August 24, 2007

Hawaii Watching Dead Birds for West Nile
The Honolulu Advertiser
22 Aug 2007
Area: Hawaii, USA

State and federal officials have renewed public outreach efforts to encourage people to report dead birds for possible testing for the West Nile virus and bird flu. The West Nile virus and bird flu are not known to be present in Hawai'i, but a report earlier this month of more than 20 dead chickens on Kaua'i has prompted the state Department of Health and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remind the public to help watch for the diseases and report dead birds to officials, the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species said this month.

Neither disease — which could show up in wild or pet birds or poultry — is suspected as the cause of death in the Kaua'i chickens, the group said. The agencies ask that anyone who finds a dead bird that is not decomposed or "flattened" — flat birds run over by vehicles are not testable — call 211 to report it for testing. The toll-free 211 number is staffed by Aloha United Way operators, who will notify trained officials to pick up birds appropriate for testing and deliver them to the state Department of Health laboratory for disease testing.

PA Game Commission Looking Into Deer Deaths in Southwestern Pennsylvania
20 Aug 2007
Area: Pennsylvania, USA

Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers are investigating the cause of death of more than 50 white-tailed deer in Greene and Washington counties. Game Commission biologists recently submitted samples for testing from four deer (three males and one female) to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia and Penn State University Animal Diagnostics Laboratory, and continue to gather information about other dead deer being found.

Once the results are available, the Game Commission plans to release the findings to the public. "While we must wait for test results to confirm just what caused these deer to die, at this time, we are suspecting that the deer died of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), based on fields signs that we are seeing," said Dr. Walter Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian.

Lead Fells Wild Condors
Press-Telegram Leader
23 Aug 2007
D Bartholomew
Area: California, USA

Los Angeles Zoo keepers Mike Clark and Debbie Ciani closely monitor dozens of endangered California condors. But there was something odd about condor No. 245 - a wild bird brought into the zoo's sick bay last month. While others eagerly scarfed dead rats and rabbits, she shied away from the meat. "When she got here, she was a little depressed, wasn't eating very well ... and never really recovered her appetite before she died," said Clark, who has cared for condors for 18 years at the zoo and in the wild.

Condor No. 245, which died last week at the Gottlieb Animal Health and Conservation Center, was an apparent victim of lead poisoning. Of 17 wild condors treated at the zoo this year, nine were treated for dangerous levels of the heavy metal, zoo officials said. The culprits, studies show, are lead fragments from bullets that poison birds who dine on gut piles or carcasses left by hunters. Some can't eat. Some are unable to stand. Some die.

Be on the Lookout for Stowaways on YOUR Boat
The Log
23 Aug 2007
Photo Courtesy of Catalina Island Conservancy

When three raccoons mysteriously found their way to Santa Catalina Island last month, with one of them known to have arrived as a stowaway on a visiting pleasureboat, the issue of keeping invasive non-native wildlife off the island suddenly became news. The Catalina Island Conservancy and the Institute for Wildlife Studies spent 13 days tracking and unsuccessfully trying to trap one raccoon that was visibly diseased, but eventually had to euthanize the animal. Two other raccoons were found in Avalon, captured, tested and returned by Avalon Animal Control to a mainland shelter.

Why the manhunt and the "all points bulletin" on raccoons? "Among other diseases, raccoons can carry canine distemper virus," explained said Dr. Winston Vickers, a veterinarian with the Institute for Wildlife Studies, who has devoted years to recovery efforts for the endangered Catalina Island fox - a species smaller than a housecat that is found nowhere else in the world. "Grey foxes and Island foxes are two species that are highly susceptible."

Hearing Tonight on Proposed Rules to Stop Spread of Fish Disease
Ironwood Daily Globe
23 Aug 2007
Area: Wisconsin, USA

A hearing on proposed rules to help stop the spread of a new fish disease is set for tonight in Wausau. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at the Wisconsin Highway Patrol Headquarters, 2805 Martin Ave. Under the proposal, emergency rules now in place for controlling and preventing the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, would become permanent. There could be some revisions and clarifications, according to Bill Horns, a Department of Natural Resources fish biologist leading rule development.

VHS is not a threat to people, pets or wildlife, but it can infect a broad range of native species and caused fish kills in several eastern Great Lakes in 2005 and 2006. It was detected in fish this spring from the Lake Winnebago system and from Lake Michigan. The proposed permanent rules require boaters, anglers and other water recreational users not move live fish and water from lakes and rivers where VHS has been detected or is suspected of being present.

Photo Courtesy of AFP

Wildlife Tracking Turns High-tech

Chronic Wasting Disease not Detected in Florida's Deer Herd


Thottapalayam Virus is Genetically Distant to the Rodent-borne Hantaviruses, Consistent With its Isolation from the Asian House Shrew (Suncus murinus)
Virology Journal 2007, 4:80 (21 August 2007)
PD Yadav, MJ Vincent, ST Nichol

Erythrocyte Binding Preference of Avian Influenza H5N1 Viruses
Journal of Clinical Microbiology, July 2007, p. 2284-2286, Vol. 45, No. 7
S Louisirirotchanakul et. al

A Natural Case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a Free-ranging Moose (Alces alces shirasi)
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 43(2), 2007, pp. 309-314
LA Baeten et. al

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