August 27, 2013

Fungus dangerous to bats detected at 2 Minnesota state parks and more wildlife disease news


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Dr. Kurt Sladky
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Cris Marsh
Victoria Szewczyk

Moscow investigates 'pigeon apocalypse'

Officials raise alert as 'zombie' birds fall to earth amid fears city may be in grip of avian ailment Newcastle disease.

Amid reports of pigeons dying, falling from the sky and acting like "zombies," the Moscow environmental prosecutor's office has begun an investigation into what some media outlets and bloggers have called a pigeon apocalypse.

The environmental prosecutor has ordered the department of environment protection and several municipal agencies to investigate the mass deaths of pigeons and other birds in Moscow, according to the newspaper Izvestiya, which quotes Timur Brudastov, a senior judicial adviser at the prosecutor's office.

Brudastov notes that, according to the federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance, Moscow has become a "hotbed" of Newcastle disease, a bird disease that can be transmitted to humans.

"We're getting different information. Someone will write that seven birds have died in the city, while others tell us about them dying en masse," Brudastov said.

The Guardian
19 Aug 2013
A Luhn
Location: Russia - Map It

Mystery paralysis leaves B.C. crows and ravens sitting on the ground with wings intact — but struggling to fly

Authorities have ruled out the West Nile virus and avian flu, but are still puzzled why dozens of black birds in the Peace River region were found paralyzed last month.

Necropsies on eight crows and ravens taken from a Dawson Creek wildlife rehabilitation centre proved that they weren’t suffering from any common bird viruses. However, all were juveniles suffering from broken bones, which a veterinary radiologist will now examine over the next week and a half.

...“They are all feathered out, there’s no wing damage and they seem quite bright, and if you feed them by hand they will eat. But their legs are completely paralyzed and their claws are clubbed with no feeling from their spines to their legs,” said Green. “And naturally without the use of their legs they can’t launch themselves and fly.”

Meanwhile, similar tests on at least 50 black grackles found dead last week in Winnipeg ruled out West Nile and other viruses as responsible for the birds dying, according to the CBC.

National Post
13 Aug 2013
M Hager
Location: Peace River, British Columbia, Canada
View earlier story and reported location on Disease News Map

Fungus dangerous to bats detected at 2 Minnesota state parks

A fungus dangerous to bats has been confirmed at Soudan Underground Mine State Park and
Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources (DNR).

Bat Conservation International (Source: Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources)
09 Aug 2013
Location: View recent white-nose syndrome reports in the news on the Disease News Map

Scientists continue to search for clues in dolphin die-off

Scientists continue to search for answers surrounding the dolphin die-off occurring along the East Coast.

As of August 12, 228 Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have turned up dead along mid-Atlantic beaches, with the highest concentrations in New Jersey and Virginia. The largest die-off in nearly 25 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classified it as "unusual mortality event" (UME).

... Signs point towards morbilivirus, a form of measles that killed more than 740 bottlenose dolphins in 1987. Several dolphins have already tested positive for morbilivirus this year.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus told that tissue and blood samples are being studied, but the results will take a while.

"We've only had a few results from animals in New Jersey that tested positive for morbilivirus," she said. "But it's not clear if that was a cause of death, or if it was compromised immune system."

Other potential factors include pollutants, toxins, and malnutrition. There is also a possibility of a network of factors. Higher water temperatures, which are attributed to climate change, allow diseases to transfer more rapidly within species. Exposures to toxins such as mercury weaken the dolphins' immune systems, leaving them more susceptible to disease.

19 Aug 2013
D Elliot
Location: Eastern Coastline, USA

>>> More Marine Mammal News

Dead bird reporting tool helps DuPage track West Nile virus

It is now easier than ever for residents in DuPage County to report dead birds, an online tool that DuPage County health officials say is helping them track hot spots for the West Nile virus.

... "We've come so far with technology, why not have a dead bird reporting form online. You can file a complaint for many things on our website, it just seemed like the next step," said Amy Poore, director of public relations for the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The data collected helps officials in DuPage County decide where to allocate mosquito abatement resources, Hass said.

..."It allows us to look by time and location and helps us identify hot spots that may have increased West Nile activity," Hass said.

Chicago Tribune
09 Aug 2013
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA

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

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