July 30, 2013

Scientists Identify Key Fungal Species That Help Explain Mysteries of White Nose Syndrome and more wildlife disease news


Bighorn sheep testing shows sick animals without disease

Results of survey are still preliminary

Preliminary survey results by wildlife agencies in the Mojave National Preserve show that a few sick desert bighorn sheep have tested negative for pneumonia, according to an official of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

More than 20 sheep in a herd of about 200 bighorns have died. And multiple carcasess have been confirmed by laboratory tests to have pneumonia, coordinator Regina Abella said.

...Two weeks ago officials also did a three-day helicopter survey of Old Dad Mountain and other nearby herds, according to the Mojave National Preserve website. Scientists hoped to assess the current distribution and status of the disease. After the survey on July 19, scientists were still compiling and interpreting the data but noted significantly fewer desert bighorn were observed on Old Dad Mountain compared with previous surveys, according to the report.

Daily Press
26 Jul 2013
Location: Mojave National Preserve, California, USA - Map It

In response to stress, capybaras prepare themselves to fight parasites

While it is well proven that in most mammals stress causes immunosuppression, a study in the world’s largest rodent revealed that stressing factors stimulate their defenses against parasitic worms. This strategy had never been documented before in vertebrates (animals with backbones).

A study published in the last issue of PLOS ONE1, revealed that capybaras respond in a singular manner to stressing situations. The experiment was carried out in Argentina by researchers of the Disease Ecology Laboratory (DEL) of Instituto de Ciencias Veterinarias del Litoral (ICIVET LITORAL, UNL–CONICET), and aimed at examining the effect of stress on the health of this rodent species. The findings included an unanticipated result. While the scientists expected that sustained stress would result in inhibition of the immunological defenses (which has been a well-documented phenomenon in many mammalian species, including humans), they were surprised to find that there was actually a stimulation of some components of the capybara’s immune system.

Disease Ecology Laboratory (DEL) of Instituto de Ciencias Veterinarias del Litoral
24 Jul 2013
[Thank a fellow Digest reader for this interesting article!]

Cited Journal Article
Eberhardt AT, Costa SA, Marini MR, Racca A, Baldi CJ, et al. (2013) Parasitism and Physiological Trade-Offs in Stressed Capybaras. PLoS ONE 8(7): e70382. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070382

Scientists Identify Key Fungal Species That Help Explain Mysteries of White Nose Syndrome

U.S. Forest Service researchers have identified what may be a key to unraveling some of the mysteries of White Nose Syndrome: the closest known non-disease causing relatives of the fungus that causes WNS. These fungi, many of them still without formal Latin names, live in bat hibernation sites and even directly on bats, but they do not cause the devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern United States. Researchers hope to use these fungi to understand why one fungus can be deadly to bats while its close relatives are benign.

Science Daily
25 Jul 2013

Cited Journal Article

Game and Fish wants to know about dead sage grouse

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking people to report any dead sage grouse they find immediately so they can be tested for West Nile virus. The game department says reporting discoveries of dead sage grouse will help in managing the bird population.

Sage grouse have a low resistance to West Nile virus and it's usually fatal to them. Testing has turned up the virus in Goshen County so far this year.

Tri-City Herald
23 Jul 2013

West Nile Virus News
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

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