October 10, 2007

Why Are Huge Numbers Of Camels Dying In Africa And Saudi Arabia?
CIRAD (posted by sciencedaily.com)
10 Oct 2007
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto
Area: Africa, Middle East

More than 2000 dromedaries -- Arabian camels -- have died since August 10 in Saudi Arabia. Various theories have been put forward to explain the numerous deaths. For several years, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa have also seen similar numbers of deaths. In 1995-1996, CIRAD worked on a fatal epizootic disease affecting dromedaries in Ethiopia.

Analyses are being conducted to confirm or rule out the hypothesis of food intoxication in the countries concerned. Poisoning caused by the ingestion of toxic plants, mycotoxins (microscopic fungi), or mineral deficiencies has also been suggested. The deaths are probably due to a multitude of factors, which have a detrimental effect on the immune system, including some viruses which could increase the severity of infections or parasitic infestations in animals.

The Next Commuter Lane at the 405 May Be for Wildlife
Los Angeles Times - latimes.com
10 Oct 2007
P McGreevy
Photo courtesy of BV Brug
Area: Los Angeles, Calfornia, USA

Even in Los Angeles, where celebrities dress their pets in designer clothes, a proposal for a $455,000 animal path over the 405 Freeway has riled residents who say scarce transportation dollars should not be used to help deer and bobcats get around while humans remain stuck in endless traffic. The cost could balloon to $1.4 million if environmentalists can persuade the city to extend the wildlife path, which would be part of an overpass for vehicles and pedestrians, beyond the freeway, officials said.

The plan has split residents of wealthy Westside enclaves, where the impulse to be environmentally correct is clashing with frustration over the tortoise-like pace on area roadways. Even some activists who have long supported green causes are ridiculing the idea of a special path on the Skirball Center Drive bridge so coyote and opossum can commute across the Sepulveda Pass.

Animals Could Be 'Wiped Out'
Independent Online - iol.ca.za
10 Oct 2007
Area: Australia, New Zealand

Australian wildlife such as koalas and platypuses could fall prey to a disease similar to the deadly facial cancers killing Tasmanian Devils, a leading researcher said on Wednesday. Katherine Belov of Sydney University, who last week announced a breakthrough in the study of the contagious tumours that have killed 90 percent of some native devil populations, said species with small gene pools were at risk.

Belov's team found that a lack of genetic diversity in devils, carnivorous marsupials the size of a small dog, was responsible for the spread of the disfiguring cancer killing the species. She warned that other native fauna with a limited gene pool due to inbreeding and shrinking numbers - including some koala and platypus populations - were at risk of dying from diseases that operated in the same way.

No Country Immune from Animal Disease: U.N.

Reuters (posted by scientificamerican.com)
08 Oct 2007

No country is immune from animal diseases as the globalization of movement of people and goods, tourism and climate change favor the spread of animal viruses around the world, the U.N. food agency said on Monday. Countries should boost investment in surveillance and control after a recent outbreak of the bluetongue virus in Britain showed animal diseases were spreading around the world, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement.

"No country can claim to be a safe haven with respect to animal diseases," said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech. "Transboundary animal diseases that were originally confined to tropical countries are on the rise around the globe. They do not spare temperate zones including Europe, the United States and Australia," he said.

Scientists to Tackle Virus That Could Be Terror Weapon

Express News (posted by mysanantonio.com)
09 Oct 2007
C Tumiel

Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research has a new $1.5 million grant to begin unraveling the mysteries of the Marburg virus, an uncommon but potentially deadly African virus that federal security officials say could be in the hands of terrorist groups that want to turn it into a biological weapon.

Marburg virus is from the same family of viruses as Ebola. Both are endemic to Africa and cause high fevers that can lead to internal bleeding and death in humans and nonhuman primates. Marburg virus is named for a city in Germany where it was first recognized in 1967, after an outbreak among scientists there and what is now Serbia who caught it from monkeys imported from Uganda.



MD 2007 Epidemiology Report [full report]
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Spirorchiidiosis (Digenea: Spirorchiidae) and Lesions Associated with Parasites in Caribbean Green Turtles ( Chelonia mydas )
[online abstract only]
Veterinary Record. 2007 161: 482-486
M Santoro et al.

Time Delay Factor Can Be Used as a Key Factor for Preventing the Outbreak of a Disease—Results Drawn From a Mathematical Study of a One Season Eco-Epidemiological Model
Nonlinear Analysis: Real World Applications. Dec 2007 8(5): 1472-1493
S Chatterjee et al.

A Single Positively Selected West Nile Viral Mutation Confers Increased Virogenesis in American Crows
Nature Genetics. 2007 39: 1162-1166
AC Brault et al.

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