July 24, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


UF veterinary researchers discover new virus linked to death of Australian snakes

A University of Florida researcher and colleagues in Australia and Germany have discovered what might be a deadly new snake virus.

Dubbed the “Sunshine virus” because of its discovery in Australia’s Sunshine Coast region, the organism causes nervous system and respiratory disease and is the first of its kind to be identified. Although it is in the same overall family as other viruses that affect snakes and lizards, the Sunshine virus doesn’t fit into existing subgroups of viruses.

University of Florida News - news.ufl.edu
19 Jul 2012
Location: Australia - Map It

Cited Journal Article
TH Hyndman et al. Isolation and molecular identification of Sunshine virus, a novel paramyxovirus found in Australian snakes. Infectious, Genetics and Evolution. 2012; 12(7): 1436-1446

[New blackbird die? Infection can enter other states]
[Translated article]

Deadly for birds Usutu virus is now the first time at a dead blackbird in Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia has been demonstrated. This was announced by the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI) in Hamburg on Friday. The disease had made last summer in southwestern Germany to a mass mortality of blackbirds.

The outbreak of the infection could enter other states, said BNI virologist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit. The virus was also again in six dead blackbirds were found in Rhineland-Palatinate, so again it could be a mass extinction. Last summer, in the triangle of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Baden-Wuerttemberg hundreds of thousands of blackbirds were taken ill and died.

The finding in North Rhine-Westphalia show that the Usutu virus spreading not primarily in river valleys, but through normal mosquitoes in urban areas, said Norbert Becker of the municipal association working to combat mosquitoes in the Palatinate Forest Lake. Their employees were sent this week about 20 dead blackbirds to study in Hamburg.

Hamburger Adendblatt - www.abendblatt.de
16 Jul 2012
Location: Siegen, Germany - Map It

Bird by bird: Thar’s bedevilled peacocks dancing to their deaths

Thar’s peacocks are doing a dance unto death. In just over a week, as many as 40 of the birds are believed to have died of a nutritional deficiency that seems to have affected their nervous system. There are no physical symptoms except that they keep whirling before they collapse.

The number of deaths has been disputed by the Sindh wildlife department that puts the toll at six. It said three are suffering from an illness which doctors are describing as a metabolic disorder harming the brain.

...Dr Das is treating the sick birds in consultation with doctors outside Thar. According to him, the birds have developed a deficiency of vitamins and minerals. He ascribed this to a shortage of water, heat and a very low yield of millet, maize and other plants which the peacocks eat for nutrition. They also eat snakes, insects and grubs.

The Express Tribune - tribune.com.pk
20 Jul 2012
Z Ali
Location: Thar Parkar District, Pakistan 
View updated article on Disease Map 


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