March 26, 2007

Salamanders Suffer Delayed Effects of Common Herbicide
Penn State (Posted by
26 Mar 2007
Photo courtesy of K Warkentin
Area: United States

Pollution from a common herbicide might be causing die-offs in stream salamanders, according to biologists who say findings from their long-term study raise concerns over the role of atrazine in global amphibian declines. The results also suggest that while impacts of the herbicide, atrazine, may not show up in short-term studies, even extremely low concentrations of the chemical may be deadly to amphibians in the long run. "We are concerned that most studies used to make pesticide registration decisions and to derive safe concentrations last for about four days," said Jason R. Rohr, research associate at the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.

"They often do not consider recovery processes, persistent effects of chemical exposure, or interactions among individuals within and between species that can affect our estimates of safe chemical concentrations." Atrazine is one of the most widely used pesticides in the United States, and possibly the world. It is relatively long-lived and is even found at the poles. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, it is one of the most common contaminants in ground and surface water.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning - South Africa (Western Cape): Red Tide - Archive Number 20070325.1039
International Society for Infectious Diseases - ProMED-mail
25 Mar 2007
Area: South Africa

A red tide warning has been issued for the Cape West coast and False Bay. Grant Pitcher, the marine and coastal management principal specialist scientist, says a long stretch of the coast has been affected. The alarm was raised following reports that at least 3 people fell ill with paralytic shellfish poisoning after eating seafood from the coast at Lamberts Bay. Marine and coastal management has warned the public not to eat any shellfish collected from the coast.

Marine scientists are investigating, and samples tested have found that a toxic red tide is widespread all along the coast to as far north as Lamberts Bay. Pitcher says: "There is another problem that is on the West Coast, up in the St Helena Bay region near Lamberts Bay, where there are blooms that are visually less impressive, but they have some toxic organism in them, and these are causing shellfish to become toxic, and now we have some reports, 3 separate incidences, of people becoming ill having consumed shellfish in that area." Meanwhile, non-toxic red tide blooms persist along the False Bay Coast. Scientists have warned that if the blooms start to decay, it could cause a rapid decline in oxygen in the water. And that could lead to high scale mortalities of flora and fauna.

Unknown Virus Outburst in Murree
23 Mar 2007
Area: Pakistan

Numbers of hen and cow have died in Baria Kali Mitti due to outburst of unknown virus. According to the residents, an unknown virus has been erupted in Baria Kali Mitti suburb area of Muree resulting in death of hen, cow and others pet animals. They have demanded of the Wild Life and Health Ministry departments to take immediate steps for the elimination of unknown virus in the area. End.

Spike in Lyme Disease Cases Brings Calls for Deer Management
The Associated Press(Posted by WDJB7 Roanoke News)
26 Mar 2007
Area: Fairfax, Virginia USA

Some Fairfax County residents are pleading for help to manage an out-of-control deer population after a surge in reported cases of Lyme disease. Infected ticks spread the disease, and deer are carrying the ticks across the county. Fairfax County disease program manager Jorge Arias says deer are like a "Metro system" for ticks. Lyme disease often begins with such symptoms as fever, fatigue and a bull's-eye-shaped rash.

It is often quickly treated with antibiotics. Confirmed cases of the disease in Fairfax County rose from three in 2004 to 82 in 2006. Much of the increase is due to better reporting. The numbers are rising across the Washington area. Loudoun County claims half of all reported cases of Lyme disease in Virginia. In Maryland's Montgomery County, confirmed cases have grown fivefold since 2004 to 216 last year.


Journal Article(s) of Interest

Global Mapping of Infectious Diseases: Methods, Examples, and Emerging Applications
[book review]
Emerg Infect Dis. 2007 Apr;13(4):399-433
MI Meltzer

Hematology of free-living marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus) from southeast Brazil
J Zoo Wildl Med. 2005 Sep;36(3):463-9
MP Szabo et al.

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