November 14, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Hunt for source of infection

Overseas experts will help Tasmanian health and wildlife authorities find out where the bacteria behind the state's first Tularaemia cases is coming from.

Over the next month, wildlife officers will collect and test wild animal carcasses and ticks found in the West Coast area where the two women who contracted the disease were bitten by possums.

… The two Tasmanian cases were the first reported in the southern hemisphere, but the disease, also known as rabbit fever, is common in the US.

It seems wild possums are carrying the infection, but acting chief veterinary officer Mary-Lou Conway said other wild animals could be tested after results are analysed. The Health Department's deputy director of public health, Chrissie Pickin, said a historical review of Tasmanian hospitalisations with presentations similar to Tularaemia was conducted in June.

Tasmania's first recorded case of Tularaemia was reported in June and the second in November. Both patients had been bitten and scratched as they helped wild possums.
Dr Pickin said the complex investigation now involved health, biomedical and wildlife experts from Tasmania, interstate and overseas.

The Mercury -
12 Nov 2011
Location: Tasmania


Botulism found in dead ducks; more at risk?

Wildlife experts and rescuers are fearful that more ducks and migratory birds will fall victim to botulism after several duck carcasses found in south county lakes tested positive for the deadly toxin. Three dead duck bodies analyzed by a state laboratory have tested positive for botulism, said Dr. David Kieltyka staff veterinarian at OC Animal Care, who is coordinating communication and a protocol for the appropriate treatment of the duck die-off.

The tests follow a large die-off of nearly 100 dead and dying mallards since September 1 at the Village Pond Park in Lake Forest and in nearby lakes of the Lake Forest Community Association. An earlier test performed by the Orange County Vector Control District at the same test was inconclusive on botulism but ruled out vector borne illnesses, Jared Dever, a spokesman with the district said in early October.

… Jolliffe has found 29 ducks at the water district since last week, she said. Four are recovering at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach. OC Parks spokeswoman Marisa O'Neill confirmed there have been 16 dead ducks at the regional park. Sick birds from Lake Forest and Laguna Niguel have been taken to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach.

The Orange County Register -
10 Nov 2011
Location: Orange County, California, USA - Map It


Five deer found dead near Colfax home

A Colfax-resident reported five dead deer near her home since mid-September, and suspects they may have died from a common virus.

Fish and Game officials have yet to inspect the deer carcasses. One veterinarian suggested a virus could be one possible cause of death.

Kathleen Smith said the deer all have the same pinkish colored foam oozing from their mouths or nostrils. “The one I found most recently, on her nose it was like somebody took this foam and put this pink shaving cream. Is somebody poisoning them, or is this a deer disease?” Smith said.

… While Smith had not gotten in touch with the Department of Fish and Game as of Tuesday, Dr. Ben Gonzales, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian for the department, said it is possible the deer died from a virus.

“It’s always difficult to diagnose from a distance,” Gonzales said. “My best guess at this point would be an infectious disease like deer adenovirus and it causes that sort of thing. They do tend to go down in groups like that.”

The Auburn Journal -
10 Nov 2011
Location: Colfax, California, USA - Map It


Photo courtesy of The Guardian's Week in Wildlife