November 8, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


EHD outbreak takes toll on white-tailed deer population

An outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, has hit white-tailed deer populations hard in some areas of Montana this hunting season. The disease, which causes fever, organ failure and internal hemorrhaging, has contributed to massive die-offs of deer in the central and eastern portions of the state.

“This year we have heard reports of lots of dead deer in regions four, five, six and seven,” said Ray MulĂ©, a wildlife manager for Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Billings. “I would say we have seen die-offs in some areas that are at 50 percent or higher. When we start seeing those kinds of numbers, it is a severe outbreak.”

...Neil Anderson, FWP Region 3 wildlife lab supervisor, said EHD has not impacted white-tailed deer populations in southwest Montana.

“Usually we don’t find EHD out here for some odd reason,” Anderson said. “It gets to the Rocky Mountain Front and it doesn’t seem to come any further. I think there is evidence of the midges around, but something environmentally may cause the virus not to do that well or the midges aren’t very good at transmitting.”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle -
06 Nov 2011
Location: Montana, USA - Map It


Unusual mortality rate of seals

The recent high numbers of seal deaths along the New England coast have been declared an “unusual mortality event’’ and will be further investigated, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday.

Since September, 146 deadly seal strandings have been reported in Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts, which is more than three times the average number, the agency said in a statement.

... Samples from five seals tested positive for the influenza A virus, said NOAA.

“Even though preliminary results have been received, they are only indicative of those five cases, and additional evaluations are underway to determine whether the influenza virus has played a role in the overall mortalities,’’ NOAA said.

A team of marine mammal experts will work with the agency and other groups to identify the specific type of influenza found in the seals, NOAA said.

The Boston Globe -
04 Nov 2011
Location: New Hampshire - Map It
Massachusetts - Map It ,
Maine - Map It , USA

Gladstone Harbour fish disease mystery deepens

The mystery over Gladstone's diseased fish deepened yesterday with the State Government finding elevated levels of the heavy metals aluminium, copper and chromium in the heavily industrialised harbour.
Tests showed no clear link between dredging and metals and no definitive answers for extensive fish diseases except for barramundi.

Two reports on fish samples and water quality were released, with tests confirming a parasitic flatworm as the cause of cloudy eyes in barramundi. Tests found no parasitic, bacterial or fungal pathogens in a large range of other species.

Tests on metals found "nothing exceptional" but high mineralisation was detected in harbour catchments. No link was made between metals and fish showing lesions and illness.

"None of the water quality properties measured were of significant environmental concern either in Port Curtis or in the area most likely to be affected by dredging and associated activities," the Environment Department water report concluded.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association spokesman Michael Gardner said fishermen had little faith in the probes, with virtually all species of fish affected. "Not even catfish are spared," Dr Gardner said. "Sharks and rays in particular are very resistant to environmentally induced diseases but they are now heavily involved with rashes, lesions and ulceration, something that fishermen and processors have not seen here before."

The Courier-Mail -
05 Nov 2011
Location: Gladstone Harbour, Queensland, Australia


Photo courtesy of The Guardian's Week in Wildlife