October 27, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Bighorn sheep reintroductions on hold after deaths in Skalkaho area

A possible pneumonia outbreak in bighorn sheep in the Skalkaho area in Western Montana is delaying a plan by wildlife biologists to bolster the herd with additional sheep.

Craig Jourdonnais of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said that six bighorns in the Skalkaho herd have been discovered dead. "We've decided it's not prudent to bring sheep into the Warm Springs drainage right now," said Jourdonnais. "Right now, there are just too many things we don't know."

He said biologists haven't confirmed the sheep died due to pneumonia, but there have been numerous reports by people who have observed bighorns coughing or showing other signs of illness.

State officials had been considering moving sheep as early as this winter into the area. The transplanted sheep would likely have come from the Upper Madison or Wild Horse Island.

Billings Gazette - billingsgazette.com
24 Oct 2011

Location: Montana, USA - Map It

Unknown disease killing Kinneret fish

The first stage of a mysterious disease affecting Kinneret fish begins in one of its eyes, which starts to pop out, and gets destroyed leaving an empty hole in the socket. Then the second eye is affected. In the third stage, the blind fish blacken and starves. Red spots appear on its body and then it dies.

So far, there is no official answer whether the disease is an unknown virus, or a mutation of a virus, a bacteria or a parasite. Initial signs of the problem were discovered ten years ago in small numbers.

... The ministry's Fish Division laboratory at Nir David has concluded that the cause is not bacteriological. Its preliminary report in September found the characteristic symptoms in fishes' eyes. If the problem is a parasite, this will cause a major kashrut problem and the Rabbinate is liable to ban fish from the Kinneret.

The Water Authority believes that the disease is genetic in origin. Ministry of Agriculture Veterinary Services fish health director Dr. Avi Eldar is trying to discover whether a new or mutated virus is the cause of the disease.

The Veterinary Services has not found an unambiguous answer, and Dr. Eldar has contacted a lab in Italy, which has not yet given its answer.

Globes - www.globes.co.il
24 Oct 2011
M Lichtman
Location: Kinneret, Israel - Map It

Veterinary researchers discover first US strains of hepatitis E virus from rabbits

Researchers in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech have identified the first strains of hepatitis E virus from farmed rabbits in the United States. It is unknown whether the virus can spread from rabbits to humans.

Caitlin Cossaboom of Salisbury, Md., a second-year student in the combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Ph.D. program in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, is the first author of a publication entitled "Hepatitis E Virus in Rabbits, Virginia, USA" in the November issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Although researchers found hepatitis E virus in rabbits in China in 2009, this is the first time the virus has been identified in rabbits in the United States or anywhere outside of China," Cossaboom said.

EurekAlert - www.eurekalert.org
25 Oct 2011

Similarities seen in seal deaths

It's been weeks since biologists launched an investigation into the surge of seal deaths along the New England coastline, and while there is still no explanation, researchers have noticed startling similarities in the dead marine mammals.

Maggie Mooney-Seus, a public affairs official for NOAA's Northeast Region, said Monday investigators have determined most of the seals collected over the last few weeks all shared the same symptoms. "They all had pneumonia and had lesions on theirs fins and bellies," Mooney-Seus said.

What those similarities mean is not yet known, she said. An explanation behind the recent surge in seal deaths along the coastline will likely not come this week either....

The number of dead seals found along the shoreline since Sept. 1 has grown steadily. The total was at 94 more than a week ago. Mooney-Seus said the most up-to-date totals shows 138 seals have been found dead along the stretch of coastline from southern Massachusetts to southern Maine.

Seacoast Online - www.seacoastonline.com
25 Oct 2011

C McMahon

Location: Northeast Coastline, USA



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