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Macrobiological Hazards

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Kelman, I. 2012. Macrobiological Hazards. Version 21, 1 July 2012 (Version 1 was 7 July 2004). Downloaded from

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Environmental phenomena often interact with vulnerable human beings to result in a disaster. One such environmental phenomenon is large animals and plants, also termed macrobiology in order to contrast them with microbiology including viruses, bacteria, and rickettsia. This document lists illustrative examples where human beings or society have had difficulties with macrobiological creatures which are then termed macrobiological hazards. Macrobiological hazards should not be confused with their possible antithesis, macrobiotics.

Suggestions to:

Ilan Kelman

Macrobiological Hazards







Bison / Buffaloes



Cat and Mouse

Cattle (Cows and Bulls)

Cattle, Dead


Cougars / Mountain Lions




Deer, Dead













Hymenoptera (e.g. Bees and Wasps)


Komodo dragons





Moose, Drunken

Musk Ox






Sea Lions

Seaweed, Invasive Mutant





Sting Rays




Whale Exploding



CDC’s National Ag Safety Database, entries related to “Animals”

Gautret, P., E. Schwartz, M. Sha, G. Soula, P. Gazin, J. Delmont, P. Parola, M.J. Soavi, E. Matchett, G. Brown, and J. Torresi for the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network. 2007. “Animal-associated injuries and related diseases among returned travellers: A review of the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network”. Vaccine, vol. 25, pp. 2656-2663.

Human Dimensions of Wildlife An International Journal,

MMWR. 2004. “Nonfatal Motor-Vehicle Animal Crash--Related Injuries --- United States, 2001--2002”. MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report), vol. 53, no. 30 (5 August 2004), pp. 675-678,

Russell, F.F. 1974. “Prevention and Treatment of Venomous Animal Injuries”. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, vol. 30, no. 1, pp. 8-12.

Taylor, D.M., K. Ashby, and K. D. Winkel. 2002. “An Analysis of Marine Animal Injuries Presenting to Emergency Departments in Victoria, Australia”. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, vol. 13, pp. 106-112.

Treves, A. and L. Naughton-Treves. 1999. “Risk and opportunity for humans coexisting with large carnivores”. Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 36, pp. 275-282.


Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK

Alligator kills jogger in Florida

An alligator killed a woman whose dismembered body was found floating in a canal in Florida, a US medical examiner has concluded.

The body of Yovy Suarez Jimenez, 28, was found in the town of Sunrise on Wednesday - a day after she disappeared while jogging near the canal.

"The alligator attacked her... bit her... and pulled her into the water," medical examiner Dr Joshua Perper said.

A hunt was under way to find and kill the reptile, local officials said.

Dr Perper - who performed the autopsy - said that the alligator "basically amputated" the woman's arms, and bit her on the leg and back.

"She died extremely fast. By the time she was pulled into the water she was already dead," the medical examiner at Broward County said.

No-one is believed to have seen the attack, but some people saw a woman matching Ms Jimenez's description dangling her feet over the canal's edge, reports in the local media say.

The alligator is estimated to be up to 10ft (three metres) long, based on the woman's injuries.

There have been 25 fatal alligator attacks in Florida since 1948, according to Florida's wildlife officials.

Canadian killed by alligator in Georgia

11/10/2007 8:56:47 PM

An 83-year-old Canadian woman has been killed by an alligator in Savannah, Georgia.

A couple found the body of Gwen Williams floating in a lagoon Saturday afternoon, Savannah-Chatham police confirmed in a press release.

Williams was missing her left arm, right hand and right foot.

An autopsy conducted on Tuesday found that the wounds were "consistent with those of an alligator attack."

It also concluded that Williams died from blood loss.

Meanwhile, the eight-foot-long reptile was trapped and killed Tuesday.

"The animal's stomach contents confirmed it as the gator that caused Williams' death," said the press release.

Williams was reportedly house-sitting for a relative. Police don't know where exactly in Canada Williams is from.

A wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural resources told The Associated Press that Williams is the first person known to have been killed by an alligator in the state since 1980.

The couple that discovered the body was walking on a golf course near the home where Williams was staying. Williams was last seen Friday afternoon.

With files from The Associated Press


Brenner, S.A., S.R. Lillibridge, D. Perrotta, and E.K. Noji. 1994. “Fire-Related Mortality in Floods: A Newly Discovered Threat from Fire Ants”. American Entomologist, Fall, p. 147.

Solley, G.O., C. Vanderwoude, and G.K. Knight. 2002. “Anaphylaxis due to Red Imported Fire Ant Sting. The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 176, no. 11, pp. 521-523,;_ylt=AhwMKg0Mbm4g3zN2At1mjhhH2ocA

Ants swarm over Houston area, fouling electronics

By LINDA STEWART BALL, Associated Press Writer Wed May 14, 3:16 PM ET

DALLAS - In what sounds like a really low-budget horror film, voracious swarming ants that apparently arrived in Texas aboard a cargo ship are invading homes and yards across the Houston area, shorting out electrical boxes and messing up computers.

The hairy, reddish-brown creatures are known as "crazy rasberry ants" — crazy, because they wander erratically instead of marching in regimented lines, and "rasberry" after Tom Rasberry, an exterminator who did battle against them early on.

"They're itty-bitty things about the size of fleas, and they're just running everywhere," said Patsy Morphew of Pearland, who is constantly sweeping them off her patio and scooping them out of her pool by the cupful. "There's just thousands and thousands of them. If you've seen a car racing, that's how they are. They're going fast, fast, fast. They're crazy."

The ants — formally known as "paratrenicha species near pubens" — have spread to five Houston-area counties since they were first spotted in Texas in 2002.

The newly recognized species is believed to have arrived in a cargo shipment through the port of Houston. Scientists are not sure exactly where the ants came from, but their cousins, commonly called crazy ants, are found in the Southeast and the Caribbean.

"At this point, it would be nearly impossible to eradicate the ant because it is so widely dispersed," said Roger Gold, a Texas A&M University entomologist.

The good news? They eat fire ants, the stinging red terrors of Texas summers.

But the ants also like to suck the sweet juices from plants, feed on such beneficial insects as ladybugs, and eat the hatchlings of a small, endangered type of grouse known as the Attwater prairie chicken.

They also bite humans, though not with a stinger like fire ants.

Worse, they, like some other species of ants, are attracted to electrical equipment, for reasons that are not well understood by scientists.

They have ruined pumps at sewage pumping stations, fouled computers and at least one homeowner's gas meter, and caused fire alarms to malfunction. They have been spotted at NASA's Johnson Space Center and close to Hobby Airport, though they haven't caused any major problems there yet.

Exterminators say calls from frustrated homeowners and businesses are increasing because the ants — which are starting to emerge by the billions with the onset of the warm, humid season — appear to be resistant to over-the-counter ant killers.

"The population built up so high that typical ant controls simply did no good," said Jason Meyers, an A&M doctoral student who is writing his dissertation on the one-eighth-inch-long ant.

It's not enough just to kill the queen. Experts say each colony has multiple queens that have to be taken out.

At the same time, the ants aren't taking the bait usually left out in traps, according to exterminators, who want the Environmental Protection Agency to loosen restrictions on the use of more powerful pesticides.

And when you do kill these ants, the survivors turn it to their advantage: They pile up the dead, sometimes using them as a bridge to cross safely over surfaces treated with pesticide.

"It looked like someone had come along and poured coffee granules all around the perimeter of the rooms," said Lisa Calhoun, who paid exterminators $1,200 to treat an infestation of her parents' home in the Houston suburb of Pearland.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is working with A&M researchers and the EPA on how to stop the ants.

"This one seems to be like lava flowing and filling an entire area, getting bigger and bigger," said Ron Harrison, director of training for the big pest-control company Orkin Inc.


Last Updated: Saturday, 3 April, 2004, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK

Vampire bats on attack in Brazil

Bites from rabies-carrying vampire bats killed 13 people in a north-eastern Brazilian state last month, the health ministry said on Friday.

The ministry said the record number of deaths was matched by an increase in bat attacks to about 300.

A programme to vaccinate domestic animals and people deemed at risk will begin in the area next week.

One report suggests scientists believe deforestation may be a factor behind the increase in attacks.

Vampire bats feed on mammalian blood, and can pass on rabies from animals to humans.

Laboratory tests have proven that six deaths in Para state were due to human rabies linked to bat bites, said health official Fernando Dourado, speaking to reporters in Belem on Friday.

Test results have not yet arrived for the seven other victims, but they displayed similar symptoms and had also been bitten.

Three people remain ill in hospital, one critically.

The cases appear to be concentrated in areas close to Marajo - the world's biggest estuarine archipelago.

A health ministry spokesman told Reuters news agency government scientists believed the more aggressive behaviour of the bats could be linked to deforestation.

Greater availability of livestock, coupled with less vegetation for fruit-eating bats, could have favoured an increase in the numbers of vampire bats.

Deforestation could also force changes in bats' migration patterns, affecting their population and behaviour.

A doctor at the hospital where the patients died, Carmem Andrea Freitos, has also noticed changes in the incubation period of rabies in her recent patients.

Typically, patients with human rabies die an average of 20 days after being bitten, reported the regional newspaper O Liberal, but Dr Freitos says some of her patients were bitten up to six months ago.

Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK

Sick bat bites kill 11 Brazilians

Bites from rabid bats have killed 11 people in northern Brazil in the last two weeks, local authorities say.

Health officials have vaccinated local people and set up treatment posts around the remote Amazonian town of Augusto Correa in Para state.

Nine of the victims were children, and two people are seriously ill in hospital with rabies.

A factor behind the outbreak is the destruction of the rainforest, the Brazilian environment agency says.

Deforestation leads to a greater concentration of bats in areas populated by humans.

Laboratory tests on bats captured in the region have shown that some are carrying the virus.

Rabies is a very serious brain disease, which can be prevented by vaccination.

Humans generally catch the virus by being bitten by an infected animal.

Twenty-one people died from rabies last year in Para, Efe news agency reports.

The toll was higher than the number of rabies deaths registered across Brazil between 2002 and 2003, the agency says.


Bargali, H.S., N. Akhtar, and N.P.S. Chauhan. 2005. Characteristics of sloth bear attacks and human casualties in North Bilaspur Forest Division, Chhattisgarh, India. Ursus, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 263-267.

Clark, D. 2003. “Polar bear-human interactions in Canadian national parks, 1986-2000”. Ursus, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 65-71.

Floyd, T. 1999. “Bear-inflicted human injury and fatality”. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 75-87.

Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK

One dead in Romanian bear rampage

A brown bear has attacked and killed one person and wounded several others in Romania's Transylvanian forests.

Police and hunters have been deployed in the area around the central city of Brasov to track down the animal.

Romanian officials said the bear even attacked paramedics at the scene and tried to break into their ambulance before disappearing into the woods.

The mayor said all available police were involved - and urged residents to stay inside until the bear was caught.

Correspondents say bears often come into the city, but attacks have been rare.

Romania's brown bears are increasingly descending from the country's Carpathian Mountains and raiding local towns in an effort to find food.

There are increasing fears that they will soon become extinct in this part of the world. Romania is one of the very few countries in Europe that permits limited bear hunting.

[This story exemplifies how some of these instances are about humans being hazards to themselves, rather than the animals being macrobiological hazards.]

Page last updated at 14:50 GMT, Saturday, 22 November 2008

Panda attacks man in Chinese zoo

Map locator

A man has been attacked by a panda at a park in southern China, after he climbed into its enclosure hoping to cuddle the creature.

The 20-year-old student had ignored warning signs and scaled a two-metre (6.5ft) barrier to get into the pen.

State media say the panda bit him on his arms and legs, and he had to be rescued by the animal's keepers.

Speaking from his hospital bed, the injured man said the panda had looked so cute he had just wanted to hug it.

The incident happened on Friday at Qixing Park in Guilin, a popular tourist attraction in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which houses a small zoo and panda exhibit.

A worker at the park, quoted by the official Xinhua news agency, said there are clear signs warning visitors not to go beyond the fences for their own safety, "but the young man ignored them".

The panda, Yang Yang, was apparently scared by the intruder and bit the man's arms and legs, he said.

Two foreign visitors who saw the incident alerted keepers who rushed to the student's rescue and calmed the panda.

The man - named only as Liu - was taken to hospital. He underwent an operation and doctors said he would stay in hospital for a few days, although his life was not in danger.

Liu, who is studying at a university in Guilin, said he had been visiting the park with fellow students.

"Yang Yang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him," he told Xinhua from his hospital bed.

"I didn't expect he would attack... I don't remember how many bites I got."

Yang Yang - whose name means sun - is seven years old and weighs 80kg (176lb). Keepers said he had recovered from the incident and was eating and playing as normal.

Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Bear kills militants in Kashmir

By Altaf Hussain

BBC News, Srinagar

A Himalayan black bear strolls in Dachigam National Park, 25kms from Srinagar, on Oct 16, 2009

A bear killed two militants after discovering them in its den in Indian-administered Kashmir, police say.

Two other militants escaped, one of them badly wounded, after the attack in Kulgam district, south of Srinagar.

The militants were armed with AK-46s but were taken by surprise - police found the remains of pudding they had made to eat when the bear attacked.

It is thought to be the first such incident since Muslim separatists took up arms against Indian rule in 1989.

Bodies found

The militants had made their hideout in a cave which was actually the bear's den, said police officer Farooq Ahmed.

The dead have been identified as Mohammad Amin alias Qaiser, and Bashir Ahmed alias Saifullah.

News of the attack emerged when their injured comrade went to a nearby village for treatment.

"Word spread in the village that Qaiser had been killed by the bear," another police officer said.

A joint party of the police and army personnel went into the forest and collected the bodies of the two militants.

Police say they also recovered two AK-46 rifles and some ammunition from the hideout.

Animal attacks

Wildlife experts say the conflict in Kashmir has actually resulted in an increase in the population of bears and leopards.

Following the outbreak of the insurgency people had to hand in their weapons to police - which put a halt to poaching.

As a result, there has been a greater incidence of man-animal conflict, say experts.

There have been many reports of bears and leopards killing or mauling humans in different parts of the Kashmir valley in recent years.

Three years ago, residents of Mandora village near the southern town of Tral, beat a black bear to death which had strayed into the village.

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