Flu Cases In Pennsylvania Spike

The holidays offer a chance to gather with faraway family and snuggle by the tree.  But according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Health, many of us have been sharing a lot more than gifts.

The number of reported flu cases soared the week before Christmas to 2,196, more than double the 933 reported one week earlier. Before Dec. 8, there had been a total of 848 cases statewide.  One influenza-related death has been reported as well.

The trend in Pennsylvania is consistent with the numbers nationwide.

“It’s certainly a bigger flu season than we had during the past two years,” said Dr. Luther V. Rhodes, an infectious disease specialist at Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-early-flu-season-pa-20121228,0,5869559.story

Centre County Rabies Cases Climbing

A Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor) seen near a b...
Image via Wikipedia

First rabid beavers in Philly, now drooling raccoons in State College???  Looks like 2011 is the year of the rabid animal.

Rocky Raccoon was tooling around the main campus at Penn State University on June 30th when authorities shot the animal because it was drooling, running into things and falling down (guess only coeds are allowed to do that).  The raccoon tested positive for rabies (it hadn’t crashed a frat party).  This is rather alarming as there are tens of thousands of students at PSU’s main campus and a rabid raccoon throw into the mix could have been very dangerous.

So far this year there have been 8 diagnosed cases of rabies in Centre County.  In all of 2010 there were only 5 cases of rabies.  The next most recent rabies incident prior to last Thursday happened in nearby Gregg Township.  On June 27th a dog and rabid raccoon fought.  The dog was vaccinated but is being quarantined.