September 13, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


[Netanya Beaches littered with rotting fish]

[Translation disclaimer]

Ichthyologists Israel for almost a week trying to figure out the cause of mass mortality of fish near the coast of Netanya. Hundreds of dead fish have recently thrown to the beach, "Poleg" belonging to the management and conservation parks.

Two days ago, on the same beach, was found dead dolphin. At the scene, even called the police detachment.

But it was a single incident. Much more concerned about the massive loss of ichthyology fish, which in Hebrew is called "Aras," and in English Rabbitfish - rabbit fish, because the head and teeth of these fish look like a rabbit's face, or Spinefoot, which can be translated as "kolyuchenog."

… According Wallanews with reference to the management of national parks and reserves, are now considered two possible reasons for the mass death of fish. First - this is water pollution. The second - a viral disease. However, so far not found evidence of either of the other hypotheses.

Israel Info -
12 Sept 2011
Location: Netanya, Israel - Map It


Dozens of dead ducks found in Aurora park

The city's parks department has been removing dozens of mallard duck carcasses from Utah Park in recent weeks.

About 40 dead ducks were removed from some ponds at the park in mid to late August, said Sherri-Jo Stowell, spokeswoman for the city's parks, recreation and open space department.

Wildlife officials say the feathered creatures died from an outbreak of avian botulism, which typically peaks during the hotter months.

Many of the ducks appear to be infected by an avian botulism toxin, which is often released from sediment during hot weather. Insects absorb the toxin and infect the birds that eat them.
Denver and other areas have experienced similar outbreaks in recent weeks as well.

Denver Post -
09 Sept 2011
Location: Aurora, Colorado, USA - Map It


DNR: Chronic Wasting Disease Contained in 2 W.Va. Counties

Chronic wasting disease in West Virginia deer is believed to be contained in Hampshire and Hardy counties, but the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources continues to be vigilant in its efforts to control the disease.

CWD is a neurological, brain and nervous system disease of deer and elk. The first confirmed case of it in the Mountain State was in a road-kill deer found in Hampshire County in 2005. Since then, 99 cases have been confirmed in Hampshire and Hardy counties — one in Hardy and the rest in Hampshire.

The agency regularly tests both road-kill deer and hunter-harvested deer as part of a CWD containment area that includes all of Hampshire County, the northern part of Hardy County and the western part of Morgan County.

The DNR has tested road-kill deer in all 55 counties for CWD since 2002. In cooperation with the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia and the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, more than 12,200 West Virginia have been tested for the abnormal prion associated with CWD.

11 Sept 2011
Location: Hampshire County - Map It, Hardy County - Map it, West Virginia, USA


Q Fever source detected in Alaska's fur seals

A discovery last year that northern fur seals on St. Paul Island were carrying Coxiella burnetti, a bacteria that can cause illness, has motivated scientists to do more sleuthing. Can the bacteria cause seals and other marine mammals to get sick? Were villagers ever exposed to it and if so, did they become ill?

The infection, known as Q Fever, can cause a varying mix of flu-like symptoms, including a high fever, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Alaska has documented only one case of the bacteria making an Alaskan sick, and that person picked it up overseas, according a bulletin issued Sept. 7 by the Alaska Department of Epidemiology in response to findings by Colorado State University researchers. But that doesn't mean there haven't been other cases, since Alaska didn't begin to collect data on human Coxiella infections until 2007.

Coxiella burnetti is more generally known to occur in land animals and birds. In Alaska, caribou, muskoxen, mountain goats, Dall sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears have been tested for the bacteria, with caribou discovered as the largest carrier. Although the bacteria is present among this wildlife, there's no evidence the bacteria has made any of the wildlife sick, according to the bulletin. The CSU study, combined with recent occurrences of human illness in places like the state of Washington, Greenland and the Netherlands has the science community taking a new look at the disease.

Alaska Dispatch -
09 Sept 2011


Study links protein to poxviruses

A protein shared by the simple viruses that infect single-cell organisms, and their highly complex counterparts that affect mammals, could hold to the key to understanding and ultimately neutralising the deadly pox family of viruses.

In research published today in PLoS Pathogens Dr Fasseli Coulibaly, of Monash University's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Dr Alok Mitra from the University of Auckland, have discovered that a protein, D13, is common to poxvirus and viruses that infect bacteria.

… "Given the common element, we can use what's been discovered about much simpler forms of viruses that contain D13, to better understand poxviruses. It's a Rosetta Stone for poxvirus."

Smallpox, the best known of the human poxviruses has been eradicated and only two official, highly secure stocks remain, meaning a small risk of deliberate release. However, other forms of pox infect animals and have the potential to jump species to humans.

Science Alert -
12 Sept 2011


Cited Journal Article
Hyun J-K, et al. (2011) Membrane Remodeling by the Double-Barrel Scaffolding Protein of Poxvirus. PLoS Pathog 7(9): e1002239. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002239