January 21, 2008

Cancer agents in Tassie devils
The Australian - www.theaustralian.news.com.au
22 Jan 2008
M Denholm
Photo courtesy of AAP: Dave Hunt
Area: Australia

Scientists have been shocked to find high levels of potentially carcinogenic flame retardant chemicals in Tasmanian devils, a discovery certain to fuel a global campaign to ban their use. The Australian has obtained, under Freedom of Information, preliminary results of tests ordered by the Tasmanian Government on chemicals found in fat tissue from 16 devils. They show surprisingly high concentrations of toxic chemicals used in flame retardants commonly found in computers, white goods, carpets and foam in bedding and furniture. Scientists yesterday said more research was needed to establish if the chemicals helped trigger devil facial tumour disease, a rare communicable cancer that threatens to drive the carnivore to extinction.

The International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network said the findings also raised concerns for human health. IPEN co-ordinator Mariann Lloyd-Smith said the findings added weight to a global push to ban flame retardants, some of which have been linked to reproductive disorders and cancers in animals and humans. Analysis of devil fat samples by the National Measurement Institute found what it described as high levels of hexabromobiphenyl (BB153) and "reasonably high" levels of decabromodiphenyl ether (BDE209). Dr Lloyd-Smith said the discovery of these flame retardants in wild animals in relatively non-industrial Tasmania suggested the chemicals were more insidious than previously thought.

Poisoned food kills 4 animals at refuge outside of La Grande
The Oregonian - www.oregonlive.com
17 Jan 2008
R Cockle
Area: Oregon United States

A hunting dog, two magpies and a red-tailed hawk were the known casualties Wednesday after someone scattered strychnine-laced pet food and grain in the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area south of La Grande. Wildlife and pets visiting the snow-covered, 6,020-acre refuge remain threatened because nobody knows how much poisoned food was strewn around or where it is, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Cathy Nowak. "We are pretty baffled," she said. "It just seems impossible to speculate about the motivation. The possibilities are nearly endless."

Deer positive for CWD
The Hays Daily News - www.hdnews.net
18 Jan 2008
M Corn
Photo courtesy of www.geocities.com
Area: Kansas United States

Three Decatur County white-tailed deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, a discovery that comes on the heels of a similar discovery just a couple miles across the border in Nebraska. The announcement concerning the positive tests was made Friday afternoon. The Nebraska discovery prompted Kansas wildlife officials to accelerate the testing process for deer killed in northwest Kansas. Testing still remains to be done on about two-thirds of the samples collected during the state deer seasons, most of the samples coming during the firearms season, according to Mike Miller, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The hunters who shot the animals and provided samples to KDWP have been notified of the test results, he said. This is the second time chronic wasting disease -- transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, similar to mad cow disease -- has been found in free-ranging deer in northwest Kansas, the first coming in December 2005 when a white-tailed deer from Cheyenne County tested positive for CWD. Although there is no evidence CWD is a threat to humans, officials suggest any exposure to infected animals be minimized. The deer that tested positive all were killed by hunters along Sappa Creek in central Decatur County, north of Oberlin.

Post-mortem clears endangered Maui’s dolphin [Press Release]
Department of Conservation (Posted by www.scoop.co.nz)
18 Jan 2008
Photo courtesy of Erin Green, Dept. of Conservation
Area: New Zealand

Post-mortem clears endangered Maui’s dolphin of virus. Results from a post-mortem carried out on a female Maui’s dolphin and pre-natal calf found beach-cast at Raglan late last year, have cleared the dolphin of the disease Brucellosis, but were unable to determine a cause of death. Brucellosis can be caused by the brucella bacterium which is present in a number of marine species worldwide, like seals, dolphins and whales. The effects of the bacteria are largely unknown in the marine environment, but brucella can cause late-term abortion in livestock. There are concerns that this may also be the case in marine mammals.

Sean Cooper, Senior Marine Conservation Officer says while the death of a mother and calf is a huge blow to the remaining critically endangered Maui’s dolphins, the negative brucella result is great news for the remaining population. “We don’t know to what extent brucella may be present within the Maui’s population, so it is very positive news it was not in this dolphin.” In 2006, an immature Maui’s dolphin found dead at Raglan beach tested positive for the bacteria which sparked fears that others in the population may also be infected. The results of that post-mortem did not suggest the bacteria as the cause of death, but the presence of brucella was a real concern.

Forest dept asks veterinary varsity to start diagnosis lab
Express India - www.expressindia.com
19 Jan 2008
Area: West Bengal India

Alarmed at the outbreak of bird flu in the state, the West Bengal forest department and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) have urged the University of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at Belgachia to set up a specialised wildlife disease diagnostic laboratory. A sum of Rs 12 lakh has been offered to the veterinary institute for the purpose. What is most disturbing is the suggestion that migratory birds may be the possible carriers of the dreaded avian influenza. “We expect the proposal to be finalised after a tripartite meeting between the state forest department, CZA and the Belgachia Veterinary Institute. An MoU will be signed to this effect,” said Chief Wildlife Warden (Wildlife Wing) S S Bist of the state forest department.

Rabies reported in some counties
El Defensor Chieftain - www.dchieftain.com
19 Jan 2008
E Cronce
Area: New Mexico United States

People are asked to not touch any unfamiliar animal, dead or alive

. . . Rabies in wild foxes has been found as far north as Reserve and as far south as Mule Creek. Eight foxes have tested positive for rabies since June with the majority of them from the Glenwood area. A bobcat and a fox from the Reserve area tested positive for rabies in late December. Elizabeth Slown, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said there have been no incidents of rabies in wolves.

"Every wolf we touch is vaccinated," she said. "We probably have the cleanest canine population in the area." Slown added that with the annual wolf count being conducted this month, the officers will be inoculating uncollared wolves as well as bringing any previously vaccinated wolves up to date. "Any of the wolves captured are given rabies vaccine along with parvovirus, parainfluenza, canine distemper vaccine, coronavirus vaccine, adenovirus type 2, and Leptospira. The one exception is for pregnant or lactating wolves. We typically do not give the vaccines to them," she said.

Photo courtesy of Getty


Direct detection of soil-bound prions [free full-text available]
PLoS ONE. 2007 Oct 24; 2(10): e1069
S. Genovesi et al.

Applicability of Current Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Diagnostic Procedures for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)[PDF]
Microbiol Immunol. 2007; 51(10): 1039-43
K Masujin et al.

Prevalence and diversity of avian influenza viruses in environmental reservoirs [online abstract only]
J Gen Virol. 2008 Feb; 89(Pt 2): 509-19
AS Lang et al.

No comments: