July 5, 2007

Germany Finds Bird Flu Cases in Wild Birds
Reuters - alertnet.org
04 Jul 2007
Area: Germany

More wild birds have tested positive in Germany for the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu, German authorities said on Wednesday. Two wild birds tested positive for H5N1 in the eastern state of Thueringen. About 100 birds of various types were found dead in the state and about 40 were being tested for bird flu, Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler national animal diseases institute said. Last week, Germany discovered H5N1 in Leipzig in the eastern state of Saxony and in the southern city of Nuremberg in cases involving a total of nine wild birds. The source of the outbreaks, the first in Germany in 2007, was unclear.

Feds Look at Possible Brucellosis Buffer Zone Around Park
Bozeman Daily Chronicle - bozemandailychronicle.com
05 Jul 2007
S McMillon
Area: Montana USA

Creating a brucellosis buffer zone around Yellowstone National Park is a feasible idea, a federal disease control official said Monday, but making it happen won't be easy. Theresa Howes, spokeswoman for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said she and the federal agency's top veterinarian, Tom Clifford, met in June with Gov. Brian Schweitzer to discuss the possibility. "We were encouraged, all of us, by the thought that that could be a way for Montana to go," Howes said. Schweitzer has for more than two years pushed the idea of a buffer or "hot zone" in the southern reaches of Park, Gallatin and Madison counties.

All cattle entering or leaving the zone would be tested for brucellosis, a disease found in May in a Bridger herd, the first Montana outbreak since 1985. The herd had links to a Paradise Valley herd, which has since tested disease free. Schweitzer said last week the disease appears to have been transmitted from elk. He also said it is likely that more cases will be found, sooner or later. "It's coming and we need to be prepared for it," he said.

Human Antibodies that Block Human and Animal SARS Viruses Identified
NIH/National Cancer Institute (Posted by sciencedaily.com)
04 Jul 2007

An international team of investigators has identified the first human antibodies that can neutralize different strains of the virus responsible for outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The researchers used a mouse model and in vitro assays (lab tests) to test the neutralizing activity of the antibodies. The research team was led by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), both parts of the National Institutes of Health, and included collaborators from the U.S. Army (USAMRIID), academic institutions in the United States, Switzerland, and Australia. The research findings appear after the July 2, 2007, early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

SARS outbreaks occurred in humans in 2002-2003 and again in 2003-2004, and each outbreak was thought to have occurred when the virus jumped from an animal host to humans. Therefore, it appears that animal strains of the virus may be capable of triggering a future human outbreak. "This study is important because the viral strain that caused the outbreak in people in 2002 probably no longer exists in nature," explains Kanta Subbarao, M.D., NIAID, whose laboratory verified the efficacy of the anti-SARS antibodies in animal models. "What we need to prove for any vaccine, therapeutic, antibody, or drug is that it is effective not only against the strain of SARS virus isolated from people, but also against a variety of animal strains, because animals will be a likely source for re-emergence of the SARS virus."

Bat Virus Found to Cause Respiratory Infection
The Statesman - thestatesman.net
03 Jul 2007
S Verma

Scientists have isolated a new virus from patients suffering from acute respiratory infection in Malaysia and claimed the virus may have been transmitted from bats, warning that close association between humans and animals is causing diseases to cross boundaries. Virologists here said there are several examples of viruses crossing species and causing deadly infections in humans. It may be that a new infecting agent for humans has emerged and one needs to be cautious, they said. “Bats harbour a lot of viruses.

For example, Nipah virus isolated in Malyasia has its origin in bats. It caused a deadly disease outbreak in Siliguri in 2001,” Dr Pradeep Seth, a former virologist from AIIMS, told The Statesman. Most animals harbour several types of viruses, but these viruses cause disease when they cross species (infect other types of animals or humans). HIV, bird flu and Ebola are other such viruses, Dr Seth said and added this crossing of species is bound to happen with overcrowding and animals living closer to humans.

TB or Not TB: The Threat of Bovine Tuberculosis
04 Jul 2007
N Bolognesi
Area: Africa

Bovine tuberculosis is no less dangerous to humans than common TB, but relatively little is known about it, reports Natasha Bolognesi. Bovine tuberculosis — a form of tuberculosis (TB) commonly found in cattle — is widespread throughout Africa and, despite its name, infects a variety of hosts, including wildlife, domestic livestock and humans. European settlers are thought to have brought bovine TB into Africa in the early 1800s. Although scientists have long acknowledged its existence, the rates of infection in cattle and people are poorly understood, let alone controlled. "Bovine TB is definitely a developing country problem," says Claire Geoghegen, from the Mammal Research Institute at the Department of Zoology and Entomology in the University of Pretoria, "but so little work has been done on this disease".

. . . Geoghegan's research initially aims to discover where bovine TB occurs in domestic livestock around South African wildlife parks. Studies undertaken by US researchers at the universities of Berkley and Oregon indicate there is a high prevalence of bovine TB in buffalo, warthog, kudu, lion and cheetah in the Kruger National Park in northern Mpmulanga province and in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. According to Geoghegan, bovine TB was originally passed to cattle from wild animals, particularly buffalo, in the 1960s but was only picked up in the 1990s. "Bovine TB, like animals, crosses boundaries and [into] other species," she says. Her team will determine risk factors for M. bovis transmission, including infection through diet and the air. Different strains of TB collected from wildlife, cattle and people will be analysed to determine the rate of animal to human transmission of bovine TB.

No comments: