Tag Archives: Bubonic Plague

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.


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


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

Aggressive MOUNTAIN LION prompts shut-down of CALIFORNIA park ~ ZIKA VIRUS spreading rapidly across PUERTO RICO ~ NANTUCKET residents consider genetically engineered MICE to halt spread of LYME DISEASE ~ HANTAVIRUS claims life of UTAH man ~ NEVADA confirms PLAGUE found at public campground ~ COLORADO confirms FERAL CAT found with BUBONIC PLAGUE.


California 06/07/16 mercurynews.com: by Marisa Kendall – Santa Clara County deputies found themselves in an unusual standoff Saturday — instead of waiting for a criminal to emerge from a hideout, they were waiting for a mountain lion to come down from a tree. The Sheriff’s Office evacuated McClellan Ranch Preserve as a precaution after a mountain lion growled at children in the park and then ran up a tree, said Captain Rick Sung. Experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife who also responded decided against tranquilizing and relocating the animal. Instead, they waited for the cougar to come down and leave of its own accord — which it did, without incident, after night fell. Sung said he was “very concerned” about the mountain lion’s presence, based on a report from a park visitor that it had behaved aggressively toward local children. The animal was camped out in the branches of a tree near McClellan Road and Club House Lane, across the street from a residential neighborhood. “We had a lot of deputies pretty much surrounding the park area just to make sure our residents are safe,” he said. Sung said there were several hundred children in the park with their families when it was evacuated. While the Sheriff’s Office occasionally receives calls about mountain lion sightings, Sung said it’s rare to hear of an animal displaying aggression. “Usually what it is, is people will see it and the mountain lion will just walk away,” he said. There have been 14 reported mountain lion attacks in California since 1986, including three fatal attacks, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A 6-year-old boy was attacked near the Picchetti Winery in Cupertino in 2014 and survived. – For video and complete article see http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_29981034/mountain-lion-prompts-park-evacuation-near-cupertino

Zika Virus –

dt_160309_puerto_rico_map_zika_mosquito_800x600Puerto Rico 06/08/16 wsj.com: by Betsy McKay – The Zika virus is creeping north toward the continental U.S., and Alberto de la Vega has started to detect its signs. In ultrasounds he gives pregnant women who are infected with the virus in this American territory, he has seen a 22-week-old fetus with serious brain damage and two others with stunted growth. He is bracing for more. “If you ask me in a month,” says Dr. de la Vega, an obstetrician-gynecologist and chief of a high-risk-pregnancy unit at the capital’s University Hospital, “we may have 10 times the detection rate.” Zika has blanketed three-quarters of this lush island over the past six months, say health authorities, who expect it to keep spreading now that it is prime mosquito season. More than 1,350 people have tested positive for Zika since the beginning of the epidemic here, including 168 pregnant women. One patient died. Thousands more are likely infected without symptoms, health authorities say. Puerto Rico’s battle with Zika is giving local and U.S. health authorities a rare chance to better understand the disease as it makes its relentless march across the Americas. The island has advantages over Latin American and Caribbean nations that lack its modern medical system. It has strong public-health surveillance and anticipated Zika’s arrival, unlike Brazil, where the virus spread unnoticed for months. – For complete article see http://www.wsj.com/articles/zika-swamps-embattled-puerto-rico-1465395531

Lyme Disease –

Tick-Infested-Area-500Massachusetts 06/07/16 statnews.com: by Ike Swetlitz – Nantucket – This exclusive summer playground could become the site of an unprecedented experiment to combat Lyme disease by releasing genetically modified mice on the island. Nantucket boasts some of the highest Lyme infection rates in the country, and the idea unveiled Monday would involve modifying the genes of tens of thousands of mice to keep them from spreading the Lyme bacterium to ticks, which in turn infect people. Any release is years away, but an MIT professor presented the idea to the Nantucket board of health and an audience of about 20 residents and scientists, who were broadly favorable. If the project is realized, it might be the first release into the wild of animals modified with the cutting-edge gene-editing technique CRISPR. Other types of gene-editing have been used, for instance, to make farmed salmon grow faster and to make disease-carrying mosquitoes unable to reproduce. “This is something new,” said Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab and the project’s organizer. “We are considering deliberate alteration of the local environment.” Lyme disease is a significant problem for residents of Nantucket: The island had the highest rate of Lyme of any county in the US from 1992 to 2001, and finished in third place from 2002 to 2006, according to government data. – For complete article see https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/07/nantucket-lyme-genetic-engineering/

Hantavirus –

892008Utah 06/02/16 sltrib.com: by Bob Mims – State health officials say that a Utah man died after exposure to hantavirus last month. Medical privacy policies prohibited release of the man’s identity, but Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko did confirm Thursday that the victim was between the ages of 45 and 64, and that he died in late May. “I can’t provide anything more specific than that,” he said. “We’ve worked with the family to provide information on how to safely clean rodent droppings from properties they frequent.” Rats, mice, and other burrowing and nesting rodents are known to carry the deadly disease, which can be spread to humans through contact with the animals’ urine, saliva, or feces. Hudachko said his agency now has recorded six hantavirus-related fatalities in Utah since 2009. – See http://www.sltrib.com/news/3959672-155/state-health-officials-confirm-may-hantavirus

Bubonic Plague –

Nevada 06/08/16 http://myfox8.com/: A flea from a yellow chipmunk in the Lake Tahoe area tested positive for plagueUSA Today reports. On Tuesday, the Lake Tahoe Basin Unit of the Forest Service, El Dorado County, Calif., officials and the California Department of Public Health reported they confirmed the presence of plague in the flea taken from Fallen Leaf Campground. The campground is about a quarter mile north of Fallen Leaf Lake in South Lake Tahoe. – For complete article see http://myfox8.com/2016/06/08/bubonic-plague-detected-at-lake-tahoe-area-campground/

2006-06jun-tigger-plus-mouse2Colorado 06/02/16 nbc11news.com:  The Delta County Health Department is warning residents of plague after a feral cat tested positive for the disease over the Memorial Day weekend. Health officials said the cat was found on Hanson Road near Cedaredge, then taken to Surface Creek Veterinary Center where it tested positive for plague before being euthanized. Officials said this is the first plague activity detected this season. “Plague is commonly transmitted by fleas, so taking steps to avoid fleas will help prevent spread of the disease,” said Ken Nordstrom, Delta County Health Department Environmental Health Director. – See http://www.nbc11news.com/content/news/Plague-found-in-Delta-County-health-officials-say-381664391.html

Three FLORIDIANS hospitalized after BEE attack ~ NEW JERSEY resident attacked by COYOTE ~ FERAL CATS pose risk of TYPHUS to general public ~ FLEA infested PRAIRIE DOG den in ARIZONA tests positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ New book updating LYME DISEASE ~ RABIES reports from GA, NY & NC.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Honey bee. Photo by Vera Buhl. Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 04/06/15 wfla.com: Pasco Fire Rescue crews responded to a report of a bee attack in New Port Richey Sunday afternoon in which three people were hospitalized. The wild bee hive was in a tree in the 7800 block of Calabash Lane. Experts believe there are between 20,000 and 30,000 bees in the hive. The neighbor Alisson Osteen saw the bees from her home. “I saw my neighbor’s brother on the ground rolling, just covered in bees all over his face, his neck, his arms. So I called 911,” she said. “He was screaming for help.” Pasco County Fire Rescue firefighters used a hose to spray the bees to get them to disperse and help the two men. They had as many as about 50 stings each. A woman who walked out of her home also received about a dozen stings but was not as seriously injured. Osteen said she didn’t see how it happened, but there was a ladder by the tree. “I don’t know if that was the bee keeper’s ladder or if that was the ladder they were using to touch the nest if they were trying to remove it themselves trying to get honey. I don’t know what they were trying to do,” she said. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 2 p.m. Sunday. Nobody on the crew was injured or stung. Crews are expected to return to the hive on Monday, however the bee expert is waiting for the bees to calm down before doing anything with the hive. – http://www.wfla.com/story/28724800/bees-sting-4-in-pasco-2-in-hospital


Coyote%20stalking%20prey%20-%20note%20radio%20collar%20and%20ear%20tags%20for%20research%20projectNew Jersey 04/06/15 northjersey.com: by Jim Norman – A man working in his garden in the Twin Brooks area of (Saddle River) was attacked Monday by a coyote that was then hunted down and euthanized, authorities said. The man, whose identity was not released, was taken to a hospital for treatment and then released for recovery at home, according to a report on the Saddle River Police Department’s Facebook page. The man was attacked from behind by the animal and managed to escape, the police report said. Officers who investigated the incident learned that the same coyote had attacked a neighbor’s dog last week, requiring the dog’s owner to have it treated at a veterinarian’s office, police said. In addition, the police report said, workers in the area reported having seen the coyote several times on Monday, acting aggressively toward other dogs. Officers who responded to the attack saw the coyote running through a neighbor’s yard during daylight and called a local pest control company, which arrived, along with officers from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. The coyote was found in a wooded area and put down, police said. The animal’s body was removed by the Fish and Wildlife officers for testing and analysis. Police asked any resident who has had an encounter with the coyote to call 201-327-5300, to document the event. Police also are reminding local residents to report aggressive wildlife behavior immediately, to head off the chance of another attack. – See http://www.northjersey.com/news/coyote-euthanized-after-it-attacks-saddle-river-man-1.1303757


typhus-transmission-cycleCalifornia 04/06/15 Orange County: by Matthew Cunningham – Flea-borne (endemic) typhus is carried by the common cat flea, which is found primarily on feral cats, raccoon and opossums. Common cat fleas bite people and their infected feces enters the bloodstream, causing severe illness. In 2006, there was a single reported case of flea-borne typhus infection in Orange County – the first since 2013. Between 2006 and 2014, there have been more than 100 reported cases of flea-borne typhus in OC. – See http://www.publicceo.com/2015/04/misplaced-outrage-over-anaheims-ban-on-feeding-feral-cats/


prairiedogUSParksArizona 04/06/15 upi.com/Health_News: by Brooks Hays – Arizona health officials and wildlife managers are monitoring flea infestations more closely after several specimens in Picture Canyon, near Flagstaff, tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the disease known as the bubonic plague. Officials grew concerned when they were alerted to a prairie dog den that appeared to features an unusually large number of dead or dying prairie dogs. Several surrounding burrows were tested, revealing the culprit to be the plague . . . Nearby burrows are now being cleared and disinfected, in an effort to stem any possible outbreak of the disease. Late last week, following the positive test, officials returned to test a much broader area for the dangerous bacteria. Those results are due back later this week. – See http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/04/06/Officials-concerned-by-plague-carrying-fleas-in-Arizona/7041428341911/


LymeDiseaseBookBook Review 04/06/15 washingtonpost.com: by Nancy Szokan – In in the 1970s, public health professionals began noticing a kind of rheumatoid arthritis affecting children around Lyme, Conn. Soon they began associating it with a skin rash, possibly caused by a deer tick. In 1981, researchers Willy Burgdorfer and Alan G. Barbour identified the cause of what had come to be known as Lyme disease. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 new cases a year. So there’s probably a large audience for a new book by Barbour, who’s now a professor of medicine and microbiology at the medical school at the University of California at Irvine: “Lyme Disease: Why It’s Spreading, How It Makes You Sick, and What to Do About It.” Drawing on his decades of research and involvement with patients, he gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the disease, including the biology of the microbe that causes it and the tick that transmits it; how diagnosis is made and test results are interpreted; the use of antibiotics; disease prevention at the individual and community level; and the controversial condition called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, in which symptoms persist for years after antibiotic therapy ends. He ends with a somewhat pessimistic view of how we as a society are handling a disease that seems to be more prevalent every year. It’s not a particularly easy read; Barbour writes like the highly educated scientist he is, and he doesn’t mince technical terms. But his indisputable credentials and his clearly sympathetic concern make this a worthwhile book. – See http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-a-doctor-who-helped-discover-lyme-disease-a-broad-update/2015/04/06/1fd66e9e-d893-11e4-b3f2-607bd612aeac_story.html


Georgia 04/02/15 Worth County: A dog that was adopted by a southwest Georgia resident using an online service has tested positive for rabies. Existing pets in the household didn’t have up-to-date vaccinations and “(a)s a result, this well-intentioned individual ended up losing beloved pets that had been exposed and could not be saved,” a county health specialist said. – See http://worthit2u.net/worth/2015/04/02/public-health-confirms-rabies-case-in-worth/

sidebar_RabiesAlertNew York 04/05/15 Franklin County: A second person is undergoing treatment for exposure to the rabies virus, and two more are being evaluated after caring for dogs that had attacked raccoons later found to be rabid. “I cannot stress enough the importance of getting your dog vaccinated,” Public Health Director Kathleen F. Strack said. Cats should also be vaccinated, she said. – See http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/news05/second-person-in-franklin-county-undergoing-rabies-treatment-20150405

North Carolina 04/01/15 Robeson County: A dog that was shot after attacking its owners in Pembroke has tested positive for rabies. Two victims, a father and daughter, have been advised to begin post-exposure rabies treatments. – See http://robesonian.com/news/health/152667014/Rabid-dog-attacks-its-owners

CDC confirms MAN in TEXAS first in U.S. diagnosed with EBOLA VIRUS ~ MISSOURIAN dies of RABIES ~ FLEAS on dead PRAIRIE DOG in ARIZONA positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) report from WASHINGTON.

oLTXG4wTEXAS 09/30/14 medpagetoday.com: by Michael Smith – A man in intensive care in Dallas is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in U.S., the CDC said. The man, who flew from Liberia Sept. 19 and arrived in Dallas Sept. 20, is “critically ill” at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, according to CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD. . . . Frieden said the man was checked for fever before getting on his U.S.-bound flight Sept. 19 and had no symptoms until Sept. 24. He did not give details of the flight, saying there was no risk to other passengers because Ebola is not infectious in its asymptomatic phase. Frieden and other health officials also did not give details of the man’s activities between Sept. 26, when he first sought care, and Sept. 28 when he was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian. . . The Ebola outbreak has been raging in West Africa for several months, after it was first recognized in March. In the three hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — the virus has caused 6,553 infections and 3,083 deaths, according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization. – For complete article see http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/GeneralInfectiousDisease/45296

Author’s Note: Because Ebola can be transmitted from animals to people it is classified as a zoonotic disease.

Excerpts from cdc.gov re Ebola Virus: Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. There are five identified Ebola virus strains, four of which are known to cause disease in humans: Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus); Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus); Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus); and Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus). The fifth, Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans.

Ebola viruses are found in several African countries. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.

The natural reservoir host of Ebola virus remains unknown. However, on the basis of evidence and the nature of similar viruses, researchers believe that the virus is animal-borne and that bats are the most likely reservoir. Four of the five virus strains occur in an animal host native to Africa.

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, researchers believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal.

Symptoms of Ebola include:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days. Recovery from Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.

No specific vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) has been proven to be effective against Ebola.

Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:

  • Providing intravenous fluids (IV)and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
  • Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
  • Treating other infections if they occur

Some experimental treatments developed for Ebola have been tested and proven effective in animals but have not yet been tested in randomized trials in humans.


Rabieslogo45179Missouri 09/29/14 abc17news.com: by Lindsey Henry – A 52-year-old Cole County man is dead after apparently contracting rabies. Family members told ABC 17 it all started about two weeks ago when John Emmerich of Eugene felt severe neck pain, began shaking, (had) trouble swallowing, and (had) hallucinations. Not long after that, he was admitted to University Hospital where he died last Friday. Family members said test results last week came back from the CDC and confirmed Emmerich had rabies. He died the following day. The Miller County Health Department said Missouri’s Health Department is investigating the cause of death. – For complete article see http://www.abc17news.com/news/cole-county-man-apparently-dies-after-being-infected-with-rabies/28324396


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArizona 09/30/14 kfyi.com: Health officials in Coconino County have confirmed that fleas from dead prairie dogs found in Flagstaff have tested positive for bubonic plague. – See complete article at http://www.kfyi.com/onair/arizona-news-55067/bubonic-plague-found-in-arizona-12816601


imagesWashington 09/30/14 yakimaherald.com: Health officials have confirmed a fourth human case of WNV contracted by a Yakima County woman in her 40s. Human cases of WNV have also been confirmed in each of three other locations in the state including Walla Walla and King counties, and Grays Harbor. – See http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/latestlocalnews/2541203-8/west-nile-virus-case-verified-in-yakima

CANADA: ALBERTA teen attacked by MOUNTAIN LION ~ TICK bite nearly kills 3-year-old VIRGINIAN ~ CALIFORNIAN attacked by BEAR may face feeding charges ~ COLORADO FLEA samples positive for BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ COLORADO RABBIT positive for TULAREMIA ~ OREGON hopes to re-collar celebrity WOLF OR-7 ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) reports from CA, CO, MD, MS, TXx2 & WY ~ RABID CAT reports from CA, FL, NC, SC & TX.

Mountain lion. Photo by Trish Carney. Wikimedia Commons.

Mountain lion. Photo by Trish Carney. Wikimedia Commons.


Alberta 08/27/14 calgarysun.com: by Michael Platt – It’s said there a few sounds in the nature as bloodcurdling as the scream of a female cougar. Unless, of course, it’s the scream of a 19-year-old woman — in which case, even hungry cougars are loathe to hang around. It was that sound which likely saved 16-year-old Mykaela Belter from a serious mauling or worse after a large cat attacked her along a hiking trail in Waterton Parks — only to release and retreat when Belter’s sister Gabrielle screamed in horror. “I gave her a thank you,” said Mykaela, who’s now at her grandma’s house, nursing four stitches and bruises along her thigh and lower back. The attack has wildlife officials in the National Park baffled, because the 90-pound female cougar — since captured and killed — shows no signs of starvation or distress, and the typically shy animal was stalking people in a crowded area.

WatertonLakesNationalParkBelter says she was taken by surprise as she walked with Gabrielle down the trail near Bertha Falls, her dad Gary and brother Jaxon just a few steps behind on the busy route, located only a kilometre from the Waterton townsite. As they passed by some bushes, the cougar suddenly lunged. “It really didn’t hurt very much — it felt like when a house cat claws you, but then I looked down and thought, ‘oh wow, a cougar,’” said Mykaela, who lives in St. Albert, near Edmonton. Not far behind, her horrified father Gary Belter was thinking much stronger words than just “oh wow.” “The girls were just walking along together — the cougar stuck its head out of the bush and then it lunged forward and grabbed Mykaela and started to pull her towards the bushes,” said Gary. “Gabby reached over to grab Mykaela and screamed at the same time, and it let go.” By then dad was right there, ready to fight for his daughter’s life — though he admits that between adrenaline and shock, he could barely fathom what was really happening. “Part of it was being so shocked to even see a cougar, and then realizing, it has its paws around my daughter,” said Gary. “Then I was running forward, thinking the cat can’t pull her away that quickly, she’s too big, and I can grab her — but then it let go.” At first the cougar moved a metre or two back, and looked ready to pounce again, but the sudden commotion and crowd of hikers running to help convinced the mountain lion to leave. Gabrielle may have saved her sister, but the 19-year-old says she barely had time to think. “It all happened so fast,” said Gabrielle. “I panicked and grabbed her arm while screaming, because I didn’t know what else to do. My sister jerked back and then it just let go.” Parks officials have sent the cougar’s corpse for tests, to try and determine why the cat was preying on people and ignoring its usual instinct to avoid humans. – For photo of sisters and complete article see http://www.calgarysun.com/2014/08/26/alberta-teen-saved-from-cougar-attack-by-sister


Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:

petechial_rashRMSFbyCDCVirginia 08/29/14 Hampton: A 3-year-old boy is recovering from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever traced to a tick bite. It started with a fever, then a rash on his hands and feet. The boy was hospitalized for five days. – See http://wavy.com/2014/08/28/tick-bite-almost-kills-hampton-3-year-old/



blackbear_1721930c-133California 08/26/14 rgj.com: by Scott Sonner – A Lake Tahoe woman who was attacked by a black bear in her backyard could become the first person in the area charged with illegally feeding the wild animals. California authorities say the woman, whose name hasn’t been released, has been feeding bears for years in her yard on the lake’s north shore at Kings Beach. A similar problem a few miles east in Incline Village prompted the Nevada Department of Wildlife to issue a formal warning in December to another woman accused of illegally feeding several bears — three of which now are dead. One of the bears had to be euthanized after it broke into a neighbor’s car and exhibited bold behavior making it a threat to public safety, NDOW spokesman Chris Healy said. Two of her cubs later were struck and killed by cars, which Healy said was at least an indirect result of their losing their natural fear of humans. “The people who are doing the feeding are the ones who are killing these bears,” Healy told The Associated Press on Friday. The Reno Gazette-Journal first reported that California game wardens were investigating the woman after the Aug. 5 attack in Kings Beach. The woman was treated at a hospital for bite wounds to her shoulder and scratches on her leg after she reported the bear hit her from behind, said Lt. Patrick Foy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Investigators said she has been feeding bears since at least 2010 and had been warned multiple times to stop. Foy said wildlife officials were working with the Placer County district attorney’s office and will decide soon whether to cite her with a misdemeanor charge of feeding wildlife, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. – For complete article see http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2014/08/24/tahoe-woman-attacked-bear-may-face-feeding-charges/14531237/


Bubonic Plague:

Santa_Fe_attacks_plagu48f91501Colorado 08/21/14 Boulder County: Fleas collected from a deserted prairie dog colony in the city of Boulder’s Marshall open space property, northeast of the intersection of South Boulder and Cherryvale roads, have tested positive for bubonic plague. The open space has not be closed, but people are urged to take precautions. – See http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_26375739/plague-found-boulder-area-fleas-residents-warned-take



Jarek Tuszynski-Wikimedia-Commons

Jarek Tuszynski-Wikimedia-Commons

Colorado 08/28/14 El Paso County: Public health officials say a dead rabbit found near Yoder has tested positive for tularemia. “Residents near Yoder, south of Highway 94 and west of Yoder, are advised that tularemia-causing bacteria may be present in some of the mammals – especially rabbits, rodents and hares.” – See http://www.krdo.com/news/dead-rabbit-found-near-yoder-tests-positive-for-tularemia/27774090


Wolf (OR-7):

Remote camera photo of OR-7

Remote camera photo of OR-7

Oregon 08/25/14 mailtribune.com: by Mark Freeman – Oregon’s most famous wolf is set to get some new bling so he can keep working for Da Man. Biologists plan to recapture OR-7 and replace the wolf’s tracking collar — and possibly collar his mate and some of his three pups — to keep tracking Western Oregon’s only known wolf family as they work their way toward pack status. A federal biologist plans to set foot-hold traps in the area of eastern Jackson County in hopes of capturing at least one of the animals so it can be fitted with a GPS-transmitting collar similar to the one used to track OR-7’s world-famous, 3,000-mile journey that led him here. “It’s kind of the luck of the draw in who you can get,” says John Stephenson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist tracking OR-7 from his Bend office. “It will probably end up one of the pups because they’re the most curious.” – For complete article see http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20140824/NEWS/140829665


West Nile Virus (WNV) Reports:

fig2_lgCalifornia 08/26/14 Orange County Public Health: Media Release – A Seal Beach resident in her 80s with underlying medical conditions died last week with complications of WNV infection. She had the more severe form, West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease. Orange County currently leads the state in number of WNV infections this year with 40 to date, compared to fewer than 5 infections around this time in the previous four years. – See http://ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/dcepi/epi/disease/wn

Colorado 08/26/14 Weld County Dept of Public Health: Seven county residents are confirmed to be infected with WNV, including a 63-year old man hospitalized with a neuroinvasive infection. – See http://www.co.weld.co.us/assets/013aa5CDD00DbaB0b092.pdf

Maryland 08/28/14 National Capital Region: State officials have confirmed that an adult resident of the region has been diagnosed with the state’s first human case of WNV this year. – See http://www.wbal.com/article/109505/3/confirmed-case-of-west-nile-virus-in-maryland

Mississippi 08/26/14 MS State Dept of Health: Media Release – Officials have confirmed the death of a Madison County resident from WNV, the second Mississippi death from WNV in 2014. New human cases were also reported in Adams, Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, and Rankin counties. So far this year, a total of 15 human WNV cases have been reported in the following counties: Adams (2), Bolivar (1), Covington (1), Forrest (1), Hinds (2), Madison (1), Newton (1), Rankin (4), Yazoo (1), and Wilkinson (1) counties. WNV deaths have occurred in Madison and Yazoo counties. – See http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/23,15551,341.html

Texas 08/26/14 TX Dept of State Health: Officials have confirmed 41 human cases of WNV illness in the state so far this year. Counties include Brazoria (2), Dallas (5), El Paso (2), Ellis, Galveston, Harris (8), Leon, Liberty (2), Lubbock, Montgomery (13), Nueces, Parker, Tarrant, Travis and Walker. – See https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/updates.shtm

Texas 08/28/14 outbreaknewstoday.com: The latest cases of WNV in El Paso involve three women and one man. Two adult women and one adult man who live in the 79932 zip code area, as well as an adult woman who lives in the 79912 zip code area are the latest patients diagnosed with the disease. All four are currently recovering at home. Earlier this month, two other men were confirmed to have contracted the disease. – See http://outbreaknewstoday.com/el-paso-reports-four-additional-west-nile-virus-cases-75343/

Wyoming 08/22/14 WY Dept of Health: Media Release – An older Platte County woman represents the first and only human case of WNV reported in the state so far this year. In Wyoming last year, 41 human WNV cases, including one death, were reported. Since WNV first appeared in Wyoming in 2002, reported human cases each year have ranged from two with no deaths to 393 and nine deaths.
– See http://www.health.wyo.gov/news.aspx?NewsID=743

Rabid Cat Reports:

3243453-detail-of-girl-hugging-kitten-hand-and-paw-in-similar-positionCalifornia 08/21/14 San Joaquin County: A feral kitten found in the rural northern tier of the county has tested positive for rabies. This is the first case of rabies in the county since 2011. – See http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_6ef1ffec-2903-11e4-9fab-0019bb2963f4.html

Florida 08/29/14 Osceola County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after a feral cat that attacked a young girl tested positive for the virus. The cat bit and scratched the girl’s leg so severely she needed stitches. Officials believe the same cat attacked a man on Keystone Avenue in St. Cloud. – See http://mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/8/28/rabid_cat_attacks_gi.html

North Carolina 08/29/14 Henderson County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after a feral kitten found in the Steeplechase Court neighborhood of Carriage Park tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20140829/ARTICLES/140829842/1042/news?Title=Rabies-confirmed-in-Henderson-County-kitten-

South Carolina 08/27/14 Laurens County: Four people in the Gray Court area have been exposed to rabies by a stray kitten that tested positive for the disease, – See http://www.wyff4.com/news/kitten-exposes-four-people-to-rabies-in-gray-court/27756666#ixzz3BqA7R1c8

Texas 08/21/14 Travis County: by Gene Davis – The City of Austin is working to identify a young boy who potentially came into contact with rabies under the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. An observer reported seeing the boy, who is approximately six years old and was wearing a green shirt, pick up a bat that later tested positive for rabies. The incident occurred on Aug. 18 around 9 p.m., according to a press release issued by the City. . . . anyone with information on the Aug. 18 incident (should) call the Health Department office at 512-972-5555 or, after 5 p.m., 512-802-1575. – See more at: http://www.austinpost.org/article/city-seeks-help-identify-boy-potentially-exposed-rabies#sthash.57abSpHl.dpuf

COLORADIAN and his DOG contract PLAGUE likely after exposure to infected PRAIRIE DOG ~ Another ALASKAN jogger attacked by GRIZZLY ~ HANTAVIRUS infects two TEXANS and kills an OKLAHOMAN ~ CAT in CALIFORNIA infected with TULAREMIA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS (WNV) report from LOUISIANA ~ Unusual RABIES report from NEW YORK.

Prairie Dog. Photo by Jeff Kubina. Wikimedia Commons.

Prairie Dog. Photo by Jeff Kubina. Wikimedia Commons.

Colorado 07/09/14 CO Dept of Public Health & Environment: Media Release – Officials have confirmed that a resident and his dog have tested positive for plague. “The patient and the dog may have been exposed in eastern Adams County. Plague is spread from fleas on rodents, most commonly prairie dogs. People walking in open spaces and trails should avoid contact with rodents.” – For symptoms, precautions and complete media release see https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/news-release-pneumonic-plague-found-colorado-resident-and-pet-dog


img_home_sow_n_cubsAlaska 07/07/14 Bird Valley: For the third time in two months a grizzly has attacked a person in Alaska. The latest incident involves a 59-year-old woman who was jogging near her home in the Bird Valley village of Indian south of Anchorage when two nearly grown cubs emerged from brush along the roadside, then she was hit from behind by their mother. Fortunately, all three of the bears then left the area and she was able to call for help on her cell phone. The woman had been wearing in-ear headphones and was not carrying bear spray. The trail, part of a system of trails in Chugach State Park, will be closed for a week in keeping with state policy. The valley borders Bird and Penguin creeks, which will soon be filled with salmon, a major attraction to hungry bears.- For complete article see http://www.adn.com/article/20140707/woman-suffers-serious-injuries-bear-mauling-near-anchorage


hantavirus5667546Texas 07/08/14 myhighplains.com: Two recent cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome have been confirmed in residents of the Panhandle and South Plains. – See http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/-/jsmVHVDCiESAt_sWBATVRw?PreviewStory=true

Oklahoma 07/08/14 Texas County: Officials have confirmed that a resident of the northwestern part of the state died of hantavirus disease in May. – See http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/-/ck9VtQjsnkOpGFBYTP78hw?PreviewStory=true


80ab05b3670e2bdcb7165060f8167dfd (2)California 07/08/14 North County: Officials have confirmed that a domestic cat housed in the county has been diagnosed with tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, a potentially dangerous bacterial disease that humans can contract. The cat spent a lot of time outside hunting and likely contracted the disease from an infected rodent. All of those who have been in contact with the cat, and of course the cat itself, are all being treated with antibiotics. – See http://www.10news.com/news/county-health-officials-issue-alert-after-cat-contracts-tularemia-also-known-as-rabbit-fever

West Nile Virus (WNV):

LA-DHHLouisiana 07/08/14 LA Dept of Health & Hospitals: Media Release – Three cases of WNV were recently confirmed in Livingston Parish and were all asymptomatic, meaning these individuals did not know they were infected, and only found out while donating blood or having blood work. About 90 percent of all cases are asymptomatic, while about 10 percent will develop West Nile fever. Only a very small number of infected individuals will show the serious symptoms associated with the neuroinvasive disease. Residents who are 65 years old and older are at higher risk for complications, but everyone is at risk for infection. – See http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/newsroom/detail/3062


5704860-portrait-of-gray-fox-barkingNew York 07/07/14 Onondaga County: A gray fox that attacked and repeatedly bit a pregnant woman outside her home at 112 Dutton Avenue in Nedrow has tested positive for rabies. The woman had just returned home from a doctor’s appointment with her 3-year-old son and found the fox chasing her cat in circles in her yard. Then it turned on her. At one point she fell and the fox sunk its teeth deeply into her arm but she managed to tear herself loose and rush her son to safety inside the house. The fox, which continued to hurl itself against the screen door trying to get in, was finally shot by a deputy when it turned and attacked an ambulance that had been summoned. The woman had been bitten at least seven times and required stitches as well as post-exposure rabies shots administered immediately as a precaution. The CDC says studies have indicated no increased risk of fetal abnormalities associated with rabies vaccination during pregnancy. – For photos and complete article see http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/07/pregnant_nedrow_woman_fends_off_rabid_fox_after_animal_attacks_and_repeatedly_bi.html


CANADA: BRITISH COLUMBIAN woman and dog attacked by COYOTES while walking popular trail ~ CHIKUNGUNYA virus spreads in the AMERICAS ~ TRAVEL WARNING: 39 die of PLAGUE in MADAGASCAR ~ RABIES reports from FL, MA, NM, NC & VA.


Coyote. Bing free use license.

Coyote. Bing free use license.


British Columbia 12/13/13 Okanagan: by Deborah Pfeiffer – A Summerland woman was recovering Thursday, after being attacked by what are believed to be three coyotes, while walking on a popular trail Wednesday morning. Sarah James was walking a friend’s dog Rosie on the Summerland Centennial Trail when the three animals, a large one and two smaller ones, surrounded her. Believing the small labradoodle to be in great danger, she immediately covered her with her body. “My primary focus was Rosie, absolutely, unconditionally,” she said. “I went into survival mode for her.” James coyotePacksaid she first noticed the three animals when she was walking a larger dog, a labrador retreiver cross, earlier in the morning at the bird sanctuary off of Peach Orchard Road. As they started to approach she yelled and they took off. At around 10:30 a.m., she started a second walk with Rosie on the trail that runs parallel to Peach Orchard. She was letting the dog run free and calling her back for treats, when the coyotes came out and surrounded her. Two came from the side and one from behind. She undid her ski jacket and  dove on top of the dog, covered her with her right hand and with her left hand swatted them away. “Rosie was crying up a storm and the whole thing lasted about two to three minutes, although it felt like it lasted way longer,” she said. “Then it went quiet, and they went away to the north side of the creek.” James waited about 30 seconds, comforting the small shaking dog, before picking her up and running down the trail . . .

OkanaganSgt. Stephane Lacroix with the Summerland RCMP said a police report was filed on the incident. In the report it states, James sustained major scrapes and her coat was torn to shreds, but she did not require any treatment or ambulance at the scene. He said additional patrols were made during the day and they then contacted a conservation officer. “We were advised by the conservation officer there is an increased problem with coyotes in the Summerland area and the officer has a plan in place to deal with coyote issues,” he said. The conservation officer was not available to comment on Thursday, but James said a culling of the animals was planned because there are several dens in the area, and the animals don’t have any natural predators. The fact the animals are exhibiting pack behaviour is the danger, she added. – For complete article and photos see http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/104627/Summerland-woman-attacked-by-coyotes

Author’s Note: A BC conservation officer killed a large coyote this week he believes was one of three referred to in previous report. – See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coyote-shot-dead-after-3-attack-b-c-woman-1.2463889


chikungunya091St. Martin 12/13/13 newscientist.com: by Debora MacKenzie – A dozen people on the tiny Caribbean island of St Martin have been infected with the chikungunya virus. It is the first time the mosquito-borne virus is known to have spread in the Americas. Eight years ago it spread beyond Africa, where it originated, to Eurasia. Now it has crossed the planet – and could already be more widespread than health agencies realise. Chikungunya is rarely lethal, but it is painful and can cause chronic, debilitating joint pain. On reaching Asia, it spread rapidly and made millions ill, as people had no immunity. A few experimental treatments and vaccines exist, but none has yet left the lab. Two years ago, when the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO), a public health agency that works in all countries in the Americas, drew up a plan for Chikungunya’s arrival, it warned that the Americas could face the same situation as Asia. “The resulting large outbreaks would likely tax existing health-care systems and the public health infrastructure,” it said, “and could potentially cripple some of society’s functioning.”

stmartincaribOn 10 December, the World Health Organization announced two confirmed cases of chikungunya in the French half of St Martin, with 10 more suspected. The people affected complained of joint pain and were initially thought to have dengue, which had been circulating on the island since January. But blood samples sent for testing in France confirmed the presence of chikungunya. The virus would have been brought to the island by a human carrier. There could yet be more cases elsewhere that have not been tested. “It cannot be excluded that a similar epidemiological situation might be ongoing in the Dutch part of the island,” says a risk assessment report by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based in Stockholm, Sweden. “The extent of the outbreak is difficult to assess and might have remained undetected… on other islands.” French St Martin may simply have spotted chikungunya first because it is a familiar adversary. The virus’s first appearance outside Africa, in 2005, was in another French territory, the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. In the Americas, only Brazil, Canada, the US and the French territories of French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Martinique have the capability to test for the virus, says Donna Eberwine-Villagrán of PAHO. “We do not know if there are cases in other countries.” – For complete article see http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24757-threatwatch-chikungunya-virus-spreads-in-the-americas.html#.Uq0mRxBKOUm

Travel Warning:

madagascar.flag_256Madagascar 12/12/13 thenational.ae: At least 39 people have been killed by an outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar in recent weeks, the country’s health ministry confirmed yesterday. “There is an epidemic in Madagascar which is madagascar.mapcurrently affecting five districts out of 112. Eighty-six people have been infected by the plague, of which 39 have died,” the ministry said. Police in the northwestern district of Mandritsara had said on Wednesday the deceased could not be treated in time. But the death toll they gave, which was 20, was revised upwards yesterday. – See http://www.thenational.ae/39-dead-in-bubonic-plague-outbreak


urban-raccoons-by-liz-west-ccFlorida 12/12/13 Lee County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert after receiving five reports of raccoon bites in less than three weeks. Only one of the raccoons was captured and it tested positive for the virus. It was found in the vicinity of Estero.Two people were bitten by raccoons in Fort Myers last week, and two others in Cape Coral this week, also by raccoons, but none of the animals were captured. Raccoons have also been reported acting strangely on Pine Island, though no bites have been reported. – See  http://www.fox4now.com/features/4inyourcorner/Rabies-warning-in-Lee-County-235605491.html

red-fox1Massachusetts 12/13/13 Franklin County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert for the Millers Falls section of Montague after a fox tested positive for the virus. – See http://www.recorder.com/home/9752554-95/montague-warns-of-rabies-in-area

120912_540169-tdy-120907-bayley-01.blocks_desktop_mediumNew Mexico 12/12/13 Eddy County: A skunk that fought with an unvaccinated pet dog on skunkDecember 9th on Russell Street in Carlsbad has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.krqe.com/news/local/rabies-case-results-in-euthanization?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+krqe-topstories+%28KRQE+News+13+-+Top+Stories%29

CAS_Kitten_Child_02North Carolina 12/12/13 Davidson County: Three people in the Denton community are being treated for potential exposure to rabies after being bitten by a kitten earlier this month. The kitten died and has tested positive for the virus. Officials issued a warning not to handle  a pet with bare hands after it has had contact with a wild animal.- See http://www.the-dispatch.com/article/20131212/News/312129984/-1/NEWS?Title=Rabid-kitten-bites-three-people-in-Denton-before-dying

image001skunkandcanineVirginia 12/14/13 Washington County: A skunk that fought with a vaccinated dog in the vicinity of Elliot Street in Abingdon on November 24th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.swvatoday.com/news/washington_county/article_06a2f95e-6357-11e3-8a76-0019bb30f31a.html