Category Archives: Studies

Study shows CARDINALS are “Super-Suppressors” of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA and northern TEXAS report first WEST NILE VIRUS deaths of 2016 ~ More than 1,000 new cases of ZIKA weekly in PUERTO RICO ~ UTAH reports second HANTAVIRUS death of 2016 ~ RABID PET reports from PA, SC.

Northern cardinal pair photo by Ilona L on Flickr noncommercial use permitted with attribution  share alike.

National 08/08/16 seeker.com: Authors of a new study took a closer look at a puzzling circumstance in Georgia: low rates of human infection with the West Nile virus (WNV), even as about a third of Atlanta’s birds carry the disease. The same situation — many infected birds, not so many infected people — applied to the broader American southeast, a team of researchers from Emory University, Texas A&M, the University of Georgia and Georgia’s department of transportation noted. Indeed, they said, Georgia’s WNV infection rate, over the last 15 years, was only about 3 people per 100,000.

Northern cardinal; photo by Jen Goellnitz on FlickTo try to shed light on the discrepancy, the scientists spent three years testing birds and mosquitoes for WNV in Atlanta, analyzing the blood of the insects to determine on which birds they had fed. The scientists were keeping a sharp eye for the number of American robin infections. They consider that species a “super spreader” of WNV, for its capacity to store enough of the virus in its blood to pass along to other mosquitoes. While robins were certainly carriers, the researchers found a twist in the tale, one concerning a favorite of backyard birders everywhere: the cardinal.

Cardinal.female.atoztheusa.com.blog“What we found is that, for some unknown reason, around the middle of July, mosquitoes in Atlanta seem to decide that they have had their fill of robins and they switch to feeding on cardinals,” said the study’s lead author, Rebecca Levine, in a statement.  “But cardinals, even though they can be infected with West Nile virus, are much less likely to have enough virus circulating in their blood to transmit the disease back to feeding mosquitoes,” said Levine, now with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but at Emory University during the research. “That is why we called them ‘super suppressors’.” . . . But, her team’s findings don’t suggest cardinals are a magic red bullet against WNV, Levine said. The birds might not have the same roles elsewhere, depending on the local ecosystems in which they live.  Findings from the study have just been published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  – For complete article see http://www.seeker.com/cardinals-super-suppressors-of-west-nile-virus-1964581023.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

07cd7361057a7994e7e590e1fb0d3868ed6ff5ad-1California 08/05/16 mercurynews.com: by Tracy Seipel –  California public health officials on Friday said that an elderly Sacramento County resident is the state’s first confirmed death from West Nile virus this year. No other information about the victim was provided. susceptible, as this unfortunate fatality illustrates,” Dr. Karen Smith, director of the California Department of Public Health and the state’s health officer, said in a statement. “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect themselves against mosquito bites.” The state reported 53 deaths from West Nile virus in 2015, the most since California began recording West Nile cases in 2003. – For complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_30210998/sacramento-county-senior-citizen-is-californias-first-west

imagesCAWX5STJTexas 08/09/16 nbcdfw.com: Dallas County health officials confirm the first death related to West Nile virus for the 2016 season in North Texas. The victim – a person in their 60s – lived in the 75006 ZIP code in Carrollton and was previously diagnosed with the West Nile neuroinvasive disease, officials said in a press release Monday afternoon. – See http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/Dallas-County-Confirms-First-West-Nile-Virus-Death-of-2016-389529131.html

Zika Virus:

dt_160309_puerto_rico_map_zika_mosquito_800x600Puerto Rico 08/05/16 npr.org: by Jason Beaubien – The Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico is expanding rapidly. Recently, the island has been reporting more than a thousand new cases of Zika each week. The situation is expected to get worse before it gets better. “We are right now probably in the month or 6 weeks of peak transmission,” saysTyler Sharp the lead epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Zika operation in Puerto Rico. Previous outbreaks of dengue fever and chikungunya, which are transmitted by the same mosquito as Zika, Aedes aegypti, suggest the hot, wet summer months in Puerto Rico now are just right for Zika to flourish, Sharp says. “The more rains you get, the more mosquitoes you get. The more mosquitoes, the higher the rate of transmission,” he says. “And also the mosquitoes like warmer temperatures and are able to replicate the virus more efficiently at at least slightly higher temperatures.” He calls August in Puerto Rico the “Goldilocks zone” for Zika virus replication. The island has already had more than 8,000 confirmed cases of Zika. The CDC predicts that by the end of the year, 20 percent to 25 percent of the roughly 3.5 million people on the island could be infected with the virus. – For complete article see http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/08/05/488864340/zika-cases-surge-in-puerto-rico-as-mosquitoes-flourish

Hantavirus:

892008Utah 08/09/16 utahcountyonline.org: Media Release – Utah County Health Department (UCHD) officials are investigating the death of a female Utah County resident related to hantavirus. The female was between the ages of 18 – 44, from Utah County, and had no other apparent health issues. This is the second death related to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in the state in 2016, and tenth case since 2006. Hantavirus infection is a virus transmitted by infected rodents through fresh urine, droppings or saliva. The main way the virus is spread to people is when they breathe in the air contaminated with the virus. Other transmissions can include an infected rodent biting a person, touching objects or eating food contaminated with rodent urine, droppings, or saliva from an infected rodent. – For complete release see http://www.utahcountyonline.org/dept2/health/UtahCountyHantavirusDeath2016Aug9.pdf

Rabies:

5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armsPennsylvania 08/05/16 wearecentralpa.com: A cat in Huntingdon County has tested positive for Rabies. We’re told a family in who lives on Metztown Road in Brady Township took their unvaccinated farm cat to a veterinary clinic after they say it started to act restless and panting. The veterinary told them to keep the cat contained, but the next day the cat escaped  the enclosure they had it in and bit a child. At that point the cat was euthanized and submitted for rabies tests. They came back positive. Several people are receiving post exposure treatment for rabies. – See http://www.wearecentralpa.com/news/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies

555f5f5South Carolina 08/05/16 wyff4.com/ : At least five people were potentially exposed to rabies by a puppy that tested positive for the disease in Chesnee, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reported today. The puppy was a Germany Shepherd-mix puppy that was being sold at Burr’s Trading Post on Old Stage Road, June 20 from an individual not affiliated with the store. The puppy began to show neurological symptoms at the end of July, and was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on Aug. 1. DHEC said several other puppies were for sale. DHEC recommends that anyone who obtained or was exposed to a puppy there around this time should watch the animal for signs and symptoms of rabies and immediately seek veterinary care if the animal becomes ill. – See http://www.wyff4.com/news/upstate-dog-potentially-exposes-at-least-5-people-to-rabies-dhec-says/41072124

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WEST NILE VIRUS partially paralyzes ARIZONAN ~ RABIES test strips found unacceptable ~ RABID CAT reports from CT, NJ & PA.

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Arizona 07/05/16 nydailynews.com: by Keri Blakinger – An Arizona father is partially paralyzed after contracting West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. “It was extremely terrifying — and it still is,” Nick Cornelius told the Daily News. Problems started after the Phoenix man got a mosquito bite one day when he was tinkering with a project in his garage. “It was not an average mosquito bite. It pinched and it hurt,” the 32-year-old said. But he didn’t really think anything of it. A few days later he got sick. At first, it seemed like it was just the flu — so he went to urgent care. Doctors there told him it was probably a sinus infection and sent him home with some meds. “I thought it would be gone in a couple days,” he said. But when he woke up the next morning, his legs didn’t work. He was vomiting and spiked a 103-degree fever. His wife had to carry him to the car so they could go to the hospital. Doctors did some tests and found that he was having a rare reaction to West Nile.

wnv1_clip_image002At least 70% of people infected with the virus have no symptoms, while around 20% have nothing more serious than fever and vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than 1% develop severe symptoms, like the paralysis that struck Cornelius. There is no cure for the virus. Now, a month after the initial bite, he’s home from the hospital and on the mend. He’s already regained motion in his right leg and he can wiggle his toes on his left foot.  “They said that they can’t guarantee anything, but the best chance he has of walking again is with inpatient therapy — which we can’t afford,” his wife Tiana Spitali told the News.  The family launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for his overwhelming medical bills. So far, it has raised close to $4,000. With Cornelius unable to walk, the family has been forced to hire a nanny to care for their 5-month-old and the 3-year-old Spitali has from a previous relationship.  “It’s put a huge burden on our family,” Cornelius said. “It’s heartbreaking. Something like this can just end everything.”  – For video see http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/arizona-man-paralyzed-west-nile-virus-bug-bite-article-1.2699676

Rabies Test Strips:

how_to_recognize_a_false_positive_pregnancy_testGlobal 07/04/16 http://archynety.com/: by Jesse G. McNeil Jr.  Rabies kills about 60,000 people annually, most of them children in Africa and Asia. Rapid tests for that infection are badly necessary for poor nations. The research, the authors authored, wasn’t completed to discredit rapid tests “but rather to inspire producers to substantially improve and assure the caliber of their items.” But diagnostic test strips produced by six companies for this function are “unsatisfactory” and “cannot be suggested,” based on recent evaluations by researchers in the Friedrich-Loeffler Institute in Germany. The kits are utilized to test your pet, not the bite victim. It should be found and wiped out so a dilution of their brain could be dripped into the well from the package. No six testing kits, made as a result of an appeal in the World Health Organization, had high false-positive rates. However, they had unacceptably high false-negative rates, and therefore someone bitten by a rabid animal may not be found to want treatment. The evaluations were detailed recently in PLOS Neglected Tropical Illnesses. In poor nations, the price of treatment varies enormously, but it’s sometimes greater than a family earns in several weeks. Treatment frequently involves five doses of vaccine into the arm over several days, and often several shots of immunoglobulin into the wound. Within the U.S., that may easily cost $3,000. Test results varied by batches, the evaluators found, recommending that some producers had low-quality control. The kits were created by companies in China, Germany, India, Columbia and also the U.S., and price $3 to $11. – See http://archynety.com/global-health-rabies-test-strips-are-found-to-be-unsatisfactory/

Rabid Cats:

kid and kitten - googleConnecticut 07/07/16 theday.com: Police are warning residents to avoid contact with stray animals after a badly injured cat that bit a person Tuesday morning tested positive for rabies. According to police, Animal Control Officer Karen Stone responded to the North Chestnut Street area of Wauregan around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday after a caller reported that a badly injured cat had bitten a resident. The cat, which was captured and euthanized, was then sent to the state lab for testing. The state lab confirmed on Wednesday that the cat had tested positive for the rabies virus. – See http://www.theday.com/policefirecourts/20160707/police-cat-that-bit-plainfield-resident-has-tested-positive-for-rabies

girl-kittenNew Jersey 07/08/16 nj.com: by Sallie Graziano – A cat found in the area of Frontage Road in Union Township on Thursday tested positive for rabies, according to a notice on the Health Department’s website. A few days earlier, Clinton Police reported a rabid cat had been found in downtown Clinton. The cat in Union Township was female, mainly black with white on the front (tuxedo-like markings). Residents who may have contacted the cat between June 18 and July 4 should notify a doctor to see if treatment is advised. – See http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2016/07/another_rabid_cat_found_in_hunterdon_caution_urged.html

cat-breeds-kids-250x150Pennsylvania 07/08/16 post-gazette.com: A small tabby kitten found Sunday, July 3, in the parking lot of the Penn Center West Office Complex in Robinson has tested positive for rabies. Anyone who may have come in contact with the kitten is asked to the county health department at 412-687-2243. – See http://www.post-gazette.com/news/health/2016/07/08/Kitten-in-Robinson-tests-positive-for-rabies/stories/201607080186

MONTANAN killed by BEAR in Flathead National Forest ~ Hiker attacked by GRIZZLY in ALASKA’s Denali National Park ~ NEW MEXICO confirms fourth HANTAVIRUS fatality this year ~ ARIZONAN dies of TULAREMIA ~ CDC data for 2014 indicates MAINE is worst state for LYME DISEASE ~ GA RABID DOG report, MD, NJ, NY, NC & SC RABID CAT reports ~ Eleven HORSES down with EEE in FLORIDA.

 

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Montana 06/26/16 kbzk.com: By Dax VanFossen – Wildlife officials and law enforcement officers are continuing to search for a bear or bears that attacked and killed a 38 year old West Glacier resident on his bicycle on Wednesday near the town of West Glacier. The attack on the pair of bicyclists took place about a mile up the trail leading to Half Moon Lake, and according to Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Lieb, it was a very sudden attack. The victim has been identified at Brad Treat of West Glacier, a career law enforcement officer with the Flathead National Forest. It appears that Treat and his companion surprised the bear on the trail which may have led to the attack. A press release from Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says that Treat was “taken off his bike” by the bear, and was pronounced dead on the scene. The second rider was able to escape the area to get help and was not injured or involved in the attack.  Authorities are asking visitors and area residents to stay out of the area until the bear in question is captured.  Initially, authorities believed it was a grizzly bear that attacked, but now are not certain whether it was a grizzly or a black bear. – For video and complete article see http://www.kbzk.com/story/32340403/multiple-people-attacked-by-grizzly-bear-near-west-glacier

grizzly56578BingFULAlaska 07/03/16 newsminer.com: by Weston Morrow – A hiker was bitten by a grizzly bear on the Savage River Alpine Trail on Friday, the same day Denali National Park staff reopened the Savage River area from earlier bear closures. The hiker, 28-year-old Fangyuan Zhou, was hiking the trail along with two friends when they encountered an adolescent grizzly bear about one-quarter mile from the trailhead. Zhou’s group had seen the bear earlier and made efforts to avoid it, but when the bear charged them they played dead. The bear bit and scratched Zhou before walking away. It returned several minutes later, but a group member was able to scare it off by throwing rocks in its direction. National Park Service staff provided Zhou with initial medical care, but Zhou chose to take herself to a hospital in Anchorage for additional treatment. The bear that bit and scratched Zhou was one of the same bears involved in several other incidents in the Savage River area in the last two weeks. Those earlier incidents caused park staff to close much of the Savage River area near 15 Mile Denali Park Road on June 24. – For complete article see http://www.newsminer.com/mobile/grizzly-bites-hiker-at-denali-national-park/article_9a60c0ea-40bd-11e6-a4d6-b782070bf083.html

Hantavirus :

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Deer mouse.

New Mexico 06/30/16 abqjournal.com: by Olivier Uyttebrouck – A 20-year-old Torrance County woman has died of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome — the state’s sixth case and fourth death this year from the viral illness, the New Mexico Department of Health announced today. Hantavirus infection is a deadly disease transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. People can contract the disease when they breathe in aerosolized virus. The deer mouse is the main carrier for Sin Nombre virus, the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico. Deer mice can be found throughout New Mexico, said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s public health veterinarian. “Cleaning up rodent droppings and nesting material in enclosed spaces can concentrate the virus in stirred up particles that can be breathed in, so people need to be very careful when cleaning up mouse-infested areas,” Ettestad said. “Using a disinfectant spray on areas with rodent droppings and waiting 15 or 20 minutes before cleaning will kill the virus and decrease your risk.” – For complete article see http://www.abqjournal.com/801259/nm-reports-fourth-hantavirus-death.html

Tularemia:

zoonosis_tularemia (2)Arizona 07/08/16 http://azdailysun.com/: by Emery Cowan – An individual in the Flagstaff area who contracted tularemia, also known as rabbit fever or deer fly fever, has died from the illness, the Coconino County public health department announced Thursday. This is the first confirmed case of tularemia in Coconino County this year and the first fatal case in more than a decade. There have been four human cases of tularemia in Coconino County since 2005, two confirmed cases in 2005 and two in 2015, none of which were fatal. Tularemia is a bacterial disease that infects rabbits and other mammals. It does not spread from person to person but can be transmitted to humans through the skinning and cleaning of game animals, usually rabbits, through deer fly and tick bites, by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by pets who have contracted the disease. In Arizona, tularemia activity occurs at elevations above 3,000 feet. The disease can be severe and fatal if not treated properly and immediately with antibiotic therapy. – For complete article see http://azdailysun.com/news/local/rabbit-fever-death-confirmed-in-coconino-county/article_f00711cf-ff4a-5ef3-8622-1bba095b05bc.html

Lyme Disease:

1553355554National 07/02/16 http://247wallst.com/ by Samuel Stebbins  – Lyme Disease is a debilitating, sometimes deadly infection, transmitted to humans through bites of blacklegged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks. Lyme disease typically induces flu-like symptoms, including sore joints, and headaches. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, 300,000 Americans are infected with Lyme  disease each year. In the last 10 years, Lyme disease has been diagnosed in every state except for Hawaii. However, 96% of all confirmed cases of Lyme were isolated to only 14 states in 2014. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed CDC data on confirmed cases of the disease to determine the worst states in the country for Lyme disease. In Maine, there were 87.9 confirmed cases of Lyme disease for every 100,000 state residents, the most of any state and more than 11 times the nationwide diagnosis rate of 7.9 cases per 100,000 Americans.  – For video, complete article and link to the 12 worst states for Lyme Disease see http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/07/02/the-states-with-the-most-lyme-disease/

Rabies:

78483649Georgia 07/05/16 dawsonnews.com: by Michele Hester – A Dawson County woman is receiving treatment after being bitten by a rabid dog June 24. County officials confirmed the rabies case June 29, saying the public should not be alarmed as the dog in question has been euthanized. “The Georgia Public Health Laboratory tested brain tissue from the dog for the presence of the rabies virus,” said Bill Ringle with the department of public health. Two other dogs belonging to the same owner were also put down as a precaution, according to Dawson County Commission Chairman Mike Berg. “The two other dogs came back negative for rabies,” he said. Ringle said the decision to euthanize the two dogs was made “because one had injuries from when it was attacked by the confirmed rabid dog and the other dog had a leg injury that could not be accounted for.” None of the three dogs had been vaccinated for rabies, according to Ringle. – See http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/1/article/18946

New Jersey 07/06/16 newjerseyhills.com:  A black stray adult female cat with an injured rear leg, which lived in the area of Old Highway 22 between New and , tested positive for rabies on Tuesday, July 5, according to the Clinton Police. Area residents who may have had contact with this cat at any time between June 15 to June 29 should notify their primary care physician immediately or the Hunterdon Medical Center Emergency Room to discuss concerns regarding possible exposure and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis treatment. – See http://www.newjerseyhills.com/hunterdon_review/news/stray-female-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-police-say/article_9af2b718-0edf-51fd-bbec-a34e26e96ad9.html

5731289-very-cute-child-with-a-cat-in-armsMaryland 06/30/16 oceancitytoday: By Katie Tabeling – Worcester County Health officials are reminding residents to exercise caution with wild and feral animals following the discovery of a rabies-infected cat prowling around West Ocean City last month. The cat was found at Ocean Village at Old Bridge, a townhouse community on Old Bridge Road on June 11. According to county officials, the small orange and white tabby feline was being fed as part of a colony of cats at the property. “The cat appeared [to be] sick to a Good Samaritan, and it was taken to a veterinary office for treatment,” said Angela Richardson, the environmental sanitarian with the health department. “The veterinarian determined the cat’s symptoms were indicative of rabies.” The feline exhibited neurologic deficits, was dragging a hind leg and was aggressive when handled. After a preliminary diagnosis, the veterinarian reported to the Worcester County Environmental Health and requested rabies testing. Public officials confirmed that the cat tested positive and was later euthanized. Richardson said that the cat bit or scratched three people when it was handled. – For complete article see http://www.oceancitytoday.net/p/rabid-cat-caught-in-west-ocean-city-neighborhood/1543527

New York 07/01/16 recordonline.com: by Amanda Loviza-Vickery – A cat in the Town of Bethel has tested positive for rabies, prompting Sullivan County Public Health Services to remind residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets. The household cat, which spent time indoors and outdoors, is the second confirmed case of rabies in Sullivan County this year. Domestic animals account for less than 10 percent of reported rabies cases, but when they are not vaccinated and are allowed to roam freely, pets can be exposed to rabies by wild animals, Public Health Services said. Keep pets up to date on rabies vaccinations, and don’t leave them outside unattended, the department said. Don’t try to separate two fighting animals, and wear gloves to handle a pet after a fight. Keep property free of bird seed and food garbage that could attract wild animals. Don’t feed, touch, or adopt wild animals, don’t allow children to do so. – See http://www.recordonline.com/news/20160701/bethel-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies

Looking-for-Kittens-001North Carolina 07/07/16 fayobserver.com: by Chick Jacobs – The State Public Health Lab in Raleigh today reported a positive rabies result in a kitten from Cumberland County. It was the fifth positive case in the county this year. Animal Control picked up a kitten Wednesday at the Animal Hospital of Fayetteville on Fort Bragg Road. The kitten, approximately 4 months old, got into an alteration with an unknown animal sometime around May 25. The owner took the kitten to the Animal Hospital of Fayetteville for treatment of bite wounds to the rear limb and a fractured tibia. Veterinarian staff reported that neurological symptoms appeared Monday or Tuesday. The kitten’s owner resides on Pecan Drive, off McPherson Avenue, in Fayetteville. Animal Control has notified eight people that they must receive rabies post-exposure treatment. The owner and three employees of the animal hospital were bitten or scratched. Two other employees, the owner’s roommate and a friend also handled the cat. – See http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/kitten-has-rabies-people-possibly-exposed/article_a0a8e4b6-c24d-565e-98c1-e7f1e254cd96.html

South Carolina 06/29/16 http://outbreaknewstoday.com/: One person has started post-exposure treatment after potentially being exposed to rabies near the Town of West Union by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reported today.  The victim was attacked and potentially exposed to rabies by the stray cat on June 22, 2016. The cat was submitted to DHEC’s laboratory for testing on June 24 and was confirmed to have rabies on June 27. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/south-carolina-stray-cat-that-attacks-person-is-rabies-positive-13804/

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE):

d98b45080e6bba0549d1647bc320576aFlorida 07/06/16 http://outbreaknewstoday.com/: by Robert Herriman – The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) reported on July 5, a new EEE case was confirmed in Jefferson County, Florida. The 1 year old colt had received one previous vaccine against EEE and had no recent travel history. Clinical signs began on June 24 and the horse was euthanized for humane reasons the following day. To date, eleven confirmed EEE cases have been reported in Florida in six counties– Jefferson (2), Osceola (2), Palm Beach (1), Polk (4), Walton (1) and Washington (1). No human EEE cases have been reported in Florida this year to date. For complete article see http://outbreaknewstoday.com/eastern-equine-encephalitis-in-florida-11-horses-affected-to-date-57098/

COLORADO toddler attacked by MOUNTAIN LION in backyard ~ Officials warn of SQUIRRELS carrying PLAGUE at two CALIFORNIA campgrounds ~ CONNECTICUTT and SOUTH CAROLINA report CATS with RABIES ~ NIH gives UT $11 million to study CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE.

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Colorado 06/22/16 starherald.com:  As he raced to the hospital with his injured son in his car, a Colorado father called 911 to let emergency room staff know to prepare for something unusual. “I am driving from Lower River Road to (the) emergency room. My 5-year-old has got attacked by (a) mountain lion,” Val Loboda told the dispatcher, speaking quickly but calmly. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s office released the recording of the 911 call days after Friday’s attack outside Loboda’s home in a low-rise block of apartments squeezed between a major road and a river on a mountainside about 10 miles northwest of Aspen. The sheriff’s office released its report Wednesday, identifying the family for the first time. Yuri Loboda and his older brother were playing outside when the mountain lion attacked. Alerted by her older son, Anastasia Yukhtenko ran outside, snatched Yuri’s head from the cat’s jaws. She scooped up the child and ran with him. Loboda then returned from his run and set out with his family for the hospital. In a series of brief 911 calls that were repeatedly cut off, Loboda said he “just wanted to give you a heads up to get ready.” Neither Loboda nor Yukhtenko immediately responded to calls from The Associated Press on Wednesday requesting comment. Earlier this week, they released a statement through a Denver hospital where Yuri was taken with deep but not life-threatening cuts to his head, face and neck after initial treatment in Aspen. They said then that he was improving and they requested privacy. A Pitkin County sheriff’s officer had praised Yukhtenko as a hero. She suffered scratches and bites. – For complete article see http://www.C/news/regional_statewide/son-attacked-by-mountain-lion-dad-tells-er-to-prepare/article_a2c2b738-38d0-11e6-8d55-372d92dc2e4b.html

Bubonic Plague:

California_Ground_Squirrel_Dana_Point_Harbor_2007_2California 06/28/16 http://www.pe.com: by Alex Groves – Ground squirrels from two campground sites in the San Jacinto Mountains tested positive for plague earlier this month, prompting Riverside County officials to encourage precautions. Squirrels from both Dark Canyon Campground and Marion Mountain Campground had antibodies which showed they had been exposed to the disease, according to a news release from the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health. The squirrels from Dark Canyon were tested June 8 and the squirrels from Marion Mountain were tested June 13, officials said. County officials consider the risk to the public low and the two campsites will remain open as they conduct follow up investigations, according to the county release. “If I had reservations for those campgrounds, I would still go camping,’ said Dottie Merki, program chief for the Riverside County Environmental health. “But I would definitely take the precautions.” Those include keeping tents away from rodent burrows, not feeding or interacting with wild animals and keeping pets on a leash or even leaving them home. John Miller, spokesman for San Bernardino National Forest — which operates both campgrounds — said that even though county officials have not made any recommendations that the campgrounds be closed, National Forest employees are prepared for that possibility. In the meantime, he said, signs have been posted advising campers of the discovery. – For complete article see http://www.pe.com/articles/prompting-806935-jacinto-riverside.html

Rabies:

cat-child445778Connecticutt 06/25/16 http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/: The Hartford Police Department and Department of Health and Human Services are notifying residents that a stray cat recently tested positive for rabies in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Hartford. The stray cat was captured and tested positive for rabies after biting two individuals who had been feeding the stray cat. Both individuals received appropriate medical treatment. – For complete article see http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2016/06/25/captured-stray-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies/

IMG4336e-L-001South Carolina 06/28/16 http://www.wfxg.com/: By Amanda Shaw – Some residents in Oconee County are being asked to make sure their pets are up to date on veterinary checks and vaccinations. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said a rabid cat was discovered near Main Street and Torrington Road in West Union recently. Deputies said the infected cat was captured and euthanized. – See http://www.wfxg.com/story/32328417/rabid-cat-in-west-union-prompts-call-for-pet-vaccinations

nih.logo_.thumb_National 06/29/16 eurekalert.org: Media Release –  Led by Claudio Soto, Ph.D., researchers from McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have been awarded $11 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the pathogenesis, transmission and detection of prion diseases – such as chronic wasting disease in deer – that can potentially spread to humans. Soto will explore the zoonotic – the ability to transfer from animal to human – potential of CWD and factors that may alter the resistance of humans to that transfer. His team at McGovern Medical School will also investigate the possibility that prions accumulate in the environment in plants and other surfaces where they may concentrate and remain infectious for years. Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, CYN05aiUAAAkKOLwhich includes bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle, scrapie in sheep, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose. All are fatal brain diseases with incubation periods that last years or even decades. “Prion diseases are rare but because of their incurability, lethality and potential to spread from animals to humans, we need to better understand them from how they replicate to the development of efficient detection methods,” said Soto, principal investigator and director of The George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Research in Alzheimer’s disease and Related Brain Disorders. – For complete release see http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoth-na062916.php

NEW YORK couple attacked by RABID BOBCAT ~ Another BOBCAT in NEW YORK tests positive for RABIES ~ Researchers discover how WEST NILE VIRUS triggers memory loss ~ Case of ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER in MICHIGAN first since 2009.

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Bobcat. Courtesy National Park Service.

New York 06/23/16 timesunion.com: By Lindsay Ellis – A bobcat attack in New Scotland left a husband and wife with deep cuts Wednesday afternoon, Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. Both are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at St. Peter’s Hospital. A deputy responded to Rock Hill Road at about 4 p.m., where a man and woman were bleeding and a bobcat was shot dead on a house’s deck, Apple said. The woman, sitting outside a neighbor’s house, had heard a hissing noise, Apple said. The bobcat then lunged to bite her multiple times in the arms and legs. Her husband, hearing screaming, left the neighbor’s house, and the animal bit him multiple times. The homeowner, after trying to pin down the bobcat, shot it in the head, Apple said. Apple called the attack “an extremely atypical incident.” – See http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Bobcat-attacks-New-Scotland-couple-is-then-shot-8319752.php

Author’s Note: According to Spotlight News ” A necropsy was performed Thursday morning at the DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit at the Wildlife Resources Center in Delmar; the adult male bobcat smelled of skunk spray and its face was covered in porcupine quills. Its head was sent to the NYS Rabies Lab at Wadsworth Lab in Guilderland, where it tested positive for the disease (rabies).” – See http://spotlightnews.com/news/2016/06/23/new-scotland-couple-attacked-by-rabid-bobcat/

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Bobcat. Courtesy National Park Service.

New York 06/22/16 wbng.com/news: A Bobcat has tested positive for rabies in the town of Tompkins, Delaware County. This is the first animal that has positive for rabies in 2016, according to Delaware County Public Health Services. According to a news release, the Bobcat was sent to NYS State Rabies Laboratory for testing. The positive test results were received Thursday June 22, 2016, 2016. There was no human exposure, officials said. – See http://www.wbng.com/news/local/Bobcat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-Delaware-County-384014311.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

breakingnews-360wNational 06/22/16 http://medicalxpress.com/: Media Release – Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered how the most severe forms of West Nile virus cause memory loss and mood disorders, opening the door to potential new treatments for the mosquito-borne illness. The study, published in the journal Nature, says 50 percent of patients who survive the most damaging kind of West Nile infection often go on to develop memory loss, learning difficulties, a lack of concentration and irritability. Exactly why this happens has been a mystery until now. Researchers discovered that the virus doesn’t kill off neurons but sparks inflammation that prunes synapses, the connections that carry messages between nerve cells. “What we found in mice, and later confirmed in humans, is that it’s not the death of cells that causes memory loss, it’s the loss of nerve cell connections,” said study co-author Kenneth Tyler, MD, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “The viral infection activates microglial cells and complement pathways which are helping to fight the infection but in turn end up destroying synapses.” – For complete release see http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-west-nile-virus-triggers-memory.html

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF):

P_infectionK_rockymount_01 (2)Michigan 06/21/16 healthline.com:  by Emily Gadd  –  Besides sunburn and dehydration, there is another thing for hikers and parents to worry about this summer. Michigan has confirmed  that a child has been diagnosed with the state’s first case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) since 2009. RMSF is a tick-borne illness caused by the Rickettsia rickettsii bacterium. Its most distinctive symptom is a red, spotted rash that doesn’t itch. However, not every person who comes down with the infection will get a rash. Other early symptoms include headache, abdominal pain, fever, and confusion. People who receive prompt treatment usually make a full recovery. Untreated,RMSF can cause serious damage to internal organs such as the kidney and heart. Three different types of ticks carry the R. rickettsii bacteria: the American dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the brown dog tick. RMSF is considered a  rare disease, but according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious diseases physician at the University of Kansas Hospital, rare is a matter of where you are. – For complete article see http://www.healthline.com/health-news/concerns-resurface-over-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever#1

New strain of LYME DISEASE complicates diagnosis ~ Mayor of HAWAII COUNTY declares State of Emergency due to DENGUE epidemic

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National 02/10/16 startribune.com: by Allie Shah – Mayo researchers have discovered a new strain of Lyme disease that is raising concerns because it does not produce the bull’s-eye rash that typically alerts people to the condition. The culprit is a new species of bacteria found in the Upper Midwest and reported in the online medical journal, the Lancet Infectious Diseases. “It was a fortuitous discovery,” said Dr. Bobbi Pritt, director of the Clinical Parasitology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “We weren’t setting out to find a new organism.” Before the discovery, scientists believed that only one species of bacteria — called Borrelia burgdorferi — caused Lyme disease in humans. But when scientists tested samples from patients for evidence of Lyme disease they found a new bacteria in a small number of the cases. It is carried by the black-legged tick, or deer tick, as it’s commonly known. Most of the patients infected with the new bacteria showed different symptoms than the classic Lyme disease signs. A low-grade fever, body aches and chills are common symptoms. But the new bacteria caused many of the patients to experience nausea and vomiting too. “One of the most important differences was their rash,” Pritt said. Most of the patients infected with the new bacteria suffered from a diffuse rash all over their body instead of the typical bull’s-eye rash. – For complete article see http://www.startribune.com/new-strain-of-lyme-disease-produces-different-symptoms-that-could-complicate-diagnosis/368313801/

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Author’s Note: Are TICKS active in the winter? See the Univ. of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center Winter 2016 Newsletter at https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/152cc1ac26833141

DENGUE FEVER:

 

dengue_alert548HAWAII 02/08/16 staradvertiser.com: by Craig Gima – Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi declared a state of emergency today. The emergency proclamation stated that there have been 250 confirmed cases of dengue fever on Hawaii island since Oct. 29 and that state and county officials are working on mosquito control and public education measures to break the cycle of dengue infection and transmission. The mayor said the state of emergency is needed to prevent the spread of the outbreak and eliminate dengue fever virus from the island. The immediate effect of the proclamation is to suspend a county law that prohibits the acceptance of tires at county landfills. The emergency period is in effect for 60 days and could be extended. (Governor) Ige said in a news release that the state will issue an emergency proclamation if certain conditions are met, including requiring additional resources beyond current levels; the outbreak spreading to other islands; the outbreak expands to include zika and other diseases; if there’s a need to waive laws and regulations; and if the state needs federal assistance. – For complete article and declaration see http://www.staradvertiser.com/breaking-news/hawaii-county-mayor-declares-state-of-emergency-over-dengue-fever-outbreak/

Rare outbreak of TULAREMIA baffles health officials ~ Two sheep hunters medevaced after GRIZZLY attack in BRITISH COLUMBIA ~ Angler attacked by GRIZZLY in BRITISH COLUMBIA ~ Moose hunter medevaced after GRIZZLY attack in NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ~ NEW MEXICAN jogger attacked by BLACK BEAR ~ Elk hunter attacked by BLACK BEAR in NEW MEXICO ~ CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS & NORTH CAROLINA confirm WEST NILE VIRUS related fatalities ~ NEW YORK resident dies of EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ UTAHN dies of PLAGUE ~ EBOLA VIRUS remains in semen longer than thought ~ RABID FERAL CAT reports from NC & PA.

Cat with rabbit. Photo by Eddy Van 3000. Wikimedia Commons.

Cat with rabbit. Photo by Eddy Van 3000. Wikimedia Commons.

TULAREMIA OUTBREAK:

National 09/10/15 businessinsider.com: by Laura Zuckerman – U.S. health officials said on Thursday they were puzzled by a surge in the number of people who have contracted a rare bacterial disease usually found in rabbits that has already killed a Wyoming man and sickened dozens of people in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska this year. The unusually high number of cases of tularemia, sometimes called rabbit fever, have been concentrated in northeastern Wyoming and in neighboring parts of South Dakota and Nebraska and farther south in the Colorado Front Range, where there have been reported die-offs of animals like rabbits and voles that can carry the infectious disease, Wyoming health officials said. While tularemia, whose symptoms can include fever, sore throat and muscle aches, is often present in the environment, it rarely sickens more than a few people a year in Wyoming, a handful in Colorado and just a few in South Dakota, health officials said. That compares to 41 confirmed human cases so far this year in Colorado, 14 in Wyoming – the highest number in the quarter century that reliable records have been compiled – and at least 19 in South Dakota, the most since 34 people acquired the ailment in 1984, state epidemiologists said. “This is quite unusual,” South Dakota epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger said.

zoonosis_tularemia (2)The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is studying cases in those states and Nebraska to identify common factors, Wyoming State epidemiologist Tracy Murphy said. The disease is treatable with antibiotics but can be deadly. It killed an elderly Wyoming man earlier this year after causing a severe infection of his central nervous system, Murphy said. Tularemia can be transmitted to people through handling of sick animals, including pets like cats and dogs that have come in contact with infected rabbits or rodents, as well as bites from ticks, deer flies or horse flies. Infections also are linked to activities such as lawn mowing, in which people inhale bacteria from contaminated dust, or handling animal carcasses, health officials said. – For complete article see http://www.businessinsider.com/rabbit-fever-outbreak-baffles-us-health-officials-2015-9

BEAR ATTACKS:

Canada:

20091222142651GrizzlyNPSBritish Columbia 09/07/15 globalnews.ca: by Paula Baker – Two men are recovering in hospital after being attacked by a grizzly bear sow south of Fort Nelson, B.C. on Sunday. According to B.C. Conservation, the two men were legally hunting sheep when they walked over a ridge and were attacked by a grizzly bear sow. The sow was with her two cubs in an area northeast of Buckinghorse River. The hunters, who are both in their 30s and from the Peace River area, were carrying a sheep cape and meat. The men had been part of a larger party but were in a remote area about 40 kilometres west of Alaska Highway, which is accessible only by foot, helicopter or horse, said Mark West with B.C. Conservation. West says the sow was reacting “defensively” and this was not a predatory attack. In an attempt to stop the grizzly, one hunter told conservation officers he may have gotten off two shots but was unsure if he hit the bear. – For complete article and video see http://globalnews.ca/news/2206899/two-men-injured-after-bear-attack-south-of-fort-nelson/

grizzly_alaska_frBritish Columbia 09/11/15 dailytownsman.com: by Arne Petryshen – A grizzly bear attacked an angler near Canal Flats (a village at the south end of Columbia Lake) on Wednesday night. The attack occurred just off Findlay Creek Road, about eight kilometres up. Conservation Officer Joe Caravetta said the man was walking along a path and  startled a young grizzly bear at a distance of about three meters. “The bear attacked the angler, biting him on his leg and hand. The bear fled shortly and the angler made his way back to the vehicle, returned to Canal Flats and contacted 911,” Caravetta said. The man was then taken to the Invermere hospital, with non-life threatening injuries. “Conservation Officer Services and the RCMP attended at the site where the attack occurred and closed the area off and advised others in there to the incident and to leave the area,” he said. Caravetta said they determined there was no immediate threat to the public at that site at that time. Four officers attended the site Thursday morning to further investigate. “They determined that there was a large, domestic cow carcass, buried where the attack occurred,” he said. “The carcass was fairly old and consisted of mostly bones and hide. The bear was also seen by the officers and confirmed to be about a three year old grizzly — so a fairly small grizzly bear and fairly young.” Caravetta said it was at that point that a decision was made not to pursue the bear. – See http://www.dailytownsman.com/breaking_news/326678781.html

GrizzlyUSFWSNorthwest Territories 09/11/15 cbc.ca: A hunter has been medevaced to Yellowknife with serious injuries after he was attacked by a grizzly bear in the Mackenzie Mountains near Norman Wells, N.W.T. The attack happened around 11 a.m. Thursday morning. According to the RCMP, the hunter and a guide were spotting moose when the bear attacked them. The hunter and the guide didn’t see the grizzly until it made its attack. RCMP say the bear pulled the hunter down an embankment and he received “multiple injuries during the attack.” The guide fired a shot which scared the bear off and stopped the attack. The injured hunter was rescued by a helicopter, treated in Norman Wells, and then medevaced to Yellowknife for more treatment. The bear is unaccounted for at this time. – See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/grizzly-bear-attacks-hunter-near-norman-wells-n-w-t-1.3224822

Black-Bear-Cub-and-Mom-BingFreeUseLicenseNew Mexico 09/10/15 kob.com: by Elizabeth Reed – Game and Fish officers are searching for an adult black bear that attacked a runner on a hiking trail near Los Alamos Wednesday night. The attack occurred on the Cañon de Valle trail around 7 p.m. Officers said the man was running on the trail when he encountered a female bear and her cub.  The man tried to scare the bear away by making a noise, but it charged, knocking him into a stream. The department says the bear started biting and clawing at his head.  After the bear left, the man was able to walk 2.5 miles back to his car and flag down a passing motorist, who took him to Los Alamos Medical Center. He suffered deep flesh wounds and scratches to his head, according to Game and Fish. – See http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3902741.shtml#.VfJAG_lVhBc

BlackBearNPSNew Mexico 09/12/15 santafenewmexican.com: by Staci Matlock – State Game and Fish Department officers are searching for a black bear that attacked a 60-year-old man from Missouri who was elk hunting west of Wagon Mound, the second bear attack on a person in two days in Northern New Mexico, officials said Friday. The hunter received bite injuries to his foot through his boot as he climbed a tree to try to escape the bear. He was taken to Alta Vista Hospital in Las Vegas, N.M., where he was treated and released. The attack, which occurred Thursday near the tiny village of Ocate, marked the seventh time a black bear has attacked a human in the state this year, the highest number in the past 16 years, according to Lance Cherry, a spokesman for the Game and Fish Department. It was the fourth attack this year resulting in an injury. None of the attacks was fatal. – For complete article see http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/in-second-attack-this-week-bear-scares-hunter-up-tree/article_57453d6d-4422-5a3c-ac26-ecb9efede549.html

WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV):

California 09/10/15 pe.com: by Brian Rokos – A 77-year-old Riverside County man who died last month tested positive for the West Nile virus, the county Department of Public Health announced Thursday, Sept. 10. The man was the first person in Riverside County with the mosquito-borne virus to die since 2008, according to a news release from the department. – See http://www.pe.com/articles/county-779876-virus-riverside.html

wnv1_clip_image002Illinois 09/08/15 stltoday.com: A St. Clair County resident has become the third WNV-related fatality in the state so far this year. – For article see http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/health/first-death-from-west-nile-virus-reported-in-st-clair/article_ad99eb95-b23b-5450-9cc0-59b7547b95c7.html

North Carolina 09/08/15 wral.com: State authorities on Tuesday reported the first death of 2015 from a confirmed case of WNV. The state Department of Health and Human services did not release the name, age, gender, or location of the person who died, citing confidentiality laws. However, Charles Hogan identified the patient as his father, Roscoe Hogan. Hogan said that his father died at Duke Regional Hospital on Aug. 27. The previous day, doctors told him that his father’s lab results revealed West Nile virus. Roscoe Hogan was 76 at the time of his death and had been a resident of Durham. – For complete article see http://www.wral.com/state-reports-first-2015-death-from-west-nile-virus/14884377/

EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS (EEE):

eee-threat-249x187New York 09/08/15 syracuse,com: by James T. Mulder –  An elderly Salina man diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis has died, according to the Onondaga County Health Department. It is the sixth reported Eastern equine encephalitis death in Central New York since 1971. The Salina man was the first person in the state and the second in the nation diagnosed this year with the potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – For article see http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/09/salina_man_dies_of_eastern_equine_encephalitis.html

PLAGUE:

yersiniaUtah 09/10/15 moabtimes.com: by Molly Marcello – An elderly San Juan County man died after contracting plague last month, according to the Utah Department of Health. While officials do not know exactly how the man contracted the disease, they speculate he was infected by fleas carried by rodents or cats. “The individual lived on a rural property so we’re pretty certain that it likely came from a flea bite from rodents on the property such as prairie dogs, or potentially, cats,” said San Juan County Public Health Director Worthy Glover. “[The man] had a lot of cats in [his] barn to deal with the rodents — those cats could potentially have had fleas.” – For complete article see http://www.moabtimes.com/view/full_story/26850987/article-Elderly-man-in-San-Juan-County-dies-after-contracting-plague?instance=home_news_right

EBOLA VIRUS:

ebola.stopGlobal 09/09/15 reuters.com: by Tom Miles – Isolated flare-ups of Ebola may point to a higher risk of transmission via the semen of male survivors than previously thought, undermining hopes of ending West Africa’s deadly outbreak by the end of the year. The World Health Organization’s advice is that all male survivors should be tested three months after the onset of symptoms and then monthly until they know they have no risk of passing on the virus through their semen, Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO’s Ebola response, told a news conference. But a forthcoming study in the New England Journal of Medicine, based on around 200 survivors, found that around half still had traces of the virus in their semen after six months, a clinician familiar with the study told Reuters. “The old advice of three months is no longer good,” the clinician said. “The number of people with persistent virus in their semen is much greater than expected.” The clinician, who was not authorized to speak about the study, added that the risk might not only be from sex but also from masturbation. “It’s not the sex that is dangerous, it’s the semen that is dangerous,” said Aylward, who mentioned the study during a news conference but did not give details. “How people actually get exposed, in soiled linens or whatever, is not clear.”

WHO.33454Transmission through semen may explain why a few cases continue to occur even though the outbreak has been almost completely eradicated by an intense international effort, recently bolstered by the deployment of a trial vaccine in Guinea and Sierra Leone. “This virus and this outbreak in particular has a nasty sting in the tail,” Aylward said. “It’s not finished, by a long shot.” The latest flare-up, in a village on the northern border of Sierra Leone, followed the death of a 67-year-old woman late last month, 50 days after the previous confirmed case in the region. Transmission chains are considered to have been broken after 42 days with no new infections. However, Aylward said that sexual transmission was “obviously not a huge risk, because if it were we would have seen a lot more in the areas that were hardest hit at the beginning of this outbreak.” – See http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/09/us-health-ebola-semen-idUSKCN0R922G20150909?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

FERAL CAT RABIES:

North Carolina 09/08/15 abc11.com: A brown tabby feral cat that attacked and bit a man’s leg in the 500 block of East Cabarrus Street in Raleigh last week has tested positive for rabies. – See http://abc11.com/pets/cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-raleigh/974862/

13620Pennsylvania 09/10/15 mytwintiers.com: A feral cat that jumped out from under a car and bit the owner on her leg and arm, and the woman’s daughter on the arm, has tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred on Dietz Road,. Wilmot Township, Bradford County. – See http://www.mytwintiers.com/news/local-news/feral-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-in-bradford-county