Browsing the archives for the Public Health Threats category

Lapse of Memory or Lapse of Reason?

Less than two weeks after American Bird Conservancy president George Fenwick explained in the Washington Post Magazine his organization’s position that killing cats is a moral imperative, ABC is giving a nudge to those who might be reluctant to get on board. “‘Remarkable’ deterioration in memory functions of seniors infected by common parasite found in [...]

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Montgomery County, VA: Then and Now

In answering one question, other more interesting questions sometimes emerge. That’s exactly what happened when I followed up on a claim made in “Rabies Prevention and Management of Cats in the Context of Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Release Programmes,” recently published in Zoonoses and Public Health (and critiqued in some detail in my August 3rd post).
As evidence of both the [...]

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CDC Doing the American Bird Conservancy’s Bidding?

Representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sign on to the American Bird Conservancy’s witch-hunt against free-roaming cats, misrepresenting the relevant science to support their claim that “rabies transmission via feral cats is a particular concern.”

“Feral cat populations,” argue the authors of a recently published paper, “must be reduced and eliminated to manage [...]

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Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation’s Appeal for Support

I almost feel sorry for Don Thompson and his colleagues at the Hillsborough Animal Health Foundation. After all, it can’t be easy to recruit others in the local veterinary community when you’re essentially asking them to alienate themselves from a large segment of their clientele—and the public in general. The sharp distinction that HAHF draws [...]

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Free-Roaming Cats, Infectious Diseases, and the Zombie Apocalypse

A recently published paper describing free-roaming cats as “a significant public health threat” fails to deliver convincing evidence. In fact, the very work the authors cite undermines, time and time again, their claims.
“Domestic cats are a potential source of numerous infectious disease agents,” write Rick Gerhold and David Jessup, in their paper, “Zoonotic Diseases [...]

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Serious Public Health Issues? Seriously?

Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and CDC/Jim Gathany.
“This is a significant study that documents serious wildlife and public health issues associated with 125 million outdoor cats in the United States,” explained the American Bird Conservancy’s vice president for conservation advocacy, Darin Schroeder, in a September 18 press release. [1] Schroeder was [...]

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Mother Dearest

Is it possible I’ve been banned from posting comments on the Mother Jones website—the online home of “smart, fearless journalism”? It certainly looks that way.
Despite several attempts throughout the day Wednesday, my response to senior editor Kiera Butler’s “Kitties, Rabies, the Plague, and You” has yet to appear in the comments. Meanwhile, the conversation continues. [...]

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“Indian Superbug” Found in U.S. Pet Cat

Some unsettling news coming out of the 52nd annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) meeting on Tuesday: a recently-discovered drug-resistant “superbug” has been found in a domestic cat—the first instance of the infection in a pet. Few details are available at this time, including the location of the cat and people involved. [...]

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HAHF-Truths, HAHF-Measures, Full Price (Part 3)

Complaining of the impacts of free-roaming cats on wildlife and the environment, along with a range of public health threats, dozens of veterinarians in Hillsborough County, Florida, have banded together to fight TNR. Evidence suggests, however, that their real concern has nothing to do with the community, native wildlife, or, indeed, with cats. What the [...]

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HAHF-Truths, HAHF-Measures, Full Price (Part 2)

Complaining of the impacts of free-roaming cats on wildlife and the environment, along with a range of public health threats, dozens of veterinarians in Hillsborough County, Florida, have banded together to fight TNR. Evidence suggests, however, that their real concern has nothing to do with the community, native wildlife, or, indeed, with cats. What the [...]

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Westchester County, NY, Rabies Case

“A rabies alert was posted Tuesday by the Westchester County Department of Health,” reported the Tarrytown Daily Voice earlier this week, “after a police officer shot a stray cat who attacked him after trying to attack a man and woman in Elmsford.”
“When Elmsford Police Department responded, the cat chased the officer into a neighbor’s yard [...]

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Toxoplasmosis Linked to Suicide Attempts?

“There’s fresh evidence that cats can be a threat to your mental health,” according to a post on yesterday’s NPR health blog, Shots. The threat, reporter Jon Hamilton explains, is not the cats themselves by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that some cats pass in their feces.*
“A study of more than 45,000 Danish women found that [...]

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Oregon Man Diagnosed with Plague

According to last Friday’s USA Today, “Health officials have confirmed that an Oregon man has the plague after he was bitten while trying to take a dead rodent from the mouth of a stray cat.”
“State public health veterinarian Dr. Emilio DeBess said the man was infected when he was bitten by the stray his family [...]

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Santa Ana Protest Cancelled

The protest originally planned for tomorrow morning has been cancelled following news that the traps have been removed from Willard Intermediate School and El Sol Science and Arts Academy. According to today’s Orange County Register:
“Traps to catch feral cats have been removed from two Santa Ana school campuses, where public health officials have been [...]

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Flea Circus Gives Way to Media Circus

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones [...]

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Follow-up Items

A few follow-up items related to my past couple of posts: the first sheds some additional light on the Santa Ana typhus scare, while the second provides a little historical context to The Sacramento Bee’s recent reporting on Wildlife Services.
1. Typhus, Fleas, and Cats
Somehow I missed press releases from both Stray Cat Alliance and Alley [...]

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Santa Ana Typhus Scare

“In an effort to combat a potential typhus outbreak,” reports today’s Los Angeles Times, “city officials zeroed in on two schools in [a] densely packed [Santa Ana] neighborhood and set a dozen traps to catch feral cats and other animals that might carry disease-bearing fleas.” [1]
“The hope is that by trapping and testing animals caught [...]

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Never Bet Against Irony

Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Darkone.
According to a recent story in The Charleston Gazette, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has, in recent years, made great strides in stopping the westward spread of the raccoon variant of the rabies virus. And a promising new vaccine, typically distributed in packets dropped [...]

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Less Toxo, More Hype

“As human populations continue to expand farther out into natural areas,” warns The Wildlife Society in a February 17 blog post, “domesticated animals will continue to be at risk for exposure to diseases carried by their wild relatives.” Considering the domesticated animals in question are cats, the organization’s apparent concern is almost touching. Almost.
Actually, TWS [...]

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Downgrading ABC’s “Perfect Storm”

Once again, the American Bird Conservancy is using scare tactics to gain support for their long-standing witch-hunt against free-roaming cats, this time suggesting a connection between TNR and rabies exposure. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrate no such connection.

Maybe the folks at the American Bird Conservancy were simply feeling left out, [...]

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