July 30, 2007

West Nile Symptoms in Montana Pelicans Spur Mosquito Warnings
MSU News Service - montana.edu
27 Jul 2007
E Boswell
Photo courtesy of E Boswell
Area: Montana USA

The appearance of West Nile virus-type symptoms at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the discovery of infected mosquitoes elsewhere in the state indicates that the virus could soon emerge in other parts of Montana, says Montana State University entomologist Greg Johnson. It also means Montanans should guard themselves against the carrier -- mosquitoes. Johnson's team of researchers detected suspicious symptoms in pelican chicks on July 11. In the past, Johnson said, that meant the virus would appear two to three weeks later in other parts of the state.

The Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge is located in northeast Montana between Plentywood and Culbertson. "Mosquito collection sites along the Milk River and Yellowstone River are usually first to produce West Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes following virus activity at Medicine Lake," said Johnson who warned Montanans attending outdoor gatherings to protect themselves against mosquitoes. The Culex tarsalis mosquito is the most common carrier of West Nile virus in Montana. It mainly flies between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Johnson suggested that people avoid areas with high densities of mosquitoes, such as wind breaks made up of trees, grass and shrubs.

Deal Allows Some Bison to Roam
The Associated Press (Posted by casperstartribune.net)
28 Jul 2007
M Brown
Area: Montana USA

Montana officials have reached a tentative deal allowing some bison to roam outside of Yellowstone National Park without fear of slaughter, a potential breakthrough in a decade-long attempt to end the killing of thousands of bison for disease prevention. The deal reached this week between the Church Universal and Triumphant, which owns the Royal Teton Ranch north of Yellowstone, and the Montana Department of Fish Parks and Wildlife would allow bison to move through the ranch during winter to reach about 2,000 acres in the Gallatin National Forest. Yet to be decided, however, is how much the church will be paid. U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat who sits on the national parks subcommittee, said this week he will press the U.S. Department of Agriculture to contribute $1.5 million toward the deal.

"Pretty much the deal is done, and we wait for funding," church president Kate Gordon said Friday. Since 1998, the federal government has paid $13 million for conservation easements on the ranch but has never resolved the issue of grazing rights. That is considered key to preventing contact between bison, which can carry the disease brucellosis, and livestock. If the disease spreads to livestock, it can cause pregnant cows to abort their calves and have major financial consequences for the state's cattle industry.

Bird Flu Cases Bring Calls for Extra Vigilance
EDP24 - edp24.co.uk
27 Jul 2007
S Lowthorpe
Area: England United Kingdom

Wildlife experts across the region were tonight asked to step up patrols for dead wild birds after a fresh outbreak of avian flu in Europe. Defra has asked staff in bird reserves in the East of England, Northamptonshire and the South East to undertake extra surveillance after recent outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the virus in France, Germany and the Czech Republic. Earlier this week eight dead birds including swans, a duck and a goose were found in two lakes near Nuremburg, southern Germany following an outbreak in the Czech Republic earlier this month. Chief veterinary officer Debby Reynolds said the areas identified were those where birds migrating from the affected parts of Europe were most likely to arrive.

Earlier this year there was an outbreak of the deadly strain of the virus at the Bernard Matthews factory in Holton, near Halesworth. Defra and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which are working in partnership with a range of organisations from the RSPB, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Natural England, said it was important to remain vigilant. “The risk of avian influenza to the UK remains low but increased, and our current control and monitoring measures reflect this,” she said. “We will continue to monitor the disease situation and we are keeping our levels of surveillance under review.

With Tools on Web, Amateurs Reshape Mapmaking
The New York Times - nytimes.com
27 Jul 2007
M Helft
Area: United States

Interested in mapping wildlife disease or general cartography? Then, check out this article. It describes how everyday people are making use of simple, web-based cartography tools to create cool maps that integrate text, images, audio and video. The article provides a list of links to mapping tools for readers who want to learn more about map making.

. . .Increasingly, people will be able to point their favorite mapping service to a specific location and discover many layers of information about it: its hotels and watering holes, its crime statistics and school rankings, its weather and environmental conditions, the recent news events and the history that have shaped it. A good portion of this information is being contributed by ordinary Web users. In aggregate, these maps are similar to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, in that they reflect the collective knowledge of millions of contributors.

Shell Shocked: 'Escaped' Virus Ruins Stocks
The Age - theage.com.au
29 Jul 2007
Photo courtesy of M Molloy
Area: Australia

The abalone industry says it is facing almost certain ruin, and blames Government inaction for ignoring the looming disaster, Reid Sexton reports.

Australia's multibillion-dollar abalone industry could face ruin — and is blaming Victorian Government inaction for allowing a deadly virus to jump from contaminated farm stocks to the world's last unspoilt wild abalone fisheries. About 500 jobs in Victoria alone are at risk from the virus, which in less than a year has devastated key fisheries scattered along 200 kilometres of the state's south-western coast. The herpes-like disease kills up to 95 per cent of abalone it infects. Tasmania has imposed strict biosecurity measures to try to stop it crossing Bass Strait.

The potential for devastation has prompted one government fisheries researcher to criticise his own department for ignoring the disease until it was too late. "The abalone is being absolutely annihilated," the researcher said. "People who have dived there for 40 years have never seen anything like it." South-eastern Australia has the world's most lucrative wild abalone fishery, and one of the last in the world where consistently high yields are common.

Other Wildlife Disease News

Lukulu Faced with Deadly Fish Disease

Wildlife Officials Puzzle over Sturgeon Deaths

Journal Articles of Interest

Absence of Detection of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 in Migratory Waterfowl in Southern France in 2005–2006 [online abstract only]
Infect Genet Evol. 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]
C Lebarbenchona et al.

USGS GeoHealth Newsletter - June 2007 Issue
Articles include:
Aquatic Life Exposed to Lead, Cadmium and Zinc in Missouri Streams
Mussels are Disappearing in the U.S.
Endocrine Disruption Found in Fish Exposed to Municipal Wastewater

Estimation of European Wild boar Relative Abundance and Aggregation: A Novel Method in Epidemiological Risk Assessment [online abtract only]
Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Apr;135(3):519-27. Epub 2006 Aug 8.
P Acevedo et al.

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