Tag Archives: Pseudorabies

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

Weekend posting to get a day ahead of Hurricane Irene: USDA and Michigan wildlife experts find PSEUDORABIES in Midland County WILD BOAR; California city’s parking garage patrons concerned about SKUNKS and FERAL CATS; Kansas jogger attacked by HAWK; Alabamans and Virginians bitten in three separate FOX attacks; Indiana woman is first in state to succumb to WEST NILE VIRUS; and RABIES reports from CA, IN, NE, NV, NY, NC, OK, PA, & WY. Canada: a RABIES report from Ontario. Follow-Up Reports: Massachusetts police believe COYOTE that attacked 2-year-old is dead; media learns source of New York soldier’s RABIES infection; and results of BAT colony investigation at Wisconsin airport.)

Feral Hog. Photo by Frank Vincentz. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 08/25/11 ourmidland.com: by Steve Griffin – Efforts to reduce or eliminate wild swine in the Midland area will likely be ratcheted up following discovery this month of the disease pseudo-rabies in a wild boar in Midland County. The disease, which despite its similar-sounding name is not related to rabies, was detected in a female Eurasian or Russian boar trapped, killed and tested earlier this summer, said Dr. James Averill, director of the Animal Industry Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Urban Development. That was the sixth documented case of the disease in Michigan, Averill said Wednesday. Averill declined to say where in the county the boar was trapped. He said that crews from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program, along with the conservation group the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, are trapping and euthanizing wild swine throughout the state. That effort will likely become more emphatic now in Midland County. “The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy and USDA Wildlife Services will try to mobilize more traps here,” he said.

Feral hogs include animals that have escaped or been released from hunting preserves, domestic swine escaped from farms and living in the wild, or a mix. They are known to destroy wildlife habitat, wreak havoc on gardens, yards and crops and spread disease to wild and domestic animals. “We test (euthanized) wild swine for several different diseases,” said Averill. “This one proved positive for pseudo-rabies,” which he classified as a livestock disease not known to affect humans. He said infection is possible, but not common, in cattle, horses, dogs, cats, sheep and goats. Averill said pseudo-rabies is among the herpes viruses. Animals under stress can shed the virus, exposing other animals to it. Michigan is currently classified as a pseudo-rabies-free state, said the veterinarian, a label very important to the pork industry. Otherwise, expensive vaccination is required, and shipment of domestic swine out of state restricted. “We want to do all we can to make sure it doesn’t get (back) into the pork industry,” said Averill.

Officials are trying to keep tabs on the swine, whose Michigan populations are estimated at 1,000 to 5,000 animals, Averill said. As for the local population, “Trying to say how many are in Midland County just is not possible.” Some of the local feral swine may be the progeny of escapees from a sport swine facility here seven or eight years ago. Citizens can help battle feral swine in a couple of ways, he said. Prompt reports of wild swine sightings (to the DNR at 517-336-5030) can put trapping crews on the trail of the far-ranging animals. Hunters and others can help by killing the swine themselves. Anyone with a hunting license or a concealed weapon permit can shoot them at any time in daylight on publicly-owned lands. On private land, anyone with landowner permission can shoot them without a license or permit.

Last year, then-DNR-director Becky Humphries issued an order designating feral hogs as an invasive species, unlawful to possess; the order was to take effect in June unless the state Legislature enacted legislation regulating the hunting preserve industry. DNR Director Rodney Stokes, at Gov. Rick Snyder’s request, pushed that deadline back to October, according to the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, and announced enforcement will begin next April unless regulations are enacted. Bills regulating the sporting swine industry have been introduced but not enacted. MUCC said this week it opposes the bills in their current forms. The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, meanwhile, has said it “is opposed to any attempts by the Legislature to merely regulate rather than ban the destructive animals.”

California 08/26/11 kcra.com: After an erratic skunk was caught inside the Downtown Plaza parking structure, Sacramento County health officials alerted mall patrons that more skunk, which could be infected with rabies, might lurk the area, Sacramento city officials said. Earlier this month, police got a call that a person at the mall was being chased by a skunk. That skunk later tested positive for rabies. The animal was caught by city animal control services. The man who caught the skunk was sprayed. Upon the request from the Sacramento County Health and Human Services, 30 signs were posted in the parking garage, warning customers and passers-by of skunk. A two-mile stretch between Miller Park and the Plaza is cause for concern because city and county officials said it is a high-density area of skunk. On Friday, two skunks were caught at Miller Park. City animal control also set up traps in the Downtown Plaza parking lot. One skunk was caught but it tested negative for the disease. The city and county is also concerned about a massive, 900-feral-cat colony near the parking garage in Sacramento.

Kansas 08/26/11 wibw.com: A suburban Kansas City man says he suffered scratches on his head after he was attacked by an aggressive hawk while running. Brian Foster says he was jogging early Thursday morning in Overland Park, Kan., when something smacked him in the back of the head. KMBC-TV reports that Foster initially thought he was being attacked by someone, but turned around to see a bird with a big wingspan flying away. Foster says he immediately headed back home because he was bleeding and reported the bird attack to police. Johnson County residents have been warned recently about aggressive hawks going after small animals. Foster, who works for the TV station, says he wasn’t badly hurt, but he did end up with a headache.

Alabama 08/26/11 andalusiastarnews.com: by Stephanie Nelson – Three people – including two Straughn High School students – are undergoing rabies treatment after being bitten by a rabid fox last Thursday night. Two sisters, along with one’s father, were attacked in separate incidents at their Rose Hill home, said Joanna Straughn, aunt and sister of the victims. Bobby Jo Harper, an environmentalist at the Covington County Health Department, said the state has confirmed the fox was rabid. Harper said this is the first fox to test positive for the disease this year. (For complete article go to http://www.andalusiastarnews.com/2011/08/26/rabid-fox-attacks-3/ )

Alabama 08/25/11 dothaneagle.com: by Matt Elofson – The Houston County Health Department recently confirmed the county’s fourth case of animal rabies for 2011. According to a statement from the health department, a fox found Saturday off Holmes Road tested positive for rabies. The health department investigation revealed the fox attacked a (woman) in her yard. The (woman) asked the health department to test the fox for rabies. The health department recommended that she seek advice from a doctor. According to the statement, there were five rabid animals found in Houston County during 2010, all of which were raccoons.

Virginia 08/25/11 dailypress.com: A fox that bit a woman in the foot tested positive for rabies, the Suffolk Health Department said. This happened in the Kenyon Road area of Suffolk. The woman is receiving post-exposure vaccine. Residents should seek prompt medical attention for any animal bite. Residents whose pets were in contact with an animal that might be rabid should call animal control at 514-7855 or the Health Department at 514-4751.

Elkhart County

Indiana 08/25/11 wndu.com: by Barbara Harrington – Elkhart County health officials say a 60-year-old Goshen woman died this week from West Nile. The health department isn’t releasing the woman’s name. They say the woman had no history of underlying disease and no major health problems, but her age put her at a high risk for complications. “Younger people often seem to deal better with the infection,” he said. “But older individuals may be at risk for the brain inflammation which can be life-threatening.” The case is the first clinical infection in the county this year. Although this isn’t the county’s worst mosquito summer, Dr. Daniel Nafziger says residents still need to take precautions, like wearing insect repellent containing DEET and minimizing standing water.  If they don’t, Nafziger says residents could contract West Nile from local mosquitoes. Even then, the symptoms of the virus are hard to recognize.  “When people get inflammation in their brain they may just get confused so it may actually be more helpful for family members if they notice that there’s something different about the way their loved one’s behaving, to have them seek medical attention,” he said. While it wasn’t the case this week, Nafziger says in most incidents, treatment works. This is the first West Nile death reported this year in Indiana. Last year just one person died in the state while 20 were sickened. On Wednesday, health officials in Jefferson County reported the state’s first human case of the illness this year.

California 08/25/11 the-signal.com: by Cory Minderhout – A seventh rabid bat has been found in the Santa Clarita Valley in a backyard, a Health Department official said Thursday. The latest rabid bat was found Aug. 16 in Santa Clarita outside a home on a patio, said Dr. Karen Ehnert, acting director for the veterinary public health and rabies control program for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. So far, 20 rabid bats have been found in Los Angeles County this year, according to the Health Department’s website. Normally, eight to 10 rabid bats are found in L.A. County each year, Ehnert said. “When one bat brings rabies into the colony, they tend to interact closely with the other bats and infect them as well,” Ehnert said. “The bats in Santa Clarita live in large colonies that are close together.” Individuals who see a live or dead bat should not touch it, Ehnert said. Instead, they should cover it and call their local animal control agency, which will pick the bat up and give it to the Health Department for rabies testing, Ehnert said.

Indiana 08/26/11 fox59.com: Marion County Public Health Department officials want to talk to anyone living in the Windsor Court Apartment complex, 7302 Queen Ann Court, who may have come in contact with a bat flying around the complex in the last several weeks. The bat has tested positive for rabies and poses a potential health threat to anyone who may have touched it or come in contact with its saliva.  Health officials are especially concerned because several residents have reported seeing the bat flying in close proximity to a young man fishing in the lake. The man’s identity remains unknown. Reports of an aggressive bat acting erratically around the apartment complex pond were received August 17. A dead bat was subsequently found at the complex two days later on August 19. Indiana State Department of Health testing confirmed the bat had rabies. “Rabies is a serious disease that can be fatal. It is critical we locate anyone who had contact with this bat so we can provide critical information and any appropriate follow-up care,” said Melissa McMasters, nurse epidemiologist, Marion County Public Health Department. Health officials believe only one bat is involved and that it is the one that has been tested. Anyone living in or visiting the Windsor Court Apartment Complex who may have come in contact with a bat is encouraged to immediately call the Marion County Public Health Department at (317) 221-2106.

Nebraska 08/26/11 wowt.com: by John Chapman – Rabid bats have been found in Omaha and the Nebraska Humane Society is warning people to protect themselves against rabies. Once the weather cools, bats try to move into homes and during the past week the Humane Society has already fielded more than 100 calls dealing with bats. Bats often find their way into homes in older neighborhoods. Kay York has lived in the Dundee neighborhood for more than 40 years. She had a garage sale on Friday and five or six times a year she pulls out her bat-catching gear and captures bats that fly into her home. “We’ve had bats come in on the east side of the house and they come down through the walls and the basement. You never know what room they’re gonna go into.” Kay uses gloves and a coffee can to catch the bats if they land. She has a net to grab them out of the air if they fly around the house, though the Humane Society doesn’t approve. It would rather catch the bats for you. “If you see a bat in your home, don’t try to capture it yourself,” says the Humane Society’s Mark Langan. “Try to isolate it in a room, put towels under the door so it stays in the room, call the Humane Society. We’ll come out and get it for you.” The Humane Society will test the bats for rabies and it should, because it’s hard to tell once you’ve been bitten. “You could be bitten while you’re asleep, its not like a bite from a large animal, you may not even notice it,” says Phil Rooney with the Douglas County Health Department. Isn’t Kay afraid of bats? “Used to be, but then nobody else would catch them but me, so I’m not afraid of them anymore.” Lately, Kay hasn’t had a problem with bats as they seem to have flown away after a friend gave her a new welcome mat with a bat on it. “I put it by the back door and I haven’t had any for three to four months. I don’t know if that’s a sign or not.” Is it scaring them away? “I don’t know, hope so.” The best thing you can do is try to keep the bats out by bat-proofing your home by closing any openings larger than a quarter-inch by a half-inch, making sure your windows and doors are shut tight.

Nevada 08/25/11 foxreno.com: The Nevada Department of Agriculture is confirming a fourth bat in Washoe County has tested positive for rabies this summer. The announcement comes as officials say the state agency usually confirms rabies in 6 to 17 bats each year, typically between the months of May and October.

New York 08/26/11 myabc50.com: by Holly Boname – A public health advisory has been issued for Lewis County after a case of rabies was discovered by the New York State Department of Health. On August 25th, the Lewis County Public Health Office was notified that a raccoon that was killed tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth animal this year to be discovered with rabies in Lewis County. So far two raccoons, a cow and cat have contracted the disease that the public health office is aware of. For more information about rabies or to contact the Lewis County Public Health Agency call 315-376-5453.

North Carolina 08/25/11 the-dispatch.com: A fox found Tuesday in the Sapona community has become the 12th case of rabies in Davidson County this year, according to the county health department. The fox possibly exposed a goat, which was destroyed. There was no human exposure reported.

Oklahoma 08/26/11 newson6.com: The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is seeking the public’s help to find a woman who was giving away a litter of chow mix puppies in the parking lot of a Guthrie Walgreens last week. According to health officials, one puppy adopted from the litter developed neurologic disease. Rabies testing at the OSDH Public Health Laboratory was inconclusive. According to the OSDH, the puppies were being offered for adoption at the Walgreens parking lot at 1621 S. Division Street, in front of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Guthrie, on August 17. Officials say the puppies were being distributed by a woman, from an older white minivan or station wagon with rust. The woman was accompanied by a man. The puppies were between six and nine weeks of age and tan-brown in color. Public health officials are asking this woman, or anyone who may know her to contact the OSDH Acute Disease Service’s Epidemiologist-on-Call at (405) 271-4060 or (800) 234-5963 (24/7/365 availability). Officials say they need to speak with this woman to gather additional information regarding the puppies and whether they might have bitten anyone.

Pennsylvania 08/25/11 patch.com: by Danielle Vickery – A raccoon found in Lower Merion Township has tested positive for rabies in the first case of animal rabies in Montgomery County this year. The raccoon tested positive after a resident of the 200 block of Llanfair Road in Ardmore submitted it to the Department of Agriculture in Harrisburg, according to a release issued by Lower Merion Township Thursday afternoon. If you, a family member or a pet have had any contact with a raccoon or any other stray or wild animal, call the Montgomery County Health Department, Division of Communicable Disease Control at 610-278-5117 immediately, the release states.

Wyoming 08/26/11 kgwn.tv: by Kyle Markley – Since the beginning of 2011 there have been over a dozen cases of rabies in the Cheyenne area. At the Cheyenne Animal Shelter there have been 13 cases of rabies to be exact, many of them coming this summer. And while no pets or livestock have yet been afflicted they say it could be just a matter of time. All 13 of those cases have been skunks and just recently there’s been a case of a rabid bat in the area. “So far, knock on wood, there’s been no known cases in this area where the skunks or the bat has actually caused rabies in a dog, cat or even the livestock. We’re waiting to see that happen,” Rick Collord said. Collord says within the last year there have been cases of livestock contracting rabies in northern Wyoming and he wants people to get their livestock vaccinated here.


Ontario 08/26/11 thesudburystar.com: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has notified the Sudbury and District Health Unit Health that two dead bats found in homes in Chelmsford and Espanola have tested positive for rabies. For more information on bats and rabies, phone 522-9200, ext. 398, or visit www.sdhu.com.

Follow-Up Report:

Massachusetts 08/25/11 patriotledger.com: (See August 26, 2011 post: Massachusetts 2-year-old attacked by COYOTE.) Police believe a coyote that attacked a toddler on Wednesday has most likely died after being shot by an officer later that night. Lt. Richard Fuller said there have been no sightings of the animal since police were called to a Main Street home at about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday, where an officer fired two shots at the coyote, which then ran into the woods. Police continued searching the woods in South Weymouth on Thursday. They didn’t find the coyote, but did find blood they believe came from the animal, Fuller said. “They haven’t found it yet and their belief is that it’s probably expired,” he said. “We’re hopeful it’s deceased deep in the woods.” Local police and state Environmental Police began searching for the coyote after it approached a 2-year-old girl on Clarendon Street at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, bit her on the head and then ran into the woods. She was treated at South Shore Hospital and began receiving shots to prevent rabies.  The search was called off after several hours, but police were called back in the evening when the coyote reappeared. The girl, who was walking with her grandmother when she was attacked, suffered non-life threatening injuries, including a laceration on her head. Coyotes are common throughout Massachusetts, but they rarely attack people unless they feel that their offspring are threatened or they are sick or rabid. Police said that the animal’s description and behavior led them to believe that it was the same one that attacked the child. (For complete article go to http://www.patriotledger.com/news/cops_and_courts/x865769885/Coyote-attacks-toddler-in-Weymouth )

New York 08/25/11 watertowndailytimes.com: by Daniel Woolfolk — (See August 26, 2011 post: New York soldier returning from deployment diagnosed with RABIES) – A soldier was diagnosed Friday with rabies, although he likely contracted the disease during a recent overseas deployment. Military officials will not release the soldier’s name, condition or the country in which the infection was contracted, but a source in the north country community said the soldier had been bitten by a dog in Afghanistan. Thomas W. Skinner, a spokesman for the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the public should not be alarmed. “Rabies is not something that is likely transmitted from person to person,” he said. “You have to have direct contact with an infected individual’s saliva to really acquire this infection.” The CDC, the Department of Defense and the state Health Department are monitoring the soldier’s care. They also are checking on other potential cases, Mr. Skinner said. “There are efforts under way … to track down anybody who they believe may have had direct close contact with this person in order to assess whether or not that individual should receive post-rabies vaccinations,” he said.

Dogs are the source of 99 percent of rabies cases in humans, according to the World Health Organization, which recommends on its website that wounds be washed immediately and the patient receive a post-exposure vaccination if rabies is suspected. It’s unclear how far along the soldier’s infection is, but no diagnosis process can detect the infection before symptoms emerge, according to the organization. It recommends treatment begin days after being exposed to prevent death. WHO publications state that more than 55,000 people die from the infection each year worldwide. However, more than 15 million people are treated with a rabies post-exposure regimen, which saves an estimated 327,000 lives. The Fort Drum soldier has the first confirmed rabies case in Jefferson County that Stephen A. Jennings, public information officer for Jefferson County Public Health, can remember. Times staff writer David C. Shampine contributed to this report.

Wisconsin 08/25/11 usatoday.com: by Dinesh Ramde – (See August 15, 2011 post: CDC seeks contact with passengers that shared Delta flight 5121 with a Bat, and Follow-Up Report of August 18, 2011.) Federal and state investigators found no evidence to substantiate reports of a bat infestation at the Madison airport and have closed their investigation, officials said Thursday.

Regional Airport. Madison, Wisconsin.

The inquiry followed an Aug. 5 incident in which a bat made its way onto a Delta flight from Madison to Atlanta. Authorities interviewed baggage handlers in Madison afterward who reported seeing live bats in the area as well as dead bats on the ground. Their comments raised concerns that a colony had taken up residence at the airport. However, investigators found nothing to support either report. “There was no evidence of a bat infestation,” Danielle Buttke, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press. “At this point it appears this was an isolated incident.” (For complete article go to http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011-08-25/Officials-No-bat-infestation-at-Madison-airport/50139038/1 )

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

Cougar. Photo by Trish Carney. Wikimedia Commons.

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

Blackbelly Barbados

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

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

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

New Haven County

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

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

Cape May County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Travel Warnings:

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





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

Matt Kenseth

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

Minnesota budget deal paves way for Gray Wolf hunting; New Mexico game commission supports recommendation to end Wolf trapping ban; Drought conditions in Arkansas driving Feral Hogs into residential neighborhoods; ten rabid Bats collected in California’s Moorpark College area; Israeli firm signs passive Rabies vaccine partnership deal in U.S.; Washington DOH confirms Yakima man’s death caused by Hantavirus; Georgia investigates possible human case of West Nile Virus; Rabies reports from Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia; West Nile Virus reports from Pennsylvania, and Virginia; and Follow-up reports from California (3 boys who found a rabid Bat have been located), Colorado (Coyote they believe bit 2-year-old toddler has been killed), and North Carolina (Fox that attacked two women was rabid).

Photo by Reron. Wikimedia Commons.

Minnesota 07/19/11 startribune.com: by Josephine Marcotty – The gray wolf in Minnesota could go from endangered to hunted in just a year or two under an environmental bill that is part of the deal struck between Gov. Mark Dayton and top Republican legislators. The bill states that once the Great Lakes wolf is taken off the federal endangered species list, which is expected later this year, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can establish a hunting season. It’s a marked change from the state’s previous wolf management plan, which called for a five-year moratorium on hunting after delisting. Hunting advocates say it will help reduce conflicts around the increasing number of wolf attacks on livestock and dogs. At the same time, experts say the swift transition from protected species to human prey will not harm the wolf’s survival if a hunting season is well-managed. “The [wolves] have surpassed every benchmark of recovery,” said Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. “It’s way past time.” Still, an official with the national environmental group that has opposed the delisting said it’s a bad sign that the Legislature is interfering even before the wolf is delisted. (For complete article go to http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/125862968.html )

New Mexico 07/21/11 therepublic.com: by Susan Montoya Bryan – State game commissioners on Thursday approved a recommendation from wildlife managers to end a trapping ban in southwestern New Mexico, where federal officials have been working to reintroduce the Mexican gray wolf. The commission voted unanimously in favor of the state Game and Fish Department’s proposal during a meeting in Clayton. The vote disappointed conservationists, who had sent thousands of emails and letters to the commissioners in recent weeks to support keeping the ban in place. Regulated furbearer trapping on the Gila and Apache national forests was banned last summer by former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, a supporter of the wolf reintroduction effort. The commission extended the ban last fall, giving researchers more time to study the risks of trapping and snaring to wolves. The researchers are done with their work but a report summarizing their findings has yet to be made public, and conservation groups have accused the Game and Fish Department of colluding with trapping and livestock groups to influence the commission’s decision-making process. Despite a public records request, the conservationists claim the agency has refused to provide information related to meetings the department allegedly held with industry groups on the trapping issue. (For complete article go to http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/8aece8609a4e4ab8bca7bd0e5f317e31/NM–Trapping-Ban/ )

Arkansas 07/20/11 reuters.com: by Suzi Parker – Rural Arkansans are seeing Razorback red as feral hogs are destroying yards, wreaking havoc on gardens and leaving behind their waste. A far cry from the storied team of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, these destructive wild hogs have become a scourge for even the most forgiving Razorbacks fans. Extreme drought conditions in Arkansas, especially in the state’s southern region, are prompting razorbacks to venture closer to houses and humans as they forage for food and water, state agriculture analysts said. “It’s a terrible problem that brings with it destruction and disease,” said David Goad, chief of the Bureau of Wildlife for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Descended from escaped domesticated pigs, the hogs can weigh up to 300 pounds – a formidable enemy for a homeowner just trying to protect their sunflowers.

Three weeks ago, June Moody, who lives near the Arkansas-Texas state line, woke up to discover a large part of her yard ruined. “These hogs were digging 20 feet away right under my bedroom window and I didn’t even hear them,” Moody said. “When I went out to get in my car the next morning, it looked like a bulldozer had been down my yard.” Moody said her neighbor estimated there may have been more than 30 hogs – also known as Russian or European wild boars – in her yard that night. That doesn’t surprise Goad. “Animals are very mobile, and they aren’t going to stay someplace and starve,” Goad said. “They are going to hit the road and find something to eat.”

Goad said the hogs are now in two-thirds of Arkansas counties. People are also trapping hogs from other states and releasing them in Arkansas to hunt them, Goad said. Feral hogs carry many diseases but two critical ones are swine brucellosis and pseudorabies, a swine virus not linked to rabies. If the wild hogs infiltrate domestic pigs, the diseases can spread and even affect humans, he said. The commission is attempting to eradicate hogs by shooting the ones on their wildlife management lands. Goad encourages private land owners also to trap and kill them. Arkansas allows the hunting of wild hogs day or night on private land. “If you see one, kill it,” he said.

The hogs can ruin crops, kill turkey and deer and root out bird eggs. Goad said hogs have eaten entire rows of corn, which results in costly replanting for farmers. They will also devour acorns, a main staple of a deer’s diet, and are often caught pillaging deer feeders. “A hog will eat any stinking thing it can get its teeth into,” Goad said. Feral hogs can be eaten themselves but 7 to 9 percent of them carry disease. Goad said that people should always wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling and dressing hogs. The meat must be cooked thoroughly before eating. According to Jaret Rushing, an extension agent for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, feral hogs can produce two litters of piglets every 12 to 15 months and are mature at eight months. Such quick reproduction creates an inexhaustible problem for Arkansas and many other southeastern states. “We have declared war on them, trapping and killing them as fast as we can, but we are losing the battle,” Rushing said.

California 07/20/11 vcstar.com: by Michele Willer-Allred – Ten bats recently found in Moorpark have tested positive for rabies, Ventura County health officials confirmed Wednesday. The bats were collected from several homes in a neighborhood next to Moorpark College. John Brand, the city’s senior management analyst, said about a dozen bats were collected over a period of two months in four homes. Bats also have been seen around a fifth property, which has a pool. “More bats are being found, so the numbers are in flux,” Brand said. Ten of the bats collected have tested positive for rabies in the past 68 days, said Dr. Robert Levin, county public health officer. Levin said Ventura County does get some rabid bats, but only eight to 12 test positive per year. Finding 10 testing positive in a two-month period in a small area of the county is troublesome, he said. “It’s a higher number than usual. I am concerned about it,” Levin said. Brand said city officials have canvassed the neighborhood and notified homeowners about bats.

At issue is whether removing bats from homes is a homeowner responsibility or something the city must handle because it’s a public health issue. City officials are currently discussing the situation. Ventura County is not the only county in California dealing with rabid bats. Last month, Orange County health officials issued a warning after multiple dead bats were found in Laguna Niguel Regional Park and one tested positive for rabies. Orange County health officials only announce their discoveries if bats are found in a public area. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 21 bats with rabies were found there last year, more than double the average number of 10. So far in 2011 in Los Angeles, 11 rabid animals, all bats, have been detected.

Levin said he doesn’t know why so many bats are testing positive for rabies, but he speculated there are just more bats this year because of heavy winter rains. More rain might have increased the number of bugs, which bats like to eat, he said. Levin said it is important that residents understand the potential dangers bats pose to themselves and pets. Anyone who sees a bat should not touch or handle it, he said, because rabies can be transmitted through bat saliva. One person exposed to a bat in Moorpark is being treated with a series of vaccinations to prevent rabies. Anyone bitten by a bat should immediately seek medical attention, he said. Rabies can kill within days. Levin said pets should have up-to-date rabies vaccinations and should not have contact with bats. “Unfortunately, (vaccinating animals against rabies) is not done as much as it should be,” Levin said. According to the California Department of Fish and Game website, bats are common in California, with 24 species found in the state. They are considered important to the ecosystem. Bats found in homes are usually roosting, and property owners may legally remove them from property when they are damaging it. Poisons or fumigants are illegal under both state and federal law. Betsy Bolster, a state Fish and Game Department environmental scientist, said rabid bats take a paralytic form and will rest on the ground. If a bat is found on the ground, it is important not to pick it up. Instead, with gloved hands, isolate the bat with a box or coffee can and call the county health department or animal control office immediately, she said.

National 07/20/11 globes.co.il: by Hillel Koren – Kamada Ltd. (TASE: KMDA) yesterday signed an exclusive strategic cooperation agreement to develop and market its passive rabies vaccine KamRAB in the US. The company did not disclose the identity of its partner, saying only that it is a multinational company that develops drugs based on human plasma with sales in 40 countries, including the US and in Europe.  Kamada’s partner will bear the full cost of the Phase III clinical trial of KamRAB on the basis of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved protocols. The partner will also bear the full marketing and sales cost of the vaccine in the US, assuming it is approved by the FDA. The partner’s subsidiary will supply the hyper-immune plasma needed to produce the vaccine.  Kamada granted its partner six years marketing exclusivity to KamRAB from the date it is approved by the FDA, assuming this happens, and has an option to extend the exclusivity by two years. The partner undertakes to buy a minimum quantity of KamRAB during the contract period.  Kamada and its partner plan to conduct the Phase III trial as soon as possible, for which Kamada will allocate the necessary quantities of KamRAB.  Kamada has been marketing KamRAB in Israel and other countries since 2003, and is seeking to license it in additional countries. It notes that 15 million people are exposed to rabies worldwide every year, and tens of thousands of people die of it.

Kamada CEO David Tzur

Kamada CEO David Tzur said that the new strategic agreement would enable Kamada to sell KamRAB in the important US market, where it will benefit from high profit margins. He added that this widens the company’s products offering in the US market, where its flagship product, Glassia (its intravenous AAT treatment for congenital emphysema), has had tens of millions of dollars in sales.  Kamada’s share price rose 2.6% by midday today to NIS 226.74, giving a market cap of NIS 718 million.

Washington 07/21/11 yakimahealthdistrict.org: Press Release – The Yakima Health District (YHD) has received confirmation from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the death earlier this month of a Yakima County man in his 50s was caused by hantavirus. This is the first hantavirus death in Washington State since 2009 and the first case reported in the state for 2011. Because hantavirus is fatal in about one of every three cases, YHD is encouraging residents to take simple precautions to prevent exposure to this rare but life-threatening infection. YHD Health Officer, Dr. Christopher Spitters offers, “We extend our condolences to the family of this man. This rare and unfortunate event that led to his demise is a reminder of the importance of taking steps to maintain sanitation in general, to avoid rodent infestation in particular, and to exercise caution when encountering or cleaning up rodent infested areas.”

Georgia 07/21/11 wtoc.com: A possible case of West Nile Virus in a human in Chatham County is currently being investigated by the Chatham County Health Department. Preliminary tests have come in, but CCHD is waiting for the results of follow up testing which is required to confirm the diagnosis. West Nile Virus is going around among the mosquito population in the state and in Chatham County. If results are positive in this case, it would be Chatham County’s first West Nile case in a human since 2006. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says West Nile cases have fallen dramatically nationwide in the past decade. There were 14 infections reported in Georgia last year.

Illinois 07/20/11 go.com: Officials in Will County say tests on a bat found there have confirmed the animal had rabies. In a news release, the Will County Animal Control office says the bat was found outside the kitchen window of a residence in Homer Glen last week. The animal was sent to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which conducted tests that confirmed it had rabies. Will County officials say there is no indication that the bat had contact with any people or with a pet.

Maryland 07/20/11 carrollcountytimes.com: by Alisha George – The Carroll County Health Department is looking for a dog that bit a person at Deer Park in Smallwood July 17. The dog is described as being white and small-sized, according to a Health Department press release. If the dog is not found and verified to be in good health by July 26, it is likely that the victim of the attack will be treated with a series of post-exposure rabies shots. Those with information that may help locate the dog or its owner are asked to contact the Health Department at 410-876-1884 or the Humane Society of Carroll County at 410-848-4810.

New Jersey 07/20/11 centraljersey.com: by Lea Kahn – A raccoon that was found wandering in the area of Melvina Drive and Edith Drive Friday night, in the Lawrenceville Greene neighborhood, has been determined to have rabies, according to the Lawrence Township Health Department. Township officials are asking residents who may have come into contact with the raccoon within the past 14 days to contact the Health Department. The advisory also extends to residents’ pets that may have come into contact with the raccoon. Police were called around 8:30 p.m. to investigate what appeared to be a sick animal, township officials said. The police officer knew something was wrong with the raccoon and destroyed it. The raccoon was tested for rabies, and the result was positive.  For more information, contact the Lawrence Township Health Department at 609-844-7089. The office is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania 07/21/11 fultoncountynews.com: by Chanin Rotz-Mountz – For the second time this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of rabies here in Fulton County. Wildlife Conservation Officer Kevin Mountz with the Pennsylvania Game Commission received notice Friday from the Department of Agriculture that a fox involved in a fight with a dog just outside McConnellsburg Borough was infected with the rabies virus.

South Carolina 07/20/11 wjbf.com: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environtal Control (DHEC) tells WJBF News Channel 6 an Aiken County woman is under the care of a physician after being bitten by a bat that tested positive for rabies. “The lady thought she was picking up a leaf out of a College Acres swimming pool,” said Sue Ferguson, of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. “It turns out it was a bat that then bit the lady on the finger.” “In cases like this, people know when they have been bitten by a bat,” Ferguson said. “However, bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen, and some situations require that you seek medical advice even in the absence of an obvious bite wound. For example, if you awaken and find a bat in your room or if you see a bat in the room of an unattended child, or near a mentally impaired or intoxicated person, seek medical advice and have the bat tested.” According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the recent human rabies cases in the U.S. have been caused by rabies virus from bats. This is the sixth confirmed rabid animal in Aiken County in 2011. Last year, there were no rabid animals confirmed in the county. In 2010, there were 106 confirmed cases of rabies in animals in South Carolina. So far this year, there have been 55 confirmed cases in animals in the state. For more information about rabies, see DHEC’s webpage, or contact DHEC’s Aiken County Environmental Health Office (803) 642-1637. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage about rabies can be found here.

Texas 07/19/11 theeagle: College Station police are trying to find the owner of a small white fluffy dog with a pinkish-colored ear after it bit a woman in the area of Brentwood Street and Pine Ridge Drive. Authorities said the incident happened at about noon Tuesday when the dog — the breed wasn’t known — jumped up and bit the woman on her left calf. The victim didn’t get any information from the dog’s owner because she was unaware of the rabies guideline set forth by the State of Texas. The owner is described as a Hispanic female wearing a camouflage tank-top and blue jeans. Animal Control is asking for help from the public to locate the dog so rabies exposure to the victim can be ruled out. Once found, the dog will need to be observed for 10 days from the time of the bite for signs of rabies infection. Anyone with information is asked to call 979-764-3600.

Virginia 07/20/11 wpcva.com: Raccoons that tested positive for rabies have been found in the Crestview Lane and Yorkshire Drive neighborhoods of Pittsylvania County. For more information, contact Pittsylvania County Health Department at (434) 432-7232 ext. 260.

Pennsylvania 07/21/11 yourmonroeville.com: by Kyle Lawson – A mosquito sample collected last week near Saunders Station Road tested positive for the West Nile virus. The wetlands near Saunders Station Road provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it’s possible that traces of the virus could spread to other parts of Monroeville, said Bob Todaro, entomologist for the Allegheny County Health Department, which released the report last week.  Saunders Station was treated in April for nuisance mosquitoes, but not culex mosquitoes, which most commonly carry the virus, Todaro said.

Virginia 07/2011 pwc.gov.org: Press Release – Mosquitoes collected on July 8, 2011 by the Prince William Mosquito Control Program have tested positive for the West Nile Virus (WNV), marking the first reported activity of the virus in the County for the 2011 season. Positive mosquitoes have been collected from test areas in northern Woodbridge, Lake Ridge area. Mosquito testing is used to determine periods of greater risk of contracting West Nile Virus. The Prince William Mosquito Control Program performed an intensive treatment in the vicinity of the positive mosquito pools so as to kill adult mosquitoes and breeding larvae in residential areas. The Prince William Mosquito Control Program will continue to monitor the area and possibly conduct an adulticide spray based on future trap numbers.

Follow-up Reports:

California 07/20/11 nctimes.com: by Edward Sifuentes – Three boys who earlier this month found a bat in Vista that later tested positive for rabies were not exposed to the disease, according to county health officials. The three boys, ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old, brought the live bat to a Vista Petco store on July 10. The bat later died and tested positive for the disease, health officials said. Authorities were looking for the boys to make sure they did not come into contact with rabies. They were identified on Monday by another youth who had seen them with the bat prior to bringing it to the store. The witness called county health officials after hearing about the case in the media. “We have interviewed the boys extensively and confirmed that they did not touch the bat,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, deputy county Public Health Officer. The boys’ own doctors will make a final recommendation about whether the boys will receive any preventative treatments, McDonald said. (See California post for July 18, 2011)

Colorado 07/21/11 9news.com: by Blair Shiff – The coyote who bit a 2-year-old Colorado boy earlier this week was put down by wildlife officers this morning.  The boy was walking with his dad when the attack occurred on a trail near Highway 7 and Sheridan Boulevard in Broomfield. The boy was treated for puncture wounds and released.  The coyote was found in the same area where the boy was bitten but authorities said that they are not certain that the animal they killed was the same that bit the boy.  The coyote will be tested for illness, and officials are looking for signs to explain the attack.

North Carolina 07/21/11 fayobserver.com: A red fox that attacked two women outside their home on Tuesday morning has tested positive for rabies, according to Al Carter, director of Moore County Animal Control. The results came back from a laboratory Wednesday afternoon showing the fox was rabid when it attacked Virginia Lee Clayton, 48, and her 80-year-old mother, Martha Swaringen, on Chancery Lane. The fox lunged at Clayton’s leg about 6:40 a.m. Tuesday after she saw the fox in her yard and turned to go back inside her home. Swaringen, hearing her screams, came to her daughter’s aide with a shovel, which she used to beat back the fox. The fox was trapped in a garbage can until animal control officers arrived and shot it. Both women were treated at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and began a series of rabies shots. Now, they’ll have to go back for a few more sets of shots. Carter said the shots are very effective, and the women should be fine. The fox is the fourth confirmed case of rabies in Moore County this year, he said. (See North Carolina post for 07/20/11)

Michigan pork industry wants ban on Wild Pigs; Montana rancher traps second Wolf where Horse was killed; Wyoming officials and U.S. Interior Secretary will meet to discuss Wolves; North Carolina woman contracts Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; Virginian bitten by rabid Fox; CDC zoonotic disease summary for week ending June 18, 2011. Travel Warnings for Peru, and Saudi Arabia.

Wild boar. Photo by MakroFreak. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 06/27/11 michiganmessenger.com: by Todd A. Heywood – With the legislature having failed to pass legislation to prevent the Department of Natural Resources from enforcing a ban on wild pig hunting, the DNR is set to make that ban functional July 8. And the state’s $600 million pork industry supports the move, reports the Saginaw News. Those officials say the pigs carry hundreds of diseases which domestic swine are not immune to. Should those wild swine contact domestic stocks, pork industry officials say it would decimate the pork industry, including the 6,000 Michigan jobs associated with rearing swine.

Wild swine — either domestic pigs improperly released into the wild or imported European wild swine released for sporting hunts of boars — have become a growing issue in Michigan. The Granholm administration declared feral swine an invasive species, clearing the way for hunters and others to kill them. But the Snyder administration rolled that policy back some earlier this year when lawmakers expressed concern. However, the state legislature, which is controlled by Republicans, was unable to muster the votes to stop the DNR from eliminating the sporting programs and pursuing the feral swine elimination program.

Boosting the claim of disease threat, the state has reported an outbreak of pseudo-rabies in wild pigs found in Saginaw county. The Saginaw News says the state has reported 488 feral swine in Bay, Saginaw and Midland counties since 2006.  Earlier this month, the Bay City Times reported that federal cash was being made available to land owners and farmers in the battle against feral swine. That money was supposed to be targeted for waterway cleanups under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Montana 06/27/11 missoulian.com: by Perry Backus – A second wolf was trapped and euthanized Saturday near a Darby area ranch where a horse was killed three weeks ago. The male black yearling wolf was caught on national forest land about a half-mile from the Two Feathers Ranch south of Darby. The owners of the ranch were granted permission to kill up to five wolves after one of their horses was driven through a fence and killed. A female gray wolf was killed June 14 after being caught in a trap about 100 yards from where the horse died. Officials suspect the Trapper Creek pack was responsible for the horse’s death, but no one was sure of the pack’s numbers.

Two Feathers Ranch manager Jeff Rennaker said they found another wolf track an inch away from another trap set near the ranch on Monday. “Our problems are far from over,” he said. “People don’t think they are very intelligent animals. From what I’ve seen, they are pretty smart.” The permit that allows the ranch to kill wolves expires on July 11.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Liz Bradley said she will spend some additional time in the area to ascertain if there are more wolves after the permit expires and federal trappers remove their traps. “We are going to have to see what happens over the next couple of weeks,” Bradley said. If there are more wolves in the area, Bradley said she will try to capture one and equip it with a radio collar.

One week before the horse was a killed, a neighboring rancher shot and thought he hit a wolf that was in amongst his cattle. The rancher reported the wolf was wearing a collar. The only wolf in the area with a collar was the breeding female in the Trapper Creek pack, Bradley said. That wolf’s collar was no longer functioning. No one has seen that wolf since then. Last Saturday, Bradley used her dog in an attempt to see if she could locate the wolf’s carcass, but didn’t have any success. “She’s led me to several carcasses in the past when we’ve been out scouting around,” Bradley said.

There have not been any additional livestock depredations since the horse was killed. A control action was completed earlier this month on the CB Ranch east of Darby after wolves killed a calf there. Four wolves from the Divide Creek pack were killed by federal trappers, including two that were shot from a helicopter paid for by the ranch. At the end of last year, there were 12 confirmed wolf packs that used the Bitterroot watershed at some time of the year.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar

Wyoming 06/28/11 trib.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director nominee Daniel Ashe will visit Wyoming within the next month to reach a deal on delisting Wyoming wolves. In a phone call to U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., today, Salazar committed to the visit to “aggressively pursue a solution” to the years-long dispute over wolves. In response, Barrasso announced that he will quit blocking a vote to confirm Ashe as Fish and Wildlife director.

Daniel Ashe

Wyoming has been fighting Fish and Wildlife for years to accept the state’s wolf management plan and remove the state’s roughly 300 wolves from the federal endangered species list. The state’s plan allows unregulated killing of the animals in all but the northwest corner of the state. Fish and Wildlife wants wolves to be classified as “trophy game” throughout the state, meaning they could only be hunted with a license.

Gov. Matt Mead

Salazar met with Gov. Matt Mead in March about wolves, suggesting a deadline of a month to reach an agreement on a management plan. After the meeting, Wyoming’s wolf negotiators sent a formal letter to Fish and Wildlife detailing the state’s position, said Mead spokesman Renny MacKay. But for the next 40 days or so, they received no reply. In response, Barrasso placed the hold on Ashe’s nomination on May 27. Under Senate rules, any senator can secretly place a “hold” against a bill or nomination, preventing a Senate vote from taking place.

U.S. Sen. John Barasso (R-WY)

On June 6, Fish and Wildlife sent a formal response to the state’s letter. Negotiations have continued since then, MacKay said. In a media release, Barrasso said he appreciated Salazar’s commitment to quickly resolving the issue. Barrasso is only the latest in a line of Republican senators who have held up Ashe’s nomination in order to resolve grievances against the Interior Department and the Obama administration. But Obama administration officials have negotiated deals with those holds; Barrasso’s hold is the only known remaining hold on Ashe’s nomination.

North Carolina 06/27/11 nbc17.com: by Marilyn Peguero – After planting herbs in the garden at her Durham home, Carol Fuqua noticed a little brown mark on her leg. “When I scratched it, it flipped up and I saw the little feet. So I said, oh my, that’s a tick.” Days later, she got an even more unpleasant surprise. “Everywhere there was a hair follicle, it was bright red. It was red, red and spreading to the front of my leg as well as my back,” Fuqua said. Doctors diagnosed her with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. She had barely heard of the disease.  “It was kind of like one of those old-timey, old-fashioned things that you’d heard that furriers and hill people got. You know, but nothing like within the city limits,” said Fuqua. “They said if I didn’t catch it, it would have gone into its next stage and that a bite from this tick could eventually cause death.”

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever rash

Barry Engber, a medical entomologist at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says ticks and their diseases are common in North Carolina. “Anytime you’re bitten by a tick you need to consider the possibility that it has transmitted something,” Engber said. The state got just 278 reports of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever last year. But the symptoms are like those of the flu, and many cases go unreported at doctor’s offices, Engber said. “It’s very likely that they are just going to treat you with antibiotics and not wait for test results, or may not even look for testing,” he said. With the help of medication, Carol Fuqua’s symptoms are almost gone. But she plans to keep an eye out for ticks.

Virginia 06/27/11 wset.com: A gray fox that several folks in Martinsville ran into has been confirmed to be rabid. The fox was found near the intersection of Route 58 and Soapstone Road in Henry County. The fox bit one person and may have exposed others to rabies through scratches or saliva. Four people are getting treatment as a result of it. The fox has been euthanized. If you or anyone you know may have come in contact with this fox, contact the Henry County Health Department.

CDC MMWR Week ending June 18, 2011 /60(24);820-833

Anaplasmosis . . . 12 . . . Georgia, Florida (2), Missouri, New York (8),

Babesiosis . . . 5 . . . New York (4), Pennsylvania,

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Nebraska,

Ehrlichiosis . . . 8 . . . Florida (2), Missouri (2), New York (2), Tennessee (2),

Giardiasis . . . 143 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas, Arizona (2), California (33), Colorado (11), Florida (15), Georgia (22), Iowa (4), Idaho, Maryland (2), Maine (3), Michigan (2), Missouri (7), Nebraska (5), New York (15), Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina, Virginia, Washington (5), Wisconsin (3), West Virgnia (4),

Lyme Disease . . .  283 . . . California (2), Delaware (7), Florida (6), Maryland (13), Maine (3), New York (114), Pennsylvania (123), Virginia (11), Vermont (2), West Virginia (2),

Q Fever . . . 1 . . .Washington,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 14 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, New York (4), Virginia (5),

Spotted Fever . . . 5 . . . Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee (3),

Probable Spotted Fever . . . 11 . . . Alabama, Missouri (3), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee (3), West Virginia, Wyoming,

Tularemia . . . 3 . . . California, Oklahoma, South Dakota,

Travel Warnings:

Peru 06/27/11 netglobers.com: Recently, Peruvian health authorities issued a health alert due to the increase of dengue fever cases. The alert runs for at least 60 days in the following departments: Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin and Amazonas. At the time being, authorities have reported more than 30,700 cases of the disease, including 181 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever and 22 deaths. Peru is annually hit by dengue fever outbreaks, especially in the north and west of the country. However, this year, the epidemic is particularly aggressive.

Saudi Arabia 06/28/11 saudigazette.com.sa: The number of dengue fever cases in Jeddah requiring hospital attention has risen to approximately 130 a week, while the number of instances involving only minor symptoms that remain unreported are suspected of being much higher. According to Al-Yawm Arabic daily Monday, many of the 130 weekly cases have been found in more affluent districts of the city, suggesting that the mosquito-borne virus is spreading from its usual areas of proliferation in unplanned or downmarket areas. “The recording of cases in affluent areas is due to open areas of water and newly-built sites installing exposed water tanks during construction, and that has attracted mosquitoes,” Sami Badawood, Jeddah Health Affairs chief, told Al-Yawm. “Whereas before cases were mostly found in unplanned districts, now we are seeing it spread to affluent areas. Instances have been registered in Al-Rehab, followed by Al-Salam, Al-Rawdha and Al-Basateen districts.”

New Mexico invaded by Feral Hogs; Michigan to consider lifting 3-year ban on Deer baiting; New Mexico reports 3rd human Hantavirus case and 2nd human Bubonic Plague case this year; Rabies reports from Arizona, Colorado, Illinois (2), New York (2), North Carolina, Virginia, and Wyoming; and Pennsylvania school presents Lyme Disease program. Canada: Rabies report from Ontario.

Feral hogs trapped by the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

New Mexico 05/27/11 krqe.com: by Celina Westervelt – Part of the state is being taken over by feral hogs. Not only can these animals be dangerous, but they are also costly because they’re known to eat and trample everything in sight. Four years ago feral hogs were found in just three counties in New Mexico. Now they have invaded more than 17. The USDA and Game and Fish are encouraging people to shoot wild hogs on private property on the spot. “They’re increasing because they reproduce so easily and exponentially,” said Sandra Barraza Program Director for Roswell’s Agriculture Extension Office. “They have high numbers of litters and a lot of those make it.” An adult female feral hog has two litters a year, and with about eight piglets per litter, Barraza said it doesn’t take long for populations to expand. The animals are the ultimate omnivores feasting on everything from lizards and frogs to farmer’s crops. “They go in and dig up the ground with their snout,” Barraza explained. “They eat up the root. They eat up the plant themselves, and they root around equipment water areas. They can even mess up roads and cause a major mess.” She added feral hogs are known to damage irrigation lines and fences. Barraza said that destruction can be extensive and quite costly. Besides the economic damage, another major concern is disease. The non-native wild pigs can carry a form a rabies (pseudorabies) that’s transmittable to people and animals. They can also spread a bacteria(l disease) called Swine Brucellosis. If cattle catch it, they can’t be sold. “That is one of the main reasons why we are very concerned about them,” Barraza exclaimed. “That disease can be transmitted to livestock, which could be an economic loss to people.” Feral hogs, or wild pigs as they are also called, are found mainly along the river in Roswell and likely migrated from Texas where the animals are abundant and extremely destructive. USDA officials said they were also brought to New Mexico in the early 1990’s for commercial and sport hunting. Hunting feral hogs is legal in the state, but organized hog hunts are not. Due to population increases, residents who spot the creatures on their property are encouraged to kill them. People do eat wild hogs. Members of the USDA stated anyone who plans to do so, needs to be extra careful because of disease. Barraza also encourages anyone who kills one on their property, to contact Game and Fish so it can be tested.

Michigan 05/28/11 detnews.com: by Jim Lynch – Few debates among Michigan’s deer hunters spark passion like the legality or morality of baiting. And the state is plunging back into the issue as it considers lifting a three-year ban on the practice. Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission will meet June 9 to discuss the restriction, enacted in August 2008 after chronic wasting disease was found at a deer breeding operation in Kent County. By barring hunters in the Lower Peninsula from using piles of feed like apples, sugar beets or carrots to lure deer to a specific site to shoot, state wildlife officials hoped to stop the spread of the disease. Since that time, there have been no new cases of the disease, a neurological disorder that causes extreme weight loss and eventually death in deer. As a result, the ban’s future is in doubt. But the issue is about more than deer health. Michigan has nearly 700,000 deer hunters, and to many of them, it’s an issue of right and wrong — hunting as an art form versus hunting as recreation.  (For complete article go to http://www.detnews.com/article/20110528/METRO/105280369/Michigan-commission-reconsiders-deer-baiting-ban

New Mexico 05/27/11 greenfieldreporter.com: The New Mexico Health Department reports that a 39-year-old man from McKinley County has been hospitalized with Hantavirus and is in critical condition at University Hospital in Albuquerque.  This is the third case of Hantavirus reported in New Mexico this year.  The first was a 51-year-old woman, also from McKinley County, who died in January, and the second was a 35-year-old man from Torrance County, who died earlier this month.

New Mexico 05/27/11 ktsm.com: by Lauren Zimmerman – A Santa Fe man has been diagnosed with New Mexico’s second case of Bubonic Plague this year. Today, a 78-year-old man was hospitalized and is recovering from the plague, which is a bacterial disease linked to fleas and rodents. The first case was reported in early May in a 58-year-old man from the same area.

Arizona 05/27/11 kold.com: by Christopher Francis – A Pinal County man is undergoing preventative treatments after coming face to face with a rabid skunk. According to Pinal County Public Health workers, the sneaky skunk slipped in through a dog door and up to a Mammoth-San Manuel man while he was sleeping.  He felt a paw at his face, and when he woke up, he found the skunk staring him down.  Health workers say the man managed to get the skunk outside and killed it with a shovel.  Tests show it had rabies, a deadly disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals through bites and other contact with bodily fluids. “Although this situation may paint an amusing picture, the outcome is far from amusing,” Pinal County Public Health Director Tom Schryer explained in a press release.  “The gentleman will have to undergo a series of vaccinations to prevent the rabies infection and, if he cannot prove that his family pets are current on their vaccinations, they will be quarantined or euthanized.” Pinal County health workers say the skunk is the fourth rabid animal found in the eastern part of the county since the beginning of the year.  All of the animals were skunks, found in Oracle, Kearny and Mammoth within the past few months.  There has not been a documented case of human rabies in Pinal County for decades, workers say.

Colorado 05/27/11 bcdemocratonline.com: Bent County Public Health is warning people to vaccinate their pets against rabies and avoid wildlife. The warning comes after health officials announced another skunk tested positive for rabies on Wednesday.  A total of three skunks have been infected with rabies in the county from August 2010 to now.  Health officials said the latest skunk was found just east of the Las Animas city limits.

Illinois 05/27/11 patch.com: by Claudia Lenart – A bat killed by two cats in a Lake Villa home tested positively for rabies on May 20 and another bat found outside a Waukegan dog kennel also tested positively for rabies on May 23. The cats were given rabies booster shots and the dogs were determined to not have had contact with the bat, according to a news release from the Lake County Health Department.

Illinois 05/26/11 suntimes.com: The year’s first case of wildlife rabies was recorded Saturday in Will County when a rabid bat was found dead outside a southwest suburban home. The bat was found beneath a deck of a home on Pinecrest Road in Bolingbrook on May 21, according to a release from the Will County Health Dept. Its remains were taken to Will County Animal Control for shipment to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health for laboratory analysis. Seven people and three dogs live on the property, but no human exposures were found, the release said. All three dogs were current on their rabies vaccinations.

New York 05/27/11 patch.com: by Lizzie Hedrick – The Westchester County Department of Health is issuing a rabies alert to residents who may have had contact with a rabid cat in the vicinity of Club Lane, a cul de sac off the Knollwood Road extension in Greenburgh, prior to Thursday, May 25. The cat was jet black with a matted coat and large green eyes and was taken to an animal hospital for treatment Thursday because it was staggering and had tremors, Health Department officials report.  The cat died at the hospital and test results confirmed Friday it was rabid. “Anyone who believes that he may have had contact with this cat should contact the Westchester County Department of Health immediately at (914) 813-5000 to assess the need for rabies treatment,” said Westchester County Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Cheryl Archbald. “Anyone bitten by a rabid animal, or having contact with its saliva, may need to receive immediate rabies vaccination.”

New York 05/26/11 wgrz.com: The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the publics’ help in locating a cat they say very likely has rabies. The cat attacked a dog Thursday morning and was last seen on Main Street in the Village of Forestville. The feline is described as all black, medium sized and very skinny with short hair. If you see it, do not try and approach it, but contact the Chautauqua County Health Department immediately at 1-866-604-6789.

North Carolina 05/27/11 news-record.com: Health officials recorded the county’s fifth rabies case of the year this week. A fox found on Burntleaf Place in Greensboro had contact with one person. People should report stray animals, animals acting strangely or exposures to sick animals to Animal Control at 641-5990 in Greensboro or 883-3224 in High Point.

Pennsylvania 05/28/11 pottsmerc.com: Elverson – The Twin Valley High School LiveWell Committee will be presenting a film on the dangers of Lyme Disease at 6:30 p.m. June 2. “Under Our Skin” talks about ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease, and explains some of the symptoms associated with it, including impulsivity, memory problems, fatigue and more. The movie is free and is open to the public at the high school. For additional information, contact auhrich@tvsd.org or 610-633-9286.

Virginia 05/27/11 roanoke.com: by Cody Lowe – A dead gray fox found in the Hollins area of Roanoke County has tested positive for rabies. The Virginia Department of Health began contacting residents door-to-door in and around the 7000 block of Friendship Lane about the incident earlier this week. The rabies test results were determined on May 19. Bobby Parker, the department’s spokesman for the Southwest Region, said many residents of the area, which is near the intersection of Plantation Road and Interstate 81, reported multiple sightings of animals – including gray foxes – acting unusually just before the dead fox was found. It was not clear if several people saw the same fox, or if multiple foxes were involved, he said, although there were reports of a fox fighting with a raccoon and another of a fox fighting with a groundhog.  Parker said it was unclear if the tested animal died of rabies, other natural causes or a fight with another animal. He said it did not appear that it had been killed, either intentionally or accidentally, by contact with humans. Nor was there any evidence of contact with humans. Parker said another animal – a raccoon – was found in the same general area Thursday, but that rabies test results for it are not expected before Tuesday at the earliest. In the meantime, the department continues to ask that residents report any sightings of unusual animal behavior be reported to their local animal control office – for Roanoke County that is at 777-8606. All animal bites should also be reported to the Roanoke Health Department at 204-9775. About 600 cases of rabies are confirmed in Virginia animals each year.

Wyoming 05/26/11 therepublic.com: The second rabid skunk this year has been found in southeast Wyoming, prompting warnings to get pets vaccinated. An infected skunk was caught Tuesday just south of the Cheyenne city limits. The city animal shelter says three dogs came in contact with the skunk. Two of the dogs had their rabies vaccine and will be quarantined for 45 days. The third dog wasn’t current on its vaccine and will be quarantined for six months at home. A rabid skunk was found in the area in January, the first case since 1984.


Ontario 05/27/11 tillsonburgnews.com: Oxford County Public Health & Emergency Services is seeking information following a dog-biting incident in Tillsonburg. A female teen was bitten by a Dobermann Pinscher-like dog on Potters Road by the train tracks in town Monday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. The identity of the dog and its owner are unknown. The dog was being walked on a leash with a second Dobermann Pinscher-like dog by a man with a grayish-red beard estimated to be in his late 40s to early 50s. Accurate information about the dog may allow the teen to avoid a series of rabies vaccinations. The dog owner, anyone who witnessed this scenario, or anyone with information about the dog and its owner is strongly encouraged to contact Public Health Inspector Serena Roberts at Oxford County Public Health at 519-539-9800, ext. 3453.

Pennsylvania still free of Chronic Wasting Disease, but for how long? Wyoming lawmakers one step ahead of Feral Hog threat. USDA to distribute Oral Rabies Vaccine in Massachusetts and Ohio. Minnesota sportsman’s club to offer trapper ed course. Canada: Sportsman’s club tracking Coyote in Newfoundland and Labrador on Google Earth Map.

Elk. Courtesy National Park Service.

Pennsylvania 04/22/11 ammoland.com: While no confirmed cases of Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, have been found in Pennsylvania’s wild deer and elk, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials continue to be concerned about not only “when” it arrives here, but also about how fast it could spread once it does reach the Commonwealth. “In the past two years, confirmed cases of CWD have moved from 20 miles away from our southern border to just 10 miles away from the Mason-Dixon Line,” said Dr. Walter Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian. “It no longer is a discussion about ‘if’ we find CWD within our state, but a matter of “when.’ “With that in mind, we are urging Pennsylvanians who engage in practices like supplemental wildlife feeding, placement of salt and the use of urine-based lures to consider voluntarily discontinuing these activities as they are known to increase the risk of introduction and spread of the disease. We also urge hunters who may hunt in Maryland, West Virginia or any other state that has the disease to become familiar with and observe our CWD Parts Ban, which is outlined in the annual hunting digest and on the agency’s website.” Specifically, Cottrell said that feeding of wildlife, especially deer, along the Maryland/Pennsylvania border from Bedford to York counties should be discontinued or, at least, confined to bird feeding. (For complete article go to http://www.ammoland.com/2011/04/22/pennsylvania-game-commission-offers-advise-as-cwd-creeps-closer-to border/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ammoland+%28ammoland%29 )

Wyoming 04/2/11 billingsgazette.com: by Jeremy Pelzer – When Wyoming lawmakers first passed rules governing feral livestock two years ago, they did so in part out of fear that the state would soon face an oinking, four-legged menace: feral swine. But so far, state livestock officials said, the fear that wild hogs would cross over the state line from Nebraska along the North Platte River hasn’t come to pass. Feral swine have become an increasing problem in the United States during the past couple of decades, especially as domesticated pigs escape or are turned loose into the wild. Prolific breeders, they’ve caused millions of dollars’ worth of crop destruction, attacking farm animals and native wildlife and spreading diseases such as brucellosis and pseudo-rabies. Wild hogs have established populations in 37 states, mainly in the Southeast and Midwest, said Joseph Corn, a University of Georgia veterinary sciences professor who runs the National Feral Swine Mapping System. Wyoming is not one of those states, Corn said. But Nebraska is, and Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan said wild pigs have been reported as close as 20 miles from the Nebraska-Wyoming border. “It’s a huge concern,” Logan said. The chances of a wild-pig invasion from Nebraska are slim these days, thanks to a six-year program by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to squelch the animals through trapping and even shooting them from helicopters, said Sam Wilson, nongame mammal and fur-bearing program manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “Your state shouldn’t be worried about feral swine, in my opinion,” Wilson said. “At least, not from Nebraska.” Wilson offered kudos to Wyoming for acting preemptively by passing a 2009 law giving state officials the authority to take action against any feral swine in the state. Of course, any population of wild pigs could be culled by individual hunting, as well. But several Wyoming hunters said the environmental costs of a wild-hog population would far outweigh the pleasure of nabbing several hundred pounds’ worth of pork chops and bacon. “Would they be fun to hunt? Yes, I would love to hunt for a hog,” said Casper hunter Daren Bulow. “But would I want them in Wyoming? No.”

Massachusetts & Ohio 04/22/11 usda.gov: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will soon begin distributing oral rabies vaccine (ORV) baits on Cape Cod and in the Cleveland metro area to reduce the incidence of raccoon rabies. APHIS’ wildlife services program will begin the baiting work on or about April 25 on Cape Cod, Mass., and in five Ohio counties the first week of May. In cooperation with the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force, 24,000 oral rabies vaccination ORV baits will be distributed by hand and in strategically positioned bait stations where raccoons are likely to travel. Coated sachets baits will be distributed by hand in seven towns from Barnstable to Orleans.

Since 2004, WS has been working to eliminate raccoon rabies from Cape Cod because the virus is a threat to wildlife populations, pets and public health and safety. As a peninsula, Cape Cod is an ideal landscape for testing rabies elimination strategies. Reported raccoon rabies cases dropped from 124 in 2004, to 50 in 2006. In 2010, the number decreased to 9 reported cases, all outside the current ORV zone. In the past two years, no animals from Yarmouth to the east have tested positive for raccoon rabies. The vaccine baiting program has been suspended in towns north and east of Orleans.

Beginning the first week of May, more than 84,000 fishmeal polymer baits will be distributed by hand or air in the Cleveland metro area, including portions of Lake, Geauga, Cuyahoga, Portage and Summit counties. WS partners with the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in this operation, which includes distribution using helicopters. Ohio represents a key location in preventing the westward spread of rabies. In addition to spring and fall ORV bait distribution, WS has conducted trap-vaccinate-and-release operations for raccoons since 2004.

Sachet & Fishmeal Block ORV

ORV baits are coated with a fishmeal attractant and may be packaged in one-inch square cubes or two-inch plastic sachets. Humans and pets cannot get rabies from contact with the baits, but are asked to leave them undisturbed should they encounter them. [More visual information is available at: www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/4578217863/in/set-72157623983143606 ]. Most sightings of rabid raccoons occur during the spring and summer when people are more likely to come into contact with wildlife. Raccoon rabies is caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. Symptoms include unusual, aggressive or calm and “friendly” behavior, an inability to eat or drink, balance problems, circling, seizures, coma and finally death. While rabies is fatal, human exposures can be successfully treated, if treatment is sought immediately following a bite.

Since 1997, WS has been working to establish a rabies-free barrier in the eastern United States where the raccoon variant of rabies is known to exist. In addition to this work in Massachusetts and Ohio, WS has coordinated cooperative rabies control efforts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia. Baiting in these states is scheduled from August through November. For additional information concerning the raccoon oral rabies vaccine program, please visit www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/rabies.shtml or contact WS toll free at
1-866-4-USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297).

Minnesota 04/22/11 dl-online.com: by Nathan Bowe – Muskrats, raccoon, martens, beaver, skunk — even bobcat and coyote— all these animals,

Muskrat print

and many more are actively trapped for their fur in Minnesota, and Becker County is no exception. Trapping remains popular enough that the Cormorant Lakes Sportsman’s Club has bowed to demand and is offering a trapper education course on July 15. “It’s just like the hunter education program,” says Rick Julian, a director at the Sportsman’s Club. “It’s required

Beaver print

for anybody born after Dec. 31, 1989 — they have to go through what is basically safety training — we teach them how to trap ethically and safely.” The course is free, and is the fourth one offered by the Sportsman’s Club, although it’s been a few years since the last one, Julian said. About 60 kids were trained in the previous courses. (For complete article go to http://www.dl-online.com/event/article/id/60032/ )


Newfoundland & Labrador 04/23/11 by Deana Stokes Sullivan – Justin O’Leary recently returned home to Kilbride after an unsuccessful day of coyotehunting. Before going to bed, he stepped outdoors to smoke a cigarette and was amazed by what he heard, breaking the early morning silence, shortly after 1 a.m. “It was coyotes howling, like across the street,” O’Leary said. It’s now been three to four weeks and the animals seem to be staying around his

Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

neighbourhood. “They’ve been howling behind the dairy farm, just up the road from me,” O’Leary said. Earlier this week, he watched one come up out of a drainage ditch next to a neighbour’s house. “Actually, I thought it was the neighbour’s dog at first until I watched it move and, from its movements, I noticed it was a coyote,” he said. He figures there are at least two animals in the area, scavenging for food. With a lot of dairy farms around, O’Leary said, the coyotes are likely hunting rodents and may even be going into the barns to steal grain from the cattle. “I think they’re hungry,” he said. One night, O’Leary said, he started returning calls to the coyotes and had them howling for about 10 minutes. “They’re really vocal,” he said. Unlike a dog’s howl, theirs is high-pitched. They seem harmless now, he said, but in larger numbers that might not be the case. He expects a population boom this year because the female coyotes are denning now and will soon have litters of pups. O’Leary is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Waterfowlers hunting website that has a coyote group, where members report sightings. Coyote group administrator Tony Cooney has been recording sightings on a Google Earth map. Small, blue balloons represent each sighting. To the left of the map is a short description of each encounter, with the date and time. (For complete article go to http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-04-23/article-2450389/Coyotes-on-the-prowl/1 )

FDA approves first diagnostic test for Dengue Fever; California home foreclosures make West Nile and Eastern Equine problem worse; California tick tests positive for Tularemia; Maine Guide joins Wolf vs Elk/Coyote vs Deer debate; and Texans concerned about diseases Feral Hogs transmit. Canada: Pediatric resident in Quebec concerned about Rat Bite Fever cases. Travel Warnings for Barbados.

National 04/08/11 fda.gov: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing of the first test to help diagnose people with signs and symptoms of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever, a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. The dengue virus is

Aedes Aegypti Mosquito

transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. As many as 100 million people worldwide are infected by the virus each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of dengue fever include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash and mild bleeding involving the nose or gums, and easy bruising. Most reported dengue cases in the continental United States occur in people returning from travels to tourist destinations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia. Dengue is also endemic in the U.S. in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and some U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Recently, dengue outbreaks have occurred in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida.

Alberto Gutierrez, PhD

The DENV Detect IgM Capture ELISA test detects antibodies to dengue virus in blood samples from patients who have signs and symptoms of dengue. The test will be available for use in clinical laboratories and will assist in the diagnosis of dengue, which can improve patient care and management. The DENV Detect IgM Capture ELISA test is based on technology patented by the CDC and manufactured by Seattle-based Inbios Inc.  “Cases of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever can be potentially fatal for people who do not recognize the symptoms,” said Alberto Gutierrez, Ph.D., director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics Device Evaluation and Safety in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “This test will now aid health care professionals in their effort to more effectively diagnose dengue.” The FDA reviewed data for the test via the “de novo” pathway, an alternative path to market for devices that are low to moderate risk and may not require premarket approval (PMA), but are of a new type, and therefore may not be able to be cleared in a “510(k)” premarket notification.

Dengue virus

People who believe they have dengue should immediately contact a health care professional. There are no FDA-licensed vaccines to prevent dengue and no medicines specifically approved to treat the infection. The test should not be used in people who do not show signs or symptoms of dengue. Diagnostic testing for dengue is complicated by the fact that an IgM antibody response to the dengue virus infection is not detectable until 3-5 days after the onset of fever, which can produce a negative test result even though a person has dengue. During this ‘IgM negative window’ the dengue virus is present in the bloodstream. There are currently no FDA-cleared or approved tests for direct detection of dengue virus. This new test shows cross-reaction with other closely related viruses such as those that cause West Nile disease. However, in most patient testing situations found in the United States, a positive test result in a patient with signs or symptoms consistent with dengue should be considered presumptive evidence of dengue.

California 04/11/11 mydesert.com: by Keith Matheny – Home foreclosures breed mosquitoes. Foreclosures, or home abandonments preceding a foreclosure, often leave behind full and no-longer-running swimming pools, hot tubs or fountains. And those can become prime breeding ground for mosquitoes that lay their eggs in water and begin life as aquatic larvae before getting their wings. “We’re in a desert; there’s very little natural standing water,” said Matthew Smith, lead supervisor at the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District. “So anywhere you place a large body of water and it becomes stagnant, it’s extremely attractive to mosquitoes.” Mosquitoes can carry harmful diseases for humans, including West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Green pool

The vector control district identified and treated 1,200 “green pools” valleywide in 2009; 800 last year, Smith said. The district has treated nearly 600 such pools so far this year – and that’s before the agency’s best method of searching for them, an annual aerial inspection of the valley that was slated for Sunday. “We take high-resolution photos of the entire Coachella Valley,” he said. “And everything will be geo-referenced so we can spot a pool that looks suspect, find out where it is and send a technician to verify it.” That’s helpful, La Quinta community safety manager Deby Conrad said, as green pools often aren’t evident even standing just outside of a home. “Especially in gated communities, where the HOAs take care of the yard, you often can’t even tell the house is empty,” she said. Vector district officials tag a suspect property, asking owners to contact them. And most call back and allow inspections and treatment, Smith said.

Vector control personnel don’t drain pools, but instead treat with mosquitofish, a small fish that eats mosquito larvae, or chemical treatments, Smith said. The vector agency has a good working relationship with banks that own properties after foreclosures, Smith said. But in instances where the agency is unable to find an owner or obtain permission for access, it has a blanket warrant issued by a Riverside County Superior Court judge to enter, inspect and treat green pools. “The reason we do this is strictly for public health,” Smith said. “When you start speaking in legal terms and using words like warrant, forced entry, cutting locks it really conjures up this image of a government agency imposing government will. We’re just simply trying to decrease the threat level from mosquito-borne illnesses and ensure the safety of the public.”

California 04/10/11 missiontimescourier.com: County Vector Control

Tick size compared to match head

officials announced today that a Pacific Coast tick found on Feb. 1, near Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve during routine monitoring has tested positive for tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever.” “Tularemia is a bacterial, vector-borne disease that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks, or through direct contact with an infected animal such as rabbits and other rodents,” said Jack Miller, Director of the County Department of Environmental Health. “We recommend using insect repellent to prevent ticks and other insects from biting, especially when hiking in bushy areas. Flea and tick control products should also be used on pets.” Ticks get tularemia by biting infected rabbits, rodents or other animals.

Maine 04/10/11 sunjournal.com: by V. Paul Reynolds – Would it be fair to say

Wolf pack attacking bull elk

that a wolf is to an elk what a coyote is to a deer? A wolf, like a coyote, is a meat-eating predator that team-hunts its prey. An elk, like a deer, is a browsing ruminate, and an ideal, protein-loaded dinner source for an opportunistic predator. If you Google Earth from a Maine deer wintering area to an elk wintering basin in Yellowstone Park, the life and death dramas that play out in these geographically disparate areas are much the same. The Western animals are just larger.

In Maine, coyotes kill deer.

In Yellowstone, wolves kill elk.

The similarities don’t stop here, either. In 1995, there were a record 20,000 elk in the northern end of Yellowstone Park, the largest elk count since U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) started counting heads in 1930. Since 1995, there has been a constantly decreasing number of elk in Yellowstone. In 2010 the USFWS elk census counted just 5,000 elk, a 24 percent decline in one year’s time!

What’s the story? It’s not rocket science. In 1995, USFWS introduced the wolf to Yellowstone. Wolves eat elk. The rest is history. As wolf numbers increased there was a corresponding downward trend in elk numbers. “Recovery” is the term wildlife biologists use to describe the reestablishment of an animal in healthy numbers. Well, thanks to a steady diet of elk steaks, the Yellowstone wolf “recovered” nicely.

Coyote with whitetail fawn

And in Maine, thanks to the coyote that came on the scene back in the 1960s, Maine’s deer numbers have also been on a downward spiral. During this free fall of Maine’s north woods deer numbers, most of our state wildlife biologists caution sportsmen not to jump to conclusions, that deer mortality can be attributed as much to winter severity and habitat as predation by coyotes. Fair enough, but aren’t coyotes a variable that can be “managed” easier than winter snows, or spruce budworm epidemics?

Last year, the Feds began to see the light. But when the USFWS attempted to declare the Yellowstone wolf “recovered” and remove it from the endangered species status, animal rights organizations went to court to prevent a delisting! Out West, sportsmen and ranchers are fed up.

Black bear

In a recent article in Bugle Magazine, Karen Loveless, a Montana wildlife biologist is blaming “predators and drought” for the precipitous decline in Yellowstone elk populations. By predators, she means wolves and bears. A Montana rancher I know who works a good-sized ranch just outside Yellowstone Park just laughs when asked about the effect of the drought on the elk mortality. “Wolves and grizzlies are killing off the elk,” says he “In the spring the bears take a lot of the elk calves and, in winter, the wolves do a job on the winter-weary, rut-weakened elk.”

Of course, in the elk/wolf and coyote/deer debate, the biologists, and other multiple-source theorists, can argue that the predator evidence is purely anecdotal, that a few trapper stories about coyote-ravaged deer in a winter yard don’t really tell us much. They have a point. In Montana or Maine, we have no quantifiable data when it comes to how many elk or deer are killed by predators, whether they be bears, coyotes or wolves.


Clearly, though, there is an indisputable cause-and-effect relationship: the more wolves the fewer elk; the more coyotes the fewer deer. So it only follows that the way to have more deer in Maine, or elk in Montana, is to manage the predator populations. In Montana, for the time being, the wolf remains protected at the expense of elk numbers. In Maine, the north woods whitetails are getting more and more scarce, partly due to predation by bears and coyotes. We can’t “manage down” our bear numbers because it has become a critical, rural economic commodity, and we can’t conduct coyote-snaring programs in northwoods deer yards because the state signed off on a consent decree with USFWS not to conduct snaring in lynx habitat.

Believe it or not, there was a time not so long ago, when managing wildlife was predicated mostly on common sense and nuts-and-bolts biology, not politics.

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WCME-FM 96.7) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is paul@sportingjournal.com.

Texas 04/11/11 hpj.com: Excerpts – ” ‘Residents of the Plum Creek Watershed area of Hays, Caldwell and Travis counties have expressed concern about diseases feral hogs may transmit to other animals or humans,’ said Jared Timmons, an AgriLife Extension assistant addressing feral hog issues in those counties.”

“Jim Cathey, Ph.D., an AgriLife Extension specialist in wildlife ecology, said the three diseases people should have the greatest cause for concern about relative to feral hogs in Texas are swine brucellosis, psuedorabies and tularemia, but that the animals may harbor other diseases as well. Other diseases potentially caused or carried by feral swine include many infectious or parasitic diseases transmitted by fecal material, said Don Davis, Ph.D., Texas AgriLife Research specialist in parasitic and infectious diseases of wildlife at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. ‘In many circumstances, traditional livestock, exotic game and white-tailed deer are fed supplements such as protein cubes, pellets or corn,’ Davis said. ’If these supplements are either fed on the ground or in places where feral swine have also been present, then the possibility of fecal contamination of the food is a real possibility.’ “

“ Timmons said that hunters who come in contact with feral hogs may risk exposure to swine brucellosis, tularemia and other diseases. ‘Feral hogs that show signs of illness should not make it onto the menu,’ he said. ‘And to further reduce chances of exposure, a double set of rubber or plastic gloves should be worn while processing and handling meat from feral hogs. Likewise, shield your eyes with glasses, wash your hands often with soap and warm water, and clean tools and surfaces with a dilute bleach solution.’ “  (For complete article go to http://www.hpj.com/archives/2011/apr11/apr11/0331DiseaseinFeralHogs1PIXs.cfm )


Quebec 04/11/11 physorg.com: In recent years, pet rats have become quite popular among children thanks to popular rat characters like Remy in the film Ratatouille or Scabbers in the Harry Potter series. However, this new trend places children at risk of contracting Rat bite fever (RBF). Despite its name, no biting is necessary as the infection can be contracted by a simple scratch or even a kiss from the pet. RBF is a systemic infection that carries a mortality rate of 7 to 10 percent if untreated. In Canada, one adult and two pediatric cases of RBF have been reported since 2000. However, between January 2006 and September 2007, the CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital treated one confirmed case and two suspected cases.

“At the Division of Infectious Diseases, we were puzzled and concerned faced with such a high concentration of cases,” says Karine Khatchadourian, a Université de Montréal pediatrics resident who recently published her insights into RBF in Pediatrics & Child Health. The children treated at CHU Sainte-Justine, a boy and two girls, all had a wide range of symptoms: high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe headaches, diarrhea, stiffness and pain in the neck, wrists, hips, knees, as well as hemorrhagic pustules on the hands and feet. The three children were cured with a simple penicillin treatment. “Diagnosing the disease remains very difficult,” says Khatchadourian. “It can easily be confused with various viral or bacterial infections such as meningococcemia, Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.” “Pediatricians should ask the parents about pets,” says Khatchadourian. “And in the case of rats, they should explain the risks.” She questions whether pet stores and the SPCA should even sell the rodents. In her opinion, parents should stick to cats and dogs and steer clear of rats. Provided by University of Montreal.

Travel Warnings:

Barbados 04/11/11 caribbean360.com: Health authorities in Barbados have renewed their call for public vigilance following at least one death linked to the dreaded dengue fever this year. A recent release issued by the Ministry of Health has revealed that over the first nine weeks of this year, 135 cases of dengue fever were confirmed by laboratory testing and one death was recorded. The ministry also revealed that 570 cases of dengue fever and four deaths were recorded in 2010. This compares to 2008, when during the first nine weeks of the year, two deaths were verified and 212 cases were documented, following an epidemic in 2007.

Wild hogs could overwhelm balance of nature in Florida; a Rabies report from New Jersey; Coyote reports from Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island; and a report of Dengue Fever being the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world. Canada: A Coyote report from Ontario.

Wild boar. Photo by Richard Bartz. Wikipedia Commons.

Florida 03/16/11 sanibel-captiva-islander.com:  by Charles Sobczak – The European wild boar is one of the most destructive invasive species ever introduced into North America. Originally transported by Hernando de Soto to the gulf coast of Florida in 1539 as domestic livestock, these escaped pigs have now expanded their range northward to the upper peninsula of Michigan, westward to California, and eastward to Virginia. Texas and Florida have the largest populations of wild hogs. In Texas the wild boar is outcompeting the native collared peccary, or javelina, which seldom weighs more than 50 pounds.

In Florida the wild boar population is estimated in excess of 500,000. More than 100,000 wild boars are taken by hunters in the Sunshine State annually, ’though this impressive harvest is still inadequate for keeping the soaring population in check. It breeds year round; the sow is capable of producing two litters a year, with as many as 12 piglets per litter. Left unchecked, the wild hog population in Florida could easily overwhelm the balance of nature and do immeasurable harm to other species by consuming too much of the available food sources. A single 400-pound boar can devour bushels of acorns in a week, leaving little for the other acorn-eating species such as deer, wild turkeys, opossums, raccoons, armadillos, and any number of birds. The wild boar also eats snakes, carrion, refuse, insects, and reptiles.

Another problem with the wild boar is its habit of using its six-inch tusks to root out grubs, roots, and tubers, causing irreparable damage to the understory of forests and pastureland. As a result, many of the region’s parks and preserves such as Myakka River State Park have ongoing trapping operations to reduce or (optimistically) eliminate, the wild boar from the ecosystem. The hogs taken from these traps are sold by the trappers as game meat.

The wild boar story has a silver lining. In the 1920s and 1930s Florida’s white-tailed deer population was intentionally eradicated by the state because it was believed to be transmitting diseases to Florida’s domestic cattle. With the deer population down to 20,000 animals statewide, the only substantial food source left for the Florida panther became the wild boar. This allowed the panther to survive into the 21st century. Today the deer population has rebounded, but feral pigs, especially piglets, still play an important part in the panther’s survival.

The trouble with the panther’s diet of wild pig is that swine are known vectors of diseases. One of these is pseudorabies, a disease similar to rabies that is fatal to panthers. Another common disease is swine brucellosis, which can be fatal to humans as well. Care should always be taken when handling wild boar meat as both the mucous and blood can transmit disease, including trichinosis.

With a half-million wild hogs out there, it is unlikely Florida will ever be free of this intelligent and adaptive omnivore. Its primary cause of mortality is hunting by humans, followed by predation of smaller hogs by panthers; predation of piglets by owls, eagles, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears; and, finally, cannibalization by solitary male boars. Although not inherently dangerous to humans, a cornered or wounded boar wielding six-inch tusks is a formidable threat, and care should always be exercised when encountering one of these animals in the wild.

New Jersey 03/16/11 mycentraljersey.com: by Walter O’Brien – Residents should not be surprised if they encounter a wild fox during this time of the year, the township animal control office warns.  The advisory was prompted by an incident at about 3:50 p.m. March 11 when a wild fox ran out of the woods and bit an identified man who was jogging on Overbrook Road near Chalfonte Drive.  The jogger told township Patrolman Lawrence Anthes that while he was running, a fox came out of the woods, began whining, then ran toward him and bit his pants leg at his calf, police said. The man said he kicked the fox several times before the animal finally let go of his leg and ran back into the woods.  Anthes said the man’s skin did not appear to have been punctured, but the victim reported irritation and itching in the area of the bite. The man went to Hunterdon Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.  Anthes searched the immediate area and called Animal Control Officer Doug Rohl to catch the fox for rabies testing, but the animal could not be located.

Oregon 03/16/11 bluemountaineagle.com: Cougar and coyote hunting is open in Grant County, with several reminders provided by Oregon Department of Fish and Game.  Successful cougar hunters should remember that check-in of skull and carcass is mandatory; see the regulations for details.  Coyote numbers are good in most of the district. They may respond to distress calls.  Coyote hunters in northeastern Oregon need to take extra care to identify their target, as wolves can look like coyotes. Wolves are protected by state law and it is unlawful to shoot them.  ODFW needs hunters’ assistance to establish wolves’ presence in Oregon; please report any wolf sightings or wolf sign to the La Grande office, 541-963-2138 or online.  The Phillip W. Schneider Wildlife Area remains closed to entry through April 15. The closure is being put into place to protect winter mule deer as part of the Mule Deer Initiative.  A reminder that the Murderers Creek-Flagtail Travel Management Area will be instituted beginning three days before archery season in 2011.  Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt. A link to the map is at Oregon Hunting Map and other fish and game info, www.dfw.state.or.us/

Pennsylvania 03/16/11 outdoorlife.com: by Michael R. Shea – There were nearly 30 of us standing on the side of the road—all in camo, shotguns and rifles slung on shoulders, GPS units and walkie-talkies dangling from necks, half the lot chewing tobacco, dogs whining from crates in the back of pickups—when someone hollered, “Good lord, it looks like the 101st Airborne just landed!”   He was right. To hunt coyotes with dogs it takes a crew. And as Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Association President Ron Sartori told me in the video above, the dog crews around Frenchville, PA are some of the best in the world. All told, the group OL content editor Alex Robinson and I ran with bagged four yotes in two days.  The hunt was part of Mosquito Creek’s annual coyote contest. It drew 3,541 hunters, all looking to bag the biggest animal and the $7,000 first prize. (For video go to http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/hunting/2011/03/dog-hunters )

Rhode Island 03/16/11 wpri.com: by Nancy Krause – Lilly, a 12-year-old pug from Middletown, survived a coyote attack this week and she may have an unusual ally to thank.  Gary Paquette had just let Lilly into the yard when all of a sudden, a coyote went on the attack. It happened Tuesday around 5 a.m. on White Terrace in Middletown.  Paquette didn’t know anything was wrong until the family cat started to act strange and began jumping on the sliding glass door.  “I opened the door and could hear a struggle,” Paquette said. “I grabbed a flashlight that was on the table and a stick and I ran out screaming my head off.”  When he got outside, Paquette found his little black dog in the jaws of a coyote, who jumped a three-foot fence to get into the yard.  Paquette was able to startle the coyote, who ran around the yard a few times before then jumping back over the fence and taking off.  Lilly survived, but is now on pain medications and antibiotics.  “She’s got about seven or eight puncture wounds on her back and then she’s got two wounds on either side of her neck and a couple of punctures on her right shoulder,” explained Paquette, who now says Lilly won’t be going outside by herself anymore.  Coyotes have been a growing concern on Aquidneck Island in recent months.  Just last month, residents packed a town meeting to discuss ways to deal with the booming population.  At the meeting, officials advised resident to not feed the animals and to keep a close eye on their pets and young children and to secure trash.  A program has also been launched to pick up road kill in the area, which will take away one of the animals’ food sources.  A scientist is also using GPS technology to study and track the coyote population.

Global 03/14/11 hindu.com:  by N. Gopal Raj – In 18th century America, it came to be called “break bone fever,” a grim testament to the excruciating pain the sufferers experience. Dengue, according to the World Health Organisation, is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne viral disease in the world.  In the last five decades, the incidence has jumped 30-fold. The disease is now endemic in over 100 countries, placing two-fifths of the world’s population at risk. Not only is the number of cases increasing as the disease spreads to new areas but explosive outbreaks are occurring, the global agency notes.  Globally, it is estimated that 50 million-100 million people become infected with the virus each year, and 5,00,000 of them — a very large proportion children — develop life-threatening forms of the disease.

“The spread of dengue virus throughout the tropics represents a major, rapidly growing public health problem with an estimated 2.5 billion people at risk of dengue fever and the life-threatening disease, severe dengue,” observed Daniel P. Webster of the John Radcliffe Hospital in the U.K. and others in a review paper published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases in 2009. A safe and effective vaccine, they said, was urgently needed.  But while vaccines are available against yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis, caused by closely related viruses, a vaccine against dengue has proved remarkably hard to develop. Nevertheless, a number of different approaches to producing vaccines against it are being tested, from live but weakened viruses to killed viruses, and giving bits of viral protein. Some of these are already in clinical trials.  One hurdle to any prospective vaccine is that the virus comes in four varieties known as serotypes. A person who recovers after being infected with one serotype develops lifelong immunity only to that form of the virus, not the others.

The paradigm has been to make a vaccine that contains the four different viruses and get simultaneous immunisation against each of them, says Scott Halstead, a leading expert on dengue and vaccines against it. Dr. Halstead, who was born in Lucknow, is currently director of the Dengue Vaccine Initiative’s Supportive Research and Development Programme.  It is possible to combine viruses from different families in a single vaccine as in the case of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. But with regard to the dengue vaccine, when the four different viruses are given together, there will be interference between some of the viruses that is unpredictable and quite erratic, he says.

Sanofi Pasteur, for instance, spent about 15 years working on a vaccine only to find that one virus out-competed the other three. It finally switched to a completely different vaccine type, he added. Others too had a similar experience. (The new type of dengue vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, vaccine division of the French company Sanofi Aventis, is currently the most advanced in clinical trials. It could be ready for licensing as early as in 2014, according to a paper that appeared in the journal PLoS Medicine last month.)


Ontario 03/16/11 theenterprisebulletin.com: by Raymond Bowe – It’s no secret the coyote population is on the rise, but how to deal with it — if at all — remains a bone of contention.  Robbie Swift, who lives on Line 4 North, says the coyotes living around her home are becoming more aggressive and less timid. She fears not only for the safety of her two-year-old shepherd, but also children who live in the area.  A couple of weeks ago, Swift let Phoenix out to do his nightly business when they were surrounded by coyotes.  “One was just sitting there barking, like a dog — it wasn’t even howling,” she said. “Next thing I know, two more come out of the woods. Then they came from all directions.”  Swift believes there were six of them. “All I saw in the moonlight was them coming from all directions,” she added. “They send one out to lure and they try to circle you.”  Swift said the coyotes — which she estimates to be about 60 pounds each — came within 20 feet of her and her 75-pound dog. (For complete article go to http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3028656 )

Feral Hog hunting report from Texas, and a report from regional health researchers on promising advances in the development of a Dengue vaccine.


Wild Boar. Photo by Richard Bartz. Wikipedia Commons.


Texas 02/16/11 chron.com: by Shannon Tompkins – Two good things happen when hunters take feral hogs: an invasive species that does tremendous damage to land, wallets and native wildlife is removed, and the hunter has the foundation of an excellent meal.  Feral hog meat is lean and incredibly tasty; some consider feral pork superior to almost all other wild game.  But getting that pork from pig to plate means having to carefully negotiate a potentially dangerous act: cleaning the hog.

A fair percentage of feral hogs carry viral and bacterial diseases transmissible to humans, including brucellosis, tularemia, salmonellosis, anthrax, leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis.  (They also can carry several diseases — primarily hog cholera, pseudorabies and bovine tuberculosis — that can be transmitted to livestock. This scares the heck out of livestock producers who face tremendous economic losses if feral hogs infect their herds.)

Feral hog damage.

Studies indicate about 10 percent of Texas feral hogs have been exposed to brucellosis. But in some areas of the state, as many as 20-25 percent of those tested were positive for the bacterial disease that can cause flu-like symptoms. Data from state and federal health agencies indicate 20-40 cases of swine brucellosis a year in Texas, with most of them traced back to infections caused by exposure to infected feral hogs.  A recent study looking for brucellosis in Texas feral hogs turned up high infection rates of tularemia, another bacterial disease that, in humans, causes flu-like symptoms. It is sometimes is called “rabbit fever” because rabbits and other rodents have been common vectors of the disease in humans.

The study, conducted through Texas Tech University‘s Institute of Environmental and Human Health, collected and tested about 130 feral hogs from Crosby County near Lubbock and Bell and Coryell counties near Waco.  Half of the animals from Crosby and 15 percent of the pigs from Bell and Coryell showed evidence of current or past tularemia infection.

While tularemia and brucellosis can cause pretty severe illnesses, neither is considered particularly deadly to a healthy adult. But they can be life-threatening for someone with a compromised immune system.  The bacterial and viral diseases carried by feral hogs are usually found in the animal’s blood or other body fluids. (Thorough cooking destroys any disease-causing agents in the meat.)

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these recommendations for hunters handling feral hogs:

  • Avoid all contact with visibly ill animals or those found dead.
  • Use clean, sharp knives for field dressing and butchering.  Wear eye protection and rubber or latex gloves (disposable or reusable) when handling carcasses.
  • Avoid direct contact (bare skin) with fluid or organs from the hog.
  • Burn or bury disposable gloves and inedible parts of the carcass after butchering.
  • Wash hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or more and dry hands with a clean cloth.
  • Clean all tools and reusable gloves used in field dressing and butchering with a disinfectant-such as dilute bleach.

National 02/17/11 physorg.com: “We have some very exciting leads on different types of vaccines that are in various stages of clinical trial that hopefully can be implemented with a reasonable period of time,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the infectious diseases division of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Regional health researchers met Thursday in the Puerto Rican capital to discuss progress and treatment of dengue, which is transmitted to humans by the female Aedes mosquitoes.

Dengue causes a severe flu-like illness for most victims that lasts about a week. There are four strains, one of which is a potentially lethal type.  Dengue has reemerged in recent years as a serious public health threat in tropical regions.   It killed 1,167 people in Latin America last year. Puerto Rico recorded the largest outbreak in its history with 21,000 cases last year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. There were 69 cases in the Key West section of the US state of Florida in 2010.  The Philippines recorded more than 730 deaths and Malaysia 134 in 2010, according to figures from the World Health Organization, while India experienced a 20-year high in infections.

Harold Margolis, director of the CDC’s dengue center, said he’s hopeful that a vaccine would soon be available.  “There’s been tremendous progress,” he said. “There are a number of vaccines that are now in clinical trials and there’s now very exciting information there, so we are finally getting (into the last process) but it can take a while.”

Fauci, from the NIH, added: “We need a better understanding of the relationship between the dengue virus and the vector, mainly the mosquito.”  Meanwhile, surveillance is vital.  “The important factor is how good our surveillance is to pick up the disease,” Margolis said. “I think right now we know where it is and now we need to be creative with the new tools and research to try to make sure that doesn’t go any further.”  The infectious diseases division of the NIH spent $45 million in dengue research last year, up from $5 million in 2000.

One theory for the resurgence is global warming, allowing the mosquitoes, and hence dengue fever, to spread.  Drought conditions in some areas also have worsened the outbreak because people have stored water in and near their living areas, creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes that harbor the virus.  Authorities in Sri Lanka were so concerned about dengue last year that they introduced heavy fines for people with standing water on their property, and deployed troops to clean up public places.

The three-day summit in Puerto Rico was hosted by NIH, CDC and the Pan American Health Organization.