Infestation of exotic deer lice hits deer in West
RENO (AP) — Scientists across the West are raising concerns about a growing infestation of exotic deer lice that appears to be killing Columbian black-tailed and mule deer and recently turned up in Nevada.
Researchers said the non-native lice first appeared in the mid-1990s. They apparently weaken the deer during the long winter months, causing hair loss and distracting them from threats posed by hungry predators like mountain lions.
The infestation has been on the rise, especially in Oregon, Washington, California and New Mexico.
“We’re very concerned about the potential impacts on the deer population,” said Greg Gerstenberg, a senior wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The potential impact of exotic lice and hair loss could be devastating,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Nevada’s first case was reported in 2011 in the north-central part of the state in Smokey Valley near Tonopah. Suspected cases also turned up last year near Fallon about 60 miles east of Reno and in far eastern Nevada on a ranch near the Utah line south of Great Basin National Park.
“We have basically documented that we have it across the whole state,” said Peregrine Wolff, a veterinarian for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. She said that while the lice aren’t posing any widespread problem in Nevada yet, the issue could become a concern if it begins to impact deer populations to the degree it appears to be doing elsewhere.
Frozen berry mix linked to hepatitis A recalled
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Oregon company is recalling a frozen berry mix sold to Costco and Harris Teeter stores after the product has been linked to at least 49 hepatitis A illnesses in seven states.
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Townsend Farms of Fairview, Ore., is recalling its frozen Organic Antioxidant Blend, packaged under the Townsend Farms label at Costco and under the Harris Teeter brand at those stores.
Also Tuesday, the federal Centers for Disease Control said the illness count has risen from 34 to 49 people. Illnesses were reported last week in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California, and CDC said that there are additional illnesses reported in Hawaii and Utah. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said 12 of the cases are in that state.
The recall came three days after the FDA and the CDC first announced a suspected link between the berries and the illnesses. The agency did not say why there was not an immediate recall.
Costco has stores across the country, while Harris Teeter stores are in eight East Coast states and the District of Columbia.
Both grocery chains said they have pulled the product from store shelves.
Nevada high court hears arguments on Vegas hotel
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada Supreme Court justices seeking common ground found more disagreement between lawyers arguing the fate of a flawed hotel at the CityCenter development on the Las Vegas Strip.
An attorney for property owner MGM Resorts International ended oral arguments Tuesday saying that even a consultant for general contractor Tutor Perini Corp. now says the Harmon Hotel tower can’t be repaired.
But a lawyer for Perini says he doesn’t agree.
There was no immediate ruling from the court.
The building wasn’t completed when the CityCenter development opened in December 2009.
It was supposed to be 48 stories, but stopped at 26 after inspectors found flaws in reinforcing beams during construction.
MGM Resorts wants the structure torn down even before a jury hears a nearly $500 million construction defect lawsuit next January.