Category Archives: Emerging Infectious Diseases

Doctors say KANSAN died of new TICK-BORNE BOURBON VIRUS ~ Travel associated CHIKUNGUNYA in US tops 2,000 cases – MOUNTAIN LION shot in KENTUCKY ~ RABID STRAY CAT report from NORTH CAROLINA.

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Kansas 12/18/14 kshb.com: by Shannon Halligan – A new, never before seen virus has been discovered in Kansas. The CDC is now investigating after the tick-borne illness, dubbed “Bourbon Virus,” was linked to the death of a Kansas man. Up until recently, the man’s death remained a mystery. Now, doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital think this discovery may help others . . . This summer a patient came into the University of Kansas hospital with symptoms similar to most tick-borne illnesses, but after testing the man, doctors were stumped. “It was very frustrating. That’s one of the biggest problems with my job, which I love, when we can’t answer those questions, when we can’t help the patients or their families,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an Infectious Disease Physician at the hospital said,  People with diseases spread by ticks see symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, muscle aches, and nausea. Dr. Hawkinson explained the Kansas man didn’t respond to typical treatments. He eventually experienced multi-organ failure. Now, six months after his death, the CDC determined the man had “Bourbon Virus.” It’s named after Bourbon County, Kan., where the man lived. – For complete article and video see http://www.kshb.com/news/health/new-tick-borne-virus-discovered-after-the-death-of-kansas-man

CHIKUNGUNYA:

CHIK_State_Report-093014National 12/17/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: by Robert Herriman – After seeing an average of 28 imported chikungunya cases a year in the United States during the past eight years, primarily from travel to Asia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) puts the number of such cases to over 2,000 as of Dec. 16. Beginning in 2014, cases were identified in travelers returning from the Caribbean. As of December 16, a total of 2,021 chikungunya virus disease cases have been reported to ArboNET from U.S. states. Eleven locally-transmitted cases have been reported from Florida. New York has seen the most travel associated chikungunya with 533 case, or 27 percent of the national total. This is followed by Florida with 384, New Jersey with 160 and Massachusetts with 124 cases. Only Alaska, Wyoming , North Dakota and Montana have not reported a single case. Last week, we saw the number of local transmission cases in the Western Hemisphere eclipse the 1 million case mark, one year after the first cases were reported in the Caribbean. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/travel-associated-chikungunya-in-the-us-tops-2000-cases-2000/

MOUNTAIN LION:

MtnLionUSDA.govKentucky 12/18/14 therepublic.com: An examination of a mountain lion killed by a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife official has found that it was a 125-pound male that appeared to be young and healthy. But Fish and Wildlife officials still don’t know whether it was a wild animal or one that escaped from captivity. “It seemed to be in very healthy condition, and they determined pretty quickly that it didn’t look like it had traveled long distances on foot,” agency spokesman Mark Marraccini said. An agency officer shot and killed the mountain lion after a concerned caller spotted it in northern Bourbon County. Marraccini says the lion was killed because it was roaming free near a populated area, making it a public safety issue. He said if the mountain lion was a wild animal, it apparently would be the first one confirmed in Kentucky since before the Civil War. “But that is a pretty big ‘if,'” he said. “They took some measurements today, but that’s certainly not enough to go on without looking at everything in total.” The animal’s DNA will be sent to an out-of-state wildlife lab to determine whether its genetic material matches any wild populations. “They can determine the origin,” Marraccini said, though it won’t be fast. He said it could take weeks to get an answer. Mountain lions, which also are known as cougars and panthers, are the largest cats found in North America. – See http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/c392ae52a7bc4a238b5ac4bb4ec6366e/KY–Mountain-Lion-Killed

RABIES:

5071346685_9be11dee0c_zNorth Carolina 12/17/14 Cumberland County: A sick, stray cat that found its way to Hayfield Drive, off of Wade-Stedman Road in Wade on December 13th and was taken in by a local family has tested positive for rabies. – See http://abc11.com/news/cumberland-county-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies/440558/

UC-DAVIS scientists find H1N1 INFLUENZA VIRUS in ELEPHANT SEALS ~ WHO warns world not prepared for massive INFLUENZA outbreak ~ WHO says single YELLOW FEVER shot is enough ~ RABIES reports from MO, NH, & VA.

Northern Elephant Seals. Photo by Mike Baird. Wikimedia Commons.

Northern Elephant Seals. Photo by Mike Baird. Wikimedia Commons.

California 05/15/13 ucdavis.edu: News Release – Scientists at the University of California, Davis, detected the H1N1 (2009) virus in free-ranging northern elephant seals off the central California coast a year after the human pandemic began, according to a study published today, May 15, in the journal PLOS ONE. It is the first report of that flu strain in any marine mammal. “We thought we might find influenza viruses, which have been found before in marine mammals, but we did not expect to find pandemic H1N1,” said lead author Tracey Goldstein, an associate professor with the UC Davis One Health Institute and Wildlife Health Center. “This shows influenza viruses can move among species.” UC Davis researchers have been studying flu viruses in wild birds and mammals since 2007 as part of the Centers of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance program funded by National Institutes of Health. The goal of this research is to understand how viruses emerge and move among animals and people.

Dr. Tracey Goldstein of UC-Davis.

Dr. Tracey Goldstein of UC-Davis.

Between 2009 and 2011, the team of scientists tested nasal swabs from more than 900 marine mammals from 10 different species off the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. They detected H1N1 infection in two northern elephant seals and antibodies to the virus in an additional 28 elephant seals, indicating more widespread exposure. Neither infected seal appeared to be ill, indicating marine mammals may be infected without showing clinical signs of illness. The findings are particularly pertinent to people who handle marine mammals, such as veterinarians and animal rescue and rehabilitation workers, Goldstein said. They are also a reminder of the importance of wearing personal protective gear when working around marine mammals, both to prevent workers’ exposure to diseases, as well as to prevent the transmission of human diseases to animals.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

H1N1 originated in pigs. It emerged in humans in 2009, spreading worldwide as a pandemic. The World Health Organization now considers the H1N1 strain from 2009 to be under control, taking on the behavior of a seasonal virus. “H1N1 was circulating in humans in 2009,” said Goldstein. “The seals on land in early 2010 tested negative before they went to sea, but when they returned from sea in spring 2010, they tested positive. So the question is where did it come from?”  When elephant seals are at sea, they spend most of their time foraging in the northeast Pacific Ocean off the continental shelf, which makes direct contact with humans unlikely, the report said. The seals had been satellite tagged and tracked, so the researchers knew exactly where they had been and when they arrived on the coast. The first seal traveled from California on Feb. 11 to southeast Alaska to forage off the continental shelf, returning to Point Piedras Blancas near San Simeon, Calif., on April 24. The second seal left Ano Nuevo State Reserve in San Mateo County, Calif., on Feb. 8, traveling to the northeast Pacific and returning on May 5.  Infections in both seals were detected within days of their return to land. The report said exposure likely occurred in the seals before they reached land, either while at sea or upon entering the near-shore environment. – For complete release see http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10572

Influenza:

070203_bird_fluGlobal 05/21/13 Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly: by Jonathan Fowler (AFP) – The world is unprepared for a massive virus outbreak, the deputy chief of the World Health Organization warned Tuesday, amid fears that H7N9 bird flu striking China could morph into a form that spreads easily among people. Keiji Fukuda told delegates at a WHO meeting that despite efforts since an outbreak of another form of avian influenza, H1N1, in 2009-10, far more contingency planning was essential. “Even though work has been done since that time, the world is not ready for a large, severe outbreak,” Fukuda said. Rapid-reaction systems were crucial, given that health authorities’ efforts are already hampered by lack of knowledge about such diseases, he insisted. “When people get hit with an emerging disease, you can’t just go to a book and know what to do,” he said. According to the latest official data, H7N9 avian influenza has infected 130 people in China, and killed H7N935, since it was found in humans for the first time in March. It is one of a vast array of flu viruses carried by birds, the overwhelming majority of which pose little or no risk to humans. Experts are struggling to understand how it spread to people, amid fears that it could adapt into a form that can be transmitted easily from human to human.- For complete article see http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gA_WiUNz4DDakbWArFcltmTknupw?docId=CNG.945e0940b30f2076656a59b4ea8de2b5.231

Yellow Fever:

Yellow-feverGlobal 05/17/13 who.int: News Release – The yellow fever ‘booster’ vaccination given ten years after the initial vaccination is not necessary, according to WHO. An article published in WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) reveals that the Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) has reviewed the latest evidence and concluded that a single dose of vaccination is sufficient to confer life-long immunity against yellow fever disease. Since yellow fever vaccination began in the 1930s, only 12 known cases of yellow fever post-vaccination have been identified, after 600 million doses have been dispensed. Evidence showed that among this small number of “vaccine failures”, all cases developed the disease within five years of vaccination. This demonstrates that immunity does not decrease with time. . . .

who-logoYellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes that is endemic to 44 countries in tropical areas of Africa and the Americas. Infection with the yellow fever virus causes varying degrees of disease, from mild symptoms to severe illness with bleeding and jaundice and fatal outcomes. There are an estimated 200 000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever progress to a severe form of the illness, and up to half of those will die, as there is no cure for yellow fever.  – For complete news release see http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/yellow_fever_20130517/en/index.html

Author’s Note: The yellow fever virus is an arbovirus of the flavivirus genus, and the mosquito is the primary vector. It carries the virus from one host to another, primarily between monkeys, from monkeys to humans, and from person to person. Several different species of the Aedes and Haemogogus mosquitoes transmit the virus. The mosquitoes either breed around houses (domestic), in the jungle (wild) or in both habitats (semi-domestic). – Source WHO Yellow Fever Fact Sheet  at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs100/en/index.html

Rabies:

g12c00 - CopyMissouri 05/20/13 Ozark County: Health officials have confirmed that two skunks captured in the county within the last month have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ozarkcountytimes.com/news/article_6539ffdc-c18e-11e2-974e-001a4bcf6878.html

450px-Treed_RaccoonsNew Hampshire 05/20/13 Grafton County: Two raccoons that were reported to be acting strangely in Hanover last week have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2013/05/20/raccoons-with-rabies-found-town/3DuImvKRJXhRGOw2iXy4PL/story.html

HelpVirginia 05/20/13 James City County: The Peninsula Health District is looking for a large grey dog, possibly a Rottweiler mix, that bit a child on May 9, 2013, near the intersection of Cardinal Court and The Maine W in James City County. Officials say if this dog is not found, the victim may have to undergo post exposure treatment (shots) for the prevention of rabies. Once found, the animal will not be taken away from its owner – only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days, officials say. Anyone who has seen an animal that fits this description in that area is asked to contact the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Environmental Health Office at (757) 603-4277. – See http://wtkr.com/2013/05/20/officials-search-for-dog-that-may-have-rabies-in-james-city-co/

TRAVEL WARNINGS: CDC warns of deadly Novel (New) CORONAVIRUS in the ARABIAN PENINSULA and UNITED KINGDOM ~ RABIES VACCINE still in short supply ~ RABIES reports from GA, MO, OH, TXx2, & WV.

Bat colony. Courtesy National Park Service.

Bat colony. Courtesy National Park Service.

Travel Warnings:

Middle East

Middle East

Global 03/08/13 cdc.gov: News Release – From April 2012 to February 2013, a total of 14 people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Kingdom (UK) were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus; 13 cases were severe and one case was mild. Eight of these 14 people died. In the UK, an infected man likely spread the virus to two family members. He had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and got sick before returning to the UK. This cluster of cases provides the first evidence of person-to-person transmission. The UK’s Health Protection Agency is continuing to investigate this. Also, clusters of cases in Saudi Arabia and Jordan are being investigated.

cdc_logoCDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of these cases of the novel coronavirus. CDC recommends that US travelers to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula monitor their health and see a doctor right away if they develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath. They should tell the doctor about their recent travel. Coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold. A coronavirus also was the cause of the severe respiratory illness called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). SARS caused a global epidemic in 2003, but there have not been any known cases of SARS since 2004. This novel coronavirus is not the same coronavirus that caused SARS. – For further information see   http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/in-the-news/coronavirus-arabian-peninsula-uk.htm

CDC Coronavirus Investigation:

Author’s Note: According to CDC, the reservoir and route of transmission of 95673687hnvwVS_phthe novel coronavirus are still being investigated. Genetic sequencing to date has determined the virus is most closely related to coronaviruses detected in bats. CDC is continuing to collaborate with WHO and affected countries to better characterize the epidemiology of novel coronavirus infection in humans. – For further information see http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/ncv/case-def.html

Mountain Lion Sightings:

s_mountain-lion-0002California 03/08/13 Los Angeles County: Two separate incidents involving a mountain lion, perhaps the same one, were reported in Sierra Madre. Two pets, a cat and a dog, were killed. On Tuesday of this week the lion was spotted in the vicinity of Santa Anita and Oakwood avenues, then Foothill Avenue and Camillo Road, and finally in the 500 block of Los Rocas Drive where a resident saw a house cat in its mouth. On Thursday evening a lion killed a small dog in the backyard of a home on Vista Circle Drive. Residents have been urged to keep a close eye on small children and pets. – See http://sierramadre.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-kills-small-dog-reportedly-attacks-other-animals

Rabies:

IMOVAXNational 03/07/13 cdc.gov: Rabies vaccine supplies remain restricted in the United States. Rabies vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur (IMOVAX), is currently available for post-exposure prophylaxis only. Vaccine produced by Novartis (RabAvert), imagesCAPUQ0PZcontinues to be available for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis. CDC continues to work with partners to monitor the status of the rabies vaccine supply. This status is not expected to change moving into spring, however, additional updates will be released as available.

Author’s Note: On February 20, 2013, the CDC reported that Sanofi Pasteur’s rabies vaccine shortage is due to “increased demand and manufacturing delay.”

5704860-portrait-of-gray-fox-barkingGeorgia 03/08/13 Richmond County: Health officials have confirmed a fox that attacked a man on February 27th in the vicinity of Mike Padgett Highway and Goshen Industrial Boulevard in Augusta has tested positive for rabies. When it later tried to attack a second person, it was put down. – See http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2013/mar/08/rabid-fox-attacks-man-south-augusta-ar-5759477/

Horse%20MouthMissouri 03/05/13 Wayne County: A horse stabled in the vicinity of Williamsville that began to deteriorate and became aggressive before dying has tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed case of animal rabies in the state this year (including three skunks in Douglas, Howell, and Ste. Genevieve counties) prompting officials to issue a Rabies Alert. – See http://www.semissourian.com/story/1946780.html

bat-in-sink-2Ohio 03/08/13 Medina County: A bat found alive Wednesday in the kitchen sink of an East Liberty Street home in the City of Medina has tested positive for rabies. – See http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2013/03/08/health-department-bat-found-in-medina-home-tests-positive-for-rabies/

Texas 03/08/13 Somervell County: For the second time in two weeks a skunk found in the Rainbow area has tested positive for rabies. – See surfeit of skunkshttp://www.yourglenrosetx.com/news/community/article_1974c465-672f-5885-a24d-b71cf51b1e52.html

Texas 03/07/13 Coryell County: Two skunks shot in separate incidents in Gatesville have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.kwtx.com/ourtown/home/headlines/Gatesville-Two-Skunks-Test-Positive-For-Rabies–195689141.html

RaccoonDEC_NY.govWest Virginia 03/08/13 Mercer County: A raccoon picked up on Princeton Avenue in Bluefield has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wvnstv.com/story/21557507/first-rabies-case-of-2013-confirmed-in-mercer-county

Two MISSOURI farmers lead scientists to new, possibly TICK-borne, disease called HEARTLAND VIRUS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS deaths in U.S. now at 66 ~ COLORADO MAN likely contracted BUBONIC PLAGUE at San Juan National Forest campground ~ DOG euthanized in MICHIGAN after contracting EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from CO, NE, & WY ~ COYOTE report from MASSACHUSETTS ~ LA CROSSE ENCEPHALITIS report from NORTH CAROLINA ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IN, MAx2, NH, NM, SD, & WA ~ RABIES reports from GA, IA, LA, NY, NC, & VAx2.

This photograph depicts a dorsal view of a female “lone star tick”, Amblyomma americanum. Note the characteristic “lone star” marking located centrally on its dorsal surface, at the distal tip of its scutum. Courtesy CDC.

National 08/30/12 discovery.com: Two men in Missouri who became severely ill after sustaining tick bites were found to be infected with a new type of virus, according to a study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both men were admitted to hospitals after experiencing high fevers, fatigue, diarrhea and loss of appetite. They were originally thought to be suffering from a bacterial infection, but doubts arose when they didn’t improve after being treated with antibiotics. Further tests revealed their blood contained a new virus, which the researchers dubbed the Heartland virus. It belongs to a group called phleboviruses, which are carried by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, and can cause disease in humans. While the genetic material of Heartland virus appears similar to that of other phleboviruses, the particular proteins it produces are different enough to call it a new species, said study researcher Laura McMullan, a senior scientist at the CDC. Because the Heartland virus causes such general symptoms, it could be “a more common cause of human illness than is currently recognized,” the researchers wrote in the Aug. 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. More studies are needed to identify the natural hosts of the virus, learn how many people are infected with it and find risk factors for infection, McMullan said. Because both men experienced tick bites shortly before they became ill — one man, a farmer, reported receiving an average of 20 tick bites a day — the researchers said it’s likely that the Heartland virus is spread by ticks, although more research is needed to confirm this. The new virus’s closest relative is another tick-borne phlebovirus, called SFTS virus, which was identified last year in China, and causes death in 12 percent of cases.

The Missouri men, who were both infected in 2009, recovered after 10 to 12 days in the hospital, although one of the men has reported recurrent headaches and fatigue in the two years since his hospitalization. The researchers suspect a species of tick commonly found in Missouri, called Amblyomma americanum, is one of the hosts of the Heartland virus. For now, taking precautions to prevent tick bites is the best way to avoid the virus, McMullan said. To prevent tick bites, the CDC recommends using repellents that contain 20 percent or more DEET, as well as avoiding wooded areas or areas with high grass.

Culex sp. mosquito. Known carrier of West Nile Virus.

National 08/29/12 reuters.com: by Sharon Begley – A total of 1,590 (human) cases of West Nile Virus, including 66 deaths, were reported through late August this year in the United States, the highest human toll by that point in the calendar since the mosquito-borne disease was first detected in the country in 1999, health officials said on Wednesday. The toll is increasing quickly. “We think the numbers will continue to rise,” said Dr. Lyle Petersen, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases. Through last week, 1,118 cases and 41 deaths had been reported. The updated figures represent a 40 percent increase in the number of cases and a 61 percent spike in the number of deaths, but are short of the all-time record for a full year: 9,862 cases and 264 deaths in 2003. – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/29/us-usa-health-westnile-idUSBRE87S0WC20120829

Colorado 08/29/12 durangoherald.com: by Dale Rodebaugh – In the first confirmed (human) case of bubonic plague in the state since 2006, an Archuleta County resident has tested positive for the disease. The last human case in Archuleta County was in 1998. Although the investigation is ongoing, it is believed that the person contracted the plague during a family outing in the Cimarrona Campground northwest of Pagosa Springs, a news release from the San Juan Basin Health Department said. The department declined to give the gender or age of the victim.

Warning signs are being posted in the campground and environs in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Forest Service. The plague often spreads through rodent populations. – For complete article see http://www.durangoherald.com/article/20120829/NEWS01/708299897/Plague-case-reported-in-Archuleta-County

Michigan 08/29/12 Paw Paw, Van Buren County: Health officials confirmed on Wednesday that an 8-week-old puppy has contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis. It may be the first known incident of a dog contracting the mosquito-borne virus in the state. The puppy was euthanized. – See http://www.freep.com/article/20120829/NEWS06/120829065/Authorities-Paw-Paw-puppy-gets-equine-encephalitis

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Colorado 08/29/12 Boulder, Boulder County: Two mountain lions were spotted in city neighborhoods Monday night. The first, seen in a backyard near Folsom and Walnut streets, responded to hazing and ran away. The second, seen near Maapleton Avenue and 26th Street, killed a house cat and allowed rangers to get within a distance of 10 feet. It’s lack of fear of humans prompted the rangers to shoot it. The two lions are thought to be siblings about 2-years-old. – See http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/31393945/detail.html

Nebraska 08/29/12 Scotts Bluff County: A 110 pound mountain lion found dead in the Wildcat Hills is believed to have been struck by a truck or other large vehicle on State Highway 71. This is the second lion reported in the area recently. – See http://www.omaha.com/article/20120829/NEWS/120829671/1707

Wyoming 08/30/12 Pavillion, Fremont County: Wildlife officials have confirmed that a mountain lion jumped from a homeowners pine tree and fled when the man came from the house to turn off a lawn sprinkler. Because the lion fled, officials don’t believe there is any reason for concern. – See http://county10.com/2012/08/30/mountain-lion-reappears-in-pavillion-wednesday-night-g-bears-now-active-in-lower-elevations/

Coyote Attacks:

Massachusetts 08/28/12 Newton, Middlesex County: A small, off-leash dog was attacked and carried off by a coyote on August 10th in the vicinity of William Street in West Newton. Neighbors reported that at least two area cats were also attacked by coyotes recently. A coyote sighting was more recently reported on Vista Avenue. – See http://www.wickedlocal.com/newton/news/x821894346/Coyote-attacks-reoccur-in-West-Newton#axzz24yRn4tKI

La Crosse Encephalitis (LAC):

North Carolina 08/30/12 Macon County: Health officials have confirmed that two children have been diagnosed with LAC. One child is from the Highlands and the other is from Franklin. Both children were hospitalized but have been released and are recovering. – See http://www.maconnews.com/features/health-a-wellness/3510-la-crosse-encephalitis-in-macon-county

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) & West Nile Virus (WNV):

Indiana 08/29/12 Jeffersonville, Clark County: Health officials confirmed that mosquitoes found in a routine sampling tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.wdrb.com/story/19409290/west-nile-virus-discovered-in-mosquitoes-in-southern-indiana

Massachusetts 08/28/12 Fall River, Bristol County: Health officials confirm that mosquitoes collected from the Oak Grove Cemetery have tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/se_mass/eee-found-in-mosquitoes-in-fall-river

Massachusetts 08/30/12 Newton, Middlesex County: Health officials confirm that a woman in her 50s is the first reported human case of WNV in the city so far this year. – See http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/newton/2012/08/newton_has_its_first_human_cas.html

New Hampshire 08/3012 Sandown, Rockingham County: State health officials have announced that a batch of mosquitoes trapped in Sandown has tested positive for EEE.  – See https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/139780871d4dc70b

New Mexico 08/29/12 Doña Ana County: A second county resident has been diagnosed with WNV, bringing the total in the state to eight human cases this year. – See http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_21429006/west-nile-strikes-2nd-do-241-ana-county

South Dakota 08/28/12 doh.sd.gov: Update – Health officials confirm 98 human cases of WNV, and one related death, have been reported in the state so far this year. In addition, 8 horses, 1 bird, and 62 positive mosquito pools have been identified. – See https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/139735a4e93e7650

Washington 08/30/12 Grandview, Yakima County: The state Agriculture Department has confirmed that a horse with WNV has been euthanized. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/30/4771496/grandview-horse-with-west-nile.html

Rabies:

Georgia 08/29/12 Murrayville, Hall County: A rabies alert has been issued after a skunk that came in contact with two dogs in the Tony Peck Road area tested positive for rabies. This is the 17th confirmed rabies case in the county this year. – See http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/19406657/rabies-alerts-in-hall-dekalb-counties

Iowa 08/29/12 Keokuk, Lee County: A case of rabies in a pet cat has prompted area veterinary clinics to host vaccination clinics. – See http://www.wgem.com/story/19407070/hancock-county

Louisiana 08/28/12 South Mansfield, DeSoto Parish: A skunk picked up in the vicinity of Saunders Street has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ksla.com/story/19399038/skunk-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-desoto-parish

New York 08/29/12 St. Lawrence County: Two raccoons, one found in Potsdam and the other in Gouverneur, have tested positive for rabies. – See http://northcountrynow.com/news/raccoons-potsdam-and-gouverneur-test-positive-rabies-health-officials-warn-public-again-065156

North Carolina 08/29/12 Guilford and Davidson counties: A raccoon found on Church Street in Greensboro, and a fox found in Reeds, have both tested positive for rabies. Three dogs, a cat, and a person were all potentially exposed to the virus. – See http://www.digtriad.com/news/local/article/242881/57/Triad-Counties-Report-More-Rabies-Cases

Virginia 08/28/12 Ware Neck, Gloucester County: A skunk killed by two dogs last week has tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed case of the virus in the county this year. – See http://www.dailypress.com/news/gloucester-county/dp-nws-gloucester-rabid-skunk-0829-20120828,0,950529.story

Virginia 08/29/12 Virginia Beach: A fox that bit a man several times while he was working in his yard Tuesday, and two hours later attacked another man working in his yard, has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Fox-tested-for-rabies-after-attacking-2-men-in-Va-3824547.php

CANADA: ONTARIO struggling under weight of CANADIAN GOOSE poop ~ MAINE reports LYME DISEASE and other TICK-related illnesses on the rise ~ MASSACHUSETTS reports TICK-borne diseases doubled last year ~ TEXAS health official confirms WEST NILE VIRUS in HORSE ~ TENNESSEE county detects WEST NILE VIRUS in seven zip codes ~ CDC researchers estimate nearly 1 million U.S. illnesses from WEST NILE VIRUS since 1999.

Canada goose. Photo by Robert Lawton. Wikimedia Commons.

Canada:

Photo by D. Gordon & E. Robertson. Wikimedia Commons.

Ontario 05/29/12 ottawacitizen.com: by Tom Spears – (Excerpts) “For much of the 20th century, southern and eastern Ontario had almost no Canada geese. Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s, wildlife managers decided to reintroduce the species — just a few geese here and there.  The population has since exploded. They’re everywhere”.

“Health research is pointing to geese as sources of bacteria. A 2005 study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes: ‘The large amount of feces produced by geese congregating around surface water bodies is a source of environmental contamination and, potentially, zoonotic pathogens. Feces from large flocks are major contributors to fecal coliform levels in reservoirs that supply drinking water for some cities, and free-living bird populations can serve as reservoirs for pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli), campylobacter, listeria, and chlamydia. Thus, wild bird populations can amplify and eventually transmit infectious microbes to humans by directly contaminating agricultural fields or surface waters used for drinking, recreation, or crop irrigation. Free-living and domestic bird populations can also be reservoirs of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens or resistant genetic elements.’

Photo by Walter Siegmund. Wikimedia Commons.

‘It’s a huge problem. Big ecological problem for the river,’ says Dan Brunton, a naturalist who lives a short walk from the Ottawa River.”  (according to National Geographic magazine) “ . . . a flock of 50 geese will deposit 2.5 tonnes of droppings annually.” – For complete article see http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Temperatures+soaring+geese+dropping/6691859/story.html

Black Legged or Deer Tick.

Maine 05/30/12 bangordailynews.com: by Jackie Farwell – The tiny deer ticks marching northward through Maine may be hard to spot, but the diseases they carry are hard to miss. Maine is recording increasing numbers of illnesses transmitted by the bite of the eight-legged deer tick, including two lesser-known germs following in Lyme disease’s footsteps. Cases of anaplasmosis, which affects white blood cells, have spiked from nine in 2007 to 26 in 2011, according to state epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Sears. Already in 2012, 15 cases have been reported. “Although those numbers are very small compared to Lyme, the fact that it’s increasing, and it seems to be increasing pretty significantly each year, suggests to me that we really all need to become aware of all these diseases,” Sears said. Also on health officials’ radar is babesiosis, a less common but potentially serious tick-borne disease in which microscopic parasites infect red blood cells. It can especially sicken those with weak immune systems and people who have had their spleen removed.

Both anaplasmosis and babesiosis cause fever, headache, and muscle aches, though some people infected with babesiosis experience no symptoms. “If [people] get fevers and chills in the summer and they don’t have a rash, that could be Lyme disease without a rash, it could be anaplasma, it could be something else,” Sears said. “If they had tick exposure, that’s especially important.” The deer tick can transmit Lyme, anaplasmosis and babesiosis. With one bite, a tick could infect its host with all three diseases. The dog tick, meanwhile, which is larger with characteristic white markings, can carry Lyme but doesn’t transmit it.

Numbers wise, anaplasmosis and babesiosis still pale in comparison to Lyme disease. The most conspicuous of the tick-borne diseases, Lyme sickened about 1,000 Mainers in 2011 and more than 180 so far this year. But the two emerging diseases are shadowing Lyme’s progression from southern to northern New England. “Anaplasmosis and babesiosis are emerging in southern Maine the way we saw Lyme disease emerge several decades ago,” said Susan Elias, a clinical research associate at Maine Medical Center’s Vector-borne Disease Laboratory in South Portland. “We’re now seeing those two diseases moving inland and up the coast in the same pattern as Lyme.” – For complete article see http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/30/health/lyme-disease-and-other-tick-related-illnesses-on-the-rise-in-maine/

Massachusetts 05/30/12 wbur.org: by Carey Goldberg – Surely you know that Lyme Disease is endemic all across Massachusetts. Surely you didn’t need any further incentive to guard against tick bites — to wear insect repellent, do tick checks after being outdoors, and more. But just in case, I’m passing along some worrisome statistics I just learned from Dr. Catherine Brown, the state public health veterinarian, about the rise of two other tick-borne diseases. They’re both far rarer than Lyme Disease but don’t relax; they’re also both potentially fatal. They’re called babesiosis and anaplasmosis, and confirmed cases of both effectively doubled from the 2010 numbers to 2011. They still remain extremely uncommon. Even after the doubling, there were 191 confirmed Massachusetts cases of babesiosis in 2011, and 140 confirmed cases of anaplasmosis. But when numbers rise so dramatically, Dr. Brown said, “It makes us notice.” – For complete article (with map and graphs) see http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/05/tick-borne-disease-babesiosis

Parker County

Texas 05/30/12 Parker County: State epidemiologist Jim Schuermann confirmed a case of West Nile Virus in a horse earlier than normal.

– See http://weatherforddemocrat.com/top-news/x1561295105/West-Nile-virus-case-reported-in-Parker-County-horse

Shelby County

Tennessee 05/30/12 Shelby County: The mosquito-borne virus that causes West Nile disease has been found in seven county zip codes. It was initially detected on May 8th, the earliest it has ever been found in the county. – See http://www.wbir.com/news/article/221407/2/Earliest-ever-detection-of-West-Nile-virus-in-Shelby-County

National 05/29/12 umn.edu: News Scan – Extrapolating from surveillance data, US researchers estimate that, from 1999 through 2010, more than 3 million Americans were infected by West Nile virus (WNV), which resulted in 780,000 illnesses and more than $800 million in medical costs. Writing in Epidemiology and Infection yesterday, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fargo, N.D., San Francisco, and Madison, Wis., noted that the nationwide ArboNET surveillance system has detected 12,823 cases of West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND) since 1999. They point out that a 2012 study in Emerging Infectious Diseases on blood donors in North Dakota suggested that, for every WNND case detected, 213 to 286 infections likely occurred. From these statistics, the investigators estimated that almost 2.8 million WNV infections occurred in the study period in adults. They note that estimates of infection rate vary for children, but, if they assume the rate to be similar to the adult rate, the number of US WNV infections grows to about 3.2 million. Assuming that 26% of infections lead to clinical disease, they estimated about 780,000 cases of WNF, for a total acute-care medical cost of about $832 million. May 28 Epidemiol Infect abstract April Emerg Infect Dis report on WNND cases

TEXAS wardens shoot BOBCAT in residential area ~ OREGON House votes to authorize killing of two ranch-raiding WOLVES ~ TEXAS city hires private contractor to deal with COYOTE issue ~ RABIES reports from ARKANSAS, FLORIDA, & SOUTH CAROLINA ~ GLOBAL: WHO calls for publication of new H5N1 BIRD FLU VIRUS studies ~ TRAVEL WARNINGS: Health Minister of BRAZIL warns Rio facing DENGUE epidemic as Carnival frenzy begins.

Bobcat. Photo by Maine Wildlife Park, Maine.gov.

Texas 02/19/12 elpasotimes.com: by Hayley Kappes – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens shot and killed a bobcat just before 6 p.m. Saturday that they said was behaving erratically in a Central El Paso backyard. Game Warden Ray Spears said initial reports stated a mountain lion was in a backyard near Raynolds and Bataan, but it was a bobcat. The animal was not afraid of humans and was behaving as if it were sick, which is a concern since bobcats are rabies carriers, Spears said. “It’s not something that could have been trapped or tranquilized,” Spears said. “When we can tranquilize or trap a wild animal, we try to do that, but it displayed unnatural behavior. It wasn’t scared of humans. Sometimes when they get sick, they’re not scared of humans.” Animal control officials will test the carcass for rabies. It’s not unusual for wild animals seeking food and water to wander into the city during a drought, Spears said. Bobcat sightings near Austin High School were reported in June, and game wardens in May shot and killed a mountain lion in Downtown El Paso.

Oregon 02/18/12 eastoregonian.com: The Oregon House voted Friday to allow state officials to kill two wolves that have been blamed for killing livestock, a priority for ranchers that is opposed by conservation groups. The legislation is an attempt to resolve a potential conflict between Oregon’s wolf management plan and the state Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Court of Appeals last year temporarily blocked the state from carrying out a kill order on two wolves from the Imnaha pack in northeastern Oregon. Judges ruled that conservation groups had a good chance of succeeding with a legal claim that state protections for endangered species overruled the wolf management plan, which allows wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks. The House approved the measure 42-15, sending it to the Senate. – For complete article go to http://www.eastoregonian.com/free/house-votes-two-wolves-can-be-killed/article_c870a592-59ed-11e1-972c-001871e3ce6c.html

Texas 02/16/12 Bryan, Brazos County: Excerpts – “Coyotes are continuing to show up around the city of Bryan. We’ve told you about the animals attacking small pets and even killing some, but now there are reports that size may not matter for the predatory animals.” “The city of Bryan recently hired Texas Agrilife to help control the Coyote issue. The city is asking residents to put garbage in covered containers and do not leave food out for pets. The city has also provided a pamphlet for residents to educate them about coyotes.”  With Agri-Life Tips on Suburban Coyotes. See http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/139482828.html

Arkansas 02/17/12 Valley Springs, Boone County: A skunk is the fourth animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year. See http://www.ky3.com/news/ky3-fourth-confirmed-rabies-case-has-boone-county-ar-residents-proactive-with-pets-20120217,0,325092.story

Florida 02/17/12 Fountain, Bay County: A raccoon killed by a dog near the intersection of Sweetwater Branch and Nonawood roads is the second animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year. See http://www.newsherald.com/articles/new-100487-rabies-alert.html

South Carolina 02/17/12 Columbia, Richland County: Two individuals were attacked by foxes yesterday in separate incidents near the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center. Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health said, “Avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild,” Ferguson adds, “About 400 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures from being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.” See http://www.midlandsconnect.com/news/story.aspx?id=720926#.Tz8mH7Q17WC

Global 02/18/12 usnews.com: Research on a mutated, more contagious form of the bird flu virus can be published in full, the World Health Organization announced Friday, despite concerns that bioterrorists could use the information to start a pandemic. The decision came during a special meeting of 22 bird flu experts in Geneva that was convened by the WHO to discuss the “urgent issues” that have swirled around possible publication of the two bird flu studies since last November, The New York Times reported Saturday. Most of those at the meeting felt that any theoretical terrorist risk was outweighed by the “real and present danger” of similar flu virus mutations occurring naturally in the wild, and by the need for the scientific community to share information that could help identify exactly when the virus might be developing the ability to spread more easily, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Times. Fauci represented the United States at the meeting. “The group consensus was that it was much more important to get this information to scientists in an easy way to allow them to work on the problem for the good of public health,” Fauci said. “It was not unanimous, but a very strong consensus.” However, Fauci added, the United States was not part of that consensus. U.S. bio-security chiefs had urged last November that critical specifics of the papers remain unpublished.

Although the bird flu virus, known as H5N1, rarely infects people, it appears to be highly lethal when it does. Of about 600 known cases, more than half have been fatal. If the virus were able to spread more easily from birds to humans, experts have estimated that millions of people could die after being infected. The two studies at the center of the debate were to be published in the journals Science and Nature late last year. The papers, which were funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, describe how the H5N1 virus could mutate relatively easily into a strain that could spread rapidly among humans. The research was done by scientists at the University of Wisconsin and in the Netherlands. The editors of both journals said they plan to publish the papers in full at a future date. “Discussions at the WHO meeting made it clear how ineffective redaction and restricted distribution would be for the Nature paper. It also underlined how beneficial publication of the full paper could be. So, that is how we intend to proceed,” Dr. Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, said in a statement. “As was expressed at the WHO meeting, there is a need first to explore how best to communicate the issues of publication to a concerned public, and to review safety assurance of labs who would act on this publication. I fully support the WHO’s further efforts in this regard.”

Speaking at a scientific meeting in Vancouver, Science editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts had this to say about the WHO decision: “So, my reading is that both Nature and Science are to wait until we get some further information from the WHO and other authorities of when, in fact, we are to publish the full manuscript.” Before the two studies can be published, the experts at the WHO meeting said that security assessments must be made, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Another meeting on the remaining issues will be held at a future date, the WHO said in a statement. The scientists behind the research had agreed on Jan. 20 to honor a 60-day moratorium on further studies, the Herald reported, but that deadline will now be extended for an unspecified time to allow for a wider examination of the risks and for public discussion. For more on how the bird flu virus might be able to infect humans, visit the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Travel Warnings:

Brazil 02/17/12 google.com: Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilla on Thursday warned that Rio de Janeiro faced a major dengue epidemic, although he said the virus strain prevalent was not fatal. “I believe that Rio could this year face one of the worst dengue epidemics in its history, in terms of number of cases,” he said in a television interview. Padilla said the dengue virus strain prevalent in Rio was not the most serious and was not fatal. The official Agencia Brasil said since the start of the year, 3,499 dengue cases have been recorded in Rio, compared with 2,322 last year, but none were fatal. The government said that nationally cases dropped 62 percent this year to 40,486. Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache. But it can also be fatal, developing into hemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome, which is characterized by bleeding and a loss of blood pressure. The news comes as Carnival frenzy sweeps Brazil and the South American powerhouse prepares for a week of sizzling samba dancing, glittering parades and unabashed merry-making in Rio and other cities.

PET owners being warned: It’s COYOTE mating season ~ CALIFORNIA’s UC Berkeley and Taft School District issue MOUNTAIN LION alerts ~ CALIFORNIA confirms five HORSES have contracted potentially fatal EHM virus ~ EUROPEAN scientists alarmed by NEW VIRUS detected in LIVESTOCK ~ NEW JERSEY WOMAN attacked by a FOX ~ RABIES report from VIRGINIA.

Coyote. Courtesy National Park Service.

National 01/13/12 Excerpt: Dr. Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, was quoted as saying that it is coyote mating season through March. She explained that coyotes will sometimes kill dogs in order to eliminate competition. She says she has found similar behavior in coyotes in California that would kill foxes by removing their heads and burying them elsewhere. Living in the country, we’re wary of wildlife anytime of the year and we don’t allow our small dogs to wander outside alone. Moran’s property, as reported in the press, is in a cul-de-sac and backs up to woods. What many suburbanites do not realize is that while wildlife are crowded out of their habitat, they have increasingly been returning to their once natural areas, which are now suburbs. This becomes dangerous for people, but especially for small dogs and cats. Statistics aren’t available to estimate how many domestic pets are killed by wild predators every year, but the increased frequency of reports in the news concerning coyote attacks on pets comes from every corner of the country, from the east to west coasts and every place in between. See http://www.petside.com/article/coyote-mating-season-owners-should-be-vigilant-pet-predators

Author’s Note: On Friday, January 13, 2011 news articles about coyotes attacking dogs were reported in Scottsdale, Arizona; Aliso Viejo, California; New Lenox, Illinois; and Kingston, Washington; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada; and Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

California 01/13/12 Berkeley, Alameda County: UC Berkeley police issued safety alerts this week following reports of a mountain lion seen at a campus housing complex Tuesday and of two mountain lions last month at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The alerts on Thursday and Wednesday, which can be found on the campus police Facebook page, reported an unverified sighting of a cougar just after 10 p.m. Tuesday on top of a dumpster at the Smyth-Fernwald apartment complex, which is located in the Berkeley hills near the top of Dwight Way northeast of the Clark Kerr campus. Last month, there was an unverified sighting of two mountain lions running along Lawrence Road toward Glaser Road at Berkeley lab, which lies in hilly terrain directly east of the main Cal campus, police said. See http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-sightings-prompt-police-alert

California 01/13/12 Taft, Kern County: The Midway School District near Taft is on alert after two mountain lion sightings within the past few weeks. “We’re taking it seriously. When kids are involved you have to take it seriously,” Midway Superintendent Greg Coker said. On Tuesday, about 6:30 a.m., a teacher went on campus to unlock all of the doors to the school. She said she saw the mountain lion walking on the sidewalk near the doors. That’s when she called the Department of Fish and Game. See http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Mountain-lion-sighted-on-school-campus-near-Taft-137224953.html

California 01/14/12 Orange County: Nine months after a potentially fatal equine virus swept western states, the disease is back. Five new cases of Equine Herpes Myoencephalitis (EHM), also referred to as neurological Rhino, a mutated form of the Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) were reported at a facility in California by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Last May, equestrian events throughout the western United States were cancelled due to an outbreak of the potentially lethal virus that began at an equestrian event at the Golden Spike Equestrian Center in Ogden, Utah, and spread rapidly to horses in California, Washington, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

EHM attacks the horse’s neurological system and in some cases, the horse must be euthanized. The virus is easily spread and has a high morbidity and mortality rate. Signs of EHM in horses may include nasal discharge, in a coordination, hindquarter weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone.  According to the CDFA all of the cases have been confined to one unidentified facility in Orange County and are under quarantine. The property where the horses are located was described as a large multi-discipline facility by the CDFA, with no movement of any horses on or off the premises. See http://agourahills.patch.com/articles/deadly-horse-virus-erupts-again-in-california

Northern Europe 01/13/12 wired.com: by Kai Kupferschmidt for ScienceNow – Scientists in northern Europe are scrambling to learn more about a new virus that causes fetal malformations and stillbirths in cattle, sheep, and goats. For now, they don’t have a clue about the virus’s origins or why it’s suddenly causing an outbreak; in order to speed up the process, they want to share the virus and protocols for detecting it with anyone interested in studying the disease or developing diagnostic tools and vaccines.

 The virus, provisionally named “Schmallenberg virus” after the German town from which the first positive samples came, was detected in November in dairy cows that had shown signs of infection with fever and a drastic reduction in milk production. Now it has also been detected in sheep and goats, and it has shown up at dozens of farms in neighboring Netherlands and in Belgium as well. According to the European Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, cases have been detected on 20 farms in Germany, 52 in the Netherlands, and 14 in Belgium. Many more suspected cases are being investigated. “A lot of lambs are stillborn or have serious malformations,” Wim van der Poel of the Dutch Central Veterinary Institute in Lelystad says. “This is a serious threat to animal health in Europe.”

“We are taking this very, very seriously,” adds Thomas Mettenleiter, head of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), the German federal animal health lab located on the island of Riems. The virus appears to be transmitted by midges (Culicoides spp.), and infections likely occurred in summer and autumn of last year, but fetuses that were exposed to the virus in the womb are only now being born. The first cases of lambs with congenital malformations such as hydrancephaly — where parts of the brain are replaced by sacs filled with fluid — and scoliosis (a curved spine) appeared before Christmas. “Now, in some herds 20 percent to 50 percent of lambs show such malformations,” Mettenleiter says. “And most of these animals are born dead.”

Scientists are bracing for many more cases to appear, especially in cattle, because bovine fetuses infected in summer 2011 would be expected to be born in February and March. – For complete article see http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/new-animal-virus/

New Jersey 01/13/12 Bernards, Somerset County: A local woman is receiving post-exposure prophylactic rabies treatment after two separate incidents involving one or more foxes on December 29. A fox bit a pedestrian and ran off in the first incident, and in the second a fox attacked and bit the wheels of a baby stroller and was later killed by a police officer. See http://baskingridge.patch.com/articles/two-fox-attacks-spur-treatment-numerous-phone-cal

Virginia 01/13/12 Blacksburg, Montgomery County: Health officials say the rabid skunk was killed by two dogs at the Blacksburg Dog Park on Tom’s Creek Road, last weekend. It’s the first confirmed rabies case in the New River health district this year. One of the dog’s owners reported the diseased animal; but health officials are still looking for the owner of the second dog, believed to be a black lab. See http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-rabid-skunk-found-in-local-dog-park-20120113,0,3376851.story