January 5, 2010


Scientists Discover Origin of a Cancer in Tasmanian Devils
New York Times - www.nytimes.com
31 Dec 2009
C Zimmer
Photo credit: Torsten Blackwood/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Tasmanian devil, the spaniel-size marsupial found on the Australian island of Tasmania, has been hurtling toward extinction in recent years, the victim of a bizarre and mysterious facial cancer that spreads like a plague.

Now Australian scientists say they have discovered how the cancer originated. The finding, being reported Friday in the journal Science, sheds light on how cancer cells can sometimes liberate themselves from the hosts where they first emerged.

On a more practical level, it also opens the door to devising vaccines that could save the Tasmanian devils.

Scientists warn of rise in diseases spread from animals to humans
The Telegraph - www.telegraph.co.uk
04 Jan 2010
Photo credit: REUTERS/Mario Armas

At least 45 such diseases have been reported to UN agencies over the past two decades and more are expected to be identified in coming years.

Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington claim that the world is braced for an increase in outbreaks due to global warming and changes in land use and farming practices.

Dr Montira Pongsiri, an environmental health scientist at the EPA, told the Independent: “We appear to be undergoing a distinct change in global disease ecology.


Lyme disease takes wing on its spread inland
NewsTimes.com - www.newstimes.com
28 Dec 2009
R Miller

When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along, it may be throwing off ticks infected with Lyme disease.

You may be just walking in your yard when a tick hops on you and bites.

Robins, blue jays, thrushes, wrens, and other common birds can be winged reservoirs of the disease, according to researchers at the Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven.

Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease in Early Stages
Kansas City InfoZine - www.infozine.com
04 Jan 2010
Area: Thomas County - Map It , Graham County - Map It , Kansas, USA

Testing for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in samples collected from deer taken during the 2009 season is only about one-third complete, but the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reports that six samples have shown presumptive positive.

. . . Confirmation has not been received on these presumptive positives, but it’s possible that deer with CWD were taken in two Kansas counties where the disease has not been found before.

This year, presumptive positive test results have been found in samples from two deer taken in Decatur County, one taken in Rawlins County, one taken in Graham County, one taken in Sheridan County and one taken in Thomas County. CWD had not been detected in deer from Thomas or Graham counties previously. However, both counties are adjacent to counties where CWD had been detected in recent years.

Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated
USGS National Wildlife Health Center
04 Jan 2010
Area: United States

USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death. This information was updated on Dec 21, 2010 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide. Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.

Climate Change
photo credit : Orvar Alti Porgeirsson
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Avian Diseases - December 2009
Volume 53, Number 4

Characterization of H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Isolated from a Mountain Hawk Eagle in Japan
J Vet Med Sci.. [Epub ahead of print]
S Shivakoti et al.

[Bird populations--hatching grounds of pandemic influenza viruses?][Article in German][Abstract available in English]
Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2009 Nov-Dec;122(11-12):440-5.
T Harder et al.

Cliff Swallows, Swallow Bugs, and West Nile Virus: An Unlikely Transmission Mechanism
Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2009 Dec 18. [Epub ahead of print]
P Oesterle et al.

How ebola impacts genetics of Western lowland gorilla populations
PLoS One. 2009 Dec 18;4(12):e8375.
PJ Le Gouar et al.