September 17, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


'Siloed' Agencies Hindered in Efforts to Fight Animal-To-Human Diseases, Analysis Finds

The "siloed" structure of U.S. health agencies is hindering efforts to spot and combat animal-to-human afflictions, such as West Nile Virus, New York University sociologist Colin Jerolmack has concluded after conducting an organizational analysis of their operations.

Even though many newly emerging infectious diseases readily spread from one species to another, Jerolmack found that "agency members interpret certain diseases as 'livestock diseases' or 'wildlife diseases,' and they view categories of animals outside their purview as irrelevant to their institutional prerogatives. Consequently, there is little sense of mutual understanding and common goals -- and thus little coordination -- across these various organizations."

... Jerolmack's interviews revealed several instances in which agencies and departments adopted a siloed, rather than cooperative, approach when faced with zoonoses...

Science Daily -
13 Sep 2012

Cited Journal Article
Colin Jerolmack. Who’s worried about turkeys? How ‘organisational silos’ impede zoonotic disease surveillance. Sociology of Health & Illness, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01501.x

Birds sound the alarm on West Nile Virus: Evolving virulence tracked by samples of virus taken from dead crows and blue jays

West Nile virus appears to be killing more blue jays this year
than in the past. (This blue jay tested positive for West Nile.)
...For officials at the Mosquito Control Division of the Harris County Public Health Service in Houston, dead crows and blue jays provided an early warning of the outbreak — and could help in understanding the virulence of the virus.

“A red flag was the number of birds dying of West Nile in June,” says Rudy Bueno, the division's director. Hundreds of birds died from the virus soon after it arrived in the United States in 1999, but since 2005, Harris county officials have detected the virus almost exclusively in living birds which they netted, tested and then released back into the wild. Bueno notes that the blue jays, which originally died with West Nile virus in their blood, appeared to have grown immune.

But the trend ended this year. Harris county reported that it had found the virus in 16 dead birds last week alone, more than those found in the entire year for each of the past three years. “Even the blue jays are dying, so something has changed,” Bueno says. “We know that numbers fluctuate, but this year took everybody by surprise.”

Nature -
13 Sep 2012
A Maxmen

Coyote tapeworm that infects dogs, humans spreading to cities

A coyote on a public street in San Francisco.
(Janet Kessler/Associated Press)
Parasite specialists say risk to humans is low but increased surveillance is warranted

Animal health researchers are watching what appears to be mounting evidence of the spread of a potentially dangerous parasite in coyotes, foxes and other animals in Canada.

That's a concern, they suggest, because the parasite, a tapeworm, can on occasion spill over from its wild animal hosts to infect dogs and humans.

And while people aren't the tapeworm's preferred hosts, a growing number of human cases are being seen in Europe and parts of the world where the parasite is more established.

CBC News -
13 Sep 2012
Location: Canada

Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated

USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death.

This information was updated on September 11, 2012 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide.

Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center
  11 Sep 2012

News About Declining Wildlife Populations
White-Nose Syndrome News
One Health News Corner
Toxic Algal Bloom News
A new species of monkey (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), known locally as the lesula.
Photograph: Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC/PA
It Ain't All Bad

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