Category Archives: Viral disease

UTAH security guard staffing entry booth attacked by COYOTE ~ MOUNTAIN LION sightings from CA, & ID ~ EEE & WNV reports from DE, NH, NJ, TN, & UT ~ RABIES reports from FL, & GA.

Coyote. Photo by Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Utah 10/10/12 by Brett Prettyman – State wildlife officials are calling a coyote attack on a female security guard at Kennecott Utah Copper Monday night “rare” and “strange.” At 9:45 p.m. Monday, a contracted security officer staffing the Kennecott entrance at 10200 South and 8400 West was in a booth when a coyote entered through the door and lunged at the woman. “As the animal was engaging her, she put up her arm to defend herself, and she did get several bites on her forearm,” said Kennecott spokesperson Kyle Bennett. “She was eventually able to get the animal out of the security station, and she called for backup.” Bennett said the woman was taken to Jordan Valley Medical Center where she was treated with “a few stitches” and released. A Unified police officer responded to the scene and shot the coyote. The head of the canine was sent to the Unified State Laboratories managed by the Utah Department of Health early Tuesday for a rabies test. Authorities said results could come as early as Wednesday. – For complete article see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 10/06/12 San Mateo County: Police in Belmont report that a mountain lion was seen Friday in the 3200 block of East Laurel Creek. – See

Idaho 10/06/12 Ada County: A Garden City resident told local police he saw a mountain lion roaming near the Les Bois Park stables Saturday. A search was conducted with negative results. – See

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

Delaware 10/09/12 New Castle County: A human case of WNV in Middletown has been confirmed as the state’s 7th case of the virus this year. – See–west-nile-virus.html

New Hampshire 10/09/12 Rockingham County: More mosquitoes have tested positive for EEE in Newton and Newfields. – See

New Jersey 10/09/12 Passaic County: A 75-year-old woman has become the third person in the state to die of WNV this year. – See

Tennessee 10/09/12 Davidson County: Health officials in Nashville today confirmed that a 70-year-old man is the first WNV-related death in the state this year. So far, 29 human cases have been documented in the state in 2012. – See

Utah 10/09/12 Box Elder County: Bear River health officials today confirmed the WNV-related death of a man over the age of 65. This is the state’s first WNV-related fatality this year. – See


Florida 10/10/12 Pinellas County: by Laura C. Morel – Health officials are looking for a child of about 3 years of age who may have been exposed to rabies after being clawed by a raccoon at Sawgrass Lake Park just before 2 p.m. on Thursday. A park employee who witnessed the incident asked the man accompanying the child to seek medical attention, but the man left the park at 7400 25th St. N with the toddler and refused to provide contact information. – See

Georgia 10/08/12 Hall County: A raccoon that made contact with two dogs near Bark Camp Road in Gainesville last week has tested positive for rabies. This is the 21st confirmed case of rabies in the county so far this year. – See

EHD virus in ILLINOIS may have killed more than 2,000 DEER ~ CALIFORNIA confirms GROUND SQUIRREL positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ Scientists say LYME DISEASE will continue to spread ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from IDAHO ~ COYOTE reports from CA, FL, & ILx2 ~ EEE/WNV report from CAx2, CO, FL, LA, & VT ~ RABIES reports from TN, TX, & VA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending September 29, 2012.

Whitetail Buck. Courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Illinois 10/05/12 News Release – State officials today announced updated results of monitoring of deer mortality in the state attributed to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).  Since an earlier update on September 6, many Illinois citizens have taken the time to make reports of sick, dead, and/or dying animals throughout the state. The IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources thanks those individuals who have taken time to provide information on EHD-probable deer mortality in the state. As of September 30, there were 2,043 deer reported as probable EHD deaths, with reports from 76 counties.  The highest numbers were reported from Cook (326); Calhoun (181); Coles (138); Macon and Shelby (121). Hunters taking to the field in Illinois for archery deer hunting and the Oct. 6-7 Illinois Youth Firearm Deer Hunt need not be concerned about eating venison from animals that may have contracted EHD and survived.  EHD has no impact on humans, pets, or livestock. – For complete news release and county maps see

Bubonic Plague:

Ground squirrel. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 10/05/12 For the first time in nearly a decade, bubonic plague has been confirmed in Riverside County.  State health officials said Thursday that a ground squirrel tested positive. It was found during routine testing at the Fern Basin campground in the San Jacinto Mountains north of Idyllwild. It’s an area where similar findings were an annual occurrence in the 1990’s. Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted from wild rodents to humans through bites from infected fleas. Campers are being warned to stay away from squirrels and other wild animals.

Lyme Disease:

National 10/05/12 by Dr. Chris Carpenter – The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) 2012 Fall Lyme Disease Forecast calls for increased risk in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region, the upper Midwest, the Southeastern United States and all along the West Coast. The disease incidence is steadily spreading southward, even into some areas traditionally free or with low incidence of Lyme disease such as the Midwest and parts of the Southeast. The Northeast continues as the most Lyme endemic region of the country. – For complete article see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Idaho 10/05/12 Ada County: A Boise police bicycle officer saw a mountain lion at about 9:30 a.m. Friday, according to a release from the police department. The cat was spotted beyond 31st and Pleasanton streets in a remote gravel area. The animal fled the area, and officers were unable to locate it. Police are consulting with Idaho Fish & Game officials. The Friday morning sighting was the fifth since Wednesday. – See

Coyote Attacks:

California 10/05/12 Orange County: A Tustin family says their small dog was fatally injured by a coyote in their Laurelwood neighborhood front yard last month. So far this year, local police have reported 13 coyote sightings near Bryan Avenue and Jamboree Road, about 2 miles from Laurelwood. – See

Florida 10/05/12 Orange County: Residents in Dr. Phillips are petitioning to have coyotes removed after several family pets were killed. They say sightings occur on a daily basis and their afraid to allow pets, or even small children, out of their sight. – See

Illinois 10/05/12 DuPage County: Local police report two small dogs survived a coyote attack on September 27th in the 2000 block of Stonebridge Court in Wheaton. One dog was treated for four bites on the neck and face. – See

Illinois 10/05/12 DuPage County: A Winfield family says their dog, a Yorkshire terrier, was fatally injured by a coyote in their yard adjacent to the Illinois Prairie Path on Wednesday. – See

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

California 10/06/12 Shasta County: Health officials have confirmed the county’s first human case of WNV this year. This person is the 217th human case of WNV in the state this year. – See

California 10/05/12 Merced County: Health officials confirm that a 26-year-old woman from Gustine has presented the first human case of WNV in the city this year. – See

Colorado 10/05/12 Pueblo County: Health officials have confirmed one human case of WNV in the city of Pueblo, and suspects another. – See

Florida 10/05/12 Jackson County: Health officials have reported a human case of WNV in the county, and a horse stabled on Sellers Road between Malone and Campbellton has tested positive for EEE. – See

Louisiana 10/05/12 Update – State health officials have confirmed 25 new human cases of WNV, but not new deaths occurred this week. So far this year, 305 human cases of WNV have been reported, including 11 WNV-related deaths. – See

Vermont 10/06/12 Essex County: Health officials have confirmed that a second person in the state has been infected with WNV and is recovering. – See


Tennessee 10/05/12 tnpublichealth: State health officials are currently distributing oral rabies vaccine packets in eight northeast counties to prevent the spread of rabies in raccoons. The air drops began Tuesday and will continue through Oct. 12th.

Texas 10/05/12 Wichita County: Two skunks found near Wichita Falls, one southwest of the city and the other southeast, have tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 10/04/12 Virginia Beach: A fox that attacked four people on Border Way off Salem Road has tested positive for rabies. – See video report at

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending September 29, 2012:

Published October 5, 2012/ 61(39); ND-536-ND-549

Anaplasmosis . . . 1 . . . New York,

Babesiosis . . . 4 . . . California, New York (3),

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . California (2),    

Ehrlichiosis . . . 8 . . . North Carolina (7), Tennessee,

Giardiasis . . . 167 . . . Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas (5), California (20), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho (2), Iowa (3), Maine, Maryland (5), Massachusetts (7), Michigan (4), Missouri (7), Nebraska (5), New York (55), Ohio (21), Oregon (4), Pennsylvania (6), Vermont, Virginia, Washington (15), Wisconsin,

Lyme Disease . . .  161. . .  California, Delaware (4), Maine (3), Maryland (25), New Hampshire, New York (72), North Carolina (11), Pennsylvania (32), Vermont (5), Virginia (7),

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 2 . . . North Carolina (2), 

Rabies (Animal) . . . 46. . . Idaho (5), Kansas (2), Missouri, New Hampshire, New York (8), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island, Vermont (2), Virginia (17),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 2. . . Maryland, Missouri

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 43 . . . Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana (2), Kentucky (3), Missouri (2), North Carolina (21), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee (8), Virginia (3),

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri.

CALIFORNIA MAN’s death believed due to RABID BAT bite ~ Other RABIES reports from FL, ME, MN, & NY ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from IOWA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from AL, CT, FL, & MS.

Mexican Free-tailed Bat. Photo courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.

California 10/05/12 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – On July 8, 2012, a U.S. resident was admitted to a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for evaluation of right arm spasticity, anxiety, and malaise. By the next day, the patient had become comatose following a period of agitation. On July 31, he died. Investigators from CDC, state, and local health departments determined that the patient acquired rabies from contact in March with a bat in California. (Tests showed the patient’s viral RNA sequence was similar to a viral variant associated with the insectivorous Mexican free-tailed bat, Tadarida brasiliensis, a species common in the southern United States and Mexico.) Once symptoms begin, rabies is almost always fatal. While he was potentially infectious, during June 11–July 31, the patient traveled on eight international flights through six countries. To date, 59 persons have been identified as contacts, and 23 persons have been administered post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP); no secondary cases have been identified. Bites or scratches from bats or other animals suspected of having rabies should be regarded seriously; victims should promptly seek consultation with public health practitioners and medical-care providers. This report highlights the need for collaboration to 1) identify persons who potentially had contact with infectious materials from a person infected with rabies, 2) conduct a risk assessment, and 3) provide prophylaxis to all those with a reasonable risk for contact with infectious materials (e.g., tears, saliva, or neural tissue from a person with rabies contacting open wounds or mucous membranes of an uninfected person). – For complete case report and references see

Author’s Note: According to an article in the 10/04/12 issue of the Mercury News eEdition, the victim was a 34-year-old man from California’s Contra Costa County. – See

Other Rabies Reports:

Florida 10/04/12 Bay County: A raccoon killed in the vicinity of Highway 79 and Panama City Beach Parkway near Panama City Beach has tested positive for rabies. This is the 9th animal testing positive for the virus in the county so far this year. –

Maine 10/04/12 Sagadahoc County: A raccoon that bit a vaccinated dog in the north end of Bath on Monday has tested positive for rabies. This is the third case of rabies confirmed in the city so far this year. – See

Minnesota 10/04/12 Lyon County: A family’s pet cat that suddenly began biting and acting strangely has tested positive for rabies. The cat, which was unvaccinated, was reported to have had exposure to a skunk within the past month. – See

New York 10/04/12 Herkimer County: A fox suspected of biting two Frankfort residents in separate incidents over the course of two days has tested positive for rabies. – See

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Iowa 10/04/12 Polk County: Local Des Moines city police shot and killed a mountain lion today in the 3900 block of Columbia Street not far from an elementary school. A homeowner reported the large cat in his backyard and when the animal attempted to escape the officers shot it in the interest of public safety. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Alabama 10/03/12 Lauderdale County: Health officials report the latest human case of WNV has been identified in a male county resident in his 50s. The total number of human cases statewide is now 31 so far this year. – See

Connecticut 10/04/12 Human cases of WNV in the state have reached a record high of 18. The largest concentrations are in Fairfield and New Haven counties. – See

Florida 10/04/12 Bay County: Health officials have confirmed that a blood screening process has identified a human case of WNV in a 46-year-old woman who tested positive for the virus. – See

Mississippi 10/03/12 Madison County: Health officials confirm that last week a county resident died of WNV. To date, there have been 200 human cases, including five deaths. – See

SOUTH DAKOTA town destination spot for immigrating SKUNKS ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from IDAHO ~ CANADIANS capture and kill four COYOTES in NOVA SCOTIA ~ EEE & WNV reports from CDC, CAx2, GA, IL, IN, MA, NJ, & SD ~ RABIES reports from GA, NJ, & NC.

Striped skunk. Photo by Alison Wardman. Wikimedia Commons.

South Dakota 10/02/12 by Kay Nguyen – Aberdeen Animal Control Officer John Weaver generally handles about two skunks a month, but he has dealt with about 13 in the last three weeks.  “It’s been my life here for the last month or so,” Weaver said.  In the first two days of October, he had already trapped two skunks. There have been so many skunks in Aberdeen, that he has run out of traps. Weaver monitors the spots his traps are placed in and takes care of the skunks once they are trapped. A waiting list has been established for those who report skunk sightings. Weaver said he waits to see how productive certain trap locations are and moves them based on his observations because most skunks that are spotted are generally just passing through. He said some residents have seen the skunks getting settled under sheds or other structures, though.

Many reasons could explain the heightened skunk population, Weaver said. He said that because the weather is beginning to cool down, the animals are beginning to look for shelter for the winter. However, he said, it’s most likely due to drought conditions. “From everything people are telling me and what I’ve discussed with other folks who are in the animal control business, it has to do with the drought,” Weaver said. “Farmers are cutting things down, so the skunks are looking for food and water and are coming to town for that.” Tim Sahli, a veterinarian, said he’s received only a couple of calls about animals getting into altercations with skunks, but he said it makes sense that more are being seen. “Skunks, like other animals, are always looking for a source of food,” Sahli said. “The drought is probably the No. 1 thing going on right now that would probably bring them in.” He said skunks are at or near the top of the list of being transmitters of rabies and that pet owners should be aware of the dangers. – For complete article and a recipe for deskunking your pet see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Idaho 10/03/12 Ada County: Sheriff’s deputies searched for a young mountain lion today in the vicinity of Chinden Boulevard and Glenwood Street in Garden City. The large cat was reportedly seen by a woman while walking her dog near a footbridge over the Boise River on the Greenbelt east of the Expo Idaho center. – See

Coyote Attacks:


Nova Scotia 10/03/12 The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources says four coyotes have been captured and killed around New Waterford in the last 10 days. “Three of them were yearlings from a family group,” said Andy Pyke, a wildlife technician with the Department of Natural Resources. “The fourth was a large male. That particular animal had an injury to its jaw so it was rather skinny but it was still a mature animal.” Pyke said officials can’t be sure whether one of the captured coyotes is the same one that knocked a 16-year-old girl to the ground in New Waterford on Sept. 14. The girl walking to the Breton Education Centre along railroad tracks near her home when she was struck from behind. The animal scratched her face and was scared away by a car horn. – For complete article see

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

CDC National Update 10/02/12 Update – As of October 2, 2012, 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 3,969 cases of WNV disease in people, including 163 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,010 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 1,959 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 3,969 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the first week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Illinois) and a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For details see

California 10/03/12 Los Angeles County: Health officials confirm 54 human cases of WNV in the county so far this year, including two deaths. Yesterday, officials said the two who died were both in their 80s and lived in the southeastern part of the county. – See

California 10/03/12 Fresno County: A Fresno woman is the second person in the county to die of complications from WNV, health officials confirmed today. This year, there have been 16 human cases of WNV in 12 different county zip-code areas. – See

Georgia 10/03/12 Bryan County: Coastal Health District officials have confirmed a human case of WNV in a 48-year-old county man. The CDC has confirmed 45 cases of WNV in the state so far this year. – See

Illinois 10/03/12 Kane County: Health officials say four more human cases of WNV have been reported in the county bringing the total number of cases reported in the county to nine so far this year, including one death. The cases being reported Wednesday include two men, ages 61 and 67, from Elgin; a 50-year-old St. Charles man; and a 59-year-old Geneva man. – See

Indiana 10/03/12 State health officials say more than 60 human cases of WNV have been reported so far this year, including six deaths. The fatalities were reported in the counties of Marion, Allan, Vanderburgh, and Hendricks. – See–West-Nile-Indiana

Massachusetts 10/03/12 Essex County: A 76-year-old Georgetown man, hospitalized with EEE, died last week of his illness, according to town officials. He is the 3rd person in the state to die of EEE so far this year. – See

New Jersey 10/02/12 Cumberland County: Officials confirmed today that two mosquito pools within the Union Lake Wildlife Management Area in Millville have tested positive for EEE. The Cumberland County Department of Public Works Mosquito Control Division monitors this area closely because the wooded, swampy environment within the wildlife management area is at an increased risk for mosquitoes carrying EEE as well as WNV, officials said. – See

South Dakota 10/03/12 State health officials have confirmed 195 human cases of WNV in the state so far this year, including 3 deaths. In addition, 42 blood donors, 10 horses, 5 birds, and 84 mosquito pools have tested positive for the virus. – See


Georgia 10/03/12 Hall County: A bat that had direct contact with a dog in Clermont has tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Ivey Street. This is the 20th confirmed rabies case in the county so far this year. – See

New Jersey 10/03/12 Salem County: A raccoon that was shot by an Upper Pittsgrove Township resident because it was chasing his cat has tested positive for rabies. – See

North Carolina 10/03/12 Davidson County: A skunk that was killed in a fight with two dogs in the Midway community on September 27th has tested positive for rabies. One of the dogs was unvaccinated and had to be euthanized. – See

RHODE ISLAND WOMAN bitten by FISHER ~ Other RABIES reports from AL, NJ, PA, & VA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from NV, OH, & TX.

Fisher. Photo by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Rhode Island 10/01/12 A Lincoln (Providence County) woman has been hospitalized after being attacked and bitten by a fisher while walking her dog in her yard. Tracey Chartier was attacked Wednesday by the animal, which is typically found in the northern parts of the U.S. and Canada, and commonly referred to as fisher cats. Chartier said she was barefoot and kicked it, and said the animal bit, scratched and mangled her feet. “The claws were very, very long,” she said. She said the claws of the fisher impaled the skin in her foot and went so deep, she’s being treated for an infection at Rhode Island Hospital. She’s also being treated for rabies as a precaution. “Everybody said you know, ‘You should have done this, you should have done that. You know, you should have ran.’ But no matter what I did, I would have got attacked or my dog would have got attacked,” Chartier said. Chartier said the family remains a little afraid to step outside into the back yard. “I’m a nervous wreck to go in the back yard. My husband’s a nervous wreck to go in the back yard. The kids, you know, I don’t know what’s there or what’s going to come out,” she said.

Other Rabies Reports:

Alabama 10/01/12 A Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture says helicopters will be used to drop rabies vaccine packets in part of the River Region this week. City of Prattville officials were informed Monday morning that the USDA/APHIS will be using helicopters to drop packets of rabies vaccine over parts of Elmore and Autauga counties in the Prattville area this week as part of the National Rabies Management Program to fight the spread of the virus. USDA/APHIS Wildlife Biologist Dana Johnson told officials that the virus is an issue predominately with the raccoon population, but it has also been known to be found in the fox population. Johnson explained the air-dropped vaccine will be wrapped in fish meal. Animals will be attracted to the fish meal, when they bite into it, they will break the pouches that contain the vaccine. According to the USDA website, 81,000 baits are expected to be released in and around the Prattville area This oral vaccine isn’t dangerous to pets if they ingest it, however, if you come into contact with the baits, just move the baits to a wooded area and make sure to wash your hands afterwards. If you see wildlife that seems sick or is acting abnormally, contact Johnson at 334-844-8029. Any wild animal that allows you to approach it should raise an alarm. For more information, see the full release on the City of Prattville’s website.

New Jersey 10/02/12 Camden County: A skunk that fought with a dog in the Cedarbrook section of Winslow Township on September 26th has tested positive for rabies. – See

Pennsylvania 10/01/12 Bucks County: by Bob Keeler – Getting six stitches in his face wasn’t the end of the medical treatment needed for a 1-year-old boy who was bitten by a dog Sept. 15 in West Rockhill’s James Memorial Park. “He actually had to go back in the hospital due to an infection,” Pennridge Regional police Chief David Mettin said at the Sept. 26 Pennridge Regional Police Commission meeting. The child will also likely need to be treated to avoid the possibility of rabies, he said. “Unfortunately, I think he’s probably going to have to get the shots,” Mettin said, “and that’s because we haven’t found the dog. The dog, described as black and medium sized, came from a wooded area near the baseball field, not from the dog park, police said. The dog lunged at the child and bit his face, then fled after the child’s father kicked the dog, police said. Anyone with information on the incident or a stray dog in the area is asked to call the police at 215-257-5104.

Virginia 10/02/12 Henrico County: A skunk that attacked a dog on Armstead Circle in Sandston on September 28th has tested positive for rabies. – See

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Nevada 10/02/12 News Release – Health officials have confirmed four additional human cases of WNV. The patients, a 25-year-old woman with the more serious neuroinvasive form of the illness; a 52-year-old man with the less serious form of the illness; a 68-year-old woman and a 64-year old man, both with the more serious neuroinvasive form the illness and both of whom are hospitalized. The health district reported its first 2012 case in September in a 75-year-old woman. That patient, who was hospitalized, has since died; she is the fourth WNV-related death in Clark County since 2003. This brings the number of 2012 WNV cases in Clark County to five. – See

Ohio 10/01/12 Clark County: Health officials have confirmed that WNV was a contributing factor in the death of an 84-year-old county man. This is the state’s 4th WNV fatality. Statewide, there are 97 probable human cases of WNV. – See

Texas 10/02/12 Bexar County: A Metropolitan Health District spokesperson has confirmed the official count of human cases of WNV in the county has risen to 26. The number of WNV-related fatalities remains at 2. – See

FLORIDA scientist finds SNAKES harboring EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ EEE & WNV reports from MN, NV, & RI ~ RABIES reports from NJ, & TN.

Water Moccasin. Photo by Ltshears. Wikimedia Commons.

National 10/01/12 by Maggie Fox – (Excerpts) “Snakes may provide a winter hiding place for a virus that’s causing an unusually severe outbreak in the U.S. northeast this year, and this could be good news for control efforts, researchers said on Monday. They found eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEE for short) in cottonmouths and copperhead snakes and said it’s likely the reptiles incubate the virus while they hibernate over the winter. When they come out in spring, mosquitoes feast on the snakes and then pass it to birds.

The study, published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, explains why EEE keeps coming back in northern states where mosquitoes hunker down for the winter and where many birds take off for warmer climes. “There must be a way that the virus manages to overwinter. We think it’s the snakes, because they do overwinter in these sites,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch of the University of South Florida, who led the study.”

Dr. Thomas Unnasch.

“Tests on cottonmouths in the Tuskeegee National Forest in Alabama confirmed a fairly high percentage were infected with EEE, as well as at least one copperhead. It doesn’t make the snakes sick and they seem to stay actively infected for months on end, Unnasch said. So when it gets cold up north and the migrating birds leave, the snakes are still infected with EEE and they hibernate. In the spring, newly hatched mosquitoes feed on the snakes and get infected. “They act as the Typhoid Mary of the virus,” Unnasch said. Copperheads are related to rattlesnakes and there are plenty of both in the north, Unnasch noted.”

Northern Copperhead. Photo by Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

“Is there a lesson here for West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne infection that’s causing an unusual amount of trouble this year? CDC reports 3,545 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 147 deaths. Unfortunately not, says Unnasch — West Nile is not related to EEE and while it passes from birds to mosquitoes to people, it has a different cycle of infection.” – For complete NBC News article by Maggie Fox see

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

Minnesota 10/01/12 Four more human cases of WNV have been reported this past week. So far this year 65 human cases and one death have been attributed to the mosquito-borne virus in the state. – See

Nevada 09/28/12 Washoe County: Health officials report that a 6-year-old feral horse in Reno was put down after testing positive for WNV. This is the first animal or human case of the virus in the county this year, but two human cases have been reported elsewhere in the state, one each in Clark and Churchill counties. – See

Rhode Island 10/01/12 Newport County: A batch of mosquitoes captured in Tiverton has tested positive for EEE. – See


New Jersey 09/30/12 Hudson County: Health officials have confirmed that a sick raccoon reported just blocks from Franklin School in North Bergen on September 12th has tested positive for rabies. – See

Tennessee 09/29/12 The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin distributing an oral rabies vaccine for wild raccoons in selected areas of the southeast, including 15 counties in East Tennessee. – See

CANADA: GRIZZLY kills ALBERTA hiker’s leashed DOG ~ MOUNTAIN LION report from MONTANA ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS & WEST NILE VIRUS reports from AL, IA, LA, & MS ~ RABIES report from NJ ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending September 22, 2012.

Grizzly. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.


Alberta 09/28/12 the A popular hiking area in Banff National Park has been closed after a grizzly bear attacked and killed a small dog. Parks Canada spokeswoman Brianna Burley said it happened in the Skoki Valley area, near the Lake Louise ski hill, on Thursday. A hiker was scrambling off the trail with his Jack Russell terrier when the adult grizzly approached and started stalking the pet. “At first the hiker tried to stand his ground against the grizzly bear, and then came to a realization that the bear was intent on getting the dog,” Burley said Friday. The man tried to scare off the animal by yelling, throwing rocks and his backpack at it, but the grizzly wasn’t backing off, Burley said. “At this point he dropped the leash and the dog ran away about 20 feet at which point the bear chased the dog and that’s where the bear overtook the dog.” The grizzly left the area, taking the dog’s body. The hiker, an employee of Skoki Lodge, was not hurt but was shaken. – For complete article see

Mountain Lion Sightings:

Montana 09/29/12 Lewis & Clark County: On Saturday afternoon, a resident of the South Hills area of Helena alerted authorities that they spotted a mountain lion near the intersection of Lodgepole and Lime Kiln, near Mount Ascension Park. – See

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

Alabama 09/28/12 Mobile County: According to local health officials, a sentinel chicken in Grand Bay has tested positive for EEE. – See

Iowa 09/28/12 News Release – The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and Iowa Department of Public Health today reminded Iowans that mosquitoes remain active until hard freeze occurs and can carry WNV. Surveillance has shown a larger number of horses have been infected with WNV this year, with more than 20 confirmed cases. In addition, 19 human cases of WNV have been reported in 16 counties in 2012. No WNV-related deaths have been reported this year. Humans cannot ‘catch’ WNV from an animal, but an increase in animal cases indicates higher activity among mosquitoes carrying the virus. – See

Louisiana 09/28/12 Update – State health officials today confirmed 29 new human cases of WNV this week and no new deaths, and reminded residents to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites so they can lower their risk of infection. The state is seeing the highest number of reported WNV infections in several years, with 280 cases and 11 deaths from the disease thus far in 2012. – For details and county involved see

Mississippi 09/27/12 Update – State health officials confirm there have been 26 new human cases of WNV in the past week. The number of human cases now confirmed totals 197, including 5 deaths. – For details and county information see,0,93,554.html


New Jersey 09/29/12 Somerset County: A grounded bat found outside 422 Brookside Lane in Hillsborough less than a mile from the Middle School has tested positive for rabies. Parents of area school children are urged to contact health or school officials if their children touched the bat. Several children were seen near the bat poking it with a stick. – see

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending September 22, 2012:

Published September 28, 2012/ 61(38); ND-522-ND-535

Anaplasmosis . . . 7 . . . New York (7),

Babesiosis . . . 3 . . . Maryland, New York (2),

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Indiana,     

Ehrlichiosis . . . 4 . . . Florida, Maryland (2), Virginia,

Giardiasis . . . 194 . . . Alabama (6), Alaska (2), Arkansas (3), Florida (31), Idaho (6), Iowa (3), Maryland (6), Michigan (3), Missouri (4), Montana, Nebraska (8), Nevada, New York (49), Ohio (20), Oregon (5), Pennsylvania (8), South Carolina (2), Vermont, Virginia (2), Washington (29), Wisconsin (2), Wyoming (2),

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . Missouri, 

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 3 . . . Indiana (3),

Lyme Disease . . .  173. . .  Connecticut, Delaware (5), Florida (4), Maryland (6), Michigan, New York (82), Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania (44), Tennessee (2), Virginia (24), Washington (2),

Q Fever (Chronic) . . . 2 . . . Missouri, Nebraska

Rabies (Animal) . . . 63. . . Arkansas (3), Idaho (14), Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland (7), Michigan (4), Missouri (2), New York (10), Texas (9), Virginia (11), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 5. . . Missouri (3), North Carolina (2),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 39 . . . Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas (4), Florida, Indiana, Missouri (5), North Carolina (11), Ohio, Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island, Tennessee (5), Virginia (6),

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri.