December 10, 2007

China market may be breeding ground for deadly viruses
Reuters -
10 Dec 2007
J Chaney
Area: China

Scorpions scamper in bowls, water snakes coil in tanks and cats whine in cramped cages, waiting to be slaughtered, skinned and served for dinner. Welcome to the Qingping market in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where everything from turtles to insects are sold alongside fowl and freshly caught fish. An outbreak of the SARS virus in 2002 resulted in a local gourmet favorite -- the civet -- being banished to the black market. The raccoon-like animal was blamed for spreading SARS, which infected 8,000 people globally and killed 800.

But exotic wildlife and squalor have returned to the Qingping market, making health officials worried that another killer virus could emerge. "We face similar threats from other viruses and such epidemics can happen because we continue to have very crowded markets in China," said Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong. "Even though official measures are in place, they are not faithfully followed. We are not talking about just civet cats, but all animals," he added. Ever since Severe Respiratory Disease Syndrome (SARS) virus emerged in China, authorities have fought to rectify the country's image and clean up it's market.

Researcher tests water for bird flu evidence
Grand Rapids Press -
09 Dec 2007
Area: Michigan United States

A researcher is poking holes in the ice this winter at waterfowl watering holes, hoping to find a new way to stand guard against the deadly ''bird flu.'' The lethal strain of the avian influenza virus -- known as H5N1 -- has killed more than 150 people worldwide since 2003, with more than 4,000 outbreaks in poultry and deaths in more than 60 wildlife species. It hasn't cropped up in North America yet, but the World Health Organization has tracked its spread across the globe to Europe, Africa and Asia -- highlighting the need for better early warning methods. ''Two or three years ago, bird flu was everywhere in the news.

Today you don't hear about it as much, but the threat hasn't gone away -- it's just been replaced in the media by other health scares,'' said CMU graduate assistant Todd M. Lickfett. Lickfett hopes to develop his new monitoring method using bird flu strains that are common in North American migratory flocks but aren't harmful to humans. ''It probably is just a matter of time before we get that more virulent strain. It's still spreading,'' said Tom M. Gehring, CMU associate professor of wildlife biology and Lickfett's faculty adviser.

State and Federal Agencies Predict Busy Winter for Bison Management
New West -
06 Dec 2007
D Nolt
Photo Courtesy of National Park Service
Area: United States

Bison are powerful American icons and stir deep emotions in many different people. The Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) meeting in Bozeman last Tuesday night was testament to this; dreadlocks and cowboy hats commingled as officials from federal and state agencies presented an update on the IBMP and answered an array of questions on what they predicted the coming winter would hold for Yellowstone’s bison. In panel discussions and public discussion sessions with the IBMP’s five signatory agencies, officials had one overarching message: all agencies would be fully implementing the IBMP this winter, including – if necessary – the costly and controversial practices of hazing and slaughtering bison who wander out of the park.

Bison, elk and many other mammals carry the disease brucellosis, which showed up in a Montana cattle herd this summer. Though the Department of Livestock (DOL) says the transmission likely came from elk, if another cattle herd tests positive before May 2009 Montana will lose its brucellosis free status, and the DOL will not be taking any chances with bison. In 2000 the Yellowstone National Park Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Gallatin National Forest Service and the Montana Department of Livestock formed the IBMP to “Preserve a viable, wild population of Yellowstone bison, address the management of bison when they leave Yellowstone National Park, reduce the risk of transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle, maintain Montana’s brucellosis-free status” while protecting private property. The five agencies updated the IBMP operating procedures on November 16, 2007.

New CWD Areas Documented in Wyoming
Wyoming Game and Fish Department (Posted by
10 Dec 2007
Area: Wyoming United States

Six new Chronic Wasting Disease hunt areas have been identified by Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel since the beginning of the Fall 2007 hunting season, including elk hunt area 110, deer hunt areas 23, 87, 122, 125 and 163. Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is a fatal wildlife brain disease that can affect all members of Wyoming's deer family. CWD had not previously been detected in these areas.

The sex, species, hunt areas and locations are as follows:
Female elk, elk hunt area 110, southeast of Encampment
Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 23, near Ucross
Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 87, eastern edge of the Ferris Mountains
Mature white-tailed buck, deer hunt area 122 near Lovell
Mule deer buck, deer hunt area 125, along Gooseberry Creek southwest of Worland
Two male mule deer, deer hunt area 163, southwest of Kaycee, near the Ed O. Taylor Wildlife Habitat Management Area

Asking Where And When The Next Disease Outbreak Could Happen
Kansas State University (Posted by
10 Dec 2007

After a three-year research fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control studying viruses like West Nile and Japanese encephalitis, a Kansas State University graduate returned to her alma mater to find ways to predict where and when a disease might crop up. It was one of those things you hear about on the news: an outbreak of monkeypox in the Chicago area. An animal dealer placed infected rats from Africa next to a crate of prairie dogs. The disease spread to the prairie dogs, which were then sold in pet stores across the nation. Dozens of people in multiple states were sickened from contact with the animals. The incident gave K-State veterinary medicine graduate Christine Ellis a little bit of global perspective.

At the time, she was working as an associate veterinarian at The Midwest Bird and Exotic Animal Hospital in the Chicago area. "It really made me realize how fast disease can spread -- and how easily," she said. It also motivated her to want to do more to protect public health. After all, the veterinarian's oath covers both animal and public health. So after a three-year research fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control studying viruses like West Nile and Japanese encephalitis, she returned to her alma mater to find ways to predict where and when a disease might crop up.



Microbiological and serological monitoring in hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix) in the Region Lombardia, Italy [free full-text available]
Italian Journal of Animal Science. 2007 Jul-Sep; 6(3): 309-312
V Ferrazzi et al.

Applying the scientific method when assessing the influence of migratory birds on the dispersal of H5N1 [free full-text available]
Virology Journal 2007, 4: 132
PL Flint

Prions and prion diseases: fundamentals and mechanistic details [online abstract online]
Journal of microbiology and biotechnology. 2007 Jul; 17(7): 1059-70
C Ryou

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