UA researchers trace bat killer's path
White-Nose Syndrome poses threat of extinction; potential impact on agriculture
... The UA research identifies cold-loving, cave-dwelling fungi closely related to WNS, and where and how they spread, and how they survive. These findings help predict the future of North American bats —among them — the common Little Brown Bat, first seen with WSN in Ohio in March 2011.
Led by Hazel Barton, UA associate professor of biology and recognized as having one of the world's preeminent cave microbiology labs, the research points to a group of fungi related to WSN, which appears as a white, powdery substance on the muzzles, ears and wings of infected bats and gives them the appearance they've been dunked in powdered sugar. Since it was first discovered in hibernating bats in New York in winter 2006-07, WNS has spread across 22 states, including Ohio. In Vermont's Aeolus Cave, which once housed 800,000 bats, WSN wiped out the hibernation den's entire population.
In their research paper, "Comparison of the White-Nose Syndrome agent Pseudogymnoascus destructans to cave-dwelling relatives suggests reduced saprotrophic enzyme activity," published Jan. 22, 2014 by the PLOS ONE, Barton and UA post-doctoral fellow Hannah Reynolds compare two closely related fungi species and reveal common threads, including the discovery that the related fungi share the same nutritional needs.
Originally satisfied by cave soil, the fungus' nutritional source has now transferred to bats. Barton and her colleagues are zeroing in on when the fungus transferred from environment to bat and the consequences of the fungus' relentless ability to survive solely in caves, uninhabited by bats.
Three new feline viruses raise questions about transmission and disease
Pathogen researchers at Colorado State University have discovered a family of cancer-causing viruses in several U.S. populations of bobcats, mountain lions and domestic cats, raising questions about whether the previously undetected viruses could be transmitted between cat species – and whether they might be the root cause of some cancers found in housecats.
...Wildlife ecologists collected blood samples from the bobcats and mountain lions in the course of separate studies related to the wild cats; they shared samples for the CSU study. Likewise, animal shelters across the United States collected and shared blood samples from domestic cats.
... In analyzing blood collected from wild and domestic cat populations in these regions, researchers identified the novel gamma herpes viruses in three species – and further discovered the bobcat virus in some mountain lions. The route of transmission remains unknown, but could occur when the animals fight in the wild, Troyer said.
Fukushima Radioactive Fallout in Alaska. Wildlife Health Implications
Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths and Fukushima fallout — Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy — ‘Pulsed release’ when built-up radionuclides were set free as ice melted — “Wildlife health implications” due to radiation exposure discussed
...During summer 2011 it became evident to coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals. Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, and skin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011.
The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.), including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, and discuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice seals.
Other Wildlife Health Related News
- Climate change is 'killing Argentina's Magellanic penguin chicks'
- No new distemper cases found in Riverside County desert
- Learning about Leatherbacks [CCWHC healthywildlife.ca blog]
- Crowdsourcing a living map of world health
- Stopping a deadly virus in its tracks [Rabies]
- New anthrax-killing virus from Africa is unusually large