January 10, 2013

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


DEFRA investigating bird deaths mystery in Angus

A mysterious virus or natural event has baffled residents of an Angus town, after a number of seabirds were found washed up on their shore.

At least 17 geese and other unidentified birds were found on the coast of Arbroath on Sunday morning, and dog walkers contacted The Courier to air their concerns.

Despite being obscured by dirt and debris, only two of the birds had any visible wounds. Kevin Murray recorded 18 geese and one mallard duck at the breakwater during a walk.

The Courier - www.thecourier.co.uk
07 Jan 2013
R Watt
Location: Arbroath - Map It

What’s killing Minnesota moose? New, high-tech study aims to find out [They've got an app for that?!]

Minnesota researchers will soon get text messages from dead moose.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Friday it will conduct research aimed at better understanding the sharp decline in the state's moose population. Through a combination of GPS technology and implanted devices, researchers think they can get a quicker handle on the locations and causes of moose deaths.

Researchers believe the study has value beyond the iconic giant of the north woods, because the ailments killing moose could shed light on health threats to other species, including humans.

Starting later this month, wildlife resource officials plan to capture 100 adults and 50 calves in northeastern Minnesota. All of them will be fitted with $2,500 tracking collars and many will also have $900 mortality implant transmitters put in their digestive tracts.

Those with the implants will be the most valuable research targets because when an animal's heart stops beating it will trigger an instant text message to researchers, who will get coordinates for finding the carcass to help them retrieve it within 24 hours. That's key because moose organs decompose quickly or the animals get ravaged by prey, meaning researchers can't get a good read on what's causing them to die.

The Bismark Tribune - bismarcktribune.com
06 Jan 2013
Location: Minnesota, USA

As Biodiversity Declines, Tropical Diseases Thrive

Global health advocates often argue that the tropical diseases that plague many countries, such as malaria and dengue, can be conquered simply with more money for health care – namely medicines and vaccines.

But a new paper is a reminder that ecology also has a pretty big say in whether pathogens thrive or die off. Using a statistical model, researchers predicted that countries that lose biodiversity will have a heavier burden of vector-borne and parasitic diseases. Their results appear this week in PLoS Biology.

"The general logic is that the more organisms you have out there, the more things there are that can interrupt the life cycle of disease, and the less concentration you'll have of any vector," Matthew Bonds, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the paper, tells Shots.

But plants, mammals and birds are disappearing fast – one-third of the world's species are now threatened with extinction, according to the United Nations. And when the creatures that prey on mice, mosquitoes or other vectors of disease go, parasites and other disease-causing agents discover it's a lot easier to survive.

NPR.org - www.npr.org
29 Dec 2012
E Barclay

Cited Journal Article
Bonds MH, Dobson AP, Keenan DC (2012) Disease Ecology, Biodiversity, and the Latitudinal Gradient in Income. PLoS Biol 10(12): e1001456. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001456

Crayfish Have Been Secretly Spreading a Deadly Frog Epidemic

Around the world, the decline of hundreds of amphibian species has been linked to the mysterious and deadly chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendobatidis. More than 300 species are nearly extinct because of this epidemic, and many more have probably already been lost to the disease.

Until now, researchers thought the the fungus occurred only in amphibians, since no studies demonstrated that the fungus can grow on live non-amphibian hosts. National Geographic explains the perplexing situation:

One of the biggest mysteries is how chytrid can persist in a frogless pond. Researchers saw it happen many times and were perplexed: If all of a pond’s amphibians were wiped out, and a few frogs or salamanders came back and recolonized the pond, they would also die—even though there were no amphibians in the pond to harbor the disease.

New research refutes the assumption that only amphibians can carry the disease, however. Field collections in Louisiana and Colorado found that up to 29 percent of the live crayfish recovered were harboring the fungus. The team also found that crayfish presence was a strong predictor of amphibian infection with the fungus.

Smithsonian.com - blogs.smithsonianmag.com
18 Dec 2012

Game and Fish captures bighorn sheep to monitor disease

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has begun to capture bighorn sheep this winter to monitor the presence of pneumonia in the Jackson Region. Nasal and tonsil swabs, along with blood, are being collected from sheep east of Jackson.

The Jackson herd experienced a significant die-off due to pneumonia in 2002. Wildlife Biologist Doug Brimeyer, estimates as much as half of the herd (which numbered approximately 500 sheep at the time) died in 2002. Near Dubois, the Whiskey Basin herd in the Wind River Range has struggled through several pneumonia outbreaks as well. Similarly, several bighorn sheep herds across the Rocky Mountain west have experienced significant declines in population due to pneumonia in recent years.

Country 10 - country10.com
08 Jan 2013
Location: Wyoming, USA

More Bighorn News

  • The Wildlife Data Integration Network will be giving a presentation entitled, Discovering Novel Wildlife Health Information, in the Global Health Seminar Series at the University of Wisconsin - Madison on Tuesday, January 29. It is free, so if you are in the area, we would love to see you there!

  • FREE Conference Call with Zoobiquity author Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. on Thursday, January 10. Registration with email is required.

Chronic Wasting Disease News
Toxic Algal Bloom News
One Health Related News
It Ain't All Bad News
Huh?! That's Interesting!
  • Jack London’s plague of 2013 [Although known for his tales of wilderness adventure, Jack London wrote the science-fiction story, "The Scarlet Plague”, in 1910.][Thanks ProMed!]

No comments: