Category Archives: Public Forums

WASHINGTON ranchers say 15 CATTLE killed or injured by WOLVES since mid-July ~ Second PLAGUE victim associated with earlier OREGON case ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: LYME DISEASE conference to be held in PENNSYLVANIA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from MS, NM, & CANADA: MANITOBA.

Black wolf. Photo by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Washington 09/17/12 by Rich – Another five calves have been attacked by wolves at the Diamond M Ranch in Eastern Washington, bringing wolf-livestock conflicts to a tally of 15 in a short three-month period. Three calves were found dead last week and two more suffered severe injuries, according to ranch co-owner Bill McIrvin. The two calves that survived were discovered on Sept. 12 and 14. Both had suffered severe bites and torn flesh to their hindquarters. One of the calves had parts of her reproductive and urinary track torn from her body so she can no longer urinate properly.

Oregon range rider protects livestock from wolves – USFWS program. Photo by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The Diamond M, located in a portion of Eastern Washington known as the “Wedge”, has been working with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for several months to implement non-lethal methods to prevent damage to their cattle herd. Abiding with agency recommendations, the Diamond M waited to turn their calves out on summer range until they were 200 pounds. The ranch also employed more cowboys to patrol their grazing range. Despite these efforts, attacks to the herd have persisted resulting in a state confirmation of 10 dead and five injured since June.  The McIrvin’s herd records suggest there are likely a total of 40 dead from wolf attacks. – For complete report see

Oregon 09/17/12 by Denise A. Justin – A woman who tried to help her friend save a cat that was choking on a mouse contracted Bubonic plague from the diseased feline, Portland health officials announced on Friday, September 14 . . . The woman, who wished to remain unidentified, was bitten at the same time as Paul Gaylord, who received national attention this summer when he almost died after contracting the infection (see posts in this blog dated June 13, 2012, and July 19, 2012). The 59-year-old Prineville man was hospitalized in critical condition with Black Plague on June 9 and spent nearly a month in intensive care on life support. “His heart stopped,” said his mother, Almeda Gaylord. “His lung collapsed. They told us he wasn’t going to make it.” On July 11, doctors announced that they would have to sever the top half of Gaylord’s fingers. They’ll also cut off the tips of his toes. Charlie, Gaylord’s cat, most likely was infected by a flea carrying the plague, officials concluded. The Oregon woman who was a “family friend” tried to help Gaylord when Charlie came home one day choking, with a mouse stuck in the back of his mouth. Gaylord tried to pull the mouse out and in the process, Charlie bit him and the woman. When they realized they couldn’t help the cat, Gaylord reportedly borrowed a gun from a neighbor and shot Charlie to stop his suffering, according to Public health officials sent the cat’s body to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It confirmed that Charlie had the plague, said Emilio DeBess, state public health veterinarian. – For complete article see


Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Lyme Disease Association announce their jointly sponsored 13th annual national conference, entitled “Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases: Microbial Persistence & Tick-Borne Diseases New Scientific & Clinical Directions.” Designed for health care providers and offering 13.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ to CME registrants, the conference is Sept. 29/30, Hyatt Bellevue, Philadelphia, PA. The public is also invited to register. . Twenty faculty members including two European presenters, are led by conference Course Co-Directors, Brian Fallon, MD, MPH, Director, Columbia Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center in New York, well-known for research on neurologic and neuropsychiatric Lyme disease; and Stephen Barthold, DVM, PhD, University of California, Davis, member of the Institute of Medicine and pioneer in the study of Borrelia in the mouse model. The conference presenters will provide their expertise covering a broad range of research and clinical topics. A focus of the meeting is to explore the significance of recent findings in the monkey and mouse model that demonstrate the persistence of Borrelia burdorferi (Bb) infection despite antibiotic treatment. A presentation from the Chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, will describe recent trends in tick-borne diseases, including information about the newly described phlebovirus (aka Heartland virus) identified in 2 patients after tick exposure in Missouri. – See–clinical-developments-170020516.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Mississippi 09/17/12 Public health Report – State health officials confirm 29 new human cases of WNV reported in Adams (2), Claiborne (1), Harrison (1), Hinds (5), Humphreys (1), Jackson (1), Jefferson Davis (1), Lamar (1), Lauderdale (1), Madison (5), Perry (1), Rankin (6), Sunflower (1), Warren (1), and Yazoo (1) counties, bringing the state total to 169 cases including 4 deaths. – See,0,93,554.html

New Mexico 09/17/12 San Juan County: Health officials confirm two new human cases of WNV in the county: a woman 32 and another who is 70. There are now 26 human cases statewide including one death. – See–West-Nile-San-Juan-County


Manitoba 09/16/12 by Angela Brown – Health officials confirm the Province has identified 33 human cases of WNV so far this year. As of Sept. 14th, the Southern Regional Health Authority has reported 15 cases, Winnipeg has had 9, Western 5 and Interlake-Eastern 4. – See

Lyme disease epidemic on Maine island has residents gunning for Deer; Oregon’s Walla Walla wolves and a new wolf seen on ODFW trail camera footage; Florida Bear kills family Dog in residential neighborhood; Pennsylvania lawmakers to hold public hearing on Lyme disease bill; West Nile Virus reports from CA (2), IN, NV, & NY (2); and Grange in Pennsylvania to host Lyme disease presentation. Canada: BC town told its dumpsters are attracting Bear; and Ontario confirms three human cases of West Nile Virus including one fatality. Follow-Up Reports: Montana biologist says two Wolf pups shot by sheep rancher “were not going down a good path.

Whitetail Buck. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maine 08/24/11 by Heather Steeves – Lyme disease rates have reached an “epidemic” level on a Maine island, so a local tick disease committee is asking to bring gun hunting to the island to reduce the deer herd. Islesboro voters will decide the issue on Aug. 24. “It doesn’t seem like a big deal to many people. You get [bitten] by a tick and then a bull’s-eye rash — no big deal,” Sue Bolduc said. “This disease can be devastating.” Bolduc, 58, of Islesboro contracted the disease this summer. Before she was diagnosed she was so weak she began looking at chairs differently — would that one be too difficult to get out of? One day in early July, Bolduc was in the shower. When she bent down to pick up a bar of soap, there it was on her right thigh: the telltale bull’s-eye rash. When she stepped through the door of the island’s health center glistening with sweat, her physician assistant, Allie Wood, instantly knew: Lyme disease. While that diagnosis might not have come as quickly to most doctors, it was easy for Wood because in the past eight years, the health center has seen at least 69 cases of Lyme disease. Because the island has a year-round population of about 600 people, that’s an epidemic, according to Islesboro’s Tick-Borne Disease Prevention Committee.

So far this summer, the island health clinic has diagnosed 20 cases officially and treated more than 20 suspected cases with antibiotics. The problem is growing. Bolduc is fine now. She recognized the telltale signs of Lyme disease early in the infection and was given a dose of antibiotics, so she recovered within weeks. There were some warning signs Bolduc admits she should have seen. The fatigue she felt after the school year ended was consuming. Her 15-year-old dog had Lyme disease. Deer use her yard as a path. That last piece, the deer, have taken the brunt of the blame for the island “epidemic” in a recently issued 59-page report by the committee. A healthy deer population density in Maine is about 10 per square mile. Islesboro has closer to 50 per square mile. There are about 500 deer on the 11-mile-long island in Waldo County, which means the deer population is almost as high as the human population. Ticks on Islesboro need deer to live. They only breed on large animals, such as deer, horses and humans. So if Islesboro reduces its deer herd, it will reduce the opportunities for Lyme-infected ticks to feed and breed.

Wolf in Mt. Emily unit Umatilla County captured by trail camera on Aug 18, 2011.

Oregon 08/22/11 News Release – Two wolves from the new Walla Walla pack and at least one new wolf in northern Umatilla County were seen on trail camera footage taken in August 2011. The individual wolf was seen on a trail camera Aug. 18 in the Mt Emily Unit (Umatilla County), where wolf activity has been suspected. Tracks in the area suggest this wolf may have been travelling with at least one additional wolf. ODFW will be monitoring this area for wolf activity. Two wolves from the new Walla Walla pack were seen on trail camera footage taken Aug. 11, also in Umatilla County. The Walla Walla pack was first confirmed by track evidence in January 2011. This pack’s range is not yet clear and may partly be in Washington State. Finally, a yearling wolf from the Wenaha pack was seen Aug. 5 on a trail camera in Wallowa County. The wolf is seen with its ear tags, which ODFW put on last August when the wolf was just a pup. These ear tags help wildlife managers identify wolves. (For all photos go to )

Florida 08/24/11 Longwood – A local family is crushed after a bear attacked their dog Tuesday morning. Kim Staber said she was just starting her morning routine about 7 a.m. by letting her 13-year-old Sheltie, Rocks, out of their home off Markham Woods Road. “Just literally out of nowhere, a bear comes galloping out from the side yard and starts attacking him,” Staber said. Staber said the bear grabbed a hold of Rocks with its mouth and didn’t let go. The dog owner said she was screaming, but the bear kept attacking the dog. “Finally, I stepped out and screamed at the bear, and it backed up. I held the door, and with my left hand, I grabbed my dog’s front left paw,” Staber said. Staber said she rushed the dog to the veterinarian, but Rocks had to be put down. Staber said she learned the bear dragged her neighbors’ trash into her yard and was protecting its meal when the dog came out. “What if it had been me stepping outside, would the bear have attacked me or a little kid?” Staber said. Staber is warning her neighbors to watch out. “I’m just worried this bear is a little too aggressive and too much, a little too much for the neighborhood,” Staber said.

Deer tick

Pennsylvania 08/23/11 The Human Services Committee of the PA House of Representatives will be holding a public hearing on HB 272, The Lyme and Related Tick-Borne Disease Education, Prevention and Treatment Act. Lyme disease is a serious issue in PA – we are #1 in reported cases (2009 data), and the cases keep climbing, more than doubling in 5 years. And ticks carry many other serious, even fatal diseases, that too many medical practitioners know little about. And, the CDC has reported that children ages 5-14 are most at risk. House Bill 272 directs the Department of Health to establish a task force to address the issues surrounding Lyme disease. This task force will make and implement recommendations regarding the gaps in education, prevention and surveillance of Lyme and other tick borne diseases in Pennsylvania. The bill will also ensure that Physicians can apply the two different standards of care that exist today for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Insurance companies have “cherry picked” which standards of care they will approve – effectively “practicing medicine” instead of doctors. With this bill, physicians will be able to apply longer-term therapies to treat Lyme disease that does not respond to shorter courses. Research has long demonstrated persistence of these infections which are related to syphilis. Lastly the bill ensures that insurance companies will pay for the treatment the physician prescribes, putting medical decisions back in the hands of physicians and patients where they should be made. The hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 from 10 am until 12 noon in Harrisburg, PA.  If you, or a loved one, have been personally affected by Lyme disease, please come to the hearing in Harrisburg, or call the Chair of the Committee, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (215) 750-1017 or (717) 783-7319. You can also submit letters to: Elizabeth Yarnell, Legislative Analyst, Human Services Committee or call (717) 787-8110. (See template letters at )

San Joaquin County

California 08/24/11 by Ross Farrow – A 74-year old Stockton man has been tentatively diagnosed with the West Nile virus, according to the San Joaquin County Health Services Department. The man, whose name has not been disclosed, has initially tested positive, but the case can only be confirmed after further testing is completed, according to a news release. If the man tests positive, it will be the first human infection of the mosquito-borne disease in the county this year, according to county Public Health Officer Karen Furst.

Riverside County

California 08/23/11 by Lorraine Whetstone – A preliminary mosquito test taken at The Living Desert was positive for West Nile virus, a county vector control official confirmed Tuesday. The in-house test by the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District from a trap sample taken Aug. 19 still has to be confirmed by the Center for Vectorborne Diseases at UC Davis, said Greg White, a vector ecologist with the district. That will take a day or two.  The district sent out more technicians to The Living Desert today for additional testing.  Nyla Patzner, a spokeswoman for the Palm Desert wildlife and botanical park, said Tuesday they’re waiting for the confirmed results before commenting. If he had to estimate, White said the district’s in-house tests are accurate 80 to 90 percent of the time.

Jefferson County

Indiana 08/24/11 by Scott Sarvay – The State’s first human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Jefferson County. In addition to the human case, mosquito groups in 11 counties have now tested positive for the virus. Those counties include: Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Boone, Carroll, Hamilton, Hendricks, Henry, Marion, Morgan and Vanderburgh. State health officials have also confirmed the virus in a crow in Marion County and a horse in Noble County.

Nevada 08/19/11 by Keith Trout – While mosquito populations from traps in Mason Valley were lower in the recent trapping efforts, there have been three more positive results for West Nile Virus. In addition, there have been horses found to be infected with the virus in Silver Springs. Bud Stinson, manager of the Mason Valley Mosquito Abatement District, reported the first positive test for West Nile Virus in the state in late July, and that report was later followed up by other positive tests in Churchill and Clark Counties. Stinson is also reporting that early August mosquito trapping efforts in Mason Valley have yielded three more positive results–two from traps along the Walker River near Miller Lane and another in the brush near the river west of Yerington, the site of the first positive result.

Onondaga County

New York 08/24/11 by James T. Mulder – An increase in mosquito-borne virus activity coupled with two suspected human cases of West Nile virus have prompted Onondaga County public health officials to do aerial spraying of the Cicero Swamp area. Dr. Cynthia Morrow, Onondaga County’s health commissioner, announced this afternoon the spraying will tentatively take place 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday night, weather permitting. The decision to spray was made after evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus was found in mosquitoes collected in the Cicero Swap area.

Suffolk County

New York 08/22/11 by Delthia Ricks – Nineteen additional mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County, bringing to 50 the total number of positive pools found so far this season and far more than the 19 positive samples found so far in Nassau.

Pennsylvania 08/23/11 Russellville Grange #91 will host a program on Lyme Disease, to be presented by the PA Lyme Disease Awareness Committee of the Chester/Delaware County Farm Bureau, in collaboration with Lyme Disease Assoc. of Southeastern PA, Inc. and the Chester County Health Dept. The session will be held on Thursday, September 1, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Russellville Grange on PA Route 896, one block north of Route 10, in Oxford. The speaker will be Douglas W. Fearn, President of Lyme Disease Assoc. of Southeastern PA, Inc. and author of the booklet “Lyme Disease and Associated Diseases, the Basics”. The talk is free and open to the public. Topics will cover the risks, symptoms, and prevention of Lyme Disease. Please call Fran Sharon at 610-932-2549 for further information or to confirm time and date.


British Columbia 08/24/11 by Wendy Fraser – An audit conducted by the BC Conservation Officer Service indicates commercial dumpsters are a large contributor to ongoing bear problems in Lillooet. The audit was done in July during the follow-up investigation of a bear attack that claimed the life of Xaxli’p elder Bernice Adolph. Bear sign, including paw prints, claw marks and bite marks, was found on 26 per cent of the 37 garbage dumpsters audited. The report says the bear sign was indicative that bears had recently accessed garbage or attempted to access garbage at the dumpsters. He suggested that simple improvements to dumpsters, such as using metal lids instead of plastic lids, keeping dumpsters closed securely and replacing standard dumpsters with “bear-proof” dumpsters, could “rapidly reduce bear-human conflicts in areas with high pedestrian traffic in Lillooet…Such changes can go a long way to keep both the bears and the community safe. (For complete report go to )

Burlington, Ontario

Ontario 08/24/11 A woman in Burlington, Ont., who tested positive for West Nile virus has died, health officials say. A test is underway to confirm the infection and the results are expected by the end of the week, a public health officer in Halton Region said Wednesday. The woman, who was in her 70s, had not left the province. The last death associated with West Nile in the region occurred in 2002. Elsewhere in Ontario, an Essex man who donated blood tested positive for West Nile, the Windsor-Essex County medical officer of health said last week. “We do have two confirmed human cases of West Nile so far this year,” Andrew Morrison, a spokesperson for Ontario’s health ministry, said Wednesday. “One is travel related, so it’s an Ontario resident who had been outside of Ontario and came back with West Nile virus. The other is one that was discovered through a blood donor.” No other details were available about the travel-related case.

Follow-Up Report:

Montana 08/24/11 by Perry Backus –  (See post dated August 24, 2011: Montana game warden says sheep rancher justified in killing wolves) Two wolves shot and killed northwest of Hamilton Monday were 4-month-old pups, which may have been orphaned five weeks ago when a female wolf was killed at the same location. “The female that was killed had nursed pups,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf biologist Liz Bradley. “I’m fairly certain that they were her pups.” A wolf shot in May on the outskirts of Hamilton may have been the breeding male. It was in the process of attacking dogs tied within 35 yards of a home. “They were probably a new pair that established this spring and had pups,” Bradley said. “I don’t know if there are any left. … We’ve seen this happen before in the Bitterroot. A new pair of wolves will try to squeeze in someplace that is not a good place for wolves to make a living.” Bradley hopes people in the area will let her know if they spot any other wolves. Bradley’s phone number is (406) 865-0017. “I would be interested in hearing from the public about any sightings,” she said. “I had a recent report of a gray and a black wolf. There have not been any other reports.” The pups weighed about 35 pounds. Yearling wolves are closer to full size. A yearling male will weigh about 85 pounds and a female about 75 pounds. “They will stand as tall as an adult,” she said. The pups were old enough to be weaned and to eat solid food. They may have survived by scavenging or eating small animals like squirrels. “They were not big enough yet to kill a deer or an elk,” Bradley said. “They were not going down a good path by already harassing sheep and goats.” The two wolves were shot by a landowner who spotted them about 300 yards from his home. The wolves were standing near a group of sheep and goats that had retreated atop a pile of rocks in the pasture. The female wolf was shot after the rancher spotted her eating a newly killed lamb. Both shootings were determined to be justified by FWP wardens.