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Oregon agents kill Cougar believed to be killing sheep; Feral hog captured in Michigan tests positive for Pseudo-Rabies; West Nile Virus reports from CT, MD, NJ, NY, and OH; and Rabies reports from CT, FL, and GA (2). Canada: a Rabies report from BC, and a West Nile Virus report from ONT. Travel Warnings for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Announcement: New website to focus on Chronic Wasting Disease.

Cougar. Photo by Trish Carney. Wikimedia Commons.

Oregon 08/17/11 Wildlife agents have tracked and killed a cougar believed responsible for killing six sheep belonging to a family in Sweet Home, Ore., northeast of Eugene.

Blackbelly Barbados

U.S. Agriculture Department wildlife specialists used hounds Wednesday to track and tree a 2-year-old, 110-pound cougar. USDA wildlife biologist Kevin Christensen tells KEZI it was necessary to kill the big cat because predators that start attacking livestock will continue. Shelley Garrett and her family found three of their Blackbelly Barbados sheep dead in a field Tuesday and three more missing. One of the missing sheep was found buried nearby and the other two are believed to be dead. The family had a flock of 10 sheep. Wildlife officials say even though they believe just one cougar was responsible for the attack it’s a good idea to lock up livestock at night.

Michigan 08/17/11 by Gus Burns – A Feral hog infected with pseudo-rabies has been captured and shot in Midland County, says Keith Creagh, director of the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The disease and the growing number of wild pigs helped earn them a “nuisance species” designation by the Department of Natural Resources, which relaxes hunting restrictions on the animals; and this latest finding of a diseased pig helps support a proposed sporting pig ban that Department of Natural Resources employees could enforce beginning April 1, should restrictions not be enacted. “The DNR is blowing a lot of smoke out there,” said Doug Miller, a construction worker who owns Thunder Hills Ranch in Jackson County, which raises swine for controlled hunts. “The fact that that pig has pseudo-rabies has nothing to do with (sporting pig owners). Our animals are 100 percent tested.” Creagh said the USDA Wildlife Services commenced the Midland County trap-kill-and-test program for hogs in June. Since that time, six feral hogs were captured and tested for pseudo-rabies and other diseases.  “One of the samples, it was a young, female sub-adult, came back positive for pseudo-rabies,” Creagh said. “And that’s why we’re killing feral swine.”

A sporting pig ban was to take effect July 8, but the DNR delayed the action until Oct. 8 to give legislators time to create restrictions if they choose. The order would prohibit owning or breeding non-livestock swine. A Saginaw County gaming facility, which offered hog hunts to the public, “depopulated” its Eurasian hog population in 2008 after an “endemic” pseudo-rabies outbreak that affected five tested pigs, Creagh said. Officials responded by banning the importation of hogs by game ranches. Creagh said he can’t “definitively” say, but believes the captured samples were of the “exotic and invasive” Eurasian bloodline originally imported as game. Because of the H1N1 flu scare in 2009, bio-security among livestock farmers was “really tightened,” Creagh said.  He said livestock hogs are raised “mainly” indoors; consequently, the chances of an escaped or wild hog interacting with a domestic livestock pig and spreading disease is “slim-to-none.” If infected, pseudo-rabies restricts weight gain, resulting in less-robust livestock, the main concern of pig farmers, Creagh said; but Miller said “you don’t see any real physical signs of them having it until quite late in the disease.”

New Haven County

Connecticut 08/18/ News Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in two new towns on August 8 and 9, 2011 have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Branford and New Haven by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

Maryland 08/18/11 by Lena H. Sun – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Thursday that a Baltimore area adult is the state’s first confirmed case of West Nile virus infection in 2011. West Nile virus is endemic in Maryland, and health officials typically see cases every year. On July 26, the D.C. Department of Health announced it had positively identified West Nile in several mosquito samples in the Woodley Park, Adams Morgan and North Cleveland Park neighborhoods of the District. The virus has also been reported in Fairfax County, and Maryland health officials said three pools of mosquitoes collected in Montgomery County by the U.S. Department of Defense tested positive for West Nile virus infection. The disease, an infection of birds which is picked up by mosquitoes and can spread to humans, has plagued the area since 1999, when it was identified near Baltimore. At its peak in 2002, 10 people in the District, Maryland and Virginia died from the infection.

Cape May County

New Jersey 08/18/11 by Alex Davis – West Nile virus has been spotted for the first time this year in Cape May County. A mosquito collection from the Belleplain State Forest in Dennis Township tested positive for the virus in late July. The county announced the news this week.

New York 08/18/11 by Jennifer Fusco – A crow has tested positive for the West Nile virus in Broome County, officials said. “It is not cause for alarm because we have not had reports of human cases since 2002 … but we do urge people to take a common sense approach and protect themselves when they go outdoors,” said Claudia Edwards, public health director for the county Health Department.

Ohio 08/18/11 by Stephanie Kist – West Nile Virus has been identified in the city’s mosquito population. Six mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus (WNV) were identified Aug. 10 in the city of Akron on the following streets: one each on Easton Drive, Auten Drive, Glendale Avenue and Weathervane Lane, and two on the corner of Onondago Avenue and Morningview Avenue. The following day, 13 more pools of mosquitoes carrying WNV were identified on the following streets: two on Abington Road, two on Meade Avenue, two on Derby Downs Road, four at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on East Market Street and three on Hobart Avenue. This makes a total of 22 positive pools for the year in Akron so far, according to city officials. Recent rain has resulted in many mosquitoes hatching recently in the area of the floods.

Connecticut 08/17/11 A skunk found in the Westridge Road area tested positive for rabies this week, according to a news release Wednesday from the Ledge Light Health District.

Florida 08/17/11 Dogs on Shimmering Drive in Lakeland came in contact with a bat that had rabies, officials said Wednesday. The pets attacked the bat in the yard of a home Aug. 11. The bat later died, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. The dogs are quarantined for 45 days, deputies said. On Wednesday, Polk County Animal Control confirmed the bat was infected with rabies. This is the second case of rabies in the county this year.

Georgia 08/18/11 by Jennifer Banks – Hall County officials reported its 9th documented rabies case for 2001, after a dog made contact with a rabid raccoon earlier this week. The incident happened on Poplar Springs and Cedar Hill Roads according to the city. The raccoon was shipped to the Georgia Public Health Lab – Virology Section in Decatur. Hall County Animal Services was advised that the raccoon was positive for rabies.

Georgia 08/17/11 by Rodney Thrash – Another raccoon in Cherokee County has tested positive for rabies, North Georgia Health District spokeswoman Jennifer King said today. “This makes a total of seven confirmed cases of rabies for the county this year, including four other raccoons, a dog and a fox,” she said. The latest case involves two dogs who attacked and killed a raccoon on Sardis Circle in Canton on Aug. 10. Cherokee County Environmental Health specialist Glendon Gordy said the head of the raccoon was sent to the Georgia State Laboratory for testing. County health officials learned of the positive results on Aug. 12. There was no human exposure, and both dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations. Still, they will be given a rabies booster shot and placed under 45-day quarantine.


British Columbia 08/17/11 by Jessica Peters – An Agassiz vet is asking the public to be extra vigilant around wildlife, following the discovery of a rabid bat in Harrison Hot Springs. Dr. Laura Madsen said officials now “absolutely know for sure” that a bat found by a young boy had rabies. The boy was able to catch the bat, which was flying around in the middle of the day. Madsen said that any wild animal acting out of the ordinary, and allowing itself to be caught, is the first sign that it may have the contagious disease.

Ontario 08/18/11 Essex County has discovered its first mosquito pool to test positive for the West Nile virus. In fact, mosquito pools in both LaSalle and Windsor have come back with positive results, which is the first sign of the virus in the area this year. According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit no human cases have been identified in Windsor-Essex County so far this season.

Travel Warnings:

Trinidad and Tobago 08/17/11 by Joel Julien – This country is in the middle of a dengue outbreak, Dr Rai Ragbir, the chairman of a special purpose State-board involved in the Government’s fight against dengue, has said. Ragbir, chairman of the Community Improvement Services Limited, made the statement yesterday before meeting with Local Government Minister Chandresh Sharma to discuss plans to combat dengue across the country. “The number of people infected with the dengue virus is enough to constitute an outbreak,” he said. “An endemic means we have it always, and an outbreak by definition means we have more cases. So if you want to use the terminology outbreak then yes we do have an outbreak,” Ragbir said. “And it (dengue) will affect each one of our lives and especially for our children. So we have to clean up our environment first,” he said. Close to 2,000 people have been diagnosed with dengue in the country for the year, Sharma said. Sharma however shied away from describing the situation as an outbreak.





Wisconsin 08/16/11 News Release – Hunters and landowners can learn more about what they can do to maintain a healthy deer herd and Wisconsin’s strong hunting traditions through a new website dedicated to sharing information on Chronic Wasting Disease. The website,, carries the theme of “Hunt. Harvest. Help” and features racing champion Matt Kenseth, a deer hunter and Cambridge, Wis., native, in a public service announcement talking about the importance of teamwork in tackling CWD.  “As a deer hunter, I’m concerned about CWD,” Kenseth says in a video public service announcement on the website. “But it’s going to take more than one person to slow the spread of CWD…It’s a team effort Wisconsin. So get out there and hunt, harvest and help.” Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials say the website was developed to share information on how CWD is spread, where the disease exists in the Wisconsin deer population and what other states with CWD are doing about it. There also is information about human health risks. Several additional tabs on the website direct visitors to information on how individuals can help, frequently asked questions and videos.

Matt Kenseth

The website also links to important CWD management information including Wisconsin’s CWD Response Plan and current and past CWD research and statistics. “CWD has the potential for significant, negative impacts on the future of deer and deer hunting anywhere it exists,” said Davin Lopez, DNR’s CWD coordinator. “Minimizing the area of Wisconsin where the disease occurs is the responsible thing to do. Wisconsin’s current CWD policy is containment, rather than elimination of the disease. Hunter and landowner participation is key to this effort. Beginning the week of Aug. 15 TV viewers in the CWD management zone will see CWD public service announcements featuring Kenseth. Also the “Hunt. Harvest. Help.” theme will appear on billboards, in print ads and in other online sources.  The website and materials were developed with the aid of a U.S. Department of Agriculture/Veterinary Services grant and a private sector communications firm.

What all parents should know about Lyme disease

Deer Tick





10 Lyme Disease Facts for Parents by Kathy Sena, an excellent article published in the June 2010 issue of MetroKids.  Go to .

Maine health officials to partner with hunters for Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Chronic Wasting Disease studies

deerMaine  10/27/09 Health officials said they will conduct a study of deer that are killed during Maine’s upcoming hunting season to see if they have been exposed to Eastern Equine Encephalitis.  Researchers will collect blood from deer brought to selected tagging stations in five southern and central Maine counties beginning Saturday. They plan to use the survey to help map how prevalent the disease may be in Maine. The virus showed up this summer in Maine horses and pheasants, as well as a llama.  The deer study will be conducted by state and federal health agencies and Maine Medical Center. The presence of EEE antibodies in deer does not affect the meat of the animal or does not indicate an infected deer, only that the deer was previously exposed to the virus.

Maine 10/23/09  DEER HUNTING AND EEE  The greatest Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) risk facing hunters is exposure to mosquitoes, not handling or consuming healthy deer. Although other mammals and birds have been exposed to the EEE virus for decades, there is no evidence that direct contact with these species can infect humans. While human infection is rare, hunters should take extra precautions against EEE by using insect repellents for personal protection from bites until mosquitoes are no longer active and using protective clothing.

Hunters in interior and coastal York County, coastal Cumberland County, Kennebec, Waldo and Penobscot Counties should:

  • Not handle or consume wild animals that appear sick or act abnormally, regardless of the cause. All other deer meat should be cooked thoroughly (170-180 degrees) to kill the EEE virus, should it be present, as well as any other viruses and bacteria.
  • Wear heavy rubber or latex gloves when field dressing deer.
  • Handle knives carefully to prevent accidental cuts.
  • Minimize contact with brain or spinal tissues. Do not cut into the head of any deer that behaved abnormally even to remove the rack. When removing antlers from healthy deer, use a hand saw rather than a power saw, and always wear safety glasses.
  • Bone out the carcass, keeping both the head and spine intact.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after handling carcasses and before and after handling meat.
  • Thoroughly sanitize equipment and work surfaces used during processing with bleach solution (1 tablespoon of bleach to 1 gallon water).
  • Freezing meat will not kill the EEE virus.

The appearance of EEE in Maine horses this summer prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Medical Center, and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a study during the deer hunting season to better understand the distribution of the EEE virus in Maine. Harvested deer will be examined for the presence of EEE by testing their blood for antibodies specific for this virus. Deer are widespread in the state, are susceptible to infection with the EEE virus, and should be a good sentinel of EEE virus activity. Health officials hope to use the survey to map the prevalence of the disease in the state.thumbnailCA84UOUZ

Hunters should be aware that the presence of EEE in deer does not affect the meat of the animal and that finding EEE in any of the samples does not indicate an infectious deer, only that there are EEE antibodies present.

HUNTERS: KEEP CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE OUT OF MAINE  The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, along with other state agencies, is working to keep Chronic Wasting Disease out of Maine.

Chronic Wasting Disease is one of a group of diseases known as Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs). It is known to occur in mule deer, elk, and white-tailed deer, although other cervids such as red deer, fallow deer, sika deer as well as moose, and caribou may also be susceptible.

CWD is thought to be caused by an infectious protein called a prion that upon entering the body; causes the host’s normal proteins to take on a diseased form. These prions accumulate in the brain and spinal cords, as well as lymph nodes, spleen, eye tissues, bone marrow, saliva, feces and urine in diseased deer.

CWD causes irreversible damage to brain tissues in affected animals and ultimately leads to death.

To prevent the introduction of CWD into Maine, recently passed laws now make it illegal for hunters who hunt and kill a deer, caribou, elk or moose in another state or province to transport any carcass parts that pose a risk of containing CWD prions back into Maine. Hunters may return to Maine only with boned-out meat, hardened antlers (with or without skull caps), hides without the head portion, and finished taxidermy mounts. If still attached, skull caps must be cleaned free of brain and other tissues.

It is legal for individuals to transport cervid carcasses or parts through the State of Maine if they are destined for other states, provinces, and countries. Transportation is to occur without undue delay and must use the most reasonably direct route through Maine to the final destination. Cervid carcasses or parts must be transported in a manner that is both leak-proof and that prevents their exposure to the environment.

The laws are a result of the fact that no state or province can claim to be free of CWD.

deer2If it emerges in Maine, CWD could seriously reduce infected deer populations by lowering adult survival and de-stabilizing populations. Monitoring and control of CWD is extremely costly and would divert already scarce funding and staff resources away from other much-needed programs.

If you plan to hunt deer, caribou, moose or elk in a state/province known or suspected to harbor CWD there are some commonsense precautions you should take to avoid handling, transporting, or consuming potentially CWD-infected specimens.

The precautions include: – Do not eat the eyes, brain, spinal cord, spleen, tonsils, or lymph nodes of any deer. – Do not eat any part of a deer that appeared sick. – If your out-of-state deer is sampled for CWD testing, wait for the test results before eating the meat.

Field dressing: – Wear rubber or latex gloves while handling the carcass. – Minimize contact with the brain, spinal cord, spleen, and lymph nodes (lumps of tissue next to organs or in fat and membranes) as you work. – Use a hunting knife, not knives used at the dinner table. – Remove all internal organs for proper disposal by burial, or other means that prevents contact by live deer. – Clean knives and equipment of residue and disinfect in a 50/50 solution of household chlorine bleach and water for 1 hour.

Currently, there is a high demand for CWD testing in states known to harbor CWD. Unfortunately, existing laboratory tests for CWD are expensive, time-consuming, and they can only be performed at a small number of federally approved labs. Although our system in Maine can accommodate enough samples (less than 1,000) from farm-raised and wild deer to scientifically monitor for CWD, we are not able to routinely test hunter-killed deer in Maine at this time.

Are Urine-Based Deer Lures Safe? Until more is known about whether commercial deer lures pose a realistic risk of spreading CWD, we recommend that hunters use caution in spreading urine-based lures in the environment, and avoid placing the lures on their clothing.

Websites recommended by blog author Jerry Genesio:  Insect Repellents: Protection Times for Products that Repel Mosquitoes and Ticks – By Product Name – Website created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency listing specific information on insect repellent products to help consumers make more informed decisions, to protect their health, and select insect repellent products for their specific need.

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Also, the Organic Consumers Association presents information concerning the continuing controversy over use of DEET as a bug repellent. 

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