November 5, 2007

Deer Disease in Some Areas Could Impact Hunt
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -
04 Nov 2007
J Hayes
Area: Pennsylvania United States

Near New Eagle, one archer counted 11 dead deer within a mile and a half. South of Washington, in East Finley, hunters watched Game Commission officials drag out 35 dead deer. Bill Blangger of Monongahela said he's seen so many deer killed in the recent outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) that, "for the first time in 50 years, I'm going somewhere else to hunt." Blangger isn't alone. Three weeks before the opening day of antlered rifle season, many hunters are having second thoughts about returning to their favorite hunting grounds.

When you hear about 35 [dead] deer pulled out in a week and half," said Blangger, "that's not just a couple of deer. It makes you wonder." Since August, when EHD was first detected in southwest Pennsylvania, the Game Commission estimates 1,500 to 2,000 deer have been infected and died. EHD is a virus common among North American deer populations, but it occurs more frequently in Southern states where the "biting midges" that spread the disease have longer life spans. Symptoms including a disheveled appearance, drooling and disorientation are similar to deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease, but the ailments are not related. CWD has not be confirmed in Pennsylvania.

Apiculture in Kashmir under Threat
The Daily Etala'at - etala'
03 Nov 2007
Area: Kashmir India

Infection brings honey production down to 45 metric tons

Even after having the potential to provide employment to thousands of people in the valley, the apiculture industry is at a receiving end. The Vorrea mite infection to the bee colonies has strongly reduced the honey production by minimizing the count of bee colonies in Kashmir valley. This in a way has paralyzed the industry. But the government machinery is yet to wake up to the seriousness of the issue.

Despite the serious blow to the apiculture industry, the department has recorded 45 metric tons of honey production this year compared to last years 30 metric tons. "This production is negligible when we compare it with 400 metric tons of honey some eight years before," said apiculture development officer Mehraj-u Din. "Due to the mite disease there has been 72 per cent decrease in the honey production in valley while almost 90 per cent of the bee colonies have got perished," said an apiculture development officer. Out of 40,000 bee colonies registered with the department of agriculture Kashmir, more than half of the colonies have perished because of the mite disease.

New Web Portal Connects Tropical Disease Research
SciDev.Net -
31 Oct 2007

A web portal to help people identify and use vital information related to infectious diseases was launched yesterday (30 October) at Forum 11, the annual meeting of the Global Forum for Health Research., run by the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), will provide free information chosen by experts for practical use in infectious disease studies. "It works as a window reflecting what's going on in this field," said Robert G. Ridley, director of TDR, at the launch event. Ridley said that increased funding for tropical diseases, along with open-access efforts from publishers and research institutes, has led to large amounts of available information, but this is often dispersed across various sources and offers inconsistent conclusions.

At, leading experts in the field are invited to analyse the scientific literature to provide clear information of its worth to researchers in developing countries for their work in tropical diseases. The website also provides facilities for researchers to exchange their views and collects literature into topics to form a larger library of specific research areas. Besides academic literature, the website also provides overviews of infectious diseases, news, commissioned reviews on key issues in the field, and scientific and strategic policy briefs. "Unlike an academic search engine, our portal is unique in having strong backup support from top researchers in the field, helping build up a community of people involved in the field of infectious diseases," Ridley told SciDev.Net.

EPA Puts Squirrel back on the Menu
North Jersey -
04 Nov 2007
J Barry and B Williams
Area: New Jersey United States

Notice to those hunting near Ford's toxic dump site: This year, squirrels are safe to eat, but don't add lead-laced wild carrots to the recipe. That's the latest advice from federal and state agencies investigating potential health threats from toxic waste buried in Upper Ringwood near a residential neighborhood and in a corner of Ringwood State Park. After startling local hunters with an official report last winter that elevated levels of lead were found in a squirrel at Ford Motor Co.'s former landfill area, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that those test results were actually caused by a lab problem. The EPA issued a press release stating that the problem was caused by a defective blender.

But adding to confusion on the wildlife tests, the federal agency also posted on its Web site a detailed April report from its lab consultants describing how they found the same defect in three blenders, which led to discarding five of 73 wildlife samples. At a public meeting Thursday, state and federal officials assured residents that further testing showed that squirrels, deer, rabbits and wild turkeys are not contaminated by lead, a component of the waste. However, they added, the battery of tests also showed that smaller animals, including frogs, and wild carrots have elevated levels of lead. "There is exposure that is accumulating on the site, but it's not showing in the larger game animals," said Mark Sprenger, the EPA manager for the wildlife study.

Rabies Cases Fall As Bait Vaccination Continues
Cape Cod Times -
03 Nov 2007
S Milton
Area: Massachusetts United States

Starting Monday, the Cape's raccoons, skunks and foxes may sniff out a fishy-smelling packet or cube on the ground. Any wildlife that eats the enticing tidbit will get vaccinated against rabies. That's the goal of the twice-annual distribution of 50,000 pieces of bait thrown out of cars and dropped from helicopters into the Cape Cod National Seashore and Nickerson State Park in Brewster. This fall's distribution starts Monday in Yarmouth, then ends roughly two weeks later in Provincetown. Rabies is a viral disease most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year occurs in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.

It's been a good year for the coalition of town, county, state and federal officials in the Cape Cod Rabies Vaccination Project seeking to protect humans and their pets from the potentially deadly disease. Through September, only four animals — all wild raccoons — had tested positive for rabies. That's a big drop from recent years but researchers are puzzling over whether the decline in cases means the rabies threat on the Cape is diminishing or there are just fewer animals present in the region to contract the disease. This year's rabid raccoons tested positive for the fatal disease in Brewster in February, Sandwich in March, North Truro in August and Bourne in September, according to co-chairwoman Lee McConnell of the Cape Cod Rabies Task Force.



Myxoma Virus Expressing Human Interleukin-12 Does Not Induce Myxomatosis in European Rabbits [online abstract only]
J Virol. 2007 Nov; 81(22): 12704-8. Epub 2007 Aug 29.
MM Stanford et al.

Coexistence of Trypanosoma cruzi Genotypes in Wild and Periodomestic Mammals in Chile [online abstract only]
Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2007 Jun; 77(4): 647-653
M Rozas et al.

Genetic Influences on Mosquito Feeding Behavior and the Emergence of Zoonotic Pathogens [online abstract only]
Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 2007 Jul; 77(4): 667-671
AM Kilpatrick et al.

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