Tag Archives: Cougar

CDC advises U.S. blood supply vulnerable to BABESIA; Study finds new species of TICK-BORNE EHRLICHIOSIS; Florida confirms two more cases of WEST NILE VIRUS in Duval County; New York loses third HORSE to EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS this year; FeederWatch says data shows WEST NILE VIRUS contributing to dramatic decline in HOUSE FINCH population; a WEST NILE VIRUS report from Georgia; and New York groups host presentations on LYME DISEASE. Canada: Two MOUNTAIN LIONS killed on B.C.’s Vancouver Island; and WEST NILE VIRUS reports from Ontario (2). Travel Warnings for Pakistan’s Punjab Province.

National 09/06/11 cdc.gov: News Release – Babesia, a tick-borne parasite of red blood cells, is being transmitted through blood transfusions, according to results of a collaborative study, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of data from the past three decades. Transfusion–associated cases of babesiosis have been increasingly recognized since 1979, the year the first known case occurred. The article about the study and an accompanying editorial appear today online in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the report, CDC and collaborators describe 159 transfusion–related babesiosis cases that occurred during 1979–2009, most (77 percent) from 2000 to 2009. No Babesia test approved by the Food and Drug Administration is available for screening prospective blood donors, who can feel fine despite being infected.

Babesiosis is a potentially fatal but treatable complication of transfusion. Severe consequences, such as multi–organ failure and death, are most often seen in persons without a spleen, the elderly, and those with a weak immune system. The study authors say prevention strategies, including development of a screening test, are needed. Some manufacturers are working with investigators at blood establishments to develop FDA–approved tests for Babesia for donor–screening purposes. “We want clinicians to become more aware of babesiosis, including the small possibility of transmission via blood transfusion,” says Barbara Herwaldt, M.D., M.P.H., CDC medical epidemiologist, and lead author of the article. “If a patient develops unexplained fever or hemolytic anemia after a transfusion, babesiosis should be considered as a possible cause, regardless of the season or U.S. region.” Because babesiosis is spread most commonly by ticks, the risk of this disease is another reason for people to prevent tick bites. People who unknowingly become infected through the bite of a tiny tick (about the size of a poppy seed) can transmit the parasite via blood transfusion. Therefore, prevention of tickborne infection can help safeguard the blood supply.

Most U.S. tickborne Babesia cases have occurred in seven states in the Northeast and the upper Midwest (in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin), particularly during the warm months of the year. However, transfusion–associated Babesia cases have been identified in 19 states and have occurred year–round. Dr. Herwaldt points out that even severe Babesia cases, not just cases that are asymptomatic or mild, are easily missed unless the diagnosis is considered. Even then, babesiosis often is mistakenly diagnosed as malaria, which also infects red blood cells. In January 2011, babesiosis became a nationally notifiable disease, which means state health departments are encouraged to share information about cases of babesiosis with CDC. More accurate information about tick-borne and transfusion–transmitted cases of babesiosis will help CDC and its partners, including the Food and Drug Administration, in their continued efforts to make the blood supply even safer.

Annals of Internal Medicine   Article:  http://www.annals.org/content/early/2011/09/02/0003-4819-155-8-201110180-00362

Editorial:  http://www.annals.org/content/early/2011/09/02/0003-4819-155-8-201110180-00363

See links below for two government–sponsored events that focused on improving blood safety from babesiosis risk.

Information on babesiosis: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/babesiosis/index.html

Information on Babesia parasite:http://www.dpd.cdc.gov/dpdx/HTML/Babesiosis.htm

Information on ticks: http://www.cdc.gov/ticks/

Information on CDC role in monitoring blood safety: http://www.cdc.gov/bloodsafety

Ixodes scapularis

National 09/06/11 nejm.org: New England Journal of Medicine 2011; 365: 422-429 ] August 4, 2011 — Preview – Ehrlichiosis is a clinically important, emerging zoonosis. Only Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii have been thought to cause ehrlichiosis in humans in the United States. Patients with suspected ehrlichiosis routinely undergo testing to ensure proper diagnosis and to ascertain the cause. Lead investigator Bobbi S. Pritt, M.D., and others, used molecular methods, culturing, and serologic testing to diagnose and ascertain the cause of cases of ehrlichiosis. On testing, four cases of ehrlichiosis in Minnesota or Wisconsin were found not to be from E. chaffeensis or E. ewingii and instead to be caused by a newly discovered ehrlichia species. At least 17 of 697 Ixodes scapularis ticks collected in Minnesota or Wisconsin were positive for the same ehrlichia species. Genetic analyses revealed that this new ehrlichia species is closely related to E. muris. Conclusions: This study found a new ehrlichia species in Minnesota and Wisconsin and provides supportive clinical, epidemiologic, culture, DNA-sequence, and vector data. Physicians need to be aware of this newly discovered close relative of E. muris to ensure appropriate testing, treatment, and regional surveillance. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)  (For complete preview go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1010493?query=infectious-disease )

Florida 09/06/11 news4jax.com: The Duval County Health Department has confirmed two more cases of West Nile virus in Jacksonville. The most recent cases involve a 53-year-old man and an 85-year-old man. Duval County has 11 confirmed cases this year. There has been one reported death associated with the virus. About one in 150 people infected with West Nile virus will develop severe illness. A 79-year-old woman was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne illness last week. Dr. Bob Harmon, of the Duval County Health Department, said statistics show that between 800 and 1,200 people have been bitten by infected mosquitoes in Duval County in recent weeks. He said 80 percent of those people will experience no symptoms at all, while 20 percent will have symptoms. Harmon said one out of 150 people can develop a serious neurological disease. “Ninety-nine percent of these cases are not the serious cases we are talking about,” Harmon said.

New York 09/06/11 uticaod.com: A third horse in Oneida County has reportedly contracted eastern equine encephalitis. The horse, which is from the north Rome, Lee Center area, was euthanized last week after developing neurological symptoms, according to the Oneida County Health Department. Other horses that previously contracted the virus resided in Westmoreland and Camden. Health officials said they are waiting on laboratory results from two more cases they suspect may come back positive for EEE. The virus is spread through mosquito bites and can be fatal in horses. An animal that survives can be left with impairments and neurological problems, often requiring that the animal be put down, according to health officials. This year, Oswego County has reported five cases of EEE in horses and a human case that resulted in the death of a five-year-old girl. Herkimer County is also investigating a possible EEE death involving a dog. The Oneida County Health Department is asking people to reduce their expose to EEE by limiting outdoor activity at dusk and dawn and by wearing long sleeves and pants.

National 09/05/11 projectfeederwatch.wordpress.com: FeederWatch data show that House Finch populations have declined dramatically since the mid-1990s, and recent research from California suggests that West Nile virus may be contributing to the declines.

House finch

Researchers Anne Pellegrini and colleagues reported on the survival rates of House Finches in Sacramento County before and after the arrival of West Nile virus in the area. The researchers took blood samples from wild House Finches and tested mosquitoes (the primary vector for the virus) for infection in order to pinpoint the arrival of the disease. They first detected infected mosquitoes in the county in late 2004. Before the virus arrived, annual survival for House Finches from 2001-2004 was approximately 0.59 (meaning that 59% of birds would survive from one year to the next, on average). Following the arrival of West Nile virus, annual survival probabilities dropped to 0.47 from 2005-2008. The researchers concluded that West Nile virus was contributing to further population declines in House Finches in their area. (For complete article go to http://projectfeederwatch.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/house-finches-face-multiple-disease-threats/ )

Fulton County

Georgia 09/04/11 cbslocal.com: by Jean Ross – The Georgia Department of Public Health has notified the Fulton County Department of Health Services that 20 mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). A mosquito “pool” refers to a collection of mosquitoes from a particular area that is tested for the virus. The affected areas are the Greensferry Combined Sewer Overflow, Whitter Mill Park, Frankie Allen Park, 1388 West Avenue, the Atlanta Mounted Police Station, Tanyard Creek Combined Sewer Overflow, and H.J.C. Bowden Senior Multi-purpose Center in East Point. For more information about West Nile Virus and prevention methods, call the Mosquito Hotline: 404-730-5296 or contact the Fulton County Department of Health Services, Division of Environmental Health at (404) 613-1301 or online at http://www.fultoncountygahealth.org.

New York 09/05/11 lymebites.com: by Eric Rutlante – The Capital Region Chapter of the Empire State Lyme Disease Association is sponsoring a public presentation entitled “Lions and Tigers and Borrelia Burgdorferi…! What Every Family Needs to Know About Lyme Disease” by Albany pediatrician, Dr. Kari W. Bovenzi, on Monday, September 19, from 6:30 -8:30 pm at the Redeemer Church,183 Schoolhouse Rd., Albany, NY. Dr. Bovenzi’s presentation will explain the reasons why families need to be well informed about Lyme disease, and she will focus on what both children and adults need to know and to look for as we go into the fall season. Ticks are very active at this time of year, and with the leaf litter that fall brings, heightened awareness and caution are urged. Dr. Bovenzi will assess such topics as how to prevent Lyme disease; how to recognize the most common symptoms of Lyme disease; how to recognize the less common symptoms of the disease, both in children and in adults; when to seek medical attention; and what treatments are available for both children and adults. Dr. Bovenzi will discuss some of the unique challenges inherent in diagnosing children, and she will discuss some of the common misdiagnoses that often send parents and doctors on a frustrating, demoralizing, and expensive journey looking for medical solutions.

Dr. Kari W. Bovenzi

Lyme Disease is now endemic in the Capital Region. It is a highly complex disease transmitted through the bite of a tick that that is often never even seen. Ticks transmit not only Lyme disease, but other co-infections, such as babesia, bartonella, and ehrichia as well. Dr. Bovenzi will also explain these co-infections. All these co-infections are being reported in the Capital District, and they are appearing in both children and adults from nearly all areas of the eastern US, the Capital Region included. Dr. Bovenzi has been a practicing pediatrician in the region for 17 years. With ever increasing incidences of Lyme disease appearing in her practice, Dr. Bovenzi undertook advanced training in the fields of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease in children with some of the country’s leading experts in the field. Her clinical experience with the disease and its treatment can provide helpful information to both practitioners and the general public. The presentation is free and open to the public.

New York 09/05/11 poststar.com: SUNY Adirondack’s Science and Health Science Divisions will co-sponsor a presentation on the difficulties of Lyme disease testing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14. The presentation will be in the Scoville Learning Center auditorium on the Queensbury campus. Guest speaker Robert Giguere will speak on “Variations in Laboratory Tests for Lyme Disease.” Giguere represents a leading Lyme-disease-specializing medical lab, IGeneX Inc., located in Palo Alto, Calif. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The presentation is free and the public is invited. Giguere’s presentation “balances good science with good humor to help his audience understand the challenges in dealing with Lyme disease,” the college said in a press release. “Testing for the disease is often tricky and different labs handle the procedure differently. Results are often not accurate or inconclusive.” “Giguere will present information on the various reasons why testing procedures can be problematic as well as new information that can help medical professionals better evaluate test results regardless of the testing labs,” the college said.

Canada:

British Columbia 09/06/11 vancouversun.com: Two cougars were shot and killed on Vancouver Island over the long weekend after being spotted near areas where people were camping or swimming. An 18-month-old female cougar was killed in Goldstream Provincial Park Monday morning, while another, thought to be about two years old, was shot in Parksville on Saturday morning near an oceanfront resort. Both killings come after another cougar, not yet found, attacked an 18-month-old boy Aug. 29 at Swim Beach, in the Kennedy Lake day-use area of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, about 16 kilometres east of Ucluelet. (For complete article go to http://www.vancouversun.com/news/cougars+shot+dead+Vancouver+Island+after+brushes+with+public/5355682/story.html )

Ontario 09/06/11 scribd.com: News Release – A mosquito pool in the City of North Bay has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first mosquito pool in the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit area to test positive for the virus. Surveillance will be done by health unit staff to determine whether subsequent mosquito pools in the surrounding area are carrying the virus. The risk of acquiring WNV continues to remain low in the NBPSDHU area. For more information, call the Health Unit at 705-474-1400 or 1-800-563-2808, or visitwww.healthunit.biz .

Ontario 09/06/11 orangeville.com: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) warns residents to be aware of the threat of West Nile virus (WNV). A dead crow recently found in Guelph tested positive for the virus, which is spread to humans through mosquito bites. “The positive result is a reminder for residents,” Shawn Zentner, health protection manager for WDGPH, said in a news release. “Taking precautions to limit mosquito bites and minimize mosquito breeding sites are still important even at this time of year.”

Travel Warnings:

Pakistan 09/05/11 pakistantoday.com.pk: Lahore – A total of 1,400 cases of dengue fever so far in Lahore alone. District administrations across Punjab have failed to curb the quickly spreading dengue epidemic as the deadly fever has gripped all major cities of Punjab, with 174 new cases reported on Monday, Pakistan Today has learnt. Increasing number of cases across all big cities of Punjab enervates the claims of the provincial government, especially health EDOs, about preparedness to cope with the dengue virus. The number of patients affected with any of the four kinds of dengue virus is on the rise in other cities of the province as well, with Lahore on top, which has induced panic in the public. According to statistics provided by the Health Department, during the recent outbreak of the disease as many as 1,400 cases of dengue were reported in Lahore, while Faisalabad is the second worst-hit city with 52 cases, followed by Multan with 26. Fourteen cases have surfaced in Sheikhupura, 11 in Nankana Sahib and 5 in Chakwal.

Advertisements

Yellowstone hiker found Friday was killed by a GRIZZLY BEAR; Canadian child attacked by MOUNTAIN LION in Vancouver Island park; Motion to stop Montana and Idaho WOLF hunts denied; North Dakota reminds hunters of DEER baiting restrictions; Virginia DEER feeding ban effective September 1; Wyoming WOLF hunts could begin next year; WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CA (3), GA, IL, MA (2), NY, OH, & PA; EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS reports from MA (2), & NY; and a RABIES report from WV.

Grizzly at Yellowstone. Photo by James Peaco, National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park 08/29/11 nps.gov: News Release – A 59-year old man has been identified as the hiker found dead on a trail in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. John Wallace was from the community of Chassell, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His body was discovered Friday morning by two hikers along the Mary Mountain Trail. The twenty-one mile long trail crosses the center of Yellowstone, connecting the west and east sides of the lower portion of the Grand Loop Road. Wallace was discovered along the trail, about five miles west of the Hayden Valley trailhead, which is off the Grand Loop road between Mud Volcano and Canyon Junction. Wallace was traveling alone, and had pitched a tent in a park campground sometime Wednesday. Rangers discovered signs of grizzly bear activity at the scene Friday afternoon, including bear tracks and scat. Results from an autopsy conducted Sunday afternoon concluded that Wallace died as a result of traumatic injuries from a bear attack. The Mary Mountain Trail, the Cygnet Lakes Trail, and the section of the Hayden Valley west of the Grand Loop Road have been closed to hikers. Park rangers, wildlife biologists, and park managers continue their investigation of the incident. Visitors are advised to stay on designated trails, hike in groups of three or more people, be alert for bears, make noise, carry bear spray, and not to run upon encountering a bear. Hikers and backcountry users are encouraged to check with staff at park visitor centers or backcountry offices for updated information before planning any trips in the central portion of the park.

Canada:

British Columbia 08/30/11 winnipegfreepress.com: by Keven Drews –  A cougar attack that injured an 18-month-old boy in a British Columbia park was stopped after the child’s grandfather and a family friend scared off the animal, which also lunged towards the boy’s four-year-old sister, parks officials said Tuesday. The boy was listed in serious condition in Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital after he was attacked Monday evening in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The attack happened at a popular day-use spot at Kennedy Lake, east of Ucluelet. Bob Hansen, who works for the park and specializes in incidents involving wildlife and people, said the group had packed up for the day and was heading up a trail to their car when the attack occurred. Hansen said the tot, his four-year-old sister, their grandfather and a friend of the family were together when the cougar emerged from the forest. The boy was walking about three metres in front of the group, said Hansen. “From what I understand, they yelled and screamed and the cat dropped the child,” said Hansen. “So it sort of bit the child and ran towards the four-year-old, but didn’t hit the four-year-old.” Hansen said the cougar didn’t leave the area right away, so the adults attempted to scare it off before they returned to their vehicle. Renee Wissink, manager of resource conservation at the park, said the child’s father asked for help at a visitor’s information centre located just minutes away down the highway and an ambulance was called. The boy was eventually transferred to Vancouver. The Kennedy Lake day-use area was closed to the public as wildlife officials searched for the cat. Hansen said two teams of park staff and conservation officers and two teams of hounds were searching for the cougar. (For complete article go to http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/toddler-mauled-by-cougar-in-vancouver-island-park-animal-being-tracked-128682108.html )

Montana 08/25/11 huffingtonpost.com: A federal appeals court on Thursday denied a request by environmental groups to halt wolf hunts that are scheduled to begin next week in Idaho and Montana. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups. The groups were seeking to cancel the hunts while the court considers a challenge to congressional action in April that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula reluctantly upheld a budget rider that was inserted by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. It marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal. Molloy ruled that the way Congress went about removing endangered species protections from the Northern Rockies gray wolf undermined the rule of law but did not violate the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the environmental groups argued Congress’ actions were unconstitutional because they violated the principle of separation of powers. “We lost the injunction, we have not lost the case,” Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said of Thursday’s court ruling. “We will continue to fight to protect the wolves and enforce the separation of powers doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.” Meanwhile, John Horning, executive director for WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case, said, “We are discouraged we didn’t win a stay of execution for wolves, but we are cautiously optimistic that we will win our lawsuit to protect wolves from future persecution.” Wolf hunts are scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in Idaho and Sept. 3 in Montana.

Hunters in Montana will be allowed to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves, reducing the predators’ Montana population by about 25 percent to a minimum of 425 wolves. In Idaho, where an estimated 1,000 wolves roam, state wildlife managers have declined to name a target for kills for the seven-month hunting season. They say the state will manage wolves so their population remains above 150 animals and 15 breeding pairs, the point where Idaho could attract federal scrutiny for a possible re-listing under the Endangered Species Act.

North Dakota 08/29/11 jamestownsun.com: Hunters are reminded that hunting over bait remains prohibited on any state owned or managed lands in North Dakota. The North Dakota deer hunting proclamation also notes that hunting deer over bait in unit 3F2 is prohibited because of chronic wasting disease. Baits include grains, minerals, fruits, salt, vegetables, hay or any other natural or manufactured material deer would use as food. It does not apply to the use of scents, food plots or standing crops.

Deer with chronic wasting disease

Virginia 08/25/11 virginia.gov: News Release – Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, it is now illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the city of Winchester as part of the Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions established in April 2010. This regulation does not restrict the planting of crops such as corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots, and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer that leads to negative consequences. Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; increasing the likelihood for disease transmission, and increasing human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions and diminishing the wild nature of deer. In addition, feeding deer has law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems for the Department’s conservation police officers.  (For complete news release go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/release.asp?id=308 )

Wyoming 08/29/11 codyenterprise.com: by Mark Heinz – Wolf hunts in Wyoming could begin by fall 2012, under a proposed Game and Fish management plan. If so, resident wolf tags will be about $15, said G&F Cody area trophy game supervisor Mark Bruscino. There would be designated hunt areas – each with a mortality quota- as has long been the case with black bear and mountain lions, Bruscino said. “The mortality quota system is a proven method for managing large carnivores,” he said. Bruscino was the main speaker before an audience of about 50 people Aug. 25, at a public meeting in Cody regarding the proposed wolf management plan. The next step will be a public comment period, lasting until Sept. 9. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will meet to discuss, finalize and vote on the plan Sept. 14. After that, it will be up for federal review, and nation-wide comment period. If all goes smoothly, wolves could be delisted in Wyoming by Oct. 1, 2012, Bruscino said. If that happens, it will be the culmination of efforts to delist wolves that have been going on since 2002. That’s the year the population in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho reached the “biological goals” of the wolf reintroduction program, Bruscino said. Since then, there have been a couple of false starts, and even some brief wolf hunting seasons, but wolf delisting was held up by litigation in all three states. Through a federal budget rider, delisting went through earlier this year in Montana and Idaho. It’s expected to stick; hunting seasons in both those states begin soon. (For complete article go to http://www.codyenterprise.com/news/local/article_32323f7e-d28d-11e0-9b80-001cc4c002e0.html )

California Quail is listed in CDC's West Nile Virus avian mortality database.

California 08/30/11 patch.com: by Mike Szymanski – Two more dead birds were found containing the West Nile Virus in Studio City last week, bringing the total to four. And, for the first time this year, a dead bird with the potentially deadly virus was in North Hollywood in the 91606 ZIP code. “These tests show a continuing need to be vigilant in trying to prevent places for mosquitoes to breed,” said Crystal Brown, public information officer of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. In this case, it is important to never touch a dead bird that may be found in the neighborhood and certainly educate children of the dangers of touching any dead wildlife they may find. In the past week, 23 additional dead birds were found with the West Nile Virus, and nine were found in the San Fernando Valley area, including communities such as Encino, Chatsworth, Northridge and Van Nuys. Of the mosquito samples testing positive for the virus, nearly one-fourth of them, 18 of the 42, were found in the San Fernando Valley, particularly in Encino and Chatsworth.

Orange County

California 08/26/11 ocregister.com: by Courtney Perkes – A Buena Park man is Orange County’s first confirmed human West Nile Virus case for the year, public health officials said Friday. The unidentified man, in his 50s, remains hospitalized after he was admitted in mid-August, according to the county’s Health Care Agency. He is the 19th human case reported this year in California. Last year, Orange County had only one human case of the infection, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Yolo County

California 08/26/11 davisenterprise.com: West Nile Virus activity has spread to Yolo County as the first dead bird and a mosquito sample have tested positive for the virus, local officials announced Friday. The bird was found in South Davis near Chiles Road and Mace Boulevard, and the mosquito sample was found near County Road 103 between Woodland and Davis. “Finding this first positive bird and mosquito sample is significant because it shows that the virus is moving to new areas,” David Brown, district manager, said in a news release.

DeKalb County

Georgia 08/27/11 decaturmetro.com: Traps in Decatur and other parts of DeKalb County captured 74 collections of mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile Virus through Friday, a big increase over the number found with the virus last year, according to data from the DeKalb County Board of Health.

Lake County

Illinois 08/30/11 triblocal.com: by Michelle Stoffel – A mosquito pool in Buffalo Grove has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Lake County Health Department announced recently. The mosquito pool, sampled Aug. 4, is the first confirmed indicator of the disease in Lake County this year. In 2010, one human and 29 mosquito pools tested positive for the virus in the county.

Massachusetts 08/30/11 patch.com: by Daniel DeMaina – A mosquito pool in Melrose has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the Melrose Health Department announced in a press statement on Tuesday morning. The trap that yielded the positive West Nile test is located on the Melrose/Stoneham line, the release stated.

Massachusetts 08/27/11 boston.com: by Leslie Anderson – West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Newton, city officials announced today. This is the first positive mosquito pool identified in Newton this summer. However, several nearby communities, including West Roxbury and Brookline, have already found mosquitoes with the virus, so the news was not a surprise, said Dori Zaleznik, commissioner of the city’s Health & Human Services Department.

Nassau County

New York 08/30/11 newsday.com: The first case of West Nile virus in a human in Nassau County this year was reported Tuesday by the county Department of Health. The unidentified Hempstead resident, who is between 40 and 50 years old, suffered a mild case and has fully recovered, the department said in a statement.

Cuyahoga County

Ohio 08/30/11 woio.com: Ohio’s first two clinical human cases of West Nile virus in 2011 were confirmed Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health, which also reported a sharp increase in the number of WNV-positive mosquitoes. A case of WNV meningitis was confirmed in a 19-year-old Cleveland-area woman who was hospitalized in Cuyahoga County.

Putnam County

A 14-year-old boy in Putnam County was confirmed with WNV fever, but was not hospitalized. Both are recovering. Meanwhile, the number of WNV-positive mosquito pools in the State of Ohio increased from 52 to 450 during the month of August.

Lebanon County

Pennsylvania 08/30/11 whptv.com: The Department of Health today reported Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) of 2011. On July 22, an elderly Lebanon County woman was hospitalized with a high fever and neurological symptoms. She is currently recovering. For more information about West Nile virus, including current test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us or call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH.

Massachusetts 08/30/11 patch.com: by Michael Gelbwasser – Mosquitoes collected from Sharon last Thursday had the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, state and local health officials said today.

Massachusetts 08/25/11 reportertoday.com: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today that (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) EEE virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Rehoboth, Massachusetts on 8/22/11. In 2010, 3,558 mosquito samples were tested for EEE virus, and 65 positive samples were identified in Massachusetts. This is Rehoboth’s first EEE virus positive mosquito sample identified in 2011.

New York 08/29/11 northcountrynow.com: A confirmed case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been found in a horse in Massena, according to the New York State Department of Health. The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department was notified, and the horse was euthanized on Aug. 22. Although the EEE virus is rare, it is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases. About one-third of people infected with the virus die. Most survivors suffer significant brain damage. An Oswego County resident died of EEE about two weeks ago.

West Virginia 08/30/11 bignewsnetwork.com: Mineral County health officials are advising residents of the New Creek area to be cautious after a raccoon tested positive for rabies. The Mineral Daily News-Tribune reports that the county Health Department confirmed the rabies case about 5 miles south of Keyser.

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

Cougar. Photo by Trish Carney. Wikimedia Commons.

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

Blackbelly Barbados

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

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

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

New Haven County

Connecticut 08/18/11ct.gov: News Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in two new towns on August 8 and 9, 2011 have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Branford and New Haven by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

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

Cape May County

New Jersey 08/18/11 shorenewstoday.com: by Alex Davis – West Nile virus has been spotted for the first time this year in Cape May County. A mosquito collection from the Belleplain State Forest in Dennis Township tested positive for the virus in late July. The county announced the news this week. http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/2010-04-07-20-18-16/2010-04-07-20-18-16/15365-west-nile-virus-reported-in-cape-may-county.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

Canada:

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

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

Travel Warnings:

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

ANNOUNCEMENT

NEW WISCONSIN WEBSITE

“HUNT. HARVEST. HELP.”

TO FOCUS ON CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD)

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

Matt Kenseth

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

Two teens camping in New Jersey injured when Black Bear attacks; Wyoming Grizzlies causing problems; FDA approves the first specific treatment for Scorpion stings; New Mexico DOH announces fifth case of Hantavirus this year; Florida’s Duval County confirms five human cases of West Nile Virus; Mississippi DOH reports two new human cases of West Nile Virus; Wyoming’s governor and US Fish and Wildlife finalize a Wolf Management Proposal; Colorado teen attacked by wild animal; Eastern Equine Encephalitis report from Massachusetts; West Nile Virus reports from Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and a Canadian Mountain Lion is killed after attacking a child.

Black Bear. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife.

New Jersey 08/03/11 wsj.com: Two juveniles suffered minor injuries Wednesday when a black bear attacked their campsite in northwestern New Jersey, authorities said. The attack occurred in a heavily wooded area of Stokes State Forest in Sussex County near the Appalachian Trail. A black bear entered an area being used by campers from Montague-based Trail Blazers Camp, state police said. The bear attempted to grab one juvenile out of a tent, causing a minor foot injury, and swiped at another boy, causing a shoulder injury, said Lawrence Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. It attempted to enter a second tent, he said.

Two adult counselors were with the group of nine campers and herded them into a partially enclosed shelter, where they made as much noise as possible to try to scare the bear away while calling for help, Hajna said. The bear left but soon returned and was rummaging through the campsite when a wildlife technician arrived and shot it in the neck. The bear fled into the woods and conservation officials are still searching for it.

Sussex County

Wildlife officials say the bear is a yearling, the age between cub and full-grown when a bear strikes out on its own. They have cordoned off the area. The injured campers are described as a 12-year-old from Jersey City and an 11-year-old from Brooklyn, N.Y. It was not immediately clear which boy sustained which injury. Both were taken to a hospital. Bear attacks are infrequent in New Jersey, according to Hajna, who says black bears can be curious but usually run away when people make noise. Hajna says bear incidents have decreased this year, with about 16 sightings reported and no other attacks.

Wyoming 08/03/11 kowb1290.com: by Garrett Adams —  Summertime across the state of Wyoming means getting out and enjoying the great outdoors, but it also means being aware of wildlife to ensure your safety. There have been a few occurrences this summer of grizzly bear sightings as well as bear attacks on people and livestock. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has trapped and relocated a grizzly bear near an area southeast of Pinedale. The bear had been attacking domestic sheep in the area. It had killed one sheep as well as injured seven others. Authorities trapped the bear on Friday and relocated it to the North Fork of the Shoshone River drainage which is located 45 miles west of Cody. The bear was released 300 yards north of mile marker 10.5 on U.S. highway 14-16-20.

Another bear in the Yellowstone area recently charged a man near Yellowstone Lake. The hiker was carrying a pack with him that quite possibly saved his life. As the grizzly charged, the man threw his pack which in turn caused the bear to stop. The bear then tore through the pack and ate the food that was inside. The close encounter was enough cause for Yellowstone Park officials to take action. They trapped and euthanized the bear on Monday. The grizzly also had a long history of being chased out of developed areas. Just last month another hiker was attacked and killed by a grizzly. The attack was Yellowstone’s first fatal attack in 25 years. Yellowstone officials did not euthanize that bear stating that she was unlikely to cause problems in the future.

National 08/03/11 fda.gov: News Release – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Anascorp, the first specific treatment for a scorpion sting by Centruroides scorpions in the United States. Venomous scorpions in the U.S. are mostly found in Arizona. Severe stings occur most frequently in infants and children, and can cause shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs, breathing problems, excess saliva, blurred vision, slurred speech, trouble swallowing, abnormal eye movements, muscle twitching, trouble walking, and other uncoordinated muscle movements. Untreated cases can be fatal. “This product provides a new treatment for children and adults and is designed specifically for scorpion stings,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Scorpion stings can be life-threatening, especially in infants and children.”

Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides)

Anascorp, Centruroides (Scorpion) Immune F(ab’)2 (Equine) Injection, is made from the plasma of horses immunized with scorpion venom. Anascorp may cause early or delayed allergic reactions in people sensitive to horse proteins. The manufacturing process for Anascorp includes steps to decrease the chance of allergic reactions and to reduce the risk of transmission of viruses that may be present in the plasma. The effectiveness of Anascorp was based on results from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 15 children with neurological signs of scorpion stings. These signs resolved within four hours of treatment in the eight subjects who received Anascorp, but in only one of the seven participants who received the placebo. The most common side effects were vomiting, fever, rash, nausea, itchiness, headache, runny nose, and muscle pain. In total, safety and efficacy data was collected from 1,534 patients in both open-label and blinded studies.

Anascorp was designated as an Orphan drug by FDA and received priority review. It is licensed to Rare Disease Therapeutics Inc., Franklin, TN, distributed by Accredo Health Group Inc., Memphis, TN, and manufactured by Instituto Bioclon, S.A. de C.V., of Tlalpan, Mexico, D.F. For more information: Product Approval1 Consumer Update2 Orphan Drugs3

Deer Mouse

New Mexico 08/03/11 nmhealth.org:  The New Mexico Department of Health is announcing today that a 59-year-old woman from McKinley County is hospitalized at University Hospital in critical condition with laboratory-confirmed Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). This is the fifth case of HPS in New Mexico this year.  “While cases of Hantavirus are uncommon, the five cases we have had this year serve as a reminder of the importance in following our prevention guidelines to keep all New Mexicans safe and reduce their risk of being exposed to infected mice,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres.  People can become infected and develop disease from HPS when they breathe in aerosolized virus particles that have been transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. The deer mouse is the main reservoir for the strain of Hantavirus that occurs in New Mexico, Sin Nombre virus. This year there has been three fatal cases of HPS: a 51-year-old woman from McKinley County reported in January, a 35-year-old man from Torrance County reported in May, and a 23-year-old man from McKinley County reported in July. Also in 2011 there a 39-year-old man from McKinley County reported in May who recovered from HPS. In 2010, there were two non-fatal cases of HPS, both from McKinley County. In 2009, New Mexico had four cases of Hantavirus, none fatal, from Santa Fe, Taos, San Miguel, and Rio Arriba counties. In 2008, New Mexico had two cases of Hantavirus, both fatal, from Taos and Otero counties.

Duval County

Florida 08/03/11 sfexaminer.com: Duval County health officials say they have confirmed five (human) cases of West Nile Virus. In a statement issued Tuesday, officials asked physicians who see symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness to contact the Duval County Health Department. The most recent cases reported to the department were two women and a man. They range in age from 49 to 64.

Jones County

Mississippi 08/02/11 ms.gov: News Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV). The cases were reported in Jones and Pearl River counties. This brings the state total for 2011 to seven. So far this year, cases have been reported in Coahoma, Hinds, Jones, Marion, Pearl River (2) and Tallahatchie counties.

Pearl River County

The MSDH only reports confirmed cases to the public. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases. Although WNV numbers were lower in 2010 than in the previous year, they are not an indicator for the 2011 WNV season.For more information on WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, a checklist to reduce the mosquito population in and around homes, and a brochure on WNV, visit the MSDH website at http://www.HealthyMS.com/westnile or call the WNV toll-free hotline from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 1-877-WST-NILE (1-877-978-6453).

Wyoming 08/03/11 wy.gov: News Release – Governor Matt Mead and representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service have finalized the elements of a proposed plan that will ensure a stable and sustainable population of wolves in Wyoming. This plan is the culmination of many years of work between Wyoming stakeholders and federal officials. “This is far from the end of this process, but I think we have come up with something that fits with Wyoming’s values and economy,” Governor Mead said. “For years ranchers and sheep producers have been asked to sacrifice and they have. We have lost significant numbers of elk and moose, and we have not had a say in the management of an animal inside Wyoming. It is time for that to change and I appreciate Secretary Salazar and the US Fish and Wildlife Service working with us. Wolves are recovered in Wyoming; let’s get them off the Endangered Species List.”

Under the proposed plan Wyoming will maintain at least 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park. The Trophy Game Management Area would extend about 50 miles to the south from its current location near the Wyoming/Idaho border. The expansion area would be managed as a Trophy Game Management Area from October 15th to the end of February. For all other months wolves would be managed as predators in the extension area. The proposed plan requires approval of the State Legislature. Governor Mead has said he wants Congressional approval of this plan. “For too long wolf management has been run by the courts, we need Wyoming people to have a say in what happens in our state and a congressionally approved plan is the best way to ensure that we advance this effort.

Colorado 08/03/11 kdvr.com: A teenage girl was attacked by possibly a coyote or stray dog in Arvada. The attack has prompted a warning from the Arvada Police Department. It happened Saturday when the 16-year-old girl was walking her dog near 86th Pkwy. and Simms St. That’s just south of Standley Lake. She says a mangy-looking dog or coyote approached her and bit her on the forearm. “The teen’s dog attacked the animal that bit the girl, causing it to release the bite and run from the area,” says Arvada police spokeswoman Susan Medina.

Massachusetts 08/03/11 tauntongazette.com: by Casey Nilsson – A bird-biting mosquito in Raynham has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a rare, but sometimes deadly virus. According to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health fact sheet, outbreaks of EEE virus typically occur in Massachusetts every 10 to 20 years, and will last two to three years. The most recent statewide outbreak of EEE began in 2004 and included 13 cases with six fatalities through 2006. “Bristol and Plymouth Counties are excellent habitats for mosquitoes,” State Public Health Veterinarian Christine Browne said, adding that mosquitoes are most often found near swampy wetlands and freshwater lakes. “We expect to find infected mosquitoes every single year in this area.” The first EEE-positive sample of the season was collected on July 19 in Bridgewater. There have been no animal cases and no human cases so far this year in Massachusetts. Last year, there was one human case of EEE in the state. Browne said if human infection occurs, it will begin in late-August and September. (For complete article go to http://www.tauntongazette.com/state_news/x1158636027/Eastern-Equine-Encephalitis-EEE-virus-confirmed-in-Raynham-mosquitoes )

Lehigh County

Pennsylvania 08/03/11 lehighvalleylive.com: Northampton County’s first case of West Nile virus since 2005 was reported today. Bethlehem was among 16 other municipalities reporting positive tests for the virus. Last week, it was found in West Bethlehem in Lehigh County. Last month, the virus was reported in Allentown and Warren County. The other locations in today’s report were in Adams, Berks, Chester, Cumberland, Fayette, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Luzerne and Philadelphia counties.

Virginia 08/03/11 washingtonpost.com: Mosquitoes found in Angel Park and Daingerfield Island in Alexandria tested positive for the West Nile virus. Alexandria’s health and parks departments are working with the National Park Service to reduce mosquito breeding in the area. No human cases of West Nile virus infection have been reported in Alexandria this year. Two human cases were reported last year. For tips on preventing mosquitoes from breeding, visit alexandriava.gov/MosquitoControl.

Canada:

Alberta 08/03/11 cbc.ca: Conservation officers have shot and killed a cougar that attacked a little girl in the Kananaskis area. The girl was hiking with family near Barrier Lake, in Bow Valley Provincial Park, on Sunday when the attack happened. The girl’s father drove the cougar away and she suffered only minor cuts and puncture wounds. Conservation officers later tracked down and killed the animal. “It’s attacked a human. It would do it again,” said Glenn Naylor, a district conservation officer. “That age group tends to be responsible for a lot of the attacks on humans in North America and we just can’t risk for that to happen again.”

Last month another young cougar, which turned out to be a litter mate of this latest attacker, was destroyed after it attacked a dog with a group of hikers near Canmore. Both cougars were less than two years old. Naylor says it’s likely their mother didn’t teach them how to survive in the wild. “The mother ended her life prematurely or they got kicked out early and they didn’t know what they were doing. They were very poorly educated and basically anything that moves was potential prey and unfortunately small children definitely attract cougars’ attention.” Naylor says they had no choice but to destroy the cats because once they attack a human, they are are likely to do it again.

Alberta is home to about 2,000 cougars, estimates Mark Boyce, a professor of biology at the University of Alberta. “You almost never see them. They are very sneaky. They will be right in amongst houses in suburban areas and most of the time, people don’t even know they are there.”

Cougar advice from Alberta conservation officers: “While cougar attacks are rare, the public can limit human-cougar encounters by taking these actions:

  • Stay calm and keep the cougar in view. Pick up children immediately. Back away slowly, ensuring that the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Make yourself look as large as possible. Keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
  • Never run or turn your back on a cougar. Sudden movement may provoke an attack
  • If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact, show your teeth and make loud noises. Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons. When picking up objects, crouch down as little as possible.
  • If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey. Use anything you can as a weapon. Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.”

Former U.S. Ski Champion survives Bear attack in Montana; Washington Fish & Wildlife to discuss Wolf, Waterfowl, and Cougar regulations this week; Rabies reports from California, Connecticut, and Oregon; and West Nile Virus reports from Indiana, and Ohio. Follow-Up Report on Feral Dog Packs in Cumberland County, North Carolina.

Black Bear. Photo by DaBler. Wikimedia Commons.

Montana 08/01/11 dailymail.co.uk: by David Gardner – Former U.S. Ski champion Ani Haas revealed today how she survived a bear attack – by fighting back and punching the charging animal in the face. Ani’s worst fear became horrifying reality last week when she was jogging along a trail in Missoula, Montana. Suddenly, she looked up to see a female bear charging at her with claws and teeth bared. She hadn’t realized, but while she was running she had come between the bear and her two cubs. At first she tried to run away, but quickly remembered the safety warnings she heard growing up in the state where confrontation with bears is always a possibility in the wild. Instead of trying to flee, Ani turned and went toe to toe with the angry animal. ‘I looked behind me, and she was right behind me,’ she told anchor Anne Curry on this morning’s Today show. ‘I realized running from wild animals is the worst thing you can do,’ she added. ‘A wild animal attack has been one of my biggest fears. ‘It’s something I’ve always talked about and been worried about.

Ani Haas

‘Growing up in Montana, you’re always hearing what you’re supposed to do in different instances with different animals. ‘All the protocols are different, so I just remembered while everything was happening.’ The bear caught up with Ani and slashed her chest and left arm. But with nobody around on the trail to help her, she had no choice but to fight back. With grizzly bears, animal experts say it is often a good idea to lie down and play dead.  But with black bears, it is a better bet to try and frighten off an aggressive attacker. Miss Haas said: ‘That’s exactly what I remembered — just try to be as large and aggressive as you can be. That’s what I tried to do.’

Woman using bear spray

She said she punched the bear repeatedly in the head, landing one blow that even dropped the creature to the ground. But after throwing a rock, the bear only seemed more enraged so Miss Haas backed up slowly. ‘I noticed the more quiet and calm I became, the more quiet she was,’ she said. Incredibly, the bear lost interest and went back to her cubs. Miss Haas walked backwards for about five minutes, praying the bear wouldn’t come back.  She then jogged back to her car and drove to the hospital. Miss Haas, who was a member of the U.S. ski team up until last year, said her father bought her a gift after her brush with the bear last Friday. ‘I got an industrial-sized can of bear spray,’ she said.

 

Washington 07/27/11 wa.gov: Press Release – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to discuss the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan during a special meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia. The special meeting will be followed by a two-day meeting Aug. 5-6, when the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed 2011-12 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons and changes to cougar hunting regulations. The commission’s special meeting on the final Environmental Impact Statement/ Recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 4 in Room 172 on the first floor of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The commission will meet at the same location Aug. 5-6, beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days. Agendas for both meetings are available on the commission’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html. During the special meeting Aug. 4, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comment on the recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding population in the state. The plan contains recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, along with management strategies to address wolf-livestock and wolf-ungulate conflicts. (For complete news release go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=jul2711a )

California 08/01/11 the-signal.com: by Cory Minderhout – A live rabid bat has been found in a Newhall home, a county health department official said Monday, the fifth rabid bat found in the Santa Clarita Valley this year. Thirteen rabid bats have been found countywide so far this year, according to a health department website. Typically, only eight to 10 rabid bats are found each year in L.A. County, the website said. The rabid bat found alive in a Newhall home was discovered Friday. The mammal was not reported to have come into contact with any humans or pets, said Dr. Karen Ehnert, acting director for the veterinary public health and rabies control program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Connecticut 08/01/11 theday.com: by Judy Benson – A skunk found near Long Pond Road has tested positive for rabies, the Ledge Light Health District announced today. A resident of the area reported seeing the skunk last week, but it took a few days for the town animal control officer to capture the animal, Ryan McCammon, senior sanitarian at Ledge Light, said today. The skunk was caught and killed Saturday on property owned by the resident who reported the skunk and sent it to the state lab for tests. The results were available today. Notices are being posted in the neighborhood notifying residents about the rabid skunk, he said. McCammon said it does not appear the skunk had any contact with dogs or humans. Ledge Light reminds the public to refrain from feeding or approaching any wild or stray animals. For information, call the health district at (860) 448-4882 or the town animal control officer at (860) 464-9621.

Oregon 07/31/11 registerguard.com: by Saul Hubbard – Two recent cases of rabid bats in Lane County — one confirmed, one suspected — should serve as a reminder to local residents to vaccinate their pets and take all close encounters with the flying mammals very seriously, officials say. Last month, a Cottage Grove resident found a sickly bat lying grounded among his herd of goats. After a rabies test on the bat came back positive, all the goats were put into quarantine to determine whether any of them develop the disease. A few weeks later, an Oakridge resident killed a bat that was fighting with her dog. She then tossed the bat’s body into a nearby river, making a rabies test impossible. The resident ultimately opted to have the 15-year-old dog euthanized rather than go through lengthy solitary quarantine. Between 10 and 20 confirmed cases of rabies in animals still occur every year in Oregon, said Emilio DeBess, the state’s public health vetenarian. The vast majority of them are bats, although over the past two years a number of foxes near Cave Junction in Josephine County have tested positive for the disease. Twelve cases have occurred in Lane County since 2000, at a maximum incidence of three in a single year, and, of the 43 cases in the county since 1960, all but two have been in bats.

Bartholomew County

Indiana 08/01/11 wishtv.com: by Amanda Johnson – The West Nile Virus has been found in Bartholomew County, 24-Hour News 8’s news partner, The Republic , reports. Mosquitoes were discovered along a tree line behind the old Columbus wastewater treatment plant on Water Street. The Health Department confirmed the presence of the virus Friday. This is the fourth sighting of the virus in Indiana this summer — the first two in Hamilton and Allen County , and last week Marion County discovered the presence of it.
Ohio 07/31/11 tallmadgepress.com: by Jeremy Nobile – The Summit County Health District confirmed a mosquito carrying the West Nile virus was captured in Tallmadge July 15. Terry Tuttle, environmental health supervisor with the Summit County Health District, said the specimen was caught in the northwest area of Tallmadge near Franklin and Mark drives — less than one mile from the Akron border.

Summit County

The discovery marks the first pest caught within Tallmadge city limits this season, but the 11th in Summit County. A virus-carrying mosquito was caught near Tallmadge in Goodyear Heights during the first week of July. That insect was found near Foxboro and Eastwood avenues, across the street from Essex Healthcare of Tallmadge. “We’ve been catching a lot lately,” said Tuttle. “This is the most we’ve ever trapped [this far into] a season.” Other West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes have been found in New Franklin, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley and Twinsburg Township.

Follow-Up Reports:

North Carolina 08/01/11 go.com: by Greg Barnes – Animal control, along with the assistance of a wildlife damage control company and local law enforcement, is getting stray dogs off the street. “These dogs, these packs are dangerous, we don’t want anybody getting hurt,” Cumberland County Animal Control Director John Lauby said. The dogs Lauby is referring to are among six stray dogs captured over the weekend by a wildlife damage control company that works for the county. Animal control officers say they use baited traps along with tranquilizer darts to snare the pack dogs. Lauby says for now, Fayetteville police and Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies will observe and report locations of any stray or wild dog packs they see, but they are not under new orders to shoot and kill. “If we have to do off post euthanasia, [I] want my officers to do that,” Lauby said. “That’s our responsibility as distasteful as it is.”

Animal control officials say as many as 150 wild dogs may be roaming Fayetteville’s streets. Packs have been reported in more than a dozen neighborhoods across the city. Lauby says not all pack dogs are wild. Some dogs are pets that have been abandoned. Animal control says some of the confirmed wildlife rabies cases this year are in neighborhoods where the wild dogs roam. The concern is that the dog packs could come in contact with a rabid animal and then go after humans or theft pets. Wild or stray, animal control officers say for now, any and all dogs on the street with no collar or rabies tag will be picked up. Pet owners whose animals are not vaccinated could face a stiff fine. “There is a $100 fine for not having your dogs vaccinated, or not having a county or rabies tag on the dog when it’s off your property,” Lauby added. Officers say you can’t take any chances with rabies. The wild dog tracking teams will be out every night.  Animal control has set up a hotline. Call (910) 321-6861 to report locations of stray or wild dog packs.

Wildlife officials in Scotland say “tick mops” are an effective and harmless way to fight tick populations; Connecticut residents reporting Mountain Lion sightings; Michigan DNR postpones listing Sporting Swine as invasive species; Big game hunting considered for North Carolina’s Currituck Refuge; and CDC zoonotic disease summary for week ending July 2, 2011. Travel Warnings: Philippine officials declare new Dengue outbreak.

Scottish Blackface ram. Photo by Donald Macleod. Wikimedia Commons.

Global 07/10/11 stv.tv/Scotland: A scheme that uses sheep to control the numbers of ticks on Scottish moorlands has been welcomed by landowners and charities. Sheep grazing on moorlands are being dipped in a pesticide that attracts the blood-sucking parasite and kills them off in huge numbers. The scheme has been welcomed as an effective and harmless method in fighting ticks, which pose a threat to humans by carrying the deadly Lyme disease.

New research by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) in the Angus Glens over the last five years has produced staggering results, prompting calls for sheep “tick mops” to be used on farmland across Scotland. The study was launched after fears that ticks were devastating the already under-threat red grouse by passing on louping ill virus*, a degenerative brain condition fatal to 80% of red grouse chicks. Since the study began across six Angus estates, covering almost 500 square kilometres, the local tick population has plummeted by 84.6%, allowing red grouse to flourish. The GWCT claims that red grouse numbers have increased by 400% since the tick management scheme was introduced in 2006.

Mountain Hare.

Scientists claim that tick mops are a successful alternative to the traditional attempts at controlling tick-borne diseases, which includes culling hosts like deer and mountain hares. Dr Kathy Fletcher, senior upland scientist at GWCT, said that landowners wanting to protect their commercial grouse moors must first tackle tick populations.

Red Grouse

She said: “Ticks are fast spreading across Scotland and are becoming more of a problem for red grouse, which has declined by more than 25% in recent years. It is one of the most protected moorland specialist birds and on the amber conservation list. “It is vitally important that we do what we can to sustain their population. They are an economic driver in Scotland with the grouse moors being key employers in rural areas. “We have been involved in the Angus Glens site since 2006. We started there to coordinate advice and help the local estates who were keen to get together as a group to improve their grouse populations. They all know how to do their pest control, but they required our help with their sheep management.”

The tick Ixodes ricinus is especially prevalent in wooded and bushy areas or among heather and long grass. It begins its life cycle as a pin-head-sized larva but once it attaches itself to a warm-blooded mammal, it can rapidly swell to become grey-coloured bugs the size of a pea. Through the GWCT scheme, the farmer’s sheep are dipped with a pesticide agent called acaricide designed to kill ticks and mites. Sheep are then released onto heather moorlands. Ticks swarm to the sheep and once they come in contact with the acaricide, die off.

Scottish Gamekeepers Association chairman Alex Hogg said: “Tick mops have been very successful in reducing the impact of these parasites, not just on grouse but lots of other valuable wildlife.” While landowners are delighted that precious red grouse stocks are being preserved, humans are also benefiting from the scheme. Helen Todd, development officer at Ramblers Scotland, said: “We have become increasingly concerned over the extent of tick infestations in Scotland and the associated health implications from that, including Lyme disease. We welcome this scheme which appears to be a very effective way of controlling ticks and that is good news for walkers.”

* Louping-ill is caused by Louping ill virus (LIV) , the only flavivirus known to be endemic in the UK. The virus is closely related to the tick-borne encephalitis virus. Louping-ill is an infection of the central nervous system, and is acquired from the bite of an infected tick. It primarily affects sheep but can infect cattle, horses, pigs, dogs, deer, and wildlife species; it is an important disease of grouse. The name ‘louping-ill’ is derived from an old Scottish word describing the effect of the disease in sheep whereby they ‘loup’ or spring into the air. Louping-ill also occasionally affects people.

Connecticut 07/11/11 patch.com: by Christine Woodside – For 25 years, Connecticut residents have reported seeing mountain lions in Connecticut. Out of hundreds of sightings, only once could anyone prove they had actually seen one. That happened in the middle of the night on June 11, when a car hit and killed a large, healthy-looking mountain lion trying to run across the Wilbur Cross Parkway near Exit 55 in Milford. (Eastern) Mountain lions have been declared extinct by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The closest known groupings are in Missouri, South Dakota, and southern Florida. Why do so many people up here keep thinking they saw one? They are seeing something. But large wild animals move too quickly to stand for a photograph. The animals move around at dawn and dusk. People have not located really good tracks or scat. Despite the mystery, the sightings are consistent and slightly more frequent than Bigfoot. Just over a week ago, Waterford’s animal control officer, Robert Yuchniuk, received a report of a mountain lion sighting from “a credible person.”

A Connecticut website, http://ctmountainlion.org/, posts more claims of sightings. In recent weeks people reported they saw the large tan cats passing through Scotland, Salem, Willimantic, Cromwell, Glastonbury, and other towns. “I won’t tell you they did not see one,” said Rick Jacobson, director of the wildlife division of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). “I’ll tell you that the probability is small but that it’s possible that they saw one.” Jacobson said that when he talks to people about what they saw, asking about coloration, size, and weight, “frequently over the course of the conversations, the callers come to their own conclusions that what they saw was probably something else.” Jacobson said there is no way to know if all of the other claims of sightings are true. For all but that cougar killed in June on the Wilbur Cross, no evidence has emerged to prove what the other animals were.

The DEEP believes that the dead mountain lion was the same one spotted earlier that week in Greenwich. Officials have said it probably escaped or was released from someone in the exotic pet trade or who bought the animal. New York officials told Connecticut that all legally held mountain lions there were accounted for, according to Jacobson. Personal possession of wild cats in Connecticut is against the law, but it’s legal in New York. Of course, the cougar could have come from an underground illegal trade.

Michigan 07/09/11 battlecreekenquirer.com: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has drafted a new order that lists sporting swine as an invasive species — effective Oct. 8 instead of Friday. The DNR made the announcement Friday, saying it was acting on a request from Gov. Rick Snyder. The action is intended to give the Legislature more time to pass laws regulating sporting swine hunting and breeding facilities in Michigan. The animals are a mix of Eurasian or Russian boars or swine that are bred and used for hunting purposes. The original order listing sporting swine as an invasive species was signed by former DNR Director Rebecca Humphries in December but post-dated Friday at the request of incoming legislative leaders, who wanted a chance to fashion regulatory laws. Agriculture leaders told the Kalamazoo Gazette the swine are a threat to commercial agriculture because of the diseases they may harbor. Environmentalists don’t like the animals because, when they escape and establish feral populations, they can destroy birds, wildlife and habitat. “Michigan pork producers are extremely disappointed by this decision to delay the implementation of a ban against an invasive species that puts Michigan businesses, Michigan agriculture and tens of thousands of Michigan jobs at risk,” Mary Kelpinski, executive director of the Michigan Pork Producers Association, said Friday. The state House has passed legislation, and the extension will give the Senate an opportunity to act on the bills.

North Carolina 07/11/11 wunc.org: by Eric Hodge – Big game hunting could be coming to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. A new proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow limited hunting for white tail deer and feral hogs. Mike Bryant is a refuge manager for six areas including Currituck. He says the rule changes would mark the first time deer and hog hunters would be allowed in the refuge.  We looked at the deer population and found it to be in a state where it could support hunting and as a National Wildlife Refuge we want to accommodate wildlife dependent recreation and hunting is one of those wildlife dependent recreational opportunities,” Bryant said.  He also said the feral hogs destroy habitat that is meant to shelter migrating waterfowl. Public comments are welcome on the proposal until August fourth. Officials expect to make a decision before this fall’s hunting season begins.

North Carolina 07/11/11 digtriad.com: by Chelsi Zash – Cumberland County officials say about 10 packs of wild dogs are roaming neighborhoods and are threatening pets and people. The Fayetteville Observer reported Monday that county animal services employees have shot and killed nine feral dogs in the last two weeks. Officials say there could be as many as 150 wild dogs in the packs. Agency director John Lauby attributes part of the problem to animals abandoned by their owners and turning wild. Residents have reported that dogs are killing their pet cats. The county’s animal services department fields more than 200 calls a day. Lauby said his agency has tried trapping and tranquilizing the animals, with little luck. He says people should call when they see the packs and avoid leaving food out for feral dogs.

CDC MMWR Week ending July 2, 2011 /60(26);892-905

Anaplasmosis . . . 12 . . . New York (11), North Carolina,

Babesiosis . . . 8 . . . New York (8),

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . Nebraska, Texas,

Ehrlichiosis . . . 20 . . . Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland (2), Missouri, New York (4), North Carolina (8), Tennessee (3),

Giardiasis . . . 124 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas (3), Arizona, California (18), Colorado (12), Florida (22), Georgia (4), Iowa (3), Idaho, Maryland (2), Maine (2), Michigan, Missouri (8), Montana, Nebraska, New York (22), North Dakota (2), Pennsylvania (10), Virginia (2), Washington (6),

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 5 . . . Missouri (3), New York (2),

Lyme Disease . . .  586 . . . Delaware (2), Florida (5), Maine, Maryland (20), New Jersey (234), New York (127), North Carolina (5), Pennsylvania (175), Tennessee, Virginia (12), Vermont (4),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 16 . . . Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New York (10), West Virginia (2),

Spotted Fever . . . 6 . . . Florida, North Carolina (4), Virginia,

Probable Spotted Fever . . . 56 . . . Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri (9), North Carolina (41), Tennessee (2),

Tularemia . . . 2 . . . Missouri, Washington,

Travel Warnings:

Philippine Islands 07/11/11 abs-cbnnews.com: by Sol Aragones – The Department of Health (DOH) has declared a dengue outbreak in 5 of 6 municipalities in Batanes. The DOH has reported 1 death due to dengue and 901 cases (as of June 25) compared to only 1 case last year, said DOH-National Epidemiology chief Dr. Eric Tayag. The municipalities affected are Sabtang (63 cases), Basco (487 cases), Mahatao (18), Uyugan (47), and Itbayat (286). The DOH is also verifying a report that as of today (July 11), there are already 60 dengue cases in Batanes. The DOH wil send team to investigate the outbreak. Tayag added that the National Capital Region (NCR) currently has the highest dengue cases, followed by Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. From January 1 – June 25, there were 29,898 cases and 185 deaths in the country, 11 percent lower than in the same period last year, which recorded 33,659 cases and 288 deaths. But Tayag warned the public not to be complacent because they are expecting dengue cases to increase this rainy season.

Mad Polar Bear thought to be rabid charges into northern Canadian town; North Carolina bio-tech company develops new approach to creating vaccines for insect-borne diseases; British bio-tech company stirs controversy by developing genetically modified mosquito to wipe out those that carry Dengue and other lethal diseases; federal funds for Minnesota’s Wolf Control Program drying up; Wyoming and feds agree “in principle” on Wolf Control Program; another Mainer reports Mountain Lion sighting; Florida man attacked by rabid Bobcat; West Nile Virus reports from Illinois, New York, and Ohio; and Rabies reports from Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, New York (2), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Virginia, and Wisconsin. Canada: Coyote report from Alberta, and a Rabies report from Saskatchewan. Travel Warnings for India, the Maldives, and Swaziland.

Polar Bear. Photo by Alan Wilson. Wikimedia Commons.

Manitoba 07/06/11 myfoxdetroit.com: A rampaging polar bear bounded through backyards and patios in the northern Manitoba town of Churchill, then headed downtown, where it stomped a truck and banged its head against the windows of the health center before conservation officers could shoot and kill it, the CBC reported Wednesday. Conservation officer Bob Windsor said he had never seen a polar bear act so aggressively. It will be tested for rabies, which could explain its behavior. Churchill, on the shore of Hudson Bay, is known for its polar bear population and bear-spotting tours there are popular with tourists.

The CBC said Monday’s bear blowup began when the animal turned on a man taking photographs on the beach, forcing him to hide behind rocks while the bear paced nearby. Windsor and his partner set off some noisemakers known as “bear bangers,” which confused the bear enough to allow the man to escape. But the bear, who first tried to attack the officers’ truck, next headed into town, racing through backyards before heading into the downtown area. “I drove up to it and it attacked the truck again,” Windsor told the CBC. “I wasn’t able to back out of the way quick enough and this time it caught up to the front of the truck and reared up and kind of stomped the front of the hood with its front paws.” From there, it began pushing its head against windows at the health center. Windsor finally managed to lure the bear into a clear area where his partner shot it.

Global 07/07/11pr.com: A technology breakthrough that could have a major impact in the development of vaccines to preventive insect-borne diseases has been published in the June edition of Virology Journal ( http://www.virologyj.com/content/8/1/289 ). The technology developed by Arbovax creates virus host-range mutations that will reproduce in insect cells while being severely restricted in their ability to reproduce in mammalian cells. Pre-clinical animal experiments have shown that this approach can be used to create immunity to insect-borne viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Modifications to the virus are hidden from the immune system and so produce strong immunity in the absence of disease. The virus can also be grown in a very cost-effective manner in an insect cell reactor. Arbovax expects to be initiating human clinical trials of its Dengue vaccine by the end of 2012. Over 2/5 of the world‘s population is threatened by insect borne viral diseases and this technology will form the basis for a vaccine platform against many of those diseases. “These are very promising results, a major step forward in the fight to stop the spread of insect-borne diseases. We are very excited to have then published by such a well-respected journal in the field of virology,” said CEO Malcolm Thomas, “and we are currently preparing several other papers for publication in the near future.”

About the company: Arbovax, Inc. is an early stage biotechnology company based in Raleigh NC, developing a novel and innovative technology to facilitate the development of vaccines against insect-borne viruses.

Drs. Raquel Hernandez & Dennis Brown

The core technology, developed by Dr. Dennis Brown and Dr. Raquel Hernandez of NC State University, provides a platform that offers improved vaccine technology in a cost effective manner targeting a portfolio of arthropod-borne diseases that includes Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile, Chikungunya and Yellow Fever. Arbovax’s initial focus, Dengue Fever, is ranked second only to Malaria by the World Health Organization for its devastating global impact.

Global 07/07/11 news-medical.net: NPR’s All Things Considered on Tuesday examined the efforts of the British company Oxitec to develop a genetically modified mosquito meant to wipe out wild populations of the insects, which carry potentially lethal diseases such as dengue. Genetically modified male mosquitoes are released into the wild to breed with females, and their offspring are designed to die. “Field trials in the Cayman Islands last year appeared to show it works.

Dr. Luke Alphey

Oxitec released its genetically modified males, and, [Oxitec Chief Scientific Officer Luke] Alphey says, the population dropped by a whopping 80 percent,” NPR reports. However, some are opposed to the possible unintended consequences of releasing genetically modified insects into the wild, and regulators worldwide “are struggling to come up with rules and safeguards,” according to NPR.

Minnesota 07/07/11publicradio.org: by Stephanie Hemphill – A federally funded program that controls predatory wolves in northern Minnesota will soon be out of money, putting livestock and pets at risk. When farmers can prove a wolf killed their animals, they call Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Trappers come out to the farm, set traps, and kill the wolves they catch. The money for the trapping program — about $500,000 a year — has long come from Congressional earmarks. But last spring, Congress voted to eliminate earmarks. As a result, in mid-July, the state will no longer have money to hire the trappers. Not being able to rely on them will pose a hardship for cattle ranchers like Neil Radaich. During calving season, Radaich and his father drive several times daily out to the far end of a pasture in Goodland, Minn., to check on cows and calves. (For complete article go to http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/07/shutdown-wildlife-conservation-livestock-wolf-predation/ )

Wyoming 07/07/11 trib.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – Wyoming and the federal government have reached “an agreement in principle” on a deal to remove the state’s roughly 340 wolves from the endangered species list and put them under state control. Following a meeting at the Wyoming State Capitol on Thursday, Gov. Matt Mead, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said they hoped to reach a deal by the end of the month and ratify it by the end of September.

Wyoming has been fighting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for years to accept the state’s wolf management plan, which allows unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state. Fish and Wildlife, on the other hand, wants wolves to be classified as “trophy game” throughout the state, meaning they could only be hunted with a license. The three said they agreed on a deal under which Wyoming would be required to maintain 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pairs, outside Yellowstone National Park. That’s about a third of current wolf numbers outside Yellowstone, Mead said. They also agreed in principle on creating a wolf “flex area” in Sublette and Lincoln counties, in which wolves would be protected only during the winter months. Working out exactly where the “flex area” boundaries will be is the primary sticking point remaining in negotiations, Mead said. Mead said he now will shop around two different flex-area boundary proposals to “stakeholders” – including ranchers and agricultural groups that have long opposed wolves.

In April, Congress voted to delist wolves in five other western states, though not Wyoming. Salazar and Ashe met with Mead at the insistence of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who demanded it as a precondition to lifting a month-long hold on Ashe’s nomination as Fish and Wildlife director. Ashe was confirmed by the Senate to the post last Thursday; a few days after Barrasso lifted his hold.

Maine 07/06/11 naturalunseenhazards.com: While driving southbound along I-295 near exit 28 in Brunswick, on July 4th, Dianne Hersey sighted what she believes was a cougar. “The color was tan, it looked like it had leapord-like black spots, and I estimate it to be at least two feet high.  The legs seemed to be thin, and the face was definitely the face of a big cat.  It ran onto the highway from the left side, then it saw the traffic coming at it, and it turned around, and ran off the highway again the same way it had run onto the highway.  It’s a wonder it wasn’t hit by a car. I live in Presque Isle, and I was on a trip to Portland to see the fireworks on July 4th when I saw this cougar.  There was a car ahead of me, but the cougar stopped in the left lane, facing the traffic for an instant, then turned around and took off for the side of the highway.  I’ve seen cats that big before, but it was always in a zoo.  It was so agile.”

Florida 07/07/11 wctv.tv: Paul Brock, 71, was at a friend’s house Friday (July 1) cutting fresh cabbage when he had an unpleasant surprise. “All of a sudden I heard a growl, and then I heard another growl. I thought it was a dog,” said Brock. But it wasn’t a dog. It was this bobcat looking for a fight. The cat launched at Brock with full force. “He leaped right on top of my head with his front feet. His left paw went in the head and his right paw went on my cheek,” said Brock. Brock’s friend shot and killed the bobcat during the attack, and test results from an autopsy on the bobcat confirmed that it was infected with rabies. Brock is expected to be alright as long as he completes the four-shot regiment to ward off the rabies infection.

Illinois 07/07/11 patch.com: by Claudia Lenart – Burr Ridge reports that mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been discovered in Evergreen Park and Oswego. Health officials advise residents to take precautions to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and to use mosquito repellant.

New York 07/07/11 allheadlinenews.com: by Windsor Genova – New York City’s Health Department announced Thursday that mosquitoes collected from Eltingville, Staten Island tested positive from the West Nile virus. No cases of infection were reported but the department advised the public to take precautions with the virus’ return to the city.

Ohio 07/07/11 wmfd.com: West Nile virus infected mosquitoes have been detected in traps in Richland County according to public health officials at the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department. “We have a positive West Nile virus detection from mosquitoes caught in a trap in Washington Township,” said Matthew Work, Director of Environmental Health at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department. “To be very clear, this is not a case of human infection but a positive reading of mosquitoes carrying the virus that could infect humans.”

Florida 07/06/11 wjhg.com: by Bryan Anderson – The Holmes County Health Department is warning residents to watch out for potentially rabid animals, and they said the drought could be causing the disease to spread. Holmes County Health Officials have confirmed two rabies cases in the past two weeks. They’re hoping an advisory to residents will prevent any more. “Two positive results out in the county. One was a raccoon, one was a feral cat,” said Holmes County Environmental Manager Jackie Parker. The Jackson County Health Department has had four rabies cases in the past three months. Health officials ask you to report any suspicious-acting animals to your local health department.

Georgia 07/06/11 times-herald.com: by Elizabeth Melville – A Newnan man continues to receive rabies treatments after he was bitten by a confirmed rabid fox on June 30 in the Bridgewater subdivision off Shenandoah Boulevard. Kenny Ruddy was at home working in the garage around 4:30 p.m. on June 30 when he had the run-in with the diseased fox, according to Ruddy’s wife, Linda. In addition to a bite on his hand, Kenny suffered a scratch on his leg. He visited the ER and immediately began his series of rabies immunizations. He was also given a tetanus shot. “He’s doing okay — he feels achy, but he’s fine,” said Linda. Kenny will have to receive rabies shots for nearly a month following the bite. Kenny turned the fox over to Coweta Animal Hospital for rabies testing. According to Linda, testing was conducted in Atlanta on Friday and they got the word Friday afternoon that the specimen tested positive for rabies.

Idaho 07/07/11 idaho.gov: Press Release – A bat from southeast Idaho tested positive for rabies last week, prompting public health officials to warn people throughout the state to take precautions around bats and make sure that their dogs, cats, and horses are adequately vaccinated against rabies. This is the first report of a rabid bat in the State this summer.

Michigan 07/07/11 whmi.com: The Livingston County Department of Public Health received a report this week of a fox found in Green Oak Township that may have rabies. Officials say the fox was discovered acting strangely on Wednesday afternoon in an area just east of US-23 on the north end of Whitmore Lake. Anyone who may have been exposed to a fox within the last two weeks is asked to contact the Livingston County Department of Public Health at (517) 552-6882.

New York 07/07/11 catskills.coop.com: Sullivan County’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Richard Martinkovic tells us that authorities were contacted after a fox had been bothering people during the daytime at a camp located on White Lake Turnpike. The Town of Bethel Constable was called and found out from the people at the camp that there was an animal that was not acting right. The constable in turn called for an animal control officer, who arrived and set up several cages to trap the animal. The fox was trapped on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00PM. It was then killed, and its head was sent for lab-testing. The results returned on Thursday that the fox was infected with rabies.

New York 07/07/11 wivb.com: by Emily Lenihan – As a follow-up to our warning of last week about possible rabid animals on Tonawanda Island in the City of North Tonawanda, it is noted that the NYSDOH Wadsworth Rabies Laboratory has confirmed that rabies was NOT present in the two woodchucks tested.

North Carolina 07/07/11 fayobserver.com: A dead bat found outside a home in Fayetteville is being considered as a case of rabies. Test results on the bat, which was found in the Lake Point Place subdivision, were inconclusive, according to Cumberland County officials. But because state health officials reported the results were unsatisfactory, it is being treated as a positive case, the sixth in the county so far this year. The bat was picked up on July 1 by Animal Control officers outside a home on the 1900 block of Wordsworth Drive, off Green Meadow. Health officials will alert nearby residents, who should remain alert for sick or abnormal acting wildlife. Anyone bitten or scratched by an animal should wash the wound under running water for at least 10 minutes with lots of soap, seek medical advice and notify Animal Control at 321-6852.

North Carolina 07/06/11 smokymountainnews.com: The second case of rabies in eastern Haywood County in less than a week has been confirmed, marking the fourth case so far this year in the same general area of the county. Two cases were in skunks and two were in raccoons. Before this year, only five cases of rabies had been confirmed in Haywood County since 2006. In the most recent incident, a Canton area resident discovered a skunk in their barn, exhibiting unusual behaviour. According to the incident report, the skunk was off balance and falling down. The skunk was killed and sent to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services laboratory, where it tested positive. Also last week, a group of hunting dogs got into a fight with the raccoon. The raccoon was killed and the owner of the dogs reported the incident. Tests on the raccoon came back positive.

Pennsylvania 07/07/11 centredaily.com: A raccoon that was seen drooling and falling to the ground on the Penn State campus has tested positive for rabies. According to the state Department of Agriculture, the raccoon was seen wandering around the central part of campus on June 30. It had trouble walking, was falling to the ground and running into things and appeared to be drooling. Campus police shot the raccoon and submitted it to Penn State’s Animal Diagnostic Lab for rabies testing. According to the department, there was no known contact between the raccoon and people or domestic animals. The raccoon brings the number of diagnosed rabies cases in Centre County this year to eight, which is more than all of 2010 when there were five cases in the entire year. Most recently, a rabid raccoon was seen on June 27 in a tree in Gregg Township vocalizing, then later fighting with a vaccinated dog. That raccoon was shot and submitted for rabies testing, and the dog is being quarantined on the owner’s property for 90 days.

Pennsylvania 07/06/11 publicopiniononline.com: The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is trying to identify a dog and its owner to determine if a person bitten by the dog will need rabies treatment. The department said in a news release that a person was bitten while trying to pet the dog Friday between 10:30 and 11 a.m. at the Sheetz on East King Street. The owner is described as a bald, white male between 40 and 45 years old. The dog is described as large with black, seemingly matted fur, possibly an Airdale mix breed. Anyone with information should contact Dog Warden Georgia Martin at 762-9794.

Virginia 07/07/11 wset.com: Two more cases of suspected rabies have popped up in our area. In Henry County, an adult cat around Spruce Pine Lane reportedly bit three people. Officials found the gray, tan and white cat dead on Sunday and it did have rabies. And in Botetourt County, a red fox attacked and bit a person on Mount Pleasant Church Road. That fox has not been found so officials do not know if it’s rabid. If you came in contact with either of these animals, contact your local Health Department.

Wisconsin 07/06/11 leadertelegram.com: The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department is looking for any information as to the owner and identity of a dog that bit a child while the child was riding his bike on the bike path under the Seymour Cray Boulevard just outside the city limits of Chippewa Falls. On Monday about 11 a.m. three male subjects were along the river with their dogs and one of the dogs described as a heavy set furry German Sheppard approached the bike riders and bit a 10-year-old boy. The status of the shots for the dog is needed in order to prevent the child from undergoing a series of shots for rabies. If any information about the dog or the dog owner is know they are asked to contact the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department.

Canada:

Alberta 07/06/11 cjocfm.com: Fish and Wildlife officers are still investigating a reported coyote attack near the Scenic dog run Tuesday night. A man walking his dog claims to have seen up to 20 of the animals and ended up with a bite mark on his leg. Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Spokesman Dave Ealey tells CJOC News that coyotes are especially territorial when pups are with them. He says a large pack of coyotes consists of seven or eight animals, adding it’s possible for people to misjudge numbers in low-light conditions. Ealy also says it’s possible the coyotes felt threatened by the man’s dog. If you come across coyotes, Ealey suggests backing away slowly and making yourself seem as large as possible.

Saskatchewan 07/06/11 cbc.ca: A Martensville veterinary clinic says it has been advised by provincial agriculture officials that rabies has been detected in three big brown bats that were tested in May and June. Bat experts note it is an unusual number of bats to test positive for rabies in such a short time. “It is quite uncommon for this to happen,” Mark Brigham, the head of the biology department at the University of Regina, told CBC News Wednesday. Brigham said in a normal year Saskatchewan can expect a total of three to eight cases. While unusual, Brigham quickly added that the Martensville numbers are no cause for alarm even though rabies is a serious disease. “Rabies is incredibly dangerous,” Brigham said, but people should not assume that all bats have rabies. He did, however, sound a note of caution to people who encounter a bat. Brigham said rabies will produce paralysis in an animal and if one should spot a bat on the ground, it should be left alone. “The potential is that animal might be sick,” he said. “For heaven’s sake, don’t touch it.” Brigham said the advice can be applied to any wild animal. He said an injured or sick animal may resort to biting to defend itself, and rabies is transmitted from mammal to mammal through saliva. “Any mammal that is behaving strangely, don’t go near it. Don’t touch it,” he said. “The likelihood, in most cases, that the animal does have rabies is very low. But why take the chance?” Martensville is about 15 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Travel Warnings:

India 07/07/11 indiatimes.com: by Pushpa Narayan – Chennai — At least 20 people have died of rabies at the Government General Hospital in the city in the last six months. Last month, three died of the virus, spread through dog bites. The increasing number of such deaths is worrying public health workers, who are coming together on July 9 to debate the topic, ‘Why should anyone die of rabies in the 21 century?’ The conference, organised by the Association for Prevention and Control of Rabies in India, will discuss strategies to eliminate rabies by 2020. “One big reason for rabies still being around is the lack of transparency and also severe underreporting of deaths, “said former director of public health Dr S Elango. For instance, though the records at the general hospital alone point to 12 deaths in 2010 and 13 deaths in 2009, none of these were recorded in the national registry. In 2009, Tamil Nadu recorded three deaths against 263 across the country and in 2010 it recorded two deaths against 162 nationally (source: National Health Profile 2010). “Had we reported all deaths, there would have been pressure on the civic authorities to initiate action. That would have pushed us to a stage where we can eliminate the disease. Instead, we choose to bury deaths under the carpet, “said Dr Elango. The Government General Hospital reported two rabies deaths each in April and May this year.

Maldives 07/07/11 minivannews.com: by Neil Merrett – Hospitals in the capital have said they continue to screen significant numbers of patients for dengue fever, yet claim that the situation remains “stable” as authorities raise fears that an ongoing outbreak of the virus may be more persistent than originally thought. As officials today confirmed that a 41 year old man from Addu Atoll had become the eighth person to have died during the latest dengue outbreak, health care representatives in the capital have said that they remain “busy” dealing with cases and had not yet seen significant declines in patients coming through their doors suspected of contracting the virus. After declaring this week that the current outbreak of the virus around Male’ and several islands was being treated as an “epidemic”, the government has since established a task force to try and coordinate its ministries, the military and NGOs in preventing further spreads of dengue. (For complete article go to http://minivannews.com/politics/dengue-hospital-situation-%E2%80%9Cstable%E2%80%9D-despite-high-patient-demand-22424 )

Swaziland 07/06/11 observer.org.sz: by Samkelo Ngwenya – The circulating news about rabies outbreak in Mbabane is true, the Minister of Agriculture Clement Dlamini has confirmed. A fortnight ago this newspaper reported that there was a dog in Fonteyn that was suspected to be carrying the deadly disease. As a result, the dog had its head cut and taken to the laboratory for diagnosis. The severed head tested positive. Four cases of rabies have been diagnosed so far. Dlamini confirmed that there are two cases of rabid dogs that have been found positive in Mbabane. On the other hand, another dog at Siphocosini has been diagnosed with rabies. The minister said there was also a case in Mayiwane after a pig was bitten by dogs. The pig contracted rabies after the bite.