fourth week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see

California 10/23/12 San Bernardino County: A man in his 70s from Rancho Cucamonga is the first WNVrelated fatality in the county this year. – See

California 10/24/12 San Mateo County: Health officials today confirmed a squirrel in San Mateo tested positive for WNV. The squirrel tested positive for WNV chronic, which officials say indicates a low infection level, meaning the infection was not acquired this year and is a lesser concern to public health officials. – See

Florida 10/23/12 Duval County: A 39-year-old woman is the 26th human case of WNV in the county this year. –

Mississippi 10/24/12 The state’s health department has confirmed 8 new human cases of WNV in the past week occurring in seven counties, including 1 case in Sunflower County. Two positive cases had earlier been reported in Bolivar County. There have been 233 human cases statewide this year, including 5 deaths. – See

Texas 10/24/12 Jim Wells County: A 14-month-old baby in the city of Alice is the first confirmed human case of WNV in the county. – See


Arkansas 10/25/12 Fulton County: A dead skunk found in a resident’s backyard near a fenced area where unvaccinated dogs are kept has tested positive for rabies. So far this year officials have confirmed 115 cases of rabies statewide including 90 skunks. – See

Florida 10/25/12 Brevard County: Officials say a bat found in Melbourne on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies. – See

Illinois 10/25/12 Will County: A bat trapped beneath a light pole outside a residence in Elwood is the 12th positive rabies case in the county this year, which marks a new record. Previously, the 11 cases confirmed in 2007 held the record. – See

Maine 10/26/12 Cumberland County: A Falmouth woman is trying to identify a dog so she can spare her 5-year-old daughter a series of rabies shots. Gia Davis said her daughter was walking with a care-giver on one of Portland’s trails near the Ocean Avenue dog park about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday when a dog attacked her. The care-giver and witnesses told Davis that the girl, who was already afraid of dogs, curled up in a fetal position and the dog bit her in the back of the neck and broke the skin, Davis said. The dog retreated after a woman called for it. “We were probably pretty lucky,” Davis said. “This dog had her by the back of the neck.”

Now, Davis wants to make sure the dog has had a rabies shot, so that her daughter doesn’t have to get a series of five shots, including two at the site of the puncture. “I have to vaccinate her. It’s most likely not needed, but I don’t know 100 percent and I have to make a pretty quick call,” Davis said. She must hear by Friday night or she will have to start the treatment, she said. The care-giver, who is a nurse, tried to get the name of the dog’s owner, Davis said. The woman said her name was Regina and she was from Vermont. She gave her a phone number with a Vermont area code. When they tried to call the number later, it was disconnected. Davis said the number may have been copied wrong, but either way, she wants to know whether the dog is up to date on its vaccinations. Dogs must be licensed in Maine and must have up-to-date rabies vaccinations to be licensed. Davis said she has few clues about the dog’s identity. It appeared to be a mixed breed related to a pit bull though somewhat bigger, like a Labrador retriever, she said.

The woman was with a man, and they appeared to be in their 30s. He had a short, scruffy beard and she had shoulder- length, straight dark hair and was wearing a green L.L. Bean-style vest, the care-giver told Davis. They appeared to be with another couple, who had two yellow Labrador retrievers, Davis said. Anyone with information is asked to call Lt. John Kilbride at the Falmouth Police Department.

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending October 20, 2012:

Published October 26, 2012/ 61(42); ND-579-ND-592

Anaplasmosis . . . 7 . . . Missouri, New York (6),

Babesiosis . . . 8 . . . New York (8),

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . Florida, Tennessee,    

Ehrlichiosis . . . 12 . . . Florida, Missouri, New York, North Carolina (8), Virginia,

Giardiasis . . . 171 . . . Alabama (3), Arizona (2), Arkansas (3), California (20), Florida (35), Idaho (2), Iowa (4), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), Nevada, New York (34), Ohio (23), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (11), Vermont (2), Washington (15), Wisconsin (2),

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 2 . . . Maryland, New York,

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . Kansas, 

Lyme Disease . . .  119. . .  Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (5), Maine (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (2), New York (54), North Carolina (5), Pennsylvania (29), Virginia (12),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 42. . . Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York (12), Rhode Island (2), Texas (8), Vermont (5), Virginia (12), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 1. . . Indiana,  

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 10 . . . Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina (4), Pennsylvania, Tennessee (3),

Tularemia . . . 8 . . . Oklahoma (8).

Three MASSACHUSETTS tots 2, 6, & 7 bitten by possibly RABID FOX ~ Two MOUNTAIN LION reports from CALIFORNIA ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORT: NEW YORK lab confirms Adirondacks HIKER contracted HANTAVIRUS.

Red fox. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Massachusetts 10/23/12 Hampden County: Earlier this week three children, ages 2, 6, & 7, who were playing outside their Eastwood Acres home in Westfield, were bitten by a sick-looking fox that ran off when the children’s mother hit it with a leaf blower. The children are being treated for potential exposure to rabies. – See

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 10/23/12 Santa Clara County: Police officers in San Jose shot and killed a “sick” looking mountain lion that was trapped in the backyard of a residence at The Villages retirement community on Sunday. They said they were trying to force the animal to leave the complex when it charged at them. – See

California 10/23/12 Los Angeles County: A father who dropped his son off at the Rosemont Middle School in La Crescenta this morning says a mountain lion ran across the street in front of him at Glenwood and Franklin as he was leaving the school. – See

Follow-Up Report:

(See: NEW YORK man camping in the ADIRONDACKS survives suspected case of HANTAVIRUS dated October 14, 2012)

Deer mouse. Courtesy National Park Service.

New York 10/22/12 News Release – The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has received laboratory confirmation of a hantavirus case in New York State. The individual confirmed to have contracted the virus, a Suffolk County man, has since recovered. The individual reports that on August 26, 2012 he was bitten by a rodent while camping in a lean-to shelter in the Adirondacks. According to the man, he did not experience symptoms until late September; he was hospitalized for nearly a week before recovering. The last reported case of hantavirus in the State occurred in Suffolk County in 2011. – For further details see

Author’s Note: Various news sources have identified the individual as Michael Vaughan, 72, a mineral physics professor at Long Island’s Stony Brook University, who was camping near Mount Marcy when the incident occurred.

MICHIGAN confirms more than 8,000 DEER killed by EHD ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from ID, MI, & MT ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from GA, & MI ~ RABIES reports from GA, & WI.

Whitetailed Deer. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 10/21/12 A disease has killed more than 8,000 Michigan deer this year, causing some hunters to possibly skip the season and dealing a blow to shops that sell hunting gear. The number of dead whitetails has climbed significantly since summer when hundreds were reported in just a handful of counties. Deaths now have occurred in much of the southern Lower Peninsula, west of Interstate 75, the result of [epizootic hemorrhagic disease] a disease transmitted by a biting fly [midge], according to the state Department of Natural Resources. “Something has changed that has allowed this virus to persist in the environment,” Brent Rudolph, head of the DNR’s deer program, told The Detroit News. The disease is not a threat to humans. It is transmitted by a midge fly and causes internal bleeding, high fever, loss of appetite and weakness. Summer drought and high temperatures are contributing to the high number of deaths, which stood at 8,671 as of Oct. 8.

Deer with EHD.

Michigan has more than 1 million deer. Officials believe the number of deaths is certain to climb as farmers harvest corn and discover more carcasses. Brian Bouwkamp said nine were found on his family’s 60 acres of hunting ground near Muskegon. “You can smell more dead deer out there,” he said. “But you just can’t get in to investigate. For every one we’ve found, there are probably a lot more.” At Al and Pete’s Sport Shop in Hastings, employee Jeff Schantz said purchases of guns, arrows and crossbows are down. The traditional deer season starts Nov. 15. “Some people aren’t even going to hunt this year,” Schantz said. Steve Hall, who processes deer killed by hunters, said he has not seen many during the archery season. “Everyone I talk to has bad news – people not seeing any deer or people coming across dead ones on their property,” he said. “The upcoming season is basically my Christmas. Sometimes it starts slow but never this slow.” Bouwkamp said he may hold his fire next month. “We want to give whatever deer are left a chance to repopulate,” he said.

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Idaho 10/22/12 Ada County: State wildlife officials have confirmed that a mountain lion attacked a family dog last Thursday at a home in the Meadow Creek neighborhood of Garden City. – See–175263881.html

Michigan 10/22/12 Oakland County: Two people have reported seeing a mountain lion recently near Kensington Metro Park in Milford. Experts say it’s improbable, but possible. Adam Bump, a state wildlife professional, said there has never been a confirmed mountain lion sighting in the Lower Peninsula. – See

Montana 10/22/12 Ravalli County: A Stevensville property owner said a mountain lion killed two llamas in the vicinity of Bass Creek Road on Saturday night. Arden Cowan said he found one of the animals dead and the other fatally wounded. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Georgia 10/22/12 Dougherty County: Health officials have confirmed three more human cases of WNV in the county this month. The county leads the state with 11 confirmed human cases, including two deaths. – See

Michigan 10/22/12 The Department of Community Health says there have been 223 human cases of WNV through Friday, including 13 deaths. There have been 36 cases in the city of Detroit and another 55 cases outside Detroit in Wayne County. Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties combined have 61 cases. Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids, has 44 cases of WNV. – See


Georgia 10/21/12 Madison County: Three skunks involved in separate incidents have tested positive for rabies. The incidents were reported at Sunset Avenue & Hill Street in Comer, on Highway 172 near the intersection of Duffell Martin Road, and in the 1100 block of Duffell Martin Road.  – See

Wisconsin 10/212/12 Dane County: The Department of Public Health is looking for information regarding a dog that bit a man on Thursday around 7 p.m. It happened at Madison‘s Bowman Field, that’s at 1801 Fish Hatchery Rd. If the animal is not located, the victim may be required to complete a series of painful and costly injections to prevent rabies. The man says the dog bit him as he was preparing to play Ultimate Frisbee. The dog is described as a medium-sized gray dog with a collar and leash. The owner of the dog is a white man in his 20’s with brown hair. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police at 255-2345 and ask fro the animal services officer.

CALIFORNIA WOMAN sustains minor injuries from BEAR attack ~ COYOTE report from INDIANA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from LOUISIANA ~ RABIES reports from GA, & TX.

Cinnamon black bear. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 10/19/12 News Release – An Ojai woman sustained minor injuries to her arm and back after being attacked by a bear while walking her dogs at about 7 a.m. Friday. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens confirmed the attack at approximately 3:30 p.m. today and were on scene and continuing the investigation. The victim, a 50-year-old woman, was walking her three dogs on a road just north of the Ojai city limit adjacent to national forest when she apparently surprised a California black bear described as cinnamon brown and approximately 250 pounds with a cub described as 45 to 50 pounds.

The bears ran across the road ahead of her but the sow returned and swiped at the woman’s wrist, causing an approximately one- to two-inch laceration. The bear began to leave, then returned and charged the female who turned her back to the bear. The bear knocked her down an embankment causing several six-inch abrasions which appeared to be claw marks. The bear followed her down the hill and sniffed at the victim who sat still with her head in her lap. She stated the she could feel the bear’s breath on her neck. The bear left after about 10 seconds. The woman got herself up the embankment and called law enforcement. She did not seek medical treatment and has asked to remain anonymous.

Ojai, California.

DFG will attempt to capture the bear. Some trails in the area may be closed to hikers. There is no indication that this is the mother of the bear cub that was found and rescued in Ojai on Friday and transported to a wildlife care center over the weekend. Since 1980, there have been about 15 confirmed bear attacks in California. The most recent was in the fall of 2010 at the Fallen Leaf Lake Campground near Lake Tahoe.

Coyote Attacks:

Indiana 10/20/12 Johnson County: Coyotes have been attacking so many pets in Greenwood that officials seek to hire trappers and are prohibiting residents from leaving food for animals outside. Dozens of pets have been reported dead or missing. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Louisiana 10/19/12 Update – State health officials today confirmed nine new WNV human cases. No WNV deaths occurred this week. So far, there have been 321 human cases and 12 deaths from the disease reported this year. – For complete news release see


Georgia 10/19/12 Gilmer County: A raccoon that attacked a dog on John Call Road in Ellijay has tested positive for rabies. The dog is now in a six month quarantine, and its owner, who was potentially exposed to the virus, is receiving post-exposure treatment. – See

Texas 10/19/12 Travis County: A rabies alert has been issued after two skunks involved in separate incidents in western areas of the county tested positive for rabies. –

EQUINE WEST NILE VIRUS cases now at 518 nationally ~ COYOTE report from ILLINOIS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from GA, IL, OK, & SC ~ RABIES report from GEORGIA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending October 13, 2012.

Feral horse and foal. Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, Montana. Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

National 10/18/12 by Heather Biele, DVM – In early September, 187 cases of equine West Nile virus were reported nationwide, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s disease maps. Now, just one month later, that number has soared to 518, according to a report posted on October 16. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) released a similar report in early October showing that the mosquito-borne virus is a much greater problem this year, having far surpassed 2011’s report of 87 cases. The USDA states, however, that while this number is higher than the number of cases identified last year, it’s very similar to the number of cases reported to officials years prior.

Amy Glaser, DVM, PhD, a West Nile virus expert and senior research associate at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, isn’t surprised by these numbers and actually expects a peak in caseload around this time each year. “Traditionally, the largest volume for equine West Nile virus occurs in September and October, right up until the first frost,” she says. “That typically represents the peak of cases we see during any particular epizootic year.”

At this time, only seven states remain free of the virus—Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire and West Virginia (Alaska and Hawaii have never reported West Nile virus). As of October 16, Texas holds the highest number of cases with 83, and Louisiana and Pennsylvania are close behind with 50 and 46, respectively. – For complete article see

Coyote Attacks:

Illinois 10/19/12 Cook and Lake counties: A pair of coyotes attacked a dog on Thursday being walked by its owner in Buffalo Grove’s Mike Rylko Community Park. A park representative said signs have been posted advising people to remain on trails and to keep their dogs leashed. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Georgia 10/18/12 Houston County: Family members have confirmed that 65-year-old Charles Hendrix of Warner Robins has died of WNV after a long battle with the virus. – See

Illinois 10/18/12 Update – State health officials have confirmed 211 human cases of WNV in the state so far this year, including 9 fatalities. For additional statistics see

Oklahoma 10/18/12 Pontotoc County: Health officials confirmed today that a county man older than 65 is the 12th person to die from WNV in the state this year. –

South Carolina 10/17/12 State health officials have confirmed the number of WNV-related fatalities in the state so far this year now totals three, and there have been a total of 40 human cases of the virus reported this year, which is about 700% above the typical figure of 3 to 5 cases per year. – See|head


Georgia 10/18/12 Forsyth County: A fox suspected of having rabies attacked a man and bit two dogs, authorities reported Thursday. Local officers are warning residents to be on the lookout for the fox in and near the Hampton subdivision, located off GA 400 as it remains on the loose. – See

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending October 13, 2012:

Published October 19, 2012/ 61(41); ND-565-ND-578

Anaplasmosis . . . 10 . . . New York (9), North Carolina,

Babesiosis . . . 4 . . . New York (4),

Giardiasis . . . 127 . . . Alabama (3), Alaska (2), Arizona, Arkansas (4), California (27), Delaware, Florida (22), Iowa (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (2), Missouri (2), New York (17), Ohio (9), Oregon, Pennsylvania (5), Vermont (4), Virginia (3), Washington (15), Wisconsin (2), Wyoming,

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . California, 

Lyme Disease . . .  75. . .  Florida (2), Maine (2), Maryland (6), New Hampshire, New York (37), North Carolina (3), Ohio, Pennsylvania (21), Virginia, Wyoming,

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 1 . . . Michigan,  

Rabies (Animal) . . . 56. . . Kansas (2), Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri (2), Nevada (2), New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (4), Ohio, Oklahoma (7), Texas (26), Vermont, Virginia (7),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 1. . . North Carolina,  

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 15 . . . Arkansas (2), North Carolina (8), Tennessee (3), Virginia (2).

Scientists say CROWS may transport PRIONS that cause CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ Health officials in WASHINGTON say WOMAN likely died of HANTAVIRUS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CDC NATIONAL, FL, MS, OH, & OK ~ RABIES reports from CA, GA, MD, NC, TX, & VA.

American Crow. Photo by Jack Wolf. Wikimedia Commons.

National 10/17/12 Crows fed on prion-infected brains from mice can transmit these infectious agents in their feces and may play a role in the geographic spread of diseases caused by prions, such as chronic wasting disease or scrapie.

The new research published Oct. 17 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Kurt VerCauteren from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other colleagues, shows that prions can pass through crows’ digestive systems without being destroyed, and may be excreted intact after ingestion by the birds. According to the authors, their results demonstrate a potential role for the common crow in the spread of infectious diseases caused by prions.

Prions are infectious proteins that cause diseases in humans and other animals. Studies so far have suggested that insects, poultry and scavengers like crows may be passive carriers of infectious prions, but this is the first demonstration that prions can retain their ability to cause disease after passing through the avian digestive system.

Dr. Kurt VerCauteren.

The authors fed crows with brain samples from mice infected with prions, and found that the crows passed infectious prions up to 4 hours after eating the infected samples. When healthy mice were injected with the infected crow excretions, all the mice showed signs of prion disease. The authors state that their results support the possibility that crows that encounter infected carcasses or consume infected tissue may have the capacity to transport infectious prions to new locations. – For More information: VerCauteren KC, Pilon JL, Nash PB, Phillips GE, Fischer JW (2012) Prion Remains Infectious after Passage through Digestive System of American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). PLoS ONE 7(10): e45774. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045774 Journal reference: PLoS ONE search and more info website Provided by Public Library of Science


Washington 10/17/12 Grant County: Health officials have confirmed that a woman who likely died of hantavirus last month was probably exposed to the virus in her recreational vehicle south of Moses Lake. This is the second hantavirus-related death in the county this year. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 10/16/12 Update – As of October 16, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,531 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 183 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,293 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,238 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 4,531 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see

Florida 10/17/12 Duval County: Two men, 19 and 46 years of age, are the most recent Jacksonville residents to be diagnosed with WNV. This brings the total of confirmed cases in the city to 25 so far this year. – See

Mississippi 10/17/12 Update – State health officials have confirmed a total of 232 human cases of WNV in the state this year including 5 deaths. They have also found 52 horses, 55 mosquito samples, and 12 human blood donors infected with the virus. – For county statistics see,0,93,554.html

Ohio 10/17/12 Allen County: David Sunderhaus, 58, of Lima, died Saturday of WNV marking the state’s 6th WNV-related fatality this year. –

Oklahoma 10/17/12 The state’s Department of Health says there have now been 170 confirmed human cases of WNV this year and 11 deaths due to the disease. – See


California 10/16/12 Yolo County: The Sheriff’s Department is asking the public’s help to locate a dog involved in a biting incident Oct. 6 in West Sacramento. A woman was walking a dog on a leash about 11 a.m. in the area of a bike bath in the 3500 block of Bridgeway Lakes Drive when another woman jogged by on the bike path. The dog lunged at the jogger and bit her, causing moderate injury, according to a Sheriff’s Department news release. The dog owner stopped and advised the victim that her dog was current on its rabies vaccination, but the victim failed to get any personal information from the dog owner at the time to be able to verify the information, officials said. Animal Services authorities received the bite report from the victim, but a search of the area has failed to locate the owner or the dog.

The dog is described as medium size, short haired, mostly black with some reddish-colored markings. The victim was unsure of the breed, but recalled that the owner or handler used a red leash to restrain the animal. The woman walking the dog was described as white, about 50 years old, with a medium build and light brown hair that reached to the middle of her back. She was wearing a white T-shirt, black spandex walking shorts and large glasses. Authorities want to identify the dog to verify the current rabies vaccination to possibly spare the victim post-exposure rabies treatment. Anyone with information about the dog or owner is asked to call the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Services Section at (530) 668-5287, or email

Georgia 10/17/12 Gwinnett County: A rabies alert has been issued after two raccoons found Oct. 6th on Scenic Drive in Snellville tested positive for rabies. – See

Maryland 10/16/12 Prince George’s County: by Lauren DeMarco – There is a warning from animal control after two reports of fox attacks in Bowie.  The incidents happened less than a mile apart Sunday evening in the Meadowbrook neighborhood just behind Bowie High School. The youngest victim is four years old. He received a bite to the hand. Both victims were treated for possible rabies infections. The City of Bowie Animal Services asks that residents be cautious, keep a close eye on children and pets, and be aware that any type of food or trash near your home can attract wildlife.

North Carolina 10/17/12 Iredell County: A raccoon killed by two dogs near Mocksville Highway and New Salem Road tested positive for rabies. – See

Texas 10/17/12 Washington County: A dead skunk found last Friday near the corner of Thiel and Barbee streets in Brenham has tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 10/16/12 Henrico County: A dead raccoon found in the 8400 block of Marroit Road in the western section of the county on Oct. 13th has tested positive for rabies. The raccoon had been killed by a vaccinated dog. – See