November 27, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories

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Cris Marsh
Megan Hines
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New Strain of Bird Virus Sweeps Across Britain

A new strain of avian pox is taking its toll on garden birds in Britain, reports new research published this week in PLOS ONE.

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), University of Oxford, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and RSPB report on the impact avian pox is having on great tit populations.

Avian pox has been recorded in British bird species such as house sparrows and wood pigeons for a number of years. However, the emergence of a new strain of this viral disease in great tits is causing concern amongst vets and ornithologists.

Wildlife vet Dr Becki Lawson from ZSL says: "Infection leads to warty, tumour-like growths on different parts of a bird's body, particularly on the head around the eyes and beak.

Science Daily -
21 Nov 2012
[See article for multiple journal citation references]

W.Va. turtle die-off linked to ranavirus disease

In July, while walking near a small pond he had built on his farm near Clendenin, Bill Archibald spotted a pair of dead eastern box turtles in the brush.

"I didn't think a whole lot about it at first," Archibald recalled, "but then I noticed other turtles in the same area acting kind of lethargic, with swelling around their eyes, lying in the same spot for days, and I started to wonder what was going on."

... The mysterious deaths, which numbered 26 by the end of the summer, didn't sit well with Archibald, a graduate of the state Division of Natural Resources' Master Naturalist program, who had built the pond to enhance habitat for the frogs, salamanders and turtles living on his land. He emailed Doug Wood, a retired Department of Environmental Protection biologist who teaches several Master Naturalist classes.

... As it turned out, the turtle was infected with ranavirus -- an animal disease known to have caused large localized die-offs, mainly in populations of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians, in 25 states since 1997. In more recent years, the virus is known to have infected scattered populations of box turtles, which are reptiles, in several states.

Gazette-Mail -
24 Nov 2012
R Steelhammer
Location: Clendenin, West Virginia, USA - Map It   ]

Kaua‘i’s coral reefs under attack

A rapidly-spreading coral disease along Kaua‘i’s North Shore may be affecting turtles, fish and even humans, according to a team of scientists.

A year ago, Dr. Greta Aeby, a coral expert with the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology at the University of Hawai‘i, sent out an alert to scientists and divers about a disease affecting corals in Kane‘ohe Bay on O‘ahu.

As it turns out, the disease is similar to that seen on O‘ahu, which is eating the coral at lightning speeds, according to Lilley, who graduated with a degree in biological sciences from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, in 1980. As the black-colored bacteria moves through the coral, it strips off live tissue, leaving a white, dead skeleton exposed.

“The fascinating part is this disease has gone out of control and could potentially wipe out the reefs,” he said. “We don’t know where this bacteria came from. We don’t know how it spreads.”

The Guardian Island -
18 Nov 2012
C D'Angelo
Location: Kauai, Hawaii, USA


Nature Journal News

White-nose Syndrome News

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre Blog -

Chronic Wasting Disease

One Health News Corner

Huh?! That's Interesting!

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