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Biological Health Hazard – Rabies Outbreak (Public Warning): Wildlife – Human exposure | USA (Update 2016-06-28)


Published Date: 2016-06-28 18:23:59
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Rabies – Americas (12): USA, wildlife, human exp
Archive Number: 20160628.4314351

In this update:
[1] New York: bobcat, human exposure
[2] North Carolina: raccoon
[3] Kentucky: fox, human exposure

[1] New York: bobcat, human exposure
Date: Friday 24 June 2016 4:27 PM EDT
Source: USA Today [edited]

A bobcat that attacked a couple this week [week of 20 Jun 2016] in New York State tested positive for rabies, a spokeswoman for the Albany County Executive’s office said.

The bobcat was shot and killed [Wed 22 Jun 2016] after attacking and biting a couple visiting a friend’s home in New Scotland, near Albany. The New York State Department of Health later took the bobcat to its Wadsworth Center Laboratory for testing and learned one day later that the bobcat had rabies, said Mary Rozak, communications director for the Albany County Executive’s office.

The couple received treatment for their wounds as well as vaccines, and will periodically receive more vaccines over the next 2 weeks, Rozak said.

The number of bobcats has been increasing across New York state, but they “are not common in high numbers in any one location” because they often live alone, said Benning DeLaMater, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in a statement.

There have been 12 documented cases of rabid bobcats in the state since 1990, DeLaMater said, adding that 5 of those cases involved bites or scratches to humans. All 12 cases “were a result of the raccoon variant of rabies,” DeLaMater said.

The bobcat that attacked the couple smelled of skunk spray and its face was covered in porcupine quills, DeLaMater said.

Skunks are among the animals most likely to transmit rabies, said Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases researcher at the Mayo Clinic. Tosh said he couldn’t speculate as to whether a skunk may have transmitted the rabies to the bobcat, since he is not involved in this case.

Rabies is a fatal disease if it’s not treated quickly, Tosh said. Symptoms of rabies are often similar to the flu and can include nausea, vomiting, agitation, difficulty swallowing, hallucinations, insomnia and partial paralysis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But by the time symptoms of rabies appear, it’s “usually too late” to save the person infected, Tosh said. “People should seek medical treatment immediately when bitten by an animal.”

[Byline: Michael Burke]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[The state of New York can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
Albany County in east central New York can be seen on the map at – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[2] North Carolina: raccoon
Date: Friday 24 June 2016 1:50 PM
Source: WNCN, CBS North Carolina [edited]

The [North Carolina] State Public Health Lab in Raleigh reported a positive result of rabies in Cumberland County. Animal Control picked up a dead raccoon from a residence on Wade-Stedman Road in Stedman on [23 Jun 2016]. The resident’s dog was attacked by the raccoon on the evening of [22 Jun 2016]. The resident killed the raccoon after witnessing the attack. The dog was impounded at Animal Control and the raccoon was sent for rabies testing, with positive results. The dog’s owner has been contacted and the dog will require a 6-month quarantine, due to no record of a current rabies vaccine. State law requires the quarantine at a veterinarian’s office, or for the dog to be euthanized.

This is the 4th case of rabies in the county in 2016.

Animal Control officers are urging all pet owners to check the vaccination status of their pets. If pets are not vaccinated or are due for a booster shot, they should be taken to a local veterinarian for rabies vaccination immediately. All dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies, as required by state law. Pet owners are subject to a fine of USD 100 for each dog or cat not vaccinated. Pets must be vaccinated when they reach the age of 4 months.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[The state of North Carolina can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at Cumberland County in central North Carolina can be seen on the map at – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[3] Kentucky: fox, human exposure
Date: Friday 24 June 2016
Source: The Ledger Independent [edited]

A grey fox sighting turned into a trip to the emergency room and rabies treatment for a Bracken County teen.

[The 18-year-old] of Bracken County was finishing some farm work with friends at a property on Cook Ridge Road on [18 Jun 2016], when a puppy with the group began to bark at a grey fox which was under his truck. “It came out at first, then backed off,” he said, but when he tried to shoo the animal away it jumped and bit him on the hand, and wouldn’t let go.

“I got a call from my son’s phone, from a woman who asked us to bring a gun,” said [the young man’s mother]. “When I asked why, my son got on the phone and calmly said he had been bitten by a fox, which was still holding onto his hand.”

By the time the mother arrived, the fox had been contained in a trap after being removed from the [teen’s] hand.

The fox was killed in a manner to preserve the head for testing, and [the teen] went to Meadowview Regional Medical Center, with the dead fox in the trap. “I think the hospital was pretty surprised to see the fox,” [he] said. “I don’t think that was normal for them.”

Following protocols, treatment began on [the teen] and the animal was put into the possession of Mason County Health Department officials until it could be retrieved by Bracken County Environmentalist John Dells.

Dells sent it to a lab for testing on [Mon 20 Jun 2016], Dells said. “It came back positive for rabies,” said Dells. “I called him and advised him to contact his family physician.”

[The young man] was in good spirits on [Thu 23 Jun 2016], after enduring half a dozen rabies treatment shots at the hospital. “My wrist got infected so they also gave me antibiotics for that, too,” he said.

An avid hunter, [the 18-year-old] has seen grey foxes in the past; their demeanor had been elusive and they seemed prone to flee human interaction, he said.

Bracken County Animal Control Officer Pat Taylor encouraged area residents to make sure their pets and livestock are vaccinated against rabies, which can be done at local veterinary offices or at special clinics.

According to Allison Adams, Mason County Health Department director, there have been no cases of rabies exposure to humans confirmed in Mason County in at least the last year [2015].

In general terms, if a human is bitten by an animal, the incident is supposed to be reported to health officials. “If the animal has been killed, it is sent for testing and if there is a positive result for rabies, treatment is begun on the person,” Adams said. “If the animal is not caught, a prophylactic series of shots are administered to the person. If a pet bites a person, the environmentalist has to quarantine the animal for a prescribed time.”

Adams also warned about finding a dead or live bat in a house. “They can bite a human and not be felt,” Adams said. “The bat should be reported to be checked out as well.”

Following treatment, his prognosis is fine for recovery, [the teen] said.

Wild animals or outdoor pets behaving oddly should be reported to wildlife officials and contact avoided, Dells said.

[Byline: Wendy Mitchell]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts

[The state of Kentucky can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
Bracken County in northern Kentucky can be seen on the map at – Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ

For information on wildlife reservoirs of rabies in the USA, go to – Mod.PMB]

See Also

Rabies – Americas (11): USA, Canada, multiple animals, human exp 20160528.4250423
Rabies – Americas (10): USA (GA) feline, raccoon, human exposure 20160415.4162669
Rabies – Americas (09): USA (SC) fox, canine, human exposure 20160414.4160179
Rabies – Americas (08): USA, corr. 20160328.4123889
Rabies – Americas (08): USA 20160328.4122167
Rabies – Americas (07): USA (MO) human, 2014 20160317.4102470
Rabies – Americas (06): USA (KS) bovine, strains 20160317.4098684
Rabies – Americas (05): USA (VA) raccoon, fox, human exposure 20160312.4088493
Rabies – Americas (04): USA 20160215.4023314
Rabies – Americas (03): USA 20160124.3962370
Rabies – Americas (02): comment 20160104.3908827
Rabies – Americas (01): USA (NJ,VA) Canada (ON) 20160102.3906117

Rabies – USA (44): (GA) bat, human exposure 20151018.3724071
Rabies – USA (16): (GA,SC) feline, raccoon, ovine, human exposure 20150605.3413164

Rabies – USA (01): (SC, GA) update 20140105.2153197

Rabies – USA (11): (GA) horse, human exposure 20120621.1176209
Rabies – USA (05): (GA) feline, human exposure 20120315.1071647

Rabies, raccoon, feline – USA: (AL, GA) 20100220.0580

Rabies – USA: (GA) canine 20090717.2542
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure – USA (02): (NC, GA) 20090410.1378
Rabies, wildlife, equine, human exposure – USA: 20090409.1364

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