January 16, 2008

Rules to prevent spread of fish disease prompt debate at bait shops
Vermont Public Radio - www.vpr.net
15 Jan 2007
M Bodette
Area: Vermont, USA
Photos courtesy of VPR

Emergency rules adopted last fall have placed limits on the sale of wild bait because they may be infected with a fish-killing virus. That's not sitting well with bait shop owners, who've been forced to make a critical business decision. LeClair stopped selling wild baitfish when emergency rules went into effect. Here's the issue, wild baitfish, like minnows, can be infected with a deadly virus. They're commonly trapped from Lake Champlain and now have to stay there. Farm-raised baitfish are breed in tanks and safe for any lake or pond.

The purpose of the new rules is to prevent wild bait from spreading "viral hemorrhagic septicemia" to fish outside of Lake Champlain. ''Really in the history of studying fish diseases, there's never been a fish disease known that has been able to infect this many individual species of fish. Right now I think the complete tally is approaching 40 different species.'' The virus has killed hundreds of thousands of fish in the Great Lakes, but it hasn't been found here yet.

Biologists still looking for cause of dying geese at Saylorville
DesMoines Register - www.desmoinesregister.com
15 Jan 2008
Area: Iowa, USA

Wildlife biologists are continuing to investigate the cause of dying geese at Saylorville Lake and have sent dead geese to the National Wildlife Health Laboratory in Madison, WI, for testing. Approximately 95 dead Canada geese have been collected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since the first of the year, although the number of dead and dying geese has dropped off significantly in the last week, said Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Scott Peterson.

Initial tests conducted by the lab in Madison last week were inconclusive which is why additional samples were sent there at the end of last week. At this point, the lab has ruled out avian influenza, lead poisoning, fowl cholera and aflatoxin, a mold that can sometimes form on grain, according to DNR Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner. Dying and ill geese were first reported around Jan. 1. The DNR and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been collecting the affected geese on a daily basis during the last week-and-a-half.

Avian cholera numbers up

Recordnet - www.recordnet.com
15 Jan 2008
P Otteson
Area: California

Avian cholera, a deadly disease to waterfowl that occurs during the winter months, is causing dieoffs at Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley national wildlife refuges. Avian cholera is lethal to waterfowl and other birds, but does not affect humans. "We've got boats out today, and so far there have been about 3,000 dead birds collected," said biologist Mike Wolder at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex near Willows. "The disease strikes every year during cold spells and fog. "

Wolder said the dead birds are primarily coots. At the San Joaquin River NWR near Modesto and at Merced NWR, less than 500 birds have succumbed. "Most of the dead birds are Aleutian Canada and Ross' geese, and coots," said biologist Dennis Woolington at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Los Banos. "We've had events where thousands of birds perished, so this amount, though unfortunate, is nothing to be alarmed about."

Cleaning the Bird Feeder A Must in Winter
Metro News - www.wvmetronews.com
15 Jan 2007
C Lawrence
Photo Courtesy of Metro News

While offering a food source helps get many birds through the winter, it can also hurt as much as it helps if feeders aren't thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
"Conjunctivitis is a big disease. It's actually an eye fungus that has infected house finches and some of the other finch species," said Rob Tallman with the West Virginia DNR's Elkins Operations Center. "Birds are particularly susceptible at feeder because an infected bird can contact the feeder and the next bird contacts that so it spreads on pretty easily."

Similar problems can also be found in any artificial feeding source for wildlife. Deer feeding is one of the best-known areas where diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease can spread. Tallman suggests cleaning the feeders thoroughly at least once every two weeks during the winter months.



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