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Published On: Sat, May 4th, 2013

Alaska officials report second wolf positive for rabies in Chandalar Lake region

For the second time in as many weeks, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) officials report a rabies-infected wolf in the Chandalar Lake area, about 200 miles north of Fairbanks.

According to officials, the wolf was taken on March 15, 2013 along the north fork of the Chandalar River, northwest of Chandalar Lake. The wolf was caught in a trap and the trapper described it as not responding normally, dull and unaware.

Image/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Image/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Alaska State Virology Laboratory in Fairbanks confirmed the presence of rabies.

The trapper was not directly exposed to the disease from the wolf, but his dogs were. The carcass was fed raw to his dogs while they were camping on the trap line. The dogs are now at his home in Fairbanks, and are thought to be current on rabies vaccinations, but will be given booster shots and put under a quarantine as directed by the State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Gerlach.

“It’s very dangerous to feed raw carcasses of wildlife, especially carnivores, to pets,” said Dr. Kimberlee Beckmen, Wildlife Veterinarian for ADF&G. “Pets can not only become infected, they can then transmit diseases and parasites to their owners, rabies, tularemia and echinococcus being the most serious.”

This case follows the April 23 Alaska Health Department notice of the first rabid wolf found in the area. Rabies had not previously been documented in this area south of the Brooks Range.

“Rabies is always present in foxes in the enzootic western and northern coastal portions of Alaska, but we’re still trying to get a clearer picture of the current situation, especially in wolves in the Chandalar Lake area,” said Dr. Beckmen. “We’d really like to hear from the people who have seen wolves or other wildlife acting abnormally in that area. Abnormal behavior can also be caused by diseases other than rabies, such as distemper, so a test of brain tissue is required for a definitive diagnosis of the disease.”

Earlier in the week, Alaska State Troopers shot and killed a brown bear on the Kasilof River’s north beach following reports of an unprovoked attack on a Kenai resident and other aggressive behavior.

Subsequent testing showed the bear negative for rabies.

The public is asked to report any wildlife acting abnormally, especially wolves, wolverines or foxes to the nearest ADF&G office and by sending an email to [email protected] Animals with rabies might be fearless in approaching people, attack inanimate objects, or be unable to run/move normally.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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