January 14, 2008

High Degree Of Antibiotic Resistance Found In Wild Arctic Birds
Uppsala University (Posted by sciencedaily.com)
Photo courtesy of Jonas Bonnedahl
11 Jan 2008

Swedish researchers report that birds captured in the hyperboreal tundra, in connection with the tundra expedition "Beringia 2005," were carriers of antibiotics-resistant bacteria. These findings indicate that resistance to antibiotics has spread into nature, which is an alarming prospect for future health care. The scientists took samples from 97 birds in northeastern Siberia, northern Alaska, and northern Greenland. These samples were cultivated directly in special laboratories that the researchers had installed onboard the icebreaker Oden and were further analyzed at the microbiological laboratory at the Central Hospital in Växjö, Sweden.

"We were extremely surprised," says Björn Olsen, professor of infectious diseases at Uppsala University and at the Laboratory for Zoonosis Research at the University of Kalmar. "We took samples from birds living far out on the tundra and had no contact with people. This further confirms that resistance to antibiotics has become a global phenomenon and that virtually no region of the earth, with the possible exception of the Antarctic, is unaffected." The researchers' hypothesis is that immigrating birds have passed through regions in Southeast Asia, for example, where there is a great deal of antibiotics pressure and carried with them the resistant bacteria to the tundra.

Bird flu swans ‘flew in from Europe’
The Times - www.timesonline.co.uk
12 Jan 2008
V Elliot
Area: England United Kingdom

The strain of deadly flu found in three mute swans at Abbotsbury, Devon, is a close match to the one that infected wild birds in the Czech Republic last summer. Urgent testing is going on at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency to find out the exact match of the virus and to see how far it has spread in the country. Experts believe that, because one of the dead birds was discovered as long ago as December 27, the likelihood is that an infected bird arrived during the cold snap on the Continent just before Christmas. Among the species that flee to Britain in such weather are mallard, teal, widgeon, pochard and gulls.

Scientists tracking avian reovirus in NY crows
Newsday - www.newsday.com
14 Jan 2008
D Ricks
Area: New York United States

Birds have long sounded an alarm about the movement of microbes in nature. Scientists, for example, are tracking avian influenza as it circumvents the globe, moving mostly through flocks of wild birds. Wildlife investigators in New York are trying to find out what a viral outbreak among crows means to birds statewide as well as to flocks in neighboring states. Detected two weeks ago when an alarming wintertime infection worked its way through crows' roosts, a pathogen identified as an avian reovirus appears to have done more damage than initially suspected.

State wildlife pathologist Ward Stone, who has been leading a scientific investigation of the die-off, said the number of dead crows has reached into the "low thousands." At the beginning of his probe, he estimated that several hundred crows had succumbed to the infection. When warmer temperatures melted snow in many upstate communities last week, even more dead birds were found. "There were more dead birds out there and more are being sent in," he said, referring to citizens who are finding dead crows in their yards and sending them to Stone's laboratory for study.

NOAA proposes federal regulations to protect black abalone
NOAA (Posted by www.biologynews.net)
12 Jan 2008
Area: California United States

NOAA Fisheries Service published with the Federal Register today a proposed rule to list black abalone, a marine mollusk coveted by fishermen and gourmets alike, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). . . . Since the 1980s, black abalone abundance has plummeted primarily from a bacterial disease known as withering syndrome. Other causes of the rapid population decline are likely due to historical overfishing, poaching and natural predation. NMFS has considered recent preliminary evidence which suggests a small disease resistant population may exist at San Nicolas Island. Even with this possibility, the likelihood that black abalone populations will continue to decline towards extinction (within the next 30 years) is very high.

Infections gets nosis put out of joint
Labnews - www.labnews.co.uk
14 Jan 2008

The UK’s National Centre for Zoonosis Research, dedicated to the study of animal-borne human diseases, has been opened at the University of Liverpool.

Funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) the Zoonosis Centre is a collaboration between the University of Lancaster, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA). Zoonoses - diseases that originate in animals but can jump species and infect humans - have received much media attention in recent times due to the emergence of bird flu. However, there are many types of diseases that the centre will study. Professor Malcolm Bennett, Veterinary Pathologist and Co-Director of the centre, said: “Diseases such as SARS and avian flu are examples of new and emerging zoonotic diseases that hit the headlines, but around two thirds of all human infections are transmitted from animals, and some of these can be very serious.

Rabies, for example, still kills more than 50,000 people every year, mainly in developing countries, while closer to home, most cases of food poisoning are also caused by zoonoses.” While many people associate zoonoses with wild or farm animals, pets can also be sources of important human infections, sometimes even with fatal consequences. Equally, however, human beings can sometimes be the source of animal infections. Dr Chris Parry, Medical Microbiologist and Co-Director of the centre said: “Antibiotic resistance is a problem in many zoonotic bacteria, and this complicates the treatment of patients.



Comparison of retropharyngeal lymph node and obex region of the brainstem in detection of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) [online abstract only]
J Vet Diagn Invest. 2008 Jan;20(1):58-60.
DP Keane et al.

Spinal Arthropathy Associated with Ochrobactrum anthropi in Free-ranging Cane Toads (Chaunus [Bufo] marinus) in Australia [online abstract only]
Vet Pathol. 2008;45:85-94
CM Shilton et al.

Prevalence and Genetic Diversities of Hantaviruses in Rodents in Beijing, China [online abstract only]
Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.2008;78(1):98-105
JF Jiang et al.

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