January 15, 2013

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


White Nose Syndrome Fungus Persists in Caves Even when Bats are Gone

Amount of soil (about 200 mg) from which Geomyces destructans was cultured.
This shows the small amount of soil needed to harbor live fungus and
the threat that humans might pose in moving it around from cave to cave
on their gear, boots, and clothing.
The fungus that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America since 2006 can survive in the environment for long periods of time, according to new research conducted by the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and collaborating partners at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and U.S. Forest Service.

...This research has important implications for managing WNS and vulnerable bat species by revealing the important role that the environment plays in the disease. For example, the findings suggest that susceptible bats may not be able to effectively re-colonize caves and mines that have been previously contaminated and that the reintroduction of certain bat species to such sites may not be a sound strategy for reestablishing lost populations.

Although bats likely play a major role in transporting the fungus, the work additionally highlights the potential for humans entering contaminated caves and mines to come into contact with G. destructans years after bats have disappeared from those sites.

USGS Science Features - www.usgs.gov/blogs/features
10 Jan 2013

Chlamydia threat to untouched koala population

An outbreak of koala chlamydia in the Southern Highlands also poses a threat to a completely unaffected colony in Campbelltown.

The danger has been identified by the University of Sydney's Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre in Camden which is currently treating a sick animal, from the Southern Highlands area. It is one of five it has treated for a chlamydia infection in the past three years.

"The disease is infiltrating the population in the Southern Highlands which is concerning but we are even more worried that it may spread north and east into the Campbelltown population," said David Phalen, the director of the Centre, from the Faculty of Veterinary Science.

"The Campbelltown colony has an estimated 500 animals. They have been closely studied for 20 years and no evidence of chlamydia has ever been found in this healthy, growing population."

The Campbelltown koalas are important because of the genetic diversity of their immune genes.

University of Sydney - sydney.edu.au
14 Jan 2013
Location: Australia

Common toads ravaged by killer disease in Portugal

The chytrid fungus—responsible for millions of amphibian deaths worldwide—is now believed to be behind a sudden decline in the common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), according to a new paper in Animal Conservation. Researchers have detected the presence of the deadly fungus in the Serra da Estrela, north-central Portugal, home to a population of the midwife toad.

"Our findings point to an outbreak of [the disease] chytridiomycosis likely being responsible for the population decline and observed disappearance of this species," lead author Gonçalo M. Rosa told mongabay.com.

Mongabay.com - news.mongbay.com
14 Jan 2013
D Lloyd
Location: Portugal

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