September 25, 2007

Fertilizers, Deformities Linked
Rocky Mountain News -
25 Sep 2007
B Scanlon
Photo courtesy of Pieter Johnson/University Of Colorado
Area: United States

CU study shows frogs with defects hit by parasites

Fertilizers from farms and lawns are responsible for frog deformities cropping up in ponds and lakes across North America, a new study shows. The finding not only has implications for worldwide amphibian declines, but could shine light on such diseases as cholera, malaria, West Nile virus and diseases affecting coral reefs, said assistant professor Pieter Johnson of the University of Colorado's ecology and evolutionary biology department. Andrew Blaustein, zoologist from Oregon State University, hailed the CU finding as one of the first to connect the "drastic" problem of fertilizers with the proliferation of parasites and several diseases that can deform amphibians and sicken humans.

In 1995, Minnesota schoolchildren noticed that more than half the frogs in a pond had missing limbs or too many limbs. Scientists since then have figured out that a parasite plays a key role. The more nitrogen, phosphorus or cattle droppings in a pond, the more algae forms, said Johnson. The algae boosts the population of snails, which host a microscopic parasite known as a trematode. The snails release the parasites into the ponds, which then get into tadpoles and form cysts in their developing limbs.

Consequences of Bushmeat Trade in Africa
Voice of America News -
24 Sep 2007
C Mallard
Area: Africa

In Africa, the slaughter of animals for bushmeat is taking an increasing toll on species long-term chance of survival. Concern has risen over dramatic declines in wildlife populations and the difficulty of achieving sustainable consumption in the face of over-hunting in sub-Saharan Africa. Heather Eves, the director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force in Washington, gives an overview of the complex bushmeat issue. In this first of a five-part series, Eves covers the causes, trends, and effect on health of subsistence and international commercial trading.

She told VOA English to Africa reporter Cole Mallard that bushmeat comes from wild animals -- anything in size from cane rats to elephants, with antelope as a common source. She says once the antelope and other large-bodied species are hunted to extinction, smaller species are targeted, including primates. Eves says increased demand and unmanaged economic development, which increases access to animals, drives over-hunting to the point where many wildlife populations are threatened with extinction. Not only is bushmeat hunting unsustainable, it’s also linked to serious health risks.

Plague, Bubonic - Mongolia (Gobisumber) - Archive Number 20070924.3163
ProMED-mail -
20 Sep 2007
Area: Mongolia

A case of glandular bubonic plague in Gobisumber aimag was confirmed this week. [In Mongolia, an aimag is the 1st level administrative subdivision or province. Each aimag is again subdivided into sums. - Mod.LL] A 16-year-old boy in Choir, the capital city of the aimag, showed symptoms of the plague, some days after he had cut his finger while skinning a marmot hunted by his father. The marmot is a primary carrier of the plague bacillus in Mongolia. The preliminary diagnosis was confirmed by tests at the National Center for Infectious Disease with Natural Foci (NCIDNF).

The boy's condition is now stable, according to local authorities. [The Center has sent] 5 veterinary surgeons to Choir to assess the situation. Detailed investigations identified 57 persons with whom the boy came into direct contact during the incubation period. Of them, 54 found in the area were isolated and given preventive medical treatment.

Stimson Report Says United States Needs Domestic Disease Detection
Associated Content -
24 Sep 2007
AC Writer
Area: United States

The Stimson Center has published a new report. The report, titled "Domestic Disease Detection: The Other Surveillance," was authored by Dr. Julie Fischer, who leads the Henry L. Stimson Center's Global Health Security Program. According to Dr. Fischer, the anthrax attacks during late 2001 emphasized the need for a U.S. disease surveillance capability, and the appearance of the West Nile Virus in New York in 199 provided the blueprint for that capability. The report states that financial and administrative barriers prevented zoo and wildlife officials the critical assets they needed to properly identify the impending crisis, even though there had been a measurable amount of untimely deaths among New York's crows and captive exotic birds.

And, Dr. Fischer notes, the West Nile Virus is not the only new disease that can affect animals as well as people that Americans need to be wary of. The report mentions avian influenza and potential bioterrorism materials. In the aftermath of the West Nile Virus outbreak and the anthrax attacks, the report says that divides "...between and within public health, animal health, food, water and environmental threat monitoring systems..." could potentially obstruct the detection of a biological attack or a disease epidemic until it was too late. The federal government has taken some action to address the threat, the report says, including the allocation of more than $30 billion for biodefense, the expansions of biological threat surveillance missions, and the launching by the Department of Homeland Security of the National Biosurveillance Integration System, or NBIS.

Morris Animal Foundation 2008 Sponsorship Guide Available, Details Current Animal Health Studies
Morris Animal Foundation (Posted by
25 Sep 2007
Area: United States

Nonprofit commits $10 million for research to improve health and welfare of companion animals and wildlife

Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) provides a unique opportunity for individuals or groups to demonstrate love for and help animals via its animal health study/research sponsorships. MAF has published its 2008 listing of about 120 animal health studies available for sponsorship. Animal lovers are invited to sponsor or co-sponsor with a total gift of $3,000 or more per study. Projects address the health and well-being of dogs, cats, horses, llamas/alpacas and wildlife.

. . . The directory also details some 36 wildlife health studies covering mountain gorillas, elephants, wild cats, foxes, wolves, fish, birds, marine life, and much more. MAF is the world's largest private source of funding for wildlife health research. In addition to traditional studies, 30 Veterinary Student Scholars are conducting short-term health study projects at universities worldwide. The MAF-supported program is designed to help fill a critical need for training the next generation of veterinary scientists.


Wildlife Experts Plan to Immunize Raccoons against Rabies

Crow Tests Positive for West Nile

Deer Disease Hits 12 Counties: First Good Frost Will Halt Illness, DNR Official Says


Native Bees Provide Insurance against Ongoing Honey Bee Losses [online abstract only]
Ecol Lett. 2007 Sep; [Epub ahead of print]
R Winfree et al.

Latitudinal Variation in the Prevalence and Intensity of Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) Infection in Eastern Australia [online abstract only]
Conservation Biology. 2007 Oct; 21(5): 1280–1290
KM Kriger et al.

Lag Effects in the Impacts of Mass Coral Bleaching on Coral Reef Fish, Fisheries, and Ecosystems [online abstract only]
Conservation Biology. 2007 Oct; 21(5): 1291–1300
NAJ Graham et al.

Phylogenetic Concordance Analysis Shows an Emerging Pathogen Is Novel and Endemic [online abstract only]
Ecol Lett. 2007 Sep; [Epub ahead of print]
A Storfer et al.

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