Category Archives: Viral disease

Scientists say three U.S. states could soon see new DENGUE FEVER outbreaks ~ NEW MEXICO veterinarian finds TULAREMIA in two DOGS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from NEVADA ~ RABIES reports from FL, & SC ~ TRAVEL WARNING: CDC DENGUE alert for MADEIRA.

Asian Tiger Mosquito. A vector for Dengue.

Asian Tiger Mosquito. A vector for Dengue.

Florida, Texas, Hawaii 12/21/12 by Jennifer Welsh – The viral infection dengue fever is usually associated with tropical areas, but the disease has been spreading, even into the tropical areas of the United States: Texas, Florida and Hawaii. Dengue is common in other areas, infecting 100 million people a year. 500,000 of them end up hospitalized, and about half of those die. There are also huge costs to the labor force, because the infection can last for months. It is spread by mosquitoes.

Maryn McKenna reports for Slate:

astmh_logoAt the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene last month, researchers from the University of Florida revealed that dengue has reappeared in Key West, Fla. The virus they found was not a one-time visitor imported by a tourist or a stray mosquito; it has been on the island long enough to become a genetically distinct, local strain. The Florida researchers didn’t want to talk about their presentation because they hope to get it published soon in a medical journal. But it turns out other tropical-disease experts have been watching dengue’s return to the United States for a while and wondering what it will mean. “It really is just a matter of time until dengue re-establishes itself in certain areas here,” says Amesh Adalja of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “The U.S. has been lucky that it has escaped so far.”

upmc122 people were infected with dengue in Hawaii in 2001, the first time that the disease has been seen there since 1944. A separate outbreak in Brownsville, Texas, in 2005 infected 25, and 90 cases were reported in Key West between 2009 and 2010. “It may not swamp the entire U.S.,” Adalja told McKenna. “But the entire South already harbors those mosquitoes, and that is bad enough. Dengue shouldn’t have to swamp the entire country for us to make it a priority.

Tularemia1-300x200New Mexico 12/19/12 A local veterinarian has recently diagnosed two dogs in the Edgewood area with tularemia, according to former East Mountain Coalition president Linda Barbour. The disease can easily be treated but is potentially fatal and can be transmitted to humans. It is recommended that people wear gloves when handling or removing dead animals and make sure their pets have flea and tick protection. Although the disease is rare in New Mexico, it and bubonic plague are both present in the East Mountains, Barbour points out. For more information about tularemia, go to

West Nile Virus (WNV):

clark cty NVNevada 12/21/12 Clark County: A 51-year-old woman has tested positive for WNV. Health officials said WNV positive mosquito pools have been found in the 89121 and 891243 Las Vegas zip codes. – See


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlorida 12/20/12 Polk County: A bat that was brought into a home on Cleveland Heights Boulevard in Lakeland by the family’s dog has tested positive for rabies. – See

raccoon1654South Carolina 12/20/12 Spartanburg County: A raccoon that walked into a crowded  neighborhood and bit a Woodruff teenager has tested positive for rabies. – See

Travel Warnings:

madeira_flag_poster_print-r77cd55cf2e5a425a9ae59070011ca52b_f6xq_325Madeira 12/22/12 As of December 9, 2012, 2,050 cases of dengue fever have been reported from the Portuguese island of Madeira. There have been 58 cases of dengue reported in European travelers returning from Madeira. At this time, CDC does not advise against madeira-locationtravel to Madeira. However, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites. – For further details and advice on how travelers can protect themselves see


ALASKA TRAPPER on snow machine attacked by WOLF ~ SOUTH DAKOTA reports over 3,400 DEER die of EPIZOOTIC HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from AR, & GA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from CALIFORNIA.

Black wolf. Photo by Bruce McKay. Wikimedia Commons.

Black wolf. Photo by Bruce McKay. Wikimedia Commons.

Alaska 12/17/12 by Tim Mowry – A wolf attacked a Tok trapper on his snowmachine last week about 30 miles off the Taylor Highway, biting through the man’s parka and three layers of clothing to put a 3-inch gash on his arm. Lance Grangaard, 30, said he was “putting along” on his Ski-Doo Tundra on Thursday afternoon, coming down a frozen creek, when he saw the wolf out of the corner of his eye. “I turned in time to stick my arm up,” said Grangaard, who was trapping with his father, Danny, in a remote area off the Taylor Highway known as Ketchumstuk. “A single black wolf grabbed my arm and started jerking on me.” Afraid the wolf was going to pull him off his machine and maul him, Grangaard went into attack mode himself. “I knew he was going to jerk me off my machine, so I made a big jump and managed to get on its back,” he said. “I just tried to get on top of him; I didn’t want to be on the bottom when we landed.” Man and the wolf were still tangled when they hit hard on overflow ice. “When we slammed down on the ice he let out a yelp and bucked me off,” Grangaard said. “He ran off 15 or 20 feet and he turned around. I screamed at him and raised my arms and he took off.” The attack lasted only a few seconds but it had a lasting impact on Graangard, who was worried the wolf would attack again. “I got back on my snowmachine and hauled ass back toward the old man,” Grangaard said of his father, who was checking another trapline about six miles away. “I think I spent as much time looking over my shoulder as I was looking forward. When I finally got to the old man I was so relieved. I was still pretty scared.” Said the elder Grangaard, “You could tell he was really distraught. He had tears in his eyes. He thought the wolf was still chasing him.”

AK_259373The wolf’s canines ripped through the younger Grangaard’s parka, as well as three layers of clothing under that, and left a 3-inch scratch on his right arm just above the elbow. He described the wound, which he and his father washed out with whiskey and baby wipes, as “pretty superficial.” Even so, Grangaard said, he will receive a series of four rabies shots as a precautionary measure in the event the wolf was infected with rabies. Since the wolf ran off and there is no way to test it, it’s better to be safe than sorry, said Louisa Catrodale, a state epidemiologist who spoke to Grangaard. – For complete article see
Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease:

deer1h4South Dakota 12/13/12 Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, a midge-borne virus that is every bit as nasty as its name suggests, had an unusually lethal impact on South Dakota’s deer herd this year. It was a record-setting year, in fact, although not one that hunters or the state Game, Fish & Parks Department are celebrating. GF&P officials estimate that at least 3,400 deer died of EHD in 2012. That’s more than twice the 1,300 reported in 2011, which was the previous high in reported EHD losses in South Dakota. And both numbers were likely conservative, since some deer killed by the disease, which is spread by small biting flies, likely weren’t found while others were probably noted but not reported. Whatever the total, the losses were high enough to cause several thousand deer tags to be returned or withdrawn prior to hunting seasons in areas where EHD hit especially hard and deer numbers were noticeably reduced.- For complete story see


3243453-detail-of-girl-hugging-kitten-hand-and-paw-in-similar-positionArkansas 12/14/12 Faulkner County: Health officials report that a feral cat found in Conway  has tested positive for rabies. The 10-to-12-week-old kitten was on the grounds of the Human Development Center at 150 E. Siebenmorgan Road. – See

cat-bitingGeorgia 12/14/12 Cherokee County: A feral cat that bit a man outside his home near the intersection of Highway 140/Hickory Flat Highway and Creek Hollow Drive in the southeast portion of the county has tested positive for rabies. The gray and white cat was used to being fed by the victim, but suddenly became aggressive. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Orange Cty CACalifornia 12/17/12 Orange County: A 61-year-old woman from Tustin has become the first county resident to die of WNV since 2008. – See

Two NEW JERSEY residents trying to help sick FERAL CAT exposed to RABIES ~ Three ALABAMA WOMEN trying to help STRAY KITTEN exposed to RABIES ~ Other RABIES reports from NY, & SC ~ CDC issues final WEST NILE VIRUS update for 2012.

Feral cat colony. Photo by Scott Granneman. Wikimedia Commons.

Feral cat colony. Photo by Scott Granneman. Wikimedia Commons.

New Jersey 12/12/12 Cumberland County: A woman who had been feeding a colony of feral cats in the vicinity of Weymouth Road and Delsea Drive in Vineland brought one of the cats to a local veterinarian’s office on Thursday believing the cat was sick. The cat promptly bit a vet assistant and on Friday officials confirmed the cat had rabies. The colony, estimated to be about 20 in number, will have to be captured and quarantined for six months. The woman who brought the rabid cat to the vet told officials she would confine the entire colony to her house. Vineland’s animal control officer has ordered the woman to have all the cats licensed, which requires proof of a rabies vaccination. The woman and the vet assistant are being treated for potential exposure to rabies. – See

3243453-detail-of-girl-hugging-kitten-hand-and-paw-in-similar-positionAlabama 12/12/12 by Donathan Prater –  A Lee County official is urging residents of one Auburn community to steer clear of any stray animals and to make sure their pet’s vaccinations are up to date after a stray kitten captured there tested positive for rabies. Officials have identified two women the kitten bit in the Town Creek Park area, and they are trying to identify a third woman exposed to the infected animal. Lee County Rabies Officer Buddy Bruce said the two women were bitten and scratched while in the process of trying to capture the kitten. The third woman got food for the kitten was also exposed, Bruce said. “We obviously have a pocket of rabies around the park area there,” Bruce said. After catching the stray kitten, the two women took it to the Lee County Humane Society. They said they reported being bitten, at which point the animal was ordered euthanized and tested for rabies. The results came back positive on Wednesday, Bruce said. Rabies is a contagious, viral and fatal disease transmitted through saliva that attacks the 3610192083_22eaf9db7anervous system of the infected animal. While the first two women have been contacted and will begin treatment, the third victim has yet to be notified of her exposure. Her name is Ivanka, Bruce said. Wednesday’s rabies case marks the fourth n Lee County this year, Bruce said. Last month, a Chow-mix dog that was abandoned at an Opelika veterinary clinic tested positive for rabies after biting at least one worker. Anyone with information about this case or wishing to report an animal behaving strangely is asked to contact Buddy Bruce at 334-745-0060.

Other Rabies Reports:

Rabies%20tag%2009New York 12/10/12 Kings County: On Saturday afternoon, as a Park Slope (Brooklyn) woman ran to the Union Street subway station to catch the R train on Fourth Avenue, two people were trying to control a small, white dog that was barking and lounging on the sidewalk this past Saturday afternoon. Irin Carmon, who is a staff writer for Salon, tried to keep her distance from the excited pooch. However, Carmon was not able to avoid the confrontation before she took the descent into the subway, which ended in a small puncture wound behind her knee. “It didn’t bite me in any kind of crazy way, I didn’t even know I was bitten,” Carmon told Patch in an interview on Monday. “I was late for an appointment and the owners were already halfway down the block.” The canine, described as a “fluffy white dog” on Carmon’s blog and believed to be either a help-me46985Maltese or a Bichon Frise, scratched her on her lower calf and bit her on the inside of her left knee.  Carmon said that two people holding the dog also had German Shepherd. She said that the handlers were a man and a woman, both Asian and around 35 to 50 years old. The attack, Carmon said, was unprovoked. If you have any information about the dog or its owners, please let us know! E-mail any tips to: – See

raccoonwildlife_CDCSouth Carolina 12/10/12 Lee County: A raccoon that bit a woman has tested positive for rabies. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

cdc_logoNational 12/11/12 As of December 11, 2012, 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,387 cases of WNV disease in people, including 243 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,734 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,653 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,387 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the second week in December since 2003. Eighty percent of the cases have been reported from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For maps and other data see

Japanese brewer’s STUDY claims BEER may have ANTI-VIRUS properties ~ RAT BITE FEVER confirmed in several WASHINGTON residents ~ MOUSE trapped in southern CALIFORNIA positive for HANTAVIRUS ~ FERAL CAT enters pet door and attacks FLORIDA family.


Author’s Note: How about some NATURAL UNSEEN BENEFITS for a change? And just in time for the holiday season! Beer . . . more than just a breakfast drink . . . it’s also keeping us healthy. But they caution one would have to drink 30 12 oz. cans to derive benefit, which seems to me just another benefit.

uh1lbo00000000khGlobal 12/07/12 Does beer have anti-virus powers? According to a new study funded by Japanese beer company Sapporo Breweries, a “key ingredient” found in the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage may very well help stave off winter sniffles. Researchers at Sapporo Medical University found that humulone, a chemical compound in hops, was effective against the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus, AFP reports. In addition, humulone was also found to have an anti-inflammatory effect, according to Sapporo’s news release. “The RS virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it,” Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher from the beer company, told AFP. The RS virus, which is said to be particularly prevalent in the winter months, can also cause symptoms similar to that of the common cold in adults. But before you reach for that bottle of your favorite brew, harboring dreams of winter-illness domination, be warned: Since only small quantities of humulone can be found in beer, researchers say a person would have to drink about 30 12 oz. cans of the alcoholic drink to benefit from the anti-virus effect, AFP notes. – For complete article and video see

Rat Bite Fever:

BrownNorwayRatWashington 12/07/12 by Dee Riggs – Rat Bite Fever has been confirmed in a few Chelan and Douglas county residents and possibly in a Grant County resident who may have been exposed here. The Chelan-Douglas Health District issued a press release about the illness Friday but offices are closed on Fridays so details on how many cases were not available. Rat bite fever is a bacterial disease carried by rats and is part of the normal flora of their mouths and noses, according to the press release. Other animals such as mice, gerbils, ferrets, squirrels, cats, especially feral cats and dogs can get infected, and may or may not get sick with rat bite fever, but they may also spread it. There is no known person-to-person transmission, and it is more commonly seen in children. A bite, scratch, droppings or urine from an infected rodent can transmit the disease. Any food items potentially rat-removalcontaminated by rodents or their droppings should be thrown away. Contaminated water sources and unpasteurized milk have also been considered possible health risks for rat bite fever. Illness develops within three weeks of the exposure. Initial symptoms include fever, muscle aches, joint pain, headache, nausea, and vomiting and many people develop a rash on their hands and feet one to five days after having a fever. Unlike influenza, there is no cough associated with the illness and it is easily treated with antibiotics.


1138_loresDeerMouseCDCCalifornia 12/07/12 A mouse trapped in Campo by the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has tested positive for hantavirus,  an illness that is not easily transmitted but can be fatal. The disease is often found in rodents in San Diego’s backcountry, but they rarely pose a threat to humans when they’re in the wild, according to the DEH. At home, people should be careful when cleaning up rodent debris and droppings. An infection could cause Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which starts out like the flu but can escalate to severe breathing difficulties and, in 36 percent of case, causes death, according to county officials. – See

Feral Cat Attack:

il_430xN_88258052Florida 12/05/12 Lee County:  A feral cat that entered the pet door of a Cape Coral family’s home and attacked a mother and daughter is under quarantine and being observed for signs of rabies. It’s assumed the cat was looking for food. – 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

FLORIDA WOMAN attacked by RABID FOX ~ Other RABIES reports from GA, PA, VA, & CANADA’s NEW BRUNSWICK Province ~ CDC announcement of new PLAGUE FACT SHEET.

Gray fox. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Gray fox. Photo by New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Florida 11/29/12 Martin County: A fox that bit a resident in Port Mayaca’s J&S Park Estates on Monday has tested positive for rabies. – See

1426663Georgia 11/30/12 Chatham County: A raccoon that was trapped after fighting with two dogs in the vicinity of LaRoche Avenue on the Isle of Hope has tested positive for rabies. ­ See

rabiesAlert521d4-1Pennsylvania 11/29/12 Allegheny County: A gray cat that bit a Swissvale woman in the vicinity of the 7300 block of Denniston Avenue has tested positive for rabies. The cat, which is likely a stray, was hit by a car on Monday and went onto a porch where the resident tried to help it and was bitten. Anyone else who may have been bitten or scratched by this cat should seek medical advice. – See

2195804032_bb25565f77 - CopyVirginia 11/29/12 Hopewell: A skunk found on the 500 block of North Ninth Avenue near City Point National Cemetery on Monday has tested positive for rabies. – See


rabies_tag_small_websiteNew Brunswick 11/30/12 Restigouche County: An unvaccinated house cat in Balmoral that bit its owner has tested positive for rabies. The New Brunswick Veterinary Medical Association said this incident reinforces that rabies still exists in the province. – See



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

Division of Vector-Borne Diseases / Bacterial Diseases Branch

Fort Collins, Colorado

Is pleased to announce the release of CDC’s

Plague Fact Sheet

(in English and Spanish)


USFWS study supports belief that EASTERN WOLF is a distinct species ~ GEORGIA’s Atlanta Zoo Aviary closed after PARAKEET dies of PSITTACOSIS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from CDC-National, & MISSISSIPPI ~ RABIES reports from FLx2, NJ, NY, & WI.

Eastern wolf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

National 11/26/12 by OurAmazingPlanet Staff – Eastern wolves, which used to live in the northeastern United States, but now remain only in southeastern Canada, qualify as a distinct species from their western cousins, according to a review by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. The finding may be important for the future of North American wolves and could help scientists understand how the animals evolved, as noted by USA Today.

In the study, published in October in the journal North American Fauna, the scientists reviewed decades of research on North American wolves, much of it complicated and contradictory. Some studies found 8 subspecies of gray wolves; others suggested as many as 27. Previously, scientists considered eastern wolves a subspecies of gray wolf, Canis lupus lycaon (pronounced LY-can). However, the new review of reams of genetic data suggests that the animal should be classified as a separate species of wolf entirely.

Gray wolf. Courtesy National Park Service.

Eastern wolves would join two universally recognized species of wolves in North America: gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus). Gray wolves once ranged throughout most of modern-day America, but were hunted and poisoned to the brink of extinction, maintaining only a single population in northern Minnesota, the study noted. The animals have since recovered slightly and been reintroduced to Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park  (although hunting has since resumed in Minnesota, Wyoming and elsewhere).

Red wolf. Photo by Dave Pape. Wikimedia Commons.

Red wolves were also wiped out from their native range, but have been reintroduced into North Carolina and are thought to be breeding in the wild, according to news reports. The study found that eastern wolves are most closely related to red wolves, and that both species evolved from a common ancestor shared with coyotes. This helps explain why eastern wolves can still mate with and form hybrid offspring with coyotes, so-called coywolves. Gray wolves, on the other hand, are known to kill any coyotes they come across. Smaller than their western cousins, eastern wolves weigh from 62 to 77 pounds (28 to 35 kilograms), according to the study. They preferentially prey on white-tailed deer, unlike gray wolves, which have a more wide-ranging diet, USA Today reported. – For complete article see


Georgia 11/28/12 by Katie Brace – A parakeet at Zoo Atlanta has died from a bacterial infection which caused staff to temporarily shut down the Boundless Budgies Parakeet Aviary. On their website, Zoo Atlanta said, “A histopathology report from the parakeet indicated the presence of psittacosis, a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory problems in birds and humans.” The exhibit was closed because the infection may be transmitted to humans through direct handling of infected birds or by inhaling bacteria from bird feces or organic debris. “We routinely conduct necropsies so that we can be as proactive as possible about detecting the presence of disease in our collection, and this is the first example of psittacosis in these parakeets that we have seen at Zoo Atlanta,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, director of veterinary services. Psittacosis primarily affects parrots, parakeets, macaws, lovebirds and cockatoos.

Parakeets. Photo by Kent County, Michigan.

The parakeet collection is treated with antibiotics once a year in an effort to reduce the likelihood of birds contracting the disease. “The veterinary team is taking every appropriate action to test and treat the parakeet flock. We continue to proactively monitor any circumstance which would affect our animal collection or our guests,” said Murphy. Vets will decontaminate the aviary before the venue will be reopened to the public. It is unclear how long that will take. Dr. Hayley Murphy, director of Veterinary Services at Zoo Atlanta, told CBS Atlanta the exhibit will probably be closed for 60 days, as the 250 budgies are treated with antibiotics. Murphy said the risk to humans is extremely low. She said none of the zoo keepers assigned to the birds were sick and no other birds had tested positive for the bacteria. “I wouldn’t worry about it. The chances of you getting it in an open air exhibit like this are so low compared to a home or pet store where there are budgies or parrots,” said Murphy. The bacteria causes mild-like cold symptoms in humans, according to Murphy. The CDC only had 66 reported human cases over four years.

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 11/27/12 Update – Forty-eight states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 5,245 cases of WNV disease in people, including 236 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,663 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,582 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 5,245 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the last week in November since 2003. Eighty percent of the cases have been reported from 13 states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New York) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For details and maps see

Mississippi 11/26/12 State health officials confirm two new human cases of WNV reported in Wayne and Perry counties, bringing the state total to 244 cases and five deaths. This is the highest number of WNV cases ever reported in Mississippi. – See,13151,341.html


Florida 11/29/12 Hernando County: A raccoon that bit and scratched a teenager and his dog on Monday near Brookside Street in Spring Hill has tested positive for rabies. Authorities encouraged residents in the area of the attack, just east of Mariner Boulevard and north of Elgin Boulevard, to report any stray animals or wild animals exhibiting aggressive or unusual behavior to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. – See

Florida 11/28/12 Polk County: A bat found at Summerlin Academy in Bartow has tested positive for rabies. One child was potentially exposed to the virus. – See

New Jersey 11/28/12 Bergen County: A skunk found by county animal control officers in Lyndhurst in the vicinity of Riverside County Park has tested positive for rabies. – See

New York 11/28/12 Tioga County: Health officials have issued a Rabies Alert after a fox attacked a Tioga Center man and woman in their driveway while they were exiting their vehicle. Both were bitten, but the fox escaped. Due to its erratic behavior, officials are assuming the animal is rabid and both individuals will be treated for potential exposure to the virus. – See

Wisconsin 11/27/12 Dane County: The Department of Public Health is looking for information regarding a dog that bit a child on 11/21/12. The incident occurred around 6 or 7pm on Darbo Drive, near Worthington Park in the city of Madison. The dog is described as short-haired, medium in size and white with brown spots. Anyone having information regarding this incident is asked to call Police and Fire dispatcher at 255-2345 and ask for the animal services officer. If the animal is not located, the victim may be required to complete a series of painful and costly injections to prevent rabies.