Thursday, August 29, 2013


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An abscess is a collection of pus that has accumulated in a cavity formed by the tissue on the basis of an infectious process (usually caused by bacteria or parasites) or other foreign materials (e.g. splinters or bullet wounds). It is a defensive reaction of the tissue to prevent the spread of infectious materials to other parts of the body. The organisms or foreign materials kill the local cells, resulting in the release of toxins. The toxins trigger an inflammatory response, which draws large numbers of white blood cells to the area and increases the regional blood flow.
The final structure of the abscess is an abscess wall, or capsule, that is formed by the adjacent healthy cells in an attempt to keep the pus from infecting neighboring structures. However, such encapsulation tends to prevent immune cells from attacking bacteria in the pus, or from reaching the causative organism or foreign object.
Abscesses must be differentiated from empyemas, which are accumulations of pus in a preexisting rather than a newly formed anatomical cavity.

Pus is an exudate

Pus is an exudate, typically white-yellow, yellow, or yellow-brown, formed at the site of inflammation during infection.[1] An accumulation of pus in an enclosed tissue space is known as an abscess, whereas a visible collection of pus within or beneath the epidermis is known as a pustule or pimple.
Pus consists of a thin, protein-rich fluid, known as liquor puris, and dead leukocytes from the body's immune response (mostly neutrophils). During infection, macrophages release cytokines which trigger neutrophils to seek the site of infection by chemotaxis. There, the neutrophils engulf and destroy the bacteria and the bacteria resist the immune response by releasing toxins called leukocidins.[2] As the neutrophils die off from toxins and old age, they are destroyed by macrophages, forming the viscous pus.
Bacteria that cause pus are called suppurative, pyogenic,[2][3] or purulent. If the agent also creates mucus, it is called mucopurulent. Purulent infections can be treated with an antiseptic.
Despite normally being of a whitish-yellow hue, changes in the color of pus can be observed under certain circumstances. Pus is sometimes green because of the presence of myeloperoxidase, an intensely green antibacterial protein produced by some types of white blood cells. Green, foul-smelling pus is found in certain infections of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The greenish color is a result of the pyocyanin bacterial pigment it produces. Amoebic abscesses of the liver produce brownish pus, which is described as looking like "anchovy paste". Pus can also have a foul odor.
In almost all cases when there is a collection of pus in the body, the clinician will try to create an opening for it to evacuate - this principle has been distilled into the famous Latin aphorism "Ubi pus, ibi evacua!"
Some common disease processes caused by pyogenic infections are impetigo, osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, and necrotizing fasciitis.[4][not in citation given]

Pyogenic bacteria

A great many species of bacteria may be pyogenic. The most commonly found include:[5][unreliable medical source?]


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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An exudate is any fluid that filters from the circulatory system into lesions or areas of inflammation. It can apply to plants as well as animals. Its composition varies but generally includes water and the dissolved solutes of the main circulatory fluid such as sap or blood. In the case of blood it will contain some or all plasma proteins, white blood cells, platelets, and in the case of local vascular damage: red blood cells. In plants, it can be a healing and defensive response to repel insect attack, or it can be an offensive habit to repel other incompatible or competitive plants. Organisms that feed on exudate are known as exudativores; for example, the Vampire Bat exhibits hematophagy, and the Pygmy marmoset is an obligate gummivore[1] (primarily eats tree gum).
In humans, exudate can be a pus-like or clear fluid. When an injury occurs, leaving skin exposed, it leaks out of the blood vessels and into nearby tissues. The fluid is composed of serum, fibrin, and white blood cells. Exudate may ooze from cuts or from areas of infection or inflammation.[2]


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Toes inflamed by chilblains
Inflammation (Latin, īnflammō, "I ignite, set alight") is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.[1] The classical signs of acute inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. Inflammation is not a synonym for infection, even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection. Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen. However, inflammation is a stereotyped response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen.[2]
Progressive destruction of the tissue would compromise the survival of the organism. However, chronic inflammation can also lead to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (e.g., gallbladder carcinoma). It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body.
Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A cascade of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

Staphylococcus aureus

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Staphylococcus aureus
Scanning electron micrograph of S. aureus; false color added.
Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Kingdom: Eubacteria
Phylum: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Bacillales
Family: Staphylococcaceae
Genus: Staphylococcus
Species: S. aureus
Binomial name
Staphylococcus aureus
Rosenbach 1884
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is a member of the Firmicutes, and is frequently found in the human respiratory tract and on the skin. Although S. aureus is not always pathogenic, it is a common cause of skin infections (e.g. boils), respiratory disease (e.g. sinusitis), and food poisoning. Disease-associated strains often promote infections by producing potent protein toxins, and expressing cell-surface proteins that bind and inactivate antibodies. The emergence of antibiotic-resistant forms of pathogenic S. aureus (e.g. MRSA) is a worldwide problem in clinical medicine.
Staphylococcus was first identified in Aberdeen, Scotland (1880) by the surgeon Sir Alexander Ogston in pus from a surgical abscess in a knee joint.[1] This name was later appended to Staphylococcus aureus by Rosenbach who was credited by the official system of nomenclature at the time. It is estimated that 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus[2] which can be found as part of the normal skin flora and in anterior nares of the nasal passages.[2][3] S. aureus is the most common species of staphylococcus to cause Staph infections and is a successful pathogen due to a combination of nasal carriage and bacterial immuno-evasive strategies.[2][3] S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses, from minor skin infections, such as pimples, impetigo, boils (furuncles), cellulitis folliculitis, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome, and abscesses, to life-threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, toxic shock syndrome (TSS), bacteremia, and sepsis. Its incidence ranges from skin, soft tissue, respiratory, bone, joint, endovascular to wound infections. It is still one of the five most common causes of nosocomial infections and is often the cause of postsurgical wound infections. Each year, some 500,000 patients in American hospitals contract a staphylococcal infection.[4]

Man Dies From Flesh-Eating Bacteria After Seawater Gets Into Open Wound

July 8, 2013 9:29 AM

File photo of the Gulf of Mexico. (credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
File photo of the Gulf of Mexico. (credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

GRAND ISLE, La. (CBS Houston) — A Louisiana man died after contracting flesh-eating bacteria while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Town Talk reports the bacteria known as Vibria vulnificus – which is found in warm seawater – killed the 83-year-old man after his open wound got infected when water splashed on him during a fishing trip.
“It thrives in warm water,” Dr. Tina Stefanski of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals told KATC-TV. “So, you can imagine in the summer months we see an increased number of this type of bacteria in warm salt water.”
The department is warning swimmers and beach-goers to be careful in the warm water, especially ones with open wounds.
“We certainly do not mean to discourage people from enjoying water activities, but we want them to understand the potential risks involved,” Department Secretary Kathy Kliebert told The Town Talk. “DHH works with other state and local partners to monitor and test beach water to inform residents of the water quality and we hope residents will heed posted beach advisories when they see them.”
Three others swimming in the Louisiana Gulf coast were sickened from the bacteria.
Sheila Lord, who is on vacation, is not tempted to get into the water.
“I’m a little bit nervous about it to be honest,” Lord told KATC. “You know you just don’t want to get sick. I’m on vacation. It would be horrible if I had to go back home with something.”

Cat Poop Parasite Is Dangerously Widespread
Be careful next time you change the kitty litter — cat poop can carry a nefarious parasite that may be much more widespread than thought, researchers say.
Cats in the United States release about 2.6 billion pounds (1.2 million metric tons) of feces into the environment every year. Cat dung carries the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled organism that creates infectious agents called oocysts. These oocysts can infect pregnant women, causing congenital problems in the baby such as deafness, seizures, eye damage and mental retardation. The parasite also infects people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS.
After reviewing past studies on the parasite, a team of researchers believes the Toxoplasma parasite may be a significant public health problem, infecting people who are otherwise healthy. Other studies have even linked the parasite to schizophrenia, depression, suicidal behavior and lower school achievement in children. [The 10 Most Diabolical and Disgusting Parasites]
In the last five years, researchers have studied how long the Toxoplasmaoocysts remain viable. "What happens to these oocysts in children's play areas?" said study researcher E. Fuller Torrey, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Chevy Chase, Md. "I put together the data we have and found it disturbing."
Troubling trend
Torrey and his colleagues reviewed studies of the parasite. The number of cats in the United States is growing — pet cats increased from 55 million to 80 million from 1989 to 2006, and the number of feral cats is estimated at between 25 million and 60 million. Studies show that approximately 1 percent of cats shed the infectious oocysts at any given time. These oocysts can survive for at least 18 months, and only a single one is needed to cause an infection, according to past research.
Other animals, like sheep and cattle, can also acquire the parasite by ingesting the infected cat feces. Humans can acquire it by eating raw or undercooked animals that are infected. In countries like France of Ethiopia, where raw food is common, the incidence of infections is much higher, Torrey told LiveScience. People also become infected through contaminated water supplies. It has long been known that the parasite can survive in cat litter, where the oocysts become aerosolized after 24 to 48 hours, Torrey said. Similarly, children could acquire the infection from playing in sandboxes, and gardeners could acquire it from vegetable patches, because cats often relieve themselves in these areas.
"It's a remarkably complex parasite. It's much more complicated than a virus, and has many more genes," Torrey said. The microbe is famously known to infect rats and change their behavior, causing them to be less afraid of the smell of cat urine. This makes it easier for the rats to be eaten by cats, returning the parasite to its host.
Parasite prevention
Treatments do exist, but none are very effective, Torrey said. Most people don't have long-term effects, but it's not clear why some do. Genetic predisposition or age at the time of infection could play a role, Torrey said.
More research is needed to understand the risks posed by the Toxoplasma parasite.  In the meantime, Torrey advocated controlling cat populations, especially feral ones. Children's sandboxes should be covered. Gardeners should wear gloves and wash their vegetables. And cat owners should dispose of cat litter properly — in the trash, not down a toilet (and pregnant women shouldn't change it at all).
"None of us are saying cats shouldn't be pets," Torrey said, but "there are some downsides to all pets, and some downsides to cats we should be aware of."
Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on

Bacteria In Space Grows in Strange Ways
Bacteria In Space Grows in Strange Ways
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium grown onboard the space shuttle Atlantis, forms in a "column-and-canopy" …
Bacteria grown in a dish of fake urine in space behaves in ways never-before-seen in Earth microorganisms, scientists say.
A team of scientists sent samples of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa into orbit aboard NASA's space shuttle Atlantis to see how they grew in comparison to their Earth-dwelling counterparts.
The 3D communities of microorganisms (called biofilms) grown aboard the space shuttle had more live cells, were thicker and had more biomass than the bacterial colonies grown in normal gravity on Earth as controls. The space bacteria also grew in a "column-and-canopy" structure that has never been observed in bacterial colonies on Earth, according to NASA scientists. [The Human Body in Space: 6 Weird Facts]
"Biofilms were rampant on the Mir space station and continue to be a challenge on the [International Space Station], but we still don't really know what role gravity plays in their growth and development," NASA's study leader Cynthia Collins, an assistant professor in the department of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., said in a statement. "Our study offers the first evidence that spaceflight affects community-level behaviors of bacteria, and highlights the importance of understanding how both harmful and beneficial human-microbe interactions may be altered during spaceflight."
Most biofilms found in the human body and in nature are harmless, but some are associated with disease, NASA officials said.
The space bacteria were cultured in artificial urine on NASA's Atlantis shuttle in 2010 and again in 2011 before the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program. Collins and her team of researchers used fabricated urine because it can be used to study the formation of biofilm outside and inside the body. Understanding how to safely remove and recycle waste is particularly relevant because of its importance in long-term spaceflight, NASA officials said.
"The unique appearance and structure of the P. aeruginosa biofilms formed in microgravity suggests that nature is capable of adapting to nonterrestrial environments in ways that deserve further studies, including studies exploring long-term growth and adaptation to a low-gravity environment," Collins said in a statement. "Before we start sending astronauts to Mars or embarking on other long-term spaceflight missions, we need to be as certain as possible that we have eliminated or significantly reduced the risk that biofilms pose to the human crew and their equipment."
Scientists sent 12 devices with eight vials of P. aeruginosa — a bacterium that can be associated with disease on Earth — into orbit on Atlantis. Once in space, astronauts on the shuttle introduced the bacterium to the fake urine while scientists on the ground began the control experiment.
After the samples arrived safely on Earth, Collins and her team took a detailed 3D image of the biofilms to investigate their internal structure, and used other research methods to investigate the colony's thickness and cell growth.
The study, published in the April 20 issue of the journal PLOS ONE, also could have implications for bacterial research on Earth. It's possible that this kind of research could help scientists and doctors more effectively limit the spread of infection in hospitals, Collins said.

Bacteria Wikipedia

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Bacteria (Listeni/bækˈtɪəriə/; singular: bacterium) constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most habitats on the planet. Bacteria inhabit soil, water, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste,[2] and the deep portions of Earth's crust. Bacteria also live in plants, animals (see symbiosis), and have survived in space.[3]
There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water. There are approximately 5×1030 bacteria on Earth,[4] forming a biomass that exceeds that of all plants and animals.[5] Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients, with many steps in nutrient cycles depending on these organisms, such as the fixation of nitrogen from the atmosphere and putrefaction. In the biological communities surrounding hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, bacteria provide the nutrients needed to sustain life by converting dissolved compounds such as hydrogen sulphide and methane to energy. On 17 March 2013, researchers reported data that suggested bacterial life forms thrive in the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on the Earth.[6][7] Other researchers reported related studies that microbes thrive inside rocks up to 1900 feet below the sea floor under 8500 feet of ocean off the coast of the northwestern United States.[6][8] According to one of the researchers,"You can find microbes everywhere — they're extremely adaptable to conditions, and survive wherever they are."[6]
Most bacteria have not been characterised, and only about half of the phyla of bacteria have species that can be grown in the laboratory.[9] The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.
There are approximately ten times as many bacterial cells in the human flora as there are human cells in the body, with large numbers of bacteria on the skin and as gut flora.[10] The vast majority of the bacteria in the body are rendered harmless by the protective effects of the immune system, and a few are beneficial. However, a few species of bacteria are pathogenic and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy, and bubonic plague. The most common fatal bacterial diseases are respiratory infections, with tuberculosis alone killing about 2 million people a year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.[11] In developed countries, antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and in agriculture, so antibiotic resistance is becoming common. In industry, bacteria are important in sewage treatment and the breakdown of oil spills, the production of cheese and yogurt through fermentation, the recovery of gold, palladium, copper and other metals in the mining sector,[12] as well as in biotechnology, and the manufacture of antibiotics and other chemicals.[13]
Once regarded as plants constituting the class Schizomycetes, bacteria are now classified as prokaryotes. Unlike cells of animals and other eukaryotes, bacterial cells do not contain a nucleus and rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles. Although the term bacteria traditionally included all prokaryotes, the scientific classification changed after the discovery in the 1990s that prokaryotes consist of two very different groups of organisms that evolved from an ancient common ancestor. These evolutionary domains are called Bacteria and Archaea.[14]

Origin and early evolution

The ancestors of modern bacteria were single-celled microorganisms that were the first forms of life to appear on Earth, about 4 billion years ago. For about 3 billion years, all organisms were microscopic, and bacteria and archaea were the dominant forms of life.[18][19] Although bacterial fossils exist, such as stromatolites, their lack of distinctive morphology prevents them from being used to examine the history of bacterial evolution, or to date the time of origin of a particular bacterial species. However, gene sequences can be used to reconstruct the bacterial phylogeny, and these studies indicate that bacteria diverged first from the archaeal/eukaryotic lineage.[20]
Bacteria were also involved in the second great evolutionary divergence, that of the archaea and eukaryotes. Here, eukaryotes resulted from ancient bacteria entering into endosymbiotic associations with the ancestors of eukaryotic cells, which were themselves possibly related to the Archaea.[21][22] This involved the engulfment by proto-eukaryotic cells of alpha-proteobacterial symbionts to form either mitochondria or hydrogenosomes, which are still found in all known Eukarya (sometimes in highly reduced form, e.g. in ancient "amitochondrial" protozoa). Later on, some eukaryotes that already contained mitochondria also engulfed cyanobacterial-like organisms. This led to the formation of chloroplasts in algae and plants. There are also some algae that originated from even later endosymbiotic events. Here, eukaryotes engulfed a eukaryotic algae that developed into a "second-generation" plastid.[23][24] This is known as secondary endosymbiosis.

Kyrgyzstan urges calm after teen's bubonic plague death

Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday appealed for calm after a 15-year-old boy died of bubonic plague in a rural area, stressing that doctors had not identified any new cases among those who had contact with the boy or had shown suspicious symptoms.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday appealed for calm after a 15-year-old boy died of bubonic plague in a rural area, stressing that doctors had not identified any new cases among those who had contact with the boy or had shown suspicious symptoms.
Temirbek Isakunov, a herdboy from the village of Ichke-Zhergez, died last Thursday in hospital. He is thought to have become infected after being bitten by an oriental flea carried by a marmot that he reportedly prepared for food.
The Kyrgyz government said in a statement that a total of 162 people identified as having had contact with the dead boy were isolated in hospital and taking antibiotics as a precaution under medical observation.
"No other cases of the illness have been registered," it said.
The plague victim lived in a village in the easternmost Ak-Suu district, which borders Kazakhstan and China and is close to the picturesque Issyk-Kul lake, a popular tourist destination.
Three people diagnosed on Tuesday with possible plague symptoms were still in hospital, but preliminary test results came out negative, the health ministry said in a statement.
More than 300 medics were travelling the area to give residents check-ups and inform them on the outbreak, while the authorities had set up police checkpoints to enforce quarantine zones, the health ministry said.
Kyrgyzstan insisted that the "tragic case... does not carry any real threat to the epidemiological situation for neighbouring countries or residents of Kyrgyzstan."
It angrily criticised international media reports on the plague case for damaging the central Asian country's image as a regional tourist destination.
On Wednesday, Tajikistan's health ministry recommended its citizens not to visit Kyrgyzstan this month.
In another blow, a Chinese team has pulled out of a regional sports tournament to be held in Kyrgyzstan next month, the director of the state physical culture and sports agency, Murat Saralinov, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Appearances by teams from Kazakhstan and Mongolia were also in doubt, Saralinov said, saying that the athletes wrongly believed that the whole country was under quarantine.
Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that is a strain of the "Black Death", a virulent disease that killed tens of millions of people in 14th-century Europe. Primarily an animal disease, it is extremely rare in humans.

Attacked by wolf, Manitoba woman drives to hospital

Staying calm, Dawn Hepp gets to Ashern, Man., and treatment for injuries

Posted: Mar 18, 2013 9:07 AM CT

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2013 5:19 PM CT

Dawn Hepp shows off the wounds on her neck. Dawn Hepp shows off the wounds on her neck. (Courtesy Dawn 

Hepp)There are puncture wounds on both sides of Dawn Hepp's neck. 

There are puncture wounds on both sides of Dawn Hepp's neck. (Courtesy Dawn Hepp)
A Manitoba woman credits a childhood lesson for saving her life when she was attacked and bitten by a wolf at the side of a highway.
Dawn Hepp was driving along Highway 6 near Grand Rapids on March 8 when she pulled over to help another driver.
When she walked over to the car, a wolf lunged at her.
“His face and his jaws were around my neck … so it was his fur I can feel on my face," she said.
"I could just hear my dad saying, 'stay calm Dawn, stay calm Dawn.' So what I did was I just stayed calm, I didn't yell, I didn't scream.
"He dug a little deeper with that tooth and by the larynx, whether he couldn't get a good enough grip or what, he let go."
At that moment, Hepp jumped into her car and pulled up next to the people in the other vehicle she had stopped to help.
"I rolled down my window and said, 'You guys are OK? I've gotta go. I've gotta get to the nearest hospital,'" she said.
"I just said, 'I gotta get going', and they said, 'Yeah, we were worried about you.'"
Remaining calm, Hepp drove herself to the hospital in Ashern and was treated for puncture wounds and rabies.
Ken Rebizant is with Manitoba Conservation and said the animal could have been hungry or sick.
"It is very rare. I have been with wildlife branch for 25 years, and this is the first case that I have heard of of this kind in Manitoba," said Rebizant.
Grand Rapids is located about 415 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Wolf Attacks Woman in Idaho (updated)

Wolf attacks woman in Idaho
In an email from her son:
Last night I received a phone call from my mother who lives in Headquarters. She informed me that on Sunday while bow hunting she was attacked by a wolf. A few of you know that she is not your typical mother or grandmother. She has worked as a professional hunting guide for many years, so she has spent many hours in the woods. She has seen wolves on many occasions and this is the first time one came at her. She said as soon as the wolf saw her it charged. She was able to drop her bow, draw her 44 mag out of its holster, and put 1 round in the wolfs head at a range of a few feet.
Please let any of your family and friends know of this so they can take whatever precautions needed while out in the woods.”
Here is another email we received about wolf attacks:
“This wolf came running toward Rene last night to attack her. She had to drop her bow & pull her pistol. She shot it in the head about 10 feet from her. She had to shoot it a couple more times to actually kill it. Crazy! This – not even a week after Shane’s dogs were killed by wolves.”
He also told about a group of hunters being guided by a local outfitter in his email. Here’s what they said:
“Took a group of out-of-state elk archery hunters from the Great Lakes region last week. They ended up calling in a pack of 17 wolves by elk cow calling. None of the hunters had a sidearm or wolf tag and it was a very traumatic experience. The wolves surrounded us. All of those hunters went home early, very disturbed claiming that these wolves are very different from the Great Lakes wolves. These Idaho wolves actually “hunt” you, and were not afraid!”
wolf attack

wolf attack in Idaho

Outdoors International
1915 W. State Street #123
Boise, Idaho 83702

Teen survives first known wolf attack in Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
A 75-pound gray, male timber wolf was captured by trappers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture after attacking a 16-year-old boy in Minnesota.
A Minnesota teenager who survived a wolf attack over the weekend may be the only person in the state to ever be involved in a mauling from a wolf, according to state officials and local media.
Noah Graham, 16, of Solway, Minn. was camping with friends from church near Lake Winnibigoshish when, while talking to his girlfriend at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, a wolf pounced and bit him in the head.
“I punched it and grabbed it and I couldn’t get it off,” Graham told NBC station KVLY-TV in Fargo, N.D.
Noah Graham, 16, was camping in Minnesota when he was attacked by a wolf last weekend. The animal clamped its jaws around the boy's head, but he managed to escape. Graham is undergoing rabies shots and is expected to survive.
Graham said he kicked and screamed at the wolf before it ran away. He quickly put a blanket on his head to try to control the bleeding while he was taken about 45 minutes to the nearest hospital. That, Graham told KVLY, was the scariest part.
He received 17 staples in his head to close a gaping wound, and a series of precautionary rabies vaccinations.
State wildlife officers believe they shot and killed the wolf that attacked Graham, but they were awaiting DNA. results to confirm it was the same animal. The wolf was also tested for rabies.
Thought dozens of nonfatal wolf attacks have been documented over the years, but there have been only two documented fatal attacks in North America.
In 2010, schoolteacher Candice Berner, 32, was mauled by a wolf in a small Alaskan village.
In 2005, a pack of wolves killed Kenton Joel, a 22-year-old Ontario engineering student, in the woods of northern Saskatchewan, according to government wolf experts.
Graham said the weekend’s attack has changed his views on camping.
“I probably won’t sleep outside again,” he told a KVLY reporter.

Wolf attacks on humans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Two of the Wolves of Périgord, on display at the chateau of Razac, Thiviers
A wolf attack is an attack on a human by a wolf or wolves. Wild wolves are naturally aggressive but are generally cautious enough to occasionally appear timid around humans. Wolves usually try to avoid contact with people, to the point of even abandoning their kills when an approaching human is detected, but there are several reported circumstances in which wolves have been recorded to act aggressively toward humans.
Compared to other carnivorous mammals known to attack humans in general, the frequency with which wolves have been recorded to kill or prey on people is much lower, indicating that though potentially dangerous, wolves are among the least threatening for their size and predatory potential.[1]

Causes and types

Attacks due to provocation have occurred, usually involving shepherds defending their flocks, though none recorded fatalities.[1] Unprovoked attacks by non-rabid wolves are rare, but have happened. The majority of victims of unprovoked healthy wolves tend to be women and children.[1] Historically, attacks by healthy wolves tended to be clustered in space and time, indicating that human-killing was not a normal behavior for the average wolf, but rather atypical behavior that single wolves or particular packs developed and maintained until they were killed.[2]
Habituation is a known factor contributing to some wolf attacks which result from living close to human habitations, which can cause wolves to lose their fear of humans and consequently approach too closely, much like urban coyotes. Habituation can also happen when people intentionally encourage wolves to come up to them, usually by offering food, or unintentionally, when people do not sufficiently intimidate them.[1] This is corroborated by accounts demonstrating that wolves in protected areas are more likely to show boldness toward humans, than ones in areas where they are actively hunted.[3]
Hybridization among wolves and domestic dogs is thought to result in animals which though possessing the predatory instincts of wolves, show a dog-like lack of timidity toward humans.[1]
The majority of fatal wolf attacks have historically involved rabies, which was first recorded in wolves in the 13th century. Though wolves are not reservoirs for the disease, they can catch it from other species. Wolves develop an exceptionally severe aggressive state when infected and can bite numerous people in a single attack. Before a vaccine was developed, bites were almost always fatal. Today, wolf bites can be treated, but the severity of rabid wolf attacks can sometimes result in outright death, or a bite near the head will make the disease act too fast for the treatment to take effect. Unlike healthy wolves, which typically limit themselves to attacking women or children, attacks by rabid wolves are made at random, with adult men being killed on occasion. Rabid attacks tend to cluster in winter and spring. With the reduction of rabies in Europe and North America, few rabid wolf attacks have been recorded, though some still occur annually in the Middle East.[1] Rabid attacks can be distinguished from predatory attacks by the fact that rabid wolves limit themselves to biting their victims rather than consuming them. Plus, the timespan of predatory attacks can sometimes last for months or years, as opposed to rabid attacks, which usually end after a fortnight.[1][2] Much like some big cats,[4] old or crippled wolves unable to tackle their normal prey have also been recorded to attack humans.[5]

Patterns and methods

A recent Fennoscandian study on historic wolf attacks occurring in the 18th–19th centuries showed that victims were almost entirely children under the age of 12, with 85% of the attacks occurring when no adults were present. In the few cases in which an adult was killed, it was almost always a woman. In nearly all cases, only a single victim was injured in each attack, although the victim was with two or three other people in a few cases. This contrasts dramatically with the pattern seen in attacks by rabid wolves, where up to 40 people can be bitten in the same attack. Some recorded attacks occurred over a period of months or even years, making the likelihood of rabies infected perpetrators unlikely, considering that death usually occurs within two to ten days after the initial symptoms. Records from the former Soviet Union show that the largest number of attacks on children occurred in summer during July and August, the period when female wolves begin feeding their cubs solid food. Sharp falls in the frequency of attacks were noted in the Autumn months of September and October, coinciding with drops in temperature which caused most children to remain indoors for longer periods.[5]
People who corner or attack wolves typically receive quick bites to the hands or feet, though the attack is usually not pressed. In both rabid and predatory attacks, victims are usually attacked around the head and neck in a sustained manner,[1] though healthy wolves rarely attack frontally, having been shown to prefer to attack from behind.[5] Some specialized man-eaters have been recorded to kill children by knocking them over from behind and biting the back of their heads and necks.[6] The body of a victim from a healthy wolf attack, is often dragged off and consumed unless disturbed.[1]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Great white shark shows amazing healing power

The Big Blue An Outdoor // Nature Blog

Guadalupe Island predator that endured a savage bite to the head last year astonishes divers by reappearing, with its seemingly fatal wound all but closed; 'I thought I'd never see him again'

A savage bite to the head by an adult great white shark would almost always be fatal–unless another great white shark is at the receiving end of such an attack.
The top image, captured last week by Rachel Montero of, shows a Guadalupe Island great white affectionately known as Chugey. The Shark Diver crew was pleased to see the 15-foot male shark, but surprised that he was still alive and astonished by how quickly his ominous-looking wound was healing.
The images posted below, captured last year at Guadalupe, show how Chugey looked after another shark had bitten him on the head, removing a large chunk of the gill area.
Martin Graf, Shark Diver chief executive, used before-and-after images of Chugey in a blog post to show viewers how remarkably well Chugey appears to be healing from what was believed to have been a fatal wound.
“I have to admit that I didn’t think much of his chances to survive this bite and thought I’d never see him again,” Graf wrote of a shark that has now been seen every season at Guadalupe since he was first spotted in 2004. (Chugey is named after Chugey Sepulveda, a San Diego scientist.)
Of the more recent images showing Chugey swimming as though nothing had happened, with the gaping wound closing nicely, Graf wrote:
“Look at the amazing difference! There are no veterinarians, no surgeries or stitches, and yet he looks like he’s healing just fine.
Guadalupe 09-15-12 (17)
“I’m blown away by their ability to survive injuries that would kill just about any other animal and the weirdest thing is, these nasty injuries don’t even seem to bother them all that much.”
Guadalupe Island, which is located 165 miles west of Baja California, is a seasonal gathering place for adult white sharks. They often scuffle during mating rituals and for territorial supremacy, and many bear extensive scarring.
The bite to Chugey’s head, however, was more severe than injuries most Guadalupe shark divers have seen on other sharks.
As for the divers themselves, most of them smartly observe these magnificent predators from the safety of metal cages.

Big break in dolphin die-off: It's an 'outbreak' of measles-like virus

Aug. 27, 2013 at 2:41 PM ET
Scientists say the strain of measles that is killing dolphins cannot be passed to beachgoers or swimmers. The virus last struck a large number of dolphins 25 years ago, but its cause remains a mystery. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.
Genetic tests have confirmed that an outbreak of a measles-like virus known as morbillivirus is playing a major role in the massive dolphin die-off on the Mid-Atlantic coast.
This is the second big strike for the virus, which was the chief agent behind a wave of infections that struck bottlenose dolphins between June 1987 and March 1988, killing more than 700 animals before retreating into the blue.
"We are now calling it a morbillivirus outbreak," Teri Rowles of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program said during a telephone press briefing on Tuesday. As of Monday, 333 animals have died on coasts between New York and North Carolina.
Among 33 dolphins tested this summer, 32 dolphins have turned up with a suspected or confirmed case of the virus, Rowles said. Additional genome sequencing tests have confirmed that the cetacean morbillivirus was present in 11 animals.
Morbillivirus belongs to a family of RNA viruses that cause rinderpest in cattle, distemper in canine species, and measles in humans. In dolphins, the virus suppresses the immune system, so researchers are seeing "animals that are very thin, animals that have a lot of other diseases and infections," Rowles said.
The resurgence of the infection in bottlenoses could merely be natural forces at work. Infections have "always been happening in cycles," Perry Habecker, staff veterinary chief at the University of Pennsylvania, told NBC News.
The genetic makeup of bacteria and viruses changes slightly over time, Habecker said, and populations of animals can also lose their immunity. "There’s no doubt in my mind that these kinds of disease have been [recurring] for millennia."
Sarah Rose, left, with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team begins a necropsy on a dead dolphin at the Virginia Aquarium Marine Animal Care C...
L. Todd Spencer / AP
Sarah Rose, left, with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team begins a necropsy on a dead dolphin at the Virginia Aquarium Marine Animal Care Center, in Virginia Beach, Va., on Aug. 6, 2013.
Researchers suspect that morbillivirus is hosted by offshore populations of marine mammals, and was transmitted to coastal bottlenose dolphins in the spring or early summer. This year, the virus seems to have entered a population that "simply [doesn't] have an immune response to effectively fight off the virus," Stephanie Venn-Watson of the National Marine Mammal Foundation said.
Researchers are planning analyses for the very first cases — strandings that may have occurred as early as February or March this year — to check if environmental factors contributed as a trigger.
Aside from the morbillivirus, a second suspect is the Brucella bacterium, which has been found in tissue samples from four dolphins from Virginia, NOAA says. Marine mammals are common hosts for the bacterium.
In the last few weeks, dead dolphins have begun washing up on the North Carolina coasts, which indicates that the outbreak, like the migrating dolphin herds, is moving south. If this year's die-off progresses like the 1987-88 outbreak did, the strandings are likely to continue until the spring of 2014.
Between now and then, there's not much researchers can do to stop the spread of the virus — logistics stand in the way of research vessels going after wild dolphin herds with vaccines.
The strandings are likely to end as they probably began, through natural events. Researchers anticipate that some dolphins still out at sea survived the infection and gained immunity. Survivor numbers will grow, and over time the virus, having completed its deadly rounds, will find no new bottlenose dolphins to infect.
Video: Hundreds of dolphins along the east coast have died this summer. Tests show it's the result of a deadly virus. NBC News' Erika Edwards reports.

Have you seen a stranded dolphin? NOAA has these safety tips: 
  • Do not touch the dolphin.
  • Don’t allow pets to approach the dolphin.
  • Observe the animal from a safe distance of 100 yards (safe for you and the animal)