Tag Archives: Moose

Two COLORADO women attacked by MOOSE ~ CANADA: Two NUNAVUT hunters attacked by POLAR BEAR ~ OKLAHOMA confirms state’s first HANTAVIRUS death in 2014 ~ RABIES report from ILLINOIS.

Bull moose. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Bull moose. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Colorado 05/20/14 cnn.com: by Ed Payne – A couple of Colorado women were recuperating after a moose attack northwest of Denver over the weekend. They were walking their dogs in the city of Black Hawk when the encounter took place, the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office said. “All of a sudden, I looked up and he was looking right at me and grunted and then charged,” Jackqueline Boron told CNN affiliate KDVR.. “I tried to get up, and he kept coming back and stomping on me.” “When I fell back he got me here,” Boron said, pointing to her arm. “Then, when I curled up forward, that’s when he got me on the head.” The attack left Boron with staples in the back of her head, 15 stitches on her leg and four broken ribs, KDVR reported. Ellen Marie Divis was also stomped on by the moose, but was able to get away to find help. “I heard ‘help me, help me, help me,'” neighbor Chris Hockley told KDVR. “This lady comes running up to her house and she’s covered in blood.” The sheriff’s office issued a warning after the attack. “If you encounter a moose: walk away from it — DO NOT walk towards it; moose are agitated by dogs; make sure your dog is on a leash, control the dog(s) and walk away,” the warning said. – For complete article and video see http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/20/us/colorado-moose-attack/

Polar Bear:

Canada:

Bear-standing-Cranearctic.noss.gov-1Nunavut 05/22/14 nunatsiaqonline.ca: Two hunters are being treated for injuries sustained in a May 22 polar bear attack outside the community of Arctic Bay. Police said local members of the search and rescue team were called to help the two men, who are thought to have been attacked by at least one bear at the floe edge early May 22. The RCMP said the two men were being treated at the local nursing station this morning. Sources in Arctic Bay say the men’s injuries were not serious, and both were able to walk off the sea ice. – For complete article see http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674two_nunavut_hunters_being_treated_after_polar_bear_attack/

Hantavirus:

imagesCAULAVUQOklahoma 05/22/14 Texas County: Health officials have confirmed that a man’s death is due to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which is carried by wild rodents. The victim was exposed after dust was stirred up while cleaning a rodent-infested area. – See http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Oklahoma-confirms-hantavirus-death-in-Texas-County-5498427.php

Rabies:

1Illinois 05/20/14 daily-chronicle.com: by Andrea Azzo – Authorities are trying to identify the owners of the pit bull that bit a Sycamore woman’s arm severely enough to require surgery. Part of the urgency behind the search is to determine if she will have to undergo rabies shots. The pit bull’s owners, described as two white men and one Hispanic or Indian man in their 20s, walked away from DeKalb’s new dog park in Katz Park after another couple at the park called the police. The bite victim, Angela Rojas, said her primary focus was to get to the hospital after she was attacked. “It all happened really fast,” Rojas said. “Our goal now is to find out if the dog has his vaccinations.” . . . The dog park where this happened is owned by the DeKalb Park District and is relatively new. Katz Park, 393 W. Dresser Road in DeKalb, opened in December after a five-year lobbying effort to have a local place for dogs to run off-leash. Two signs at the park, one at the entrance, indicate dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs and require all dogs must wear current license tags and be up-to-date on shots. – For complete article see http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2014/05/20/dekalb-police-seek-dog-that-bit-woman/a207ony/

Scientists alarmed by MOOSE die-off across NORTH AMERICA ~ EEE & WNV reports from FL, IL, IN, KS, MA, OH, & TX ~ RABIES reports from GA, TX, VA, & CANADA: ONTARIO.

Bull moose. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Bull moose. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

North America 10/14/13: New York Times reporter Jim Robbins has written a chilling article about a moose die-off that has swept across the continent,  but no one has been able to figure out what is causing it. Most believe climate change is playing a significant role. The winters are growing shorter, and the tick population is increasing exponentially. Kristine Rines, a biologist with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, says “You can get 100,000 ticks on a moose”. That amounts to a huge loss of blood, not to mention the vexation. In Minnesota, brain worms and liver flukes are wreaking havoc on the moose population, which has dropped from 12,000 to about 3,100 in the past two decades. Heat stress may be a factor, as well as unregulated hunting and the loss of forestation caused by pine bark beetles. Moose don’t run in herds so they’re hard to study. – For the article, photo, and video see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/science/earth/something-is-killing-off-the-moose.html?emc=edit_tnt_20131014&tntemail0=y&_r=0

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

Jackson_County.FLFlorida 10/16/13 Jackson County: Officials have confirmed that a horse stabled in the county has tested positive for WNV, and a deer has tested positive for EEE. – See http://www.wmbb.com/story/23712846/west-nile-virus-jackson-county

McLean_County.ILIllinois 10/18/13 McLean County: Health officials have confirmed that a male resident in his 40s is the second human case of WNV in the county this year. – See http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/mclean-co-reports-nd-human-case-of-west-nile-virus/article_bfc3ebb0-380e-11e3-85df-001a4bcf887a.html

IN-DH-B-W-LogoIndiana 10/18/13 IN Dept of Health: State health officials have announced the state’s first WNV-related fatality this year. Twenty human cases of the virus have been reported. – See http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=136661&information_id=189501&type=&syndicate=syndicate

reno.cty.ksKansas 10/18/13 Reno County: Officials have confirmed that a male resident of Hutchinson in his 70s who died October 15th is the second WNV-related fatality in the county this year. The first was a male resident of Turon in his 60s who died October 3rd. – See http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/e0bb99cbac9d40089b3839828c0edc80/KS–West-Nile-Virus

worcester cty MAMassachusetts 10/17/13 Worcester County: Officials have confirmed that a horse stabled in Charlton tested positive for WNV and was euthanized. – See http://www.telegram.com/article/20131017/NEWS/310179876/1116

Lucas-County.OHOhio 10/18/13 Lucas County: Officials have confirmed that a female resident of Toledo, age 57, is the first person in the county to die of WNV this year. A former kindergarten teacher and mother of seven, the victim died October 12th at Hospice of Northwest Ohio. – See http://www.toledoblade.com/Medical/2013/10/18/West-Nile-virus-claims-life-of-Toledo-woman.html

dallas cty TXTexas 10/18/13 Dallas County: Health officials have confirmed that a resident of ZIP code 75249 in the City of Dallas is the county’s eleventh human case of WNV this year. – See http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2013/10/dallas-county-announces-11th-human-west-nile-infection.html/?nclick_check=1

Rabies:

R02byDNR_WI.govGeorgia 10/16/13 Henry County: Officials have issued a Rabies Alert for a one-mile area surrounding 75 Chafin Drive in McDonough after a raccoon that was killed by a dog in that vicinity tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/23708841/rabbies-alert-issued-in-henry-county

stripedskunk_05_thumbTexas 10/15/13 Hunt County: A skunk found in the 600 block of Erica in Greenville on October 9th has tested positive for rabies. – See http://ketr.org/post/rabid-skunk-found-greenville-0

batnewscientist884909Virginia 10/16/13 Wise County: A bat found at a private home  earlier this month near the Town of Pound has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.wvva.com/story/23708543/2013/10/16/bat-in-wise-county-is-found-to-have-rabies

Canada:

Big_brown_bat_(Eptesicus_fuscus)_285NPSOntario 10/16/13 Grey-Bruce Health Unit: A big brown bat found in the Tara area has tested positive for rabies. – See http://blackburnnews.com/midwestern-ontario/midwestern-ontario-news/2013/10/16/2nd-rabid-bat-in-grey-bruce/

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

ALASKAN hiker survives BROWN BEAR attack ~ NORTH CAROLINA resident discovers very “BIG” BLACK BEAR in back yard ~ USDA announces new rules to limit spead of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ TEXAS confirms HUMAN case of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ ILLINOIS county reports MOSQUITO sample positive for WEST NILE VIRUS ~ CALIFORNIA man bitten by RABID BAT while cleaning pool.

Brown bear. Photo by Alaska Public Lands.

Alaska 06/10/12 Chugach State Park, Anchorage: by Rebecca Palsha, ktuu.com  – An Eagle River man was attacked by a (brown) bear Sunday morning, about 7:40, on the Bird Creek trail about three miles from the trailhead. Alaska State Troopers say 30-year-old Ben Radakovich was hiking by himself, in the morning, when he came across a mother and her cub. Radakovich had pepper spray with him, but didn’t have time to use it before the bear attacked. Trooper spokesperson Beth Ipsen says Radakovich has wounds to his to his head, neck and back from biting and scrapes. Ipsen says the attack happened really quickly and Radakovich curled into a ball. Ipsen says Radakovich told them the bear was batting and swatting him. After the attack he scrambled about 30 feet up a tree where he was able to call troopers. Radakovich told troopers he could hear the bear grunting and panting near-by. It took troopers about two hours to get to him. Radakovich was flown by Helo-1 to Providence Hospital. There has been no update on his condition.

North Carolina 06/10/12 Asheville, Buncombe County: by R.A. Kane – My wife and I (and both of our dogs) just saw a BIG black bear in our back yard. We live on the north side of Asheville and in the city limits. We’ve seen other bears, pretty much every summer and ranging from a mom w/ 3 cubs to a sleek 400# female to a grey-muzzled old male. My best guess is that down on all 4 feet, tonight’s bear was 4 1/2 ft tall at the shoulders and weighed in at 550 to 600 lbs.

National 06/11/12 cattlenetwork.com: The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Friday announced new rules to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), which affects cervids including deer, elk and moose. CWD is a lethal “transmissible spongiform encephalopathy” similar to BSE in cattle, although there is no evidence to date that CWD can spread to cattle or to humans. The new interim final rule will establish a national CWD herd-certification program and minimum requirements for interstate movement of cervid animals in the United States. Farmed or captive deer and elk have been, in numerous cases, implicated in the spread of CWD to wild herds, which has resulted in large-scale culling of animals and economic losses in areas where hunting generates significant revenue. According to APHIS, CWD has been reported in farmed or captive cervids in 11 states since testing began in 1997.

Whitetail buck with Chronic Wasting Disease.

Just last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation announced it will loosen deer-hunting restrictions in a six-county area in the northern part of the state for this fall, in response to the discovery of CWD in two deer killed during last-year’s hunting season. After that discovery, the department killed over 650 deer in the area and three of those tested positive for CWD. All of the infected wild deer were killed near a captive-deer facility where 11 animals previously tested positive for the disease. “It is important that we have a nationwide CWD herd certification program for farmed or captive cervids,” says USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford. “The amendments we are making to our CWD rule will help to control the spread of this disease, support the growing U.S. cervid industry, and complement existing state CWD programs.” APHIS is issuing the interim final rule and requesting public comment for 30 days. After reviewing the public comments, the Agency will issue a final rule and, should there be a need, incorporate any changes made in response to comments received by the Agency. The interim final rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Participating States then will have 180 days before APHIS begins enforcing the interstate movement provisions in the regulation.

Texas 06/11/12 Lantana, Denton County: Health officials confirm the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county this year. See http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/06/11/4023627/west-nile-case-confirmed-in-denton.html

Illinois 06/11/12 Peoria, Peoria County: Health officials have confirmed the first mosquito sample to test positive for West Nile Virus this year. – See http://www.pjstar.com/news/x2067833369/Mosquito-with-West-Nile-found-in-Peoria-County

California 06/09/12 Riverside, Riverside County: A bat that bit a man while cleaning a pool on June 6th has tested positive for rabies, and another bat suspected of being infected with the virus was found near Hemet, a county Animal Services spokesperson said. In the Hemet incident, a vaccinated dog was playing with a sick bat when it was bitten on June 5th.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH developing new test to diagnose PRION diseases including CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ NEW JERSEY HORSE with EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS euthanized ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from IL, PA, & TX ~ RABIES reports from IOWA, & CANADA: ONTARIO ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending May 26, 2012.

Cow moose with calf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Global 06/06/12 nih.gov: News Release – A test being developed by National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists to quickly and accurately diagnose fatal brain diseases performed better than existing tests in a recent study of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD). Prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, are difficult to diagnose, untreatable, and ultimately fatal. Normally, prion protein molecules exist harmlessly in every mammal, but for reasons not fully understood, these molecules can develop abnormalities and gather in clusters. Scientists have associated the accumulation of these clusters with tissue damage that leaves microscopic sponge-like holes in the brain. Prion diseases include sCJD and variant CJD in people; scrapie in sheep; chronic wasting disease in deer, elk, and moose; and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in cattle. Because animals and people can be infected for years before clinical signs or symptoms appear, NIH scientists are developing a rapid and sensitive screening tool to detect prion diseases. Such a test would help prevent the spread of prion diseases among and between species. Of particular concern is the known transmission of variant CJD via blood transfusions. – For further details see http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/prion/Pages/diagnostics.aspx

New Jersey 06/06/12 nj.com: A 3-year-old horse from Burlington County was euthanized on May 27 after testing positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a serious, mosquito-borne illness in horses. “It is very early in the season to see Eastern Equine Encephalitis so horse owners need to be vigilant in vaccinating their animals against diseases spread by mosquitoes,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “We hope this incident will raise awareness about the need to protect our official state animal from this and other harmful diseases, especially since June is the Month of the Horse in our state.” EEE is preventable by vaccination, and effective equine vaccines for EEE and West Nile Virus, another mosquito-borne disease, are available commercially, the Department of Agriculture said. – For complete article see http://www.nj.com/cumberland/index.ssf/2012/06/burlington_county_horse_with_e.html

Illinois 06/05/12 Shawneetown, Gallatin County: State public health officials reported the first West Nile Virus positive mosquito batch in Southern Illinois this year. – See http://www.dailyregister.com/news/x492302404/West-Nile-virus-positive-mosquitoes-found-in-Shawneetown

Pennsylvania 06/06/12 Lackawanna County: A mosquito has tested positive for West Nile Virus about two months earlier than the county has seen in previous years. – See http://theabingtonjournal.com/stories/West-Nile-virus-test-positive,159872

Texas 06/06/12 cbs19.tv: Mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus in three area counties, according to the Texas Health Department. They were found in Fort Bend, Brazoria and Montgomery counties. The infected mosquitoes in Montgomery County were found in The Woodlands. Spraying is already under way on storm drains and streets in the areas where they turned up. No details have been released yet on the location of positive tests in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.

Iowa 06/05/12 Fort Madison, Lee County: A stray cat picked up last Friday in southern Lee County has tested positive for rabies.- http://www.dailygate.com/articles/2012/06/05/news/dgc2659561.txt

Canada:

Ontario 06/05/12 Perth, Lanark County: The Perth District Health Unit is looking for a dog involved in a biting incident at Bedford Public School last week. The dog is described as a brown-and-white spaniel with a red collar. A young couple was playing ball with the dog in the schoolyard at the time of the incident, which happened around 8 p.m. on May 31. The health Unit is trying to determine if the dog has up-to-date rabies shots. If the dog is not found, the person who was bitten may need to receive rabies shots. Anyone who has seen a dog fitting this description should contact the health unit at 271-7600, ext. 252 or after hours at 1-800-431-2054.

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending May 26, 2012:

Published June 1, 2012/ 61(21); ND-283-ND-296

Anaplasmosis . . . 9 . . . Florida, Maine (2), New York (2), Rhode Island (3), Vermont,

Babesiosis . . . 3 . . . New York (2), Rhode Island,

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Florida, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 11 . . . Delaware, Florida, Missouri (5), New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee (2),

Giardiasis . . . 107 . . . Alaska (3), Arkansas, California (20), Florida (20), Iowa (4), Maryland (4), Michigan, Missouri (3), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), Nevada (3), New York (14), Ohio (5), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (8), Washington (10),

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 1 . . . Missouri, 

Lyme Disease . . .  124. . .  Delaware (2), Florida (6), Maryland (22), Missouri, Nebraska, New York (37), North Carolina (5), Oregon, Pennsylvania (31), Vermont (7), Virginia (10), Wyoming,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 36. . . Arkansas, Connecticut (3), Maine, Michigan (2), Missouri, New York (7), Texas (4), Vermont, Virginia (15), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 6. . . California, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee (3),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 20 . . . Alabama (6), Arkansas, Delaware, Florida (4), Missouri (3), Tennessee (4), Texas,

Tularemia . . . 2 . . . Missouri.

FOLLOW-UP REPORTS: Celebrity WOLF OR-7 returns to OREGON without an Oscar ~ ILLINOIS city issues COYOTE warning ~ ARIZONA reports rapid rise of ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER ~ CANADA: YUKON xcountry ski club warns of WOLVES ~ RABIES reports from SOUTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, & VIRGINIA ~ BOOK REVIEW: Out of the Woods: Healing from LYME DISEASE and other Chronic Illness ~ CDC Reports: Results of CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE study.

Gray Wolf. Courtesy National Park Service.

Follow-Up Reports:

(For previous reports on this topic use search term OR-7)

Oregon 03/02/12 or.gov: News Release – Wolf OR-7 was located in Oregon for the first time since late December at noon yesterday, March 1. As of midnight last night, OR-7 was in Jackson County, Oregon. OR-7 had been in northern Siskiyou County, California, less than 10 miles from the Oregon-California border, for the past 12 days. While OR-7 crossed a state boundary yesterday, his movement was small (about 30 miles). “While wolves crossing state boundaries may be significant for people, wolves and other wildlife don’t pay attention to state borders,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “It’s possible OR-7 will cross back into California and be using areas in both states. ODFW will continue to monitor his location and coordinate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Fish and Game.” While OR-7 is west of Highways 395-78-95 in Oregon, he remains protected by both the federal and state Endangered Species Acts.

OR-7 left the Imnaha pack in September 2011 and went through Baker, Grant, Lake, Crook, Harney, Deschutes, Klamath and Jackson counties before entering California Dec. 28, 2011. While in California, he travelled through eastern Siskiyou County, northeastern Shasta County and then resided in Lassen County for a few weeks. On Feb. 11 he re-entered Shasta County and then, about a week later, he crossed north into Siskiyou County. California Fish and Game has been updating his status on the website  www.dfg.ca.gov/wolf/ For more information on wolves in Oregon visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wolves/

Illinois 02/29/12 suntimes.com: The city issued a warning for residents Thursday — be on the lookout for coyotes. City officials said they have received 25 calls from residents since the beginning of the year reporting coyote sightings in residential areas. There has been a large increase in the coyote population in Illinois in the past two decades, especially in the Chicago area, city officials note. In Aurora, reported coyote sightings so far this year are on track to exceed 2011 when Animal Control fielded 53 such calls, officials said. Sightings have been reported on the city’s far southeast side where homes are adjacent to rural or wooded areas, and on the West Side. Animal Control officials said the increased sightings are not unusual at this time of year because the coyotes’ mating cycles result in younger animals leaving their family territories and venturing out on their own. Coyotes are mainly nocturnal animals but may be more visible during the daytime in spring and summer. While most coyotes are leery of people and tend to stay clear of humans, they can still be a danger, especially to young children, Animal Control officials warn. It is not unusual for coyotes to attack dogs and other pets. The most effective way to prevent attacks is to eliminate feeding coyotes either intentionally or accidentally. Coyotes can be attracted to bird and squirrel feeders, bread that is fed to ducks and geese, pet food that is left outside, and other unintentional food sources. When coyotes find these types of food in residential areas, they may lose their fear of humans and eventually test both people and pets as possible prey, officials said. Anyone approached by a coyote should yell, wave their arms, or throw an object at the coyote — but should never run away. Family pets like dogs and cats — especially small pets — should not be left unwatched while outside.  Residents who are attacked by a coyote, or who have a pet that is attacked, should contact Aurora Animal Control at 630-256-3630.

Brown Dog Tick.

Arizona 02/29/12 cronkitenewsonline.com: by Brittany Smith – Reported Arizona cases of a potentially fatal disease spread by ticks have increased steadily over the past decade and spiked within the last two years. With temperatures warming, state and federal officials say those heading into the outdoors should be aware of the danger. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is an infection that in Arizona is spread primarily by the common brown dog tick, which is common in higher elevations. The ticks often attach to dogs and can then move over to people. Will Humble, director of the state Department of Health Services, said Arizonans need to manage their pets in the outdoors to keep the disease from spreading. “If everyone used tick collars on their dogs, I think we’d have a lot fewer cases,” Humble said. “People may not realize that if they take their Phoenix dog to the high mountain they need to use a tick collar.”

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever petechial rash

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever first appeared on the department’s radar in 2002. Since then, the number of reported cases in the state has steadily increased, with 23 cases reported in 2009 and 52 cases in 2011. There was one known death in 2009 and five known deaths in 2011, according to the state health department. Most cases have been in eastern Arizona, but Humble said there are now cases being reported in southern Arizona. – For complete article see http://cronkitenewsonline.com/2012/02/rise-of-rocky-mountain-spotted-fever-has-officials-urging-caution-outdoors/

Canada:

Yukon 03/02/12 cbc.ca: The Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club has posted “wolves in the area” signs for the first time ever after some unusual encounters between wolves and skiers on a couple of the trails. The operations manager for the ski trails, Mike Gladish, says it’s not unusual for wolves to be on the trails. He often sees their tracks. “But there were a couple of sightings last week where one skier had an encounter with two wolves that kind of stood their ground and then we had another skier notice a wolf behind her for a couple of kilometres.” Gladish said the encounters were on the Pierre Harvey Loop and the 10 K. Robyn Dunfield regularly skis at Mount MacIntyre, towing her two children. The youngest is just four months old. She said she is now sticking to a well-travelled route close to the chalet. “It makes me very nervous,” she said. “I don’t know a lot about wolves, but I also don’t want to encounter them ever.”  Mike Gladish said this is the first time wolf warnings have been posted on the trails, but adds it’s no different from other safety advisories.

South Carolina 03/02/12 Columbia, Lexington & Richland Counties: A third fox attack in two weeks has another area resident, this time a firefighter, receiving post-exposure prophylaxis rabies treatments. A gray fox bit Robert Adkins, 20, as he walked away from a fire training site near a wooded area on Ball Park Road. See http://www.thestate.com/2012/03/02/2173809/another-fox-attack-reported.html

Texas 03/01/12 College Station, Brazos County: Officials are looking for a brown Dachshund that bit a person in the 400 block of Walton Drive so they can confirm the dog’s rabies vaccination status. See http://www.theeagle.com/local/Search-under-way-for-dachshund-that-bit-College-Station-homeown–7005320

Virginia 03/01/12 Pittsylvania/Danville Health District: A rabies alert has been issued for residents of Franklin Turnpike after a second skunk tested positive for the virus this week. See http://www2.wsls.com/news/2012/mar/01/skunk-tests-positive-rabies-pittsylvania-county-ar-1732851/

Book Review:

Out of the Woods: Healing from Lyme Disease and other Chronic Illness by Katina I. Makris – Review by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson: When a healer and a health care columnist spends several years completely baffled and in absolute torment, chances are that her mysterious flu-like illness is something that is truly difficult to diagnose. It took Katina Makris five years to receive a correct diagnosis, and a long time to even partially recover from it. Her journey is described beautifully in Out of the Woods, which encompasses both her memoirs and an eye-opening “Nuts and Bolts” section on signs, symptoms, and available treatments for Lyme disease. There were many valuable lessons to be learned from this beautifully written book. Some were rather obvious ones about cherishing what we have, since it could so easily be gone the very next moment, the importance of having a good support system and the need to work with one’s doctor(s). Then there were those that should be obvious, but many times are not, like the importance of being persistent in trying to get your point across to the doctor when one does not feel that the real issue is being addressed. – For complete review see http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/blogcritics/article/Book-Review-Out-of-the-Woods-Healing-from-Lyme-3371247.php

CDC Reports:

North America & South Korea cdc.gov: Emerging Infectious Diseases, Volume 18, Number 3 – March 2012: Abstract – Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal, transmissible prion disease that affects captive and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose. Although the zoonotic potential of CWD is considered low, identification of multiple CWD strains and the potential for agent evolution upon serial passage hinders a definitive conclusion. Surveillance for CWD in free-ranging populations has documented a continual geographic spread of the disease throughout North America. CWD prions are shed from clinically and preclinically affected hosts, and CWD transmission is mediated at least in part by the environment, perhaps by soil. Much remains unknown, including the sites and mechanisms of prion uptake in the naive host. There are no therapeutics or effective eradication measures for CWD-endemic populations. Continued surveillance and research of CWD and its effects on cervid ecosystems is vital for controlling the long-term consequences of this emerging disease. – For complete report see http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/3/11-0685_article.htm#suggestedcitation

Two MONTANA ELK HUNTERS attacked by GRIZZLY ~ WYOMING officials euthanize old and underweight GRIZZLY that bit a DEER HUNTER ~ ALASKA considers plan to shoot WOLVES on Kenai Peninsula from aircraft ~ CALIFORNIA’s King City scene of HORSE injured and COLT killed by MOUNTAIN LION ~ CALIFORNIA’s Del Rey Oaks PD receives spate of MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ WEST NILE VIRUS report from Missouri.

Grizzly. Courtesy National Park Service.

Montana 11/14/11 the republic: A bear attacked and injured two men Saturday while they were elk hunting in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in Madison County, but the bruin will face no repercussions from wildlife biologists. Three men surprised a sow with a cub Saturday afternoon southeast of Ennis, said Undersheriff Roger Thompson. The sow charged a 60-year-old Helmville man and bit him on the thigh, then turned on a 41-year-old man from Manhattan and bit his shoulder. The hunters believed the bear was a grizzly. “It was very quick,” Thompson told The Montana Standard. “The one gentleman was ready to shoot the bear, but the bear had his friend and he didn’t want to shoot him.” The bear ran off. The uninjured man called for help at 2:30 p.m. Responders reached the injured hunters at about 9:30 p.m. They were taken to the hospital in Ennis and then to Bozeman for further treatment. State biologists are not planning any action against the bear, said Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokeswoman Andrea Jones. “It was a surprise encounter,” she said. “The bear was doing what a bear does in defending its cub.”

Wyoming 11/14/11 billingsgazette.com: by Martin Kidston – An old and underweight grizzly bear was euthanized over the weekend after biting a deer hunter on the leg along the South Fork of the Shoshone River. Wyoming Game and Fish spokesman Dennie Hammer said the grizzly bit the man on the thigh. The hunter, who surprised the bear, received four puncture wounds from the bite but wasn’t seriously hurt, Hammer said. “He was hunting with a friend in a dense willow patch,” Hammer said. “He walked in on a bear that was lying there, and the bear bit him on the left thigh.” Hammer said the attack occurred late last week during a full moon at around 7:30 a.m. Biologists searched for the bear over the weekend and found the animal underweight and in poor shape. “That bear was in fairly poor body condition,” Hammer said. “It was an older bear. It had broken teeth. Its body fat was around 15 percent. The average for this time of year should be 31 percent.” Hammer said that while the bear was acting normally, biologists opted to capture the animal and euthanize it because of its condition, age and proximity to populated areas. The bear’s exact age was not yet known. “We just didn’t feel we should move it anywhere because he was old and in poor condition,” Hammer said. “The investigation into the incident showed that the bear was acting defensively — not predaciously. There was no reason to conduct a necropsy.” Hammer said the encounter occurred in an area of dense willows near the confluence of the South Fork of the Shoshone River with Buffalo Bill Reservoir. The area has become an unauthorized dumping ground for carcasses. “One of the problems was, people are dumping deer carcasses in that general area,” Hammer said. “He was grabbing those carcasses and dragging them into the willows. People need to take their carcasses into the local landfill. It’s better than dumping them on the roadside.”

Wolf Pack on Moose

Alaska 11/14/11 myfoxspokane.com: by Yereth Rosen – Alaska state officials on Friday were considering a controversial plan to shoot wolves in an effort to boost moose populations in one of the state’s top tourist and recreation areas. An estimated 90 to 135 wolves range across the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, where under the proposal hunters would shoot the animals from aircraft. Officials have not settled on the number of wolves they might kill under the plan, which was on the agenda for discussion at a meeting on Friday of the Alaska Board of Game. By decreasing attacks on moose from a major predator, the proposal would allow for a rebound in the moose population, which now stands at about 5,000 and is well below targets, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Ted Spraker, an Alaska Board of Game member from the region, said on a statewide public radio program recently that the public is “disgusted” with the low number of moose. “They want the board to start doing something,” he added. But the practice of killing wolves to boost moose populations, especially through aerial shooting, has long been hotly debated in Alaska. Supporters say it is necessary to give hunters opportunities to get moose meat; detractors say it is an inhumane and biologically unsound practice. Any state-authorized aerial wolf kills will have to exclude the peninsula’s federal lands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, has not given permission for wolf control on its property, which covers much of the peninsula. The Alaska Board of Game is expected to make a decision on whether to pursue a moose hunt by Monday, when its meeting lasting several days will end.

California 11/14/11 ksbw.com: A female horse and colt were attacked by a mountain lion in King City, killing one and badly injuring the other. King City resident Robert McCoy noticed one of his horses, named Nitro, was limping with a deep gash in its hip. It looked like Nitro was injured from fighting off a mountain lion, McCoy said. Alarmed, he went to look for his other pet horse, a small colt named Peaches, to make sure it was OK. But Peaches was not as lucky as Nitro. Peaches was found in a dried-out riverbed with cougar paw prints dotting the mud near where it lay dead. McCoy said he is now worried about the safety of his grandchildren because the horses were attacked close to his home and his grandchildren and other kids usually play in the riverbed. McCoy’s neighbors said they also spotted the mountain lion strolling around their neighborhood in the recent days. Since July, there have been eight confirmed mountain lion sightings and incidents on the Central Coast. – For complete article including dates and locations of other sightings and incidents go to http://www.ksbw.com/news/29760698/detail.html

California 11/14/11 montereyherald.com: There have two separate reports of mountain lion sightings in Del Rey Oaks near the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District “Frog Pond,” police said today. The sightings have been during daylight hours. The area is used by park visitors for nature and dog walks. Police said any sightings should be reported immediately to the police department. These are the latest in a spate of mountain lion sightings in the area. On Oct. 24, one of the big cats was spotted on Mar Vista Drive in Monterey. On Sept. 19, a mountain lion was seen near the Marina Municipal Airport. There were several sightings during August in Marina, too.

Missouri 11/14/11 Poplar Bluff, Butler County: Health officials say mosquitoes in the Poplar Bluff area have tested positive for the West Nile virus. See http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2011/11/14/west-nile-found-in-poplar-bluff-mosquitos/

Teens on Alaska wilderness hike mauled by Brown Bears; Massachusetts hospital participating in study aimed at reducing potential for transfusion transmitted Babesia infections; Rhode Island health experts say once rare Babesiosis on the rise; Florida asks hunters to help monitor Deer for Chronic Wasting Disease; and a West Nile Virus report from Florida.

Alaska Brown Bear. Photo by Marshmallow. Wikimedia Commons.

Alaska 07/25/11 the denverchannel.com: The four teenage boys who were mauled by a brown bear and her cub over the weekend deep in the Alaskan wilderness were recovering Monday. Two of the teens, participating in a survival skills course, suffered life-threatening injuries, according to Alaska State Troopers, and two had injuries that were labeled “serious, but non-life-threatening.” Three others were reported to have minor injuries or exposure-related issues. Officials at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and Mat-Su Regional Hospital in Palmer said Monday that two of the boys have been discharged. One teen, Sam Gottsegen, had his condition upgraded to good from serious, while another, Joshua Berg, remained in serious condition. Gottsegen, a Colorado native, spoke to CNN affiliate KMGH in Denver about the brutal encounter.

The teens were on a program run by the National Outdoor Leadership School when they were attacked around 8:30 p.m. Saturday in a remote area about 45 miles northeast of Talkeetna. There were no instructors with the group, which was on day 24 of a 30-day backpacking course to learn about teamwork and wilderness-related skills, according to the Wyoming-based program. “I thought I was going to die when I was being attacked,” Gottsegen told KMGH. “I was so scared.” The station reported he suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs and a severe head wound. “I looked behind me and the bear was behind me. So, I started running down the hill and it tackled me on the way down,” he said. The teens told state troopers that they were crossing the river in a line when the bears attacked. Those in front got the worst of the assault. “They were mauled, very severely,” said Megan Peters, spokeswoman for the state police. “It was truly an emergency situation.”

The boys, ages 16 to 18 and from all around the country, said they followed protocol in calling out to warn the bears and carrying bear spray, according to the wilderness program. Afterward, the group set up a camp, provided first aid and activated a personal locator beacon, which is used to alert authorities about one’s whereabouts in an emergency. A helicopter was then dispatched, tracking the beacon’s signal and finding the teens in a tent around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, said state troopers. The rescuers determined that two of the victims were too hurt to be safely transported by the helicopter for medical aid. A state trooper stayed on the scene, helping tend to those two, while the others were flown out for treatment at Mat-Su Regional Hospital. Four hours later, around 6:45 a.m., a better-equipped aircraft arrived to fly out the most seriously injured to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, about 150 miles to the south. A state trooper flew around the area Sunday, trying to locate the animals responsible for the attack. Peters said Sunday night that “we have not laid eyes on the bear and the cub.”

 National 07/25/11patch.com: by Casey Meserve – Jordan Hospital has announced its participation in an FDA-approved clinical study testing blood supplies for evidence of a tick-borne organism that can lead to babesiosis, an infectious disease transmitted to humans by the bite of a deer tick.  Incidents of babesiosis are high in coastal areas south of Boston and on Cape Cod and the Islands. With no licensed test available to screen blood donations for babesia, the FDA has approved a clinical study of more than 26,000 donors with a goal of reducing the potential for transfusion transmitted babesia infections and improving the overall safety of the blood supply.

Dr. Philip J. Molloy

Several cases of babesiosis have been identified at Jordan Hospital in the past, and high rates of the disease have generally been found throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. Most commonly transmitted by the bite of a deer tick, Babesia has also been shown to be transmitted through transfused blood. Approximately 100 cases of transfusion transmitted babesiosis have been reported, some of which have been fatal.  “An incredible amount of basic research has already been completed, but approval from the FDA for a clinical study of this size is an important step towards developing an efficient, real-time and easily available test for babesiosis,” Dr. Philip Molloy said. Molloy is a clinician in the department of medicine at Jordan Hospital and medical director at Imugen, Inc.—the company leading the study in conjunction with national and regional blood donor centers.  “There is obviously a lot of interest in Lyme disease, and while babesiosis may currently be less common, it is particularly prevalent in this region and can be even more dangerous in some patients.”

Jordan Hospital is the only community hospital with this participating role in this research. Jordan Hospital’s Institutional Review Board has approved the collection of samples from patients diagnosed with early Babesia infections, to learn more about the natural history of this infection and to refine and improve blood testing for it. Signs of babesiosis can include fever, chills, headaches and fatigue and may be similar to Lyme disease. But unlike Lyme disease, babesiosis is not typically associated with skin rashes.  “It’s important to be able to include the Jordan Hospital community in the clinical phase of this study,” Molloy added. “We are hopeful that our efforts to raise awareness about and improve blood testing for Babesia infections will ultimately result in a licensed test being made available for blood donations in the future.”

Rhode Island 07/25/11 dailyjournal.net: by David Klepper – More Rhode Islanders are testing positive for a little-known tick disease that’s related to malaria, health experts said Monday. Babesiosis, once more commonly called Nantucket Fever, is caused by a microscopic parasite transmitted by the bite of a deer tick. Healthy individuals may show no symptoms, though others might suffer from flulike complaints. But the disease can be life-threatening for the elderly or for people with weakened immune systems.

Just 15 years ago, Rhode Island averaged less than one confirmed case of babesiosis each year, according to Thomas Mather, director of the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease. State health records show 76 people tested positive for the disease last year, and 89 tested positive in 2009. “Lyme disease is more common, but we’re definitely finding it (babesiosis) in more places,” Mather told The Associated Press. “We’re diagnosing enough cases every year that we should be paying a lot more attention to it.” Better lab tests, the medical community’s growing awareness of the disease and a resurgent rodent population are all possible explanations for the increase. Mice serve as host for babesiosis, Mather said.

Dr. Thomas Mather

The trend is being observed outside the Ocean State, too. Minnesota health officials reported 56 cases of babesiosis in 2010, up from 31 cases in 2009. Nearly half of the cases required hospitalization, and one person died. In New York‘s lower Hudson Valley, babesiosis cases increased from six to 119 from 2001 to 2008, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study published in May. Julie Joseph, a physician and professor at New York Medical College, was the lead author of the paper. “There’s no reason for anyone to panic,” she said. “The symptoms are non-specific. Fever, chills, muscle aches. It’s much more of a concern for people with compromised immune systems and the elderly.”

Unlike Lyme disease, babesiosis has shown it can be transmitted through blood transfusions. Growing cases prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to last year label the disease a “major emerging threat” to the nation’s blood supply. Starting last year, the Rhode Island Blood Center received FDA approval to screen blood donations intended for certain high-risk pediatric patients, according to Carolyn Young, the blood center’s chief medical officer. Babesiosis cases are seen most often in the Northeast and Midwest. As its old name — Nantucket fever — suggests, the disease was once thought to be most widespread along coastal New England. Mather said many cases likely go unreported because adults may show no symptoms. He said treatment for babesiosis is similar to that given to malaria patients.

Florida 07/22/11 myfwc.com: Press Release – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has not found any evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) after years of extensive testing of the state’s white-tailed deer population. The FWC tested 910 free-ranging deer during the past year and 5,519 deer during the past nine years, with no CWD-positive results.  “We are fortunate that no Florida deer has tested positive for CWD. The effect this disease has had in other states is substantial,” Cory Morea, FWC’s deer coordinator and biologist, said. “We would like to obtain more samples of deer from areas adjacent to captive deer facilities, because the most likely way for CWD to be introduced into Florida is through the importation of deer from other states.”

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that has been found in captive and wild mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose and Rocky Mountain elk within several Western states and more recently Eastern states. The disease causes degeneration of the brain of infected animals, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. Virginia and West Virginia are the only southeastern states where CWD has been detected. To reduce the chances of CWD entering Florida, the state prohibits importing live deer unless they come from a herd that has been certified CWD-free for five or more years. Additionally, importation of any species of deer, elk or moose carcasses, with the exception of cleaned skull caps, antlers, tanned hides and deboned meat, is prohibited from 19 states and two Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected.

Chronic wasting disease has been detected in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota and Maryland, and Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. Visit the CWD Alliance website atwww.cwd-info.org for the most up-to-date CWD reporting. “Early detection is the key to limiting the spread of the disease, if such an outbreak should occur in Florida,” Morea said.

Deer with CWD

The FWC is once again turning to hunters and members of the public this hunting season for assistance in helping monitor the state’s deer herd for CWD. “We’re asking hunters to report any sightings of sick or emaciated deer, or deer found dead from unknown causes,” Morea said. “If you see such a deer, do not touch it, but instead contact us as soon as possible by calling toll-free, 866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282). Wildlife biologists will respond and, if necessary, collect deer tissue for testing.”

CWD WATCH is part of an aggressive monitoring program intended to detect CWD in Florida and minimize its impact, should it be found. There is no evidence that CWD poses a risk for humans. However, public health officials recommend avoiding direct contact with any sick-looking deer or one that has died from unknown causes. For more information about CWD surveillance in Florida, go to MyFWC.com/CWD. The website also offers links to wildlife and health agencies with more in-depth information about the disease.

Florida 07/25/11 miamiherald.com: by Nadege Green – The mosquito-borne West Nile virus has been found in a sentinel chicken in Northeast Miami-Dade, according to health officials. So far, there are no reports of human cases, said Dr. Vincent Conte, Deputy Director of Epidemiology Disease Control and Immunization Service for the Department of Health. The Health Department deploys sentinel chickens as mosquito bait around the county to track mosquito-borne diseases.  An alert has been sent out to area physicians to be on the lookout for patients who may be reporting symptoms of the West Nile Virus.

USGS study finds Lichens may be key to fighting Chronic Wasting Disease; CDC learns pet Frog breeder source of Salmonella outbreak; FDA approves new test for Toxoplasmosis; Hantavirus reports from Colorado, and Maine; a Coyote report from Mississipppi; Lyme Disease forums to be held in New Hampshire, and New Jersey; and Rabies reports from New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia. Travel Warnings for Dominica.

Bull moose. Public domain photo. Wikimedia Commons.

National 05/18/11 eurekalert.org: Certain lichens can break down the infectious proteins responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD), a troubling neurological disease fatal to wild deer and elk and spreading throughout the United States and Canada, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published today in the journal PLoS ONE.  Like other “prion” diseases, CWD is caused by unusual, infectious proteins called prions. One of the best-known of these diseases is “mad cow” disease, a cattle disease that has infected humans. However, there is no evidence that CWD has infected humans. Disease-causing prions, responsible for some incurable neurological diseases of people and other diseases in animals, are notoriously difficult to decontaminate or kill. Prions are not killed by most detergents, cooking, freezing, or by autoclaving, a method used to sterilize medical instruments.

Dr. Christopher Johnson

“When prions are released into the environment by infected sheep or deer, they can stay infectious for many years, even decades,” said Christopher Johnson, Ph.D., a scientist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the lead author of the study. “To help limit the spread of these diseases in animals, we need to be able to remove prions from the environment.” The researchers found that lichens have great potential for safely reducing the number of prions because some lichen species contain a protease enzyme (a naturally produced chemical) capable of significantly breaking down prions in the lab.

Whitetail deer with CWD

“This work is exciting because there are so few agents that degrade prions and even fewer that could be used in the environment without causing harm,” said Jim Bennett, Ph.D., a USGS lichenologist and a co-author of the study.  CWD and scrapie in sheep are different than other prion diseases because they can easily spread in sheep or deer by direct animal-to-animal contact or through contact with contaminated inanimate objects like soil. Chronic wasting disease was first diagnosed in the 1960s and has since been detected in 19 states and two Canadian provinces. CWD has been detected in wild elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer and moose in North America.  Lichens, said Johnson, produce unique and unusual organic compounds that aid their survival and can have antibiotic, antiviral and other chemotherapeutic activities. In fact, pharmaceutical companies have been examining the medicinal properties of lichens more closely in recent years.

Lichens on rocks.

Lichens – which are often mistaken for moss – are unusual plant-like organisms that are actually a symbioses of fungi, algae and bacteria living together. They usually live on soil, bark, leaves and wood and can live in barren and unwelcoming environments, including the Arctic and in deserts.  Future work will examine the effect of lichens on prions in the environment and determine if lichen consumption can protect animals from acquiring prion diseases. Contact: Gail Moede gmrogall@usgs.gov 608-270-2438 United States Geological Survey

National 05/20/11 cdc.gov: mmwr 60(19);628 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with state and local public health departments in an ongoing investigation of human Salmonella Typhimurium infections associated with African dwarf frogs (ADFs). ADFs are aquatic frogs commonly kept in home aquariums as pets. From April 1, 2009 to May 10, 2011, a total of 224 human infections with a unique strain of S. Typhimurium were reported from 42 states. This outbreak likely includes considerably more than the 224 laboratory-confirmed cases reported to CDC; only an estimated 3% of Salmonella infections are laboratory confirmed and reported to surveillance systems.

The median age of patients in this outbreak was 5 years (range: <1–67 years), and 70% (156 of 223) were aged <10 years. No deaths have been reported, but 30% (37 of 123) of patients were hospitalized. Sixty-five percent (56 of 86) of patients interviewed reported contact with frogs in the week before illness; 82% (45 of 55) reported that this contact took place in the home. Of those who could recall the type of frog, 85% (29 of 34) identified ADFs. Median time from acquiring a frog to illness onset was 15 days (range: 7–240 days).

African Dwarf Frog

Samples collected during 2009–2011 from aquariums housing ADFs in six homes of patients yielded the S. Typhimurium outbreak strain. Traceback investigations conducted during 2009–2011 from 21 patient homes and two ADF distributors identified a breeder in California as the common source of ADFs. This breeder sells ADFs to distributors, not directly to pet stores or to the public. Environmental samples collected at the breeding facility in January 2010, April 2010, and March 2011 yielded the outbreak strain. Based on these epidemiologic, traceback, and laboratory findings, the breeder voluntarily suspended distribution of ADFs on April 19, 2011. Public health officials are working with the breeder to implement control measures.

Distribution of ADFs currently is unregulated by federal or state agencies. To prevent infection, the public needs to be aware of the risk of Salmonella infections associated with keeping amphibians, including frogs, as pets. Education of consumers, health-care professionals, and the pet industry is needed. Persons at high-risk for Salmonella infections, especially children <5 years, pregnant women, and immunocompromised persons, should avoid contact with frogs, water used by the frogs, and their habitats. Additional information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/water-frogs-0411.

National 05/19/11 usnews.com: A new test to detect whether a toxoplasmosis infection has been acquired within the past four months has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Vidas Toxo IgG Avidity Assay — approved for people with a toxoplasmosis infection confirmed by other methods — can be used to validate whether infection by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite is less than four months old. Human antibodies triggered by the parasite behave differently after four months than they do initially. Toxoplasmosis, sometimes called “cat scratch disease” can be passed from mother to unborn child. The infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or an abnormally sized fetal head. In the child’s later life, it can lead to vision loss, mental impairment or seizures, the FDA said in a news release. While exposure to cats and used cat litter are primary methods of transmission, toxoplasmosis also can be transmitted by other animals and birds. And the parasite can be acquired by eating raw or undercooked meat. Typical warning signs among people include swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms, the FDA said. The test is produced by bioMerieux Inc., based in Hazelwood, Mo.

Colorado 05/19/11 epcan.com: by Janet Huntington – Elbert resident Nikki Clark wasn’t thinking about Hantaviruswhen she cleaned out her tack room. It was simple spring cleaning at the Clark residence. When she first began to feel ill on April 17, Clark assumed she had the flu. She was still able to work, but within three days she had developed pneumonia-like symptoms and was home in bed. Another three days passed and she was admitted to the hospital. Four days later her blood work showed she had Hantavirus and Clark and her husband, realtor Pete Clark, learned her life was in danger. “This disease attacks your lungs and heart. It is imperative that you get oxygen into your system…The statistics are, of the people entering the hospital for this virus, 50% don’t make it,” Clark said in a written statement. “My recovery has been very slow, but I see

Deer mouse

an improvement every day. Because of the low recovery rate, the doctors don’t know too much about normal recovery time,” she added.

Maine 05/18/11 bangordailynews.com: A 70-year-old Somerset County man who has the dubious distinction of becoming Maine’s first-ever case of Hantavirus has survived thanks to a quick medical response, according to an article written by Meg Haskell and published in the Bangor Daily News.  Dr. Stephen Sears, Maine’s state epidemiologist, said the man was treated in the intensive care unit of a local hospital and is now recovering in a rehab facility.  Dr. Sears said state inspectors found the man’s home was contaminated with mice.  Hantavirus is associated with deer mice and other rodents.

Mississippi 05/17/11 sunherald.com: by Mary Perez – Biloxi – Coyotes are killing pets and scaring residents throughout the city and Councilman Tom Wall said Tuesday the city has to find some way to deal with them before a child is mutilated or killed. “It seems to be a growing problem,” said Paul Mallery, one of a half-dozen residents who came to Tuesday’s Council meeting with their concerns.  “I’ve seen them in the street,” Mallery said.  One neighbor saw a coyote at the back door and he said a friend in the Woolmarket area watched a coyote grab his dog and carry it into the woods. Mallery said the city also has red foxes, which carry disease. “It’s like we’re under siege,” he said. Biloxi Police Lt. Harold Windom said he doesn’t know how to get rid of coyotes. Experts with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries told the police three effective methods are traps, poison and snares.  But Windom said these solutions, or shooting the animals, can’t safely be used in a city near so many children and pets. Windom said he would continue to look for some way to get the coyotes out of city neighborhoods.

New Hampshire 05/20/11 cabinet.com: by Sarah Clough – There will be a Lyme disease awareness evening Monday, May 23, at 6:30 in the Merrimack High School Little Theater. “Under Our Skin” will be shown, followed by a Q-and-A session with David Hunter, facilitator of the Greater Manchester Lyme Disease Support Group. Admission is free. For more information, e-mail sarah.clough@merrimack.k12.nh.us.

New Jersey 05/19/11 nj.com: The Salem County Health Department has confirmed the first case of rabies in the county for the year. A stray cat attacked a Pilesgrove woman here on May 15 at her home while she was taking out her recyclables. The cat bit the woman’s leg and latched on until the woman kicked the cat off, officials said in a press release on Wednesday. The cat hid until Ned Shimp, animal control officer, came to retrieve it. Shimp euthanized the cat and sent it to the state for testing, according to the release. The state confirmed that the stray cat was positive for rabies. The woman immediately went to South Jersey Healthcare-Elmer Hospital for post-exposure rabies treatment. For more information, please contact the Salem County Health Department at (856) 935-7510, ext. 8484 or visit www.cshealth.org .

New Jersey 05/19/11 northjersey.com: River Vale – On Wednesday, May 25, “ABC’s of Lyme Disease and Other Tick Borne Illnesses” will be presented at the River Vale Community/Senior Center. The free program, which will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will be presented by Kim Uffleman, a former board member of the Lyme Disease Association of New Jersey. For more information visit http://www.rivervalenj.org or call the health department at 201-664-2346.

Texas 05/18/11 kwtx.com: A skunk found a week ago in the backyard of a home on Regina Drive in Hewitt has tested positive for rabies, police said Wednesday. Hewitt police and Woodway animal control officers were attempting Wednesday to contact residents whose pets might have come into contact with the skunk. The effort is primarily focused on an area of Hewitt that includes the 600 block of Regina Drive and the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Dendron Drive.

Virginia 05/18/11 suffolknewsherald.com: by Tracy Agnew – A dog bitten by a fox in the Person Street area of Suffolk last week had to be euthanized after the fox tested positive for rabies, according to the Suffolk Health Department. The dog had not been vaccinated for rabies. The owner, who was also bitten, has started a course of treatment to prevent rabies. The incident happened in the same area as a series of events May 6-7 in which a rabid fox attacked two children and a dog before being killed by the dog.

Travel Warnings:

Dominica 05/19/11 stabroeknews.com: The Government of Dominica has warned about an outbreak of Leptospirosis which has claimed the lives of the Director Agriculture on the island and another man, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation. CMC said that the director Richard Allport, died from the disease this week. The disease is most often transmitted in floodwater through contact with rat urine. Guyana had a serious outbreak of this disease in 2005 during the Great Flood. “The Ministry of Health in Dominica wishes to inform the general public that the outbreak of Leptospirosis announced by the Ministry last year has not yet subsided,” a Dominica Government statement said, according to CMC.

Ticks are killing Moose in New Hampshire; University of Tennessee taking part in interregional Deer Tick study; North Carolina study reports on Bartonella bacteria in Feral Pig blood; New Mexico reports a case of human Plague; and Georgia confirms West Nile Virus infection in Horse. Travel Warnings for Malaysia.

Wading moose. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

New Hampshire 05/09/11 sentinelsource.com: by Kyle Jarvis – This is shaping up to be the year of the tick, a fatal development for some animals. In some parts of the Granite State, moose are dropping dead, and not because of what’s often called “moose sickness,” a neurological disorder brought on by a parasitic worm that affects the moose’s ability to function normally. What’s killing them now is anemia — a lack of healthy red blood cells — the result of winter tick infestation. “It takes a lot of blood out of the moose,” said Ted W. Walski, a wildlife biologist for N.H. Fish and Game in Keene. “Particularly, the 1-year-olds (and younger moose) don’t have the blood volume or body size (to cope with tick infestations), which makes them more susceptible to things like pneumonia.”

As one might imagine, it takes a lot of winter ticks to take down a moose. “In a regular year, you can have up to 30,000 ticks on a single moose (in a given season),” said Kristine M. Rines, the moose project leader for Fish and Game in New Hampton. “In a bad year, like it’s shaping up to be this year, you can have up to 150,000 ticks per moose in late winter/early spring.” Rines said part of the problem for moose is they haven’t had the luxury of evolving over many generations to deal with ticks, the way deer have. “The white-tailed deer have a tendency to groom them off immediately,” she said. “But it takes thousands of years for that kind of change in attitude, so the moose ignore them because they’re not sure what’s going on.” (For complete article go to http://www.sentinelsource.com/features/environment/a-tiny-enemy-vampiric-ticks-are-draining-region-s-moose/article_aea682c1-c3e5-56a1-aad1-2973e12cd6c0.html )

Tennessee05/08/11 knoxnews.com: by Morgan Simmons – Excerpts – “The University of Tennessee is taking part in a $2.5 million study aimed at shedding new light on the blacklegged tick, the parasite responsible for spreading Lyme disease. The project marks the first time scientists have taken a systematic, region wide look at the blacklegged tick – also called the deer tick– to determine how factors like climate and tick genetics affect the bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) that causes the disease. For decades Lyme disease has been associated with the Northeast region of the U.S., where blacklegged ticks are common. Evidence indicates that the ticks are

Deer tick

spreading to new regions of the country, and researchers want to know what this means for the future of this tick-borne malady that so far has eluded all efforts to find a cure or even a reliable diagnostic test. In addition to UT, Michigan State University, the University of Montreal, the University of Rhode Island, Hofstra University and Georgia Southern University are participating in the four-year study. Funding for the project comes from the National Science Foundation. UT field crews will conduct surveys for ticks in Tennessee, Florida and Alabama. Overall, the study, which just entered its second year, will examine 12 sites throughout a region stretching from Massachusetts to Georgia and Minnesota to Mississippi. One question researchers hope to answer is why Lyme disease is comparatively rare in the South considering that blacklegged ticks are found in Southern states as well as the northern U.S.”

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most-frequently reported tick-borne illness in Tennessee, with Tennessee ranking as one the top five states for the transmission of the disease, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Tennessee also is one of the leading states for cases of ehrlichiosis, a relatively under-recognized tick-borne disease that health officials say is on the rise.” (For complete article go to http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2011/may/08/050811ticks/  )

North  Carolina May 2011 cdc.gov: In a study published in the May 2011 issue of CDC-EID, lead researcher Adam W. Beard of North Carolina State University reports that hunters and butchers in the southeastern United States exposed to large quantities of feral pig blood may be at risk for transmission of Bartonella bacteria through cuts or scratches, which has occurred with other zoonotic pig pathogens such as Brucella suisAnother potential implication of the study involves the possible transmission of Bartonella bacteria from feral to domesticated pigs.  Bartonella are intravascular, gram-negative bacteria that infect a diverse array of wild and domestic animals.  (For complete report of study published in CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol. 17, No. 5-May 2011 go to http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/17/5/893.htm?source=govdelivery )

New Mexico 05/03/11 state.nm.us: New Mexico Department of Health –  The New Mexico Department of Health has confirmed a case of septicemic plague in a 49-year-old man from San Juan County. The patient has been hospitalized and is recovering. This is the first case of plague confirmed in New Mexico this year and the first case in a San Juan County resident since 1999.  The department will conduct an environmental investigation at the man’s residence to determine if there is any ongoing risk to people.  “The winter and spring precipitation has allowed both rodents and their fleas to survive and multiply,” said Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian at the Department of Health. “With higher rodent and flea populations everyone needs to take precautions to avoid rodents and their burrows, especially as people and their pets become more active outside.” There were eight human cases of plague in 2006 in New Mexico with three fatalities. Five cases were from Bernalillo County and one each from Santa Fe, San Miguel, and Torrance counties. Four human plague cases occurred in New Mexico in 2005. There were no human plague cases in New Mexico in 2004.

Georgia 05/06/11 romenews-tribune.com: Georgia’s first case of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed in a horse in Southeast Georgia. The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH), Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends that Georgians protect themselves from mosquitoes and remove any standing water from their property. “While this is a non-human case, we recognize that the mosquito and tick season is starting earlier than in previous years,” said Dr. Anil T. Mangla, program director of Infectious Disease & Immunization and acting state epidemiologist for DCH. “It is very wise for residents to take precautions to minimize their risk of exposure to arthropod-born diseases, protecting themselves from mosquitoes and ticks.”

Travel Warning:

Malaysia 05/05/11 yahoo.com: Bernama – A total of 362 cases of dengue fever with one death were reported during the week between last April 24 and 30. Health director-general, Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman, said the fatal case involved a 48-year-old man who died due to dengue shock syndrome a week after being infected by the disease. “The victim, a salesman in Selangor, also had hypertension and was also a hepatitis B carrier,” he said in a statement here today. Dr Hasan said that generally, the number of fatalities due to dengue had dropped with only 12 cases this year so far, from 56 cases during the corresponding period last year. He said there were two dengue hot spots identified last week and the localities were the Sri Cempaka Apartment, Section 16 Bandar Bangi, in Hulu Langat and the Las Palmas Apartment, Bandar Country Homes, in Gombak. On Chikungunya, he said no new case was reported during the week between April 24 and 30. So far, 14 Chikungunya cases have been reported this year, a drop of 97 per cent from 541 cases reported during the same period last year, he added.