June 15, 2007

Researchers, Farmers Break New Ground With Seminar
The Herald Online
15 Jun 2007
M Lowe
Area: South Africa

The Grahamstown ecotourism, farming and scientific community will meet later this month to discuss some of the problems that have emerged from the rapid transition to game farming since the early 1990s. “Vast tracts of land have been turned from small livestock farming to reserves in little more than a decade, creating new challenges and research opportunities ” said Rhodes professor Ric Bernard, co-facilitator of the Eastern Cape Wildlife Management Colloquium to be held at the university on June 25. Dale Howarth, chairman of Indalo, which represents 17 game reserves in the Grahamstown area, said: “It is most important to break down the barriers between game reserves and farmers on issues like ‘snotsiekte‘.

“The colloquium is a wonderful opportunity to learn the real stories about diseases carried by game and domestic animals.” The meeting was a first for the Eastern Cape, and Indalo members were hoping it would become a three-day conference in future, he said. “A lot of us are not as jacked up as we could be on diseases, aliens, and the whole biodiversity management issue.” Bernard said they were hoping to set up a forum for future discussion around larger underlying issues, such as the impact of disease transmission between wildlife and livestock, water usage and invasive alien plants.

Study: Pesticides More Toxic to Frogs

The Union Democrat
14 Jun 2007
M Kay

Pesticides that drift from the Central Valley eastward are up to 100 times more toxic to frogs in the Sierra Nevada than earlier thought, a new federal study shows. The chemicals, used to kill insects, are yet another threat to an amphibian population that has been declining for more than 20 years due to factors including habitat changes and predatory fungus, said biologists in a report funded by the U.S. Geological Survey.

It has long been known that the class of pesticides studied in the experiment — called organophosphates — are highly toxic. But the experiment shows they are 10 to 100 times more toxic after being digested by animals, coming into contact with sunlight or interacting with organisms like bacteria, said Dr. Donald Sparling, co-author of the report and a wildlife toxicologist at Southern Illinois University. The debate over the effects of valley spraying on Sierra habitat has raged for the better part of this decade.

Lyme Disease-carrying Ticks Found in Alberta for First Time; Public Cautioned

14 Jun 2007
N McKenna
Area: Alberta, Canada

Albertans are being cautioned that Lyme disease could be in the province to stay. Alberta Health and Wellness announced Thursday that ticks found on two dogs near Edmonton tested positive for the bacterium that causes the disease. It is not known if the dogs were tested for the disease. Dr. Karen Grimsrud, the province's acting chief medical officer of health, said more tests are needed to determine if the ticks were brought in by migrating birds.

"If indeed this tick has taken up residence in Alberta, we certainly will need to look more closely at patients who present the early signs of Lyme disease," Grimsrud said. Those symptoms include a circular rash in the area of the tick bite, fatigue, chills, fever, headaches and muscle and joint pains. It can be cured with antibiotics, but can develop into a chronic illness characterized by abnormal heartbeat, dizziness and even paralysis if not treated early.

West Nile Virus Surveillance Begins In North Dakota

North Dakota Department of Health (posted by eMaxHealth.com)
8 Jun 2007
Area: North Dakota, USA

North Dakota Department of Health began coordination of West Nile virus surveillance activities to determine the prevalence of the disease across the state. Statewide surveillance activities include reporting and testing sick horses, trapping and testing mosquitoes, monitoring illness in humans, and reporting and testing dead birds. Only certain bird species – such as crows, magpies, blue jays and ravens – will be tested again this year.

"Although not all birds will be accepted for testing, the Department of Health is still interested in reports of dead birds," according to WNV surveillance coordinator, Michelle Feist. "People who find a dead bird that is not on the test list or is too decomposed for testing are asked to make a report via the online dead-bird reporting form found at www.ndwnv.com."

Other Wildlife Disease News

Uganda: The Basongora and Wild Animals Cannot Co-Exist [Opinion]

Conditions Favour Another Anthrax Outbreak, Vet Says

Exotic Pet Problems on Increase in Vermont

Infectious Diseases of Wild Birds [Book Release]

Journal Articles of Interest

Prion Protein Alleles Showing a Protective Effect on the Susceptibility of
Sheep to Scrapie and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy [Online abstract only]

Journal of Virology. July 2007; 81(13):7306-7309
G Vaccari et al.

Characterization of H5N1 Influenza Viruses Isolated from Migratory Birds in
Qinghai Province of China in 2006 [online abstract only]

Avian Diseases. 2007 Jun; 51(2): 568–572.
F Lei et al.

Avian Disease
June 2007 Issue

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