Category Archives: CDC Reports

FERAL HOGS a growing concern in OKLAHOMA ~ NEW YORK scientist says new LYME DISEASE VACCINE shows promise in clinical trials ~ CDC releases final 2012 WEST NILE VIRUS report ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from TENNESSEE ~ RABIES reports from CA, NY, NCx3, & TX.

Feral hog. Photo by University of Missouri Ext.

Feral hog. Photo by University of Missouri Ext.

Oklahoma 05/14/13 News ReleaseFeral hogs destroy wildlife habitat at alarming rates and cause a number of important concerns to hunters, farmers and other landowners in Oklahoma  Feral hogs can cause extensive damage to farm fields, crops, stored livestock feed, woodlots, suburban landscaping, golf courses and wildlife habitat relied upon by native species such as deer, turkey, squirrels and quail. Their voracious appetites, destructive habits and prolific breeding patterns wreak havoc on the landscape, often resulting in overwhelming competition to native species. They may also carry diseases that can be transmitted to other species, including humans. “The bottom line is they don’t belong here,” said Kevin Grant, Oklahoma state director of Wildlife Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which oversees feral swine management issues in Oklahoma as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The memorandum is rooted in the fact that feral swine are not true wildlife, but rather descendants of domestic stock living at large in a feral state.

FeralHogsUnivMOExtGrant said millions of dollars and significant resources have been spent in an effort to make sure domestic swine stock is safe from disease, so the presence of feral populations raises concerns for the safety of domestic swine and the swine industry. “If they’re here, they need to be on the plate or in a pen because they’re not native to the Americas, and the way that they’re really taking off out there is pretty phenomenal,” Grant said. Grant’s comments were part of a presentation to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on the statewide status of feral swine, or “wild hogs” as they are often called in feralhogby4028mdk09wc1Oklahoma. According to Grant and officials with the Wildlife Department, feral hogs are a well-established and still growing problem in Oklahoma. “They are probably the most prolific large mammal around,” Grant said, adding that feral swine can reach sexual maturity by 6 months of age, have relatively short gestational periods and can give birth to large litters multiple times a year. In the 1990s, the Agriculture Department worked with the Wildlife Department and the Noble Foundation to study the spread of feral hog populations in Oklahoma. Feral hogs seemed to originate in southeastern Oklahoma, and they since have spread to all 77 counties. – For complete release see

Lyme Disease:

lyme_disease_hidden_epidemic_poster-p228833588305763989t5wm_400Global 05/13/13 News Release – The results of a phase 1/2 clinical trial in Europe of an investigational Lyme disease vaccine co-developed by researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at healthcare company Baxter International S.A., revealed it to be promising and well tolerated, according to a research paper published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The vaccine was shown to produce substantial antibodies against all targeted species of Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme disease in Europe and the United States. Baxter conducted the clinical trial of the vaccine.

Benjamin Luft, M.D., Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Benjamin Luft, M.D., Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Since the early 1990s, Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and the late John Dunn, Ph.D., a biologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, spearheaded the initial development of the original vaccine antigen concept, and together with researchers at Baxter helped bioengineer the formulation used in the clinical trial. . . “The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects,” said Dr. Luft, a co-author on the paper. “We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease.” – For complete release see

West Nile Virus (WNV):

cdc_logoNational 05/14/13 Media Advisory – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the final 2012 national surveillance data for West Nile virus activity. To access the information, please visit . A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Of all West Nile virus disease cases reported, 2,873 (51 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis). The dates of illness onset (when the patients’ illness began) ranged from March through December 2012. The numbers of neuroinvasive, non-neuroinvasive, and total West Nile virus disease cases reported in 2012 are the highest since 2003. The number of deaths is the highest since cases of WNV disease were first detected in the United States in 1999.

DavidsonTNTennessee 05/13/13 Davidson County: A batch of mosquitoes collected in Bordeaux near the intersection of Clarksville Pike and West Hamilton have tested positive for WNV.  – See


California 05/14/13 Orange County: A bat found on the garage floor of a home in the 2300 block of Vanguard Way in Costa Mesa on May 5 has tested Little brown batpositive for rabies. A 15-year-old boy contained the live bat in a box without touching it, he said, but the family was urged to pursue a course of action because of possible exposure. – See,0,5554328.story

New York 05/12/13 Staten Island: A Rabies Alert has been issued after ten raccoons and one bat tested positive for the virus on the island so far this year. The raccoons were found in Eltingville, Grasmere, Great Kills, New Dorp, Park Hill, and Westerleigh. – See

imagesCAWPY6F8North Carolina 05/13/13 Wake County: A fox that fought with an unvaccinated dog last Wednesday in the vicinity of the 300 block of Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh has tested positive for rabies. – See

elkgrovecity.govNorth Carolina 05/13/13 Guilford County: A raccoon found on Foxcreek Court in High Point has tested positive for rabies. – See

We_need_your_help62435North Carolina 05/12/13 New Hanover County: A Wilmington woman says she is scared she will have to have unnecessary rabies shots, after the owner of a dog that bit her disappeared. Susan Matthews said she was at the Fort Fisher Park on Saturday, visiting with one family and their puppy, when a second dog came up and bit her in the face. She says she started bleeding and raced down to the water to wash off her face, when she looked back, she says the dog owner had disappeared. “It happened so fast and then they were gone, it made me just want to cry,” said Matthews. “I was in shock the rest of the day, both about the bite and the fact that they left.” She says the cut continued to bleed, and wants to know if the dog had its rabies shots. If she can’t find the owners, she says she will have to go forward with rabies shot. “It’s very painful and very expensive and we don’t have insurance,” said Susan. She says, she is hoping to find the owner before time runs out, so she can save herself the pain and extra money if the shot is unnecessary. Susan says the dog has white hair. (Anyone with information about this incident should contact New Hanover County Public Health at 910-798-6500.)

800px-Striped_SkunkByTomfriedelWCTexas 05/13/13 Wichita County: A Rabies Alert has been issued in Wichita Falls after two skunks tested positive for the virus. – See

NEBRASKA resident shoots stalking MOUNTAIN LION ~ WASHINGTON health officials asking people to send in TICKS ~ ARIZONA county finds this year’s first WEST NILE VIRUS mosquito ~ CDC publishes “Diagnosis and Management of Q FEVER” ~ RABIES reports from CO, GA, NY, & TXx2 ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: Three organizations accepting applications for AWARDS.

Mountain lion. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mountain lion. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nebraska 03/28/13 Dawes County: A resident of the Pine Ridge reported that he shot and killed a mountain lion on Wednesday after attempts to scare the animal off failed. The lion, which displayed no apparent fear, was walking along a creek about 20 yards from the man and about 150 yards from the man’s home. The incident occurred about 10 miles south of Chadron. – See


Female Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. Courtesy CDC.

Female Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. Courtesy CDC.

Washington 03/27/13 News ReleaseTick season is in full swing in western Washington, and it’s kicking into gear in the eastern side of the state. The Department of Health invites people all over the state to send ticks to the agency for a project to learn more about what types of ticks live in Washington. “Different types of ticks carry different diseases,” explains Liz Dykstra, public health entomologist for the Department of Health.

Female Western Black-legged Tick. Courtesy CDC.

Female Western Black-legged Tick. Courtesy CDC.

“We’re asking people to help us learn more by sending us ticks for identification so we understand the risks for disease in different areas.” Washington has relatively few cases of tick-borne disease, yet each year a few cases of relapsing fever, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are reported to state health officials. – For complete release see

West Nile Virus (WNV):

080722_west_nile_generic (2)Arizona 03/28/13 Maricopa County: Officials confirm the first positive WNV mosquito sample, meaning the virus is getting an early start this year. Last year the county had 76 lab-confirmed human cases of WNV including two related fatalities. – See

Q Fever:

qNational 03/29/13 Q fever, a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Coxiella burnetii, can cause acute or chronic illness in humans. Transmission occurs primarily through inhalation of aerosols from contaminated soil or animal waste. No licensed vaccine is available in the United States. Because many human infections result in nonspecific or benign constitutional symptoms, establishing a diagnosis of Q fever often is challenging for clinicians. This report provides the first national recommendations issued by CDC for Q fever cdc_logorecognition, clinical and laboratory diagnosis, treatment, management, and reporting for health-care personnel and public health professionals. The guidelines address treatment of acute and chronic phases of Q fever illness in children, adults, and pregnant women, as well as management of occupational exposures. These recommendations will be reviewed approximately every 5 years and updated to include new published evidence. – See


thumbnailCAAVQ16XskunkColorado 03/28/13 Weld County: A skunk found in a neighborhood south of Lee Lake in between Highway 257 and Weld County Road 76 in Windsor has tested positive for rabies. As the animal had bite marks officials are concerned that a domestic or some other wild animal may also be infected and spreading the virus through the area. – See

raccoon_lgGeorgia 03/27/13 Fayette County: A raccoon shot be a sheriff’s deputy off Padgett Road and Lone Oak Drive a short distance south of GA HWY 85 has tested positive for rabies. – See

2195804032_bb25565f77 - CopyNew York 03/27/13 Lewis County: A skunk in Lowville reported to be acting strangely has tested positive for rabies. An unvaccinated domestic animal that was in direct contact with the skunk had to be euthanized. – See

darlingcat-mattapoisett-Ma.govTexas 03/27/13 McLennan County: A feral cat that bit and scratched a Waco resident on March 24th in the 3700 block of South 3rd Street has tested positive for rabies. The cat was in the victim’s yard with her animals and when she tried to pick it up the cat became very aggressive. – See

2048273681_e5422b11e6 - CopyTexas 03/28/13 McLennan County: A skunk found with two dogs by a property owner in the 16000 block of Wortham Bend Road in Waco earlier this week has tested positive for rabies. This is the second confirmed rabies infection in the county this year. – See


We would like to inform you that the following three awards are currently open for applications. If you are interested, you should apply directly to the organisation involved. We hope you find the information useful.

frontpage_logo1. Rabies in the Americas Award: GARC is pleased to announce that applications are welcomed from students in Asia and Africa for financial support to attend the 24th annual Rabies in the Americas (RITA) meeting in October 2013. Deadline: July 12th, 2013. For more details, see

amv2. World Veterinary Day Award, offered by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). This recognises the most successful celebration of the veterinary profession. It applies to national veterinary associations, either on their own, or in collaboration with other selected veterinary bodies. This year’s theme is ‘Vaccination’. Deadline: May 1st, 2013. For further details, see

ACCD_LogoCMYK_color_medium3. Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs: Award to attend the 5th International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods of Pet Population Control in Oregon, US. This is open to veterinary students, interns and residents currently enrolled in a college or school of veterinary medicine anywhere in the world. Deadline: April 6, 2013. For more details –

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for the latest news, campaign information and updates on projects from our community around the world –

Warm regards,

garcThe Global Alliance for Rabies Control Campaigns Team

Missing piece of LYME DISEASE puzzle published in New England Journal of Medicine ~ RABIES reports from FL, MA, PA, & TX ~ CDC issues final WEST NILE VIRUS report for 2012.

Red fox after mouse. Photo by State of Connecticut.

Red fox after mouse. Photo by State of Connecticut.

National 12/27/12 by Nancy Walsh – Excerpts – “With almost 25,000 cases confirmed by the CDC in 2011, Lyme disease indeed is a serious public health concern, but the evidence continues to argue against infection with the tick-borne spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi as the cause of multiple persisting complaints including neurocognitive abnormalities and chronic musculoskeletal pain.”

nejm-logo “The most recent piece of this puzzle, published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, was the determination that what seemed to be persistent NymphalDeerTickdisease and relapse actually was a new infection. In that study, Robert B. Nadelman, MD, of New York Medical College in Valhalla, and colleagues conducted genotype analyses of an outer surface protein of B. burgdorferi from 17 patients who had had more than one episode of the pathognomonic erythema migrans rash. In the 22 paired episodes of Lyme disease in this group of patients, not a single one was found to have the same surface protein genotype in either skin or blood cultures for the two episodes. Moreover, the recurrent skin lesions most often developed 1 or 2 years after the initial episode, and did so in the summer months when primary infections are most likely to occur, implying that the individuals had been reinfected.”

Shrew. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Shrew. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“In particular, these researchers reported, the continuing expansion of the incidence and geography of Lyme disease may reflect a shift in predator patterns throughout North America. The near-extinction of the gray wolf has allowed coyotes to move to a dominant niche in the food chain, which has resulted in a sharp decrease in the population of red foxes, a favored prey of the coyote. This, in turn, has led to a rise in the numbers of foxes’ smaller prey, such as the white-footed mouse, the Eastern chipmunk, and two types of shrew — the very animals that are responsible for the infection of up to 90% of ticks with B. burgdorferi.” – For complete article see


image487Florida 12/28/12 Suwannee County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a raccoon found in the area west of County Road 49 and south of 296th Street, which is southeast of Branford, tested positive for rabies. – See

3610192083_22eaf9db7aMassachusetts 12/28/12 Middlesex County: A cat that has been roaming around the Vernon Street area in the center of Framingham and bit a person on Dec. 22nd has tested positive for rabies. The animal is described as a young adult domestic short-hair gray tiger. Officials do not know if the cat was feral or a pet and are encouraging anyone bitten or scratched by the animal to seek medical advice immediately. – See

IMG4336e-L-001Pennsylvania 12/27/12 by Rebecca Zemencik – Tri-Valley school officials have reported that approximately 27 Mahantongo Elementary students had come in contact with a stray cat that was determined to have rabies earlier this month. A special meeting was held Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the Mahantongo all-purpose room with representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control to discuss the facts about rabies and to clear up any questions or concerns that parents had. According to Superintendent Mark D. Snyder, sometime between Tuesday, Dec. 4 and Wednesday, Dec. 5, there was a gray, striped farm cat from an adjacent property that had been on school property in the area of the playground and several students had come in contact with the cat. Dr. Amanda Beudoin, DVM, PhD, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, serving a fellowship with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, assured parents that just because their children may have petted the cat, they would not be susceptible to contracting rabies. “Even though a cat licks itself, a person would not contract rabies by just petting the animal,” said Dr. Beudoin. “However, if that student had a cut or an open wound on their hand, then they should be treated with the rabies vaccines.” Approximately 20 parents attended the meeting and most parents confirmed that they had their children treated as a precautionary measure. Rabies is the type of disease that until symptoms appear it is too late then to treat the disease and death will occur. Mahantongo Elementary Nurse Paula Morgan was actually bitten by the cat and has been undergoing shots every so many days since the incident. – For complete article see

image001skunkandcanineTexas 12/28/12 Navarro County: A small, 18-month-old dog belonging to a family with a small child in Blooming Grove has tested positive for rabies. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

cdc_logoNational 12/11/12 As of December 11, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,387 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 243 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,734 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,653 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,387 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the second week in December since 2003. Eighty percent of the cases have been reported from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – This will be the last update for 2012 until final data are available in the spring of 2013. – For further details and maps see


Two NEW JERSEY residents trying to help sick FERAL CAT exposed to RABIES ~ Three ALABAMA WOMEN trying to help STRAY KITTEN exposed to RABIES ~ Other RABIES reports from NY, & SC ~ CDC issues final WEST NILE VIRUS update for 2012.

Feral cat colony. Photo by Scott Granneman. Wikimedia Commons.

Feral cat colony. Photo by Scott Granneman. Wikimedia Commons.

New Jersey 12/12/12 Cumberland County: A woman who had been feeding a colony of feral cats in the vicinity of Weymouth Road and Delsea Drive in Vineland brought one of the cats to a local veterinarian’s office on Thursday believing the cat was sick. The cat promptly bit a vet assistant and on Friday officials confirmed the cat had rabies. The colony, estimated to be about 20 in number, will have to be captured and quarantined for six months. The woman who brought the rabid cat to the vet told officials she would confine the entire colony to her house. Vineland’s animal control officer has ordered the woman to have all the cats licensed, which requires proof of a rabies vaccination. The woman and the vet assistant are being treated for potential exposure to rabies. – See

3243453-detail-of-girl-hugging-kitten-hand-and-paw-in-similar-positionAlabama 12/12/12 by Donathan Prater –  A Lee County official is urging residents of one Auburn community to steer clear of any stray animals and to make sure their pet’s vaccinations are up to date after a stray kitten captured there tested positive for rabies. Officials have identified two women the kitten bit in the Town Creek Park area, and they are trying to identify a third woman exposed to the infected animal. Lee County Rabies Officer Buddy Bruce said the two women were bitten and scratched while in the process of trying to capture the kitten. The third woman got food for the kitten was also exposed, Bruce said. “We obviously have a pocket of rabies around the park area there,” Bruce said. After catching the stray kitten, the two women took it to the Lee County Humane Society. They said they reported being bitten, at which point the animal was ordered euthanized and tested for rabies. The results came back positive on Wednesday, Bruce said. Rabies is a contagious, viral and fatal disease transmitted through saliva that attacks the 3610192083_22eaf9db7anervous system of the infected animal. While the first two women have been contacted and will begin treatment, the third victim has yet to be notified of her exposure. Her name is Ivanka, Bruce said. Wednesday’s rabies case marks the fourth n Lee County this year, Bruce said. Last month, a Chow-mix dog that was abandoned at an Opelika veterinary clinic tested positive for rabies after biting at least one worker. Anyone with information about this case or wishing to report an animal behaving strangely is asked to contact Buddy Bruce at 334-745-0060.

Other Rabies Reports:

Rabies%20tag%2009New York 12/10/12 Kings County: On Saturday afternoon, as a Park Slope (Brooklyn) woman ran to the Union Street subway station to catch the R train on Fourth Avenue, two people were trying to control a small, white dog that was barking and lounging on the sidewalk this past Saturday afternoon. Irin Carmon, who is a staff writer for Salon, tried to keep her distance from the excited pooch. However, Carmon was not able to avoid the confrontation before she took the descent into the subway, which ended in a small puncture wound behind her knee. “It didn’t bite me in any kind of crazy way, I didn’t even know I was bitten,” Carmon told Patch in an interview on Monday. “I was late for an appointment and the owners were already halfway down the block.” The canine, described as a “fluffy white dog” on Carmon’s blog and believed to be either a help-me46985Maltese or a Bichon Frise, scratched her on her lower calf and bit her on the inside of her left knee.  Carmon said that two people holding the dog also had German Shepherd. She said that the handlers were a man and a woman, both Asian and around 35 to 50 years old. The attack, Carmon said, was unprovoked. If you have any information about the dog or its owners, please let us know! E-mail any tips to: – See

raccoonwildlife_CDCSouth Carolina 12/10/12 Lee County: A raccoon that bit a woman has tested positive for rabies. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

cdc_logoNational 12/11/12 As of December 11, 2012, 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,387 cases of WNV disease in people, including 243 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,734 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,653 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,387 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the second week in December since 2003. Eighty percent of the cases have been reported from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For maps and other data see

USFWS study supports belief that EASTERN WOLF is a distinct species ~ GEORGIA’s Atlanta Zoo Aviary closed after PARAKEET dies of PSITTACOSIS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from CDC-National, & MISSISSIPPI ~ RABIES reports from FLx2, NJ, NY, & WI.

Eastern wolf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

National 11/26/12 by OurAmazingPlanet Staff – Eastern wolves, which used to live in the northeastern United States, but now remain only in southeastern Canada, qualify as a distinct species from their western cousins, according to a review by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. The finding may be important for the future of North American wolves and could help scientists understand how the animals evolved, as noted by USA Today.

In the study, published in October in the journal North American Fauna, the scientists reviewed decades of research on North American wolves, much of it complicated and contradictory. Some studies found 8 subspecies of gray wolves; others suggested as many as 27. Previously, scientists considered eastern wolves a subspecies of gray wolf, Canis lupus lycaon (pronounced LY-can). However, the new review of reams of genetic data suggests that the animal should be classified as a separate species of wolf entirely.

Gray wolf. Courtesy National Park Service.

Eastern wolves would join two universally recognized species of wolves in North America: gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus). Gray wolves once ranged throughout most of modern-day America, but were hunted and poisoned to the brink of extinction, maintaining only a single population in northern Minnesota, the study noted. The animals have since recovered slightly and been reintroduced to Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park  (although hunting has since resumed in Minnesota, Wyoming and elsewhere).

Red wolf. Photo by Dave Pape. Wikimedia Commons.

Red wolves were also wiped out from their native range, but have been reintroduced into North Carolina and are thought to be breeding in the wild, according to news reports. The study found that eastern wolves are most closely related to red wolves, and that both species evolved from a common ancestor shared with coyotes. This helps explain why eastern wolves can still mate with and form hybrid offspring with coyotes, so-called coywolves. Gray wolves, on the other hand, are known to kill any coyotes they come across. Smaller than their western cousins, eastern wolves weigh from 62 to 77 pounds (28 to 35 kilograms), according to the study. They preferentially prey on white-tailed deer, unlike gray wolves, which have a more wide-ranging diet, USA Today reported. – For complete article see


Georgia 11/28/12 by Katie Brace – A parakeet at Zoo Atlanta has died from a bacterial infection which caused staff to temporarily shut down the Boundless Budgies Parakeet Aviary. On their website, Zoo Atlanta said, “A histopathology report from the parakeet indicated the presence of psittacosis, a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory problems in birds and humans.” The exhibit was closed because the infection may be transmitted to humans through direct handling of infected birds or by inhaling bacteria from bird feces or organic debris. “We routinely conduct necropsies so that we can be as proactive as possible about detecting the presence of disease in our collection, and this is the first example of psittacosis in these parakeets that we have seen at Zoo Atlanta,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, director of veterinary services. Psittacosis primarily affects parrots, parakeets, macaws, lovebirds and cockatoos.

Parakeets. Photo by Kent County, Michigan.

The parakeet collection is treated with antibiotics once a year in an effort to reduce the likelihood of birds contracting the disease. “The veterinary team is taking every appropriate action to test and treat the parakeet flock. We continue to proactively monitor any circumstance which would affect our animal collection or our guests,” said Murphy. Vets will decontaminate the aviary before the venue will be reopened to the public. It is unclear how long that will take. Dr. Hayley Murphy, director of Veterinary Services at Zoo Atlanta, told CBS Atlanta the exhibit will probably be closed for 60 days, as the 250 budgies are treated with antibiotics. Murphy said the risk to humans is extremely low. She said none of the zoo keepers assigned to the birds were sick and no other birds had tested positive for the bacteria. “I wouldn’t worry about it. The chances of you getting it in an open air exhibit like this are so low compared to a home or pet store where there are budgies or parrots,” said Murphy. The bacteria causes mild-like cold symptoms in humans, according to Murphy. The CDC only had 66 reported human cases over four years.

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 11/27/12 Update – Forty-eight states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,245 cases of WNV disease in people, including 236 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,663 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,582 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,245 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the last week in November since 2003. Eighty percent of the cases have been reported from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For details and maps see

Mississippi 11/26/12 State health officials confirm two new human cases of WNV reported in Wayne and Perry counties, bringing the state total to 244 cases and five deaths. This is the highest number of WNV cases ever reported in Mississippi. – See,13151,341.html


Florida 11/29/12 Hernando County: A raccoon that bit and scratched a teenager and his dog on Monday near Brookside Street in Spring Hill has tested positive for rabies. Authorities encouraged residents in the area of the attack, just east of Mariner Boulevard and north of Elgin Boulevard, to report any stray animals or wild animals exhibiting aggressive or unusual behavior to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. – See

Florida 11/28/12 Polk County: A bat found at Summerlin Academy in Bartow has tested positive for rabies. One child was potentially exposed to the virus. – See

New Jersey 11/28/12 Bergen County: A skunk found by county animal control officers in Lyndhurst in the vicinity of Riverside County Park has tested positive for rabies. – See

New York 11/28/12 Tioga County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a fox attacked a Tioga Center man and woman in their driveway while they were exiting their vehicle. Both were bitten, but the fox escaped. Due to its erratic behavior, officials are assuming the animal is rabid and both individuals will be treated for potential exposure to the virus. – See

Wisconsin 11/27/12 Dane County: The Department of Public Health is looking for information regarding a dog that bit a child on 11/21/12. The incident occurred around 6 or 7pm on Darbo Drive, near Worthington Park in the city of Madison. The dog is described as short-haired, medium in size and white with brown spots. Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to call Police and Fire dispatcher at 255-2345 and ask for the animal services officer. If the animal is not located, the victim may be required to complete a series of painful and costly injections to prevent rabies.

Two ALASKAN trappers mauled by BROWN BEAR near Kenai River ~ FLORIDA reports another case of DENGUE FEVER ~ PENNSYLVANIA girl bitten by RABID BAT ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE: Limited reporting effective immediately.

Brown bear. Photo by Alaska Public Lands.

Alaska 11/13/12 by Brian Smith – A brown bear sow mauled two Anchorage men setting traps near the Kenai River on Saturday night [Nov 10], sending one to an Anchorage hospital with serious injuries, a wildlife official said. Jeff Selinger, Alaska Department of Fish and Game area wildlife biologist, said the two men, whose names or ages he could not immediately release, were attacked a half mile upstream of the Kenai Keys on the south — or Funny River — side of the river. Both men were attacked by the bear during the incident but officials from Central Emergency Services said only one man was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital and then flown to Anchorage with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Selinger said the two men were separated at the time the sow attacked the first man. Upon hearing the bear and the man’s cries for help, the second man ran to help. “He yelled at the bear and tried to get him away from the area and it came after him and knocked him down and then went back to the first individual and worked him over some more and then left the area,” Selinger said. Neither man had a gun or bear spray, Selinger said. The second man received only bruises from the [incident] and returned Monday to retrieve the traps the two set. The man reported he saw cub tracks in the area as well, Selinger said. It is late in the year for a bear attack, Selinger said, but some brown bears do not den as soon or as heavily as others. He said active bears have been caught in traps in the area well into December. “Some bears rarely sleep,” he said. Selinger said Fish and Game has no plans to go searching for the bear. “The victims even said, ‘That’s the last thing we want you to do, to go out and try to track this bear down because it is obvious we got into its space,’” he said. – For complete article see

Dengue Fever:

Florida 11/17/12 Miami-Dade County: Health officials have confirmed an 82-year-old man is the second person in the county to be diagnosed with dengue fever this year. – See


Pennsylvania 11/16/12 Erie County: A bat that bit a Millcreek Township girl has tested positive for rabies. Health officials confirm the girl is receiving post-exposure rabies vaccinations. – See

Author’s Note:

Due to physical (they tell me the carpal tunnel syndrome will always be with me) and time limitations, this blog will, from this date forward, focus almost exclusively on incidents involving actual injury to human beings, and to major scientific advances in the control, treatment, or cure of Unseen Natural Hazards.

Those who are interested in following weekly statistics published in the CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report may do so by going to . Click on Notifiable Diseases and Mortality Tables .

COYOTE attacks on PETS increasing in KANSAS ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from MISSOURI ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CDC National, AL, IL, LA, & NY ~ RABIES reports from CA, CO, NJ, NC, & VA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending November 3, 2012.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

Kansas 11/07/12 Sedgwick County: Several veterinary clinics in Wichita report rising incidents of coyote attacks on pets. Dr. Brock Lofgreen said “Over the past few weeks I just counted four in my head that I saw over the last two weeks. I know we’ve had more than that…” – See

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Missouri 11/09/12 Reynolds and Ripley counties: State officials have confirmed trail camera photos taken recently of a mountain lion in each county. One was taken in Reynolds County’s Current River Conservation Area south of Ellington, the other in northeast Ripley County. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 11/06/12 Update – As of November 6, 2012, 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,054 cases of WNV disease in people, including 228 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,559 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,495 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,054 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the first week in November since 2003. Almost 80 percent of the cases have been reported from 12 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Ohio, and Arizona) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see

Alabama 11/06/12 Update – State health officials have confirmed 43 human cases of WNV throughout the state this year, including one death. – For a breakdown of cases by county see

Illinois 11/08/12 Kane County: Health officials confirm an Aurora man, 64, has been identified as the 12th human case of WNV in the county this year. State officials report 245 human cases statewide, including 10 deaths. – See

Louisiana 11/05/12 Update – State health officials today confirmed six new WNV human cases, urging Louisiana residents to continue to Fight the Bite. No deaths from the disease occurred this week. So far, there have been 344 human cases and 13 deaths from the disease reported this year. There are two new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, from East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes. There are four new West Nile Fever cases, from Calcasieu (1), East Baton Rouge (2) and West Baton Rouge (1) parishes. – See

New York 11/08/12 Suffolk County: Health officials confirm the county’s 5th human case of WNV this year in a Babylon resident under the age of 55 who was hospitalized but has since recovered. This brings to 19 the total number of WNV human cases confirmed on Long Island this year, including one elderly resident who died. – See


California 11/08/12 Los Angeles County: Officials report that two more bats found in the Santa Clara Valley in the past few weeks have tested positive for rabies. This brings the total number of rabies cases in the county to 55 this year, which is a record number since testing began in 1961. – See

Colorado 11/08/12 Larimer County: A skunk trapped in the vicinity of the Residence Inn near the Outlet Mall in Loveland  has tested positive for rabies. – See

New Jersey 11/08/12 Burlington County: A raccoon found in the vicinity of Kanabe Drive in Westampton Township has tested positive for rabies. – See

North Carolina 11/08/12 Brunswick County: A fox that ran from the woods on Oak Island Wednesday and bit a Mercer Street resident who was collecting her mail has tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 11/08/12 Pittsylvania County: Health officials have issued a rabies alert after a skunk found recently in the Deerview Road area of Gretna tested positive for the virus. – See,0,534621.story

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending November 3, 2012:

Published November 9, 2012/ 61(44); ND-607-ND-620

Anaplasmosis . . . 2 . . . New York (2),

Babesiosis . . . 9 . . . Maine, New York (8),

Giardiasis . . . 100 . . . Alabama (2), Alaska (2), Arizona, Arkansas (5), California (10), Florida (20), Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland (3), Michigan (5), Missouri, New York (24), Ohio (8), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (4), Virginia (2), Washington (6), West Virginia, Wisconsin,

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 1 . . . Maryland,

Lyme Disease . . .  100. . .  Alabama, Florida (2), Maine, Maryland (6), New York (61), Ohio, Pennsylvania (17), Tennessee, Vermont (2), Virginia (8),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 17. . . Idaho (2), New York (5), Vermont, Virginia (9),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 15 . . . Alabama, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina (8), Virginia (4),

Tularemia . . . 2 . . . Indiana, Oklahoma.