Tag Archives: Feral Hogs

UC-DAVIS scientists find H1N1 INFLUENZA VIRUS in ELEPHANT SEALS ~ WHO warns world not prepared for massive INFLUENZA outbreak ~ WHO says single YELLOW FEVER shot is enough ~ RABIES reports from MO, NH, & VA.

Northern Elephant Seals. Photo by Mike Baird. Wikimedia Commons.

Northern Elephant Seals. Photo by Mike Baird. Wikimedia Commons.

California 05/15/13 ucdavis.edu: News Release – Scientists at the University of California, Davis, detected the H1N1 (2009) virus in free-ranging northern elephant seals off the central California coast a year after the human pandemic began, according to a study published today, May 15, in the journal PLOS ONE. It is the first report of that flu strain in any marine mammal. “We thought we might find influenza viruses, which have been found before in marine mammals, but we did not expect to find pandemic H1N1,” said lead author Tracey Goldstein, an associate professor with the UC Davis One Health Institute and Wildlife Health Center. “This shows influenza viruses can move among species.” UC Davis researchers have been studying flu viruses in wild birds and mammals since 2007 as part of the Centers of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance program funded by National Institutes of Health. The goal of this research is to understand how viruses emerge and move among animals and people.

Dr. Tracey Goldstein of UC-Davis.

Dr. Tracey Goldstein of UC-Davis.

Between 2009 and 2011, the team of scientists tested nasal swabs from more than 900 marine mammals from 10 different species off the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. They detected H1N1 infection in two northern elephant seals and antibodies to the virus in an additional 28 elephant seals, indicating more widespread exposure. Neither infected seal appeared to be ill, indicating marine mammals may be infected without showing clinical signs of illness. The findings are particularly pertinent to people who handle marine mammals, such as veterinarians and animal rescue and rehabilitation workers, Goldstein said. They are also a reminder of the importance of wearing personal protective gear when working around marine mammals, both to prevent workers’ exposure to diseases, as well as to prevent the transmission of human diseases to animals.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

Photo courtesy of National Park Service.

H1N1 originated in pigs. It emerged in humans in 2009, spreading worldwide as a pandemic. The World Health Organization now considers the H1N1 strain from 2009 to be under control, taking on the behavior of a seasonal virus. “H1N1 was circulating in humans in 2009,” said Goldstein. “The seals on land in early 2010 tested negative before they went to sea, but when they returned from sea in spring 2010, they tested positive. So the question is where did it come from?”  When elephant seals are at sea, they spend most of their time foraging in the northeast Pacific Ocean off the continental shelf, which makes direct contact with humans unlikely, the report said. The seals had been satellite tagged and tracked, so the researchers knew exactly where they had been and when they arrived on the coast. The first seal traveled from California on Feb. 11 to southeast Alaska to forage off the continental shelf, returning to Point Piedras Blancas near San Simeon, Calif., on April 24. The second seal left Ano Nuevo State Reserve in San Mateo County, Calif., on Feb. 8, traveling to the northeast Pacific and returning on May 5.  Infections in both seals were detected within days of their return to land. The report said exposure likely occurred in the seals before they reached land, either while at sea or upon entering the near-shore environment. – For complete release see http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10572

Influenza:

070203_bird_fluGlobal 05/21/13 Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly: by Jonathan Fowler (AFP) – The world is unprepared for a massive virus outbreak, the deputy chief of the World Health Organization warned Tuesday, amid fears that H7N9 bird flu striking China could morph into a form that spreads easily among people. Keiji Fukuda told delegates at a WHO meeting that despite efforts since an outbreak of another form of avian influenza, H1N1, in 2009-10, far more contingency planning was essential. “Even though work has been done since that time, the world is not ready for a large, severe outbreak,” Fukuda said. Rapid-reaction systems were crucial, given that health authorities’ efforts are already hampered by lack of knowledge about such diseases, he insisted. “When people get hit with an emerging disease, you can’t just go to a book and know what to do,” he said. According to the latest official data, H7N9 avian influenza has infected 130 people in China, and killed H7N935, since it was found in humans for the first time in March. It is one of a vast array of flu viruses carried by birds, the overwhelming majority of which pose little or no risk to humans. Experts are struggling to understand how it spread to people, amid fears that it could adapt into a form that can be transmitted easily from human to human.- For complete article see http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gA_WiUNz4DDakbWArFcltmTknupw?docId=CNG.945e0940b30f2076656a59b4ea8de2b5.231

Yellow Fever:

Yellow-feverGlobal 05/17/13 who.int: News Release – The yellow fever ‘booster’ vaccination given ten years after the initial vaccination is not necessary, according to WHO. An article published in WHO’s Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) reveals that the Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) has reviewed the latest evidence and concluded that a single dose of vaccination is sufficient to confer life-long immunity against yellow fever disease. Since yellow fever vaccination began in the 1930s, only 12 known cases of yellow fever post-vaccination have been identified, after 600 million doses have been dispensed. Evidence showed that among this small number of “vaccine failures”, all cases developed the disease within five years of vaccination. This demonstrates that immunity does not decrease with time. . . .

who-logoYellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes that is endemic to 44 countries in tropical areas of Africa and the Americas. Infection with the yellow fever virus causes varying degrees of disease, from mild symptoms to severe illness with bleeding and jaundice and fatal outcomes. There are an estimated 200 000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year. About 15% of people infected with yellow fever progress to a severe form of the illness, and up to half of those will die, as there is no cure for yellow fever.  – For complete news release see http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/yellow_fever_20130517/en/index.html

Author’s Note: The yellow fever virus is an arbovirus of the flavivirus genus, and the mosquito is the primary vector. It carries the virus from one host to another, primarily between monkeys, from monkeys to humans, and from person to person. Several different species of the Aedes and Haemogogus mosquitoes transmit the virus. The mosquitoes either breed around houses (domestic), in the jungle (wild) or in both habitats (semi-domestic). – Source WHO Yellow Fever Fact Sheet  at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs100/en/index.html

Rabies:

g12c00 - CopyMissouri 05/20/13 Ozark County: Health officials have confirmed that two skunks captured in the county within the last month have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.ozarkcountytimes.com/news/article_6539ffdc-c18e-11e2-974e-001a4bcf6878.html

450px-Treed_RaccoonsNew Hampshire 05/20/13 Grafton County: Two raccoons that were reported to be acting strangely in Hanover last week have tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.boston.com/news/local/new-hampshire/2013/05/20/raccoons-with-rabies-found-town/3DuImvKRJXhRGOw2iXy4PL/story.html

HelpVirginia 05/20/13 James City County: The Peninsula Health District is looking for a large grey dog, possibly a Rottweiler mix, that bit a child on May 9, 2013, near the intersection of Cardinal Court and The Maine W in James City County. Officials say if this dog is not found, the victim may have to undergo post exposure treatment (shots) for the prevention of rabies. Once found, the animal will not be taken away from its owner – only placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days, officials say. Anyone who has seen an animal that fits this description in that area is asked to contact the Peninsula Health District – Williamsburg Environmental Health Office at (757) 603-4277. – See http://wtkr.com/2013/05/20/officials-search-for-dog-that-may-have-rabies-in-james-city-co/

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WISCONSIN MAN mauled by BLACK BEAR ~ MONTANA confirms 2 cases of HANTAVIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA university police issue MOUNTAIN LION warning ~ CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE moving toward SHENANDOAH and YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARKS ~ RABIES reports from AR, CA, CT, ID, MDx2, NCx2, OH, TX, VA, & WA ~ ANNOUNCEMENT: USDA APHIS meeting re FERAL SWINE damage management.

Black bear. Courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Black bear. Courtesy U.S. Forest Service.

Wisconsin 05/16/13 greenbaypressgazette.com: by Nathan Phelps – A man was bitten, cut and scratched Wednesday when he was attacked by a black bear on Finch Lane in Silver Cliff in Marinette County. Gerre Ninnemann encountered the bear just before 1:30 p.m. after seeing it go after his dog, according to a Marinette County Sheriff’s Department report. Ninnemann called his dog back to the house and tried to run inside, but the bear ran him down from behind and took him to the ground. The animal started biting and clawing at his back, the report said. Ninnemann was able to get up and make it to the corner of the cabin, but was caught by the animal again.

Marinette County

Marinette County

His wife, Marie, grabbed a shotgun from the home and used it to hit the bear on the head. At that point, Gerre Ninneman again was able to get away from the bear. He used theshotgun to poke it in an effort to keep it away as they retreated into the cabin. The bear continued to circle the cabin and look in the windows, according to the report. A Marinette County deputy shot and killed the bear. A conservation warden took possession of the bear to check for possible rabies, according to the incident report. Gerre Ninneman was taken to Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette for treatment.

Hantavirus:

Gallatin County

Gallatin County

Montana 05/17/13 bozemandailychronicle.com: County and state officials today confirmed two new cases of hantavirus and the first 2013 death in the state from the illness. A Gallatin County woman in her 20s died from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, and a Carbon County man in his 40s was diagnosed with it, the Department of Health and Human Services reported.

Carbon County

Carbon County

The Gallatin County woman is the 10th person in Montana to die from hantavirus. Both people appear to have had recent exposure to rodents. There have been 37 reported cases of hantavirus in Montana since 1993. With one or two cases a year, Montana is second only to New Mexico in the number of cases. – For further details read May 18 report at www.dailychronicle.com

Mountain Lion Sightings:

cougar01dfg.CA.govCalifornia 05/14/13 sanluisobispo.com: by Julia Hickey – A mountain lion sighting at Cal Poly on Monday night has brought the number of sightings at or near the university to four this month. All of the sightings have taken place near Poly Canyon Village, said George Hughes, chief of police for the University Police Department. “This mountain lion has been seen on the hillside. That’s its natural habitat; it’s not unusual,” Hughes said. The first sighting took place May 2 on Stenner Creek Road; followed by two sightings Sunday near the Poly Canyon Village parking structure; and a fourth sighting at 9:30 p.m. on Monday night in the same area near the structure. Police are assuming that all sightings are of the same mountain lion, Hughes said.  Although mountain lions are secretive and attacks on humans are rare, police say there are considered threats. – For recommendations see http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/05/14/2508213/mountain-lion-poly-canyon-village.html

Chronic Wasting Disease:

128487904189069934whitetailVirginia 05/14/13 dailyprogress.com: by Aaron Richardson –  A deadly brain disorder affecting deer, moose and elk is on the region’s doorstep, and its spread could be impossible to stop. Chronic wasting disease, a progressive condition that can remain idle for years before killing the infected animal, has been found in deer 25 miles from the Shenandoah National Park’s northern border, said park biologist Rolf Gubler. The park stretches northeast from outside Waynesboro to Front Royal. Experts say there is no evidence that chronic wasting can be transmitted to humans. But its effect on deer, as well as moose and elk, is devastating — symptoms include dramatic weight loss, tremors and teeth-grinding — and the disease is incurable. Park officials held meetings on chronic wasting earlier this spring in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Washington, and they are working on a plan to contain the infection. That could include thinning the heaviest populations of whitetail deer in the park. – For complete article see http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/chronic-wasting-disease-in-deer-likely-to-move-farther-east/article_173a965a-bcea-11e2-ad43-0019bb30f31a.html

bull-elkNPSWyoming 05/14/13 thewildlifenews.com: Information gleaned from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department indicates that deadly Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is advancing towards western Wyoming’s winter elk feed grounds and Yellowstone National Park. A new map from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition shows the areas where the disease has been detected in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are within 45 miles of winter elk feedgrounds and about 40 miles from Yellowstone Park’s northeast corner. The 2012 information reveals the farthest advance west of CWD in deer in Wyoming yet. Last year, three mule deer were found infected with CWD in Green River, Wyo.; an infected moose was found near Idaho in Star Valley, Wyo., in 2008. Veteran conservationist Lloyd Dorsey of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition said the disease is now essentially on the doorstep of the elk feed grounds, including the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole. Dorsey notes that deer from the endemic disease areas to the east and south migrate north and west to elk herd units in the upper Green River and Jackson Hole, where most of the winter feed grounds are located. For more information on the map depicting CWD areas and Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s efforts to phase out the artificial elk feeding areas and transition to healthier, free ranging wildlife, see http://www.greateryellowstone.org/elkrefuge – For complete article see http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2013/05/17/chronic-wasting-disease-closes-in-on-yellowstone/

West Nile Virus (WNV):

madison cty MSMississippi 05/15/13 Madison County: State health officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV reported in the state this year in early April. Last year, 247 cases of WNV were reported statewide, including 5 fatalities. – See http://www.dailyleader.com/news/article_e7036d56-bd8c-11e2-97b0-0019bb2963f4.html

Rabies:

striped-skunks-01_000Arkansas 05/16/13 Garland County: Officials confirm nine skunks have tested positive for rabies in the county in the last three months. Pope County has the highest in the state with 13 cases, and statewide Arkansas had more confirmed cases by May of this year than in the entire year of 2011. With 90 confirmed cases and the summer months still ahead, the Natural State is on track to surpass the 131 cases recorded in 2012. – See http://arkansasmatters.com/fulltext?nxd_id=663792

grounded%20batCalifornia 05/14/13 Santa Clara County: A bat found April 12th on the Los Gatos Creek Trail between Lark Avenue and Charter Oaks Drive has tested positive for rabies. – See http://campbell.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/bat-found-on-los-gatos-creek-trail-tests-positive-fore594fe7b41

size0Raccoon_USArmyConnecticut 05/14/13 New Haven County: A raccoon found May 12th in the vicinity of Pope and Hawley roads in Oxford has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.voicesnews.com/articles/2013/05/14/arts_and_living/pets_and_wildlife/doc519274565e1f2493782011.txt

ff5Idaho 05/14/13 Kootenai County: A bat found on an interior staircase of a home in the county has tested positive for rabies. Everyone living in the home is now being treated for potential exposure to the virus. – See http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/may/14/rabid-bat-flies-north-idaho-home/

27632221_RabidgoatMaryland 05/16/13 Garrett County: Seven people are being treated for exposure to rabies after a goat in the southern area of the county tested positive for the virus. – See http://times-news.com/local/x730880365/Second-rabies-case-in-Garrett-involves-goat

can_you_helpMaryland 05/14/13 carrollcountytimes.com: by Kelcie Pegher – The Carroll County Health Department is seeking a medium-sized dog with a black coat that bit a person at Memorial Park in Taneytown May 5, according to a release from Carroll County Government. Joe Mancuso, the rabies coordinator for Carroll County said from the description that was given to him, it does not appear as though the dog had rabies.  If you have any information to help locate the dog or its owner, contact the Carroll County Health Department at 410-876-1884, or the Carroll County Humane Society at 410-848-4810.

North Carolina 05/15/13 Henderson County: A gray fox that attacked and bit a woman who was working in the garden at her home on Penny Drive in Hendersonville has tested positive for rabies. The fox bit her several times on the left hand and right leg. Later that night, the fox bit a man in the vicinity 5704860-portrait-of-gray-fox-barkingof Sweetwater Hills Drive and fortunately the man managed to kill the animal with his flashlight. Both bite victims are being treated for exposure to the virus. – See http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20130515/NEWS/130519867?p=2&tc=pg

North Carolina 05/15/13 Guilford County: A fox that bit two children on Sunday who were sitting on the deck at their apartment on Guyer Street in High Point has tested positive for rabies. One was bitten on the hand, the other on the leg. – See http://www.news-record.com/news/1225066-91/rabid-fox-bites-two-children

imagesCAQVTCKPOhio 05/16/13 Mahoning County: A raccoon found in the vicinity of Cherry Hill Place in Boardman has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/may/16/second-rabid-raccoon-found-in-mahoning-c/?nw

3821fefe9b4884850185047e22654718Texas 05/16/13 Taylor and Jones counties: A skunk found in the 3400 block of Buffalo Gap Road in Abilene has tested positive for rabies. Three unvaccinated dogs had been in contact with the skunk. Last month, two rabid skunks were captured within the city’s limits. – See http://www.reporternews.com/news/2013/may/16/third-skunk-in-abilene-this-year-with-rabies/

Raccoon-SiedePreis-smVirginia 05/14/13 Pittsylvania County: A raccoon found in the vicinity of Laniers Mill Road has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/article_ccdf3da2-bcd7-11e2-843e-001a4bcf6878.html

big_brown_batNPSWashington 05/14/13 Franklin County: A bat that bit an 11-month-old child twice in Pasco has tested positive for rabies. The child and her grandmother, who removed the bat from the child’s back, are being treated for exposure to the virus. The bat few from the deck umbrella as it was being opened. – See http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/14/2597353/rabid-bat-bites-pasco-baby.html

Announcement:

thumbnailtexasferalhogsOn Thursday, May 23rd, APHIS’ Wildlife Services and Veterinary Services programs will host a scoping meeting to provide more information about a national approach to feral swine damage management and take comments from participating stakeholders.  Anyone who is unable to attend in person can join the meeting via a live Webcast.  Additional meeting information is available on the Wildlife Services’ Web site at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/feral_swine/index.shtml.  A Notice announcing APHIS’ intent to prepare an environmental impact statement to examine the potential impacts of alternatives for feral swine damage management was published in today’s Federal Register. The public comment period closes June 12.  http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS_FRDOC_0001-1436.

Event Logistics:

Date:  Thursday, May 23, 2013 ~ Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT

Location: 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737

FERAL HOGS a growing concern in OKLAHOMA ~ NEW YORK scientist says new LYME DISEASE VACCINE shows promise in clinical trials ~ CDC releases final 2012 WEST NILE VIRUS report ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from TENNESSEE ~ RABIES reports from CA, NY, NCx3, & TX.

Feral hog. Photo by University of Missouri Ext.

Feral hog. Photo by University of Missouri Ext.

Oklahoma 05/14/13 odwc.state.ok.us: News ReleaseFeral hogs destroy wildlife habitat at alarming rates and cause a number of important concerns to hunters, farmers and other landowners in Oklahoma  Feral hogs can cause extensive damage to farm fields, crops, stored livestock feed, woodlots, suburban landscaping, golf courses and wildlife habitat relied upon by native species such as deer, turkey, squirrels and quail. Their voracious appetites, destructive habits and prolific breeding patterns wreak havoc on the landscape, often resulting in overwhelming competition to native species. They may also carry diseases that can be transmitted to other species, including humans. “The bottom line is they don’t belong here,” said Kevin Grant, Oklahoma state director of Wildlife Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which oversees feral swine management issues in Oklahoma as part of a memorandum of understanding with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The memorandum is rooted in the fact that feral swine are not true wildlife, but rather descendants of domestic stock living at large in a feral state.

FeralHogsUnivMOExtGrant said millions of dollars and significant resources have been spent in an effort to make sure domestic swine stock is safe from disease, so the presence of feral populations raises concerns for the safety of domestic swine and the swine industry. “If they’re here, they need to be on the plate or in a pen because they’re not native to the Americas, and the way that they’re really taking off out there is pretty phenomenal,” Grant said. Grant’s comments were part of a presentation to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on the statewide status of feral swine, or “wild hogs” as they are often called in feralhogby4028mdk09wc1Oklahoma. According to Grant and officials with the Wildlife Department, feral hogs are a well-established and still growing problem in Oklahoma. “They are probably the most prolific large mammal around,” Grant said, adding that feral swine can reach sexual maturity by 6 months of age, have relatively short gestational periods and can give birth to large litters multiple times a year. In the 1990s, the Agriculture Department worked with the Wildlife Department and the Noble Foundation to study the spread of feral hog populations in Oklahoma. Feral hogs seemed to originate in southeastern Oklahoma, and they since have spread to all 77 counties. – For complete release see https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/13ea4fb0754627c5

Lyme Disease:

lyme_disease_hidden_epidemic_poster-p228833588305763989t5wm_400Global 05/13/13 healthcanal.com: News Release – The results of a phase 1/2 clinical trial in Europe of an investigational Lyme disease vaccine co-developed by researchers at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at healthcare company Baxter International S.A., revealed it to be promising and well tolerated, according to a research paper published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The vaccine was shown to produce substantial antibodies against all targeted species of Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme disease in Europe and the United States. Baxter conducted the clinical trial of the vaccine.

Benjamin Luft, M.D., Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Benjamin Luft, M.D., Stony Brook University School of Medicine.

Since the early 1990s, Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and the late John Dunn, Ph.D., a biologist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, spearheaded the initial development of the original vaccine antigen concept, and together with researchers at Baxter helped bioengineer the formulation used in the clinical trial. . . “The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects,” said Dr. Luft, a co-author on the paper. “We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease.” – For complete release see http://www.healthcanal.com/infections/38557-lyme-disease-vaccine-shows-promise-in-clinical-trials.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

cdc_logoNational 05/14/13 cdc.gov: Media Advisory – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the final 2012 national surveillance data for West Nile virus activity. To access the information, please visit www.cdc.gov/westnile . A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Of all West Nile virus disease cases reported, 2,873 (51 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis). The dates of illness onset (when the patients’ illness began) ranged from March through December 2012. The numbers of neuroinvasive, non-neuroinvasive, and total West Nile virus disease cases reported in 2012 are the highest since 2003. The number of deaths is the highest since cases of WNV disease were first detected in the United States in 1999.

DavidsonTNTennessee 05/13/13 Davidson County: A batch of mosquitoes collected in Bordeaux near the intersection of Clarksville Pike and West Hamilton have tested positive for WNV.  – See http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130513/NEWS07/305130038

Rabies:

California 05/14/13 Orange County: A bat found on the garage floor of a home in the 2300 block of Vanguard Way in Costa Mesa on May 5 has tested Little brown batpositive for rabies. A 15-year-old boy contained the live bat in a box without touching it, he said, but the family was urged to pursue a course of action because of possible exposure. – See http://www.dailypilot.com/news/tn-dpt-me-0515-rabid-bat-20130513,0,5554328.story

New York 05/12/13 Staten Island: A Rabies Alert has been issued after ten raccoons and one bat tested positive for the virus on the island so far this year. The raccoons were found in Eltingville, Grasmere, Great Kills, New Dorp, Park Hill, and Westerleigh. – See http://statenisland.ny1.com/content/top_stories/181948/doh-says-high-number-of-si-raccoons-tested-positive-for-rabies

imagesCAWPY6F8North Carolina 05/13/13 Wake County: A fox that fought with an unvaccinated dog last Wednesday in the vicinity of the 300 block of Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.hollyspringssun.com/view/full_story/22524264/article-Wake-issues-rabies-notice?instance=popular

elkgrovecity.govNorth Carolina 05/13/13 Guilford County: A raccoon found on Foxcreek Court in High Point has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.news-record.com/home/1213043-63/raccoon-tests-positive-for-rabies

We_need_your_help62435North Carolina 05/12/13 New Hanover County: A Wilmington woman says she is scared she will have to have unnecessary rabies shots, after the owner of a dog that bit her disappeared. Susan Matthews said she was at the Fort Fisher Park on Saturday, visiting with one family and their puppy, when a second dog came up and bit her in the face. She says she started bleeding and raced down to the water to wash off her face, when she looked back, she says the dog owner had disappeared. “It happened so fast and then they were gone, it made me just want to cry,” said Matthews. “I was in shock the rest of the day, both about the bite and the fact that they left.” She says the cut continued to bleed, and wants to know if the dog had its rabies shots. If she can’t find the owners, she says she will have to go forward with rabies shot. “It’s very painful and very expensive and we don’t have insurance,” said Susan. She says, she is hoping to find the owner before time runs out, so she can save herself the pain and extra money if the shot is unnecessary. Susan says the dog has white hair. (Anyone with information about this incident should contact New Hanover County Public Health at 910-798-6500.)

800px-Striped_SkunkByTomfriedelWCTexas 05/13/13 Wichita County: A Rabies Alert has been issued in Wichita Falls after two skunks tested positive for the virus. – See http://texomashomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=274872

MICHIGAN to ban FERAL SWINE sporting operations if Legislature fails to pass regulations ~ CDC says new INFLUENZA VIRUS discovered in GUATEMALAN FRUIT BATS probably not a threat to HUMANS ~ RABIES reports from GEORGIA (2), KANSAS, NEW MEXICO, NORTH CAROLINA (2), PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, & VIRGINIA (2).

Wild Boar. Photo by Richard Bartz. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 02/29/12 minbcnews.com: The statewide ban on feral swine is scheduled to take effect on April 1, but Department of Natural Resources officials say the industry could still be saved if the legislature passes a law regulating the industry before then. Officials estimate there are about 35 sporting swine operations in the state–some are breeders, some are game ranches. The DNR says 10 of those operations are located in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), but there could be more because until now, the industry has been unregulated without any reporting requirements.

So what exactly are feral swine? Some are wild boar and some are simply domestic pigs that escaped into the wild and interbred with the wild boar. Most are between 100 and 200 pounds, but some have weighed in at over 500 pounds. They’re considered an intelligent animal, good swimmers, and quick runners. The wild boar originated in Europe and Asia, and came to the United States, as best we can tell, in the late 19th century. They were brought here for sporting purposes. As many as four million feral swine (both the original boar and the pigs that have interbred with them) may now populate the U.S., but most are in the South, Texas in particular. The so-called razorback of Arkansas is a feral swine.

Michigan has an estimated 1500-3000 feral swine, most of them downstate. The DNR believes they may have been introduced into the state as recently as 15 years ago. They look different from the domestic pig. They have thick, bristly coats, longer legs, a narrow head and snout, and a distinctive, prominent ridge of hair on their spine (hence, the name razorback). Their meat is said to be tasty and they’re considered a good sporting breed. So what’s the problem? Why are they being banned in Michigan? “They can transmit disease to humans,” explains Debbie Munson Badini, a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources. “And that includes toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. They also damage our livestock, specifically pigs, with brucellosis, peudo-rabies and tuberculosis.” She points out that a local meat processor recently came down with bacterial meningitis after processing wild boar meat. And the damage, she says, goes beyond that. Feral swine tear up crops and trees. They can driver farmers crazy. So why not just ban the swine in the wild, but leave the gaming operations alone?

That could happen, Badini says, if the state legislature decides to act. The DNR, she emphasizes, isn’t out to destroy the businesses of breeders and ranchers. “It is a concern,” she says. “We’re not happy about that but we have to look at the bigger picture in our state. The damage is huge.” There’s the concern also that the swine at gaming ranches can escape. They’re known to be resourceful animals. Whether the legislature and the DNR can be just as resourceful in preserving an industry while ridding the state of a pest, remains to be seen.

Little yellowshouldered bat. Photo by Tobusaru. Wikimedia Commons.

Global 02/27/12 cdc.gov: News Release – A new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza, according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked with University of the Valley of Guatemala. The study was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue,” said Dr. Suxiang Tong, team lead of the Pathogen Discovery Program in CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases and lead author of the study.  “The study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses.”

For the bat influenza virus to infect humans, it would need to obtain some genetic properties of human influenza viruses. This can occur in nature through a process called reassortment. Reassortment occurs when two or more influenza viruses infect a single host cell, which allows the viruses to swap genetic information. Reassortment is a complicated chain of events that can sometimes lead to the emergence of new influenza viruses in humans. Preliminary CDC research on the new virus suggests that its genes are compatible with human influenza viruses.  “Fortunately, initial laboratory testing suggests the new virus would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans,” said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the Molecular Virology and Vaccines Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division and a study co–author.  “A different animal – such as a pig, horse or dog –would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur.”

Dr. Ruben Donis

Bat influenza viruses are known only to infect little yellow–shouldered bats, which are common in Central and South America and are not native to the United States.  CDC works with global disease experts to monitor influenza viruses that circulate in animals, which could affect humans.  Previous pandemics of the 20th century, as well as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, were caused by influenza viruses in animals that gained the ability to infect and spread easily in humans. For more information about CDC’s global disease detection and emergency response activities, please see www.cdc.gov/globalhealth/gdder/gdd/. Influenza related information, including influenza in animals, is available at www.cdc.gov/flu. To view the study, please visit www.cdc.gov/eid.

Georgia 02/28/12 Hall County: A skunk that was in contact with a dog on Campbell Road has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/17036183/positive-rabies-alert-in-east-hall

Georgia 02/27/12 Milton, Fulton County: A dead raccoon found in the Freemanville Road area last week has tested positive for rabies. See http://alpharetta.patch.com/articles/dead-racoon-s-rabies-reminder-to-take-precautions

Kansas 02/29/12 Saline County: A horse has tested positive for rabies. It is the seventh case of the virus confirmed in animals statewide this year. See http://www.saljournal.com/news/story/rabies2-29-12

New Mexico 02/29/12 Carlsbad, Eddy County: The New Mexico Department of Health says 32 pet dogs from the Carlsbad area have been euthanized since December because they were exposed to known rabid animals and weren’t vaccinated against rabies. With the exception of puppies that were too young to be fully vaccinated, all of these deaths could have been prevented. Rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law. State health officials say that in addition to dogs, a number of livestock and at least one cat also have been euthanized due to rabies exposures. Eddy County is currently experiencing an animal rabies outbreak. Officials say 22 skunks, one dog, and one fox have tested positive for rabies in the Carlsbad area since December.

North Carolina 02/29/12 Iredell County: Officials say a second case of rabies has been confirmed in the county involving a raccoon that came in contact with an unvaccinated dog on Triplett Road east of Statesville. See http://www2.mooresvilletribune.com/news/2012/feb/29/county-confirms-second-case-rabies-ar-1983103/

North Carolina 02/27/12 New Hanover County: Health officials have confirmed the county’s fourth case of rabies this year in a raccoon captured after fighting with two dogs along Horne Place Drive. See http://myrtlegrove.wect.com/news/families/53847-fourth-rabies-case-confirmed-new-hanover-co

Pennsylvania 02/29/12 Horsham, Montgomery County: A bat killed by a pet dog has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/montco_memo/140932133.html

South Carolina 02/27/12 Walhalla, Oconee County: A man is receiving PEP rabies treatments after being exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies. See http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20120227/NEWS/302270052/Oconee-man-treated-in-rabies-case?odyssey=tab|mostpopular|text|NEWS

Texas 02/28/12 Lindale, Smith County: A skunk found near the 13000 block of CR 4200 has tested positive for rabies. See http://www.cbs19.tv/story/17039911/skunk-tested-positive-for-rabies-in-lindale

Virginia 02/27/12 Pittsylvania County: A raccoon that scratched an individual and several pets in the Museville Road area has tested positive for rabies. See http://www2.godanriver.com/news/2012/feb/27/rabies-alert-issued-area-pittsylvania-county-ar-1720226/

Virginia 02/28/12 Amherst County: A 2-year-old pet dog that had not been vaccinated for rabies and was acting strangely had to be euthanized and it tested positive for the virus. Family members are receiving PEP rabies treatments. See http://www.wset.com/story/17038588/rabies-case-confirmed-after-death-of-dog

Florida officials say FERAL HOGS now inhabit all 67 of the state’s counties and may exceed one million in number ~ FERAL CATS with RABIES reported in California, & Georgia ~ Canada: Ontario town official warns PET owners of COYOTES on the prowl.

Feral hog. Photo credit: University of Florida.

Florida 11/01/11 floridatoday.com: by Jim Waymer – Wild hogs have been rooting for grubs, mole crickets and other creepy crawlies in the Suntree area, horrifying homeowners who cherish well-manicured yards. “They rip up the lawns. They’re going down about a foot or two feet,” said Edward Mangold, secretary of Waterford Pointe subdivision’s homeowners association. The 70-home subdivision in Suntree had to pay about $1,000 so far to have hogs trapped, he said. The slovenly pigs leave deep puddles and angry homeowners behind. “The just excavate the whole thing out,” Mangold said. The total number of trapped hogs rose to 19 this morning, when Melbourne trapper James Dean caught two more near the Waterford Pointe golf course. Other wild hogs have been trapped this month on Suntree Country Club’s Challenge golf course. Mangold suspects more are still on the loose.

Trappers say this is the wild hogs’ most active, hungriest time of the year. Heavy rains are driving them to higher ground, where they rip up yards and drive landscapers nuts. “We’re starting to get into the winter, so the pigs are fattening up right now,” said Dean. In June, hogs invaded Suntree and Grant-Valkaria. That time, a lagging wet season caused forest wetlands to recede, leaving lawn sprinklers as the pigs’ long-lost moisture source that lured them to their staple diet — insects they gobble up from damp soil. This time, recent rains flooded low-lying forests and drove hogs out to higher ground on greens, fairways and backyards. “I’ve actually had my traps underwater,” Dean said. He also uses pit bulls and other dogs to capture hogs. A dog rigged with a GPS device chases the pigs down, barking when it finds them. Then Dean releases a catch-dog fitted with a Kevlar vest for protection to hold the pig to the ground until Dean can arrive to hog tie the beast.

Most of Florida’s hogs live west of Lake Okeechobee, trappers say, but their range is expanding. Wild hogs may have been introduced by Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto as early as 1539. They now inhabit all 67 Florida counties and may exceed 1 million individual animals, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. – For complete article see http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20111101/NEWS01/311010011/Wild-hogs-nuisance-Suntree-residents?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

California 11/01/11 Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County: Feral cat found on Las Palmas Drive tested positive for rabies. See http://www.keyt.com/news/local/PHD-Confirms-Cat-Has-Rabies-Virus-133014038.html

Georgia 10/31/11 Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County: Rabies alert issued after feral cat tested positive for the virus. See http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/portal/gwinnett/Departments/Police/AnimalWelfareandEnforcementNew

Canada:

Ontario 11/01/11 Benmiller, Huron County: Animal Control officer cautions area pet owners that a coyote attacked and nearly killed a dog last week. See http://www.goderichsignalstar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3353775

Officials at Glacier National Park in Montana euthanize BLACK BEAR on raiding rampage ~ Wisconsin officers kill wounded BLACK BEAR that attacked deer hunter ~ New Jersey officers kill BLACK BEAR attacking WOMAN and her LLAMA ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from Illinois, & Massachusetts ~ an EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS report from Massachusetts ~ and RABIES reports from Massachusetts, & Rhode Island ~ FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: FERAL HOG that gored Arizonan not RABID ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Photo by J Mundell. Mass Wildlife

Montana 10/06/11 nps.gov: News Release – Glacier National Park Rangers and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists captured and euthanized a black bear in the Polebridge area on Wednesday, October 5, after numerous incidents in which the bear broke into vehicles, raided trash storage areas and caused damage trying to access a residence. The bear broke vehicle windows and pulled off car door handles to gain access into at least four cars and trucks, including a vehicle in the park. The bear obtained a food reward in most of these incidents. The female bear was six years old and weighed 241 pounds, and had been previously captured in downtown Kalispell in June of 2008, after it was seen in the Woodland Park area. The bear was tagged and released in McGinnis Creek in the North Fork of the Flathead, and has not been involved in any other management situations since. After the recent incidents in the Polebridge area, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and park rangers set traps and captured the suspect animal. After consultation between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists and Glacier National Park personnel and verification that the correct animal had been captured, the bear was euthanized. This action is consistent with state and federal bear management plans. This bear was determined to be a conditioned bear and a potential threat to human safety. Conditioned bears are those that have sought and obtained non-natural foods, destroyed property or displayed aggressive non-defensive behavior towards humans, and are removed from the wild. Conditioned bears are not relocated.

Wisconsin 10/09/11 dl-onlne.com: A man was hospitalized Saturday, after tangling with a bear on the southern edge of Superior. At 8 p.m., Superior Police were called to a property on East Old No. 105 Road, after receiving a report of a mauling. The identity of the injured party has not yet been released. The man was with a female hunting partner who had set up over some bait, in pursuit of deer. A bear apparently wandered onto the scene, and the man attempted to chase it off, according to Sgt. Adam Poskozim. The bear turned on the man and began to maul him. The man wounded the bear with a knife, and his hunting partner shot the animal with an arrow. But the wounded animal was still alive when police arrived on the scene. The man was treated by emergency medical technicians on the scene for wounds to his right thigh and wrist, according to a report from the Superior Fire Department. He was stabilized then transported by Gold Cross ambulance to Essentia St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. The man sustained puncture wounds that Poskozim said appeared consistent with bite injuries. Responding officers were concerned that the wounded animal posed a danger to others and spent nearly an hour searching down the bear, which was then dispatched with a gun. Poskozim estimated the bear, which was a sow, weighed somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds. The case has been referred the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for further investigation, according to Poskozim.

Llama

New Jersey 10/09/11 njherald.com: Police investigated a bear attack on a llama early Sunday morning, according to a press release. At 12:44 a.m., state police at Hope barracks were dispatched to 60 Gaisler Road in Blairstown. Upon arrival, troopers observed the homeowner standing in a pasture in front of her home, holding a haltered llama. The homeowner and llama were covered in blood, which was coming from a large wound on the head of the animal, police said. Troopers then observed a large bear advancing toward the homeowner and llama. Troopers Nugnes and Decarolis put themselves between the bear and the wounded llama and homeowner, and dispatched the aggressive bear, the release said. Police did not name the homeowner.

Will County

Illinois 10/10/11 chicagotribune.com: An elderly Frankfort-area man is Will County’s first reported case of the human West Nile virus this year, the Will County Health Department reported. The man, who is in his 80s, was hospitalized Sept. 7 and discharged three weeks later. He reported having a fever, disorientation, headache and other symptoms. At least 23 human West Nile virus cases have been reported in Illinois this summer, including 14 in Cook County. Nationally, West Nile virus has accounted for some 375 human cases and at least 18 fatalities, including two from Illinois.

Massachusetts 10/07/11 mass.gov: News Release – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced two newly-confirmed cases of mosquito-borne illness in the state. In the first case, an elderly woman from out-of-state who spent time visiting Bristol County has been confirmed to have eastern equine encephalitis (EEE). This individual was previously reported as a suspect case being investigated, and EEE virus infection was subsequently confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The patient spent several weeks in Bristol County prior to becoming ill on August 25th. She spent two weeks in a hospital and was discharged to a rehabilitation facility where she continues to improve.  In the second case, a woman between the ages of 49 and 64 from Essex County was diagnosed with West Nile Virus. She became ill on October 3 and was hospitalized. Her condition has improved and she is expected to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility soon.

Massachusetts 10/05/11 wboc.com: by Kye Parsons – The Worcester County Health Department has confirmed a cat found near the intersection of Greenbackville Road and George Island Landing Road in Stockton tested positive for rabies. The large black cat was described as having a red collar that had green and yellow flowers and a bell on it. Deputy Health Officer Dr. Andrea Mathias warns that any person, pet or other animal that may have had contact with this cat could be at risk for rabies exposure. To report any contact with or exposure with the cat, call the Worcester County Health Department immediately at (410) 641-9559.

Rhode Island 10/07/11 projo.com: by Thomas J. Morgan – Authorities said Friday that there is a slight chance that a recently euthanized horse had rabies, and they are asking that anyone who had contact with the animal communicate with the state Department of Health. He said officials of the Department of Health will be available to take telephone calls from anyone who had contact with the horse after Sept. 19. People should call (401) 222-2577 during business hours, or on Saturday through Monday (401) 265-3011 from noon to 3. The horse, Wiseguy, was an amiable old animal that lived in a corral at the Russo Farm on Morgan Avenue (in Johnston), according to Deputy Police Chief David M. DeCesare. “The horse had been there so long people took their kids, fed it, petted it,” DeCesare said. But Wiseguy began exhibiting signs of a neurological disorder in late September, said Dr. Scott Marshall, the state veterinarian. Marshall said that Wiseguy was 28 years old, a considerable age for a horse. He said the attending veterinarian tested for several diseases, but not for rabies. A test for a disease caused by a protozoan proved positive, he said, making that the most likely cause of the animal’s problem. Due to the positive result for that disease, he said, the attending vet did not test for rabies. He said the horse was euthanized on Oct. 3 and was buried on the farm.”Because rabies is fatal for people, we don’t take it lightly,” Marshall said. “Even though the likelihood was very low for rabies, we wanted a diagnostic sample.” Officials of the state Department of Environmental Management exhumed the carcass for testing, but decomposition was too advanced to allow a test for rabies, Marshall reported. Peter Hanney, spokesman for the state Department of Health, said, “Rabies is out there.” He said that “out of an abundance of caution,” state officials have asked for flyers to be distributed in Johnston to alert those who may have had contact with Wiseguy. DeCesare said people should be particularly concerned if they received a bite or scratch or if horse saliva was deposited in an open wound. “If they were just petting or feeding, it really isn’t a big issue,” he said, “However, anyone with contact should give the state Health Department a call.”

Follow-Up Reports:

(See September 29, 2011: Arizonan gored by WILD HOG)

Arizona 10/07/11 washingtonpost.com: Officials say a wild pig that attacked a man in western Arizona last month has tested negative for rabies. Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife manager Suzanne Ehret says the state health agency released its findings Thursday. The man was gored Sept. 25 in the Lake Havasu City area. The pig was eventually captured and euthanized. Wildlife officials told the Today’s News-Herald (http://bit.ly/oxMv4Z) the investigation determined the animal was provoked. The pig was reported looking sickly alongside a fence in Crystal Beach when the man touched its hindquarters. The animal reared and gored the man with its lower tusks. Specifics on the man’s condition weren’t immediately available, but he was said to be recovering after the attack. David Bergman, Arizona director for the USDA’s Wildlife Services division, called the attack a “rare occasion.”

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Arizonan gored by WILD HOG ~ Colorado teen bitten by COYOTE is sixth such incident in state this year ~ Chicago wildlife pros trapping hundreds of SKUNKS ~ Kansas officials warn of possible TULAREMIA outbreak ~ Texas health officials confirm FERAL KITTEN had RABIES ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE ~ Travel Warnings for Kenya.

Feral Hog Tusks. Photo by 4028mdk09. Wikimedia Commons.

Arizona 09/26/11 lvrj.com: by Dave Hawkins – A wild pig that injured a man in northwest Arizona on Saturday was “put down” so that state health officials could perform tests to see whether it was infected with rabies. Desert Hills Fire Chief Matt Espinoza encountered the hog about 7 p.m. after responding to a report of a downed wild burro. He said the 75-pound animal was grossly underweight and behaved as if it were sick or injured when it was found lying along a fence line on Riverside Road in the Crystal Beach residential area north of Lake Havasu City. Espinoza said the hogs that live in the area are not javelinas, which are indigenous to Arizona. They are more like large pot-bellied pigs that roam the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, which borders the subdivision. Espinoza said a young adult male resident of the subdivision was wounded as it approached the pig. “It reared up, and the lower tooth, which protruded outside of his upper lip, punctured his inner leg,” he said. He said firefighters treated the man at the scene. The man, who was not identified, then chose to take himself to a hospital for a checkup. Espinoza said firefighters tried to contain the pig for capture while they waited for Arizona Game and Fish Department personnel, but the animal loped away, leading firefighters on a 100-yard chase through desert brush before it was corralled. Game and Fish spokesman Chris Bedinger said the pig’s body was taken Monday from the Western Arizona Humane Society to Phoenix for testing by the state Department of Health Services.

Colorado 09/26/11 denverpost.com: A 16-year-old girl is receiving rabies shots after she was bitten by a coyote in the Vista Heights neighborhood of The Meadows subdivision Friday night. Heather McDonald said she was in her boyfriend’s back yard, which opens up to a green space, after they returned from her high school homecoming game and were approached by the coyote. “He came up and sniffed me once and bit me,” she said. “He wasn’t like growling at me or anything like that, and he just hovered at our feet, and we didn’t know what to do.” The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department reported on its website that deputies have received multiple calls in the last few weeks on coyote sightings and encounters in the higher populated areas of the county. McDonald is the sixth person in Colorado to be bitten by a coyote this year. There has been only 20 reported coyote bites in the past 11 years, according to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. There have been 11 reported human-coyote encounters this year. Broomfield has seen the worst of it, including three bites in the Anthem neighborhood since Aug. 18. A 3-year-old girl was bitten last week while playing with her family in their backyard. A 6-year-old boy and a 2 1/2-year-old boy also have been bitten in the neighborhood. A coyote approached a 4-year-old girl playing near the Anthem recreation center before the child’s mother chased it away.

Illinois 09/26/11 huffintonpost.com: Notice a different scent in the air lately? No, we’re not talking about that crispy, autumn air — rather, skunk sightings are reportedly on the rise in Chicago, following the mammal’s recent statewide population surge. Chicago Wildlife News reports that the state’s skunk population increased 46 percent in 2010 — the eighth annual increase during the last ten years. In the Chicago area, ABC Humane Wildlife Control & Prevention has been busy with requests to remove skunks from various properties. They’ve reportedly captured 687 skunks so far this year, up from 426 skunks at the same point last year, an increase of just over 60 percent. According to a wildlife biologist with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the skunks’ population increase over the last decade is due to their continued recovery from a rabies outbreak that struck in the early ’80s, according to Chicago Wildlife News. A number of Chicago suburbs have taken particular note of the often smelly critters. In Oak Forest, one resident said his dog has been sprayed by a skunk five times. Another resident noted that a family of skunks had begun living under his shed. In Joliet, residents came to a City Council meeting in September, complaining that the number of skunks in the area had reached “epidemic proportions,” according to the Peoria Journal Star. In Northbrook, too, this year’s so-called “skunk season” — September through early November — was also expected to be pretty busy.

Kansas 09/28/11 cjonline.com: Lyon County health officials are cautioning the public against a possible outbreak of Tularemia after a squirrel tested positive for the disease. To date, no humans have been known to have contracted the disease in recent weeks in Emporia. Authorities reported a man in Emporia found eight dead rabbits in his yard over a period of time and contacted the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The man then collected the ninth animal, a squirrel, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks sent it to the Southeast Cooperative for Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga.  The squirrel tested positive for Tularemia, a disease of animals and humans caused by the bacteria Franciscella Tularensis. Kansas is currently ranked sixth in the nation for confirmed cases of Tularemia in people. At this point, there are no known cases of human disease in Kansas.  The last a human death due to Tularemia in Kansas occurred in 2008. Rabbits, hares and rodents are especially susceptible and often die in large numbers during outbreaks. Cats can also become ill and carry the disease to their owners.  – For complete article including routes of infection and recommendation go to http://cjonline.com/news/2011-09-28/lyon-county-officials-warn-disease

Texas 09/27/11 kgnb.am: For the 4th time this year, Comal County Public Health Department officials have confirmed a positive case of rabies, with the most recent case involving a domestic animal, namely a kitten. The gray short-haired kitten was found wandering in the parking lot of a New Braunfels apartment complex last Thursday, and was picked up by a student, who kept the feline in her apartment until she took it to the Comal Animal Clinic. There, a rabies test was performed and came back positive. Officials believe the kitten may have come in contact with a rabid animal such as a skunk or bat. Health officials are concerned that this incident could involve an entire litter of kittens, which means there could be more infected animals in the area. New Braunfels Animal Control has asked the apartment manager to send out a letter warning residents about that potential hazard, and an animal control officer is now on the lookout for other stray animals in that area. As with any positive rabies case, Comal County Public Health officials urge residents to avoid touching any injured or dead wild animal including bats, skunks, raccoons, or foxes. And they ask that you use caution if you find a stray domesticated animal. Rabies is a potentially life-threatening illness that requires a number of painful shots for those that are potentially infected. If you see an injured or dead animal, call either the New Braunfels or Comal County Animal Control office immediately.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

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Travel Warnings:

Kenya 09/28/11 allheadlinenews.com: An outbreak of dengue fever in the northeastern Kenyan town of Mandera, close to the Somalia and Ethiopia borders, has affected more than 1,000 people, with four unconfirmed deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the World Health Organization (WHO). A permanent river, Dawa, passes through Mandera. Health officials said residents had been complaining of mosquito bites during the day with the bites swelling. “Using bed nets was impractical as the vector was biting during the day,” the ministry said. “The Public Health office has also noted the resistance developed by the vector to insecticides of different varieties (Icon and Deltamethrin mainly).” Health authorities have alerted all neighbouring districts and public awareness campaigns are ongoing, advising residents to seek early medical attention.