Volume 3, Number 18 - July 31, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
A new interactive web page which provides up-to-date fire restriction information for Wyoming is now available at http://www.wy.blm.gov/fire/restrict.htm.
The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) web page will provide current fire restrictions for all federal agencies and the State of Wyoming.
"Providing current and accurate fire restriction information is important to us," said BLM Wyoming State Fire Management Officer John Glenn. "We want people to enjoy public lands while, at the same time, knowing what fire restrictions are in place."
Part of the difficulty in Wyoming is that different parts of the state are in different stages of restrictions he added. The interactive map should help people see where restrictions are in place.
Wyoming Department of Health officials urged people to be aware of exposure to deer mice nests or droppings following the death of a man in Lovell from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.
The man died on Saturday, test results confirmed hantavirus on Tuesday, and Wednesday Deputy State Epidemiologist Scott Seys traveled to Lovell to investigate and educate people on the disease. Seys will host a public meeting at the Annex in Lovell tonight at 7 p.m. for people interested in learning more about hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and ways to reduce exposure to the disease. All are invited.
This is the state's fourth death from hantavirus since 1993, when the first case was identified in Wyoming. Through June 30, a total of 339 cases of hantavirus have been reported in the United States. Thirty-eight percent of all reported cases have resulted in death. Cases have been reported in 31 states, including most of the western half of the country and some eastern states as well. About three-quarters of patients with HPS have been residents of rural areas.
Researchers believe that approximately 8 percent of all deer mice carry hantavirus.
"While the disease is very rare, the recent death serves as a poignant reminder that people need to be alert to their surroundings and be very cautious in their approach to cleaning areas which may be infected with deer mice," said State Health Officer, Dr. Brent Sherard. "Do what you can to prevent aerosolization and inhalation of dust particles by watering down the area or wearing a proper mask before implementing the cleanup procedure."
Wyoming Department of Health officials said a dead crow found in Cheyenne and a house sparrow in Worland have tested positive for West Nile Virus, making them the third and fourth disease-positive birds identified in the state this year. The sparrow is the first positive animal of any kind for Washakie County since the State Veterinary Laboratory began WNV testing last year.
This year, nine horses have also tested positive. The Wyoming Department of Health public health laboratory has tested 35 human samples for the disease with no positives at this time. Last year the state saw two non-fatal cases of the disease.
Health officials encourage people searching for information on the disease and preventive strategies to visit www.badskeeter.org or call 1-877-WYO-BITE with questions. People with questions about WNV in horses should call Dr. Todd Cornish at (307) 742-6638.
Wyoming Department of Health officials are currently soliciting dead birds for testing for WNV although the state lab prefers to test only crows, magpies, jays, and ravens and will continue to do so until the end of October. Those finding raptors such as hawks, owls, or eagles should contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to arrange for carcass transport and testing.
People with questions about other bird species should call Dr. Todd Cornish at the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory at (307) 742-6638 to discuss possible testing.
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