June 11, 2007

Scientists Take Another Look at Mysterious Fish Disease
The Associated Press (Posted by WTOPNews.com)
09 Jun 2007
K Wyatt
Area: Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, USA
Photo courtesy of Maryland Dept of Natural Resources

Biologist Larry Pieper is wearing waterproof overalls and giving dozens of bass from the Chesapeake Bay a tabletop inspection. He's not surprised by what he sees _ many of them look sick. Pieper is part of Maryland's first effort this year to take a new look at a chronic wasting disease in striped bass, commonly called rockfish or stripers.

Mycobacteriosis, also known as "myco" or fish handler's disease, can slowly eat away at a fish's scales. It can leave nasty lesions and kill the striped bass, the hallmark fish of the Chesapeake Bay. Beyond that, scientists don't know enough about the disease to know how worried they should be. "We know a whole lot of nothing," Pieper said after examining 80 striped bass, noting lesions and little brown specks that suggest the bacteria are present.

Myco is usually harmless to humans, as long as anglers wash their hands after handling infected fish. However, scientists are startled by the bacteria's spread through the region. State biologists in Maryland and Virginia say that about 60 percent of the bass in the Chesapeake, where most of the East Coast's striped bass come to spawn, are now infected. But scientists aren't entirely sure whether myco kills all striped bass that get it, or whether some striped bass recover, and why. It's not clear how myco spreads, nor why the disease has increased sharply in recent years.


Related Link(s)

Striped Bass Health - All About Mycobacteria [Maryland Dept of Natural Resources]

Rare Nepal Elephants Suffer from Tuberculosis
11 Jun 2007
Reuters (Posted by Scientific America)
Area: Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Photo courtesy Scientific America

Ten of Nepal's 250 endangered elephants are suffering from tuberculosis in a national park and the disease is threatening to spread to humans and other wildlife, authorities said on Monday. . . . Park authorities said tests had confirmed at least 10 of 100 domesticated Asian elephants in Chitwan had contracted the disease in the past two years.

South China City Hit by Toxic "Red Tide" of Algae

06 Jun 2007
Area: Shenzhen, Guangdong, China

Coastal waters off China's booming southern port of Shenzhen have been hit by the biggest ever marine algal bloom, state media reported on Thursday. The report comes days after green algae in China's third largest lake cut off water supplies to millions of residents in Wuxi, in eastern Jiangsu province.

Commonly known as "red tide," toxic algal blooms can devastate marine plant and animal life and are exacerbated by coastal run-off from fertilizers and untreated human waste. "This is the biggest red tide that has ever appeared off the city's coast," the China Daily quoted Zhou Kai, an expert with the local marine environment monitoring station, as saying.

Wildlife Conference to Mull Protection for Deep Sea Coral
The Associated Press (Posted by The China Post)
10 Jun 2007
M Corder
Photo courtesy of China Post

Like miniature forests of richly colored trees, red coral decorates pockets of the world's seas and oceans from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. It also adorns the necks and arms of the rich and fashion conscious. The trade in the slow-growing, deep sea coral is now so widespread that there are fears for its survival.

The United States is leading a push to have the coral, whose scientific name is corallium, protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a global conservation body meeting until June 15 in The Hague. The U.S. proposal will be debated and put to a vote next week.

That has worried the fishers and craftsmen of Torre del Greco, a town in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius volcano on Italy's Mediterranean coast, who have harvested the coral for generations and turned it into art works and jewelry. "We started 800 years ago and we want to continue," said Ciro Condito of Assocoral, a lobby group representing the craftsmen. "We are not an industry; this is our tradition, our culture. Coral is our life."

Bison Captured in Effort to Contain Brucellosis
Billings Gazette – billingsgazette.com
09 Jun 2007
J Gransbery
Area: Yellowstone National Park, Park County, Montana, USA

Forty-one bison, hazed deeper than usual into Yellowstone National Park in the past week, were captured Friday west of the park and trucked to the holding area at Stephens Creek on the north side of Yellowstone. They will be released later into the park near Gardiner.

Thirty-nine animals, including 11 calves, were captured, along with a couple of bulls. The bulls were being sent to slaughter, angering bison advocates who accused the state of reneging on a promise not to kill any more bison that wander onto state and private land outside the park. . . . The latest developments were announced Friday morning by Dr. Jeanne Rankin, Montana's state veterinarian, at the beginning of a "brucellosis summit" in Lewistown during the midyear meeting of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Related Article(s)

Other Wildlife Disease News

West Nile virus update 2007 - Western Hemisphere - Archive Number 20070607.1848

West Nile virus now widespread in US

Oregon rat not carrying rabies virus

Manitoba's 1st anthrax case of the year identified in cattle

Journal Articles of Interest

Ecology: the proximate cause of frog declines?
Nature. May 2007 31; 447: E4-E5
ID Rosa et al.

Emerging Infectious Diseases
June 2007 Issue

Levels of Abnormal Prion Protein in Deer and Elk with Chronic Wasting Disease [free full-text article]
Emerging Infectious Diseases. Jun 2007; 13(6): Epub]
BL Race et al.

Successful Topical Respiratory Tract Immunization of Primates against Ebola Virus [online abstract only]
Journal of Virology. Jun 2007; 81(12): 6379-6388
A Bukreyev et al.

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