Category Archives: Public Health

PUERTO RICO reports sharp rise in ZIKA VIRUS cases ~ OREGON county reports first-ever case of HANTAVIRUS


Puerto Rico 02/12/16 by Brady Dennis – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday detailed a sharp rise in Zika virus infections in Puerto Rico, from a single case involving an 80-year-old late last year to nearly 30 confirmed patients by the end of January. One case involved a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy, and another occurred in a patient hospitalized for Guillain-Barré syndrome, a potentially paralyzing condition that has followed Zika infections in some patients. The CDC said the commonwealth has not reported any Zika-associated cases of microcephaly — the congenital defect, characterized by abnormally small head size and brain damage, that is suspected in hundreds of newborns at the outbreak’s epicenter in Brazil. Public health officials expect the prevalence of the virus to only increase in Puerto Rico in coming weeks and months. One big reason: The mosquito that most commonly transmits it, Aedes aegypti, is present throughout the island. “The risk to Puerto Rico is significant,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said recently. The U.S. territory has experienced previous widespread outbreaks of dengue fever, another virus spread by the same type of mosquito. Most of the people infected with Zika so far live on the the eastern side of the island or around the populous capital of San Juan, according to the CDC. Four patients have been hospitalized, but most have reported only minor symptoms, such as rash, joint pain or eye pain. – For complete article see


hantavirus.339988iidOregon 02/12/16 Hantavirus is here. The sometimes fatal rodent-borne virus has been diagnosed in a Umatilla County resident for the first time ever. The county health department wouldn’t give details about the victim to protect the person’s privacy, but the case prompted Umatilla County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Jon Hitzman to issue a warning. “Hantavirus is a rare but serious disease spread by rodents,” Hitzman said. “This disease can frequently become fatal, but there are steps you can take to reduce your exposure.” The virus lurks in enclosed areas such as barns, outbuildings and sheds where mice nest. Since hantavirus was first identified in 1993, 588 cases showed up nationally, 21 of them in Oregon. About two thirds of cases in Oregon were contracted through direct contact with rodents or rodent droppings. Other cases came through indirect exposure while camping or farming. – For complete article see

MONTANA college student attacked by GRIZZLY ~ NEW MEXICAN diagnosed with state’s first case of HANTAVIRUS this year ~ MOUNTAIN LION alert issued by CALIFORNIA authorities ~ TICKS at CALIFORNIA and WASHINGTON test positive for LYME DISEASE ~ MOSQUITO in TEXAS tests positive for WEST NILE VIRUS ~ RABIES reports from CA, FL, GA, KS, MD, NC, & TN.

Grizzly. Photo by Jean-Pierre Lavoie. Wikimedia Commons.

Grizzly. Photo by Jean-Pierre Lavoie. Wikimedia Commons.

Montana 04/20/13 by Vince Devlin – A Salish Kootenai College student was attacked and mauled by a grizzly bear less than a mile from the campus Friday morning. Less than three hours later, the college cancelled classes and asked students to leave campus immediately after a bear was seen in the vicinity of campus dormitories. The mauling victim, a male, was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in Ronan and transferred to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Stacy Courville, a wildlife biologist with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, said the student was hiking alone in a brushy area along Mud Creek. Lake County Undersheriff Dan Yonkin said the man’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Karen Sargeant said he suffered head and arm injuries, but his condition was unknown. The student’s name was not disclosed.

Salish Kootenai College is in Pablo, Lake County, MT.

Salish Kootenai College is in Pablo, Lake County, MT.

Reports on when the attack occurred varied from 10:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. Yonkin said the victim was coherent and talking after the attack, and told authorities he believed the bear was a grizzly. CSKT authorities later confirmed it was a grizzly sow with two yearling cubs. “He was unaware a bear was nearby until she started charging,” Yonkin said. “She was most likely in defensive mode because of the cubs.”  – For complete article see


Deer mouse. Common carrier of Hantavirus.

Deer mouse. Common carrier of Hantavirus.

New Mexico 04/19/13 News Release – The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) is announcing today that a 45-year-old woman from McKinley County has laboratory confirmed Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome  (HPS). This is the first case of Hantavirus in New Mexico this year. The patient has been hospitalized at University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was last listed as being insatisfactory condition.

McKinley County

McKinley County

An environmental investigation will be conducted at the home of the patient to try and help reduce the risk to others. – For complete release with recommended protective measures see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

13478205mtnlionCalifornia 04/20/13 El Dorado County: An alert has been issued in South Lake Tahoe after a mountain lion was sighted this week in a meadow area between Black Bart Avenue and Al Tahoe Boulevard. – For details see

Lyme Disease:

Female Western Black-legged Tick. Courtesy CDC.

Female Western Black-legged Tick. Courtesy CDC.

California 04/19/13 News Release – Officials from Los Angeles County and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) are advising visitors that ticks from Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills recently tested positive for Lyme disease. Three separate pools of western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) found along the Coyote Trail were found to be positive. . . “We’re finding that about 1 or 2 percent of western black-legged ticks in the area carry the Lyme disease bacteria, so it’s important for us to identify where the problem is occurring,” said Saviskas. “This particular tick is most active from late November through May.” More information is available at or by calling 310-915-7370. – For complete release see

227757Washington 04/19/13 Samples of ticks in Clallam County showed a couple had the bacteria that could lead to Lyme disease. That prompted health officials to issue a warning to local health providers to be on the lookout. But Clallam County health officer Dr. Tom Locke says the results don’t mean you should stop going outside. He tells KONP, it’s uncertain of this is the start of an acute outbreak, or just a normal level of the bacteria. He says typically they don’t change protocol for tick management until tests show at least 20 percent of the tick population has the bacteria. – For complete article see

West Nile Virus (WNV):

080722_west_nile_genericTexas 04/19/13 Dallas County: Officials in Highland Park are spraying the southwest part of town after a mosquito trapped in the area tested positive for WNV. – See


batwarningCalifornia 04/19/13 Tulare County: County health officials are asking for help contacting a Tulare woman who turned in a bat earlier this month. Health officials said today the bat tested positive for rabies, prompting officials to seek out help locating the woman and her family members. “This woman and her family are at risk for contracting rabies,” Health officials said in a released statement. Anyone with information about the woman is encouraged to call Tulare County Communicable Disease Control Office at 685-5720, or 471-7092 after regular business hours.

raccoon-mom-and-baby-0567Florida 04/19/13 Palm Beach County: A raccoon captured by a private trapper on the FAU North Campus in Jupiter on Wednesday has tested positive for rabies. – See,0,5207729.story

220px-Bruno_Liljefors_-_Beagle_and_FoxGeorgia 04/19/13 Forsyth County: A fox that was killed by two dogs on April 16th in Cumming has tested positive for rabies. The encounter took place in the vicinity of Hickory Trail located off Chamblee Gap Road. – See

Kansas 04/20/13 Russell County: A domestic animal within the City of Russell has tested positive for rabies. With the difference between “Furious” and “Paralytic” rabies explained. – See

ab6ad025Maryland 04/18/13 Baltimore County: Health officials have confirmed that a grey, tan, and white feral cat from a colony living in the vicinity of Rhonda Court in Milford Mill has died of rabies. Anyone exposed to a stray cat of that description in that area between March 28 and April 12 should immediately seek medical advice. – See

ca11262aNorth Carolina 04/20/13 Forsyth County: Officials are concerned about a raccoon that attacked a dog on April 15th in the 500 block of Knollwood Street in the Ardmore community of Winston-Salem. The raccoon was not captured and could be infected with rabies. – See

Horse with rabies. Not the horse mentioned in the article.

Horse with rabies. Not the horse mentioned in the article.

Tennessee 04/18/13 Wilson County: A horse stabled in the county has tested positive for rabies. Two other Wilson County animal rabies cases this year involved a dog and a skunk.  – See

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

Deer tick. Courtesy CDC.

Deer tick. Courtesy CDC.

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

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

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

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


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

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

A Lamancha goat.

A Lamancha goat.

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

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

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


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


Feral cat colony. PD

Feral cat colony. PD

Georgia 12/04/12 Chatham County: A feral cat found in the Godley Station of Pooler has tested positive for rabies. Officials are looking for a man they believe may have been bitten by the cat, and at least five other people were exposed to the gray and white tabby. – See

Author’s Note:  See Chatham County, Georgia, above. As of 12/06/12, at least ten people and two pets are being treated for potential exposure to rabies due to possible contact this with gray and white tabby cat. – See

raccoon_catNew Jersey 12/06/12 Atlantic County: A feral cat that had been bitten by a raccoon has tested positive for rabies, the fourth confirmed case of rabies this year in Atlantic County. The cat was surrendered by the owner of a Mallard Court property in Pleasantville earlier this week according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health. The property owner stated that the cat had been bitten by a raccoon about a month ago and had since been displaying neurological symptoms. The cat was sent to the state lab for testing where it was confirmed positive on December 4. – See

Billboard1-1North Dqkota 12/06/12 Stutsman County: A cat found on November 30th by local animal control authorities close to the Tesoro gas station at 2015 Eighth Ave. SW in Jamestown has tested positive for rabies. The adult female cat was an orange and white tabby with long hair and was declawed. It is not known who owned the cat, or if the cat was from Jamestown or dropped off there, the Health Department said. Anybody missing a cat matching the description or who may have information about this cat should contact the North Dakota Department of Health. Pet owners who believe one of their pets may have been exposed to the rabid cat should contact their local veterinarian or the state veterinarian’s office.  Anybody who was bitten or otherwise exposed to the saliva of this animal should contact his or her health care provider and the North Dakota Department of Health immediately to determine the need to receive preventive treatment for rabies. – See

Other Rabies Reports:

knzjts-080709inknoseskunk - CopyConnecticut 12/06/12 New Haven County: A skunk that was killed by three vaccinated dogs on Wolf Hill Road in Cheshire on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies. – See

thumbnailCA7RYDRPGeorgia 12/03/12 Gwinnett County: A raccoon found on November 22nd in the 4300 block of Grey Park Drive in Buford has tested positive for rabies. – See

RedFoxUSFWS-001Oregon 12/05/12 Jackson County: A dead fox found at a home near Jacksonville on November 27th has tested positive for rabies. – See

raccoon - CopyVirginia 12/06/12 Hampton: A raccoon found in the Sunset Creek area of Victoria Boulevard after it was killed by a family dog has tested positive for rabies. – See,0,4675031.story

Chronic Wasting Disease:

Doe-Fawn-Buck-1Wisconsin 12/03/12 A deer killed near Bohners Lake has tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the first known case in Racine County, according to a release Monday from the state Department of Natural Resources. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, as well as elk and moose. According to the DNR, CWD causes a “spongy degeneration” of the infected animal’s brain, which eventually leads to death. The DNR was sampling for the disease in Racine County kills because of the proximity to Kenosha and Walworth County, where deer have tested positive for the disease in the past. “It’s disappointing but not unexpected to have a CWD-positive in Racine County,” said Tim Lizotte, CWD operations supervisor for the DNR.

Deer with CWD.

Deer with CWD.

Bow-hunters shot the three-and-a-half-year-old doe just south of Burlington on Nov. 12, and volunteered the kill to the DNR for sampling, according to the department. This sampling result does not change any remaining hunting seasons, and it doesn’t change the current CWD management zone boundary, according to the DNR. Deer suffering from the disease exhibit symptoms including lack of fear of humans, excessive urination, teeth grinding, severe emaciation and dehydration, visible weakness and a rough, dull coat.

West Nile Virus (WNV):

LA-DHHLouisiana 11/30/12 Update – State health officials report 11 new human cases and one new death this week. There are four new neuroinvasive disease cases reported this week, with one each from Bossier, Calcasieu, St. Helena and Winn parishes. There are five new West Nile fever cases reported this week, with one each from Bossier, Cameron, Concordia, East Feliciana and Orleans parishes. Two new asymptomatic cases were reported this week, from Grant and Pointe Coupee parishes. Louisiana has had 382 West Nile cases, of which 156 are neuroinvasive disease, and 17 deaths, all of which occurred within two weeks of disease onset, thus far in 2012. – See

TEXAS confirms 1,293 with WEST NILE VIRUS and 58 have died ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from LA, MA, RI, & SD ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from CA, IL, MO, & NE ~ RABIES reports from CT, FL, & NJ.

Image by Texas Department of State Health Services. Last updated September 18, 2012.

Texas 09/17/12 Update – State health officials have confirmed 1,276 human cases of WNV spread across 107 counties in the state so far this year, including 58 deaths. In addition, officials have confirmed 150 birds, 41 horses, and 1,293 mosquito samples have tested positive for the virus. – For county details see

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

Louisiana 09/18/12 Lafayette Parish: At least two human cases of WNV have been diagnosed in the city of Lafayette. On Friday, officials confirmed a new WNV human case in a man older than 75 years who has since recovered. Officials have confirmed 215 human cases of WNV in the state so far this year, including 10 deaths. – See

Massachusetts 09/18/12: News Release – Health officials announced today the 5th human case of EEE has been diagnosed in an Essex County resident in his 70s who is hospitalized. They also confirmed the 15th human case of WNV in a Greater Boston resident in his 40s. Officials said another horse, this one stabled in Plympton, has also been diagnosed with EEE. – See

Rhode Island 09/18/12 Washington County: Health officials confirm a mosquito trapped in Westerly has tested positive for WNV. – See

South Dakota 09/19/12 Update – State health officials confirm there have been 14 new human cases of WNV since last week bring the state total to 158 so far this year including 2 deaths. Counties with human cases are Aurora -4, Beadle -11, Brookings -5, Brown -35, Clark -2, Clay -1, Codington -6, Custer -1, Davison -7, Day -3, Edmunds -2, Faulk -2, Grant -2, Hamlin -2, Hanson -3, Hughes -6, Hutchinson -2, Hyde -2, Jerauld -2, Kingsbury -7, Lake -5, Lawrence -1, Lincoln -5, Marshall -6, McCook -1, McPherson -2, Miner -1, Minnehaha -14, Moody -2, Pennington -1, Roberts -1, Sanborn -3, Spink -4, Sully -1, Tripp -1, Turner -1, Union -1, Walworth -1, and Yankton -2.  In addition, 32 blood donors, 9 horses, 4 birds, and 77 mosquito pools have tested positive. – See

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 09/18/12 Madera County: Last week a family in Oakhurst contacted the U.S.D.A. and the state’s Department of Fish & Game to report that something had attacked and killed their goat. A baited trap was set and they caught a mountain lion that was euthanized in the interest of protecting community residents, pets, and livestock. – See

Illinois 09/18/12 Cook and Lake counties: Residents in Highland Park and Northfield have reported mountain lion sightings. Since April 15th, at least seven unconfirmed sightings have been reported in North Shore communities. – See

Missouri 09/18/12 Shannon County: A wildlife camera captured photos of a mountain lion on September 9th near Eminence. There have been several reports of mountain lions in the Ozarks over the past few years and officials say they are likely moving from western states, though there is no evidence that they have established a local breeding population. – See,0,3166465.story

Nebraska 09/18/12 Sheridan County: A mountain lion spotted in a tree overlooking a family’s chicken coop in Rushville last weekend was shot and killed by the property owner. Officials say sightings have increased in the area since the Wellnitz Fire that burned several thousand acres. – See


Connecticut 09/17/12 New Haven County: A skunk that bit a Cheshire woman in her garage has tested positive for rabies. – See news video at

Florida 09/18/12 Palm Beach County: A raccoon that attacked a dog on Caloosa Boulevard near Bee Line Highway in Palm Beach Gardens has tested positive for rabies. Residents say nearby flood waters are forcing wild animals into their communities. – See article and news video at

New Jersey 09/17/12 Middlesex County: A bat found near a home in the vicinity of Valentine Street and South 4th Avenue in Highland Park has tested positive for rabies. This is the ninth rabid animal found in the county so far this year. – See|head&nclick_check=1

MEXICAN GRAY WOLF killing LIVESTOCK in NEW MEXICO will be shot ~ Lone WOLF known as OR-7 prompts CALIFORNIA wildlife officials to consider protection ~ CDC confirms 145 new cases of SWINE FLU in July & August 2012 ~ Second RABBIT with TULAREMIA found in COLORADO ~ MOUNTAIN LION sighting reported in ILLINOIS ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS reports from MAx2 ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IN, MD, NE, SD, & TXx3 ~ RABIES reports from CA, CO, GA, MAx2, NH, NY, NC, & OH.

Mexican gray wold. Photo by C. Morrison. Wikimedia Commons.

New Mexico 08/10/12 by Susan Montoya Bryan – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an order Thursday calling for the shooting of a female Mexican gray wolf that was accused of killing too many cows in southwestern New Mexico. This marks the first time since 2007 that the agency was taking the step to kill an endangered wolf due to livestock problems. The order calls for shooting the Fox Mountain Pack’s alpha female. Wolf Recovery Coordinator Sherry Barrett said it was a difficult decision given that the population of endangered wolves in New Mexico and Arizona has been struggling since reintroduction began 14 years ago. “Our goal is to recover the population and to grow this particular population, but we also recognize the need to address these depredations so that we have a successful reintroduction program,” she said. The rancher who lost cattle to the Fox Mountain Pack was compensated for his losses, but Barrett did not know how much he was paid through the government’s reimbursement program. Barrett also declined to release the name of the rancher. . . .

. . . . .. .A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican wolf once roamed parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Mexico. Hunting and government-sponsored extermination campaigns all but wiped out the predator. It was added to the federal endangered species list in 1976, and a captive-breeding program was started. The first batch of wolves was released in May 1998, and at least 58 wolves remain in the wild along the New Mexico-Arizona border. Biologists estimate there are 14 packs among the two states. – For complete article see

California 08/09/12 State scientists say the lone wolf roaming far Northern California should be considered a candidate for listing under the state endangered species act. A report from the Department of Fish and Game called the presence of the gray wolf that crossed the border from Oregon last December an “historic and a scientific certainty.” The report says that other wolves could migrate to form breeding populations.  “Whether one is for or against listing wolves as threatened or endangered … one must acknowledge the fact that the arrival of wolf OR7 in our state was an historic event,” said Jordan Traverso, deputy director of communications for the department. The report was presented Wednesday to members of the California Fish and Game Commission, which will decide in October whether to accept the recommendation. – For complete article see

National 08/09/12 CDC Health Advisory – (Excerpt) “(T)here are 145 confirmed cases of influenza infection with H3N2v virus, since the current outbreaks began in July of this year.  This includes one case in Hawaii, one case in Illinois, 113 cases being reported from Indiana, and 30 cases being reported from Ohio.  This is clearly a significant increase since last week’s total, so we thought it would be good to try to put this into context.  Like we reported last week, confirmed cases have had exposure to swine, and most of these infections have occurred in people exhibiting swine, family members of exhibitors, people visiting swine barns at fairs, or people attending fairs where swine are present.  The severity of human illness associated with this virus continues to resemble that of seasonal flu.  Most cases are mild and self-limited and resolve on their own.  Most cases have occurred in children.  CDC has not received any report of deaths associated with H3N2v infection, and there have been two confirmed hospitalizations with H3N2v infection so far.  Both patients have recovered and have been discharged.” Joseph Bresee, M.D., Influenza Division, CDC – For complete transcript see

Colorado 08/09/12 Public health officials in Pueblo say a second rabbit tested positive for tularemia in Pueblo West. The rabbit was collected from Pueblo West, north of Highway 50 West, on the 400 Block of East Chadwick Drive. – For complete article and symptoms see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Illinois 08/10/12 by Chuck Sudo – Police in Glencoe have asked residents to be on alert for a cougar or cougars in the North Shore suburb after a July 26 sighting. It was the latest in a series of reported mountain lion sightings in the north suburbs in recent months. Although there hasn’t been any photographic evidence of the felines, Glencoe Public Safety Director Michael Volling is taking a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” approach. The latest sighting occurred July 26 near the intersection of Dell Place and Lakeside Terrace. – See

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

Massachusetts 08/08/12 Middlesex County: Public health officials have confirmed that a man in his 60s from the Metrowest region has been diagnosed with EEE. He became ill after returning from a trip to the Mid-Atlantic region. – See

Massachusetts 08/10/12 Reading, Middlesex County: Human-biting mosquitoes infected with EEE have been detected in Reading — the first time this season that EEE-carrying insects that can spread the often-fatal disease to people have been found outside of Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts, which is traditionally a hotbed for the virus. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Indiana 08/10/12 Health officials say four human cases of WNV have now been confirmed in Hamilton, Marion, and Jackson counties. – See

Maryland 08/10/12 News Release – Public health officials today announced that an adult in Central Maryland is the state’s first confirmed human case of symptomatic WNV infection in 2012. WNV was also detected in a pool of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Defense. – See

Nebraska 08/08/12 Health Alert – There are six (6) lab-confirmed human cases of WNV, one each in Boone, Butler, Hamilton and Madison counties and 2 in Scottsbluff County. Multiple counties show positive mosquito pools or infected birds (see maps, –

See complete Health Alert at

South Dakota 08/10/12 Update – WNV has been detected in 24 counties.  31 human cases of the disease reported. 16 WNV viremic blood donors. 2 WNV positive horses. – See

Texas 08/09/12 Dallas County: Public health officials have declared a public health emergency, saying the spread of the WNV has become epidemic . . . county health officials have reported 162 WNV human cases including nine deaths so far this year. – See

Texas 08/09/12 Andrews, Andrews County: Health officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the Permian Basin. – See

Texas 08/10/12 Denton, Denton County: Public health officials have confirmed that a 90-year-old resident with underlying health conditions is the county’s first death associated with WNV this year. There have been 66 total human cases of the virus, and 65 positive mosquito pools, in the county so far this year. – See


California 08/10/12 Acton, Los Angeles County: Public health officials have confirmed that a bat that fell from a tree and bit a local resident on the shoulder a week ago has tested positive for rabies. Two other bats found last weekend between Stevenson Ranch and Acton also tested positive for the virus. Nine rabid bats have been found in the Santa Clarita Valley so far this year. – See

Colorado 08/09/12 El Paso County: A dead bat found near the entrance of the Starsmore Discovery Center at 2120 S. Cheyenne Cañon Road has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who might have had contact with the bat should seek immediate medical advice. – See

Georgia 08/09/12 Bryan County: A raccoon that came in contact with a local family dog has tested positive for rabies. The dog was not up-to-date on vaccinations and had to be euthanized. This is the third rabid raccoon found in the county this year. – See

Massachusetts 08/09/12 Dartmouth, Bristol County: A woodchuck (aka groundhog) that came in contact with a vaccinated dog and was later found on Hancock Street, west of Cross Road and south of Route 6, has tested positive for rabies. – See

Massachusetts 08/10/12 Bolton, Worcester County: A bat captured by an animal control officer inside a local home has tested positive for rabies. – See

New Hampshire 08/10/12 Freedom, Carroll County: Local police shot and killed a fox that attacked people walking their dog and then attacked the police. Officials are waiting for results of a rabies test, but less than two weeks ago another fox tested positive for the virus in the nearby town of Bartlett. – See

New York 08/10/12 Middletown, Orange County: A rabies alert has been issued after a bat that was in contact with a vaccinated dog in the Lincroft section tested positive for the virus. This is the fifth case of rabies in the town this year. – See

North Carolina 08/09/12 Cary, Wake & Chatham counties: A dead bat found inside a home in the 300 block of Tweed Circle on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies. The homeowner was potentially exposed to the virus. – See

Ohio 08/09/12 Danville, Knox County: A bat that came in contact with an unvaccinated dog has tested positive for rabies. The dog will be euthanized. – See

WASHINGTON warns of Paralytic SHELLFISH Poison biotoxin found in central and south Puget Sound waters ~ LYME DISEASE Stories presented by CDC ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from NE, SC, & TX ~ RABIES reports from FL, NY, NC, TX, & VA.

Scallop eyes. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Washington 07/31/12 News Release – Shellfish collected from a large area of central and south Puget Sound contain enough Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) biotoxin to make people sick. So, the Washington State Department of Health has closed recreational shellfish harvest in Jefferson, Island, Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties. Commercially harvested shellfish have been thoroughly tested and should be safe to eat. Warning signs are posted at beaches used by recreational shellfish harvesters to warn people not to collect shellfish from the closed areas. The closures include clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, geoduck, and other species of molluscan shellfish. Crab is not included in the closure, but “crab butter” should not be eaten. The PSP toxin is produced by algae that are often more common during the warmest months of the year.

People can get very sick from eating shellfish contaminated with the toxin. Marine biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet. This is followed by difficulty breathing, and potentially death. Anyone who has eaten shellfish and begins having these symptoms should get medical help immediately. A person can’t tell if PSP is present by looking at the water or shellfish. For this reason, the term “red tide,” which is often used for PSP, is misleading and inaccurate. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing. Before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington, people should check for updated closure information on our Shellfish Safety Website or call our Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. The Department of Health website ( is your source for a healthy dose of information.

National 07/31/12 News Release –  Lyme Disease Stories presents true experiences of people who have had Lyme disease.  In the first story (a video), you’ll meet John, a dad who caught Lyme disease on a camping trip with his son.   This video describes how the early symptoms felt and how he was treated by his physician, Dr. Heaton.  Dr. Heaton talks about some common concerns that patients have with Lyme disease and where it occurs.  John follows up with some tips for avoiding tick bites and Lyme disease.

You’ll also read about Linda, who had Lyme disease on two separate occasions. Read her story to find out how she felt and why it’s important to remain vigilant against ticks. – For John’s video and Linda’s Story go to

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Nebraska 07/31/12 Jefferson County: Public health officials have confirmed that a mosquito trapped in the county has tested positive for WNV. – See

South Carolina 07/31/12 the by Dionne Gleaton – A local man is one of three newly confirmed human cases of WNV in the state. “The new cases are a middle-aged man from Orangeburg County, a middle-aged man from Lexington County and a middle-aged man from Richland County,” said Dr. Linda Bell, interim state epidemiologist. “Combined with the case identified in a Charleston County woman last week, we now have identified a total of four human cases. – See

Texas 07/31/12 Travis County: Health officials confirmed today that a resident has died of WNV, the more serious neuroinvasive form. The death is the first from WNV in the county since 2003. Three other human cases are being investigated by county officials. – See


Florida 07/30/12 The Washington County Health Department is investigating a case or cases of rabies in domestic cats. A resident of Washington County moved to south Florida. A neighbor who lives in Graceville (Jackson County) was feeding the resident’s four cats and noticed that they appeared sick. One cat was taken to a veterinarian and tested positive for rabies. Two of the three remaining cats were euthanized. The fourth cat had been transported to Holmes County and has disappeared. Two residents of Jackson County and one resident in Alabama are receiving rabies vaccine as a precautionary measure. Neighbors reported seeing other cats feeding with the original four cats and report many stray cats in the area. Dogs and other animals could also have been exposed. The area in question is in northern Washington County, just south of the Jackson County line near Highway 77.

New York 07/31/12 Elmsford, Westchester County: A rabies alert has been issued to residents who may have had contact with a rabid stray cat in Elmsford, on Winthrop Avenue between White Plains Avenue and Payne Street, on or before Friday, July 27. The health department used robo-calls to notify residents who live within a quarter-mile of the area where the cat was found. The cat was an adult charcoal gray short-haired cat with yellowish-green eyes and a dirty coat. It had tried to attack a woman and a man in the neighborhood before it attacked a police officer, who had responded to a call and then shot the cat. Testing confirmed the cat was rabid. The officer has already begun post-exposure rabies treatment. There was no other known contact with people or pets. – See

North Carolina 07/31/12 Mooresville, Iredell County: Twelve people are being treated for potential exposure to rabies after a puppy that was a center of attention at a family fish fry dies of the virus. – See

Texas 07/30/12 Cedar Park, Travis & Williamson counties: A bat found July 27th at the Twin Lakes YMCA, 204 East Little Elm Trail, has tested positive for rabies. A camp counselor found the bat buried in the sand at the lake beach, and officials ask anyone who came into contact with it to seek immediate medical advice. – See

Virginia 07/30/12 Henrico County: A raccoon that attacked two dogs in the 7500 block of Ansley Road on July 26th has tested positive for rabies. Both dogs have been quarantined. – See

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.


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

Ontario 05/29/12 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

Black Legged or Deer Tick.

Maine 05/30/12 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

Massachusetts 05/30/12 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

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

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

National 05/29/12 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

ALABAMA home security camera tapes COYOTE cornering family DOG ~ RABIES reports from FL, NH, NY, OH, OR, PA, & VA ~ CANADA: BRITISH COLUMBIA members of Veterinarians Without Borders join team working with STREET DOGS in GUATEMALA ~ NOVA SCOTIA boy attacked by COYOTE.

Coyote. Photo by Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.

Alabama 05/16/12 by Shea Allen – Jessie Fletcher says he was floored after discovering his family’s dog Foxy, dead in his backyard Monday morning. He says he was even more amazed when he realized his home’s security cameras caught the culprit responsible for Foxy’s death. For Fletcher, this video is hard to watch. But he says it confirms to him what likely took the lives of two other dogs killed within the last year. Animal Control officials admit coyotes are a problem in the city of Decatur. They estimate the population within the city limits to be as high as a thousand. But, controlling the coyotes is a difficult job for Miles Naylor, the man the city employs to handle the animals. – For complete article and video see

Florida 05/15/12 Marianna, Jackson County: A raccoon that fought with and was killed by two dogs on Brinson Road east of Bascom has tested positive for rabies. The dogs have been quarantined. – See

New Hampshire 05/15/12 Manchester, Hillsborough County: A dead coyote found in the back yard of a Morse Road residence on Friday has tested positive for rabies. About a half-dozen sightings of a coyote exhibiting unusual behavior have been reported from this neighborhood in the past ten days, including a report that a woman was bitten. – See

New York 05/15/12 Ithaca, Tompkins County: Health officials have issued a rabies alert after a fox that attacked and bit a person in Buttermilk Falls State Park last Friday tested positive for the virus. Authorities believe this is the same fox that attacked a dog on Spencer Street. – See|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE&nclick_check=1

Ohio 05/15/12 New Philadelphia, Tuscarawas County: City Health Department officials and police were still searching Monday night for a stray dog that bit a person in the Pines Mobile Home Park near Lowe’s on Saturday. Lee Finley, director of environmental health, said the dog must be placed in rabies quarantine until May 22. If it’s not located for observation, the bite victim will have to undergo post-exposure rabies inoculations. The dog is described as a large, older black dog with tan markings and a bit of white/gray in its coat. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Health Department at 330-364-4491, ext. 208; the Police Department at 330-343-4488; or the Tuscarawas County Dog Warden at 330-339-2616. – See

Oregon 05/15/12 Medford, Jackson County: A bat found flying inside the home of a resident has tested positive for rabies. – See

Pennsylvania 05/15/12 Lawrenceville, Tioga County: A raccoon acting strangely on May 10 near 43 ½ and Railroad streets has tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 05/15/12 Williamsburg: The Peninsula Health District is searching for a dog that reportedly bit someone along Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg Sunday afternoon. According to the Peninsula Health District, the gray, blue and white husky/spitz type of dog bit a man in the 400 block of Duke of Gloucester Street around 1:15 p.m. If the dog is not found, the victim may have to undergo post exposure treatment, known as rabies shots. The dog will not be taken from its owner if it is found. Instead, it will be placed on an in-home confinement for 10 days. Anyone with information on the dog is asked to contact the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Environmental Health Office at 757-253-4813. After hours, contact James City County/Williamsburg Animal Control at 757-253-1800. – See


British Columbia 05/15/12 A group of dedicated Canadian veterinarians — many from B.C. – are working to prevent poor communities in the Americas from going to the dogs. Two Vancouver Island women were among a team of Veterinarians Without Borders  (VWB) volunteers in Guatemala this spring providing medical care, vaccinations and spaying and neutering for street dogs in the impoverished community of Todos Santos with the aim of also improving the lives of their owners in the process. “The nearest community to Todos Santos with a vet is about two hours away through winding mountain trails,” explained Tracy Cornish, Victoria-based veterinarian who has travelled to Guatemala three times since 2009 as a volunteer with the registered charity. “The main reason why they were interested in us coming down was because of human safety concerns about rabies from dogs biting livestock or people.”

Stray dogs in Guatemala City;

One of the tenets of VWB is that humanitarian work doesn’t always have to focus exclusively on humans. In fact, in many developing countries the welfare of animals and people are so interdependent that improving the health of their livestock or companion animals can have a dramatic effect on entire communities. “A lot of things that involve the welfare of animals also involve the human population in terms of health or hygiene,” explained Cornish, who returned from her latest trip in April. According to VWB, “free-roaming and un-owned dogs had become a serious issue in Todos Santos, to the point where the fear of being physically attacked was preventing people from conducting their everyday activities. Transmission of rabies and other zoonotic diseases was also a serious health concern.” One volunteer heard stories of an NGO worker having to carry a nail-studded club to keep street dogs away. While there, Cornish and Victoria animal health technologist Stacey Ness helped treat roughly 200 dogs in free clinics in the remote Mayan indigenous community in the mountains of northwestern Guatemala. One of the goals of VWB is to help the region move toward sterilization as the main method of population control, rather than extermination, as often practiced. – For complete article see

Nova Scotia 05/16/12 Cape Breton Island: – A 14-year-old Nova Scotia boy is recovering from coyote bites to his leg and buttock after he was attacked by an aggressive animal while on a Cape Breton trail on Tuesday night. The Department of Natural Resources said the teenager was riding a dirt bike, and had dismounted, when he was attacked on a trail near Sydport Industrial Park in the Westmount area of Cape Breton. He was checked out by health officials and his wounds are not considered serious, the department said Wednesday in a news release.

Terry Power, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, told CBC News the boy managed to fight off the animal and took off on his bike. Power said he interviewed the victim and his father and it’s not clear what prompted the attack. “It’s difficult to explain, quite frankly. We visited the site, we do look for something in the area that might explain what took place. For example, coyotes have been known to defend a kill quite aggressively,” said Power. “We looked for that sort of sign as well as potentially a den in the area, but no. It’s just an unusual occurrence, it’s rare.” Wildlife officials are searching the trail and have called in a trained trapper to remove the animal.

Skyline Trail

In 2010, Nova Scotia began paying trappers $20 per coyote pelt as part of a bounty program designed to reduce aggressive coyote behaviour. There were several calls to bring in the bounty after the death of a Toronto singer in October 2009. Taylor Mitchell, 19, was killed by two coyotes while hiking the Skyline Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Both animals have since been caught and destroyed.