September 4, 2007

Small Birds Hit by Killer Disease
EDP24 -
01 Sep 2007
D Chessum
Area: United Kingdom

A killer disease that is ravaging Britain's small garden birds has spread to Norfolk for the first time. Common birds such as finches, sparrows and blackbirds are starving to death as a result of a parasite that swells their throats, preventing them from eating. Bird lovers are being warned to disinfect their feeders and bird baths regularly, and in more extreme circumstances stop feeding birds altogether, to help prevent the spread of the infection. The parasite, trichomonas gallinae, has been common among pigeons and game birds for a number of years and is treatable with drugs in captive animals.

But, in a development which has baffled scientists, it has suddenly spread to small wild bird species, which, because they fly freely cannot be helped by medicine. Experts are also unable to put a figure on how many birds have already died since the problem was first identified in parts of the north and south of England in 2005. The disease is most prevalent in late summer and early autumn. Last year birds in East Anglia seemed to have largely escaped the infection. But this year reports of diseased birds in the region are already flooding in, with numerous reports in Norfolk for the first time.

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Found in Wildlife
The Asahi Shimbun -
04 Sep 2007
Area: Japan

Japan's ecosystem could be at grave risk following a finding that at least 15 varieties of wildlife are carriers of anti-biotic-resistant bacteria. This means that huge numbers of birds and animals would not respond to conventional treatment if they fall sick. In a worst-case scenario, wildlife possibly could be wiped out if disease broke out and the problem was not kept in check. Experts also point to the need for continued surveillance over possible effects on humans.

Through separate surveys, researchers said that at least 15 types of birds and animals--such as Japanese cranes in Hokkaido, Okinawa rails, Okinawa woodpeckers and mongooses--were found to carry bacteria that are immune to antibiotics. Quite how the bacteria reached the natural environment is still a matter of speculation, but it is generally accepted that the use of anti-bacterial agents in agricultural chemicals and human and livestock excrement are to blame. The researchers noted that anti-bacterial drugs are used extensively to treat diseases in humans and domestic animals and in agricultural chemicals.

U.N. Says Domestic Birds Mainly to Blame for Spreading Bird Flu, not Wild Birds
The Associated Press (Posted by
03 Sep 2007

Samples from 350,000 healthy wild birds in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas have tested negative for bird flu, offering further proof that spread of the virus is mostly contained in domesticated poultry, the United Nations said Monday. But experts at a three-day workshop on the issue said increased and better coordinated surveillance of wild bird populations was necessary, given that individual birds from 90 species have been found to carry the deadly H5N1 virus. Most of those were either sick or dead birds. "We know from global wildlife surveillance (that) 300,000 to 350,000 healthy, wild birds have been sampled looking for this virus.

It hasn't been found," Scott Newman, the international wildlife coordinator for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said of the survey results taken between 2005 and 2007. "We know now that we haven't found a species that even suggests that it would be a reservoir for this disease," he added. Scientists have long feared that the spread of the virus would pick up speed with the wild birds' winter migration to Africa and the Middle East, and their spring return to Europe. But that has failed to happen.

At Monkey Meat Trial, a Lesson on Wildlife
Staten Island Advance -
31 Aug 2007
Area: New York USA

The tale of the Staten Island woman accused of smuggling 65 pieces of illegal smoked bushmeat into John F. Kennedy International Airport last year continues to take bizarre twists and turns as the case plays out in a Brooklyn courthouse. According to a published report, the courtroom spent much of yesterday focusing on the issue of the conservation of African wildlife. Witness and U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer Richard Ruggiero explained how hunting and logging were, in that order, responsible for "catastrophic declines" in monkey populations.

Antarctic Seals Carry Virulent Human Disease
New Scientist -
04 Sep 2007
Area: Antarctica

For the first time, researchers have found a virulent human infection in Antarctic wildlife. Fur seal pups on one island are carrying a nasty strain of the bacterium E. coli that causes severe diarrhoea in humans and domestic animals. The Antarctic Treaty commits countries to the "comprehensive protection" of the environment, but there are fears that visitors are introducing foreign organisms. Pathogens are a particular worry as many Antarctic creatures breed in colonies, where disease would spread rapidly.

Pelican in Oregon Tests Positive for West Nile Virus
30 Aug 2007
Area: Oregon USA

West Nile Virus has been detected in a pelican taken from Summer Lake Wildlife Area, marking the first 2007 detection of the disease in Lake County. The American White Pelican was found dead at Summer Lake on Aug. 20th. This is the first-ever detection of the disease at Summer Lake Wildlife Area. WNV was first detected in Lake County in August 2005 in a hawk found in the Lakeview area.

. . .The 18,900-acre Summer Lake Wildlife Area is one of several areas ODFW manages as wetlands to provide habitat for birds and other wildlife and recreational opportunities to the public. Historically, wetlands covered much more of Oregon but significant amounts of wetland habitat have been converted for agriculture and urban expansion. Summer Lake and other wildlife areas restore historical wetlands and provide important habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Mosquitoes are an important part of the web of life in wetland habitats, comprising a significant food source and forage biomass for animals like birds and bats.


Drought Feeds Deer-Killing Disease

Mystery Surrounds Dozens of Dead Ducks: Division of Wildlife Warns People Who Spot Them to Be Cautious


Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume 7, Number 2

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