August 27, 2012

Today's Wildlife Health News Stories

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Virus That Twists Snakes Into Knots Revealed: Ebola-like virus may be result of two viruses merging

Scientists have finally found the cause of a mysterious disease that makes snakes tie themselves up into knots, stare off into space, and waste away—the reptiles are infected with an Ebola-like virus, a new study says.

The fatal condition known as inclusion body disease (IBD) was first diagnosed in snakes, particularly pythons and boa constrictors, in the 1980s.

Snakes diagnosed with IBD will often exhibit behavioral abnormalities, including an inability to flip over when turned on their backs and "stargazing," which involves staring off into space and weaving their heads back and forth as if drunk. They are also more likely to contract other diseases, such as bacterial infections in their mouths.

Scientists have long suspected a virus was behind IBD because the disease can be transmitted between snakes and is characterized by the buildup of proteins in cells, a feature of a number of viral diseases, Stenglein said.

But direct proof that a viral agent is responsible has been lacking-until now.

National Geographic -
22 Aug 2012
K Than

Epidemic disease in Double-crested Cormorants in Saskatchewan

An outbreak of a virus infection of the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis and myelitis) occurred in August 2012 at a large colony of Double-crested Cormorants (DCCO) on Doré Lake in the southern boreal forest of Saskatchewan.

The cause of the outbreak was avian paramyxovirus-1 (APMV-1), a virus that occurs in DCCO across their range in North America and regularly results in mortality of nearly full grown young-of-the year DCCO close to the end of the nesting season.

Healthy Wildlife -
17 Aug 2012
Location: Doré Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada - Map It

Courtesy of The Guardian feature, Week in Wildlife
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