October 3, 2007

Tassie Devil Tumour Breakthrough Made
3 Oct 2007
J Bunce
Area: Australia

Researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding a disease that has wiped out more than half the Tasmanian devil population, but say there is no easy solution for stopping its transmission. They say a lack of genetic diversity in the devil population is allowing the devil facial tumour disease to spread quickly. Scientists have discovered that none of the animals is mounting an immune system attack on the disease, making it particularly devastating.

The cancer cells in all infected devils are genetically identical, indicating the disease originated from a single animal. "We propose that this tumour arose in a single individual and has spread through the population by biting during fights for food and mates," Dr Katherine Belov from Sydney University's School of Veterinary Science said. The immune system of the original animal did not recognise the tumours as foreign.

Poisoning Worry Over Bird of Prey
BBC News
1 Oct 2007
Photo Courtesy of BBC News

Tests have been carried out on a rare bird of prey to establish if it was poisoned.
Wildlife experts at the Scottish SPCA in Dunfermline, Fife, said the red kite was being nursed back to health. The bird, which is a protected species, was found in a distressed state under a window in Dunblane on Thursday. Early indications suggested it was poisoned. Only about 430 pairs of red kites exist in the UK. Some estates have viewed them as a threat to game birds.

There has been an increase recently in the number of rare birds being poisoned, according to the wildlife charity. A spokesperson told the BBC Scotland news website: "Sporting estates view them as a threat to some of the game birds. "Putting out poison is illegal. It should not happen at all." Red kites are one of the UK's rarest birds and were re-established to parts of Scotland after virtual extinction. The ill bird was carrying a tag to identify it as one which had been reintroduced.

Importing Deer and Elk Carcasses from CWD States Illegal
2 Oct 2007
Area: Florida, USA
Photo courtesy of wakulla.com

It is illegal to bring into Florida carcasses of any species of the family Cervidae (deer, elk and moose) from 14 states and two Canadian provinces where chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The states and n provinces where the deadly disease has been detected are: New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Minnesota, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Visit the CWD Alliance Web site at http://www.cwd-info.org/ for the most up-to-date CWD information.

Nutrient Pollution Increases Parasite-Driven Frog Deformities
2 Oct 2007
V LaCapra
Photo Courtesy of VOAnews.com

Over the past decade, scientists have been tracking an alarming increase in frog deformities. One identified cause is a parasitic infection. Parasites cause a wide range of health problems for humans and wildlife. But what caused the surge in parasites? A new study suggeests nutrient pollution. Nutrient pollution of lakes and ponds comes from a variety of sources, including agricultural fertilizers and sewage. Known as eutrophication, it can cause substantial changes to freshwater systems.

Until now, little research had been done into how eutrophication might affect waterborne parasites, which cause health problems ranging from skin rashes to river blindness. Ecologist Pieter Johnson of the University of Colorado tested the effect of nutrients on one particular parasite, a flatworm that infects frogs. Johnson says and his colleagues were interested in how eutrophication influences patterns of infectious disease.

Bluetounge - USA: Cervid, Pronghorn, Ovine - Archive Number 20071002.3263
ProMED-mail - promedmail.org
2 Oct 2007

Antelope hunters warned of disease outbreak
About 1300 Montana antelope hunters will soon receive a postcard from the state's wildlife agency warning that they may need to limit their expectations for Sunday's [7 Oct 2007] opening of the pronghorn season due to a disease outbreak. The postcards were mailed Monday by [1 Oct 2007] Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to all either-sex antelope license holders for Hunting District 530 in the wake of a severe case of bluetongue in an area that stretches from Roundup to Melstone and north of the Musselshell River.

While many parts of Eastern Montana appear to have suffered antelope and white-tailed deer deaths due to bluetongue in recent months, Hunting District 530 appears to have been hit the worst. "HD 530 has been hit pretty hard," said Jay Newell, FWP wildlife biologist at Roundup. "After recent flights, I figure 29 percent of the antelope have died since July [2007]. It is starting to lessen. The last sick deer I heard about was about a week ago. I haven't had any reports since then. We have had a couple of frosts."


Aquatic Eutrophication Promotes Pathogenic Infection in Amphibians

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 24; [Epub ahead of print]
PT Johnson et. al

Pre-spillover Prevention of Emerging Zoonotic Diseases: What are the Targets and What are the Tools?
Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2007;315:389-443.
JE Childs

Rabies Surveillance in the United States During 2006
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Aug 15;231(4):540-56.
JD Blanton et. al

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