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.
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.
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 (http://bit.ly/160uxBJ ).
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.
OTHER WILDLIFE HEALTH RELATED NEWS
- Targeted culling of deer controls disease with little effect on hunting
- Kenya: Lessons From Namibia Where Wildlife Policy Actually Works
- Leschper: Test deer harvests to prevent spread of CWD disease
- Extreme algal blooms: The new normal? [Cited journal article HERE ]
- West African Bats: No Safe Haven for Malaria Parasites
- Veterinary scientists track the origin of a deadly emerging pig virus in the United States
- Government urged to review UK rabies risk
- Fast-Mutating Viruses Point Back to Criminal Spreaders of Disease
- Model virus structure shows why there’s no cure for common cold
- Researchers Seek Scapegoat for Lyme Disease’s Startling Prevalence