May 30, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Bat killer hits endangered grays

Federal scientists confirmed the fungal epidemic has struck a second species of endangered American bats

The news on white-nose syndrome just keeps spiraling downward. The fungal infection, which first emerged six years ago, was reported May 29 in a seventh species of North American bats — the largely cave-dwelling grays (Myotis grisecens). The latest victims were identified while hibernating this past winter in two Tennessee counties.

Science News -
29 May 2012
J Raloff
Location: Tennessee, USA - Map It 

More Bat News 

Austria ignores widespread bird deaths

Austrian officials say they have no plans to act and are not even monitoring the situation after thousands of dead birds were reported across the country apparently as a result of infection by trichomonosis.

In the United Kingdom the widespread deaths of birds resulted in an information campaign and a request for members of the public to inform the Garden Bird Health Initiative about possible deaths of birds from the disease.

But in Austria the only reason the problem is even been mentioned briefly in the news is because an animal rights campaigner from Upper Austria commissioned the Vienna veterinary University to look at why she had managed to find 64 dead birds on her 17,000 metre property at Hartkirchen in Eferding.

Vienna Times -
27 May 2012
Location: Hartkirchen, Austria - Map It

In Wild Animals, Charting the Pathways of Disease

....Peering into the nostrils of wild sheep is part of the nascent field of eco-immunology, which seeks both to understand the immune systems of wild animals and to use that knowledge to gain a better understanding of human immune systems. Until recently, this kind of knowledge has been gleaned almost exclusively by studying pampered, genetically similar lab animals, which don’t reflect a real-world scenario.

Eco-immunology works to understand how disease spreads in wildlife populations — the bighorn sheep are in trouble because of pneumonia that spread from domestic sheep — and how it can be worsened by human and environmental factors like climate change. Another major goal is to understand the pathways that deadly diseases can follow from wildlife to humans.

The New York Times -
28 May 2012
J Robbins

More News on the Benefits of Understanding Wildlife Disease

Photo courtesy of The Guardian feature, The Week in Wildlife

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