August 28, 2007

Birds Out as EEE Indicator
Seacoast Online -
12 Aug 2007
A Leech
Area: New Hampshire USA

Theory: They're becoming immune to the disease

Dead birds that were once sure-fire signs of the presence of West Nile virus or Eastern equine encephalitis aren't that reliable anymore, according to state and local health officials. "It seems like we're not finding the same number of birds as we used to," said Jason Stull, state public health veterinarian. "The predominant theory is the birds are developing antibodies to the disease and are not dying as much."

Michael Morrison, owner of Municipal Pest Management, said he's noticed it too. "We were seeing up to 20 dead crows in a week in some towns," he said. "There's not a catastrophic loss of birds anymore. ... Birds are just not dropping like they used to. They've adapted." Birds were often faulty indicators, according to Stull, because most did not die immediately after contracting the disease, meaning the time and place the disease originated was uncertain.

Test Results Confirm EHD in Greene/Washington Counties; Game Commission Seeks to Identify Cause of Death in Birds [Press Release]
Pennsylvania Game Commission (Posted by
27 Aug 2007
Area: Pennsylvania USA

Dr. Walter Cottrell, Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife veterinarian, today announced that test results have confirmed that epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) is causing mortality in deer in parts of southwestern Pennsylvania. So far, more than 100 deer have been found dead in Greene and Washington counties, and the deaths are consistent with EHD. This marks the second time the disease has been confirmed in Pennsylvania. Cottrell noted that tests were conducted at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia and Penn State University Animal Diagnostics Laboratory, and that those results confirmed that the most commonly found variant (Type II) of EHD was identified.

Mortalities have been reported in Richhill, Gray, Morris, Aleppo, Jackson and Center townships in Greene County; and in West Finley, East Finley, South Franklin and Morris townships in Washington County. "While we want to continue to receive reports about dead deer in these townships, we also are very most interested in hearing from those who find dead deer in other townships," Cottrell said. "As tissue samples must be extracted within 24 hours of death to be suitable for conducting tests, it is important that we hear from residents as soon as possible. "Hunters need to know that EHD cannot be contracted by humans, furthermore it is extremely rare -- and highly unlikely -- for this variant to cause clinical signs in traditional livestock, such as cattle, sheep or goats."

Researchers Find Mercury in Songbirds in Saltwater Marshes
The Associated Press (Posted by
27 Aug 2007
Area: New England USA

Researchers said Monday they found mercury in songbirds found in New England’s estuaries and wildlife refuges, indicating that mercury contamination is not limited to the region’s freshwater lakes and ponds. The BioDiversity Research Institute released its findings on the saltmarsh sharp-tailed sparrow at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, which encompasses part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Sen. Susan Collins, who was on hand for the news conference, renewed her call for Congress to pass the National Mercury Monitoring Establishment Act, which she introduced with Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. "Each new scientific study seems to find higher levels of mercury in more ecosystems and in more species than we had previously thought," Collins said.

"We must have more comprehensive information and we must have it soon." The three-year survey of the sparrows by the BioDiversity Research Institute was based on data from 220 individual birds. All of the birds had elevated mercury levels with some as high as 3.2 parts per million, well above the concentration believed to cause adverse effects in songbirds and the levels often found in common loons and bald eagles. Unlike loons and eagles, which feed on freshwater fish, the salt marsh sharp-tailed sparrow survives on insects and nuts.

Infectious Diseases Spreading Faster than Ever: U.N.
Reuters (Posted by
22 Aug 2007
L MacInnis

Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly around the globe, spreading faster and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday. In its annual World Health Report, the United Nations agency warned there was a good possibility that another major scourge like AIDS, SARS or Ebola fever with the potential of killing millions would appear in the coming years. "Infectious diseases are now spreading geographically much faster than at any time in history," the WHO said. It said it was vital to keep watch for new threats like the emergence in 2003 of SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread from China to 30 countries and killed 800 people.

"It would be extremely naive and complacent to assume that there will not be another disease like AIDS, another Ebola, or another SARS, sooner or later," the report warned. Since the 1970s, the WHO said, new threats have been identified at an "unprecedented rate" of one or more every year, meaning that nearly 40 diseases exist today which were unknown just over a generation ago. Over the last five years alone, WHO experts had verified more than 1,100 epidemics of different diseases. With more than 2 billion people traveling by air every year, the U.N. agency said: "an outbreak or epidemic in one part of the world is only a few hours away from becoming an imminent threat somewhere else."


U.S. Seeks Home for Research on Fearsome Diseases

Raccoon Rabies Vaccination Baiting Slated for Aug 30-Sept 30 [Citizen Journalist]

'Shadoo' Prion Sheds Light on BSE


Journal of Wildlife Diseases - Supplement
2007 July; 43(3)

Erythrocyte Binding Preference of Avian Influenza H5N1 Viruses [online abstract only]
Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 2007 July; 45(7): 2284-2286
S Louisirirotchanakul et al.

Mechanisms of Disease - Insights into Prion Strains and Neurotoxicity [online abstract only]
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 2007 July; 8: 552-561
A Aguzzi et al.

No comments: