November 4, 2013

Fungus That Causes White-Nose Syndrome in Bats Proves Hardy Survivor and other wildlife disease news


Disease Persistence in Primates - New Findings Published in PLOS ONE

Catastrophic declines in African great ape populations due to disease outbreaks have been reported in recent years, yet similar disease impacts are rarely identified for the more solitary Asian great apes, or for smaller primates. Researchers have uncovered interactions between social structure, demography, and disease transmission modes that create ‘dynamic constraints’ on the pathogens that can establish and persist in primate host species with different social systems.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
21 Oct 2013

Cited Journal Article
Ryan SJ, Jones JH, Dobson AP (2013) Interactions between Social Structure, Demography, and Transmission Determine Disease Persistence in Primates. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76863. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076863

Fungus That Causes White-Nose Syndrome in Bats Proves Hardy Survivor

After taking an in-depth look at the basic biology of a fungus that is decimating bat colonies as it spreads across the U.S., researchers report that they can find little that might stop the organism from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves. Their report appears in the journal PLOS ONE.

...The fungus thrives at low temperatures, and spreads to bats whose body temperature drops below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) when they are hibernating in infected caves. Previous research has shown that the fungus persists in caves even after the bats are gone.

The new study, from researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois, found that the fungus can make a meal out of just about any carbon source likely to be found in caves, said graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, who led the research under the direction of survey mycologist Andrew Miller.

"It can basically live on any complex carbon source, which encompasses insects, undigested insect parts in guano, wood, dead fungi and cave fish," Raudabaugh said. "We looked at all the different nitrogen sources and found that basically it can grow on all of them. It can grow over a very wide range of pH; it doesn't have trouble in any pH unless it's extremely acidic."
"P. destructans appears to create an environment that should degrade the structure of keratin, the main protein in skin," Raudabaugh said. It has enzymes that break down urea and proteins that produce a highly alkaline environment that could burn the skin, he said. Infected bats often have holes in their skin, which can increase their susceptibility to other infections.
Science Daily
29 Oct 2013

Cited Journal Article
Daniel B. Raudabaugh, Andrew N. Miller. Nutritional Capability of and Substrate Suitability for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White-Nose Syndrome. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (10): e78300 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078300

Other White-nose Syndrome News

The 'prairie moose phenomena'; big animals finding open areas of North Dakota suitable

here was a time not so many years ago when a moose sighting outside of the Turtle Mountain or Pembina Hills areas was rather uncommon. The young bull moose that has at least temporarily made Bismarck and Mandan home over the past couple of weeks has captured the public's attention. That's because this part of the state is not considered "traditional" moose habitat.

Mostly moose are thought of as woodland creatures, evoking images of the huge animal chest-deep in a slough feeding on aquatic vegetation. At a time when moose populations are declining in surrounding states like Minnesota, North Dakota's moose are doing quite well — and on the prairie, of all places, The Bismarck Tribune reported ( ).

That said, parts of North Dakota are having the same issues with moose disappearing from their traditional ranges, said Bill Jensen, a big game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Star Tribune
27 Oct 2013
B Gehring

Other Moose Health News

One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!

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