June 21, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Predators, Prey and Lyme Disease

Deer ticks are aptly named, in a sense; a Northeastern deer can carry over 1,000 of these ticks on its body. But as far as humans are concerned, the ticks might be more relevantly called mouse ticks. That’s because white-footed mice and other small mammals, not deer, are now known by scientists to be major carriers of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is spreading in the Northeast and the Midwest, and according to the national Centers for Disease Control, the number of annual cases over the past decade has been increasing. However, no one is quite sure why. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers tried to figure out what is driving the proliferation of Lyme disease in human populations by studying populations patterns in animals that interact with ticks.

New York Times - green.blogs.nytimes.com
18 Jun 2012
K Slivka
Photo courtesy of New York Times

Cited Journal Article 
T Levi et al. Deer, predators, and the emergence of Lyme disease. PNAS. 2012; [Epub ahead of print]

Preserved Frogs Hold Clues to Deadly Pathogen

A Yale graduate student has developed a novel means for charting the history of a pathogen deadly to amphibians worldwide.

Katy Richards-Hrdlicka, a doctoral candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, examined 164 preserved amphibians for the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, an infectious pathogen driving many species to extinction....

Richards-Hrdlicka swabbed the skin of 10 species of amphibians dating back to 1963 and preserved in formalin at the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Those swabs were then analyzed for the presence of the deadly pathogen.

..."This advancement holds promise to uncover Bd's global or regional date and place of arrival, and it could also help determine if some of the recent extinctions or disappearances could be tied to Bd," said Richards-Hrdlicka. "Scientists will also be able to identify deeper molecular patterns of the pathogen, such as genetic changes and patterns relating to strain differences, virulence levels and its population genetics."

Science Daily - www.sciencedaily.com
20 Jun 2012

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