Tag Archives: Squirrels

MINNESOTA YOUNGSTER attacked by possibly RABID RACCOON ~ FLORIDA WOMAN hospitalized after being attacked by COYOTE ~ Two MOUNTAIN LIONS concern CALIFORNIA officials ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CDC NATIONAL, CAx2, FL, MS, & TX ~ RABIES reports from AR, FL, IL, & ME ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending October 20, 2012.

Photo by Svdmolen. Wikimedia Commons.

Minnesota 10/25/12 Mower County: A raccoon that attacked and bit a 3-year-old girl near Austin will be tested for rabies. The girl’s father killed the raccoon after her mother saw it biting her daughter’s arm and kicked it away. – See http://www.startribune.com/local/175810081.html

Florida 10/25/12 Brevard County: A Malabar woman was hospitalized on Wednesday after being attacked by a coyote in the 500 block of Hall Road.  The woman’s daughter-in-law shot the animal. – See http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Malabar-woman-hospitalized-after-coyote-attack/-/1637132/17135712/-/b0aa1z/-/index.html

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 10/24/12 Contra Costa County: A woman walking with her child in a stroller on a trail in the vicinity of Lake Drive in Kensington on Friday spotted a mountain lion about 2,000 feet north of the Berkeley border and about the same distance east of the Little Farm in Tilden Park. – See http://berkeley.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-encounter-reported-by-mother-with-child-in-stroller

California 10/24/12 Los Angeles County: Hikers in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park found a dead mountain lion a short distance from one of the trails. State wildlife officials are investigating. – See http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/10/mountain-lion-found-dead-in-point-mugu-state-park.html

West Nile Virus (WNV):

National 10/23/12 cdc.gov: Update – 48 states have reported WNV infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,725 cases of WNV disease in people, including 219 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,413 (51%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,312 (49%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 4,725 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of WNV disease cases reported to CDC through the fourth week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois, South Dakota, Michigan, and Oklahoma) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

California 10/23/12 San Bernardino County: A man in his 70s from Rancho Cucamonga is the first WNVrelated fatality in the county this year. – See http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/sanbernardinocounty/ci_21838181/rancho-cucamonga-resident-dies-from-west-nile-virus

California 10/24/12 San Mateo County: Health officials today confirmed a squirrel in San Mateo tested positive for WNV. The squirrel tested positive for WNV chronic, which officials say indicates a low infection level, meaning the infection was not acquired this year and is a lesser concern to public health officials. – See http://sanmateo.patch.com/articles/san-mateo-squirrel-tests-positive-wnv

Florida 10/23/12 Duval County: A 39-year-old woman is the 26th human case of WNV in the county this year. – http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-10-23/story/jacksonville-journal-26th-west-nile-case-reported-duval

Mississippi 10/24/12 bolivacom.com: The state’s health department has confirmed 8 new human cases of WNV in the past week occurring in seven counties, including 1 case in Sunflower County. Two positive cases had earlier been reported in Bolivar County. There have been 233 human cases statewide this year, including 5 deaths. – See http://www.bolivarcom.com/view/full_story/20587777/article-WNV-hits-new-county?instance=latest_articles

Texas 10/24/12 Jim Wells County: A 14-month-old baby in the city of Alice is the first confirmed human case of WNV in the county. – See http://www.kristv.com/news/baby-diagnosed-with-west-nile-virus/

Rabies:

Arkansas 10/25/12 Fulton County: A dead skunk found in a resident’s backyard near a fenced area where unvaccinated dogs are kept has tested positive for rabies. So far this year officials have confirmed 115 cases of rabies statewide including 90 skunks. – See http://www.areawidenews.com/story/1906835.html

Florida 10/25/12 Brevard County: Officials say a bat found in Melbourne on Tuesday has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Bat-in-Melbourne-tested-positive-for-rabies-3981526.php

Illinois 10/25/12 Will County: A bat trapped beneath a light pole outside a residence in Elwood is the 12th positive rabies case in the county this year, which marks a new record. Previously, the 11 cases confirmed in 2007 held the record. – See http://bolingbrook.patch.com/articles/will-county-sets-record-for-rabid-bats-in-one-year-c30373c1

Maine 10/26/12 Cumberland County: A Falmouth woman is trying to identify a dog so she can spare her 5-year-old daughter a series of rabies shots. Gia Davis said her daughter was walking with a care-giver on one of Portland’s trails near the Ocean Avenue dog park about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday when a dog attacked her. The care-giver and witnesses told Davis that the girl, who was already afraid of dogs, curled up in a fetal position and the dog bit her in the back of the neck and broke the skin, Davis said. The dog retreated after a woman called for it. “We were probably pretty lucky,” Davis said. “This dog had her by the back of the neck.”

Now, Davis wants to make sure the dog has had a rabies shot, so that her daughter doesn’t have to get a series of five shots, including two at the site of the puncture. “I have to vaccinate her. It’s most likely not needed, but I don’t know 100 percent and I have to make a pretty quick call,” Davis said. She must hear by Friday night or she will have to start the treatment, she said. The care-giver, who is a nurse, tried to get the name of the dog’s owner, Davis said. The woman said her name was Regina and she was from Vermont. She gave her a phone number with a Vermont area code. When they tried to call the number later, it was disconnected. Davis said the number may have been copied wrong, but either way, she wants to know whether the dog is up to date on its vaccinations. Dogs must be licensed in Maine and must have up-to-date rabies vaccinations to be licensed. Davis said she has few clues about the dog’s identity. It appeared to be a mixed breed related to a pit bull though somewhat bigger, like a Labrador retriever, she said.

The woman was with a man, and they appeared to be in their 30s. He had a short, scruffy beard and she had shoulder- length, straight dark hair and was wearing a green L.L. Bean-style vest, the care-giver told Davis. They appeared to be with another couple, who had two yellow Labrador retrievers, Davis said. Anyone with information is asked to call Lt. John Kilbride at the Falmouth Police Department.

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending October 20, 2012:

Published October 26, 2012/ 61(42); ND-579-ND-592

Anaplasmosis . . . 7 . . . Missouri, New York (6),

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

Brucellosis . . . 2 . . . Florida, Tennessee,    

Ehrlichiosis . . . 12 . . . Florida, Missouri, New York, North Carolina (8), Virginia,

Giardiasis . . . 171 . . . Alabama (3), Arizona (2), Arkansas (3), California (20), Florida (35), Idaho (2), Iowa (4), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts (3), Michigan (3), Nevada, New York (34), Ohio (23), Oregon (6), Pennsylvania (11), Vermont (2), Washington (15), Wisconsin (2),

HME/HGE Undetermined . . . 2 . . . Maryland, New York,

Hansen Disease (Leprosy) . . . 1 . . . Kansas, 

Lyme Disease . . .  119. . .  Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (5), Maine (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (2), New York (54), North Carolina (5), Pennsylvania (29), Virginia (12),

Rabies (Animal) . . . 42. . . Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York (12), Rhode Island (2), Texas (8), Vermont (5), Virginia (12), West Virginia,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 1. . . Indiana,  

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 10 . . . Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina (4), Pennsylvania, Tennessee (3),

Tularemia . . . 8 . . . Oklahoma (8).

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CDC warns more WEST NILE VIRUS cases NATIONALLY than ever before reported ~ CALIFORNIA confirms BUBONIC PLAGUE in SQUIRRELS on Palomar Mountain ~ MOUNTAIN LION reports from CA, MN, & NEx2 ~ EASTERN EQUINE ENCHEPHALITIS, WEST NILE VIRUS, AND ST. LOUIS ENCEPHALITIS reports from CAx2, FLx2, IL, IN, MAx2, NH, OH, OK, & WI ~ RABIES reports from CA, CT, IL, NH, NJx3, NY, NC, & USDA.

National 08/21/12 cdc.gov: West Nile Virus Update – Thus far in 2012, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 1118 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 41 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 629 (56%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 489 (44%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The 1118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the third week in August since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Approximately 75 percent of the cases have been reported from 5 states (Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma) and almost half of all cases have been reported from Texas.

California 08/21/12 nctimes.com: by Brandon Lowrey – Three ground squirrels found at Palomar Mountain campgrounds have tested positive for plague, a deadly bacterial infection that wiped out millions of people in the Middle Ages, San Diego County officials said Wednesday. Plague infections are now rare among humans, but at least a few squirrels in higher elevations around Palomar Mountain or Julian are found during routine testing each year, said Chris Conlan, supervising vector ecologist for the San Diego County Vector Control program. The county posts plague warning signs in areas where the disease is found, officials said. There has never been a recorded human plague infection in San Diego County, although there have been several in California, officials said. Fewer than 100 cases were reported over the last decade in the U.S., mostly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two of the infected squirrels found recently were in the Cedar Grove Campground, according to a county statement. The third was trapped at the Doane Campground. – For complete article see http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/health-bubonic-plague-found-in-squirrels-on-palomar-mountain/article_4f77f1d3-002c-59ad-9ace-9eb5bff9d545.html

Mountain Lion Sightings:

California 08/21/12 Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County: Another mountain lion sighting occurred recently on El Acebo Del Norte according to Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser. A homeowner reported that he saw a large mountain lion in his backyard  on Aug. 20, Wellhouser said. The cat walked slowly through the yard until it saw the homeowner and started toward him slowly.  The homeowner stayed in his home and the cat walked away growling, according to Wellhouser. – See http://www.ranchosantafereview.com/2012/08/22/another-mountain-lion-spotted-in-rancho-santa-fe-3/

Minnesota 08/21/12 Aitkin, Aitkin County: A horse owner whose 900-pound mare was attacked by a mountain lionor cougar wants other animal owners in Aitkin County to be on the lookout for the big cats. Lori Hart’s quarter horse

Courtesy National Park Service.

Molly was mauled last week on her property north of Aitkin. Hart says the wild animal took a “big chunk” out of the horse’s hind quarters. Hart says a Pierz veterinarian confirmed Molly was attacked by a mountain lion or cougar and that there was a similar attack on a calf less than a month ago.

Nebraska 08/20/12 Kimball, Kimball County: A mountain lion seen lounging in a tree in the 1000 block of East Third Street was tranquilized and removed by local and state authorities using a bucket truck. – See http://www.theindependent.com/news/state/mountain-lion-startles-kimball-residents/article_1901c07e-eaf6-11e1-8d46-0019bb2963f4.html

Nebraska 08/22/12 Sidney, Cheyenne County: County Sheriff John Jenson says a mountain lion was reported near town on Tuesday and deputies confirmed seeing mountain lion tracks. Deputies also checked into reports two-to-three weeks ago of mountain lion sightings south of Lodgepole and Sheriff Jenson is becoming more concerned with how close the animals are getting to Sidney. – See http://nebraskaradionetwork.com/2012/08/22/cougar-spotted-near-sidney-residents-urged-to-keep-distance/

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

California 08/20/12 Ventura County: Health officials report that a woman in her early 50s who was hospitalized represents the first human case of WNV in the county since 2007. So far this year, 26 human cases have been reported in the state. – See http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/20/woman-is-first-reported-case-of-west-nile-virus/

California 08/22/12 Fresno County: Health officials confirm that an elderly woman is the first person in the county this year to die of complications associated with WNV. It is the second WNV related fatality in the state this year. – See http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/22/4748406/west-nile-virus-kills-elderly.html

Florida 08/20/12 Duval County: Health officials confirm the number of WNV human cases has increased to 11. The two most recent cases involve a 63-year-old woman, and an 84-year-old man. – See http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/article/269474/10/Duval-Countys-West-Nile-total-rises-to-11

Florida 08/21/12 Bay County: Sentinel chickens have tested positive for WNV, EEE and St. Louis Encephalitis prompting health officials to place the county under a mosquito-borne illness advisory, joining Washington, Walton and Holmes Counties. – See http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/Mosquito-Borne-Illness-Advisory-Now-in-Bay-County-166946106.html

Illinois 08/19/12 Lombard, DuPage County: Health officials report that longtime village president, William Mueller, 76, has died of complications associated with WNV. – See http://newyork.newsday.com/news/health/west-nile-virus-claims-life-of-illinois-official-1.3913754

Indiana 08/22/12 Allen County: Health officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the county reported this year. – See http://www.indianasnewscenter.com/news/local/West-Nile-Virus-Knocking-at-Allen-Countys-Door-167034405.html

Massachusetts 08/21/12 Hamilton, Essex County: Town officials confirm that mosquitoes trapped in the area have tested positive for EEE and parts of the town will be sprayed. – See http://www.salemnews.com/local/x2103325624/EEE-mosquito-found-in-Hamilton-town-to-spray

Massachusetts 08/21/12 Plymouth County: Health officials say they have found mammal-biting mosquitoes infected with EEE in the communities of Carver and Kingston. The EEE threat level has been raised to “high” in Carver and ‘moderate” in Kingston. They say the threat in (the town of) Plymouth, which borders both towns, has also been raised to “moderate”.

New Hampshire 08/19/12 Londonderry, Rockingham County: Mosquitoes trapped near the city have tested positive for WNV. – See http://www.londonderrynh.net/2012/08/west-nile-found-in-londonderry/54180

New Hampshire 08/22/12 dhhs.nh.gov: News Release – Health officials have confirmed the first human case of WNV in the state this year in the city of Manchester. The individual, an adult, has recovered. – See https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/1394ff445055e4f3

Ohio 08/21/12 Columbus, Franklin County: Health officials say a 25-year-old woman is the first to contract WNV in the county. Her case brings the state total to 16 so far this year. – See http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/08/21/case-of-west-nile-virus-found-in-franklin-county.html

A female Aedes albopictus mosquito. West Nile Virus vector. CDC

Oklahoma 08/22/12 sfgate.com: WNV Update – The number of (human) cases rose from 61 on Thursday to 65 on Tuesday, the two days each week that the department reports West Nile activity. . . The department said 44 of the 65 cases have been the neuro-invasive form, the most severe form, which causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord and can lead to mental confusion, disorientation, blindness, paralysis and death. – See http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Oklahoma-West-Nile-virus-cases-rise-by-4-3804485.php

Wisconsin 08/22/12 northcentral: The state veterinarian is warning horse owners to get their animals vaccinated after blood samples from a horse in Clark County and another in Lincoln County were positive for EEE. – See http://host.madison.com/news/state_and_regional/state-warns-owners-to-vaccinate-horses-after-positive-encephalitis-tests/article_b2616040-ec62-11e1-b29e-0019bb2963f4.html?comment_form=true

Rabies:

California 08/17/12 Point Arena, Mendocino County: According to a woman who attended a yoga retreat at Oz Farms two weekends ago, she and six others are receiving rabies shots following potential exposure to the virus from bats. – See http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120817/ARTICLES/120819563

Connecticut 08/21/12 Fairfield, Fairfield County: Animal control officers are looking for the owner of a Great Dane that reportedly bit a woman near Southport Beach on Friday. The officers are trying to determine the dog’s vaccine history to eliminate further post-exposure rabies shots for the complainant. According to the report from Animal Control, the woman was walking near the beach Friday when the tan (fawn) Great Dane lunged toward her. The dog was being walked by a thin black male. The woman did not realize she had been bitten at the time, and she and the man walking the dog parted ways. The woman told Animal Control she believes the man and dog walked away toward Sasco Creek Road in Westport. The woman saw when she arrived home that she had been bitten on the leg and reported the bite to Animal Control. She was examined by her physician on Monday and began a series of post-exposure rabies shots as a precaution. Fairfield Animal Control and Westport Police have not yet tracked down the tan Great Dane or its owner. Anyone with information on the Great Dane should call Fairfield Animal Control at 203-254-4857.

Illinois 08/21/12 St. Charles, Kane County: A bat discovered inside a home earlier this week has tested positive for rabies. – See http://geneva.patch.com/articles/bat-found-in-st-charles-tests-positive-for-rabies

New Jersey 08/18/12 Gloucester, Camden County: A bat killed inside a home this week has tested positive for rabies. Family members sleeping in the home have been advised to seek medical advice. – See http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20120818/NEWS01/208180305/Officials-Bat-found-Gloucester-Township-home-had-rabies

New Jersey 08/20/12 North Brunswick, Middlesex County: A bat found inside a home in the area of Masoma Road and Axel Avenue has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.nj.com/middlesex/index.ssf/2012/08/rabid_bat_found_in_north_bruns.html

New Jersey 08/21/12 Pittsgrove, Salem County: A skunk that fought with two vaccinated dogs on August 5th has tested positive for rabies. The dogs’ owner was also potentially exposed to the virus while cleaning blood from the dogs. The dogs were given booster shots, and their owner was advised to seek medical advice. – See http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2012/08/rabid_skunk_found_in_pittsgrov.html

New York 08/17/12 Rhinebeck, Dutchess County: A bat found inside a home has tested positive for rabies. This is the first confirmed case of the virus in the county this year. – See http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20120818/NEWS01/308180022/Bat-captured-Rhinebeck-tests-positive-rabies-1st-case-Dutchess-County-year

North Carolina 08/21/12 New Hanover County: A fox that fought with a dog Monday on Antoinette Drive near Monkey Junction has tested positive for rabies. This is the 13th confirmed case of the virus in the county so far this year. – See http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20120821/ARTICLES/120829925?Title=Another-rabies-case-in-New-Hanover

ONRABA. Courtesy USDA.

US Department of Agriculture 08/13/12 usda.gov: News Release – A second U.S. field trial of a vaccine to control rabies in raccoons, skunks, and other wildlife beginning this month.  The expansion was approved after an environmental assessment process. The field trial will distribute more than one million oral rabies vaccination (ORV) baits in Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia to test the safety and efficacy of the ONRAB® vaccine for potential use in wildlife. The ONRAB® vaccine is currently used in Canada to control rabies in raccoons, skunks and foxes.  The vaccine was field tested in the United States for the first time in West Virginia last year.  Results from the 2011 U.S. field trial with ONRAB® were promising and warranted additional, expanded testing of the vaccine for potential licensure by the USDA APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). – For complete News Release see  http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2012/08/rabies_vaccine_expanded.shtml

ALASKAN hiker mauled by GRIZZLY sow with cubs ~ CALIFORNIA Western Gray SQUIRREL tests positive for WEST NILE VIRUS ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from NE, & TX ~ RABIES reports from CO, FL (2), ME, MD, MA, NJ, PA, & VT (2).

Grizzly. Courtesy U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Alaska 07/23/12 sacbee.com: by Lisa Demer – On a private trail above Eagle River Road, high up in the brush where bears are common, a man hiking with his beagle was mauled by a grizzly Sunday afternoon, authorities said. The man suffered cuts to his head, back and leg, said police Sgt. Cameron Hokenson. Medics rushed him to the hospital but authorities said the injuries aren’t life threatening. Police Lt. Dave Parker identified the hiker as Bob Eder, 50, who lives near where the attack occurred. The sow was with three older cubs, said Jessy Coltrane, area biologist for the state Department of Fish and Game,  who toted a shotgun as she checked out the scene with police. The attack appears to have happened when the hiker startled the brown bears in the tall brush, she said. They ran off. “The vegetation on each side is at least 6 feet tall, impenetrable – you can’t see through it,” Coltrane said. She was able to talk with the hiker briefly before he was taken to the hospital. “The one thing I asked him was how close was the bear when you saw it. He said ‘oh, 5 feet.’ She was right there in the bushes essentially, with these cubs,” the biologist said. “It was incredibly unfortunate but a classic defensive attack by a sow with cubs, surprised at very close range.” – For complete article see http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/23/4650669/man-mauled-by-grizzly-on-alaska.html

Western gray squirrel. Photo by state of California.

California 07/24/12 paloalto.patch.com: by Laura Dudnick – A squirrel found in Menlo Park has tested positive for West Nile virus, becoming the first squirrel in San Mateo County to test positive for the virus this year, the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control announced Monday. The Western gray squirrel, collected July 3, had a low level of West Nile virus, referred to as a “chronic”  infection, according to county officials. The low level indicates the squirrel was not likely infected recently, and possibly acquired the virus last year. Tree squirrels don’t travel long distances, meaning the infection was likely acquired in or near Menlo Park, county officials said. Along with birds including ravens, crows and jays, tree squirrels are highly susceptible to West Nile virus, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. – For complete article see http://paloalto.patch.com/articles/squirrel-tests-positive-for-west-nile-virus-in-san-mateo-county-83ba550b

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Nebraska 07/19/12 Hamilton County: A man in his 70s tested positive for WNV according to the Department of Health and Human Services. He was hospitalized and released.  It’s the first positive human case seen so far this season. – See http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Newsroom_Newsreleases_2012_July_WNV2.aspx

Texas 07/22/12 McLennan County: An 80-year-old resident is dead after being infected with WNV and at least five other human cases of the virus have been confirmed, according the McLennan County Public Health District. Another three human cases of WNV are suspected, one of which is a person from Limestone County. – See http://www.kxxv.com/story/19084199/west-nile-leaves-elderly-woman-dead-at-least-5-suspected-cases

Rabies:

Colorado 07/19/12 Fort Collins, Larimer County: A raccoon that was killed by dogs after entering an enclosed yard near East Trilby Road and South Lemay Avenue has tested positive for rabies. It is the first rabid raccoon found on Colorado’s Front Range since 1963. – See http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21114352/rabies-found-first-front-range-raccoon-since-1963

Florida 07/23/12 Callaway, Bay County: A raccoon found south of the intersection of Old Bicycle Road and Betty Louise Drive has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.newsherald.com/news/rabies-104311-animal-animals.html

Florida 07/20/12 Jacksonville, Duval County: A rabies alert has been issued for an area bordered on the north by Clapboard Swamp, on the south by Clapboard Creek, on the west by Cedar Point Road at Clapboard Creek and east by Cedar Point Road and Boney Road. – See http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/265082/3/Rabies-alert-issued-for-Jacksonvilles-Northside

Maine 07/19/12 Clinton, Kennebec County: In the last three months, the animal control officer has handled five confirmed cases of rabies — three on the River Road, one on the Bush Road and one on the Canaan Road — involving a skunk, a fox and raccoons, the town said Thursday in a press release. – See http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/19/news/mid-maine/rabies-cases-reported-in-clinton/?ref=latest

Maryland 07/20/12 Brunswick, Frederick County: Two raccoons have tested positive for rabies within the last two week. The first was a young, injured raccoon that was found on July 4 along Petersville Road between Greenwood and B Street. The second raccoon was involved in an altercation with dogs on July 18 on F Street. – See http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/state/two-raccoons-test-positive-for-rabies

Massachusetts 07/20/12 Spencer, Worcester County: Health officials are warning anyone who may have touched a bat found at Luther Hill Park on Tuesday to consult with their doctor immediately, as the bat had rabies. A 10-year-old child who was bitten by the bat is undergoing treatment, but Health Agent Lee Jarvis said there were reports that several other children may have touched it and could have been exposed to the deadly virus. – See http://www.telegram.com/article/20120720/NEWS/120729957/1116

New Jersey 07/20/12 Andover, Sussex County: A fox that attacked a seven-year-old boy in the driveway of his Wilson Place home has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.njherald.com/story/19075432/fox-that-attacked-boy-in-andover-confirmed-rabid

Pennsylvania 07/20/12 West Mead Township, Crawford County: Authorities say another raccoon found in the county has tested positive for rabies. It’s the sixth one this year. – See http://meadvilletribune.com/breakingnews/x1236700183/Rabies-cases-continue-to-climb

Vermont 07/21/12 Coventry, Orleans County: A feral cat that attacked four people and a dog at the Coventry Landfill has tested positive for rabies. One victim suffered seven puncture wounds. – See http://www.wcax.com/story/19078180/rabid-cat-attacks-in-northeast-kingdom

Vermont 07/23/12 Shelburne, Chittenden County: A dead bat discovered in the David Park subdivision area has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120723/NEWS/307230009/Bat-found-Shelburne-tested-positive-rabies?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE&nclick_check=1

CALIFORNIA health officials confirm SQUIRREL at state park had BUBONIC PLAGUE ~ MOUNTAIN LION sighting reports from CALIFORNIA(2), & COLORADO ~ U.K. biotech firm seeks permit for U.S. testing of new weapon against DENGUE FEVER ~ RABIES reports from CO(2), CT, FL(2), GA, NE, NJ, NC(2), & SC ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending April 28, 2012.

California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi). Photo by Bagginz. Wikimedia Commons.

California 05/05/12 examiner.com: by Julian Gothard – A ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) trapped during routine monitoring at the Cedar Groves Group Campground in the 1,897-acre Palomar Mountain State Park in San Diego County has tested positive for the plague, County vector control officials announced Thursday. California flea populations are regularly monitored, and control measures are taken as necessary at campgrounds to reduce the potential for human exposure. According to environmental health officials there have been 14 such plague cases reported within Palomar Mountain State Park since June 2008. “It is not unusual to find plague in our local mountains in the summer months, so campers should always avoid contact with squirrels and their fleas,” said Jack Miller, Director of the Department of Environmental Health. “Set up tents away from squirrel burrows, do not feed the squirrels and warn your children not to play with squirrels.” – For complete article see http://www.examiner.com/article/plague-reported-san-diego-county-s-palomar-mountain-state-park

California 05/04/12 Arcata, Humboldt County: Local police have issued a safety alert after a mountain lion was seen in the area of Fickle Hill Road and Hill Street on May 3rd. This is the third reported mountain lion sighting in less than two weeks. – See http://www.times-standard.com/breakingnews/ci_20549177/mountain-lion-seen-near-fickle-hill-road-arcata

California 05/04/12 Crystal Springs Dam, San Mateo County: Officials report that a mountain lion was seen on May 3rd near the Sawyer Camp County Historic Trail in the San Francisco State Fish and Game Refuge west of the San Mateo Highlands. – See http://pacifica.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-spotted-near-crystal-springs-dam

Colorado 05/04/12 Boulder, Boulder County: Officials have posted signs at Martin Park warning users of possible mountain lion activity. Rangers received reports of a deer carcass found off Broadway and Table Mesa Drive, and it’s likely the deer was killed by a mountain lion. – See http://www.dailycamera.com/news/boulder/ci_20549304/boulder-warns-public-mountain-lion-martin-park-after

Global 05/03/12 bloomberg.com: by Andrea Gerlin – U.K. biotechnology start-up Oxitec Ltd. wants to start U.S. tests of a new weapon in the war on dengue fever: genetically modifying mosquitoes that carry the disease so that their progeny self-destruct.  Dengue, endemic in more than 100 countries, has begun to appear in the continental U.S., with local cases occurring inKey West, Florida, in 2009 and 2010 and in Miami last year. The virus afflicts as many as 100 million people a year globally, about 20 times the number of serious influenza cases, according to the World Health Organization. In its worst form, dengue can cause severe flu-like symptoms and fatal bleeding.

Oxitec has released its GM bugs in Malaysia, the Cayman Islands and Brazil. A proposed trial in Key West has met with resistance from communities who oppose genetic modification and with confusion over regulatory oversight. Still, with no vaccines to prevent dengue and no drugs to treat the disease so painful it’s known as “break-bone fever,” the approach is seen as an increasingly viable option to limit infections.  “It is a promising technology,” says James Logan, a lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicinewho studies the control of disease-carrying insects. “If you stop us being bitten, you stop the disease from being transmitted.” Oxitec’s efforts are part of a broader push to rein in dengue. Novartis AG (NOVN) of Basel, Switzerland, is researching antiviral medicines and has shelved one that caused side effects in dogs. French drugmaker Sanofi (SAN) has a dengue vaccine candidate in final testing, and it may be available as early as 2015. The company says the vaccine may generate as much as 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in annual sales. Until a vaccine or medicine is approved, mosquito control is the only way to limit infections. – For complete article see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-03/mosquitoes-shoot-blanks-in-scientist-s-air-war-on-dengue.html

Colorado 05/04/12 Fort Collins, Larimer County: A skunk found in the area of LaPorte Avenue, about a mile west of Overland Trail, close to the foothills, has tested positive for rabies. The skunk appeared to have been mauled by a large animal, which might have become infected in the attack. – See http://www.9news.com/news/article/266540/222/Rabies-found-in-skunk-in-Fort-Collins-area

Colorado 05/05/12 Pueblo, Pueblo County: Two adult dogs and seven puppies were euthanized after being exposed to a skunk that tested positive for  rabies, and a man who handled one of the puppies after the skunk was killed is receiving post-exposure rabies shots. The incident occurred earlier this week at a home on the St. Charles Mesa. – See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-mct-adorable-pups-put-to-sleep-20120505,0,3171100.story

Connecticut 05/03/12 Oxford, New Haven County: A raccoon that attacked and bit a dog in the area of Anthony Pond Road has tested positive for rabies. – See http://valley.newhavenindependent.org/archives/entry/fyi_rabid_raccoon_found_in_oxford

Florida 05/05/12 Mulberry, Polk County: A bat “encountered” on May 1st by a resident in his driveway on Pine Street has tested positive for rabies. This is the 5th case of animal rabies confirmed in the county this year. – See http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2012/5/5/_5th_case_of_rabies_.html

Florida 05/04/12 Palm City, Martin County: A raccoon that fought with a vaccinated dog on May 3rd in the vicinity of Mayacoo Way has tested positive for rabies. – See http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/may/04/raccoon-tests-positive-for-rabies/

Georgia 05/04/12 Hall County: A bat that bit a man earlier this week in the Centurion Drive area of northwest Hall has tested positive for rabies. This is the 13th case of animal rabies in the county this year. – See http://www.ajc.com/news/man-bitten-by-rabid-1431464.html

Nebraska 05/04/12 Gering, Scotts Bluff County: Two dogs have been euthanized after being attacked by a skunk in separate incidents. A skunk was shot and tested positive for rabies, but it’s not clear if the same skunk attacked both dogs. – See http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/8ff3fbb3210f47ecaff69b7e3cbed3c6/NE–Rabid-Skunk/

New Jersey 05/05/12 Madison, Morris County: A fox that attacked and bit two residents at 7 Longview Avenue on May 3rd has tested positive for rabies. – See http://newjerseyhills.com/madison_eagle/news/fox-that-bit-madison-residents-had-rabies/article_c947dc5e-96df-11e1-8908-001a4bcf887a.html

North Carolina 05/04/12 Lattimore, Cleveland County: A raccoon displaying abnormal behavior in the vicinity of 301 Westlee Street has tested positive for rabies. This is the third confirmed case of animal rabies in the county this year. – See http://www.shelbystar.com/news/animal-63973-rabies-animals.html

North Carolina 05/04/12 Zebulon, Wake County: Three people and a dog at Wakelon Park on Pippin Road were exposed to a fox that has tested positive for rabies.  The dogs was vaccinated but required a booster shot, and the three people have begun a series of post-exposure rabies shots. – See http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/05/04/2044430/at-least-3-people-dog-exposed.html

South Carolina 05/03/12 Greer, Greenville County: A family of five has been advised to seek post-exposure rabies treatment after a bat found inside their home tested positive for the virus. This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in the county this year. – See http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20120504/NEWS/305040009/Rabid-bat-found-in-Greer-home?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CNEWS

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending April 28, 2012:

Published May 4, 2012/ 61(17); ND-227-ND-240

Anaplasmosis . . . 13 . . . Maine, New York (12),

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

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . Texas, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 8 . . . Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina (5),

Giardiasis . . . 95 . . . Arkansas, California (24), Connecticut, Iowa (2), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (5), Missouri (8), Nebraska (4), New York (13), Ohio (13), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (6), Rhode Island, Virginia (2), Washington (8), Wisconsin,

Hantavirus . . . 1 . . . Washington,

Lyme Disease . . .  135. . .  Delaware (2), Maryland (19), New Jersey (48), New York (37), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (20), Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia (4),

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 2 . . . Colorado, Nebraska,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 66. . . Alabama (2), Arkansas (5), California (2), Maine (4), Maryland (3), Missouri (3), New York (7), Texas (17), Vermont (2), Virginia (18), West Virginia (3),

Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 24 . . . Alabama (2), Arkansas (2), Indiana (2), Kentucky, Maryland (2), Missouri (5), North Carolina (2), Tennessee (8),

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Missouri.

University of Florida researchers report VACCINE controls fertility in CATS and other animals for years ~ New York man dies of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Feral cat with newborn kittens. Photo by Steve Jurvetson. Wikimedia Commons.

Global 09/29/11 ufl.edu: News Release – University of Florida researchers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, report that a single dose of an immunocontraceptive vaccine controls fertility over multiple years in adult female cats. The scientists hope their findings will aid in the registration and use of the vaccine, called GonaCon, to help manage overabundant feral cat populations humanely. “Millions of free-roaming feral cats exist in the United States and in other countries around the world,” said Julie Levy, the lead researcher and director of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF. “Unfortunately, their welfare is not always adequate, and they can have a negative impact on public health and the environment. “We’re hoping this research will lead to a nonlethal method of control for feral cat populations that is less expensive, labor-intensive, and invasive than current methods, such as surgical sterilization,” Levy said.

Dr. Julie Levy

Funded by Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advances veterinary research to protect, treat and cure animals, the five-year study was published in August online in the scientific journal Theriogenology. GonaCon was developed by researchers at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service National Wildlife Research Center. The NWRC is the federal institution devoted to resolving problems caused by the interaction of wild animals and society. The UF researchers involved in the testing do not have any licensing agreements with the USDA or any commercial interests in the vaccine.

In the study, 15 adult female cats received a single dose of the vaccine while five received a placebo. After the injections, the female cats were allowed access to a breeding male cat. All five placebo females became pregnant within seven to 28 days. Cats injected with the vaccine, on the other hand, remained infertile from five months to more than five years. All of the cats were adopted at the end of the study. “A total of 93 percent of the cats treated with GonaCon remained infertile for the first year,” Levy said. “In subsequent years, we saw a steady and expected decline in infertility as antibodies to the vaccine decreased. However, numbers were still quite high, with 73 percent of the cats remaining infertile during the second year, 53 percent in year three, 40 percent in year four, and 27 percent in year five when we ended the study.” Although permanent sterilization is ideal, the relatively short lifespan of many free-roaming feral cats suggests that a contraceptive that blocks fertility for several years may be successful in reducing the population.

Joyce Briggs, president of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats & Dogs, a group advocating for nonsurgical birth control methods, called Levy “a key player in efforts to advance new methods of fertility control.” “We are intrigued by this study,” Briggs said. “Although a permanent sterilant would be ideal, a long-acting contraceptive could be an effective tool for managing feral cat populations, especially where surgery is unavailable or impractical.” GonaCon is currently registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on female white-tailed deer; however, the vaccine has also proved successful with numerous other mammal species including feral horses, bison, elk, prairie dogs and ground squirrels. The single-shot, multiyear vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies that bind to GnRH, a hormone in an animal’s body that signals the production of sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. By binding to GnRH, the antibodies reduce its ability to stimulate the release of these sex hormones. All sexual activity is inhibited, and animals remain in a non-reproductive state as long as a sufficient level of antibody activity is present.

New York 09/29/11 yournabe.com: from an article by Joe Anuta – A 60-year-old man in Queens has died from West Nile Virus (WNV), and a woman from Middle Village is currently being tested for the disease. Of 179 mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV throughout New York City, 88 were from Queens, 51 from Staten Island, and 30 from Brooklyn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Travel Warnings:

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

New Mexico man, 23, dies from Hantavirus infection; Florida’s Duval County confirms two human cases of West Nile Virus; Virginia woman attacked by Fox; Washington’s E. King County detects airborne Tularemia bacteria; Rabies reports from Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas; and West Nile Virus reports from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Follow-Up Reports on Alaska Grizzly attack this past weekend, and Arizona Black Bear attack in late June.

Deer Mouse. Courtesy National Park Service.

New Mexico 07/25/11 state.nm.us: The New Mexico Health Department announced today that a 23-year-old man from McKinley County has died from Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). This is the fourth case of HPS in New Mexico this year.  “People need to be very careful when they are involved in activities which may put them in contact with rodents or their droppings,” said Dr. Paul Ettestad, the department’s state public health veterinarian.

McKinley County

“It is important to remember that the best defense against Hantavirus is to avoid disturbing areas of rodent infestation, including nests and droppings, and to air out cabins and sheds before entering them.”  People can become infected and develop disease from HPS when they breathe in aerosolized virus particles that have been transmitted by infected rodents through urine, droppings or saliva. The deer mouse is the main reservoir for the strain of Hantavirus that occurs in New Mexico, Sin Nombre virus.

Florida 07/26/11 news4jax.com: There will be more mosquito control trucks spraying insecticide beginning Tuesday after the Duval County Health Department confirmed two human cases of West Nile Virus in the area. The Health Department issued a mosquito-borne illness alert for Duval County after a 52-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man were hospitalized with the virus. Both are expected to recover. Health officials are alerting the public out of concern that additional residents will become ill. “We are targeting our spraying in the areas where we have been informed where there is a concern about West Nile,” said Richard Smith of Duval County Mosquito Control.

Duval County

“We have also done additional surveillance trapping in areas to get a baseline count of mosquitoes and species. And we are also going to increase inspections in those areas.” West Nile cases are relatively rare in northeast Florida. There was one case last year. One Jacksonville resident died of the virus in 2005. St. Johns County reported a West Nile death in 2003. Residents of Florida are encouraged to report dead birds via the website MyFWC.com/bird For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Public Health website or call 904-253-1850.

Virginia 07/25/11 neweraprogress.com: by Dave Thompson – An Amherst County woman is undergoing rabies treatment after a fox attacked her Monday morning. The incident happened at a house off U.S. 60 in Pedlar before noon, while the woman set chairs on her deck, said Animal Control Officer Brian Tharpe. A fox charged toward her and jumped on her, he said. “She knocked it off of her, ended up knocking one of the chairs over and hitting it on the head,” Tharpe said. The fox bit the woman and barely broke the skin. By the time he and other animal control officials arrived to investigate, the fox had disappeared. “While I was talking to her and a family member,” Tharpe said, “the fox actually showed back up.” He said it approached the porch the way it had the first time.  Tharpe approached the house from the rear and shot the animal. The animal’s body was sent to the Virginia Department of Health, and will be tested at its Richmond facility,Tharpe said. Cases involving rabid animals in Lynchburg and the surrounding counties are on the rise. Through June 30, there have been 17 confirmed cases of rabies compared to 13 during the same period for the last two years, Tharpe said. Statewide, rabies cases also increased. As of July 16, there have been 330 confirmed cases, up from 286 for the same period in 2010. Last year, some 573 cases of rabies were confirmed; in 2009, 564 were confirmed.

Washington 07/26/11 issaquahpress.com: Monitors detected a bacteria capable of causing infectious tularemia in a daily air sample from East King County on Monday, but public health officials said the bacteria level is low, close to the detection limit and does not pose a threat. Officials said a later test detected none of the bacteria in the air. Since establishing a federal air-monitoring system in 2003, similar positive test results related to the naturally occurring bacteria have been common elsewhere in the United States. The bacteria detection Monday is the first time a sample in the Puget Sound area tested positive. The bacteria, Francisella tularensis,  is found throughout Washington and is commonly carried by rabbits, squirrels and other rodents. Tularemia rarely infects people. Only one to 10 human cases occur statewide in a typical year. The positive sample came from a filter collected Monday morning. Officials immediately collected a subsequent sample from the same station Monday evening. The sample did not detect any bacteria. State and local health and safety officials continue to monitor the situation. Officials said no signs of illnesses have been reported in the area. The air-monitoring system is called BioWatch, a federal program operating nationwide in major metropolitan areas. The program routinely collects and tests air samples for trace amounts of biologic material possibly related to intentional attacks or natural occurrences. The program includes several monitors in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, but officials withhold specific locations for security purposes.

Alabama 07/25/11 wsfa.com: by JoBeth Davis – Montgomery City Animal Control is setting traps near the area of Oakwood Cemetery after a fox captured there tested positive for rabies. According to the City of Montgomery the fox was trapped by the Montgomery Police Department Animal Control Bureau on Monday morning. The bureau is setting traps to capture the remaining foxes in that area and cautions the public to avoid any contact with foxes and other wild animals. Any individual who sights or encounters a fox in the city is asked to contact the Animal Control Bureau at 334-241-2970.

Tennessee 07/25/11 greenevillesun.com: County Animal Control is on the lookout for a black-and-white female cat that, well, bit the hand that fed it Friday morning.  Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Livingston said in a report that the “skinny” cat was hanging around the property of the 67-year-old victim, in the 100 block of Daniels Lane, Afton.  The man fed the feline and gave it water. The report said the victim walked to his garden to pick beans, followed by the cat, who proceeded to bite him on the right hand, breaking skin. The victim was given a rabies shot at the Laughlin Memorial Hospital emergency room. The cat, which was not wearing a collar or identifying tag, remains at large.

Texas 07/26/11 state.tx.us: Press Release – The Central Texas region is seeing a marked increase in animal rabies cases, particularly in skunks. For the first six months of this year there were 268 rabies cases compared to 109 during the same time frame last year (January to June 30, 2010). Similarly, the North Texas region is seeing an increase, with 151 cases in the first half of 2011 compared with 81 cases in the first half of last year. The state is seeing an overall increase in animal rabies cases as well. For the first six months of this year there were 591 animal rabies cases compared to 387 cases for the first six months of 2010. Bats and skunks are the most common animals found to have rabies in Texas.

Connecticut  07/26/11 ct.gov: Press Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Greenwich on July 13, 2011 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Greenwich by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year. Additional mosquitoes trapped on July 14, 2011 in Bridgeport also tested positive. “We have seen a significant increase in the abundance of Culex mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus throughout the region,” said Dr. Theodore Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist, CAES. “With the recent heat wave we anticipate an accelerated build-up of virus activity in mosquitoes in the coming weeks.” In 2011, WNV-positive mosquitoes have been trapped in 3 municipalities; the first were trapped in Bridgeport on June 21st, the second in Orange on June 29th, the third on July 13th in Greenwich, and the fourth in Bridgeport on July 14th. No Connecticut residents have been identified with illnesses related to WNV infections this year.

Massachusetts 07/26/11 boston.com: by Jessica Bartlett – Mosquitoes with West Nile Virus have been found in Cohasset, prompting some South Shore communities, such as Scituate, to issue warnings for increased vigilance around mosquito protection. There is no specific treatment for West Nile, according to DPH fact sheets available on their website. However fatal cases of the virus are rare – between 2000 and 2010, 67 people reported WNV infections in Massachusetts. Six of those cases proved fatal.

Pennsylvania 07/25/11 cbslocal.com: Mosquito traps collected in Greenfield Park in West Chester Borough have tested positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Chester County Health Department. Officials say the heightened concern will most likely remain until mid-October. For more information visit www.chesco.org/health or call 610-344-6455.

Follow-Up Reports:

Alaska 07/26/11 pe.com: by Rachel D’Oro – Excerpts – “The four young students who were mauled by a grizzly in the Alaska wilderness were well prepared in their survival training but could not have avoided the encounter, outdoors experts said Tuesday. ‘I would call this incident a lightning bolt. It’s something that is highly unusual. It’s highly unfortunate, and they happened to be in a situation it sounds like with certain elements beyond their control,’ said Bill Mohrwinkel, co-owner of Fairbanks-based Arctic Wild and a former field instructor for National Outdoor Leadership School. The teens were nearing the end of a 30-day survival course for the Lander, Wyo.-based school when they suddenly came upon the bear near a river crossing on Saturday. The students, who were rescued early Sunday, were at a stage where they could try their skills without instructors.”

” Mohrwinkel said NOLS has an impeccable safety record. With their intensive training, the students who were attacked were more prepared than many people who travel in the Alaska’s backcountry, he said. The students said they were calling out to alert bears to their presence, but their voices might have been muffled by the river or a rock outcropping. The students did not have guns with them, because NOLS risk managers believe bear spray is the best way to guard against such an attack, Palmer said. ‘To expect someone to shoot a charging bear with one bullet is asking quite a bit,’ he said. ‘Bear spray puts out a fog that’s much more likely to hit a target.’ Guns can give a person a false sense of security, said Mohrwinkel, the Alaska wilderness guide. His company’s excursions often take a shotgun, but he tells his clients a gun should be a last resort. Alaska authorities said there are no plans to hunt down the grizzly because of the remote location in the Talkeetna Mountains north of Anchorage and the likelihood it was a mother protecting a cub. The condition of the most seriously injured teen Joshua Berg, 17, of New City, N.Y. has been upgraded to fair from serious at Providence Alaska Medical Center. A hospital spokeswoman said 17-year-old Sam Gottsegen of Denver remained in good condition. Noah Allaire, 16, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Victor Martin, 18, of Richmond, Calif., have been released from a hospital. Sixteen-year-old Sam Boas of Westport, Conn., who was with the group but not injured, said the experience will not stop him from returning to the wilderness.”  (For complete article go to http://www.pe.com/ap_news/California/US_Alaska_Bear_Maulings_586073C.shtml ) (See Alaska post for July 26, 2011)

Arizona 07/26/11 mercurynews.com: An Arizona woman attacked by a bear while walking her dog four weeks ago has died of complications from her injuries. Family members say 61-year-old Lana Hollingsworth, of Gilbert, died Monday at a Scottsdale hospital after undergoing numerous surgeries following the mauling on June 28. KTVK-TV reports doctors believe an unknown bacteria, possibly from the bear’s claws, sparked an infection that they could not control. The theory is that the rampant infection might have caused a hemorrhage. Hollingsworth’s son, Robert Oates, says the black bear essentially scalped his mother as she walked her dog outside her vacation home in Pinetop. The bear was raiding trashcans near the Pinetop Lakeside Country Club. Federal wildlife officials responded and used tracking dogs to find and kill the bear. (See Arizona post for July 1 & 5, 2011)