June 17, 2013

Snake Fungal Disease: The White-Nose Syndrome for Reptiles? and more wildlife disease news stories


Scientists seek cause of puffer fish skin disease

Red rice coral hit by blue-green algae off Kauai’s North Shore has responded well to a treatment involving marine epoxy, according to state and federal scientists, but they’re still trying to find out what is causing skin problems in nearby Hawaiian puffer fish.

“Something’s going on on that North Shore,” Greta Aeby, assistant researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://bit.ly/13VcVUg ).

...During the October field work, researchers first noticed lesions on puffer fish. Normal skin color is olive green or brown with small polka dots. Diseased fish showed discolored, inflamed, ulcerated or rotting skin.

In an attempt to determine cause and prevalence of the disease, researchers from May 29 to June 5 surveyed five areas — three in Anini, one off Charo’s in Hanalei, and Makua Lagoon.

Hawaii Tribune Herald
12 Jun 2013

Snake Fungal Disease: The White-Nose Syndrome for Reptiles?

While studying timber rattlesnake movement patterns and habitat use in Vermont, researchers made a surprising discovery: snakes covered in lesions, particularly around their faces.

Called snake fungal disease, it’s a disease showing up with increasing frequency in snakes around the eastern and midwestern United States. Conservationists fear it could pose a similar threat to snakes as white-nose syndrome in bats.

Timber rattlesnakes don’t move as widely as bats, but they do share some habits. They too hibernate underground in communal dens—often with other snake species. During hibernation, immune systems are suppressed. This combination can create a fertile ground for fungal disease growth and spread.

The Nature Conservancy Blog
11 Jun 2013
M Miller

More Snake Fungal Disease News

Bighorns: Pneumonia outbreaks have decimated some herds

There are more than 80 new lambs in Nebraska's five wild herds of Rocky Mountain bighorns so far this spring. Newborns arrive almost daily, delighting wildlife biologists.... Mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats and golden eagles pose natural threats to young bighorns, but their steepest challenge is disease, especially pasteurella pneumonia. The respiratory ailment is a ruthless killer of bighorns.

... The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission started reintroducing bighorns to the state in 1981. The sheep are considered an at-risk species and are closely monitored. Wildlife biologists watch the herds for signs of pneumonia. They listen for coughing. They watch for lethargy.

... Injecting bighorns with antibiotics created for livestock is effective, but delivering the drug to a wild animal isn't simple. Using a dart gun, Nordeen injected an ailing Fort Robinson bighorn with an experimental drug last year. The female was the only survivor of a group of sheep sick with pasteurella pneumonia.

Omaha World Herald
12 Jun 2013
D Hendee
Location: Nebraska, USA

Request for Information by a Fellow Digest Reader

Dr. Rivera is asking for help from the Digest community. He is curious if there are any publications or studies on the possibility of rats and mice being a reservoir for avian influenza subtypes.

For more details about this request and his contact information, please read his original email message. [Note: The language of this communications was translated from Spanish to English by translation software]

Thank you for any assistance you can offer him.

Digest Administrator
Cris Marsh

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